When Do Voters Matter? (UPDATE: Video added)

by lewwaters

Light Rail PotIt never ceases to amaze me how Vancouver City Council Members can be so selective in how they choose to represent the city and voters within the city, picking and choosing when they will support the voters’ choices or just ignore us.

We all know by now how Mayor ‘Teflon’ Tim ‘The Liar’ Leavitt lied his way into office by strongly opposing tolls on the proposed new Interstate Bridge, only to quickly come out of the closet once winning in 2009 to advocate tolls.

We have seen Jeanne Harris melt down on citizens speaking before council in opposition to dragging Portland’s financially failing light rail into our community.

We’ve seen Jack Burkman chastising commenters on the Columbian’s web site when they bring up legitimate concerns on the boondoggle project.

And even lately we have seen after voters overwhelmingly rejected the latest Proposition 1, to raise the sales tax to pay for operations & maintenance of Portland’s folly, knowing full well voters saw the ballot measure as a proxy vote on light rail itself since we have repeatedly been denied a voice in it by another vote, denial on the meaning of the vote and begin planning how to pay for the very project voters just rejected.

There is no doubt that even within the gerrymandered sub-district created in 2005 to exclude half of the county voters when it comes to C-TRANs unquenchable thirst for more tax dollars, voters reject Portland’s light rail by a wide margin.

I was astonished to see last evening this city council, which has repeatedly shown complete disregard for voters’ choices approve collective marijuana gardens in Vancouver with Council Members Jack Burkman and Jeanne Harris citing, “in November a majority of voters supported Initiative 502.”

A “majority of voters” also rejected light rail through a proxy vote in that same recent election. But who on City Council cites that as they try to come up with a way to circumvent voters to take more of our taxes to be used on something voters have said more than once we do not want?

Although I disagree with legalizing pot, the voters did choose to go against federal law and approve it. I’m not going to entertain the pros and cons or address the actual issue of marijuana that is not the reason for this post. I’ll let potheads and supporters hash that out with the feds should they come in to town and begin busting those collective gardens.

But isn’t it strange how easily this city council and others choose to side with voters who’s goal in life seems to be getting stoned, while they ignore voters who’s desire it is to be able to freely and adequately care for their families?

For over ten years citizens of Clark County have been saying that we do not want Portland’s light rail. When given the chance to vote, even if by proxy, it has been rejected each and every time. A direct vote back in 1995 saw it overwhelmingly rejected by a two to one margin.

Who on city council then, even though some on it today were not on council back then, step up and say that voters rejected it, it’s a dead deal?

Instead, council voted to approve forcing us to accept the folly with their “Locally Preferred Alternative.”

Three council members sit on the C-TRAN Board making decisions concerning both the bus service and voting to support light rail.

Council members represent the city on the CRC Board and other committees addressing transportation projects.

Yet, should you speak against the project before council, don’t be surprised to hear you are out of line and city council has no word on the project.

But now these same city council members state that federal law means little to them because voters chose to approve marijuana and they will side with voters instead of following federal law.

Mayor ‘Teflon’ Tim acknowledged the ordinance wasn’t going to please everyone, as some feel it is still too restrictive. He added, “We can take that up and evaluate it over the next year. We always have the option to amend our ordinances.”

Apparently he feels they do not have the option to heed the votes of the majority when it comes to Portland’s near bankrupt light rail.

20 Comments to “When Do Voters Matter? (UPDATE: Video added)”

  1. “hash that out”. Good one Lew.

    As far as the rest of the post, I also find it ironic that the City involves itself in applauding the will of the voters for one thing but denigrates and misrepresents the will of the voters for another. The only solution is to replace them. Apparently they didn’t pay attention to the outcome of the County Commissioner election results or are to dim-witted to understand what it means. I suspect they’ll get their walking papers come next election.

  2. Ousting them is the proper thing to do, but don’t forget that Jim Moeller keeps getting reelected by large margins.

    That alone concerns me with voters in the city.

  3. Has Jim Moeller been haunting The Columbian threads in his CRC support lately? I see the other shills & lackeys but I haven’t seen Jim? He may have gone “no confidence” on the issue after Madore was elected and the maintenance prop failed. Let me know if you see him posting.

  4. Yes, maybe not as frequently as some, but Moeller is still seen promoting CRC and even occasionally, ‘Teflon’ Tim.

    Jack Burkman made a few comments here: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/dec/02/12-02-col-sun-letters/

    Late November Moeller chimed in at: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/nov/23/sales-tax-boosts-c-trans-budget/

    I haven’t seen one in the last week, though, so he is due to spout something soon ;-)

  5. So long as these folks know that they will always get the Dem-robot vote, no matter what, they have absolutely no reason to change their approach. And nothing in the most recent election suggests that will change. I wish it were otherwise, but I also have to be a realist.

  6. There is another and final CRC oversight meeting in January. It should be interesting since Armstrong wasn’t re-elected so I am not sure who will fill his seat for a “final” vote of confidence in the project. I do know that the last two meetings there was a lot of unconfidence and questioning of its financial and its design abilities to meet the requirements. Moeller sits on that panel and in August he made the comment that he wanted to know when the current project was going to be scrapped and restart the design process. I guess we’ll see what he says now that he won again. He’ll probably go for an income tax to balance a budget and squeeze out the money for their pet project.

