December 26, 2012
“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.
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November 2, 2012
A citizen perspective by Margaret Tweet
For the last few years, I’ve followed the proposed light rail extension from Portland to Vancouver via meetings by CTRAN, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), the Washington Policy Center, the Cascade Policy Institute, and town halls on transportation issues. Precious little discussion is held on the true transportation needs of our region by the government agencies that propose costly solutions. Instead of thoroughly examining present conditions, the focus is on rosy predictions for 2030 and 2035 and the most costly transportation options possible. CTRAN, RTC, and the contractors that will benefit have a dream, and they expect Clark County taxpayers and businesses to pay for it. The CTRAN and RTC boards that oversee the agencies include all 3 county commissioners and select city council representatives. Following is information I’ve gleaned and offer to fellow citizens.
Vancouver Mayor Leavitt and State Representative Moeller have oft declared that light rail is required on the proposed CRC I-5 bridge replacement. Recently, WADOT Director Paula Hammond clarified at the October CRC oversight committee meeting that light rail is a “political” requirement placed on the project by Oregon. In the Tuesday Nov. 6 election, WA voters have a say on light rail via CTRAN proposition 1. The CTRAN proposition is to raise the Clark County sales tax to extend Portland’s TriMet light rail into Clark County and add costly $Million 60 foot bendable buses to the CTRAN fleet. If voters approve the High Capacity Transit taxing authority, the CTRAN long term plan is to extend light rail and 60 foot bendable busses in Clark County.
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October 31, 2012
Teflon, the coating we have known for many years now in cookware and renowned for its non-stick capability. Whatever is being cooked just slides off easy as can be leaving little if any trace behind.
In politics the term is also widely known and has been used to describe several politicians of all parties that scandals just slide off of, not sticking, not being held accountable. President Reagan, Tony Blair, B.J. Clinton, Vladimir Putin, Ma Ying-jeou and Angela Merkel for just a few of the more well-known examples.
We also cannot forget well known Crime Boss, John Gotti was referred to as the “Teflon Don” for his many scrapes with the law that he slid through until finally convicted of murder in 1992.
The term “Teflon” has been used numerous times to those “slippery” characters that seem to just do whatever they wish with total impunity, either from the law or scrutiny by the media or fellow public servants. But who would have ever thought that our small community, Vancouver, Washington would find itself being able to apply it to one of our own public officials, the mayor Tim Leavitt.
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October 29, 2012
Submitted by Tiffany Couch
Are you confused by the conflicting statements related to C-Tran’s Proposition 1 initiative? Some have said that the initiative will give the Agency “twice as much money as they need!” Others have said, “the sales tax is not enough!”
So what are the facts?
In my business, the numbers tell the story. And thankfully, C-Tran has reported numbers which tell voters how the agency intends to use your sales tax funds.
Just a year ago, C-Tran came to the voters asking for a .2% increase in sales tax, claiming the funds were necessary for the Agency to maintain current levels of bus service. The initiative was passed, providing C-Tran with an investment of $10 million annually from local taxpayers.
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October 17, 2012
Thanks to the work of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch and County Commissioner candidate David Madore, the veil wrapped around the Columbia River Crossing Project is gradually being peeled back, not that you will ever read of word of it in the local newspaper of record, the Columbian.
While the Oregonian, the Reflector and the Willamette Week have all published articles and reports critical of the CRC, the Columbian continues to provide cover, ignoring or minimizing recent reports and evidence uncovered and released by Ms. Couch, writing them off as “more of the same.”
They are not.
A previous report covered the potential violation of Washington State Open Meetings Laws, but a subsequent report released on October 12, 2012 delves even deeper into the darkness we have seen associated with the CRC.
Ms. Couch raises several questions that remain unanswered and, not even asked by the Columbian who proudly boasts on their front page, “Serving Clark County, Washington.”
Just who in Clark County is served is debatable.
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November 11, 2011
Submitted by Professor Robert Dean
Boldt: Hello! Commissioner Marc Boldt here. What can I do you for? (Aside: I always like to have a little fun with people).
Caller: Marc, Jeff Hamm.
Boldt: Jeff Hamm?
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November 8, 2011
UPDATED November 9, 2011 4:20 PM
As we see every election during early results, some lose and some win, some results are disappointing and others a real surprise, some even a surprising disappointment leaving us to wonder what are people thinking?
Probably the most surprising disappointment is seeing so many Clark County voters falling for the scare tactics pout out by C-Tran by approving another sales tax increase to keep empty buses running while C-Tran sits on Millions of uncommitted dollars and plans to create an ambitious rapid transit corridor down Fourth Plain, whether we want it or not.
Surprising to see Clark County fall for a tax increase while Seattle, a liberal Mecca in the Northwest rejects a license tag fee increase. Of course, who knew that on this day we would also be hit by the Port of Vancouver with a 1% property tax increase too. Although voting yes, Port Commissioner Brian H. Wolfe, who won reelection today running unopposed claims he’d like to see the Port wean itself off of property taxes saying, “I don’t know this is the right time to start doing that.”
Purely coincidental I’m sure, that the tax increase wasn’t voted on until today, Election Day.
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November 6, 2011
Like many other people, I am one who doesn’t appreciate being manipulated, not by anybody, especially government or agencies set up and maintained by government. What with the recent release of an independent audit of C-Tran Finances pertaining to Proposition 1, another demand for more tax dollars and copied emails between the auditor and certain elected officials in Clark County, all I see is pure manipulation on the part of C-Tran Board of Directors.
