Mayor Leavitt’s Thin Smoke Screen on a Tax Vote

by lewwaters

Clark County voters resoundingly rejected extending Portland’s light rail line to Vancouver in 1995 by a 2 to 1 margin. Twice more, in 2002 and 2004, voters in Clark County defeated measures perceived to be a back door for extending light rail to Vancouver, Resolution 51 being a statewide measure in 2002 defeated statewide and a C-Tran Proposition 1 defeated in 2004.

In spite of that, a small handful of elected officials decided amongst themselves to give the go ahead for extending light rail with their “locally preferred alternative,” ignoring and bypassing voters’ intent in 2008.

Then city council member, Tim Leavitt spoke of the need of “consideration should be given when it comes to looking at the cost of this project for that economic value that we provide to the state of Oregon and businesses in Oregon. So, that’s kind of the line in the sand I am drawing when it comes to high capacity transit.”

Since becoming Mayor, though, just as with his stance on strongly opposing tolling Clark County citizens for the bridge, he seems to not really desire giving consideration to what this is going to cost us in Clark County. Instead, after several promises from more than one candidate that would receive a vote on operations & maintenance of light rail, he has supported slapping yet another sales tax increase on us for some time now to pay for it.

Ever the one for political expediency, Mayor Leavitt has erected a smoke screen masking his desire to stick citizens with paying for something they do not want.

The Sunday, April 8, 2012 edition of the Columbian contained a ‘letter to the editors’ from Mayor Leavitt titled, Stop wasting taxes and time.

The Mayor states, “With a little bit of work and creativity, we might enjoy this regional transit system without any new taxes,” and “Rather than work harder to find other means to pay for operational costs of Vancouver’s light rail, some people want a ‘vote’ that really would do nothing but waste more public money, waste more public time, and could raise taxes” in his letter.

The smoke screen amounts to mere semantics, misleading some to believe this extension of light rail from Portland into Vancouver will not cost taxpayers as well as it being promoted as inevitable, “like it or not” as was expressed by Port of Vancouver Director, Larry Paulson at the March 26, 2012 City Council Meeting.

It is largely recognized that even though the delayed vote on operations & maintenance of light rail will be seen by voters as a referendum on light rail itself and if defeated, could jeopardize any federal funding for the project, given that the CRC is already high on the ‘at risk projects’ list.

In late February of 2012, the Mayor began sowing the seeds of his subterfuge telling the community, “I’m hearing: ‘Why the hell would you be asking for a tax increase if there are methods to cover operations and maintenance that don’t require a tax increase?’”

Vancouver resident and owner of the former Clark Blog website, Bob Koski informs all of just what Mayor Leavitt means in his “creative” methods to avoid a tax increase in a post at Oregonlive, Voters are the stone in Leavitt’s shoe.

Koski reasons, “What Mayor Leavitt is talking about when he mentions being creative in his letter to the Columbian on Sunday, is that he thinks he has found a way around the voters all together. A couple of years ago, the State Legislature gave Cities in Washington the authority to impose a $20 fee on every vehicle license tab in that City for transportation projects. The fee can go as high as $100 per tab, but anything higher than that initial $20 fee has to be voter approved.”

He also says, “Imposing a ‘fee’ on every license plate in town is not, technically, a ‘tax’, and Vancouver City Council already has the authority to raise over $2 Million a year based on the number of tabs in town right now. In addition the US Congress has clearly telegraphed that any further funds for transportation projects will most likely be paid for with a substantial increase in the Federal gasoline tax, at least, and that money is likely to be targeted toward fixing actual roads cars drive on, instead of taxing those cars to operate a light rail line that almost no one will be riding.”

I couldn’t agree more and have raised the same concern myself. Whether it is from a sales tax in a gerrymandered sub-district, that just so happens to contain most of the major shopping outlets that those outside the district would also have to pay, or if increases gasoline taxes or increasing license tab fees, taxpayers will carry the full burden of paying for this project, “like it or not!”

Leavitt would have you believe otherwise with his game of semantics by claiming alternatives to the sales tax if “creative.”

In reality, the only “creative” effort to date is how to deny voters a voice in the project by circumventing us and sticking us with full payment anyway.

Koski calls for a recall effort of all city council members who support this move and I cannot disagree. Although I cannot disagree, as I recall, a recall of an elected official in our state can be very difficult as it is assigned to a superior court judge to review and determine if the allegations are sufficient to proceed.

