Election 2013: Vancouver City Council Pos. 1

by lewwaters

Vote 1Continuing in my assessment of Vancouver, Washington City Council candidates in the 2013 election, the final race is Position 1, currently held by Jack Burkman who is being challenged by Otto M. Guardado, Micheline Doan and Brian Joseph Smith.

For some reason unknown to me, the Position 1 race has not risen to the level of attention that has been directed at the other two seats being challenged, but is just as important on the 7-member city council.

Again, in no particular order of preference;

Jack Burkman

Jack Burkman

Jack Burkman

Burkman is the incumbent, re-winning the seat in 2009 after a multiple year absence to deal with family troubles.

Compared to some of the other city council members, he is relatively quiet, not garnering the focus of others, but don’t let that fool you. He has been a strong supporter of the CRC light rail project, but did take stand against the ill-fated Baseball Stadium proposal a couple years ago, or to be more precise, the proposed admission tax to fund it.

He recently was outspoken on the city of Vancouver maintaining its control on the C-Tran Board over other communities represented on the board and was an employ of WSDOT.

For the most part, he has been down the line with Mayor Tim ‘The Liar’ Leavitt in votes, but to his credit is probably the council member most willing to engage the citizens when it comes to comments on controversial matters covered by the Lazy C (the Columbian) online.

I am disappointed that the Lazy C chose to endorse him alone in the primary, marginalizing the three challengers.

Jack Burkman maintains a quiet, soft spoken demeanor and portrays himself as very reasoned, but too often sticks to the ‘party-line’ of ‘go with the flow’ of other city council members, especially when explaining why Vancouver homeowners property must be increased when their home values and income have decreased.

Although claiming otherwise, he was supportive of ousting the theater group from the Slocum House in early 2012, justifying it as a means to trim the city budget, even though the house was moved to its current location back in the 1960’s by an all-volunteer group specifically for the theater and had been used as such for over five decades.

He was also strongly in support of the city going into debt to purchase the new Columbian building the paper lost when it filed for bankruptcy to move City Hall into, claiming how much money the city would save by taking on more debt for the building.

Disconcerting to me is how he picks and chooses to stand on matters a majority of voters voted for or against.

Otto M. Guardado

Otto M Guardado

Otto M Guardado

Otto is a newcomer to our local politics running for the City Council “because residents tell me that they feel unheard by current leadership: unemployment is too high; current and future needs of seniors and children are ignored; and massive public projects are initiated without input from voters.”

He is correct there. For far too long, citizen views contrary to those of city council have either been ignored or minimized, city council supporting the views of what many of us call the ‘downtown mafia’ over that of citizens.

A financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial, he oversees the Otto Guardado Scholarship and is an adjunct instructor at Clark College.

He lists a series of ideas for the city worth considering and favors steps to retain or attract job creation into Vancouver over sending them to Portland via light rail, currently preferred by the incumbent should the CRC succeed in being resurrected.

Some have accused him of not actually living in the city limits, which would disqualify him for city council, based upon his mailing address being listed in Camas, but he in fact is qualified as he lives at the eastern limits of the city and it is the Post Office that lists his address as Camas, not unlike those of us living in Hazel Dell are listed as in Vancouver.

The Lazy C attempts to demean his candidacy with, “we asked how he intends to balance the demands of public service with a full-time job and a large family, his answer reflected a glaring lack of preparation: ‘I don’t know. I have no clear answer to that question’.”

I have to imagine that Jack Burkman, had he been asked in 1998, would have had no idea that he too would have to juggle an important family matter that would necessitate his leaving the city council and the community for a time.

Micheline Doan

Micheline Doan

Micheline Doan

Ms. Doan is the lone challenger that has previously ran for public office, noted by the Lazy C in a demeaning manner and labeling her “a local Republican Party activist” in this “nonpartisan” race while not mentioning numerous involvements by Jack Burkman with the local Democrat Party over the years or that in his bid for the state legislature in 2006 as a Democrat, he lost in the primary to Pat Campbell, who also lost to Republican Jim Dunn but later won a seat on the city council, only to lost it after one term.

Parity is not the Lazy C’s strong suit.

Micheline is fairly well known in the community for her efforts as President of the Clark County Republican Women’s Organization for five years, Vice President of The Parkway’s HOA for two years, organization fundraising for Babies In Need and more.

She brings a conservative view of the issues facing our city as well as a respectable list of endorsements.

She says, “As a council person I will always encourage the right of the Vancouver citizens to vote on monetary issues that will affect not only them but their children and grandchildren” adding one of her reasons for running, “There are decisions being made by our City Council that concern me and I believe in order to reverse this course we will need to change the council.”

We have all seen the efforts of the current city council under Mayor Leavitt to ram through the CRC light rail project as well as silence citizen opposition, except for the voices of Bill Turlay and Jeanne E. Stewart.

Micheline brings well rounded experience with her in dealings around the community that places her on par with any of the candidates.

