“if Clark County residents don’t support it, ‘then the states have the wrong project’.” County Commissioner Steve Stuart, September 2010
Campaigning for reelection in 2010, Commissioner Stuart made the above comment as he “endorsed a vote on light rail” by Clark County, Washington voters. A vote that has been promised time and again and never appeared as the Vancouver City Council, C-Tran Board and others elected a “locally preferred alternative” of light rail from Portland, Oregon to be included on any newly constructed bridge across the Columbia River to replace the current Interstate Bridge.
Of course, once elected we saw that attitude disappear as fast as we saw Vancouver Mayor ‘Teflon’ Tim ‘the Liar’ Leavitt cast aside his many promises of opposing tolls be placed on the projected bridge.
As predicted on this blog here and here, elected officials show no intention of honoring the votes of the people when they grant us a vote concerning the $160 Million waste of the Columbia River Crossing project that in over ten years of “planning,” cannot even design a bridge with adequate clearance for River Traffic.
Even though likely in violation of state law, we have seen efforts to simply bypass voters in order to gain the extra funding for a project voters have indicated time and again they do not want.
First voted down by a wide margin in 1995 and in subsequent “proxy votes,” we again saw a strong rejection on a sales tax increase to fund light rail operations & maintenance, improvements on Portland’s Steel Bridge and an expansion of a Metro light rail maintenance facility in Gresham, Oregon in the last election, prompting proponents again to deny our vote was a “proxy vote” on the project itself, even though stated as such by Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler who said, “This is going to be the purest opportunity to voice their opinion about light rail. It’s a big deal to me. This is where I’m going to get my marching orders.”
We also saw the “proxy vote” admitted to by C-Tran public affairs director Scott Patterson who said, “People have pretty strong feelings on high-capacity transit — especially light rail. This has been talked about for a number of years now.”
The tax measure went down in defeat within the gerrymandered sub-district set up back in 2005 that silenced over half of Clark County voters and as predicted, we now read in the Columbian, Another light rail vote on horizon? C-Tran, county seek clarity on paying for transit system where we read the words from County Commissioner Steve Stuart, “It’s always good to get clarity. To get clarity on this subject will help for us to have a better discussion.”
Commissioner Stuart, allow me to provide you with some “clarity” on this subject.
In 1995, Clark County voters rejected a measure to approve light rail by a 2 to 1 margin.
In 2002, a statewide Referendum Bill 51 that was seen largely as a back door approval of light rail was defeated statewide with Clark County voters rejecting it by a 64.70% to 35.30% vote.
In 2004 we saw a Proposition 1 tax increase also perceived to offer some funding to light rail defeated in Clark County by a 53.67% to 46.33% vote. We also saw the creation of a gerrymandered sub-district that eliminated over half of the county voters and the proposition placed in the primary election and passing by a 67.78% to 32.22% vote, but with 92,776 fewer voters allowed a voice of their views than in 2004.
And now in the 2012 election we see another tax increase to fund light rail operations and maintenance defeated within that same gerrymandered sub-district by a 56.51% to 43.49%vote
Clearly, when given the chance to vote on light rail, Clark County voters have consistently said ‘NO’ to dragging Portland’s financially failing light rail into our community.
If that is not sufficient “clarity” for Commissioner Stuart, we read from Dictionary.com: NO, “a negative used to express dissent, denial, or refusal, not in any degree or manner; not at all!”
In simple terms, it doesn’t really matter what Tim ‘the liar’ Levitt, Jim ‘da taxman’ Moeller or any of the usual slate of starry eyed deniers wish to claim, Clark County does not want Portland’s light rail.
They can waste money on all of the votes they desire, voters have repeatedly said ‘NO’ when given the chance to speak on light rail or any measure perceived to support light rail.
If this is not clear enough, I am sure that returning County Commissioner Tom Mielke and Commissioner Elect David Madore will provide even more “clarity” with the newly elected conservative majority on the County Commission, Commissioner Stuart now being the lone liberal voice on the 3-person Commission, now that sell-out Marc Boldt has been ousted.
Asking for clarity is good, Commissioner Stuart.
Listening to voters is even better. By your own words spoken in the 2010 campaign, “the states have the wrong project” with the CRC.