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Letters to the Editor

 

April 7, 2022



To the editor,

I have volunteered and worked in many capacities in Columbia County. In those positions, I have attended many workshops and conferences in other small communities in the Pacific Northwest and have met many community leaders who touted the benefits of recreation in their own communities. They knew the positive impacts. I’ve always dreamed of a Columbia County filled with brown signs directing locals and visitors to hike, bike, fish, swim, camp, etc. We have so much to offer.

How does it benefit our community? Studies show that having recreational opportunities in your own community boosts productivity and lowers healthcare costs. Furthermore, it draws tourism which leads to attracting new businesses, lowering unemployment, and enhancing property values.

I participated in the annual Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) meetings in Columbia County for a number of years. These meetings are publicized for attendance by the entire community and new, thoughtful input was always greatly appreciated and respected. In these meetings, the state of the County’s economy is presented, there is a review of the ongoing economic development efforts, and the group reviews and prioritizes the ongoing short and long-term economic development goals. The CEDS results in a document which isn’t put on a shelf to get dusty, it is used to drive efforts by all parties involved in the county’s economic development. Because of this ongoing work, many goals have been achieved which have benefitted the community, including the recent development of assisted living which had been a community goal for many, many years.

In the last CEDS meeting I attended, the trail idea was brought to the group’s attention, placed within the CEDS document and voted within the top five priorities. Many involved were surprised, but as a result, sprang into action to pursue this. Many, many hours were put into writing the original federal grant which allowed us the opportunity to pursue the interest and feasibility of a system of regional, interconnected trails. Upon receiving this grant, community input was essential and required. There were many meetings publicized in and held in Columbia County (and neighboring Waitsburg) in which concerned and interested citizens alike, came together. City and County leaders and staff, past and present, also participated and offered professional input.

I urge community members and leaders to trust in the work of so many individuals and professionals who spent countless hours pursuing this trail, only having the wellness of the community in their heart.

Brad McMasters

Columbia County homeowner

Walla Walla, Wash.

To the editor,

Joy at Last. Listening to the news every day is a downer for the most part. All the bad events that are happening in the nation and the world line up on your radio or television stations, and online feeds. What a breath of fresh air to hear Cory Booker’s impassioned speech at the U.S. Senate confirmation hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Instead of angry rhetoric that has been the usual discourse, here was a delightful description of the progress people have made in the country to right the wrongs of the past, and a prediction of a better future for our country. It really highlighted the great qualifications and experience of Judge Brown as well, while noting the great challenges black women encounter in their lives.

Honestly, when I heard his speech, it brought tears to my eyes – tears of joy. What a change from the usual news reports.

To top it off, the photograph of the picture of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s daughter smiling so proudly looking at her mother just added to a wonderful view of our feeling of love and compassion for mothers and daughters and all of humanity. If you missed either of these events, please search them. They are well worth your time.

Nancy Street

Cheney, Wash.

Letter to the editor

Recently, Chris Cargill, Eastern Washington director of right-wing Washington Policy Center, advocated for a parents’ bill of rights to improve our educational system. But how would that help?

Shouldn’t students themselves, especially at high school level, have at least equal voice to their parents since their education most strongly affects their own lives? Maybe Cargill thinks students and their parents agree on what would improve their education, but is there evidence of that?

Polls show considerable disagreement between high school-age students and those of their parents’ age on Trumpism, for example. Whereas disagreement between Democrats and Republicans 30 years ago was less severe and emotional, that is definitely not true today.

Parents disrupt school board meetings protesting vaccine and mask mandates for students and teachers, whereas students recently held nationwide protests to call for stronger COVID protocols. Angry parents demand the ban of books and the teaching of US racial history against students’ wishes. Few parents insist on more instruction on global warming which is uppermost in many students’ minds.

And most tragically, white parents opposing the accurate teaching of US racial history apparently don’t care at all about their negative impact on the social-emotional growth and academic achievements of students of color. Students of color undoubtedly agree with their parents on full coverage of such history.

Should we instead have a students’ bill of rights, at least at the high school level, promoting their measured input into final educational decisions made by their teachers and schools?

Norm Luther

Spokane, Wash.

To the editor,

Columbia County Commissioner, Chuck Amerein, continues to show his hypocrisy with public statements. The cases in point are fear, government overreach, and indoctrination.

Several weeks ago, Commissioner Amerein stated in a commissioner’s meeting that The Club (a nonprofit afterschool program for kids in our community) was not worthy of public funds, in his opinion, because they do not show sufficient patriotism by flying the American flag. The money being requested was from the Juvenile Justice Fund, which is not earmarked for patriotic causes. The funding was granted after the executive director agreed to address the commissioner’s concern at The Club’s next board meeting. This is most definitely an example of government overreach, which Mr. Amerein repeatedly speaks out against. It seems that Mr. Amerein has been indoctrinated to believe that not displaying a flag equates to not being patriotic.

At a recent School Board meeting in Dayton, Mr. Amerein stated that the Washington State mask mandate was “about fear” and “about teaching blind obedience”. Just a few weeks later, in a letter to the Port Commissioners, Mr. Amerein was quoting Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin to propagate fear of “State control over the formative years of our children’s lives and the use of public funds to do so”.

I see fear, but it’s not fear from responsible people working together to prevent the spread of a disease. It’s fear of the government controlling our lives.

I see government overreach, but it’s not in the form of public health mandates or indoctrinating children. It’s in the implication that in order to receive public funds, a worthy organization must kowtow to one elected official’s standard of patriotism. It’s in Mr. Amerein’s abuse of power, using his position to steer our town in the direction of his own liking. An elected official is required to listen to the voices of their constituents, regardless of who they voted for, and represent the wishes of the majority rather than their own personal ideology or agenda. That is the American way of governing. A true patriot knows this.

I see indoctrination, but it’s not coming from anyone offering to solve the childcare crisis in our town. It seems to be deeply rooted in the psyche of those who refuse to seek different viewpoints in an effort to work toward the common good. Mr. Amerein is proving himself to be one of those people.

Shellie McLeod

Dayton, Wash.

 
 

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