Brian Joseph Smith

Brian Joseph SmithA young man making his initial foray into the political scene, Brian comes with firm roots planted in the community, being a fifth generation Vancouverite.

He is one of the original board members of the Old Evergreen Highway Neighborhood Association that has been “fighting for proper maintenance for decades,” now turning their focus towards sidewalks.

He cites frustration with the current city council over citizens being denied a vote in the hopefully defunct CRC light rail project and the lack of seeking citizen input in other matters, such as widening Lower Ellsworth to accommodate safe bicycle usage among his reasons for running.

Considering himself a Communications Engineer, with a background in sales and operations, he lists a steady employment history and even though his campaign may be a little more low key than others, he is out there campaigning more on social media than I see others trying to.

He brings with him a reasonable set of ideas he expresses though his blog site, City Of Vancouver and through his facebook page.

Whether or not any of that translates into a winning candidacy will be known after Aug 6.

That wraps up my assessment of Vancouver’s city council races this election.

After the primary we will see who survives and who we wish to serve on the city council, hopefully someone more interested in citizens than appeasing downtown special interests.

Also after the primary, focus will shift considerably towards the coming Mayor’s race between incumbent Tim ‘The Liar’ Leavitt and City Council member Bill Turlay.

I urge you all to look closely at each candidate and make sure to vote so we can have the best representation sitting on city council.

Choose wisely.

5 Comments to “Election 2013: Vancouver City Council Pos. 1”

  1. A couple of thoughts here; Burkman voted no on the Baseball Stadium issue because he wanted a different contractor put in. He also votes for EVERY raise in property taxes and utility rates that come up saying we need the revenue but he also voted yes to spend the money on the Waterfront park project? He claimed he talked and talked to staff and legal advisors and just could not come up with a way to honor the people’s constitutional and city charter mandated right to vote on the people’s initiative over light rail. He states that all forms of funding would have to be voted on by the people but blocks their right to vote at each turn. He is arrogant and pretentious when speaking to the public at council meetings. This very Monday meeting was cancelled which was a citizens forum and would have afforded the people their right to redress council. I know that the Mayors race is not on this ballot… when I asked the staff at city hall last Thursday I was told it had not been cancelled but according to the notes it was scheduled that way in January. This is not true so someone has altered the record. The calendar on line had the meeting posted until the week before. Then in speaking to Jeanne Stewart she said they told her that the staff felt the council needed a vacation but what they told me was that they thought there wouldn’t be enough people for a quorum so they planned it 7 months ago this way. Jeanne said her calendar had the meeting on the annual one and the two month cycle all along. I spoke out strongly against Jack last month and I am sure in my gut this was done solely to protect him from being exposed to the public. He is the only incumbent who has a sign hanging on Elie Kasaab property at Mill Plain and he voted for the tax abatement for that property and he has accepted huge campaign donations from Elie Kasaab. Jack Burkman is a sleazy politician in my book.
    Otto is a nice guy but does not seem to understand the laws regarding what the city can and cannot do to promote economic growth so his campaign ideas will not pan out in the end if elected.
    That leaves Micheline and Brian. Both of whom I am helping with their campaigns for the record. They are both intelligent people who respect people. Both are thoughtful in the way they consider and process information and ask questions which pertain to soliciting answers needed to formulate a solution to an issue. It will be a bitter sweet win on election day in November for me when one of these two is elected and one is not. Either way a vote for them is a win for all of us no matter who you mark your ballot for.
    Thanks for reading!

  2. Though Burkman will win, he’s always been a dick to me.

  3. Not necessarily Martin. Remember burkman spent alot of money in the primary against Pat Campbell (nearly 100k) and doorbelled on 4500 doors.Campbell didnt doorbell a single time and only spent $68 and Campbell received the nomination. Or in Minnesota,where Ventura a third party candidate only spent 300k versus the 12 million by both the democratic and republican nominees combined and Ventura got elected governor. Anything can happen in politics.

  4. I really do care who wins this race. Mr Burkman was a proponent of the slight of hand Move to separate the Park’s fund from the General fund in a move that would in fact raise the amount of taxes people pay per year. It was a horrible idea concocted because the city of Vancouver couldn’t spend within its Parks budget, and having gutted fire and police funds sought to use park monies to pay for service the debts accrued.

    Having stated that the city’s credit rating is the greatest accomplishment tells me everything I need to know about this guy. I don’t trust him, and he gives me no reason to think I could.

    Otto has a good head and his heart is in the right place. But there is a steep learning curve he is on that will require more effort than he has time for.

    I like Micheline Doan and Brian Joseph Smith both. I see needed strengths in each and either one would serve the people well. But It would be wrong to say who I will cast my ballot for, as this for me is the toughest race going.

  5. I like for everybody to vote for whom they feel will best serve in the office, but I also ask they do so in an informed vote.

    If I were allowed to vote in city council races, I couldn’t say for certain just yet which would get my vote, but one definitely wouldn’t ;-)

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