The Great Clark County Collusion Caper Debunked

by lewwaters

Clark County CommissionersAs we in Clark County are aware of, given we have been inundated for over a week now of article after article from the local mouthpiece hating the hiring of Don Benton to head the county department of environmental services, allegations of “collusion” have been raised in an effort to stir up citizens to support a recall of County Commissioners Tom Mielke and David Madore.

But those allegations are unfounded, they are little more than a fallacy trumped up by a few who see the overwhelming votes for both as interfering with the agenda previously seen from the County Commission and who wish to thwart the will of the county voters in changing the direction of the County Commission.

First of all, we need to establish what is meant by the term “collusion,” which means “an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage.”

That is what those few stirring the pot hope you believe was done by Commissioners Mielke & Madore and our local mouthpiece is sparing no ink to convince you of it. Even Commissioner Stuart, at the outset of the Tuesday May 7, 2013 Commissioner Meeting charged he would file an ethics complaint, but later apologized for making an erroneous allegation.

But he implanted his words in people’s heads who will recall the allegation and not the apology for raising it since by then, many had left the meeting or would believe he was just trying to temper the anger seen in the audience.

As you can clearly see and hear, there was absolutely no collusion. But that doesn’t stop the likes of those down at the mouthpiece and bombastic ex-mayor Royce Pollard from continuing to raise the allegation to justify trumping up a recall effort that will in fact, fail, since there not only was no collusion on the part of Commissioners Mielke & Madore, there was no law broken nor any violations of ethics on their part.

Oddly enough, the local agenda media mouthpiece, for reasons unknown, have chosen in their myriad articles to not mention either the initial erroneous allegation first raised by Commissioner Stuart or his recantation several hours later after many people had gone home.

But that does not mean our agenda media ignored it, either. Covering the meeting on Twitter, Stephanie Rice, known for her own despising of both Commissioners Mielke & Madore as well as Don Benton, joyously tweeted twice on Stuart raising the ethics violation allegation.

Rice Stuart Ethics

But she apparently finds it not relevant to mention in her tweets of his recantation a little over 3 hours later.

Much has been alleged on the hiring of Don Benton, largely in a vain effort to force the undoing of his hire and more to trump up support for a recall of both Conservative County Commissioners, an effort I believe to thwart the will of voters last year to elect more people critical of the CRC light rail project.

But thanks to the implementation of a transparency policy suggested by Commissioner Madore and approved by the County Commission, the truth of the selection can easily be found.

Located on the County Commission website is a page, Minutes, video and audio files where the full May 1, 2013 exchange can be heard. Even the local agenda media has a 23 minute snippet that reveals some highly relevant words that have been glossed over as well as much of the condescension, guffawing and ridicule by Commissioner Stuart towards Don Benton.

The initial article claimed,

“Madore and Mielke directed County Administrator Bill Barron to begin the hiring process for Benton, saying it was unlikely a better candidate could be found, and the need to hire quickly required bypassing the county’s typical hiring practices.”

But that paragraph is somewhat misleading if you listen carefully to the entire audio file and can even be heard on their snippet supplied.

At about the 40 minute mark you can hear Commissioner Stuart throw his little tantrum and walk out of the meeting where the discussion continues with Commissioners Madore & Mielke addressing the qualities they see in Mr. Benton.

Just prior to the 43 minute mark, Mr. Madore can be heard saying,


“First of all, I respect Bill and I respect Commissioner Stuart. And the whole idea of appointing a favor or a friend to a position, is, you that have come to know me since I’ve been here, you know that I don’t grant favors, I don’t grant exceptions. When people come from, let’s say citizens and they have a case that they want to talk about how their permit went south or something like that, I do not grant and I haven’t granted favors, instead it’s an example in this catalyst to be able to identify a category that needs to be improved.”

“When it comes to the; what needs to happen here in order for us to make the job creating prior, er, permits a priority for this county, we need to fix what is broken. And we need to fix what needs to be tuned up. We need to be able to make sure we have leadership that can get it, that can champion it.”

“And, I like process. I know when we talked about the Rail Road coordinator we talked about the process and that process works well, I respect that process.”

“In this case, if we walk through a 90 day period to, to, once we nail down what needs to be nailed down, the natural process would be for us to wait for two weeks, have a work session, I guess that, come up with the specifics, go through the recruiting process and we are over this building season. And I don’t, uh, most problems are foreseeable, that’s a foreseeable one, uh the lost opportunity. We need to make sure that we don’t set our staff up for failure, to overwhelm them with a process that, we need to bring in new leadership to champion that.”

“I’ve looked very carefully at this résumé, and it’s not because that he’s a friend, because I have lots of friends and I don’t grant favors to friends. In fact I’m overly sensitive to that whole idea. He has to, the qualifications have to be right.”

So what I would like for you to do is to, not insist that this happen, but rather to start the process and to invite him to sit down with Bill, interview with him and go, to see what we can do if this, if he is a qualified candidate, let’s find out if that be the case. This is the first step to make that happen.”

Commissioner Mielke agreed this would be a proper way to start the process, both expressing he could hit the ground running.

At about the 48:30 mark Commissioner Madore, after he and Commissioner Mielke further discussed their view of Mr. Benton’s qualities, said to Bill Barron,

“Bill, you have his résumé, I invite you to communicate with him and give us your feedback.”

