Featured Stories


Letters

Letters published Jan. 8, 2016


PUD retiree supports new board

I retired from Columbia River People’s Utility District several years ago, after a 20-plus year career. I have been following the recall attempt against board member Craig Melton and I want the public to know that much of what the recall committee is saying is either inaccurate or wrong. What they are trying to do is deflect from what is really going on at the PUD.

As a retiree, I know many of the employees who still work there, and I continue to attend board meetings. Board members Melton, Jake Carter and Harold Price have worked hard to resolve many issues the PUD had faced in the last few years, and they have restored confidence for employees and customers.

I know the PUD is headed in the right direction, and the recent outage was a prime example of that. It was the worst outage in the history of the PUD, but I saw how the line crew, the office staff, retirees, board members and community members all came together to support each other to get the power back on for everyone as quickly as possible. We haven’t seen that for a while, but that’s what our PUD should be about.

I know the public has many questions. I would just urge you to visit www.friendsofcrpud.com to get the facts. You’ll see why so many other people are supporting the efforts of board members Melton, Carter and Price like I do.

Connie Quick

Columbia City

Now is the time to make a difference

I start with a quote from the United Nations Climate Summit 2014:

“Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow.”

We have lived in our home for 40 years with no dire consequences from the weather — until December 2007. The torrential rains in that period flooded under our home, even with sump pumps working full time, and destroyed all the duct work for our heating system. We were told by a multitude of “experts” this was

a once-in-100-year occur-rence.

Being naturally skeptical of experts, we had more sump pumps piped in under our home. We dug swales around our property and added underground piping to carry the water past our home.

Yet, here we were in December 2015 with water pouring under our home once again — not 100 years later, but eight years later. My husband attempted to divert the water and was making some progress, but I called for help.

Within minutes, four young volunteers with the fire department were here to assist him. They worked alongside my husband and stayed until the danger was contained. We want to thank them. They were amazing.

My message in this private story, coupled with the quote from the United Nations, is this: I hope the UN, the United States and all the other countries taking part in the Global Warming summit in Paris in 2015 really do set down some hard and enforceable guidelines — because Global Warming is here.

Every city and every county and every state must take part. The city of St. Helens must not allow further housing to be built without proper runoff for homes such as those built on a rock base up Hankey Road — because Global Warming is here.

We don’t need to be building additional docks and storage for crude oil at Port Westward, or draining millions of gallons each day from the Columbia River so methanol can be shipped to China — because Global Warming is here.

Because Global Warming is here, we have hotter and drier summers with out-of-control water bills, bigger forest fires, more flooding, more wind storms and tornados, more homes being destroyed, and more people losing their lives.

I know Columbia County is only a small part of the global problem and I know we have unemployment, but it has to start somewhere. Maybe if we elect new leaders, new county commissioners in the May election, people with new ideas ...

I am so sick of hearing the same mantra “jobs, jobs, jobs” repeated by the county commissioners for over 20 years without any actual jobs being created. We still have unemployment, the rivers are at a historic low, our summer heat is unbearable. Where the heck has that got us?

In fact, Columbia County has lost nearly 20 percent of our non-farm related jobs under the current commissioners’ leadership and has indebted Columbia County over $72 million in their failed attempt to finance an ethanol plant and other developments at Port Westward.

Just add the rest of your complaints along with my laments and think very strongly about replacing those elected officials who are staying in office far beyond the time our president is allowed to do so. After all, being elected to office should have its time limitations and not develop into a life-long career.

It’s a new year. It’s time for new ideas. Let’s make a difference — together.

Nancy Whitney

St. Helens

All is well at the PUD

This is regarding the letter from Lynn Price on Dec. 18 (see “Things a ratepayer wants to know about the PUD,” Letters, Dec. 18).

I am a 12-year employee of Columbia River PUD, a ratepayer, and have attended board meetings with the prior board and with the new board. I am not sure if Ms. Price has attended any board meetings, but I will try and address a couple of her questions.

Ms. Price asks how retirees know there is better morale in the PUD office — they know because they actually have taken the time to talk to employees. Ask former employees, some who had to sign gag-orders (confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements) under prior management, how that affected morale.

With our new management, I do not see employees in fear of losing their jobs, and I can see noticeable improvement in morale in the office.

Ms. Price thinks current employees put on their “happiest-place-on-earth act” because the PUD is an at-will employer. The PUD has always been an at-will employer, which employees were often reminded of by prior management. The happy faces you see now are the real thing, due to new management and the work being done by the new board.

Lynn Price would like to know when we can expect a board that works together and doesn’t exclude two longtime and trained board members? Here is the board voting record:

2014 Board Meetings

* 90 votes

* 84 unanimous

* 2 had one member abstaining

* 4 had one no vote

201 5 Board Meetings, through November

(new members)

* 89 votes

* 79 unanimous

* 7 had one member abstaining

* 2 had one no vote

* 1 had two members vote no

Concerned PUD ratepayers can read more about putting the focus back on providing reliable, affordable electricity and great customer service at www.friendsofcrpud.com.

Debbie Wanke

Warren

I’m your puppet?

I don’t know of anyone who willingly tolerates having their words or actions misrepresented to a third party. We generally condemn people or groups who do this and consider them duplicitous and of questionable character.

Every election cycle breeds hordes of maltriloquists (my word) claiming to tell you what the “other guy” really said, or meant, or did. We know that the speaker is not

a friend of the person they

are defaming, and yet, we give credence to their words and let it sway our vote. Curiously, we almost never ask them to justify or explain their charges. This is especially true if we happen to enjoy their brand of Kool-Aid.

So evil Mr. Y is guilty of any transgression that Mr. X believes that he can sell to his followers. The problem is that Mr. X is the accuser and Mr. Y is the accused. To accept Mr. X’s claims at face value is no different than convicting a man of a crime because you “just know” that he did it. We are better than this.The reality is that maltriloquists are character-flawed by definition. When they speak, the only message they send me is that their positions are so vacuous or unpalatable that they have to attack the other guy to confuse and distract us from the real issues.

Sadly, most elections are won through the use of maltriloquism. Eventually, the under-informed electorate will catch on that they are being played for fools by the very individuals that they idolize.

Is it now?

We will know in a few months.

William Allen

St. Helens

Happy New Year!

I just got my paper for Dec. 31, 2015. What a waste of my subscription that is. A year in review?! That’s OLD news. I really don’t want to read something I already did concerning news. Could

you not have printed some-

thing more interesting than that?

Dori Seals

Warren