Any who have been following the Columbian the past few days have seen the problems unearthed in the city of Washougal, Washington where their mayor, Stacee Sellers is accused of some improper use of tax dollars on personal trips pertaining to charges on her city credit card resulting from an accountability audit.
Whether or not Washougal’s mayor is guilty of anything remains to be seen and I am not here to judge her. That will all be settled soon I hope for the citizens of Washougal.
However, this matter has brought something more important to light that must be addressed and placed in front of Washington State voters within the 3rd Congressional District. That being, city councilman Jon Russell who is campaigning for the nomination to run against 6 term Democrat congressman Brian Baird in next years election.
Washougal is a small town with a population of less than 9,000 people, just east of Vancouver, Washington. Jon Russell occupies a seat on the city council comprised of 7 citizens. As in any city council, their duties are to provide oversight of the mayor and to ensure matters pertaining to the city are not just rubber stamped through, but openly discussed and whatever is done is for the benefit of the city’s residents, not individuals.
With the revelation of possible improprieties by the mayor, Stacee Sellers, Jon unwittingly has shown his immaturity or lack of experience for such a seat in his effort to distance himself from the mayor and the accusations against her.
From the first article linked above we read,
“Council member Jon Russell said he believed the findings showed that the problems were bigger than oversights.
“I don’t think these are cracks, they’re craters,” he said. “It looks like a pattern that is not being dealt with and that is not being brought to the attention of the council.”
Russell said he wants the council to hold a special meeting to look into each problem and discipline responsible parties, even ask for resignations if necessary.
“I don’t see how we can trust this administration in moving forward with anything,” he said.”
Does Jon not realize the city council IS part of the administration?
Further eroding confidence in Jon is the second article linked where we see,
“The people responsible for that oversight are members of the city council. Three council members — [Jon] Russell, Lou Peterson and Paul Greenlee — make up the finance committee tasked with approving city employees’ and officials’ receipts and spending.”
Jon appears to be the head of the oversight committee charged with overseeing city expenditures. But he also says he doesn’t recall whether he saw details of the Las Vegas trip expenditures claiming,
“It’s not at all a perfect system.”
The real rub comes in the explanation,
“The committee members do not meet to discuss the expenditures; that practice ended several years ago in favor of council workshops. Instead, members are told to go to Sellers with questions, Russell said.
“We have been told by the mayor not to talk to department heads to get answers, that everything has to go through her.”
Jon has been on the council for at least a couple years now and surely must know his duties were to provide oversight alongside the other council members. If what he says is accurate, why has he sat back until now and tolerated such orders from the mayor?
If Jon is unable to stand up to the mayor of a small town of some 9,000, how would he ever stand up to the likes of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington D.C.?
I take no pleasure in bringing this out and in fact, from meeting Jon in person, I like him. But, we in the 3rd District that see congressman Baird has lost sight of who he is supposed to represent want a strong candidate to run against him and someone who will stand up for us and take on the established power base back in Washington D.C. We do not want someone who will go there, collect their salary and perks and just do as they’re told.
I still think Jon is a good guy and has a future with government if he continues. But, at this time, he simply is not ready to tackle the likes of Brian Baird or Nancy Pelosi in campaigning. He just doesn’t have the experience yet.
On the other hand, we also have a candidate that has experience in Washington D.C. with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security, David Castillo of Olympia.
Jon, you look almost as bad as the mayor in this. If she is exonerated of all charges, you remain looking bad in not standing up to her or seeing the excessive expenditures. It is either your naiveté or inexperience.
There is no shame in deciding to wait and gain some valuable experience for a future run at higher office.
Join us Jon. Get behind David Castillo and let’s get Baird out of office this time and get an experienced conservative in office to represent the 3rd Congressional District.
Remember Jon, if you couldn’t stand up to a small town mayor, how would you ever stand up to Nancy Pelosi?