Council Member Stewart “Gavels Down” Fellow Council Members

by lewwaters

UPDATE: Added Ms. Stewarts apology to council member Smith for interrupting him

I’m really sorry I missed last evenings Vancouver, Washington City Council Meeting. Had I been present, I would not have been able to contain myself and would have applauded council member Jeanne Stewart for her dressing down of fellow council members for now discussing favorably the very policy they ousted her from the C-Trans board because of her voting for it just weeks ago.

I have to add here that I have come to respect Larry Smith quite a bit over his work with various Veterans’ issues and look forward to working with him in the future. But when I feel he is wrong, I have to state so. And, I feel his and the rest of the council’s decision to cut Ms. Stewart from the board was very wrong.

Troubling to me is hearing the words from Jack Burkman, “the will of the body.” He means what city council determines on how council members will vote in regards to issues on the C-Trans board.

Somehow, “the will of the people” seems lost, “the will of the body,” a majority of the 7 members of city council taking precedence.

That strikes me as communistic, not that I feel Burkman is a communist. But, we allow phrases to slip into our language that can easily be misconstrued towards communist thought.

Ms. Stewart faced the wrath of the Vancouver City Council for taking a stand placing the “will of the people” over the “will of the body” and she was rudely cut out of where we citizens need her most, representing us as wimpish mayor Leavitt and fellow council members continue to ignore citizens concerns over an overly expensive $4.6 Billion project to replace the I-5 Bridge, to include forcing Portland’s financially failing Loot Rail on Clark County citizens.

Also of concern, from Burkman is hearing him utter something about “if we are going to ask residents for tax money, we tell them exactly what they are going to get.”

One problem, Jack, YOU’VE NEVER ASKED US!!

Since council and WaDot decided to ignore the voices of citizens and voters who continually reject extending Loot Rail into Clark County, we have never been asked again, but rather TOLD what we will pay, like it or not!

Hell, we even heard nutless wonder Tim Leavitt let slip on the Lars Larsen show that he does not even want citizens to vote on Loot Rail.

Spin it any way you wish, it I obvious her removal was retribution for thinking of voters and tax payers and placing our concerns over the bullying nonsense we have seen from city council.

Jack, you can polish a turd all you wish, it is still a turd!

Wisely, Jeanne ‘Gavel Down’ Harris kept her mouth shut during the dressing down rightfully administered by Ms. Stewart last evening.

Ms. Stewart was right last November and she was rightfully indignant last evening. If I had been there I believe I would have led a well deserved standing ovation for her words.

At least we have one council member with a pair, even if it is a soft spoken lady.

UPDATE: Jeanne Stewart sent an email apology to council member Larry Smith as follows, “After thoughtful review of the Council meeting on Monday, March 7, 2011, I recognize that I owe you an apology for interrupting you twice, during the discussion on the C Tran issues.”

“And even though my frustration at having been disregarded was justified, my goal as a council member is to lead by example and as such, I sincerely apologize for those interruptions.”

10 Comments to “Council Member Stewart “Gavels Down” Fellow Council Members”

  1. Lew, you should take a look at Council Policy #100-33

    Click to access 100-33.pdf

    It says, “6.0 Councilmembers representing an Official City Position. Individual Councilmembers serving on appointed boards and commissions represent Council as a whole.” This is what I referred to as “the will of the body”.

    This obligates any Councilmember to vote as determined by the majority of Council, “the body”, if Council has taken a position. In the case of the CTRAN vote, there was a thorough discussion and a clear decision by Council as a whole. Although the CTRAN bylaws require three representatives from the City Council, they all are obligated to “represent Council as a whole”.

    Councilmember Stewart could have honored the Council policy by voting as decided by the majority of Council or by abstaining. She was removed as a Council representative to CTRAN for violation of this policy, not for her views.

