Will Leavitt Lose His Block Veto Power Over C-Tran?

by lewwaters

Probably no one in Clark County understands the futility and frustrations associated with Vancouver holding block veto power over the C-Tran Board of Directors than does city council member, Jeanne Stewart, who was unceremoniously dumped from her long held seat on the C-Tran Board at the direction of Mayor Tim Leavitt.

Ms. Stewart had the audacity to join with the rest of the non-Vancouver city council members of the Board and vote to split ballot measures pertaining to continuing funding of C-Tran with a sales tax increase from another sales tax increase to pay for operations & maintenance of Portland’s financially plagued light rail being extended into Clark County, a position the council adopted well after they dumped her off of the C-Tran Board.

At issue was the city council policy of the 3 representatives from Vancouver on the C-Tran Board being required to all cast votes in accordance with any position adopted by the council over concerns for citizen’s views. In effect, the Vancouver city council selected to give itself power over the rest of the county served by C-Tran.

Since the majority of the council most often sides with Mayor Leavitt when it comes to his strong desire to stack Portland’s light rail on our backs, holding block veto power over the Board of Directors at C-Tran and the council policy of requiring the 3 Vancouver representatives to the Board, you could say that one man, Tim Leavitt, holds excessive power in regards to the direction of our transportation policies in Clark County.

It should be noted too that the Clark County Board of Commissioners also have block veto power at C-Tran, but they do not have the policy requiring all 3 to vote the same on issues.

Several people have called on or recommended the County Commissioners to use their block veto power to counter Leavitt and the Vancouver City Council, but maybe we see an effort at a better idea coming out of the County Commission.

Proposed by Commissioner Marc Boldt, who has cast some very questionable votes in opposition to his claimed conservatism when campaigning for office and agreed up by fellow Commissioners, Democrat Steve Stuart and Republican Tom Mielke, is a call for the C-Tran Board to get rid of the block veto.

An idea I believe to be long overdue. Battle Ground City Councilor Bill Ganley, La Center Mayor Jim Irish and Washougal City Councilor Connie Jo Freeman expressed favor for the idea.

Mayor Leavitt said the Vancouver City Council would give the notion “thoughtful consideration,” according to the Columbian’s Stephanie Rice. Both he and council member Larry Smith claim there is good reason for the city to hold veto power over the rest of the county in regards to C-Tran.

Leavitt said, “We are the urban center, and our citizens are the primary users and the primary source of funding. I suspect that will weigh heavily into our consideration, into whether we want to lose the ability to ensure the best interests of the primary users of the C-Tran system are taken into account when decisions are being made.”

Who rides C-Tran busses the most is immaterial, in my opinion. Costs for the county agency are spread out over the county as well as the “service district” contains most of the shopping that those outside of the “service district” must shop in.

While sales tax increases for C-Tran are within that “service district,” those living outside of it and who must shop within the district end up paying for a tax they were denied voice in.

That puts Leavitt’s claim of Vancouver being the “primary source of funding” into a better perspective.

Commissioner Marc Boldt, who I fear may just be engaging in campaign rhetoric more than sincerity, since he is running for reelection and has supported C-Tran related issues pertaining to light rail in the past, said, “I don’t think we need it. And it’s a disservice to the small cities.”

I have to agree, regardless of the reason behind the comment. It is unneeded and Vancouver should not be in the position to overrule the entire county, especially given the Vancouver City Council continues to require all 3 members on the C-Tran Board of Directors to vote the same.

Echoing my thoughts was Commissioner Tom Mielke saying, “the power has been abused and having the veto option takes away the incentive to work out compromises.”

Successful businessman, David Madore hoping to capture the seat held by Marc Boldt said in comments, “Shall we presume that the three with veto power will not veto the attempt to remove that power?,” echoing the same concern as many.

Mr. Madore also acknowledged that the 3 council members on the Board “are the same three that are telling us that the majority of citizens support their Light Rail Tolling project. Yet they voted to prevent citizens from voting on it.”

Never one to miss the opportunity to include a snide remark, 49th legislative district Jim ‘Da Candyman’ Moeller chimed in, “I never understood why we need to subsidize county roads! Remove the county commissioners and all small city representatives from the board and have the service for the City of Vancouver only. That of course would mean that Vancouver would no longer need to contribute to the county road fund and would finally be out of the business of subsidizing all those roads and bridges outside of the city. Let them fix and build their own roads and bridges – If they can afford it!”