Still, it might be well worth looking into.

Ultimately though, it is we voters who are going to have to get “creative” ourselves and “work” to raise our voices against this project that will leave future generations paying for an expensive bridge and bailing out Portland’s financially failing light rail system.

We cannot sit back and remain quiet, hoping someone will step up to stop it. Their voices are not loud enough lone, yours too must be added.

With the primary and general election coming this year, acquaint yourselves with the candidates and incumbents. Vote against those, like alleged Republican Marc Boldt who has long supported this project and tax increases to pay for it.

You are the government in America. Those like Leavitt are just temporary elected representatives that can and must be replaced.

Be it at city council meetings, neighborhood association meetings, rallies or even protests, speak out and speak out loudly.

Your attention and voice will blow away the smoke screen Leavitt is placing before you.

36 Comments to “Mayor Leavitt’s Thin Smoke Screen on a Tax Vote”

  1. A question Lew – I wasn’t here at the time, so do you know by what mechanism a vote on Light Rail came before the voters in 1995? Was it a referendum placed on the ballot via petition or ?? Can we citizens force the same mechanism again?

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  2. Last year, the Ctran board had a choice to hold the vote on light rail and Bus rapid transit in 2011 as planned, and County Commissioner Boldt delayed the vote. According to the May 10, 2011 C-Tran board minutes, the high capacity light rail/BRT vote was to be re-scheduled to 2012, and to be district wide. Until Leavitt struck down the district-wide provision, with the vote of Stuart and Boldt! Commissioner Mielke voted to keep the district-wide provision, but one vote wasn’t enough. David Madore as Clark County Commissioner would better serve the interests of the full county, and support a district-wide or even a county wide vote.

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  3. We the people can only vote by initiative inside the city limits. We tried to collect enough signatures last year thanks to Larry Patella but it did not work out. We need an army to hit the streets and get people to pay attention before they are to poor to. This was a well done piece Lew. Thanks for adding to our voices in the way you do. Psst… that would be a compliment from one of the “hounds of whinerville”!

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  4. It was a ballot measure to fund light rail across the Columbia and was resoundingly defeated.

    Funny thing is, much the same lines are drawn today as then by the same people.

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  5. The Columbian has had 3 editions to comment on the Tuesday meeting on the sales tax vote and the the silence is deafening. This meeting was arguably one of the most important meetings of recent time relative on the sales tax vote and once again The Columbian has failed it’s readers by exposing Leavitt and his gang of 3 for failing to live up to past promises. So what else is new?

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  6. As a victim of the (San Francisco) Bay Area Rapid Transit, I can advise you to resist this light rail project with all your skills and ability. It will result in nothing more than ongoing tax increases and costs. There will be little benefit to Vancouver residents or commuters.

    While BART claims up to 27% ‘share’ of commuter trips (with rate dropping below 10% from the most deep suburban stations), the reality became obvious when a transit union strike closed down the system for several days a few years ago, there was zero traffic impact on the area freeways and bridges. ZERO impact.

    If you examine the multitude of promises made to get voter approval nearly 40 years ago … not one has been kept. Trains never have been able to run as close together as promised (since the trains in SF “spit” to four different end points in the east bay, this is important), The “seat for everyone” policy was a joke from the beginning. And “free parking” at suburban stations has been gone for a decade… Trains generally take much longer than driving — even during peak commute hours.

    The fact is, that “transit experts” primary means to generate passengers for mass transit systems is to degrade the experience for automobile commuters to the maximum extent. Promised improvements to bridges and interchanges will be delayed and other improvements put off to force more travel on the light rail system. Meanwhile, the taxes paid by automobile owners, intended for road improvements and maintenance will be raided to support the mass transit system.

    Taxes will climb and climb and climb because transit systems can’t even cover half their operating expenses out of the fare box … and the fare box doesn’t ever contribute a nickel to the capital costs.

    Once transit unions get their stranglehold on the commuters using the service, their pay rates and benefits will go through the roof. BART operating personnel earn well above $100,000 to $150,000 per year (counting overtime) and get generous health and pension benefits that those in private industry can’t even dream about. (The train operators sit in a cab of a _fully automated_ train and only perform some functions to prove to the computers that they’re at their position. Train operators only actually operate the train during rare instances when “manual control” is required due to some sort of system failure.)

    So, if you want to have the same experience as those in the SF Bay Area, let the central planners get away with this CRC light rail boondoggle. You and your children and grand children will be paying for it for the rest of time.

