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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Cheers & Jeers: Cooking up leadership; drought

The Columbian
Published: May 6, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To leading by example. For years, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle has been known for her volunteer work throughout the city. So it is not surprising that she organized an educational workshop demonstrating how to safely prepare and serve food for people in need. “People are hungry to make a difference,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “People want to learn, understand, and they want to know how they can help.”

Clark County Public Health officials helped organize the session, providing tips for keeping food safe (hot foods must be cooked to reach 165 degrees and then kept above 135 degrees; cold foods must be kept below 41 degrees). The impetus for the workshop was a perception that food for homeless people must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. That perception is inaccurate, and when something needs fixing in our community it is common that McEnerny-Ogle will roll up her sleeves.

Jeers: To drought. The Washington Department of Ecology has declared a statewide drought for 2024. “There is simply not enough water contained in mountain snow and reservoirs to prevent serious impacts for water users in the months ahead,” department officials said.

While the declaration will not be noticed by most citizens, it has a big impact on farmers and ranchers. Over time, persistent drought conditions also transform which crops can thrive and be profitable in Washington’s climate. As one agriculture representative told Crosscut.com, “That’s an added headache no one needed.”

Cheers: To candidates. Although we have been hearing about the candidates for months — or years — today marks the official start of campaign season in Washington. This is filing week for the August primary and November general elections, with candidates signing up for everything from governor to precinct committee officer.

Locally, we will be following elections for all 12 of Southwest Washington’s legislative seats, as well as two spots on the Clark County Council. While the presidential race will garner much of the national attention, local and state elections have a large impact on the lives of Clark County residents. Cheers are warranted for everybody who metaphorically throws their hat in the ring. Strong candidates — and engaged voters — are essential to preserving American democracy.

Jeers: To an unsecured load. When a driver along Interstate 90 near North Bend stopped to secure his trailer recently, four zebras escaped. Three of the zebras eventually were caught, but the fourth remained at-large for several days.

“They start walking up my driveway,” one local resident said. “I’ve had plenty of bears in my yard, but this was a new one, for sure.” The hope is that it remains an unusual occurrence. While Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts have become common, we’d rather not be jolted by a Striped Alert.

Cheers: To homeowner rights. You might not be able to fight city hall, as an old saying goes, but apparently you can fight a homeowners association. The Washington State Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a Vancouver couple that had challenged an HOA over regulations for political yard signs.

The court said homeowners associations may not restrict when signs can be placed prior to an election. Notably, it also left in place restrictions on signs after an election. We hope candidates and supporters apply that lesson to roadside signs, as well, and remove them in a timely fashion.