It Appears Those “Ankle Biting Hounds From Whinerville” Were Right

by lewwaters

Oh those “Ankle biting hounds from Whinerville” as John Laird, the Columbian’s editorial page editor so eloquently described those who have spoken out in opposition of the Columbia River crossing project. They’ve been ridiculed, demeaned, shouted down, gaveled down, marginalized and mostly ignored. Speaking out against the CRC, especially the loot rail component of the project has been treated as blasphemy by supporters such as John Laird and others at the Columbian.

But they didn’t stop, they kept speaking out, writing letters, holding meetings, scheduling seminars inviting experts from all walks knowledgeable about such projects. Seeing that some $130 Million was spent with nothing to show for it, cronyism in people hired and paid quite handsomely for producing very little and questions continually ignored, Vancouver Businessman David Madore, at his expense, hired a forensic auditor to go through the mountains of documents finally given under a FOIA request.

It’s an old tactic to flood a ton of documents, many unrelated when trying to hide what is really there. The concept is the one seeking information will get bored with pouring over frivolous papers and either give up or miss what is right before their eyes.

It didn’t work.

Irregularities were discovered and made public by Mr. Madore, Josephine Wentzel, candidate for city council and the auditor, Tiffany Couch.

Lo and behold, after weeks of still ignoring the ABHFW (Ankle Biting Hounds from Whinerville), Oregon news outlets began looking a little closer. In fact, a lot closer than our friends at the Columbian, who claim they are “Serving Clark County”, have.

The Willamette Week treated us to exposes’ in June HERE and HERE by Pulitzer Prize Winner Nigel Jaquiss.

The Oregonian, finally opening their eyes followed suit with Columbia River Crossing has spent $130 million, without lifting a shovel, In the Columbia River Crossing bridge game, we’re the dummies and Traffic estimates on Columbia River Crossing further muddy the financial picture.

While the Willamette Week and the Oregonian were digging and discovering questionable procedures and accounting of the CRC, the Columbian lauds CRC Director Nancy Boyd with New Crossing chief orders internal audit, which, given what was pointed out both by Oregon media and Mr. Madore for so many months is totally unacceptable. An internal audit at this time would be little more than the fox guarding the hen house.

In late June, we read in the Columbian how a majority of the Vancouver City Council accepted the Columbia River Crossing’s draft Final Environmental Impact Statement, even as Oregon media was beginning to publish problems they were discovering with the CRC.

Even earlier in June the Columbian made an effort to discredit a Willamette Week claim as it began circulation around the county.

I was a bit surprised yesterday afternoon, about a half hour after Victoria Taft and I discussed some of the questionable findings on her AM 860 afternoon radio program, that the Columbian apparently rushed to publish an initial article, Bridge tolls may fall $598M short Report challenges CRC’s assumptions, suggests pre-tolling still trying to paint a positive picture of this boondoggle.

That was followed Thursday with, Oregon treasurer questions traffic, toll revenue for new I-5 bridge but still trying to paint a gilded edge on this monstrosity.

Ignored by the Columbian but reported by the Oregonian, in CRC Director Nancy Boyd’s claims of seeing “no red flags” in CRC accounting,

“Because the CRC could not find a qualified “traffic consultant” in the Portland metro area, the empire builders hired David Parisi of Mill Valley, Calif., and paid $19,200 to help cover rent on his Pearl District apartment. Parisi’s consulting company — which doesn’t have a working website — has billed CRC more than $1.4 million.”

“Shortly after EnviroIssues hired communications director Linda Mullen away from the Washington State Department of Transportation in 2006, EnviroIssues was graced with a PR contract for the bridge project. The firm’s billings for this public-relations disaster now top $5 million.”

“At the behest of the Oregon Department of Transportation, the CRC hired Tom Markgraf, a former aide for Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and paid him more than $1 million to chaperone public hearings and schmooze the body politic over four years. Eventually, lo and behold, Markgraf’s son, Peter, was also drawing a CRC paycheck.”

Would you trust the above to be clarified by an internal audit?

Washington 49th legislative district representative Jim Moeller, representing the district that will be affected the most by the CRC chimed in with a comment,

“Pre-tolling is a common process considered in the rest of the state and it should be considered for this project,” and unbelievably also says, “I, along with the rest of my constituents would rather walk into this project with our financial eyes open. Transparency is the key to understanding this complicated project.”

