Posts tagged ‘Taxpayer Rip-Off’

November 17, 2012

CRC Proponents Ignoring The Will Of The Voters

by lewwaters

Once again, voters in Clark County have spoken on dragging Portland, Oregon’s financially failing light rail into our community by defeating the latest C-Tran Proposition 1 for raising the sales tax to cover the cost of operations & maintenance of the light rail line. Just as before, voters resoundingly rejected it by nearly 20,000 votes.

In spite of claims otherwise by proponents, the vote was well known among voters to be a proxy vote on light rail itself since all promises previously made of letting voters vote on whether or not we even want Portland’s folly have been denied by elected rulers.

One of the first was Vancouver’s Mayor, ‘Teflon’ Tim Leavitt, known for lying through his teeth to win office as upon seeing the results of the election indicated the “result only confirms that voters do not support raising sales tax to pay for light rail.”

August 20, 2012

Yes Mr. Obama, We Can Wait.

by lewwaters

There is a story circulating of two little girls running to be elected president of their 3rd Grade Class. One girl speaks before the class with several good ideas on how class time could be improved and how she could lead the class to learn more. The second little girl stands up and promises all of the kids’ free ice cream, with no regard for who will deliver it, who will pay for it, what flavors or anything. The second little girl wins by a landslide when votes are counted.

In a nutshell, that is how many incumbents from Washington D.C. campaign and end up being reelected, promising things that no one questions the how, why or where it comes from, especially when their polls numbers indicate the likelihood of losing office after one term.

Currently we see Barack Obama nearing the end of his first term and not enjoying a significant lead in the polls, often trailing slightly as in the August 20, 2012 Rasmussen Daily Tracking poll, promising ice cream all over the country. Be it an executive order to stop deportations of some illegal aliens, promises of a special African-American education office and any myriad of promises if only the people reelect him, the promise of free ice cream for votes is flowing from his campaign.

July 18, 2012

Herrera Beutler Comes Out Of the Closet, Supports CRC

by lewwaters

It’s not like this blog and Clark County Politics blog hasn’t been trying to warn you all for the last few years, but first term congress member Jaime Herrera Beutler has expressed her support of replacing the Interstate Bridge and supporting light rail from Portland, allegedly depending on how voters vote for a tax increase on the operations & maintenance of the light rail portion this November.

That the pro-CRC Columbian, also known as the unofficial daily newsletter of the Democrat Party endorses her again speaks tons as the paper is hard pressed to back any candidate not in full support of the ripping off Clark County taxpayers to bail out Portland’s Metro and their financially plagued light rail.

They attempt to soft shoe her with, “Herrera Beutler is so Republican as to sign Grover Norquist’s no-tax-increase pledge, but not so deeply Republican as to oppose all aspects of the Columbia River Crossing. She supports replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge and is waiting to see the outcome of a fall vote when C-Tran service district voters will decide if the sales tax should be increased to fund maintenance and operation of light rail. If voters reject that proposal, Herrera Beutler says she would support a bridge replacement without light rail or a bridge built to accommodate light rail later. She said tolls is a matter to be decided by the state.”

July 8, 2012

They Get The Goldmine, We Get The Shaft

by lewwaters

California has long been known as the “Golden State,” noted for the Gold Rush Days of the mid-1800’s with that nickname being officially adopted in 1968. For many years, California was seen as one of the wealthiest states and the destination of many seeking to make their fortune in the world along with several International Businesses that located there.

But California’s leaders just like our leaders in Washington D.C. lost track somewhere along the line as both that state and the nation now each hold the largest debt in our history, California’s exceeding $300 Billion and the United States exceeding $16 Trillion with both still climbing.

We have gone from the wealthiest land to the deepest in debt on the planet, with money owed to just about every other developed nation, large bank, insurance companies and Wall Street as politicians continue selling us down the river towards collapse.

July 5, 2012

C-TRAN Expenses Outpace National Inflation Rate

by lewwaters

Washington Policy Center, a non-partisan, public policy think tank based in Seattle recently completed a study of the costs of C-Tran that revealed some startling Key Facts. It is no secret that taxpayers that do not use C-Tran transportation pick up the bulk of the costs of operating the system, something especially Democrat legislators and elected officials keep justifying.

We heard it all during the 2011 C-Tran sales tax increase on how they needed more of our money or Granny and the handicapped would be left standing in the rain because there would be no buses. They got their tax increase and now want another this year to pay for operations and maintenance for forcing us to accept Portland light rail intruding into our community, while denying us another vote whether we even want it, fearing that once again we would defeat it at the polls.

TriMet/Metro, who operates Portland’s Public Transportation is nearing bankruptcy, their costs rising so high it is completely unsustainable. A large part of their extremely high cost is wages, benefits and pensions, some of the most lucrative in the country.

