Things are heating up in Vancouver. With big-ticket developments coming on the waterfront and major social changes driven by state elections decisions, more and more eyes are turning towards this gem of a city on the coast of the Columbia River.
That is why this year we are reaching out to make some endorsements in the Nov. 5 general election.
The Skanner News endorses Mayor of Vancouver Tim Leavitt for re-election. Leavitt is a young man but also a seasoned political leader. His three stated areas of focus – jobs, fiscal responsibility and education – resonate with us.
In a recent editorial board interview with the Vancouver Columbian, Leavitt's challenger, City Councilor Bill Turlay, identified the proposed interstate bridge across the Columbia River as the key issue of the election; but we believe that no matter how big that controversy is, the real key issues are always going to remain jobs, careful spending and education.
The Skanner News also endorses Jeanne E. Stewart. Never afraid to stand her own ground when she disagrees with her colleagues, Stewart has remained staunch in opposing tolling to pay for the Columbia River Crossing. She has also consistently opposed light rail "without an informed vote."
We may not agree with all of Stewart's positions but we can respect her integrity and her attention to the process. Her announcement this fall that her image had been used in a Democratic Party mailing without her knowledge earned our admiration. We like her independence.
We also endorse Initiative 522, labeling of genetically-engineered foods and seeds. Similar ballot measures have been defeated after industry giants pumped millions of dollars into campaigns, including in California and Oregon.
Whether you agree with the science of genetically altering foods or not, the point is that any industry that doesn't want the facts of its products spelled out on the label looks like it is hiding something. There are plenty of arguments about whether some food additives are helpful – preservatives, extra vitamins, even fluoride – but we, the consumers, should be the judges of whether they are good for us. We can't make basic decisions about our health if we don't have the facts. The comment from pro-GMO activists that consumers can just "buy organic" is not good enough.
This measure doesn't ban GMO foods – it just requires companies to let consumers choose more carefully what we eat.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 5 -- don't forget to vote!