Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dump the Vancouver City Cartel

With the latest stunt of Vancouver, Washington mayor Tim Leavitt and the city council, which more resemble a cartel than an elected body of representatives, it has come time to vote out any up for reelection.

Last September Mayor Leavitt, now known for his blatant lies to be elected as the Mayor in opposing tolling the new bridge that will eventually be constructed across the Columbia River, engineered a little sleight of hand trick, combining a citizen vote on extending Portland, Oregon’s financially failing Light Rail in with a vote for a sales tax increase to “preserve and expand existing C-Tran bus service” in Clark County.

One lone council member, Jeanne Stewart, gauging strong public sentiment against light rail from Portland, cast the deciding vote to split the ballot measures, correctly seeing that the public wasn’t going to fall for Leavitt’s trick and that C-Tran would most lose a significant portion of their funding.

Leavitt and the rest of the city cartel ungraciously voted to oust her from the C-Tran board, replacing her with Larry Smith.

Since announcement last September of Fate of light rail will go before voters and Leavitt’s claim of, “Our city council will certainly evaluate our options. Personally, I will look at what progress has been made and whether or not it’s productive for the city council to take an opposing position,” he has continued to do what he can to stop the voices of citizens who oppose forcing this $4.6 Billion boondoggle down the throats of a struggling community.

Vancouver might veto countywide light-rail vote

In a very short period of time, we have seen Tim Leavitt campaigning for Mayor with numerous well documented promises of fighting and opposing tolls to strongly supporting them as well as numerous cries at city cartel meetings that they have no say in the matter to threatening strong arm tactics if the project doesn’t go as Leavitt deems it should.

All but one in the cartel follows his lead and support him, citizens and taxpayers of Vancouver and Clark County be damned. Long ago calls of government “of the people, by the people and for the people” lost in a haze of dictatorial machinations of Leavitt and the Vancouver City Cartel.

From the now famous “gavel down” incident of Jeanne Harris to Tim Leavitt bringing in a “friend” to claim intimidation, Leavitt has worked to silence, ignore and marginalize citizens who see dangers for the future of the community in this over-sold project. Mayor Leavitt ready to cut open mic at city council meetings

Although the cartel reached a compromise on the above that did not completely silence citizens, clearly Leavitt thinks election to Mayor grants him carte blanche to dictate to citizens of Vancouver and Clark County, hiding his disdain for taxpayers under a facade of reason and caring, who in the cartel stood up and told him that was not the way? Who in the cartel stood up to Jeanne Harris’ abusive conduct towards citizens? Who in the cartel has taken the time to gauge citizens concerns and respond to the citizens?

Sadly, not one of the 3 up for reelection this year. Not Pat Campbell. Not Bart Hansen. Not Larry Smith.

Bart is the youngest and still green behind the ears who needs to work on perfecting his sarcasm to fully fit into Levitt’s cartel.

Pat Campbell seems to be least outspoken of the 3 up for reelection and on who I have enjoyed sparring with and having serious discussions as well. Still, even though he advocated a vote on the CRC recently, he votes along with Leavitt in blocking that vote.

Larry Smith, a retired Army Officer who has worked tirelessly advocating for Veterans and was instrumental in supporting the “Our Community Salutes” recognition of graduating High School Seniors enlisting in the U.S. Army, is one I probably respect the most.

But, in spite of the deep respect I have gained for Larry, he seems to have forgotten why we served and swore an oath of “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...”

He stood for citizens last year when a proposed “Parks Ordinance” came along that placed limitations of “expressive gatherings,” free speech assemblies, protests or spur of the moment gatherings by citizens in support of against government policies.

Yet, he too supports Leavitt’s efforts to get the CRC project into the community and put off a vote of citizens and taxpayers.

Even the Columbian, who favors the CRC Project including Light Rail, says through editor Lou Brancaccio, Let the community be heard who summarizes his editorial as, “Clark County leaders should hear from Clark County residents. Not everything should rise to the level of holding a vote to hear voices. But huge things should. And this is a huge thing.” I couldn’t agree more.

So far I have only heard of two, Larry Smith and Bart Hansen announcing the intent to run for reelection. If Pat Campbell has, my apologies, I must have missed it.

I also have only heard of one challenger announcing to date, Bill Turlay who will be challenging Campbell.

I’m hearing of some considering running against the other two, but will not say more until they decide to announce.

As it stands right now, I cannot support any of the 3 sitting on the cartel currently. Fortunately for them, I do not reside within the city limits of Vancouver, so I will not get to vote.

But, I urge all of you who will get to vote, don’t accept any at face value. Look deep into their records, where they have stood on important issues and what they have supported in over-spending and costly projects that wastes our hard-earned tax dollars.

Only you within the city limits can affect the change that will replace the Vancouver City Cartel and create the Vancouver City Council that will be responsive to citizen concerns.

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