Smoke & Mirrors on CRC & Loot Rail

by lewwaters

I applaud the Columbian’s editor, Lou Brancaccio for ending their relentless assault on successful businessman David Madore and sitting down with him and giving him a fair ear. It’s nice to see someone actually giving an ear to the community over our deep concerns about the boondoggle Columbia River Crossing project and extending Portland, Oregon’s Loot Rail a short distance into our community.

It was refreshing to see Lou’s Saturday column, Let the community be heard and the seemingly supportive voice in putting the thing to a vote of the people. However, I still have questions on the sincerity as the call isn’t for a binding vote by the people, but a non-binding advisory vote.

In other words, we say what we prefer and the elected ruling class does as they please, exactly has been going on for some time now. Although a step in the right direction in asking for a vote, the newspaper of record could have stepped up and supported a binding vote.

As is usual in these columns and articles, comments from citizens go back and forth from both sides, those that support the project and the rest of us who oppose it. A rare treat though, was seeing city council member Pat Campbell, a staunch supporter of this project added his two cents in.

He first says, “One of the jobs of Council is to study the facts and science of matters that might impact us,” and then goes on listing “a great resource in the community, the USGS David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1300 Cardinal Court, Vancouver 986683; phone 360.993.8900.”

Fair enough, we want our elected ruling class to make sound decisions. Of course, this particular source would be for earthquake sustainability. Who they consulted for fiscal sustainability and the potential economic impact on a struggling community hasn’t been stated.

Curiously and seemingly from out of nowhere, Pat ends this comment with, “I see some are dismissing us as elitists and are actively trying to sow division among our citizens in the name of some warped religious views. Some of us read Pastor Warren’s book when it first came out, value it, and don’t misinterpret it or scripture for political gain.”

From the actions of city council against citizens and council member Jeanne Stewart, it would appear to me that it is council sowing division and not the community.

What Pastor Warren’s book has to do with anything escapes me.

But Pat left a second comment and this is where the smoke & mirrors comes in. He says, replying to another who expressed displeasure with how much has been spent to date on “studying” the project, some $140,000,000 and that forcing the inclusion of Loot Rail into the project raises the cost prohibitively, “Whether you like light rail or not, the $800 million or so it puts into the bridge will reduce the need for tolls.”

Say what? $800 Million to add Loot Rail “reduces the need for tolls?” But, what if Loot Rail was left off altogether? That portion of the project alone costs well over $800 Million, not including future maintenance and subsides to keep it running.

It is an Interstate Bridge on an Interstate Highway system between two states and is saying that if we don’t accept a couple Billion more in construction fees for Loot Rail, we lose $800 Million? Seems to me we might roughly be losing $1.2 Billion by accepting the “gift” from the feds for replacing their bridge and being suckered into accepting Portland’s financially failing Loot Rail into Vancouver. Adding such a cost prohibitive system and then boasting about such a low return doesn’t strike me as fiscal sanity.

Elementary school arithmetic tells me that is a losing proposition. And, that is based on a guess if the added cost of Loot Rail is only $2 Billion.

Lou ends his column by saying, “Not everything should rise to the level of holding a vote to hear voices. But huge things should. And this is a huge thing.”

Yes, especially when the ruling class continues to parrot smoke & mirrors by trying to pull the wool over our eyes on what the true cost of this boondoggle is.

I remember a sales ad for a Used Car Lot where the narrator ends every commercial with, “If you don’t come see me today, I can’t save you any money.”

Completely ignored is if you don’t go see him at all, you won’t be spending any money.

7 Comments to “Smoke & Mirrors on CRC & Loot Rail”

  1. Lew, The Columbian is only doing the “bare minimum” to “appear” to be “hearing” the community.

    If The Columbian were actually serious towards making an “about face”, it would start printing articles about the negatives of the project and putting them in the front of the paper instead of fooling around with wimpy “editorials”.

    Let’s not kid ourselves here, The Columbian has no intention of publishing anything that might even “hint” at exposing the bridge project for the absolute boondoggle that it is. I think they’ve made that pretty clear.


  2. Jack, that is why I stopped short of glad handing them.

    They’ve made a gesture, but it is still up to them to show the sincerity in it.

    I believe in trust but verify.

    It won’t take long to see where their intent really sits one way or the other.


  3. “Figuires don’t lie, but liars figure.”

    Right, Pat?


  4. Check out The Columbian’s latest “attempt” to avoid admitting there is strong opposition to the bridge project:


  5. Gee Lew, the “elites” of The Columbian are at it again. More articles on an “advisory vote” without mentioning the strong opposition to the bridge project in the community.

    The Columbian is so afraid to let it’s readers know that there is a definite opposition to the project from all sides.


  6. They’re only fooling themselves, Jack. We know the opposition is here and all of the biased articles or slick words spoken will not change it.


  7. Time for another local and political shakedown to scare them?


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