Shorelines meetings appear

mismatched with local concerns

I was surprised when I saw the Pacific County Shoreline Planning Committee public meeting schedule for February 2015. There are two meetings scheduled for that month. One on shoreline residential issues on Feb. 12 in Raymond and the second on Feb. 26 in Ilwaco on the subject of commercial/industrial uses.

Considering that the largest volume population living on shoreline is on the Peninsula in the southern part of the county, one has to wonder whether the organizers of these public meetings are attempting to avoid a good turnout and a healthy public dialogue by scheduling the meeting in Raymond? How many Peninsula folks will make the trek to Raymond to this meeting?

Conversely, isn’t the commercial/industrial uses meeting more appropriate for the Raymond venue? It has me wondering, what were the planners of these meeting thinking?

Amelia Becke

Ocean Park

State Parks continues pricing

public out of local facilities

What a great editorial highlight in our local paper (Chinook Observer) this week seeing how Washington State Parks exhibited their idea of community unity by ticketing fire department equipment. It’s reflective of their overall attitude. A case in point a few years back a lady who grew up here and moved to the Midwest 30 years ago made a visit. She drove her rental car out to Fort Canby State Park. On returning to her car she saw a ranger at her car. She asked if she could help him. He told her that since she did not have a Discover Pass he was issuing her a ticket. Being surprised she asked about the pass not having seen anything about it. He told her she drove right by the sign. She again said she did not see it. The Ranger then told her she was either blind or illiterate, and walked away. This came from our friend who if anything downplayed the incident. Why the ranger made such crude remarks to an out-of-state visitor might indicate the administrative mindset of Fort Canby staff.

Having managed large highway construction projects for years I can tell you that it’s common for drivers to miss highway signs. In fact one project had two 6’x8’ orange and black signs, post mounted warning drivers of traffic delays. One common complaint I received from drivers was that a sign should have warned them of the delays so they could take another route. So how much notice do you think a 12”x18” Discover Pass sign is getting?

For me I look at the Peninsula’s effort to bring tourists here. The communities spend money on advertising and other promotions and of course once they arrive most will visit Fort Canby. I wonder how many of those visitors get the ranger ticket on their windshield. It’s like one hand is waving those folks in while the other is slapping them when they are within striking distance.

You only need to look at the park fees. At one time the boaters using the boat launch on a weekend backed out from the launch and up the hill of what is now SR 100. The dollars going into the fee box would stuff the box. Now hardly anyone uses the launch and the park complains of funding. Well, “if you charge enough no one will come” might be the chant heard in the halls of Fort Canby. What once was a $5 fee is now a $17 launch fee. It’s $7 for launching and $10 for the Discover Pass. Even the $7 fee is $2 higher than anywhere else locally, the highest fee if not double of any launch facility on the West Coast. Perhaps their logic will continue and they will charge $34 to help park funding because use has dropped off.

Hopefully, someone will see the path Washington State Parks is pursuing and bring some common sense to play. I would think that a ranger seeing an out-of-state plate would hand out some local information including information on the Discover Pass rather than a ticket. If not, perhaps Washington State Parks vehicles should have a Peninsula Pass to leave the park property.

Chuck Mikkola

Ocean Park

EDITOR’S NOTE: By way of clarification, vehicles not displaying valid Discover Passes at the Polar Plunge event were issued this notice: “Return this form, along with proof of correction, to the park office today to avoid receiving a notice of infraction by mail. Failure to comply will result in a $99 penalty.” This represents an improvement on the former practice of requiring those receiving citations to appear in court in order to obtain a lower fine after purchasing a pass. In reference to the above letter, Cape Disappointment State Park used to be named Fort Canby State Park.

Reader takes issue with

story regarding court dispute

The Jan. 21 front page story, “Longtime patron breaks with theater group,” by Natalie St. John left me scratching my head.

The Peninsula Players community theater group had nothing to do with this particular fiasco, yet Ms. St. John manages to drag their good name into nearly every paragraph of her story. To what possible end is beyond me. I can ignore the bias, hearsay and innuendo throughout this amateurishly written piece, but the thinly veiled attempt to paint the Players in a less than favorable light is really uncalled for. Perhaps the Chinook Observer could start a gossip column for this purpose rather than printing it on the front page.

I also find it interesting that the Observer just happened to have a reporter present at this particular small-claims court hearing. Such a coincidence. I’m looking forward to seeing if the Observer sends a reporter to cover future small-claims court hearings.

Frank Lehn

Long Beach

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article explicitly stated that the Peninsula Players theater group was not named in the lawsuit.

Reporting for this story was based on official court records, the Players’ own website, and interviews with the parties listed in court documents.

A Chinook Observer reporter left Bob Lindberg two messages at home on separate days, called two of the witnesses who testified on Lindberg’s behalf, sent an email request for comment through the Peninsula Players’ website, and spoke with the group’s president. The reporter confirmed, through other parties, that Lindberg received the messages, and in each case, asked the other parties to encourage Lindberg to share his side of the story.

Why do we keep sacrificing

our young in foreign wars

Now another year has passed as have the many holidays on which we enjoy displaying our colorful national flag. It might be time to remember, however, that our flag has also a dark side, as have many other flags. We use our flag too often to drape the coffins of our young people whom we have sent to fight and die in parts of the earth where our military forces cannot prevail. So why do we keep sending them there? Over years?

In one of Daily Astorian’s editorials last year we were reminded of President Eisenhower’s warning about a developing military — industrial complex. It might be that we have ignored that warning for too long and that this interdependency has already become a necessary part of our broken economic system.

We should take note that even with millions of people engaged directly and indirectly in what we call our defense industry we still have high levels of unemployment. We should also note that there are no viable candidates for political office who campaign on a promise to end our military involvement in the Middle East thereby increasing the number of our unemployed.

I grow more concerned that we Americans seem to be no longer shocked by reports of our young people being killed or maimed in these wars, at least so long as the wars are kept small and so long as it is a war against “terrorists.” My concern has caused me to search for some device more graphic than newspaper columns to re-awaken us to the futility of continuing these wars to nowhere.

1 thought of an imaginary portrayal of our killed young people lying side by side in a row in flag-draped coffins occupying burial space of about 3-feet along one of our busy streets. Using the odometer of my car and traveling East from the Astoria Post Office on the corner of 8th and Commercial streets the first half-mile mark would place us opposite the Columbia Maritime Museum. That distance on one side of the street would accommodate only 880 dead soldiers of the 4.493 recently reported by An equal number would occupy another such distance as far as the plywood mill development project. That landmark is a full mile from the post office and yet the total space could accommodate only about one-half of the dead soldiers from our unsuccessful mid-east wars. The reader could drive out the full distances required for the full casualty count. Mileposts would serve our suburban neighbors. Then what of those even greater casually lists of the “terrorists” and their families?

We need to develop an economic system which doesn’t require continuous small wars to keep unemployment levels down. Wouldn’t you rather have your taxes spent on maintenance of roads and bridges, parks, dikes, education, arts, etc. rather than sacrificing our young and those of our “enemies” to no purpose?

Donald Matthies


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