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Monday, September 25, 2023
Sept. 25, 2023

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Hitting hidden fees; too few fish

The Columbian

Cheers: To Sen. Maria Cantwell. The Democratic senator from Washington has introduced a bill to prevent surprise ticket fees for concerts and sporting events. “When families budget for a night at a ballgame or to hear their favorite band, they shouldn’t have to worry about being surprised by hidden fees that suddenly raise the final cost of tickets well over the advertised price,” she wrote in a statement.

Studies have shown that unpublished fees can account for as much as 58 percent of the total cost of tickets. The bill would require sellers to include the full price in any advertising or price list. Cantwell said she plans comprehensive legislation “to rein in deceptive junk fees driving up costs for consumers.” While not as important as some issues considered by Congress, deceptive ticket prices affect many Americans and warrant consideration.

Jeers: To a lack of salmon. State managers say it will be until at least mid-May before spring chinook fishing resumes on the Columbia River. This is despite the fact that anglers have caught only 26 percent of their early season allotment.

“With the current low passage at Bonneville Dam and potential for very high catch rates, fishery managers are not prepared to consider additional fishing time until we get closer to the run-size update,’’ officials said. In other words, there are not enough fish. A decline in salmon not only has environmental implications; it has a broad effect on various industries that depend on the catch and sale of the Northwest’s signature fish.

Cheers: To a place to play. Efforts to build a children’s museum in Clark County received a boost when the Legislature approved a $515,000 grant for the Columbia Play Project. The funding comes from the state’s local and community funds budget.

“Nothing is more important than healthy children and families,” said state Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, who supported the grant. “Play is essential to health as it contributes to cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being.” The project has a long way to go, and funding still will be needed for construction. But organizers foresee a “world-class exploratory play space” plus art, science and computer labs. With a description like that, we’re guessing parents will enjoy it as much as the children.

Jeers: To low voter turnout. With school levies on the ballot this week in Washougal and Woodland, it appears that about 47 percent of eligible Clark County voters turned in a ballot.

That is a sharp increase from the turnout for levy votes in February, but it still is disappointing. Regardless of whether people vote for or against the levies, participation is the cornerstone of our democracy. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of people spend more time complaining about public schools than actually making their opinions count.

Cheers: To knowledge. Five students from Ridgefield High School are preparing to compete in national competitions of Knowledge Bowl and Quiz Bowl. Adam Ford, James Haddix, Emi Newell, Stuart Swingruber and Asher Anderson earned the opportunity when Ridgefield won the state Class 2A championship for the second consecutive year.

In addition to being knowledgeable, the students are benefiting from community support; more than $12,000 in donations have supported their efforts throughout the year and will cover travel expenses to Atlanta for Quiz Bowl. “Ridgefield has always been good in this competition,” adviser David Jacobson said. “But this group is something else.”