Moeller apparently does not see his comment, snide as it is, would also place the Columbia River crossing Project, to include a new bridge to carry the financially beleaguered light rail into Vancouver solely the responsibility of the city of Vancouver to cough up any taxes, tolls or fee increases to pay for the multi-Billion boondoggle.

Jim has a habit of seeing only one side of things, seeing only those things he wants as having any merit.

Along with ending the power Leavitt wields over the county, I personally feel the position of C-Tran Director & CEO should be changed from an appointed position to an elected position, much like the Port Commissioners.

As it now stands, we taxpayers stuck with all of the bills have no way to hold the director accountable. We can only vote on those who serve on the Board, but not the director.

Tim Leavitt seems to have enjoyed the power he has been entrusted with, even though he lied through his teeth to given it. He has used that power to run roughshod over others throughout the county to ensure his view is what prevails over the rest.

C-Tran is not an agency of the city of Vancouver, but of Clark County. There is no reason that the city, under Leavitt’s demands, should hold veto power over the entire county.

Block Veto power of one city over the rest of the county must go!

25 Comments to “Will Leavitt Lose His Block Veto Power Over C-Tran?”

  1. I so agree with this Lew! Really well put. The comment by Jim Moeller, who would have us believe he represents us all the while he is suing us for exercizing our right to control our government and taxation, truly floored me. Who is he refering to when he says “we need to subsidize”? I feel that he has forgotten that part of the 49th is in the county not the city limits. I question how he would propose the shipments of freight to those stores and retailers which the city collects taxes on should be handled. Shall we, the rest of us that are not living inside the city limits, impose tolls on trucks to cover their damage to county roads when they use them to deliver the freight to those residents inside the city limits? How divisive! We are one county and a wonderful community of people who should and I am sure can handle the tough questions we are faced with when it comes down to the financing of our major projects and roads. This whole fiasco needs to stop and the peoples’ voice needs to be heard in a vote of the full service district this year period. I like the idea of making the C-tran administrator an elected position like the port is. It does put a layer of accountability on the job done.


  2. Overall when a council member is put on a board the implication is that you will abide by the majority of councils decision, weather or not you personally agree with it. In that aspect I can see why the Vancouver Council would want someone off a board who votes against how the majority intended. That said the block veto thing is unneeded, what is needed is an ability to make a persuasive argument and win people over to your side. Someone who lives in Vancouver is neither more or less important than someone who doesn’t. I personally resent that the City of Vancouver treats non-Vancouver residents as though we are less worthy of any type of service. C-Tran does one very important thing in Battle Ground and other small cities and that is the C-Van service. For the elderly, disabled and folks who need that special service C-Van is an absolute lifesaver. A disabled Vet who lives in Battle Ground and needs C-Van to get to the VA for medical care is not less worthy of service than one who live inside the City of Vancouver.


  3. Alex, in the case of a single seated representative, I agree with your point.

    However, Vancouver has 3 representatives which gives them all power over the rest of the county, your second point.

    Not only should the director be an elected position from the entire county, Vancouver should only have 1 representative as well, unless C-Tran becomes a Vancouver entity and not a county entity.

    Vancouver cannot pay for C-Tran alone an as it is, they now wield too much power over a county agency.


  4. And, of course, if the purpose was to practice Soviet-style democratic centralism, there’d be no need to put three members on the board… just put one up there and give that one “veto” power.

    After all, what’s the point if they’re only allowed to mouth the party line?


  5. And a disabled vet who lives outside the gerrymandered CTran taxing district shouldn’t have to pay a tax he wasn’t allowed to vote on.

    Right, Alex?


  6. First of all, Congratulations are in order for Carolyn Crane who has bravely stood up and filed to run for State representative in the 48th. You have my most enthusiastic support, and I wish you only the very best of luck. I’ve read your comments here very often and I look forward to watching your campaign. Well done, Carolyn!

    On to more mundane topics…

    Look for the City to block veto banning the block veto, and that will put an end to this. It’s a chicken-you-know-what move and it is right up the alley of that never-to-be-sufficiently-damned Mayor Progressive and his buddy Larry Smith. Bart Hanson does not count because he is a sock puppet and there could be anyone’s hand up his backside at any time.

    Flash in the pan. This will be over and forgotten by next week.


