Rattling C-Tran Not A Bad Thing

by lewwaters

C-Tran RattledOnce again, the Columbian is up to old tricks with their article, Madore rattles C-Tran board, describing actions of then Commissioner-elect, now Commissioner David Madore and his contacting North County Officials prior to his swearing in.

Not surprising either is the Columbian not quite getting it right.

The article tells us that Madore met with different officials from smaller cities in North County and shortly after, some withdrew their support of a sitting C-Tran Board Member who has served on the C-Tran Board for number of years.

They quote Battle Ground Mayor, Lisa Walters saying, “He hadn’t been sworn in yet, and he was already out causing trouble like this,” leading readers to believe she is upset over Madore’s contacting officials.

In reality, she isn’t as upset as they indicate.

I spoke to Ms. Walters by phone this afternoon after leaving a comment of my own under the article, calling her out for the words and reminding that we voters wanted light shed on C-Tran and CRC. I also stated Madore doing what voters want is not “causing trouble.”

Maybe I should have spoken with her first as the quoted words are not exactly what she said, she told me. In fact, I would say she agrees that C-Tran is in need of “shaking up,” but it should be done in a more transparent way.

The issue is over Battle Ground City Council Member Bill Ganley remaining on the C-Tran Board where he has been for the past 12 years.

Two Battle Ground City Council Members received an email from former Washougal City Council Member, Jon Russell, who moved his family to Manassas, Va. last year to take a national coordinator position with anti-abortion group Students for Life of America, encouraging them to “to press in on your city administration hard to produce an inter-local agreement between all the cities in your C-Tran area,” concluding, “A lot is at stake with light rail and tolls and we cannot afford government establishment types to be on these boards year and year uncontested.”

While I can’t disagree with Russell’s words, why only pick two council members and not the entire council or even the Mayor?

While Russell’s email did not specifically mention Mr. Ganley, the reference is clearly about him still serving on the C-Tran Board.

What was upsetting to Ms. Walters was that Madore knew of this email while she didn’t, leaving the impression of going behind her and the rest of the city councils back.

Speaking with Lisa, she too is not fond of Light Rail from Portland being forced onto Clark County, especially without taxpayers being allowed to vote on whether or not we even want it.

Contrary to what is indicated in the Columbian, she also is not opposed to Madore reaching out to North County officials, but would prefer he be more transparent in doing so.

Perhaps unknown to many, but Bill Ganley is being shadowed by another City Council Member with the goal of replacing Ganley, who is working towards leaving the C-Tran Board in time and let someone else take over the seat.

The Council Member shadowing him also happens to be a polar opposite politically, but at the same time appreciates that Ganley has been “doing his job in accordance with his instructions.”

I am in full support of Commissioner Madore “rattling” C-Tran as well as efforts to rein in CRC and light rail.

If current members of the C-Tran Board are more supportive of the CRC Project and light rail instead of taxpayers’ wishes, I agree they should be replaced.

But circumventing Mayor’s and leaving them in the dark as to what is happening within their own City Council’s is one of the things we have complained about C-Tran and CRC doing all along.

I believe David Madore has sufficient support from voters and other elected officials so that he does not need to depend on “backroom deals” to set much needed changes into motion. I believe he has more than enough support from voters and taxpayers to openly call for those changes without extra promises he might not be able to fulfill.

The Columbian quotes Madore as saying “he was trying to build relationships with leadership in the county’s small cities and ensure fair representation on the C-Tran board” and “didn’t place any pressure on elected officials to rethink their C-Tran appointments based on political motivations.”

But the tone of the article before the quote clearly indicates differently.

Madore has been cautioned about the Columbian and their very pro-CRC, C-Tran position and will spin articles and quotes to undermine any effort to clean them up. They don’t need to be given more they can spin to undermine efforts to shed much needed light on C-Tran and CRC.

I have not had the chance to speak directly with Commissioner Madore yet over this, but will update as necessary when I do.

But working together in a more open and transparent way, we can rein in C-Tran and CRC and hold them accountable to taxpayers.

29 Comments to “Rattling C-Tran Not A Bad Thing”

  1. Until Connie Jo Freeman there was no true representative of the smaller cities on the C_Team board.

  2. Yes, that’s true.

    But we have to be careful how we work towards much needed change and not give the Columbian or the Leavitt’s any more ammunition they can spin to promote C-Tran or CRC against our wishes.

    David has to learn the Columbian is not his friend nor will they give him much of fair shake, even when they sugar coat their words.