  7. Carolyn, wasn’t there a December meeting scheduled? Looked it up, there is another meeting next Monday, December 10th at WashDOT HQ http://columbiarivercrossing.com/Calendar/ShowMeeting.aspx?MeetingID=944 Yes, I mean the CRC Oversight Committee Meeting.

    Lew, a correction:

    “…Three council members have sat on the C-TRAN Board making decisions concerning both the bus service and voting to support light rail….”

    Bill Turlay is the only person on the Vancouver city council who has not served on the C-tran to represent the commmunity and council on it. I won’t go into the long history, because it would be repetitious? Even Bart Hansen was on there to fill in for Jeanne Stewart…

  8. Carolyn – I might also add that Mary Margaret Haugen is also on the CRC Oversight Committee and lost her election. So things are going to be really, really interesting for the first time in the state legislature in a LONG time… :)

  9. Corrected, thanks Jeremy.

    I meant to say that three council member sit on the C-TRAN Board.

  10. Yes there is one in December but the very last one where they vote to approve the process or not occurs in January!

  11. Yes, Carolyn. I see that point. But you have to be at the December meeting to find out what may happen at the final vote? And then after the meeting, the resulting report will be taken under consideration by the washington state legislature as it debate the project. And the city and county lobbyists will be watching with interest to see what supplemental work they will need to do get this project done in Olympia.

    So you probably will see me there on Monday, because this meeting probably will be important enough as it will set the stage for January.

    And one more piece I think people will be interested in:

    Source: Nigel Jaquiss/wweek.com

    http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-29515-kitzhaber_on_the_crc_its_time_to_build_this_bridge.html

    Talking to reporters afterward, Kitzhaber said he expected to resolve as soon as next month Coast Guard concerns that the design will result in a bridge too low for marine traffic. He also downplayed the resounding defeat earlier this month in Clark County of a measure that would have provided operating funds for the light-rail line to Vancouver included in the CRC plan.

    “That was put on the ballot by people who don’t support the bridge,” Kitzhaber told reporters.

  12. Yes I will be there. I spoke to the Coast Guard’s lead man on this project last month at the “openhouse” the CRC held at the Inn @ The Quay. He said that after they propose a design, which they have not actually done yet, then the coast guard would be offering their own round of public comment and meeting sessions prior to any signing off on the design approval. So… inspite of Paula Hammond’s dirty process, of two governors pushing, of Paul Montague the lobbyist from Identity Clark County and many others, Jim Moeller and Tim Leavitt as well the process has more input steps. Each one is an opportunity to shut it down and needs to be attended.

  13. Carolyn – May I remind you, you can’t forget the City of Vancouver and Clark County lobbyists TOO? ;)

    And for everyone else, I hope you come and join me along with Carolyn on Monday for the CRC Oversight Committee meeting at WASHDOT off 112th Avenue near SR 503…. I mean what is more fun than a LARGE contigent of people who get to meet Paula, Ann Rivers, Jim Moeller, Mary Margaret, Mike and all of the other legislators?? Yes, the last meeting was so sparse…..

    If you like how the light rail has been going, please come along and let them know how you feel! There is always an open chair at these meetings. The last one BEGGED for more people….

  14. I just saw this: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/dec/05/washington-policy-center-seeks-crc-audit/

    Very SHORT article that the Washington Policy Center is asking the state auditor to look over the CRC books. How much do you want to bet, this will go no where… But at least someone asked.

  15. Monday the meeting starts early at 11:30 a.m. at WADOT and Jeremy is right there is always more seating than parking! Jeremy there has been more than one request made for an audit. David Madore and Tiffany Couch were requesting audits for a couple of years now.

  16. Have to agree with you, Carolyn. I had forgot about Tiffany and David Madore’s comments. Remember that nice little dust up with Rep. Ed Orcutt about a year ago with WASHDOT? And the audio edit got posted to the website?

    So yes, there have been many, many times people (other than them) that have asked for an auditing and the only time I have ever seen a half hearted attempt was when Nancy Boyd came on ship to take over for Wagner left for a promotion to oversea the Southwest Washington region for the state department of transportation, probably under Paula Hammond.

  17. Yes and the only response I ever really heard was that we did indeed need an audit. That came after the court suit was dropped where David Evans was suing Tiffany and David and Debbie and the state to stop the disclosure of documents so that they could not be audited. Yet our state would continue to partner with an entity which sues them?! I swear we have some seriously dense headed if not pocket lining government officials.

  18. Ahh yes, I remember that NICE lawsuit threat against Tiffany and Debbie, but I had not heard that David was involved? I mean they went David Evans and Associates went after him… I see your point, Carolyn. But I think the reason why they stayed partnered up, is the state had some some thing big, REALLY big to lose. And if some thing comes out from the Feds via some form of auditing, it might also have to involve some higher up federal officials as well…

    But alas, from where I stand, it is going to be a pipe dream before any thing significant is going on happen in this regard…..

  19. Odds are you may be right and we will never know.

  20. And if anyone else further digs as Tiffany and Debbie found out, they’ll just get sued into the ground as they found out….

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