May 27, 2012

Mayor Leavitt’s Memorial Day Weekend Snow Job

by lewwaters

Leave it to Tim Leavitt, unfortunately still the mayor of Vancouver, Washington, to make another plea for the deep dark hole sucking up money as fast it can Columbia River Project instead of saying something relevant to thank all of those have died defending our country, even though that is why we have the three-day weekend.

Leavitt, who readily lied through his teeth in order to be elected as Mayor in 2009 has an Op-Ed appearing in the Sunday, May 27, 2012 Columbian, Local View: Crumbling roads, bridges show why Congress must act where he attempts to paint a picture of the aging, yet still sound Interstate Bridge Structure as “crumbling” and “structurally deficient,” urging Congress to come up with the estimated $4 Billion to start their replacement.

We hear the usual words like “negatively affecting our region’s economy and livability” and “Significant safety and congestion problems” destined to only get worse. We hear all of the usual canards the CRC and supporters use to force this project on the citizens of Clark County, while continuing to block any efforts at allowing citizens in the county to voice whether or not they want it through a vote.

What we don’t hear is that real and only reason this project even exists is to force Portland, Oregon’s financially ailing light rail into our community, as was shown in an Oregon Supreme Court Ruling earlier this year.

March 7, 2012

Is Congresswoman Herrera Beutler Paying Any Attention?

by lewwaters

Totally unbelievable that as more and more revelations of incompetence keep being revealed, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, in who’s district the bridge is located seems to be completely oblivious to what continues being revealed. A partial list can be seen in my recent posts here and here or simply scanning through current editions and archives of Couv.com and the Willamette Week, particularly articles by Nigel Jaquiss.

With all of the revelations of the bridge not supply sufficient clearance for river traffic, the Oregon Supreme Court admitting the prime reason for the project was to overcome Clark County’s objection to light rail, traffic estimates being wrong that proposed tolling is based upon, questionable financing and accounting and many more problems facing this $3.6 Billion boondoggle, what does our freshman 3rd Congressional District do?

Send out the following mailer, of course.

March 7, 2012

CRC and WSDOT: Defending the Indefensible

by lewwaters

After years of “studies” and planning, not to mention sinking nearly $150 Million of taxpayer money into the abyss we call the Columbia River Crossing project, revelations previously marginalized, if not hidden, seem to be coming forth in a rapid pace. By all appearances, more and more it shows that we “Hounds of Whinerville,” citizens and business owners who have spoken against this boondoggle have been largely correct in their warnings.

The appearance of gross incompetence of this project is almost unimaginable. That anybody would even attempt to defend this high level of incompetence is even more unbelievable. But, with every revelation that has come out, that is exactly what some elected leaders and directors of the WSDOT and CRC continue to do.

How can we forget the abysmal treatment of forensic accountant Tiffany Couch after her independent audit of what documents she received from CRC pertaining to the finances of the project raised several red flags? Questionable payments, unaccounted for funds, questionable accounting practices all swept under the rug as WSDOT used two of their top level people to review her findings before writing them off and claiming theirs was an “independent review.”

Tie that to the claims of 49th legislative district representative Jim Moeller who said of her findings, “In a project of such huge scale and complexity, at least some errant billing and bookkeeping is inevitable,” before demeaning Ms. Couch with, “I think that Tiffany is doing the job she was hired to do, and that’s stop the project” questioning her objectivity due to her being hired by successful businessman David Madore, a critic of the project.

But who questions Moeller’s “objectivity” what with the project being in his district?

December 16, 2011

Will ‘Boss Leave-it’s’ Choo Choo Train Die Like Detroit’s Did?

by lewwaters

An interesting article from the Detroit Free Press tells us how Detroit’s dream of a choo choo train died and was killed off due to “doubts that Detroit could pay operating costs over the long term for the light-rail line because of its and the state’s financial problems…”

While we in Clark County aren’t in quite as severe financial problems as is Detroit and the state of Michigan, we do continue to see middle class taxpayers struggling well into our 3rd year of double digit unemployment, not helped by the recent slate of tax and fee increases handed to us by the state, county and city.

We also have the little matter of strong opposition still to the Loot Rail aspect of the CRC and that recent polls indicate how SW Washington remains strongly opposed to tolling. None of that seems to matter to ‘Boss Leave-it’ as he remains determined to tax and toll us to ensure he gets his choo choo train from Portland.