Mr. Barron, sounding somewhat exasperated replied,

“Okay (long pause), I’m to do what, I’m to interview him? Just start the process? I can’t, I can’t learn anything more than what you’ve already said about him. So there’s no use in me interviewing him. If you want him in the job I’ll just start him through the process, start him through the process.”

“It does no good for me to interview him. You’re obliterating every process we had in place for 14 years.”

Commissioner Mielke interceded with suggestions on asking him how he would deal with the job, deal with the legislature that Barron replies,

“you just said that doesn’t make any difference.”

Barron’s snide attitude aside, clearly both Commissioners did not demand that Don Benton be immediately hired and tried to get Barron to assess his qualities.

But, apparently sharing in Commissioner Stuart’s dislike for Sen. Benton, he also threw a smaller tantrum and ran ahead with the hiring, either falsely believing the Commissioners directed him to, which their words clearly show they did not. Or, also joining in with the local agenda media, Commissioner Stuart, Royce Pollard and the pro-CRC cartel in Clark County, want to build the impression of two Commissioners out of control and forcing the hiring of a friend.

Personally, I suspect more along the lines of the latter, the CRC cartel desperately wanting to return local government to lock-step with their desire to burden the struggling middle class to pay off some very wealthy Democrat Party donors who own and manufacture these light rail systems.

At the outset of Tuesday’s rambunctious Commissioner Meeting, agenda media editor Lou Brancaccio gleefully tweeted the following line from a 1960’s Buffalo Springfield hippie song

Brancaccio Tweet, Happening

Lou is right that something is happening here, but it is very apparent and clear what it is.

And it stinks to high heaven how the CRC cartel has joined forces to once again thwart the will of the citizens in Clark County and fabricate public outrage where none is warranted and instead of helping ease the burden on our struggling middle class, prefer to further weigh them down with taxes, fees and tolls for something they don’t even want.

13 Responses to “The Great Clark County Collusion Caper Debunked”

  1. Lew Waters run shallow

  2. Such childish antics jay and liking your own comments as well?

    Enjoy the kool aid, but it won’t stop your head from exploding when it all crashes about you, son.

  3. It’s kind of sad that The Columbian actually THINKS it’s relevant.

  4. Barrons behavior kinda reminds of how some little boys behave when asked by their mom to help wash dishes. “Hey maybe if I break a couple she won’t ask me again!”

    That strategy never worked for me when I was a kid ;-)

  5. Didn’t work for me either ;-)

    But, to borrow one of their lines, Benton ha showed up for work every day this week and the sun still comes up, birds still fly around, life goes on ;-)

  6. Stay focused on the ball, keep your eyes on the ball. You can’t hit a homerun if you lose sight of the ball.
    I hear people loud and clear, both sides of the game are screaming. The stadium is rocking and it is the top of the ninth.
    Some one will come along for us and say… put me in coach, I’m ready to play today. That ball will be so oughta here in a moment. Just keep your eyes on the ball.

  7. Rice leaving out facts is Rice being Rice.

    Brilliantly done, Lew. It makes a difference when people do their homework, unlike the slime on the other side of this democrat party effort.

  8. They do their homework as well. It’s just that their homework is what to leave out and what to ignore to further the agenda.

    How anybody could honestly listen to that recording and say Mielke & Madore forced Benton to be hired can only show the depth of their hate for the three.

  9. Thank you again Lew for pointing out the recanting of the accusation of collusion to change the order of the meeting. Hadn’t read that in any of the myriad of articles/blogs. Changing the order of the meeting to hold a public hearing prior to other agenda items has been done by previous boards of commissioners. They routinely explain that they do it so staff can leave after the hearing. I’ve always thought it was important for those coming to testify at a hearing that they are heard prior to a decision on the topic. I can’t recall major complaints at a commissioner meeting about moving a public hearing ahead of other agenda items like general public comments in the past. Especially when pages of people have signed up to testify.

  10. In a comment I’d made on the Columbian Forum before I’d made the decision that the community’s bird cage liner is far too one sided for me to post any more (I prefer a balanced and fair reporting and a discussion forum where personal attacks are strictly forbidden…something lacking these days)…I’d told the select few who opposed anything Republican… that the truth would come out and and the truth shall prevail. Why am I not surprised that THIS is the site that the truth has been presented??? It’s just a matter of time before the GOBK has completely imploded. I also believe it was a desperate act by the former mayor of Vancouver (godfather of the GOBK and focus of Lew’s other blog piece), to provide a public hearing, explaining how to go about a recall campaign. Even the local television news stations couldn’t get it right. Definitely a desperate act by the GOBK.

    I’m wondering…how many of the people who showed up at the “godfather’s” gathering, were supporters of the CRC??? I’m also wondering how many of the people who showed up…were thinking more in the way of how they could recall One Term Timmy and a couple others.

  11. To clarify…I EXPECT a community newspaper to provide balanced and fair reporting and their discussion forums should strictly forbid personal attacks.

  12. process needs to be fixed. We were just told it would take 78 days for a sepa review before they can issue a permit for a simple garage structure at a residence that has already had a sepa review when the house had been built. The structure is further from the river and it takes about a half second to see the structure would have no impact on anything. The cost of the job is $11000 for the structure but the sepa review and all the other crap the county could come up ends up costing the contractor/homeowner $4500 for the job. The cost of permits puts most projects out of the budget range. Check on what a deck permit cost or a patio cover. Permit cost more than the materials in most cases. It needs to stop and I hope Don Benton straightens up the whole bunch.

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