A “Kangaroo Townhall” Won’t Help the CRC

by lewwaters

We’re all familiar with the term, Kangaroo Court meaning “a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.” Maybe it is time we also applied it to townhalls by elected officials who have no intent to listen to constituents and instead seem to think they have to sell us on a defective project the majority of their constituents’ have indicated they do not want.

A Townhall is supposed to be an “informal public meeting where everybody in a town community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest.”

But as we continue to see, many of those elected officials appear reluctant to listen to constituents areas of concern in Washington State 49th Legislative District, especially where the overly ambitious Columbia River Crossing Project is concerned.

Long cloaked in secrecy and with cotton stuffed in their ears, the CRC is being exposed for what it is by the diligence of numerous citizens who see the corruption associated with it, the poor design, the excessive expense, the destruction of jobs well into the future and an expense that is likely to leave Clark County Washington reeling for decades, economically. All so Portland, Oregon can force their financially failing light rail a very short distance into our community and assume some portion of their $1.6 Billion in unfunded liabilities.

Citizen concerns have been ignored, they have been yelled at, demeaned, denigrated and ridiculed by elected officials at City Council meetings when they tried to voice their concerns. At one point, the mayor even tried to silence critics by disallowing citizen communication before city council unfavorable to the CRC supporting council.

Throughout it all, citizens remain undaunted and began pushing back by electing some new representatives and although still a minority, their effectiveness in voicing citizens concerns has been apparent.

Citizen sponsored groups have been set up while highly qualified, educated and credentialed citizens poured over documents finally received in a massive dump through a Freedom of Information Act request. One citizen, a successful business owner went to the length of hiring a private forensic investigator to audit the finances received in that document dump, paying them out of his own pocket.

Others banded together combining their talents to ferret through a multitude of reports and documents. These efforts have revealed questionable accounting, bypassing laws, unsound engineering and more as it became apparent that the sole reason behind this project is to force Clark County into accepting Portland’s light rail, against their will.

Slowly but surely, the tide began turning as more and more, citizens saw what was happening and stopped falling for the disinformation associated with the project over many years. In an email received today from one such citizen group, CRCFacts.info we read the conclusion,

“Our relentless exposure of irrefutable facts has caused increasing reflection by the CRC advocates—and many are jumping ship. If you know anyone that has just been going along with this CRC group-think–please help them escape. If you are involved in an organization that is supporting the CRC–work with them to get the facts and break free of the political and business interests that have unduly influenced them. Please help others get informed to help stop the CRC–and then transition to an open and rational planning process.”

Seeing citizens eyes opening and the losing of dictatorial powers over citizens isn’t setting well with the ‘in the tank’ elected officials, especially the three Democrats elected to represent the 49th Legislative District. And this is where my application of a “Kangaroo Townhall” comes in.

I also received another email today from Rep. Sharon Wylie, married to Vancouver’s City Attorney, Ted Gathe who advises the Vancouver City Council on matters pertaining to the city.

The Wylie email announces what they refer to as a “Townhall” this Saturday, March 16, 2013 to “Let’s talk about the CRC.”

Wylie says,

“There is a lot of misinformation out there about the Columbia River Crossing Project. But we have to decide the future of our area, so it’s important that we all learn as much as possible about this issue.”

There is an element of truth in her claim, but not stated is that it is she and her fellow ‘in the tank’ officials that continue to spread that misinformation.

This Kangaroo Townhall is not designed to be a two-way communication of constituents and elected officials. It is designed to be a one-way seminar trying to overcome and discredit citizens who have shined light on the lack of transparency coming from their ranks.

The list of invitees to speak consists of only pro-CRC speakers, unlike townhalls held recently in other surrounding communities where officials representing both points of view were present to respectfully present their views and reasoning.

As was shown at the post CRC Gets Professional Marketing Campaign Support , proponents are getting desperate as they see it all slipping away and citizen opposition growing.

But it isn’t only citizen opposition growing as we see previous efforts to impose tolls on a still struggling middle class for this project declared void and requiring to be redone by the legislature, a legislature that now has seen a power shift in the State Senate with more willing to scrutinize this questionable project.

Another nail in the CRC’s coffin is being reported as we read Coast Guard: More info needed on CRC bridge height where the poorly designed bridge height, creating the lowest point for river traffic clearance on the river is still unable to obtain the needed permit to begin construction from the US Coast Guard due to that height issue. In their haste to hurry up and obtain permits before citizen opposition and outrage over took them, they apparently left out a lot of needed information.

