Once again, efforts to let voters voice their opinion in support of or opposition to forcing Clark County to accept Portland, Oregon’s financially troubled light rail seems to have fallen by the wayside as the Downtown light rail Mafia, better known as elected and appointed officials determined to force citizens to accept the boondoggle against their will have ruled yet another citizen petition calling for a vote as “invalid.”
And it cannot be ignored just how fishy this latest effort is.
Ever since Portland, Oregon decided to build a light rail system throughout their city, efforts have been underway to extend it across the Columbia River into Washington State in Clark County. That voters defeated the effort in 1995 by 2 to 1 margin did not matter as our vote was apparently immediately thrown into the trash can as rulers in both Portland and Vancouver, Washington have continued to plot, scheme and dream of ways to circumvent state law to bypass voters every chance they got.
Running for reelection often brings out promises of a citizen vote on light rail itself, only to be cast aside once elected, as we saw with now Mayor Tim ‘the Liar’ Leavitt, who promised profusely to fight tolling the new bridge only to flip almost as soon as he won the election.
Fed up with empty promises, Larry Patella, a retired US Navy Officer and citizen activist decided to push for a vote of the citizens by petition back in March 2011. A simple right of the citizens to petition their government to once again vote whether citizens want the project to continue or be halted.
It was said to be insufficient due to several signatures being from people not within the city limits of Vancouver, since the petition applied only to the Vancouver City Council.
After gathering more signatures and paying closer attention to ensuring only registered voters within the city limits signed, the petition was re-filed with the city on May 3, 2012 in an effort to have the vote placed on the November 2012 ballot.
The petition was apparently misplaced somewhere as it was not heard of again until mid-December 2012 when the County Auditor, who accepted it back in May to validate signatures, reported back to the city, well after the targeted election.
Feeling better late than never, it was initially reported to have sufficient signatures with an excess of 7 more than required and was slated to be brought up before the next City Council meeting, Monday January 7, 2013.
It was reported then that the city council has 60 days to decide what to do next, adopt the ordinance as written, amend the ordinance or place it on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
Within just a few hours of being reported in the local paper of record and citing a miscommunication between county and city we read now, “Vancouver City Attorney Ted Gathe said late this afternoon that the petition effort calling for a public vote on light rail has failed, after a few dozen signatures that had been subject to additional scrutiny were ruled invalid.”
Somehow, mysteriously after being accepted by the city for validation and sitting somewhere for several months, being returned as valid, all of a sudden we hear that “94 signatures had not been checked to see if they were valid.”
Once checked, we now read that the total signatures amount now to 5,440 signatures, much fewer than the 5,472 valid signature requirement.
King County couldn’t have handled it any better as we saw when they continued discovering ballots to add to totals in 2004 until Democrat Christine Gregoire had enough votes to win the third recount in the governor’s race.
Claiming “miscommunication” isn’t setting well with me. In all of the months the petition was at the County Auditor for validation, they simply did not know they had 94 signatures accepted that weren’t validated, only to discover it after verifying the petition was valid and was to go before City Council to be acted on?
Given the past effort of the downtown light rail mafia, whether this was just incompetence or a deliberate act to thwart voters matters little. The end result is that once again, voters’ voices are to be cast aside, ignored and shut out as a ruling class forges ahead on an unpopular project voters continue to demand a voice in and are denied.
Questions need answered in this.
Why was the petition allowed to just sit for over 7 months?
Who initiated the check or contacted Greg Kimsey to recheck signatures after the petition was returned and validated?
How did they not know they had 94 questionable signatures during the 7 months the petition sat in somebody’s in box?
To say this stinks is an understatement.
We must restore the democratic process in Vancouver and give citizens their voices back.
This now goes beyond support or opposition to light rail and move into we the people being denied due process by an overbearing government who seems to think they can just do what they please with our tax dollars and we must comply.
Once again, our effort to speak our voice has been thwarted.
What will you do?