Columbia River Crossing Fatcats Continue Assault on Citizens

by lewwaters

After years and years of endless studies and well over $100 Million in taxpayer money wasted, the likelihood of a wasteful, overly expensive new bridge across the Columbia River, including extending Portland’s Loot Rail into Vancouver, seems to be building to a fever pitch as the fatcats who stand to increase their personal wealth on the backs of struggling taxpayers apparently have lined up the troops to begin attacking through the Columbian those who are concerned with bankrupting our community with this boondoggle.

We see city government falling in line and taking measures to squelch dissent to the project, shortly after Washington State Senator Patty Murray visited Vancouver, leaving behind her instructions to local business and political leaders to get behind the project.

Along with that comes a pledge of the federal government picking up some 11% of the estimated $4 Billion cost, which most likely will increase greatly once these fatcats succeed in shoving this project down our throats, or up another part of our anatomy.

The Columbian, like trained little puppies, seems to have fallen in line, as expected, by publishing article after article on how we must allow this bankrupting of the city and county and opposition should be silenced, or at least shuffled off into a darkened corner where their voices will not be heard.

Seems I remember a time when newspapers exposed corrupt officials and projects and supported citizens, not join in with the strong-arm tactics and corrupt officials. I must have been dreaming.

The latest assault against citizens of Clark County was launched just this morning, Sunday February 20, 2011 by John Laird, the acerbic, rabid pit bull editorial page editor in his screed, Local ankle biters are filing their fangs.

In the past, Laird has labeled citizens with concerns as “Hounds of Whinerville,” “Toll Haters United Must Protest! (THUMP)” and “torch lighters and pitchfork pounders” to name a few.

Addressing tomorrow’s listening session at the PUD Building by the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Florida Republican John Mica Laird growls, “For the local group BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything), Monday morning’s transportation ‘listening session’ will be better than going to Disneyland.”

Right off the bat, Laird begins with the lie that we that oppose this fiasco want “absolutely nothing built anywhere near anything,” as even he shows deeper into his haranguing tirade, when he states “A third bridge is fantasy for many reasons.” Chief amongst those reasons? Portland would never allow it.

Unexplained is why do we in Vancouver, Washington, a city in our own right in a sovereign state have to continue knuckling under to a city of leftwing lunatics across the river in another state? Nowhere in any of Laird’s ‘frothing at the mouth’ editorials is that ever explained.

Laird tells us that struggling taxpayers paying out in more taxes and bridge tolls to support an archaic mode of transportation, Loot Rail, is good for us. Sure John, we ‘little people,’ the ‘peons’ of Clark County, who will shoulder the lion’s share of the expense of the fiasco shouldn’t have control of our diminishing wages. You know, those wages you would like us to purchase your newspaper with as it continues to struggle coming out of bankruptcy?

Laird tells us how much citizens in Dallas, Texas and other such places just love paying tolls. Bullshit, John! They too have no choice in the matter as they were shoved down their throats. We also see Ridership is falling fast there. We also see that Dallas County, Texas has a population of over 2.5 million people, compared to Clark County’s 430,000 and Multnomah County’s 725,000.

The combined metropolitan area of the two counties’ doesn’t even equal half of what Dallas County has and even they have troubles down there.

Laird doesn’t address increased crime rate associated with Loot Rail. My guess is intentionally as even he has to know that along with Loot Rail comes increase crime. The Portland Tribune recently ran an article addressing increased crime, specifically drug dealers in the Old Town area of Portland. A glaring admission is made by Portland Police officer Daryl Turner as he states, “when TriMet’s new MAX line began operation in 2009, the drug trade became worse. The trains, he says, provide quick transportation in and out of the neighborhood and an inconspicuous place to make deals.”

Earlier, The Clackamas County sheriff let it be known, “In the five months since the MAX Green line first arrived at the Clackamas Town Center, crime in the surrounding area is up 32 percent this year and calls for service are up 56 percent compared to 2009.”

Little wonder rabid pit bull Laird, or his yapping little poodle protégé at the downtown kennel, who couldn’t wait to let it be known when a county commissioner referred to a citizen and successful business owner as a “crackpot” over standing up against tyrannical tactics to force this boondoggle down our throats, don’t want the crime rate associated with Loot Rail known.

Laird likes to make it known that he is allegedly a Texan, a Southerner. He might be Texan by birth, but that is it. Texans and Southerners have a history of standing up for others. For opposing encroaching government mandates that stifle citizens rights. For fighting injustices and for keeping America free.

John, I am a Southerner, by birth and in my heart. I have known many other Southerners in my life. You John, are no Southerner.

I encourage all that can to attend Rep. Mica’s “listening session,” Monday, February 21, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Vancouver Service Center (PUD Building) located at 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA.

For those who still have a job and can’t, please send or call in your concerns over this project to:

Geoffrey Strobeck
Geoffrey.Strobeck@mail.house.gov
Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
(202)225-6715

I would caution you though. Lou Brancaccio seems to be allowing John Laird to run around town off of his leash and I’m not sure his rabies vaccination is up to date.

