Our Voice: Thumbs up, Thumbs down

Encouraging voter registration

Thumbs up to the Secretary of State’s Office for their attempts to engage more people in the democratic process by encouraging voter registration. Last week Washington election officials mailed out 218,000 postcards to residents who appear eligible to vote but haven’t registered. Of those, 5,353 are residents of Benton County and 2,877 reside in Franklin County. The postcard encourages recipients to register online or by mail by Oct. 5 in order to take part in November’s general election. First-time voters can also register in person at the county elections office.

Refusal to resign

The Governor and state legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for embattled Auditor Troy Kelley to step down. According to Kelley’s lawyer, Kelley has no intention of doing so. Kelley was first indicted in April and charged with 10 felony counts. Sept 3 he was charged with 17, including five counts of money laundering, possession of stolen property and filing false income tax returns. Kelley claims he’s innocent and will be vindicated. While it’s true everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, there are times when the magnitude and number of charges brought against a public official forever taint public trust to an irreparable extent. This is one of those times. If he won’t step down, the Legislature should impeach him.

Making it go around

The Gesa Carousel of Dreams just completed it’s first year of operation. With 45 horses, three chariots, a cougar and a husky; rounding boards featuring artwork by Tri-City photographer John Clement; the carousel is “a gorgeous piece of equipment,” to quote Eric Van Winkle, departing executive director of the Three Rivers Carousel Foundation.

Major donors like Gesa Credit Union, Toyota of Tri-Cities and Baker Produce, along with hundreds of other donors and volunteers, made the Carousel of Dreams a reality. But it takes more than money to make dreams come true, it takes leadership. Van Winkle has been a passionate champion of the project from concept through fund-raising, construction and a critical first year of operation. He deserves our gratitude and best wishes as he moves on to his next adventure.

Taking over for Van Winkle next week will be Parker Hodge. Hodge has served this community in many ways for many years, including being an important member of the Tri-City Herald leadership team. We’ll miss him at the Herald, but we’re happy to know that our carousel will be in such capable hands.