Herrera Beutler Joins Call for Countywide Vote on Light Rail

by lewwaters

C-Tran Board members have received a letter from Washington 3rd Congressional District Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler indicating her support of allowing a countywide vote on the issue of raising a sales tax to fund light rail maintenance. In spite of Clark County citizens being promised a vote on the in September 2010, Mayor of Portland’s Vancouver Tim ‘No Show’ Leavitt has steadfastly worked to ensure only a small portion of taxpayers would be allowed to vote on that sales tax, which inevitably would spread countywide.

The Columbian’s Andrea Damewood has supplied a copy of the letter in her post on All Politics is Local.

Bringing light rail from Portland into Vancouver has been a very contentious issue and as is noted by Herrera Beutler in her letter, without a countywide vote, it is impossible to gauge the true public sentiment on the issue.

Of late, under the guidance of ‘no show’ Leavitt, the promised vote that Clark County citizens was supposed to receive in the November 2011 election has stalled under threat of a block veto by Vancouver’s city cartel comprised of Tim ‘No Show’ Leavitt, Bart Hansen and Larry Smith, all in lock-step with ‘no show.’

In expressing her “firm support for making sure the entire C-Tran district has an opportunity to vote on any sales tax increase to pay for light rail,” Herrera Beutler states, “As long as the people I represent are given a voice in the process, I will work tirelessly to secure the federal support necessary to keep the project going,” stopping far short of the position many of us have taken of “no vote, let it go broke” in regards to C-Tran funding itself.

Herrera Beutler rightfully states, “I need to have a clear picture of what the county wants,” and “I have no interest in silencing the people who will be asked to pay for this project.”

Whether or not this is a sincere call putting ‘no show’ Leavitt and the rest of the C-Tran board on notice or just politicking will remain to be seen. For now, though, it is a welcome call that I would hope she has the spine to back up and not falter, caving into the light rail mafia like so many others.

Each will have to take what she wrote at face value with the hopes of sincerity.

Full text of the letter below, with many thanks to Andrea Damewood for supplying it.

“Dear C-Tran Board Members,

I would like to communicate my firm support for making sure the entire C-Tran district has an opportunity to vote on any sales tax increase to pay for light rail.
We’re all in this together. A new bridge across the Columbia River will affect every Clark County resident. It would be unfair and illegitimate to subdivide the C-Tran district so that only a select group will have a voice on a major decision that will impact the county for generations.

I have long been an advocate for a safe, affordable bridge across the Columbia River that meets the needs of those who rely on this vital artery. But as Clark County’s representative in Congress I need to have a clear picture of what the county wants. After years of work and debate, there is finally a proposal on the table. Now it’s time to take it to the people. A light rail vote would be an important step in that direction.

As long as the people I represent are given a voice in the process, I will work tirelessly to secure the federal support necessary to keep the project going. However, if we get it wrong and prize political expediency over true democratic representation, it could have negative and lasting effects on our community.

Again, I support a new bridge. I believe we have the opportunity to bring tremendous economic benefit to Southwest Washington, and improve the quality of life for thousands of commuters. But, I have no interest in silencing the people who will be asked to pay for this project. A C-Tran district-wide vote will provide an opportunity for a full airing of facts, and just as importantly, will be viewed as a legitimate expression of public opinion.

Thank you for your attention. I also want to thank you for the work you do to advance transportation options in our region. I look forward to learning your decision on this matter, and would be happy to explain my position further with any board members individually or collectively.”

7 Comments to “Herrera Beutler Joins Call for Countywide Vote on Light Rail”

  1. Odd, isn’t it?

    It’s one of her bizarre, say nothing, do nothing letters… signifying nothing.

    What the letter SHOULD have said, upon being sent to every CRC member, is this:

    “Dear C-Tran Board Members,

    I would like to communicate my firm opposition to any tolls on this project and pledge to you now that unless there is a binding, county wide vote, I will kill the funding for this in Congress.

    Love, Jaime.”

    Pithy is such an unusual concept for politicians. And at the end of the day, that’s the only letter she could have sent that would have had any meaning at all… but that requires a level of courage, commitment and concern for her constituency that she has yet to exhibit.

    I have to wonder, though. Are we going to get some wise ass emails from Leavitt and Stuart back to Herrera, telling her to, in effect, mind her own business?

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  2. ‘No Show’ Leavitt might benefit from a vacation about now.

    But I agree, I would have liked to have seen a stronger letter stating categorically her opposition to the tolls and the actions of ‘no show’ and his cartel in blocking a vote.

    You know, I hope he does send her back a smart-ass reply.

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  3. I sure am tired of “wishy-washy” politicians. The people who are arrogantly screwing us over aren’t at all “wishy-washy” about it. They’re “in your face”.

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  4. Countywide?
    CTRAN did hold a countywide vote on a tax hike in a general election in 2004. When that failed, they
    1)gerrymandered the district to eliminate much of North County
    2)rescheduled a follow up vote for a primary election in 2005. Voila! the vote passed in 2005.

    CTRAN informed the community there would be a vote on the proposed tax hike for transit including light rail this November 2011 in a resolution they passed on Sept. 14 2010.
    However, they reneged on that in April, and removed the light rail specific part of the vote, and pushed that part to 2012, maybe.
    Deja Vu- In May, County Commissioners suggested a primary (or general) election for the ENTIRE SERVICE DISTRCIT, (which is no longer countywide since the 2005 gerrymander).
    Mayor Leavitt expressed yet another gerrymander to a smaller subdistrict, and now Council members Bart Hansen and Larry Smith have joined Leavitt and threatened to veto a vote in the entire service district.

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  5. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler has supported a countywide vote on a bridge, according to
    http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/mar/16/cuts-give-herrera-beutler-pause/
    Excerpt
    More important in her mind than arbitrary deadlines, she said, is that all costs of the project, including the costs of financing it, must be transparent, and that “the public in Clark County knows what they are being put on the hook for.”

    She supports a countywide advisory vote on the bridge project.

    “I’m in favor of making sure people get a chance to vote on the bridge and elements of the bridge,” she said. “That gives me a place to advocate from.”’

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  6. But in reality, she does NOT support such a vote: if she did, she would require it under threat to kill the funding.

    Words are cheap. It’s ACTIONS that matter. And she knows damned well there won’t be a county wide vote, advisory or4 otherwise: the question now is this: what is she going to do about it?

    And the answer?

    Nothing.

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  7. No doubt, someone told her to send it, after they wrote it for her.

    Likewise, her recent speech from the floor on opening up drilling areas.

    Like

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