Monday, May 16, 2011

C-Tran Board, “We Always Get Our Tax Increase”

As TV and Movies have claimed for many years as the Canadian Mounties motto, “we always get our man,” the C-Tran Board has the same tenacity when it comes to always getting whatever tax increase they want, regardless of what taxpayers vote.

This was seen in 2004 when C-Tran spread the fear and dread of needing a .03% sales tax increase to expand and keep operating, still blaming citizens who voted for I-695 in 1999 when we rolled back the outrageous excise we paid every year to re-license our cars.

They put together Proposition 1 for the 2004 General Election and in spite of appearing at advocacy groups to tout the need for more of our money, threatening drastic cutbacks in service and lay-offs, the proposition failed by a vote of 54% against, 46% for.

The bus drivers union voted no confidence in Lynne Griffith, the agency's executive director then. The Columbian editorialized on the loss and began making suggestions, joined by riders of C-Tran and legislators of holding off on cut-backs and to try again.

The County-wide vote showed 85,684 against to 73,959 for. Take note that I mentioned “COUNTY-WIDE vote.” That’s important because as is seen below, the C-Tran Board came right back with Board Resolution BR-05-001, “A RESOLUTION of the C-TRAN Board of Directors conferring upon itself the status of a public transportation conference for the purpose of convening a Public Transportation Improvement Conference to redefine the PTBA boundaries.”

In simple terms, seeing that a County-wide vote will fail to give them the votes they wanted, an elections map identified where they would stand the best chance to get the tax increase they wanted, just redraw the lines of the boundary and get the sales tax vote passed, eliminating those areas of the county that would most likely vote against it.

Ingenious, if not devious at the same time in reality. Knowing that those voters in the outlying regions have to come to town to shop, they will still have to pay the increased tax, but are denied a vote on that increased tax.

The vote was put back on the ballot for the primary election in 2005, an election that not only eliminated quite a bit of the county that would pay the tax, but since primaries are noted for lower voter turnout, even less of a chance at a second defeat.

The tax increase passed in such a gerrymandered voting district by 68% for, 32% against. What should paid attention to is in the 2005 primary, 45,322 voted for, 21,545 against. That is total voter turn-out of 66,867 for the 2005 Primary compared to a total turn-out of 159, 643 just months before in the 2004 General.

This is the new “democratic process” we see in Vancouver and Clark County as the mayor of Portland’s Vancouver, Tim ‘no show’ Leavitt continues to pull any stunt he can to block the county-wide vote for a sales tax increase to fund Light Rail maintenance, split off from the C-Tran sales tax increase proposed just last year for yet more of whatever it is C-Tran claims they need now.

Leavitt isn’t alone in this as others sitting on the C-Tran Board go along with the plan. Voters and taxpayers mean nothing to these people we have elected, only satisfying Identity Clark County and lining the pockets of their members and whoever else is behind forcing Light Rail on the community, even though voters have turned it down every time it has come up for a vote.

Just as the Columbian said when they bemoaned the failure of the 2004 tax increase in their November 7, 2004 editorial, “This mandate for curtailed C-Tran services was issued by public decree, via the voters of Clark County. Even if you disagree with the decree, as we do, it should be respected and implemented.”

Did any elected official listen to that? No.

Are any of today’s elected officials up for re-election showing the attitude of listening to voters?

If you cannot answer yes, you need to vote them out; no matter how much you might personally respect them.

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