Transition is a word that’s often scary. It need not be, it’s simply an inevitable part of life.
The Daily Astorian just completed a transition with the retirement of longtime Publisher Steve Forrester, who passed the reins of leadership to his successor, David Pero, this past Friday.
During the transition period, many community and business leaders in the cities The Daily Astorian serves asked the question of what changes are ahead.
While there will be subtle changes in our approach to coverage, news emphasis and in enlarging our online presence, The Daily Astorian’s core values of common sense and progressive ideals remain solidly in place.
We will continue to be an active and representative voice in the region and be an inclusive advocate for those who live and work throughout Clatsop County and the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. Some of the topics that we will pay close attention to in the coming months include:
• The Housing Crunch. It exists throughout the region and is everyone’s No. 1 concern. Like an octopus, it is an issue with tentacles that influence the economy, employment and quality of life that will require public and private sector partnerships to tackle and solve.
• Political Dysfunction. The U.S. Capitol and state Legislature aren’t the only places this happens, it occurs at the local level as well, and we will continue our watchdog role on issues involving tax dollars and public policy.
• Children’s Well-Being. Children are the future and we will continue to be vocal advocates for matters in education, health, nutrition, safety and family life. We will pay extra attention to the issue of lead in drinking water at area schools.
• Mental Health Treatment. The standards of care need to rise, which will take community effort and strong professional leadership.
• Homelessness. Strategies for helping the homeless need to be developed as more and more people are attracted to the region. It is not a problem the region can ignore, and needs both public and private participation.
• Emergency Preparedness. Landslides, coastal erosion and seismic danger all deserve systematic planning, public education and preparation. Schools and other vital infrastructure must gradually be moved to higher ground. Preparedness can save lives with better routes to safety, along with stashes of emergency supplies.
• Timber. The wood-products industry remains a value to the entire region with mills that provide family-wage jobs. A long-term future for forestry jobs will depend on developing additional value-added processing.
• The Oyster Industry. Pacific County’s oyster industry generates tens of millions of dollars in sales and payroll each year, but it is under threat from a population explosion of burrowing shrimp. Politics are blocking use of a pesticide needed to keep the shrimp under control. A concerted effort is needed to overcome objections in the governor’s office to pesticide use, along with a public education campaign to explain the environmental benefits of a healthy oyster industry.
• Legalized Marijuana. This new industry in the Pacific Northwest needs to be brought under the umbrella of normal federal banking rules and other regulations.
While each topic we’ve listed is a hot button, we want to know your thoughts and we have set a goal of enlarging the space devoted for readers’ opinions to include letters to the editor on a daily basis.
So please let us know, we’ll certainly be listening.