  3. First off what really makes me angry is that folks don’t man up and talk to people face to face. If Yacolt had such a big problem with Mr. Ganley as our Rep on the C-Tran board why did they confirm their support of him less than two weeks ago? Yacolt and their council are supposed to be our neighbors and we are supposed to working together and they don’t even have enough class and decency to contact us before withdrawing their support of Mr. Ganley?!?!?! If they didn’t want him A) They shouldn’t have conformed him and B) They should have contacted the BG Council so we could have sat down and discussed it like reasonable people. Why are these people so scared to talk face to face, in an open public forum? If Mr. Madore or Mr. Russell want to select the BG/Yacolt Rep to the C-Tran board they should get off their butts and run for a seat and make change that way, instead of going around in the shadows and acting like weasels. I am not nor I have ever been opposed to change but we need to talk it face to face in an open public forum, where the citizens who voted for us can participate. Shame on Mayor Carruthers and the Yacolt council for acting gutlessly. And Shame on Mr. Madore and Mr. Russell for trying to make decisions in back room behind closed doors. This is not how decent people should conduct the public business. Its time for these people to step in to light and debate these issues in public, where everyone can see. Personally I am ready to hold an open meeting and talk anytime, too bad other involved aren’t willing to do so.

  4. If Ctran and RTC meetings were more open and transparent, televised on CVTV for example, then the whole county could better see how they are represented. On occasion, Ctran has met at the county building, which is wired for CVTV, and the meeting was televised. As a rule, the meetings are not televised. The CTRAN decision in 2008 to build a replacement I-5 bridge with the same number of through lanes and light rail, (subject to a vote on light rail) wasn’t a very open or transparent process. When it came to the CRC I-5 replacement bridge with light rail, the cities outside of Vancouver did not even hold public hearings on the locally preferred alternative before deciding it for us.
    Whether through lanes would be added, which was more efficient bus. vs. light rail, what role Tri-Met would play, how many $ Billions the project might cost, the cost of tolls on both I-5/ and I-205, these topics were not discussed much if at all in open public council meetings. None of the cities outside of Vancouver took a formal action to direct their CTRAN representative how to vote on the largest transportation project proposed in SW Washington in decades. A replacement bridge with the same number of thru lanes, and light rail (subject to a light rail vote) was decided by the CTRAN board representatives in 2008. It’s unclear whether all the city councilors in Clark County were even aware of that vote, much less had input in an open public meeting. Citizens were even less informed. All of Clark County will be impacted by tolls on I-5, which Ganley supported when he voted for the Final Environmental Impact statement for the CRC project in August 2011. Ganley was a strong supporter of the 2005 and the 2011 CTRAN tax hikes in spite of the questionable “need” for funds, and the tens of $Millions in reserves CTRAN had both in 2005, and in 2011. CTRAN funds have since been spent on growing salaries, travel, benefits, lobbying etc. Ganley was an ardent supporter of threatening service cuts to get out the vote FOR the CTRAN sales tax hikes of 2005 and 2011. CTRAN staff claimed the service cuts would be necessary, and he didn’t question the claim, in spite of the gigantic reserve accounts CTRAN has amassed before and especially after the unnecessary tax hikes. There has been information available that could have been better considered by independent transportation analysts such as from the Washington Policy Center. http://couv.com/crc-light-rail-project/ctran-vs-sound-transit To his credit, Mr. Ganley did support a district-wide vote on light rail, which was finally held in 2012. The county voters that were allowed to vote rejected light rail. A CTRAN representative who would more thoroughly question the CRC planners bogus claims before voting for a Final Environmental Impact statement, and CTRAN staff claims of a continual need for more $$ when ridership is flat is needed.

  5. Glad to hear that she wasn’t putting out her thoughts the way the newspaper reported them. We need to have better representation on the c-tran board period end. Margaret is right about the cvtv airing of these meetings. I know few people want to watch civic meetings in process but they are very informative if you see quite a few of them you can catch up to what is really going on for the last 19 years since we voted no on lite-rail at the start.

  6. For meetings not in the Vancouver City Hall of County Building CVTV charges the entity to have them air, for us in Battle Ground, last we looked, it cost prohibitive.