    (PS. I’m planning to escape from the People’s Republic of California, hopefully to the beautiful Clark County area. I share my experiences here in an effort to help you avoid the mistakes made in this progressive utopia.)

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  7. FoJG, I would advise thast you move a little bit to the north… to Cowlitz County on our northern border.

    Given what’s happenming here and the corruption of so many politicians at the county and Vancouver level, there’s no way I’d move to Clark County.

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  8. If I may clarify, my remarks that appeared over at the Oregonian website were in direct response to Mayor Tim Leavitt’s letter to the editor that was published in the Columbian on Easter Sunday.

    By the direction of Lou Brancaccio, my comments are not allowed to appear at the Columbian’s website, and I tried to post nearly these identical words there at 7:10 AM Easter Sunday morning. I logged into the facebook account I keep for comment in my own name over there, but my comments were rejected at Lou’s direction. Having no other option available to comment on Hizzonor’s letter, I logged into “My Vancouver” over at the Oregonian and put my comments up there.

    And, having received two somewhat irare e-mails from two City Council members, let’s be clear that I only mention two names other than Tim Leavitt, so if the shoe fits, wear it.

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  9. Well Bob your comment on shoes fitting is the right size. However, I am told the only way to ouster any of them is with verifiable proof of malfeasance. Lying to the voters isn’t apparently a crime unless the lie is perpetrated in a court of law. The real truth here is that the license fee is just one avenue of taxation up their sleeves. The three musketeers are planning for a re-instatement of the B&O tax so kiss new jobs goodbye… and an employer tax paid monthly for each employee actually working, and then there is the available property tax if they get a “classified” sub-district pushed through creating a special taxing district. Bart Hansen should be ashamed of himself for agreeing to twist himself up in the shennanigans of Larry Smith and Tim Leavitt.

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  10. For what it’s worth, Bob, I did not take your words to be critical of all of the city council members.

    But your assessment is correct that Leavitt could easily get such a fee increase passed, even over the objections of the two council members who contacted you.

    That your op-ed did not appear in the Columbian is why I wrote this post to draw attention to it and get my readers to go read your words there.

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  11. Lew,

    I’d like to know how I’m supposed to ram this project down your collective throat if I can weasel my way around things. Of course my intention is that there not be a vote on light rail operations funding. Do you think I’m stupid? We all know that it would be politically untenable for me to continue to push for this project when a majority of voters say “NO!”. Now please stop being so contrary – you’re making things rough on me – this job is sooo hard, and I have to work such loooonng hours. It’s not fair Lew! Cut me some slack OK?

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  12. No harm no foul Lew; I just wanted to be sure that the context of my remarks at the Oregonian are clear.

    I’m not ready to head down to WalMart with a recall petition yet, but I do think it would make for amusing conversation over a few beers, to speculate about which current City Council Critter was least prepared to defend themselves against a real recall petition and/or an actual recall election.

    But am I to understand that we can’t actually recall a City Council Critter unless we catch one with the proverbial dead woman or live boy..?? And maybe not even then??

    That would explain why Moeller is still in office…..

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  13. Craig, while I understand and even chuckle at “Timothy d’Man Leavitt,” others may not.

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  14. Wow! Mayor! and you said I whine! You ran for this job and now that it isn’t so fun you want us to cut you some slack? How about if you just jump back. Stop jerking the voters around and do your job with some ethics and some honesty.

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  15. Carolyn, that is actually a spoof and not the real mayor Leavitt.

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  16. So sad, it sounds like what he said to me a couple of months back. He wants us to quit and go away. I am thinking after the last C-tran board meeting, which I left a couple of minutes early due to his constant lies, we should consider a protest on this issue.

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  17. True, Carolyn. I remember not too long ago he left a comment at me on the Columbian, “Blah Blah Blah Lew….yep, all your elected officials on the CTRAN Board….all nine of them, have lied. Give it a rest will you?”

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/oct/12/vote-yes-for-c-tran/

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  18. Lew, did you ever seriously consider what it would take to get an elected board over at C-Tran?? Imagine if we could elect ’em instead of the system we have right now. Its the only way I can think of short of canning C-Tran all together, that would possibly rein it in.

    It is far too easy for Vancouver City Council to play games down there as the latest bluster over Bus Loot Rail proves. I think Steve Stuart deserves a little credit for jerking a knot through someone’s orifice over the vote on funding loot rail. He’s the only guy on C-Tran right now who actually was a member of the Columbia Crossing Task Force, and whether you like Steve or not he was one of the only people from this side who made every meeting and actually asked some excellent questions and explored a lot of issues while he was there….but that’s a side issue.