    Councilmember Stewart approved the policy that contained this statement on April 16, 2007 and again on January 4, 2011. She has called out other Councilmembers who she felt were violating this policy, so she clearly knows what the policy means.

    See the votes at




  2. Jack, I’ve seen the policy and personally, it stinks!

    A lot of noise and accusations have been made over the years with the term “lock-step” thrown about, indicating a derogatory condition. Why send three council members if all 3 are required to vote as told?

    Ask Larry and Pat and I’m sure they too will recall that while in the Army, with a lot of emphasis placed on following orders, we were also told it was our duty to deny following an unlawful order from a superior.

    And again, on your comment about asking citizens for Tax dollars, YOU HAVE NOT ASKED US!

    You’ve told us.

    That is not “representative governance.”

    Remember that, I guess it is outdated now “a government of the people, by the people and for the people?”

    I know Tim received this, but don’t know if you did, so just in case, here: Portland Going Nowhere

    It’s a shame that the biggest pair of balls on the council belongs to a soft spoken lady.


  3. Treason: the deliberate act of betrayal.

    As far as I’m concerned she needs to be removed. As a Vet, you stand together, this women is no damn leader, she voted to approve the policies she is now whining about. Buck up.


  4. Mark, she is the one who voted to split the ballot and give us two different votes on fudning C-Trans separate from funding Loot Rail. She was castigated for it and now, those who castigated her are advocating what she voted for in November, as the people in town wished.

    As a Vet myself, who is it we stood with? The ones blindly leading us into an ambush or the ones who saw a way around the ambush to come up on their flank?

    As an elected official, their duty is to represent us, not dictate to us. Unless of course, you agree with others on the council who have decided to ignore citizens and slap us with exorbitant taxes for a boondoggle project that has repeatedly be voted down by citizens.

    Google Athens, Tennessee, 1946 some time.

    Would you say those Veterans should have just “bucked up” and “stopped whining?”


  5. And that’s the gaping hole in Jack’s reasoning.

    Had he fought this hard to get us a vote and had such a vote taken place, that might be another matter.

    But this kind of thing didn’t stand up at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and it doesn’t stand up here.

    Those arrogant in their power can self-justify anything. Burkman’s effort attempts just that and sadly, fails.

    WE are the “the body” you should concern yourself about, and like the rest of the bridger/looters, YOU DON’T CARE!


  6. Lew,
    All of us council members serve on different boards and commissions as representatives of the Vancouver City Council. When important votes are to be taken in that capacity, we check with the other members discuss/argue matters out and come to a group decision.

    In this matter Stewart voiced her opinion did each of us. Once we reached a majority consensus and she didn’t like the result, Stewart bolted from her role. Rather than ask someone to serve in her stead or vote as the Council decided voicing a personal disagreement, she basically defected- not AWOL – defected. Playing up the victim role, she has got a lot of good folks buying into her bullshit. In the process she has greatly diminished her ability to serve either the City or those folks who have concerns about light rail or the CRC project.

    If she had done similar action on a matter not so popular with this large segment, she would have been rightfully castigated. If she had been in the military under similar conditions where you, I, Kelly, or Mr. Smith worked this would not have ended well for her.

    Democracy only works when folks give it their best shot and agree to live with the result. If their remains a great concern, stick with it and try to make the change over time rather than bail and wail. So unbecoming…


  7. Pat, on some issues I might agree with you. But on one this large and this important, not to mention expensive as well rejected more than once in our past, bolting was the right thing to do. Her vote to split the ballot might have saved C-Trans funding since most of us would have voted NO on both.

    It was a sleight of hand to try to sneak approval of funding for Loot Rail and you know it.

    I am disappointed that you think in requiring a “lock-step” adherence to the “will of the body,” the council is preserving Democracy. Democracy would have been council members heeding citizen input, which remains largely ignored. Democracy is not lying to the public that Loot Rail was a federal requirement on the bloated project when it is not.

