We WERE Promised a Vote on Light Rail, Weren’t We?

by lewwaters

Originally posted April 11, 2011; Updated April 13, 2011

People have long expected politicians and bureaucrats to make promises and then renege on them, sometimes bringing about their defeat in the next election in the case of elected officials with appointed bureaucrats coming under fire. While it is expected, it isn’t appreciated and in days of old, before we became more ‘civilized,’ mobs of citizens negatively affected by such lies would gather and oust the liar from office, often in the most unceremonious manner thought of.

Fortunately for today’s elected liars, we no longer follow along those lines. If we did, I can only imagine the mobs that would be forming outside of city hall, the county courthouse and C-Trans offices as they continue ignoring voters and taxpayers call that we do not want Portland, Oregon’s financially failing Light Rail extended into our community.

Of course, we have been erroneously told that the majority of people in Clark County want it, but the efforts to block any confirmation of that by letting us vote on it are all too obvious.

After much outrage throughout 2010, Vancouver City Council Member Jeanne Stewart, listening to voters and concerned that slipping a vote on Loot Rail into a measure funding the bus service could cause C-Trans to be left underfunded, voted with others on the C-Trans Board splitting the measure into a separate ballot measure. For acting on behalf of Clark County citizens, she was unceremoniously ousted from the board by the rest of the elected city council.

County Commissioner Steve Stuart was quoted at that time with, “It’s going to the voters. There will be a clear vote on light rail.”

It didn’t take long for that to be hedged on, as often occurs with our elected liars.

It became an “advisory vote” along the way and by March 2011, we now see Stuart saying, “advisory votes are wasteful, do nothing, and are insulting to the voters by giving the illusion of meaning with no binding resolution.”

I have no intention of pointing out Stuart as the sole or main opposition to citizen as all too many of our elected liars agree with him and join him in denying voters a chance to voice real opinion on this boondoggle. But, I feel the need to remind him that at a candidates forum last October, as he was campaigning for reelection, he said, “My focus is to provide you with a vote, and because of the work we did, there is going to be a vote next November.

As efforts of successful Vancouver businessman David Madore to raise public awareness were building, Stuart said about Mr. Madore, “He doesn’t know anything. He didn’t even know the I-205 Bridge had federal funding until I told him last summer. Madore is a crackpot.” After admitting he was “cranky because he’d just had a root canal and hadn’t taken any painkillers,” he did issue an apology.

Even the Columbian, long a mouthpiece supporting this project and through Editor Lou Brancaccio’s March 11, 2011 editorial Let the community be heard said, “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.”

Ignoring citizen input still, we now read C-Tran will ask only for bus funds in 2011 Measure on light rail, rapid transit won’t be ready until 2012. Promises and assurances made to be elected to office are gone.

Come the November election, we are expected to vote to “bump the sales tax by 0.2 of a percentage point to preserve existing bus service, add some new routes and shore up C-Van service for riders with disabilities.” There will be no vote on light rail or the proposed Bus Rapid Transit as promised in order to be reelected.

Time Leavitt, the illustrious mayor of Vancouver says on voting in a tax increase, “I think it’s a no-brainer.” Leavitt, who along with Vancouver council member Jack Burkman has donated small amounts to the pro-Light Rail PAC, Keep Clark County Moving, started by Tim Schauer, president of MacKay & Sposito engineering firm in Vancouver and philanthropist Ed Lynch, sits on the C-Trans Board that votes on these decisions.

We are now told of that vote we were promised by commissioner Stuart, we might get it in August or November of 2012, when we will be asked to pay even more sales tax.

Leavitt prefers to form a “sub-district” to vote on accepting increased funding for light rail. Although it is claimed that the tax increase would only be in the sub-district, there is little doubt that it would spread out to all of Clark County in time.

Stuart, who we now see lied to us when campaigning to be reelected says of the sub-district, “I want people to know and be certain that there will be a full district wide vote on this, and not just a sub-district.”

After reneging on his words, “My focus is to provide you with a vote, and because of the work we did, there is going to be a vote next November,” how can any voter be expected to believe him again?

In a strange twist of tactics, we also read of a “heated exchange” between Commissioner Stuart and NoTolls activist Jospehine Wentzel, “after Stuart asked Vancouver resident Debbie Peterson whether she was representing herself or notoll.com founder David Madore when she testified against the crossing project.”

Ms. Wentzel clearly stated when filling out her comment card that she was there to represent herself.

Mayor Leavitt confronted Wentzel Monday evening with a similar allegation at the city council meeting.

No one has a problem with some of those who sit on the board that will make decisions on extending the financially troubled Max Line from Portland, Oregon into Vancouver supplying financial support to a Political Action Committee supporting the boondoggle, though.

7 Comments to “We WERE Promised a Vote on Light Rail, Weren’t We?”

  1. Stuart either learned from, or designed, the Leavitt School of Campaigns, where truth is transitory, and a minor annoyance once elected.

  2. And I just wanted to add that you can watch this C-tran meeting that is going to be held at the Public Service Center on CVTV channel 23 at 5:30pm.

    So go to http://www.cvtv.org and click on the “CVTV-23 Live Streaming Link” around 5:25pm or so if you are not able to make the meeting.

  3. I think it’s time to de-fund C-Tran. Let’s put the “Empty bus company” out of business.

  4. As expected, the promised light rail vote was delayed until 2012, maybe, if the CTRAN board follows through.
    Another question is whether a vote would be district wide, or where a subdistrict will be gerrymandered in hopes of a Yes on light rail and exorbitant costs to taxpayers.
    Commissioner Stuart again attempted to marginalize Mr. Madore, a successful businessman and helper of those in need in Clark County. He singled out Debbie Peterson among all those who testified and asked if she was representing her employer, who he said was David Madore. (I don’t know whether that is accurate or not). The testimony card has a place to indicate who the person is representing, so there was no need for the question. No other person who testified was asked if they were representing their employer, nor was any other business owner called out by the C-TRAN board during he public hearing.

  5. It’s amazing how many arrogant jerks there are on the County Commission and the City Council. It’s also amazing that they really don’t give a damn that people know how extremely arrogant they are, too.

  6. Not to mention corrupt.

  7. The tax hike is a sales tax hike. Any subdistrict would be gerrymandered to include as much of the retail in the county as possible. The idea is to cut out as many voters as possible. The main impetus to delay the vote appeats to be to make sure the bridge with light rail is a done deal before any public vote.
    The CTRAN director stated at a Washougal City Council meeting on March 28 that a vote on light rail would be “tight”, as in possible and require work. The excuse that staff couldn’t prepare a ballot measure in the period from Sept. 2010 to the mid August 2011 ballot measure deadline is not very plausible. Especially in light of all the money the feds have kicked in for the high capacity transit study.
    The Columbian reported,
    “The Federal Transit Administration is providing $1.7 million for the alternatives analysis, with C-Tran kicking in $426,000 as the local match.
    The planning process will include a traffic impacts study, public outreach and associated costs, Patterson said. It will also explore whether the new express line should replace or supplement the popular No. 4 fixed route that currently runs along Fourth Plain.”


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