    But what we have down at C-Tran is the three wanna-be bully Council members who are voting “the will of Council”, when at City Council they sure don’t vote the will of the people at all. And when you have the Columbian playing stupid games with the online comments to people like Leavitt, Jack Burkman, Mark Boldt and others in the local political elite, it only makes the problem worse.

    There’s an old saying that “Men who have no fear soon grow to have no shame”. That fits a couple of people on City Council to a “T”, and once again, if the shoe fits, wear it.

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  19. I would love to see the C-Tran Board and Director an elected position, but have no idea as to how we could make that happen.

    Likewise, I’d like to see both the County Commission and Vancouver City Council cut back to only 1 representative, which would stop this “bloc veto” nonsense that both have used in the past.

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  20. I’d like to see a citizen initiative to abolish C-Tran. That would stop the city from using a county agency to do the city’s bidding.

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  21. The Constitution has an implied guarantee of Freedom of Movement . For half of the population that means cars, but for the other half that means mass transit. (Profiteers like Tim Leavitt are an abberation.) If the debate was about this fundamental Constitutional concept rather than a specific implementation like Light Rail, other answers would present themselves.

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  22. Good point, Martin. Light rail offers little freedom with his fixed route and schedule.

    But since when has a little thing the constitution made much a difference today?

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  23. It is all socialism I tell you. Do as I say is what they want. We have to force the newspaper and t.v. stations to report it. The only way that happens is if you walk a picket line in protest out in front of the city hall. Not an occupy sort of thing but signs that mean what the issue is and civil people walking around in a crowd. Maybe someone could make a costume that looks like a bus or something. Creative and in mass that is the only way the “sensation” required paper will get it.

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  24. Nice post Lew & Bob. (and the little sarcastic satire… I miss Pinnochio Rose and a few OTHER charactures?) I believe I remember there are some other videos of Tim commenting like this in 2008.

    Though if I remember my CRC history, Tim sat ably and quietly in his 7th chair position while he held a position on the CRC Task force. The only reason I can guess he started piping up, was that he was yearning and starting to take noise that he was going to run for the Mayor in 2009. I remember another time in that year that he caught Royce off guard at the city council meeting. I believe it might be the same time as the video that is posted here.

    Lew – thank you for spending the time it takes to get some clarity on the subject. And Bob, I think its time to bring out the houndsofwhinerville T-shirts? Now to get someone to do a good graphic on the front and back…. Maybe some black hoodies?

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  25. Just to remind folks; when the Columbia River Crossing Task Force met, Royce Pollard represented Vancouver, and although Tim Leavitt was the sitting chairman of the Board of C-Tran he rarely showed up either leaving it to other staff or letting C-Tran’s chair sit empty, which it frequently did.

    And Martin, based on directly observed C-Tran operations here in town, there is no frickin’ way that “half the population” depends on public transit. That is a complete fabrication and a mis-statement of the facts.

    As a Citizen, a homeowner and taxpayer in this community, I realize and support the need for an efficient and cost effective public transit system. Let’s not forget who is paying for the existing services that C-Tran provides right now, including C-Van service that will bring a dedicated bus to your door, with all the necessary facilities for transporting you in a wheelchair to wherever you need to go, then pick you up and bring you home again. Let’s not forget who is already paying for those shiny new full sized bues (with the deeply smoked windows so you cannot county empty seats easily) that C-Tran is running right now.

    But none of that is enough. Now we’re being told that we have to build Bus Loot Rail down 4th Plain that is meant to feed Rail Loot Rail, which includes the use of double tandem style buses and millions of dollars worth of special infrastructure to speed those empty busses along with priority over anyone driving a car.

    Take a look at where people live and work. Just today there is an announcement of yet another enormous apartment complex about to break ground up on 192nd avenue. What we should be doing is planning ways to take the ever growing pressure off of East Vancouver by planning our transit system so that it actually serves the people who need it the most.

    But Vancouver is trying to use transit in the classic way it has always been used, not to improve anything about transportation, they are using it to attempt to drive development in the Downtown core, and along Fourth Plain where there is little or no major business or shopping hubs, while completely ignoring the ongoing actual development out on this end of town. The crowding is taking place out here, and we need a new Interstate connector East of I-205 to connect Camas/Washougal with Gresham/Troutdale. Build a bridge there, charge a toll for as long as it takes to pay off the bridge debt, and people would overwhelmingly support it.