  7. Does anyone realize that Mr. Ganley votes as he is told by the BG and Yacolt council? He is not expressing his own opinions but carrying out what he is told. There was no district wide vote on light rail it was on raising money to pay M&O on a project that wasn’t anywhere near being built yet. Of course it failed but it did go to a vote of the people. The main, for me, is that C0tran is supposed to be there providing public transportation, not promoting a conservative political agenda. When all this CRC blows over and the people who are “fixing” the board go away, we will still have, seniors, disabled people and folks who can’t afford a car who need either C-Tran or C-Van. I think they need to stick with their primary mission or if C-Tran wants to change missions it needs to go to a vote of the people. Just like Mr. Madore, Mr. Russell and the Yacolt council need to be honest, transparent and moral and conduct their public business in an open public forum where the voters can see. The ignorant and uninformed think that having a “conservative” on the C-tran board will change something, it won’t because they carry out the will of the councils wishes. As we’ve seen when members do not they get removed. Had our new County Commissioner taken the time to understand how these boards work, he wouldn’t have to try and cut back room deals out of the pubic view. Maybe one day Mr. Madore will stand up be transparent, honest and upstanding and air his issues with the Battle Ground and Yacolt councils in an open public forum.

  8. Lew, I got an email from Mr. Russell, here is my reply in total about his query.

    Mr. Russell, first let me say I believe Bill has performed on this board admirably, and has carried out BG and Yacolt’s wishes for C-Tran to the letter. As for changing the way we appoint folks to this board or others, I come from an Army background where young guys, watch and learn from the old guys, who have been there, done that, and earned a silver star. So I don’t see myself, setting out to change the ways we do things in relation to C-Tran anytime soon. I will however in the future start attending the meetings with Bill to watch, learn, and see for myself how things are working.
    I will not second guess or critique Bill on his actions, again because I believe he is doing his job in accordance with his instructions.

    By the way Bill and I are polar opposites politically, but having worked with him over the year, when it comes to the best interests of Battle Ground and its citizens he and I mostly agree on that. To me that is all that matters.

    Sincerely,

    Philip Johnson

  9. Yes Phil, I know of your email reply and appreciate how you responded. Since I hadn’t spoken with you, I did not feel it appropriate to mention it was your reply I was talking about.

    Alex, I agree, C-Tran should not be promoting a conservative agenda. Likewise, they should not be promoting the liberal agenda they are now. The only way I see to stop that is bring a balance between board members advocating differing views to work for a middle solution.

    Oh, by the way, even though the recent vote was technically addressing only funding operations & maintenance, it also was a proxy vote on light rail itself, since citizens have been denied the promised vote several times now.

    Let us not forget the words of Steve Stuart when campaigning for reelection in 2010, “if Clark County residents don’t support it (light rail), then the states have the wrong project.”

    Yet they deny us the chance to express support or opposition by a direct vote.

    Voters then vote against measures repeatedly seen to be supportive of light rail.

    Don’t be fooled into believing voters were not expressing their opposition to light rail itself by proxy.

  10. Alex, You might want to check the cost , again. Now that CVTV is in the city building – not paying rent or utilities – that rate might have gone down.

  11. Also, if I am not mistaken, I thought that the BG board went from Liberal leaning to Conservative leaning, with the November, 2011 election. If that is the case clearly, the BG City Council needs to revisit the CRC Portland light rail project. In light of their own board direction change and the overwhelming defeat of Prop.1, O/M for Light rail, The BG City Council must do this for 3 reasons: 1) To be responsible elected officials – revisiting the CRC Portland Light rail project is a due diligence matter 2). There is a responsibility to respond to the defeat of the Prop. 1, Nov., 2012 vote as per the Voters’ wishes 3) Failing to do #1 and #2 is a break of the fiduciary trust between the elected officials of this city and its constituents, and the BG City Council are relegated to just more of those “Politicians”.

  12. Ms. Peterson, the rise or fall of the CRC project, has not nor will not rest on the decisions we make in Battle Ground. Speaking just for me, all I want is a bus service that serves all its customers, on time and at a reasonable cost, keeping their eyes in their own lane, literally and figuratively. Really not much more than that.

    As for your three reasons, I don’t believe the folks in BG elected me nor my compatriots to worry a great deal about a Federal bridge project. We have enough to ride herd on, here in our quaint little town to keep us on our “politician” toes for quite sometime.

  13. Alex, don’t be such a self-righteous twit.

  14. Philip, this “Federal bridge project” you speak of will cost $10 billion over a 30 year amortization of the bonds and TIFIA loans. The feds are only looking to kick in $1.5 billion. The remaining $8.5 billion is to come from tolls paid predominantly by Clark County commuters who work in Portland. Don’t you think that will have some ripple effect on Battle Ground? I do.

  15. Alex, the minimalist role you attribute to Mr. Ganley does him a disservice. He is more than a mouthpiece for the city councils; he is also liaison to the C-Tran board representing the people of Battle Ground and Yacolt. In that role, he is to represent their interests, future and well-being. At board meetings, he will learn new things that the councils had not yet considered and he will speak up to remind the other board members, and staff, of the regional impacts of their decisions. He will report back to the councils so that they can reformulate his instructions for the next meeting.