We’ve seen the article in the Columbian here of forensic auditor Tiffany Couch’s independent audit that leans heavily on C-Tran’s refuting her work and the Columbians refusal to post Ms. Couch’s point by point rebuttal of their assertions here, but the email exchange between Ms. Couch and County Commissioner Steve Stuart is a real eye opener.
Beyond the Columbians efforts to discredit her analysis due to her being hired by David Madore to independently audit CRC finances to see where over $140 Million of our tax dollars has gone, a task completely separate of C-Tran finances, commissioner Stuart, who ran for reelection with the promise of we would be given a vote this year on light rail operations and maintenance that he promptly joined others in preventing after winning, comes across as accusatory towards Ms. Couch and her analysis.
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November 3, 2011
It is no secret that I oppose giving C-Tran another single dime of our hard earned tax dollars. I have also maintained we are not being told the truth and that the threats of cuts in service now are fearmongering.
Forensic Accountant, Tiffany Couch has prepared a Financial Analysis based upon personal meetings with C-Tran Officials and auditing what documents have been turned over to her pertaining to C-Tran Finances.
C-Tran Financial Analysis
From the Executive Summary,
“My analysis and meeting with C-Tran officials indicate the following:
1. Proposition 1 funds are not necessary for C-Tran to maintain current levels of bus service.
2. If C-Tran maintains current levels of bus service, and foregoes expenses related to High Capacity Transit (HCT) initiatives, reserve funds will remain intact through 2023.
3. If Proposition 1 fails to pass, current C-Tran board policy indicates that High Capacity Transit project costs will take higher priority over current levels of bus service; causing bus service to decline or to be eliminated.
4. C-Tran’s 20 year plan, “C-Tran 2030” is significantly at risk due to overestimated revenues and underestimated expenses.
We have been denied a vote we were promised, C-Tran continues running empty buses that are not on the cut list and as many have maintained, we can now see just how far off they are in their estimates of needing more of our money.
I urge you, if you haven’t already voted, please vote NO on Proposition 1. Force C-TRan to operate within their means and if need be, reorganize into an efficient bus service for Clark County.
October 27, 2011
My opposition to C-Trans’ Proposition 1 is well known in town to any who read the Columbian or this blog. I have never hidden the fact from anyone. I frequently express that opposition in comments at the Columbian and elsewhere.
But, I was surprised to see the following reply left today on a comment I made weeks ago from Vancouver’s Mayor, Tim Leavitt.
Click on image to enlarge
One of the reasons I fought for this country in an armed conflict was so that we little people retained the right to speak out on what we see as wrong. Whether I agree with others or not, I do not try to silence them, as is seen in several comments on this blog.
But, that’s the best argument the Mayor can muster to promote a measure, telling a citizen “blah, blah, blah” and to “give it a rest?”
October 13, 2011
Tonight saw the inaugural use of a CVTV live broadcast from the new Library in Vancouver. Broadcast was the League of Women Voters Candidate forum for the 2011 election this November. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the room filled nearly to capacity by citizens who came out to hear what the candidates have to say.
All 6 city council candidates appeared and each was asked questions in order by seat position sought.
Josephine Wentzel and Bart Hansen started it off with opening statements and outlined their visions for the future of Vancouver. Both are articulate but with decidedly different views. Hansen leaned more on his short experience on council and work history with Clark County PUD. Wentzel relied on her history of being a Police Officer, Detective and her opposition to CRC and light rail being forced upon us with no vote from the people. Far from a single issue candidate, she also articulated her views on a called for fireworks ban in Vancouver by outlining some proposed restrictions to fireworks sale, after hearing public input. Hansen fell back on emails received calling for an outright ban, but also saying restrictions were needed, not an outright ban.
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September 28, 2011
The video shows a sad legacy of a policy that began well meaning, but ended up hurting people more than helping.
Imminent Domain is being used in Clark County to take land and buildings for widening roads and will undoubtedly be used in the future should the County Monarchy succeed in forcing Light Rail upon us, along with Major Leavitt’s notion of “High Density Residences” downtown along those rail lines.
It’s no longer referred to as “Urban Renewal,” but “Social Engineering” where government “encourages” people to move into apartments in designated living areas.
No, there are no slums along the proposed rail lines, but just as we see in Portland, where hundreds of trees are currently being chopped down in order to place light rail on a block that runs parallel to a street car line on the next block, a once quaint neighborhood is being turned into a hell hole of asphalt and steel rail lines.
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August 23, 2011
Apparently oblivious to the elongated Great Recession we remain mired in, here comes C-Tran wanting more of our dwindling money. Proposition 1, appearing on our ballots in the November general election, will raise sales taxes to maintain current bus service, they claim. As I previously showed here, they aren’t exactly struggling to make ends meet, like many middle class taxpayers in Clark County are currently.
With a 24% increase in families earning less than $35K a year and the poverty rate in Clark County increasing to 11.8% in 2009 (the latest year reported), people in Clark County continue to struggle with lower wages and unemployment. We can ill afford more taxes, especially with so many tax and fee proposals staring us in the face.
I have long advocated a vote of NO on any measure concerning C-Tran to send a message to our elected officials, aka ‘ruling class,’ and maintain that position. But, along with sending them a message over lying to us and denying us a county-wide vote on light rail maintenance and operations, a look at how inefficiently C-Tran continues to be operated also calls for a NO vote for a few additional reasons.
Seeing public opinion unfavorable on the prospect of paying more taxes, Keep Clark County Moving PAC has launched a “Preserve Our Buses” webpage, complete with the usual dire circumstances that will befall the low income, senior citizens and the disabled that rely on bus service. (PDC Report on Keep Clark County Moving PAC contributors)
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