    I still insist that if Light Rail is to come to Clark County, then Clark County residents ought to get something out of it, like extending the Red Line across the Glen Jackson Bridge all the way to the Clark County Fairgrounds. Put in stops at all of the major intersections along the way. There is enough median space along the length of I-205 to build stations that very little property would have to be taken like is destined for the !-5 corridor. You might not even need large parking garages either if the system was done correctly and existing bus service were scheduled properly to support it. Design and build the right system that actually provides some quantifiable value for people and they will support it.

    But that’s not what’s going on at all, and it makes no sense to blow $10 Billion Dollars on or around the CRC when a lot less than that would accomplish two or three times as much in a different place.

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  26. Nice round of chat and facts everyone. There is a meeting on BRT this morning from 10 to 12 if your interested or you can fill out their on line chat forum/survey. We have to get more people to understand this nightmare so I guess we keep talking.

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  27. Bob, only half of the population pays taxes because the other half doesn’t have any money. Private transportation is expensive.

    However, all your other points are quite valid. You seem to understand the situation and are looking for a way to solve it. And I agree with your analysis of the current managment of the system.

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  28. Bob – I can confirm your points about Tim. He was VERY quiet in the role of the puppeteer (aka head of the C-tran board in 2008 or so?) just before he ran for Mayor in 2009 or ’10? And further yes, Royce was the mayor who has his own agendas.

    I wonder if Tim is trying to OUTDO Royce’s legacy? 🙂 I mean a 10 billion dollar bridge HAS To be better than all of Royce’s torn down rebuilding and pavement projects…. (Lucky Lager, Gramor, extension of fourth plain and rebuilding of mill plain west to the port? Should I go on?)

    To the C-Van service, wasn’t it referred to as “the Golden Charriot?” I know recent efforts of C-tran to look for ways to cut the costs, reduce the rise and exploding growth of that service, if you are not aware. There was a big discussion about it during the last election cycle about the bus service.

    A further reminder if I remember right, is that it is a $37 per rider per pickup. Now C-tran SAYS that the ADA forces them to offer this service? Why can they not farm it out to a few cab companies that could operate it more efficiently than the union system that governs the bus and van systems they provide?

    Now a point of personal privilege. I actually RIDE the buses out off Fourth Plain and Mill Plain from the west side of Vancouver to eastern Vancouver – Camas on almost a daily basis. I can confirm several things for you. 70+ percent of all bus riders on C-tran system are either getting ON at Clark College Main Campus OR their Town Plaza (formerly) to head points east, either Vancouver Mall to switch buses OR the 104th Street Walmart – Target on 164th Avenue.

    That Mill Plain bus is the WORST crowded bus in the system at this point. There are a significant enough empty (or near empty) buses on the fourth plain system atm. I would love to see some of that extra capacity moved to the Mill Plain corridor!

    I can also tell you that 80 percent of the buses going through downtown Vancouver and connect up to Stockford Village (99th street transit center for those not in the know?) are near empty. Even if they shift to smaller buses, its rare to see them more than a few people.

    The only ones I know that are from the transit center that have any decent amount of people are the Felida and WSUV – Legacy Hospital buses.

    Now to another point I wanted to ask you about. There is a lot of building going on in Eastern Vancouver. And I agree with you that the 192 Avenue area near Camas is just throbbing with new buildings, new activity and probably a more retail going out there because of the economic demographics moving in there?

    But my question to you is, why would you want Light Rail over the Interstate 205 bridge from Gresham and probably connect into their system near 99th street – Glisan – Gateway TC or a little farther east.

    If you know any thing of that area, (the gresham – rockwood neighborhood) where would the highest crime rate – drug use and newest slums of Multnomah County BE? Why would you want to build a network of this system into Camas or through your own beloved home to bring all of that DIRECTLY and easily into your beloved home and neighborhood?

    This would be the same question I would ask David Madore who was pushing this bridge idea through Lady Island for nearly two or three years? And if my memory serves me, Arch Miller was talking about it FOR YEARS before that, right?

    Was there not a concern from the Clackamas Town Center and surround business when the Green line opened up there within the past FEW years and they noticed a huge increase in petty theft, drugs and other stupidity?