    I sent Mr Ganley information about the region-wide indirect effects of construction of the CRC, and of tolls, two years ago. I did not hear back from him – not a word. He then went on to recommend approval of the FEIS before it was even published for the public to provide comment. Mr. Ganley failed in his first duty as liaison for the people.

    The FEIS contained no studies of region-wide impacts during construction. The FEIS had the bridge too low – if people had had a chance to scrutinize it before it was approved by the agencies surely someone at Thomson Metal Fab would have pointed out that fatal flaw.

    Mr. Ganley should have known the laws regarding open meetings. Mr. Ganley should have known that the HCT Act that requires the LPA and FEIS to be ratified by C-Tran voters.

    Mr. Ganley was a useful tool of the cabal of CRC boosters – not a representative of the people he was elected to serve.

  16. What about the ridicule that the City of Washougal council member went through when he stood up against C-Tran. Camas’ own Linda Dietzman and her pro Ctran position is disturbing. As a citizen of Camas I have attended several council meetings, which are usually only attended by two cronies, I realize that I have no voice in my local government. In fact after talking to my elected officials concerning inappropriate government actions I was framed and fired by the City of Camas.

  17. Phillip it would be nice if you and your fellow city council members could sequester themselves and operate in a vacuum, not having to worry about the baleful effects of ill-advised state and federal policy. But that’s just not realistic these days.

  18. Also, if I am not mistaken, I thought that the BG board went from Liberal leaning to Conservative leaning, with the November, 2011 election. If that is the case clearly, the BG City Council needs to revisit the CRC Portland light rail project.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    The Battle Ground City Council is a NON-PARTISAN position, we are and do operate in whats best for our 18,000 citizens, we are not there to promote the broken Democratic or Republican party agendas. Mr. Madore is trying to take away the Councils job to appoint their C-Tran representative and that is beyond his purview as a Commissioner. By trying to do it behind closed doors shows a serious lack of ethical and moral behavior on his part. A truly hon est an d upstanding person will conduct the publics business in an open public forum. Its a shame his fellow Commissioners are either endorsing this behavior or simply are going to let operate in ignorance. I know I stand ready to discuss the appoint in an open meeting anytime and anyplace, something Mr. Madore is too cowardly to do.

  19. Alex, don’t be such a self-righteous twit.>>>>

    Yes and you are so mature right? Why is it so bad to want to talk about this in an open public meeting? Why is it so bad to not want a County Commissioner to overstep their legal bounds in my job? Why is too much to expect the Town of Yacolt to say they have an issue with Mr. Ganley and say lets meet and talk about it? If those are the hallmarks of a twit, than I must be one. I have no problem if someone has an issue with how someone on our council is preforming but we should be able to meet, sit down and discuss things. Maybe I am old fashioned and the way of the world has changed but I think its the right, proper and ethical thing to do.

  20. I sent Mr Ganley information about the region-wide indirect effects of construction of the CRC, and of tolls, two years ago. I did not hear back from him – not a word. He then went on to recommend approval of the FEIS before it was even published for the public to provide comment. Mr. Ganley failed in his first duty as liaison for the people. >>>

    Mr. Ganleys primary mission on the C-Tran board has been to make sure the City of Battle Ground and town of Yacolt maintain bus service and C-Van service. In this aspect he has been 100% successful. The CRC is not a primary concern. The fact that we here pay C-Tran taxes and are under a continuous threat to cut service because we are not Vancouver is real here. We have citizens who depend on the busses and C-Van to get to vital things like medical appointments, school and work. Without public transportation these folks would have to move. Just becuase other people primary issue is the CRC doesn’t mean its all of ours.

  21. Tom, there is no operational vacuum, in which we work, I’d say we live in realville, doing what a city council is elected to do. If our 18000+ citizens feel agitated enough about the CRC, then they are more then capable of contacting, Mr. Vick, Ms. Rivers, Ms Pike, Ms. Herrera-Butler, Ms Cantwell, Ms Murray, and the Governors of Washington and Oregon to state their thoughts.
    Now if they have a streetlight out, the road sucks in front of their house, they feel wronged by the city, then they should contact one or more of the seven of us to try and rectify the problem. To stop a State/Federal road project, pass on by us, and head further up the chain.

  22. Alex, say who you are and why you’re an expert. Clearly state your point: for example, quote C-Tran’s Mission Statement and how your comments apply. Ad hominem attacks on Madore will get you nowhere on a sympatheic forum like this – you simply come across as a screeching, self-interested, dick.

    p.s. I’m a liberal Democrat, and I fight the battle here regularly and elsewhere in Conservative circles. I also happen to be an attorney, so if you’re not, stop the legal demagoguery.