    You and Larry served in the same Army I did. Remember the duty to disobey an unlawful order? Think how much worse My Lai might have been had not the majority of Calley’s platoon refused his order to fire on the civilians, instead of the 2 or 3 that did. They were never brought up on charges, the ones who followed Calley and shot innocent civilians were.

    What appears to present, Pat is that all of you acknowledge you were elected to represent the city of Vancouver. Vancouver is not the buildings, the fatcats at Identity Clark County or any other who stands to reap millions in cash off of this boondoggle on struggling taxpayers backs. Vancouver is us, the people, many of whom appear time after time speaking out to let you all know we do not approve of this an why.

    Why pretend to want citizen input and communication if our voices are to either be shuffled off to a dimly lit corner or completely ignored?

    We commoners deserve a voice in something so big and so expensive that we will be strapped paying for well into the next generation and possibly beyond, Pat.


  8. Lew.

    You really aren’t hearing the point. This is procedure. This is put in place to keep order. If Stewart defected and went against what you believe in here you would have been outraged.

    Hinton calls Tim the Liar. Well this can be put on the shoulders of Stewart as well. She is being just as disobedient as Tim by not following the policies she put in place.

    I smell corporation from all sides. Although I would like to thank Jack and Pat for sharing. You actually make sense for once.


  9. Mark, don’t be so quick to assume what I would or would not be outraged over.

    I know it is “procedure” and the procedure stands to cause great harm to taxpayers and the community. It was “procedure” for soldiers to obey orders as well and as I showed Pat, there are valid exceptions to “procedure.”

    Given how this continues to play out, where does this “procedure” take struggling taxpayers into account?

    It isn’t only here in Vancouver where either corporate or individual wealthy interests seem to be in play, this is happening all over the country with citizens being steam rollered over by greedy interests.

    Jack, Pat and any other elected official are always welcome to make comments and I will never edit their words. At times, I will agree with them and others, I will not. I happen to have a great deal of respect for Larry Smith and actually like Pat Campbell as well. I haven’t sat down with Jack Burkman as of yet, maybe the opportunity will present itself in the future.

    But, like anyone else, when I feel they are wrong, I will speak.

    I was actually going to do a post on the councils unanimous decision to grant the VFW Post leeway on requirements to congratulate them and still plan to.

    But, in my opinion, Jeanne Stewart is owed an apology for her having the foresight to deviate from “procedure” and try to save funding for C-Trans, especially given that the rest are now seeing she was right all along.

    How much would we praise that “procedure” if it resulted in C-Trans losing funding and having to drastically cut services?

    Anddon’t forget, Leavitt vowed to oust her before council ever met to discuss anything about it.


  10. For the record, I call Leavitt “The Liar” because he’s worked double overtime to earn that title.

    But where does Stewart’s duty lay?

    I was still a kid (17 and one day) when I joined the Army (72). it was post My-Lai, but the Army went to great pains to get us to understand what was and was not an illegal order, and when presented with an illegal order to disregard that order… and to disregard the illegal if they ever came our way.

    Members of the city council supporting this horrific, unjustifiable and unneeded waste of money are doing so on their own volition. They are doing so without taking the time to listen to anyone not connected to the downtown mafia, aka, Identity Vancouver.

    To the extent that The Liar swindled the voters with his obviously false (to me, anyway) position and lie that he opposed tolls to get elected is one thing.

    And while I admit that I may have missed it, did Stewart indicate at any time that she would simply be a mouthpiece for the council and then change her mind?

    Or did she do her duty to her constituency, which geometrically exceeds any duty she had to support an unsupportable, unjustifiable position like that the council has taken on screwing us without even the benefit of clergy?

    As I pointed out, “process” as a justification for anything only gets you so far. It didn’t work in the war crimes trials… and it doesn’t work here.

    In short, someone much smarter than I once commented something to the effect of, well, “if that’s the law, sir… then the law is an ass.”


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