November 20, 2011

C-Tran Already Drooling For Even More of Your Tax Dollars

by lewwaters

In a Sunday November 20, 2011 Op-Ed in our local version of Pravda, the Columbian, that should rightfully be filed away in the “have you no shame” column, C-TRAN Executive Director/CEO Jeff Hamm, still drooling over having successfully conned nearly 54% of Clark County voters begins laying out his next rip-off of taxpayers, in our third year of double digit unemployment.

Oddly enough, Hamm now informs us that C-Van will be expanded with the passage of Proposition 1. I don’t recall much, if any mention that part of Prop 1 was to “expand” C-Van, do you? I thought all along it was if they didn’t get deeper into our pockets, Granny and the handicapped were going to be left standing out in the cold with no way to get to the doctor.

Apparently gazing into some liberal prophetic crystal ball, Hamm says, “Someday soon, Clark County will return to times of economic prosperity and again grow its population and employment base.”

“Someday soon?” I thought the Clark County Pravda has been telling us how much better things are now, with 9% unemployment being a “new norm” Democrats speak of and supporters of Prop 1 telling us we are stingy and greedy if we don’t give up more of our dwindling paychecks to whatever the ruling class in Clark County tells us we must.

July 26, 2011

Show The Yakima Bears the Door

by lewwaters

[Updated to reflect a major correction by the Columbian in who owns the stadium]

[Update 2: More on specific ownership of the stadium from Stephanie Rice added]

Vancouver’s city council got their first formal presentation for the Class A ball Team, Yakima Bears planned move to Vancouver. All council members except Pat Campbell have given City Manager “Erik Holmes the OK to research the issue and engage in potential discussions with Clark County” for adding a 5% entertainment tax throughout the county pay for construction of a $23 Million stadium adjacent to Clark College.

The Columbian

There are several pros & cons to relocating a Class A ball team to Vancouver, a large con being that 5% entertainment tax added to movie tickets, golf courses and several other forms of entertainment.

Although Clark County taxpayers will be on the hook for 70% of the costs of the proposed stadium, we were told “the stadium would be owned and maintained by Short Season LLC.” Stephanie Rice, the writer of the article posted this morning, “Key correction: the sentence should read (and now does) ‘the stadium would be publicly owned but maintained by Short Season LLC’.”

UPDATE 2: Comment from Stephanie Rice, “Lew, to be even more specific, the team would own it while the debt was being repaid, then it would be publicly owned. Here’s what I was told by the team when I asked why in documents it says the team would own it: ‘Ownership is during the period in which the facility is indebted. It secures the asset until the debt is retired. Then it is free and clear a public facility’.”

City council members Larry Smith and Jack Burkman asked to hear alternatives to the entertainment tax and were told of none.

Asked why taxpayers should pay for the stadium, Mike Thiessen of Short Season LLC said that “the team would be putting up 30 percent of the construction costs for a stadium it would use 13 percent of the time.”

That’s not exactly reassuring.

I have kept an open mind on this proposal, even though voicing concerns over its location next to the Vancouver Campus of the Veterans Hospital, but reading “After the workshop, co-owner K.L. Wombacher said the team does have alternate plans, but they don’t involve the city of Vancouver seals it for me.

It’s time to close the books and show these people the door.

We do not need to be threatened into coughing up tax dollars for a new stadium to be owned by a private enterprise “at a time when public services are being cut, a fire station closed, federal grants used to keep cops on the street and the city lacks money to fill all its potholes,” as expressed by Tim Leavitt’s former campaign manager, Temple Lentz as she “questioned the rationality of raising a tax for a stadium.”

Ms. Lentz expressed, “The terms political will and vision were used as qualities to make this happen. But giving $20 million of other people’s money to the first guy who comes up and asks for it is not political will or vision.”

July 21, 2011

It Appears Those “Ankle Biting Hounds From Whinerville” Were Right

by lewwaters

Oh those “Ankle biting hounds from Whinerville” as John Laird, the Columbian’s editorial page editor so eloquently described those who have spoken out in opposition of the Columbia River crossing project. They’ve been ridiculed, demeaned, shouted down, gaveled down, marginalized and mostly ignored. Speaking out against the CRC, especially the loot rail component of the project has been treated as blasphemy by supporters such as John Laird and others at the Columbian.

But they didn’t stop, they kept speaking out, writing letters, holding meetings, scheduling seminars inviting experts from all walks knowledgeable about such projects. Seeing that some $130 Million was spent with nothing to show for it, cronyism in people hired and paid quite handsomely for producing very little and questions continually ignored, Vancouver Businessman David Madore, at his expense, hired a forensic auditor to go through the mountains of documents finally given under a FOIA request.

It’s an old tactic to flood a ton of documents, many unrelated when trying to hide what is really there. The concept is the one seeking information will get bored with pouring over frivolous papers and either give up or miss what is right before their eyes.

It didn’t work.

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