If anything, he and other elected members of the ruling class have tightened their financial blinders and raced ahead with a full head of steam, ignoring, gaveling down and shouting down any request for transparency by citizens and Mr. Madore.

If we had had transparency all along, perhaps we wouldn’t have wasted over $130 Million and not have even a shovel full of dirt turned for it.

No, instead we see acerbic editorial page editor for the Columbian slurring us with childish names like Ankle Biters and Hounds from Whinerville.

I also have little doubt he will pen yet another editorial addressing the issues discovered.

I have no doubt it will go something like, “will have little or no effect blah, blah, blah ankle biters, blah, blah, blah, hounds from whinerville, blah, blah, blah, stopping progress, blah, blah, blah Republicans, blah, blah, blah tea party, blah, blah, blah but Texas does, blah, blah, blah racism, blah, blah, blah, it’s all Bush’s fault.”

Personally, I’m very thankful that we do have “Ankle Biting Hounds from Whinerville.”

Someone has to have the best interests of taxpayers and citizens in mind.

It sure hasn’t been the Columbian, the Vancouver City Council, the Columbia River Crossing, the Governor’s Office or most of the State Legislature.

11 Responses to “It Appears Those “Ankle Biting Hounds From Whinerville” Were Right”

  1. I am proud to be a Charter Member of the ABHW. And I will not hold my breath waiting for an apology from any of the bridger/looter scammers who’ve been doing their best to stuff this steaming pile down our throats for the past 6 years or so.


  2. It’s also funny that neither Brancaccio nor Laird have written a new column for this week, and that article comments are being heavily “edited”.

    I think that things “aren’t going too well” down at The Columbian these days. They’re probably consuming too many Aspirin and too much Scotch down there trying to figure a way to keep a lid on this and bail out their elitist buddies.

  3. Well Jack, I did make it easy for Laird by supplying a format for his column to spin it 😉

  4. I wrote to Lou and John as soon as the article came out. John’s response was disappointing though not surprising. He pretty well brushed the concerns aside in his comment back to me. Lou said that he’s “open to new information”. I guess we’ll see if this new development will give him pause.

  5. Let me guess, Craig, Lou is waiting for someone to send him a paper trail and for John Laird, just refer to my template above 😉

    Just like with Jim Jacks, they aren’t interested in real journalism, digging into what is there or actually investigating, only covering for their fatcat buds.

    The transparency is that we can see right through them every time.

  6. Well Jaime Herrera wasn’t my first choice for Rep, but I’m glad she’s there rather than Heck or some other liberal. She’s the only federal rep we have who’s trying to use reason in addressing the whole CRC debate. Rather than being abusive and dismissive to those who question the project (like Cantwell and especially Murray), she’s asking some hard questions.

    Laird is pretty much a lost cause I’m afraid. He’s a nice enough fellow but is so committed to his liberal philosophy, reason no longer has any meaning for him. I’m still a bit hopeful about Brancaccio.

  7. The Columbian is full of elitist arrogance. They consider themselves to be the “in crowd” and refuse to see that they’re damned near “out”.

  8. You know what really makes me laugh is what what did it take for THREE separate Oregon news organization to do in the past month that many in Clark County have been screaming about for nearly three to five years with the columbia river crossing project.

    Yet they cant seam to raise a keyboard finger or allow one of their young, capable journalists to do a similar, well thought out piece.

    Anyone read any of the pieces on one of the tops like Boise Cascade, columbia river crossing project or some other of that level of a project and it looks like a editor went chop suey on the comment?

  9. It’s typical of the Leftist Media, Jeremy. They spend years spewing lies and propaganda pushing their “agenda”, then throw out a “bone” or two of the truth so they can “claim” that they’re somehow “balanced”.

    The Columbian is just so arrogant that they won’t even contemplate a “bone” of truth.

    Perhaps you could say that The Columbian is more “elitist” than the rest.

  10. Its is nice that there are other news outlets developing around here, though I do not know what persuasion they will follow that might counterbalance the local snoozemedia.

    Let us hope that they have their own unique and developed voice that asks questions that the the local news fails miserable to ask until the utter balance has done its job and they continue to have to pull a johnny come lately.


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