    Ok, enough for now…

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  29. One comment to Carolyn’s that I missed. I have watched the political spectacles over the last 20+ years. Honestly, I can’t count probably less than the number of fingers on my hands when there was ANY decent political pressure come to bear on anyone of political stripes.

    The last one I remember showing a GOOD interest? The Baseball stadium.

    But tell me Carolyn, since you go to the city council and board of clark county commissioner meetings. How many times are there really any BIG crowds of people that are new, that are not staff, the same repetitive re-treads complaining at the community forums sections for the upteenth time or scouts earning a merit badge?

    Very, very few times, do I remember any crowds coming to make a point. its very rare here in the home of the dormant, liquid sunshine…. (aka apathetics course completers.)

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  30. Excellent perspective about the ever-increasing criminal element in Rockwood and the hight likelihood of how a third bridge from the neighborhood I was raised could impact 192nd Avenue, Jeremy. the third bridge in my opinion should be on the west side, directly to the port district.

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  31. What worries me Martin is that anyone in Vancouver who still owns a house and is current on their payments, taxes and insurance, are now considered fair game when it comes to raising money in the City of Vancouver. A brief list of things being considered around here:

    * A street maintenance fee
    * A Parks and Recreation tax (more on that in a moment)
    * A Public Safety levy for Fire and Police
    * An 8.4% Sales Tax in Clark County as of April 1
    * A $20 car license tab fee to fund M&O of loot rail
    * A new bond measure in Evergreen Schools to pay for the new Science High School
    * Ever increasing rates and local taxes on all water, sewer,. storm water, garbage collection, recycling, telephone service, etc.

    Homeowners are in the center of the 10 ring for future tax revenues, with most of it destined for projects that have zero benefit for those being taxed. As usual.

    Case in point: the waterfront project. You have to count every square inch of grass down there to come with 8 1/2 acres of “park”, and as for that trail, the City still hasn’t figured out a permanent fix for their blessed waterfront trail that washes out whenever the river comes up.

    And nowhere near half the population uses C-Tran Martin. It just isn’t happening.

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  32. Bob, it’s a good thing poor people are invisible, otherwise they’d vote to take everyone else’s stuff. (And will if we don’t get the Middle Class situation straightened out in this country.) Never-the-less, the Constitution applies to them too, and elected officials have a responsibility to serve ALL The People, not just those who took them to the dance.

    This is not approval of over-priced public transportation employee unions. Solutions that involve the private sector seem the most promising, especially utilizing today’s information technology. My point is that we can’t have a one-sided, “rich” people view of our transportation needs. Yeah, FIRST take care of those who pay their taxes (private drivers) THEN lookout for the less fortunate BUT don’t forget them.

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  33. Okay I know that not many people show up to state their opinion at city hall. I do wish more would. They don’t have to come every week but a monthly visit to remind the stooge they are watching and talking about this stuff in an engaged manner would be helpful. The powers that be would really be troubled if they thought that people cared. The very reason they act the way they do and pull the crap they pull is they think no one will speak up. The few of us who do are easily discounted by them and the lobbyist cronies who come to take up community speech time twice a month. One thing though, I won’t shut up and go quietly back to my hole. My freedom, my money, and my neighbors are too important to me to do that. Besides which, the intro to the bill of rights states that I have the DUTY to show up in defense of freedom and rights. So I guess it’s my job. Since the bus nor the lite rail come to my house I will continue exercising my freedom and driving my car down there to them on Monday evening.

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  34. Martin, that is my point. We are already taking care of so many “disadvantaged” people out there, the ones paying the bills are in danger of becoming “disadvantaged”. The problem with spending other people’s money is eventually you run out of it.

    And half the population still does NOT rely on public transit.

    Well put Carolyn, and I too wish more people would become involved in local issues. But when you have people who do become involved, and attempt to voice their opinion at the Columbian’s website but get shot down in flames for doing so, or just denied the opportunity at all, it tends to discourage people after a while, and they simply don’t bother.

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  35. I know how the game is played against opposition at the local newspaper. The only way to get your info into it is to be a little flamboyant usually if you are in disagreement with the definite left leaning slant they print. I’m sorry about that issue and it is a good thing that the papers aremoving fast into the fading sunlight. What we need to figure out now is how to better get the word out to people about other options like this site so that more people learn the truth. Wish I had a few dollars I’d buy billboard space for Lew.

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  36. That’s why there are blogs other than The Columbian’s “blog”, Bob. And also why The Columbian needs to be put out of business.

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