Nov. 12 Daily News Editorial

All thumbs are up on Veterans Day weekend. Thanks again to all our veterans everywhere.

Thumbs up: Cold cash vs. hot air

Ken Botero and Don Jensen, incumbents on Longview's City Council who successfully sought re-election this year, made much of what they feel is the city's sound financial management during their campaigns.

One day after the voting deadline, this point was underscored when the council declined to seek a refund levy that would have offset $425,000 repaid by the city to PeaceHealth as the result of changes in state laws pertaining to taxes on hospital properties.

Noting that city residents could still be facing refund levy requests from the Longview School District, the Port of Longview, Cowlitz County and the state itself, the Longview Council chose to dip into its reserves to make up the shortfall rather than add another layer of extra taxes.

Considering the length of the ongoing economic slowdown, very few cities would have found themselves in this flexible position. It's also a reminder than not everything said during the campaigns should have been dismissed as political hot air.

Thumbs up: LCC's new addition

We congratulate Lower Columbia College officials on their announcement that groundbreaking for a $5.5 million fitness center, to be built as an addition to Myklebust Gymnasium, will take place next spring with a goal of having the center operational by 2013.

We also congratulate the far-sighted LCC students who've been paying an extra fee of $2.50 per credit since 2005 to raise $2 million toward construction of the new building, which will replace a single room at the gym currently devoted to fitness and exercise. Almost all of them did so, of course, knowing they would no longer be students by the time the new venue was available.

The opening of the doors could allow LCC to add to its current fitness offerings and to reinstate some perks that probably sound good to students and faculty, including intramural sports and recreational basketball at lunchtime.

Thumbs up: iVoting

Oregon authorities appear pleased with a five-county Election Day experiment that involved sending election supervisors armed with iPad-type tablet computers to nursing homes and other locations convenient to disabled voters. Using the tablets, disabled voters were able to enlarge fonts, make ballot printouts and vote by tapping the screen.

While only 89 voters were assisted, Secretary of State Kate Brown said she's committed to expanding the project, beginning with the Jan. 31 special election in the 1st Congressional District when Republican Rob Cornilles and Democrat Suzanne Bonamici will contest the seat in the U.S. House vacated earlier this year by David Wu.

The 1st District includes Columbia County, which was not part of the five-county experimental trial.

"We obviously want to make it available to all Oregonians, and we have some very rural areas," Brown told Politico.com, adding that further enhancements, including the possibility of allowing residents to use personal iPads or home computers for voting, remain under consideration.

As long as safeguards are in place to prevent abuses, this seems like progress to us.

Thumbs up: Street sweeping

Even though most of those arrested were "street-level, low-level dealers," we applaud the Longview Police Department's Thursday sweep that resulted in putting at least 19 alleged drug dealers at least temporarily out of business.

While law-enforcement efforts against drug sellers properly focus on larger operators, it's a point worth noting that Thursday's sweep targeted dealers of methamphetamine and heroin, commodities no one wants on the street.

"I hope the cops keep coming in here," a resident of the Columbia Trailer Court told TDN reporter Tony Lystra. "It might slow things down."

We agree. We also wish the LPD good hunting on the 14 suspects officers were unable to locate on Thursday. May their rendezvous with justice come sooner rather than later.

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