  23. Martin, while you may be an attorney, this is not a court room nor any sort of legal proceeding.

    Alex is an elected city council member in Battle Ground that I sometimes agree with and sometimes not, just as I do you.

    While you do engage us here, you rarely win any arguments with us, except maybe in your own legally categorized mind.

    Everyone that posts here is entitled to their opinion, legal or otherwise.

    That being said, Alex, while Mr. Ganley’s primary purpose on the C-Tran board is to maintain bus service and C-Van service, the board also deals with other matters he votes on or expresses an opinion, on behalf of the council.

    Your citizens, especially those who work in Portland will be impacted by what decisions are made in regards to CRC and light rail like the rest of us.

    They have a right to expect him to represent their views on the board as well.

    It might not be your primary focus out there, but your people will end up paying for it just as the rest of us will.

  24. Lew, guy, “winning” hasn’t ever been my intent. The purpose of my posts is a well-stated argument, like I’m trying to get Alex to engage in, so other readers can make up their own minds.

    p.s. Speaking with my medical degree, I don’t think Conservatives can be swayed by rational debate.

  25. Alex, say who you are and why you’re an expert. >>>> I am an elected City Councilor and have won every election I’ve been in, can you say the same? I’ve been doing this for eleven years and I’ve managed to pick a thing or two along the way. Mr. Madore is trying to use his position as Commissioner to undermine Battle Ground and Yacolt’s legal right to appoint what C-Tran board member we want. He has a board position he is responsible for. Believe it or not CRC is not Battle Ground or Yacolts top issues, it may be all consuming to the south, so much so they elected a person whose sole mission is to stop it but north we have pressing issues that just get plowed under by this almost constant focus on the CRC. We have a potable water supply that we need to increase here, you know what? Without clean drinking water were all dead in a week. We have an aging sewer system that needs some expansion. We have 4 major streets that need to be completely rebuilt, something everyone here uses everyday. We’ve taken major financial hits so much so we are down by over 20% in personnel over the last five years. If I can’t drink clean water, have sewage removed safely or drive out of our city and new bridge is worthless here. There seem to be a lot of people that just don’t get that we have bigger problems that affect us than the CRC, because a lot of people just focus on one issue. There is more than one issue. If you live in Vancouver no one has ever threatened to remove your bus service, it happens here. Actually having bus service is far more important than the CRC.

  26. Alex, that’s what I’m talking about!

    p.s. I know who you are.

  27. Alex three words: ten billion dollars.

  28. Martin, apparently we share different ideas of just what constitutes a “rational debate.”

    Funny that say you don’t think we can be swayed by a “rational debate” and try to use your medical degree to give you more standing.

    Funny because it has been my experience that as soon as we begin making sense about Obama’s many failings to a liberal, we are instantly accused of being racist, not knowing anything, blind followers of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News and the liberal disengages and runs the other way singling La La La La with his fingers in his ears.

    Ya’ll seem to some have difficulty in rationalizing that not everybody agrees with you and many of us look back at history and see the failings of what ya’ll are trying to do again.

    And I’m not a graduate of some public institution of higher liberal indoctrination, I got my Ph.D in common sense ;-)

  29. Martin & Robert – I am just trying to put in another form that you might both understand. And only because Alex has been trying to say it and you are not getting it. His main focus in the Battle Ground city council seat is not the columbia river crossing project. Some of his constituents may use the bridge to go to work in the Portland metropolitan area, but in his world, they are not the full focus.
    From what he is writing, there are bigger, local issues that need to be addressed. A aging sewer and water issues and city transportation of roads that need more attention than ten years of the same bridge over trouble waters. And amongst other things, there is the issue of how to pay for all of them with a twenty percent financial cut of positions to make the budge whole over the past five years. (very similar to ten years with the City of Vancouver?)
    His main concern is not the bridge or the light rail failings. That is more of an urban core center for the city of Vancouver and the suburban, incorporated and urban growth boundary areas of Clark County, Washington, north of the city. Which I do believe is a larger proportion of Clark County than the more smaller northern county communities of which he represents just one.
    If Alex has a big issue with David, may I suggest he speak to his fellow city council members and draft a letter through the city mayor to the concerns he has, instead of continually coming here and reiterating the same comments over and over again, here? I think a letter to the county commissioners, might go further to the concerns Alex feels needs to be raised…. And carbon copy it to the mayor of yacolt and fellow members of their governing body…

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