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News / Opinion / Editorials

Cheers & Jeers: School support; voter apathy

The Columbian
Published: February 19, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers … and jeers: To school levy elections. The numbers are not final, but last week’s school levies in the Battle Ground, Camas, Green Mountain and Woodland districts appear headed for passage. Levies support day-to-day operations, technology and facilities maintenance and will help the districts maintain their educational levels. That ultimately benefits all Clark County residents, whether or not they currently have children in public schools.

Yet while we laud the passage of the levies, we once again lament poor voter participation. Countywide, turnout where levies were on the ballot was approximately 33 percent. The right to vote also means the right to not vote; but two-thirds of registered voters allowed the remaining third to determine property tax levels.

Jeers: To a time warp. Lawmakers in Oregon are considering a bill that would put the state on standard time year-round, eschewing the biannual changing of clocks. The drawback: Washington and Oregon would be on a different clock for half the year.

Washington has approved year-round daylight saving time, but implementation requires an act of Congress. Now, the Oregon bill (year-round standard time does not require congressional action) could add to the confusion. For the roughly 65,000 Clark County residents who work in Oregon, a 9 a.m. starting time would be 10 a.m. our time from March to November. For the remainder of local residents, altered TV schedules, concert times and dinner reservations on the other side of the river could be perplexing. Oregon lawmakers should ensure that both states are in the same time zone.

Cheers: To fixing things. After a long pause, a Repair Clark County event has returned to the calendar. The program, organized by Columbia Springs, allows residents to bring in household items such as lamps, appliances and clothing in need of repair.

The program lost funding last year, putting it on hiatus. Now, thanks to dedicated volunteers, an event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon March 16 at Vancouver United Church of Christ, 1220 N.E. 68th St. “This is a program that reaches every kind of person,” one organizer said. Information is available at https://www.columbiasprings.org/repair-clark-county/.

Jeers: To scammers. Authorities have warned of two new scams targeting people in Clark County. In one, a caller claims that the target has missed jury duty and must provide bank or credit card information in order to avoid being jailed. In another, small businesses are told they are in danger of having their electricity shut off without immediate payment.

Clark County court officials stress that they would never request money over the phone. And utility officials say they would never threaten immediate disconnection. But such scams persist. As Dameon Pesanti of Clark Public Utilities said: “They’re so convincing. They will get anybody.”

Cheers: To the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. Members last week celebrated the 24th anniversary of federal recognition. That recognition and court battles over the designation of reservation land paved the way for construction of ilani, the casino resort.

But there is more to the Cowlitz than a casino and the charity that has resulted — including $1 million last week to Clark College and contributions to The Columbian’s Community Funded Journalism initiative. As General Council Chairwoman Patty Kinswa-Gaiser said: “Our road to federal recognition was hard fought and earned through the resolve of our members working under a common truth: The Cowlitz Indian Tribe are the Forever People.”