Archive for January 4th, 2010

January 4, 2010

VP Biden Makes Unexpected Visit To Troops At Walter Reed

by lewwaters

Giving credit where credit is due, following in the precedent set by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, current VP Joe Biden took time out on Friday, December 25, Christmas Day to spend some time with our wounded Troops at Walter Reed Hospital.

He did not travel to Walter Reed with a press entourage or to make headlines, unlike his boss who flew off to Hawaii for some personal relaxation, golf and watching the waves.

I’m not a big fan of Biden’s, but such a visit, not a photo op and made out of appreciation for our Troops sacrifice, earn a bit of admiration from me.

Good going, Joe. At least one person in the White House has a little class.

Few reports of the visit were made known, other than by the Hill, Politico and Fox News

January 4, 2010

Hope N Change At The County Assessors Office?

by lewwaters

Incumbent Clark County Assessor Linda Franklin, a Democrat first elected in 2002, is coming under fire from challenger, Salmon Creek property appraiser and Certified General Appraiser Peter Van Nortwick, running as a Republican.

Clark County Conservative posted Van Nortwick’s intention of running to replace Franklin this past August at Peter Van Nortwick To Run For County Assessor.

The Columbian published a back and forth between Franklin and Van Nortwick today, January 4, 2010 under the headline, Challenger slams county assessor’s performance.

I encourage you all to read the Columbian’s article.

County Assessor is one of those races that we voters tend to easily overlook, opting for “more important” races such as Senators, Representatives, Mayors and such. We as voters should begin paying attention to what we often view as “lesser races,” such as this one.

It is our money, our property taxes paid on our homes that hang in the balance and we need to have an efficient and trustworthy Assessor on the job. We homeowners may not like paying taxes, but we swallow it as we do other home expenses and deserve to be charged a fair amount, not overcharged to make-up budget shortfalls, especially in this protracted recession we are currently weathering.

Van Nortwick makes some pretty serious charges against the Assessors Office and I must say, Ms. Franklin’s defense comes across pretty lame.

In charging Ms. Franklin of bungling a software update, Van Nortwick says, “My background is in business. When you switch systems, you run two systems next to each other, so you can make the switch over.”

Ms. Franklin makes the excuse of, “It’s very expensive to have all the work being done twice. If he were a business person with an actual staff, he would understand that.”

Yet, Ms. Franklin claims she “was a computer systems analyst, and an instructor at Clark College” before hiring into the Assessors Office.

I would think someone laying claim to such a computer background could properly make a software update without so many mistakes.

The late appraisals many received were due to that software update Ms. Franklin speaks of. She says, “It’s not unusual to be late with assessments. It happens when you’re dealing with software. … Staff is doing the very best they can.”

Of course, we also hear of budget cuts, but can the cuts made to the Assessor’s Office be any worse than the cuts in salary or work hours many of us homeowners have received this past year?

Do our mortgage companies accept many late payments and not charge us late fees or foreclose on our homes?

Interesting enough, back in November 2009, 3 people were cut from the Assessors Office staff. Is it coincidence that 2 of those cut had previously run against Linda Franklin for County Assessor?

Rumor has it that the third person cut was critical of Ms. Franklin’s management of the Assessor’s Office.

I recall how fast our property was reappraised as the housing bubble grew. I don’t know about your property, but mine hasn’t been coming down quite as fast since the bubble burst.

My sister and I own a building lot in Central Florida that was quickly reappraised and our taxes on that property adjusted to a fairer level.

Also blamed on “software delays,” a mistaken estimate affecting Clark County Fire and Rescue. Her Office calculated that Clark County Fire and Rescue wouldn’t have to make any cuts, leading to a week of confusion and resulting in the lay-off of 23 employees from the fire agency covering Ridgefield, La Center and Battle Ground addresses.

Of this “mistake,” Ms. Franklin says, “It was an honest mistake by one of [my] staff.”

She also adds that she “feels really bad for the people who were personally affected by it.”

Van Nortwick charges that some 85% of homes in Clark County are unfairly assessed.

Ms. Franklin counters that her office “ranked among the 10 most accurate on all measures in 2008.”

Van Nortwick says he can still make it better, citing, “How could it be, when you’re properly mass appraising, that you have these huge variations?”

As I said early on, this is one of the races that don’t usually draw much attention from voters, many just marking a name on the ballot with little or no information on the person.

Maybe it is time we started paying more attention to these “lesser elections” and instituted some of that “Hope N Change” that was so prevalently mentioned in 2008.

January 4, 2010

An Open Message To Democrat Politicians

by lewwaters

While I disagree that “WE trusted and elected” those holding America hostage in Washington D.C., the message is clear. Americans are fed up.

Republicans, you don’t get a pass, either. The Democrats have shown they are not trustworthy and in the past, so did you.

So, to you Republican politicians, get your act together or you too will be found in the unemployment line.

America belongs to us, the citizens of this great country, not you, the politicians that have misrepresented us for far too long.

January 4, 2010

DeBolt Declines To Run For Baird’s Seat, Supports David Castillo

by lewwaters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Jan. 3, 2010

CONTACT: Richard DeBolt (360) 304-7900

Statement from Rep. Richard DeBolt to the citizens of the 20th District

“Since the announcement of Rep. Brian Baird’s retirement, I have been encouraged by the words of support and the thoughtful perspectives many of you have shared on the merits of running for Congress. While there is a strong appeal to bring solutions to the failures of Washington, D.C., I will not be a candidate for Congress this year. Instead I will continue to represent our communities in the state Legislature.

“As Republican Leader in the State House of Representatives, there is still incredible opportunity to bring needed change to the state of Washington. There is unfinished business in that regard for me and my Republican colleagues in Olympia. Making government more accountable and creating prosperity for Washington families is still my passion. This coupled with the considerations of my family and the need to keep my focus closer to home simply made it the wrong time for me to consider a bid for Congress.

“As some of you know, I have given my support to David Castillo, who announced that he was running for Congress in Washington’s 3rd District, even before Rep. Baird made public his plans to retire. David still has my unwavering support and I believe he would be a strong partner as we work together to provide a voice for the families of Southwest Washington.”

Voters in the third district, David Castillo is the first candidate to file to run aganst Brian Baird. He did not wait until the “coast was clear” by Baird’s announced retirement. He was prepared for a hard fought campaign against an entrenched incumbent.

David has the experience, having served in the Department of Homeland Security and Veterans Administration.

He has the ideas and conservative values taught him by his single mother.

It is no secret that Clark County Conservative wholly endorses and supports David. I do so because  when I first met David, I saw something that I have not seen in a politician of either party for some time, sincerity and confidence.

He has not been “groomed” by party insiders for party agenda. He does not have a former employer in D.C. fronting for him or calling in favors to advertise his entry into the race.

What he has is a desire to actually represent all of us in the third district, Democrat and Republican and yes, Independents too.

Organize a get together of your own and ask David to attend. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you see and hear with this young man.

David Castillo, Republican for Congress, Wa. 03

DeBolt Opts Not to Run for Congress in 2010