12 Responses to “Columbia River Crossing Fatcats Continue Assault on Citizens”

  1. Thanks for the great op-ed, Lew. There is a saying: First they ignore you, then they call you names, then they attack you, then they lose. Guess which stage this group of “Let’s fleece Vancouver” folks is in? Yup. They are attacking – big time. Next step…they lose. They deserve to lose. Their $100M + wasteful spending on a project that didn’t hold up under scrutiny – the fact that this is the first project in the United States to have the Light rail-associated parking structures (2 of them) located in a downtown area (making Vancouver the guinea pigs), the fact that very few people in Vancouver want light rail, and the fact that these guys understand that and refuse to give us a county-wide vote is reprehensible!

    I still can’t understand why Jeff Hamm, Director of C-Tran, wants to put C-Tran’s future in jeopardy by supporting this light rail system that will ultimately cut successful bus lines out of the bus system in favor of the light rail lines. I don’t understand why he wants to support a system that harms bus service and routes. Just look at Portland and the number of routes that have been cut. If I were a C-Tran employee or board member, or rider, I would really have to question the irrational thinking behind Mr. Hamm’s decisions.

    Everyone!!!! Show up tomorrow, (Monday) at 8:30A.M. I will have a sign for you and a big “No Light rail” button for you to wear! We want to line the route that Chairman Mica will be traveling. Also, we want to give you some pointers on how to side step the unions’ strong-arm tactics when they want to push you off of the sidewalk. (Yes, that did happen at the Murray rally, last year. Some of them just aren’t very nice!)

    See you, tomorrow, Monday, at 8:30 at the PUD Building, (across from the Library)! Debbie

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  2. Lew, did you get into the meeting? (I didn’t.) You would have thought they could have provided a bigger venue, especially considering this is a school holiday. I hope limiting access wasn’t intentional – a subtle form of “gavel down!”

    From a get-out-the-vote perspecitve, the Pro-CRC folks owned the day. NoTolls let the opportunity slip, and might even have embarassed themselves.

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  3. I wasn’t able to get down there, Martin.

    I too wondered about the setting.

    I heard last evening that the pro side was bringing people in from outside the area, but don’t have any proof of that. From what the Columbian says, they were set up very early, complete with coffee urn and some sort of awning. Sounds very organized for such a late in the game group from our community.

    The whole matter of where the support is could be easily put to rest with a vote by the county. It is known the support is slim, so a vote is not preferred.

    Also, today’s holiday means only public union people are off work. Private sector is working. That too raises an eyebrow with me.

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  4. I noticed some OSPIRG comments being submitted. There were clearly many of the public holiday crowd there.
    Vancouver City Councilor Larry Smith had a build the bridge button on. The Columbian blog reported that
    Michael Ennis, director of the Center for Transportation, suggested spending time on performance measures. For example, why spend $1.2 billion on light rail, which would only transport 3 to 10 percent of the commuters. Buses or rapid bus transit would be more cost effective, he said.

    http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/opinion/light-rail-one-year-later-train-broken-promises

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  5. Mica said the public comment period for the hearing will remain open for at least two weeks. Anyone who wishes to submit ideas or recommendations can do so through their local representatives.

    https://herrerabeutler.house.gov/contact-me/email-me

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  6. I was unable to make it there and from I have read all day, going to it didn’t really matter. No one, from Leavitt to Mica desires to hear or abide by “the will of the people” any longer.

    If they did, they would allow a vote again and accept the outcome, one way or the other.

    Cities across the country were given the opportunity to vote on imposing light rail. Even after being voted down, it was brought in anyway, by hook or crook.

    Some 214 year ago, the father of our country, George Washington warned of this and throughout the years, we didn’t listen. We gave up our responsibility as American citizens over to an elected elite who now don’t care about our will, just increasing the personal wealth of some fatcats of both parties.

    All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.”

    However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

    George Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796

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  7. So what is it going to take to get a vote going? And to get the whole county to listen? Maybe a sit-in at a city council meeting of 2 to 300 people over a period of a month?

    I doubt you are hearing much more further complaint at the clark county level since they cannot vote or on the list of agencies responsible to sign the final documents related to this. Same with multnomah county. It will be RTC, DOTs, Metro? and the two federal agencies.

    link: http://www.oregonmetro.gov/index.cfm/go/by.web/id=237

    From the website:

    “The Bi-State Coordination Committee is a subcommittee of Metro’s Joint
    Regional Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPACT) and
    Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC). The role of
    the committee is to review transportation and land-use issues of
    bi-state significance
    and to present recommended actions to JPACT (Washington state coordinated legislative committeee — Jeremy) and
    RTC. The committee is comprised of six members from Clark County and
    seven members from the Portland metro area.”

    And one final question that Margaret brought up at the last board of Clark county commissioners meeting and honestly, I have asked for nearly two and a half years, why is RTC and Bi-state commission NOT recorded on CVTV?

    link to members: (This may have changed within the past couple of months, Fred Hanson no longer runs trimet for example.)

    http://www.rtc.wa.gov/bistate/#members

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  8. A couple of other points that are related to my previous post.

    CVTV has to be “invited” by the host agency to record what is going on (Portland uses Portland Community media to record their CRC meetings.) And from what I hav gathered, the host agency also has to now pay for CVTV to come out & record those meetings. With even further budget cuts being proposed, this is basically going to be harder & harder to get done.

    Most of the offgrid or remote locations is done with video production and camera contractors instead of city or county staff. And from what I remember of the rates, it is NOT cheap!

    So Margaret, keep at them. You might want to speak to Dean Lookingbill and Steve Stuart, those two are the ones who are primary movers and shakers of RTC and the BiState Commission.

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