  7. Thanks Bob. Nothing personal here but everyone messes up the spelling. Carolyn Crain in the 49th!
    I am inclined to agree that the move by the county is dead in the pan until Leavitt is out of office.


  8. WHOOPS! Sorry ’bout that Carolyn, it’s been a long day….


  9. No problem, its been a couple of long weeks for me. New role to get used to and all. The elections office even got it wrong when I filled out the form correctly. Thank goodness they send you a confirmation so you can say WHOA! It is so common for the other spelling that’s all.


  10. Rest assured, Carolyn, you have my full support and whatever I am able to help you with.


  11. Thank you! I’ll keep that in mind.


  12. Carolyn, I also am in the 49th state LD, so I’m curious to know what you have to say on various subjects. So I’m curious to know if you plan on putting up a website and whom you are running against????


  13. Jeremy, Carolyn is running against ‘da Candyman” Moeller 😉


  14. I would love to chat and tell you all about the issues from my perspective. Website will be up and running early next week under domain name of: http://www.votecarolyn.com (but not til tuesday eve please). Hey Lew why don’t you think about interviewing me eh?


  15. We’ll be doing that, Carolyn. Make sure to send me a link to campaign website you put up.


  16. Yeah, I found out from another post, Lew. Thank you.

    Carolyn – Welllll…. I see you will be seeing ME around town! I do live not far from the west side of Vancouver, though not a tip top farther north of Tim and Jim probably. So I shall be preparing my list of questions and passing them around. Since Lew knows me so well, he probably will beat me to getting the same question I might want to ask. And yes, I am in the 49th state legislative district, so I shall be looking forward to finally meeting you.

    Sorry I haven’t been around the C-tran, RTC, City of Vancouver Council and Board of Clark County commissioner meetings like you have been through about the last 3 years. I simply can’t stomach them much anymore plus I have been very sick. And now that Josephine has disappeared,it will be you attending the political haunts and meetings.

    I do hope to come around and see how you are doing. Please DO get your website going by Tuesday. I would love to hear more about what you think and feel are important issues.

    And one final note, I think the snoozemedia (TM) has a direct bullseye on you, because you are taking on one of their favorite legislators. Be ready for their games like they have pulled on others. I personally have been a target of theirs, and so has many of the smart regulars posting here. I would say Ann Rivers also will be a target.

    I’m surprised that dear ol’ Don (benton) is on their list for targeting. But alas, I guess we’ll see how things go! 🙂


  17. I miss seeing Josephine too. Her strength is always welcome by those of us who attend and comment. My site would have been up already but the decision was truly a last minute one made over last weekend. The gal who is putting my site up is out of town through this evening and we’ll have to just be patient for a couple of more days. Everyone tells me I am lamb to the slaughter. Maybe, however, the keeper of the stars is in charge even those there are many who do not seem to be aware of it. I will do my best to not let God down and he will decide if the path is solid. Whatever the outcome I am sure it was pre-ordained and that gives me peace as I move forward. That being said I play a pretty mean game of darts so… they probably won’t be making any hat tricks I haven’t already scored! lol


  18. Form your message and stick to it, Carolyn. Don’t let Jim distract you or throw you off of your message.


  19. Thanks I will take your advice.


  20. Carolyn – Another piece of advice. Getting Jim angry makes him off balance & will show him to be really a easy challenge. Though PLEASE when you do send him into the crazy zone, be honorable about it and don’t go below the belt type of suggestions to get him flowing.
    Jim is probably the only local politician that I know of in the local area, that when you light his candle, he goes off and makes his opponent LOOK good! 🙂 I wonder if anyone else here has seen him blow his stack….


  21. I have no need to go below the belt. His record of representation is all I need to use, it is despicable! The people have voted against him on so many things that they wanted, or they voted and he went against them. Let the people vote and honor their voice. That was and should still be the motto of all politicians who would choose to represent us Americans. It is one of the most precious gifts from our founders and I find it too frustrating to sit back watching while it is stolen from us. I just ask people to speak up! (That’s a little pun because I do have a mild hearing loss from the years of industrial baking equipment noice! lol) But really, exercise you voice and your vote.


  22. Carolyn – I’m proud that you are not stooping that level. I hope to hear more from you soon. What was that website I should visit starting tuesday?




  24. Carolyn Crain has filed to run against him, Jack.

    I’ll be putting up some posts on her soon.

    Her website just came online this evening, http://votecarolyn.com/


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