GVCC’s Kelly Parker Attempting An End Run Around Voters

by lewwaters

Light Rail HellOnce again we witness efforts by the few in Southwest Washington to circumvent voters, ignore our votes and lobby funds the state does not have to forcibly ram Portland’s financially beleaguered light rail on us and into our community.

It is Kelly Parker, President/CEO Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce who has sent out an email soliciting signatures from selected business owners with the Greater Vancouver area to show support for the Columbia River Crossing Project and light rail, even though voters have clearly said we do not want it in proxy votes, such as the recent defeat of C-TRAN’s Proposition 1 to fund operations & maintenance by a sales tax increase.

Parker’s email bypassed numerous businesses, such as Acuity Group PLLC, a Forensic Accounting Firm in Vancouver hired to independently audit CRC’s books and that was met with foot dragging, a huge document dump, usually designed to confuse and overwhelm, lack of cooperation and even a lawsuit from a contractor to inhibit access to some documents that might show where some $160 Million of our tax dollars has gone, seemingly targeted to those few who may profit from the project or who would merely pass along any expense to taxpayers, already bearing the brunt of the multi-Billion expense.

In the email to selected businesses, Parker is very clear she is “Looking for business leaders to sign onto our bridge support letter for the Legislature” and that it is “TIME SENSITIVE,” the enclosed draft being predated February 1, 2013.

Obviously intended to be delivered to sympathetic legislators such as Jim Moeller, Sharon Wylie and others early into the legislative session.

Also mentioned in the email is to encourage other businesses, not taxpayers and voters, to sign on.

While what we have come to expect from CRC proponents, Parkers draft seems to be sufficiently lacking in the area of facts, as pointed out in an email reply to Parker from the owner of Acuity Group PLLC, Tiffany Couch.

Tiffany Couch Response to Kelly Parker

As can be seen in the email linked above, several specious claims are made to justify this project as calls from voters, taxpayers that will actually be stuck with generations of debt to pay for it go unheeded, silenced and ignored.

This project has been billed as a means to end the congestion seen in the I-5 corridor with nothing addressing the real bottleneck through Portland, Oregon.

The current design has been whittled down to the same number of lanes we now have on the current bridge and even a suggestion of making the new bridge a ‘drawbridge’ to mediate the problem of the design being too low to gain the needed Coast Guard permit and interfering with river traffic.

We’ve been told we must have the new bridge to improve freight mobility, but no one has yet to address just how light rail will accomplish that.

Left out of the discussion is the reason the bridge was designed too low, that being light rail cannot travel the grade that is required to raise the bridge to a sufficient height to give proper river traffic clearance.

Then too, no one involved in supporting the boondoggle and keeps promoting it as a much needed project will even discuss the revelation by an Oregon Supreme Court ruling in another matter that revealed the only reason Oregon’s Metro agreed to a replacement bridge was in order to force us to accept their light rail after we defeated in at the ballot box in 1995 by a 2 to 1 margin.

Since then it has been a concerted effort to shut out voters, silence our opposition, do end runs around us and hide facts that show the projects deep flaws.

We see the arrogance of supporters like Kelly Parker who seems to pick and choose businesses to help her lobby the legislature to somehow come up with the funding, ignoring that the federal funding she feels is “within reach” will only cover a portion of the light rail construction, not the bridge itself.

Supporters have even floated the canard that including light rail makes the overall project less expensive, as did Vancouver City Council Member Jack Burkman in a recent comment left under a Columbian article,

“Deleting light rail from the I-5 bridge actually increases the bridge cost. The light rail funding comes from Federal Transit Agency (who would fully fund construction) and, if pulled, the Federal Highway Administration would need to find more money for the physical bridge construction – somewhere in the $200 million range, or more.”

Burkman, like Parker seems to be deluded into thinking adding light rail and improvements to the freeway to accommodate light rail not only drives the cost of construction down, but it will be paid for by the federal government.

Not true.

The feds will pay a portion of light rail construction with taxpayers picking up the rest, as well as that money from the feds also will come out of taxpayer’s pockets.. Taxpayers will also be on the hook for tolls to pay off bonds to fund construction and the TIFIA loan proponents hope to get.

Light rail itself drives up the cost of the project well over a Billion dollars and as we have seen, is responsible for several shortcomings that will result in a net jobs loss as well as no relief in congestion.

As Ms. Couch points out in her response above to Kelly Parker, none of this is addressed and instead, is cleverly hidden and covered up by proponents of the CRC.

Light rail is not only not wanted in Clark County at this time, it is not needed. Likewise, we would do better by keeping as much of our taxes in Clark County to improve and maintain our own community and not be bailing out Portland’s mess.

It is time we stopped this madness and held the CRC accountable.

11 Comments to “GVCC’s Kelly Parker Attempting An End Run Around Voters”

  1. I’d suggest that the business owners that DON’T want this boondoggle bridge with its 19th century trolley cars should resign from the Chamber of Commerce. I note that the Chamber memberships are strictly voluntary and that many businesses are being ill-served by the Chamber in its advancing the trolley cars and new bridge. What will be the impact of the construction for YEARS on the many businesses that will be affected by it? (I note that previous discussions suggest that there has been little mitigation offered to affected businesses.)

    Indeed, I’d suggest that those business owners who don’t want this should impress this fact on those members who are on the board of the Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps it’s time for a new Chamber CEO/President?

  2. The funding from WA ain’t happening. They need to get over it, because those in charge of the Senate know better. And they can… and will… kill it.

  3. I don’t recall any trucking firms or truck drivers that deliver freight testifying in favor of light rail and tolls.
    How are $8.28 to start tolls on I-5, and I-205 going to help freight? What freight will the light rail carry?
    The few passengers now crossing the river by bus can easily continue to do so by bus on the current or any new bridge across the Columbian river.

  4. oops. Columbia River.

  5. How disengenuous was it for Kelly Parker to suggest that the chamber represents 1000 members and yet sends out the email to only 50 of them.

  6. I do hope that Ms Couch’s response to Ms. Parker’s email could somehow be forwarded to those fifty, While I am certain those fifty were recipients for a reason, reason may still prevail.

  7. All of the 50 (or so) people on the original distribution list received my response, as did several legislators.

  8. Quoting “The funding from WA ain’t happening. They need to get over it, because those in charge of the Senate know better. And they can… and will… kill it.”

    Ok, did you hear that a certain local congresswoman just got on the Appropriations – transportation subcommittee? Can you say, Go Fish for $$$$ for the CRC?

    src: http://herrerabeutler.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=316872

  9. Tiffany: I own a small business here in Vancouver and have owned for 35 years.I have belonged to the Chamber in past years,but dropped my membership when Ms.Parker came in.This was because of her pollitical background.I hope all other small business’s do the same.I want to thank you for all the information you put out.I only jope more people listen to what you have to say.

  10. I wonder who is next to see the light of the CRC Project thrust into their faces…….?

  11. Jeremy, I know that Barbie got the US House Approps seat in return for throwing us over the edge of the fiscal cliff. But I was specifically referring to was the Washington State component requiring an additional $450 million. The money simply isn’t there, and Moeller’s hissy fits notwithstanding, ain’t going to be, either.

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