A Kangaroo Townhall desperately trying to rebuild support where none exists will not “mitigate” that. Last minute websites with catchy graphics that delete contrary comments is not going to build support. Spreading more disinformation will not win the day.

It is time to pull the plug on this CRC fiasco, launch a criminal investigation of all concerned, prosecute if warranted and start over with something the people will support, afford and will want.

It is time to tell Portland to go suck eggs and keep their near bankrupt light rail and $1.6 Billion in unfunded liabilities on their side of the river. We do not need to bail them out at the expense of our community.

19 Comments to “A “Kangaroo Townhall” Won’t Help the CRC”

  1. Precisely. Today sucked for the pro-CRC scammers.


  2. Come join me to watch the downunder circus then people. Be there early because the last time they had their event at a smaller venue it filled up with union people early and people could not get in. I grant you the thing will be slanted but it will be reported on as well so show up and stand up and speak up. We need to get the word out there and not let them have their way.


  3. If typical, this will be an “educational” meeting where the speakers will speak, but offer little opportunity for members of the public to respond. Expect to sell a large number of public employees and union shills attending and responding very positively to what the speakers are saying.

    Be prepared to be offered false choices: e.g. Would you prefer tolls collected in both directions or in one direction? — but there’s no choice for “no tolls.” Or you may be offered “benefits” that are actually unrealistic on unlikely to ever be delivered: e.g. Would you like public transit that ran every 90 seconds and offered a seat for everyone? (These were two lies offered when the SF BART system was being proposed. It appears that the promoters actually believed some of their own P.R. as the trains initially did not have overhead bars for standees to grip. Of course the trains have never even been close to operating 90 seconds apart (3 to 4 minutes is their best, with 15 min between trains common during off hours.)

    I’ve attended numerous similar public meetings. Typically they will try to slice and dice the audience to dilute the objections. It is essential that attendees remain focused on the goal (stopping the CRC with trolley cars) and not let the moderators (probably a professional) to deflect the objections.


  4. John, you were correct in your assumption. It was a P.R. show for sure!


  5. It was a lie and a propaganda dog and pony charade! I listened to Nancy Boyd and I stopped counting at the 5th lie 4 minutes into her spiel. Speaking for 10 more minutes did not improve the situation. We heard about the 400 accidents a year on the bridge and the 2 hour commute times from downtown to Vancouver as daily occurrances. We hear the millions of hours per year we will save in the process of light rail’s impact of cars being pulled off of the freeway lessening the traffic. We heard that 18,750 daily trips will be made from and to Vancouver when we get light rail. You could watch her and recognize in her face the fact that she knows she has lied again.
    Then there was the ODOT representative telling us how tis is a local decision while a third bridge would have been a regional planning job??!! Also how Kitzhaber signed the money funding when we know he simply signed a bill that says Oregon will consider passing money funding legislatin when Washington passes their funding before September 30th this year, no actual funding was approved.
    Then there was a guy named Scott Walstra who was a “citizen” in the first round of 40 months he said of studying to come up with the citizens panel choice of a LPA (locally preferred alternative) that the city council then passed without a vote by the actual tax payers! Come to find out he is actually an economic development consultant! Wonder who he works for eh?
    Then the lovely Kelly Parker who gave us all the business with two thumbs up from businesses in the chamber of commerce. I wonder how Thompson Metal Fabs feels about that considering they are a member, a very larger employer and business in our area AND are suing the CRC over this fiasco?
    Then we got to hear from the Union representative who wants those jobs and was pushing to make you believe that the steel and the concrete were going to be “local” and were going to use local workers unlike other contracts in our region lately she said. How can she lie like that knowing the law does not allow them to guarantee that, it must be bid out!
    Back to Nancy Boyd who was telling us that the light rail was paying for a portion of the bridge and we needed to do this now because there are no guarantees that this type of federal funding will be available in the future. Of course there won’t, the feds are even getting fed up with huge wasting of tax dollars on projects that nationwide are proving to be a money pit as far and long as the eye can see. Then she even said that the other option would cost 250 million more and so it wasn’t feasible to put the light rail on the 205 crossing. They talked about the 8+ billion more we shall see annually in increased business here because of a new bridge… I guess that the 8+ isn’t enough to cover the $250 million anymore???
    She even said that the I-1185 ruling from the court did not mean that the legislature would be the ones setting tolls and claimed it was a myth. She claimed that the state department of transportation was still in charge of that. Seems that funding for bonds will not be there if I-1185 does actually make the legislature the tolling king.
    Afterward I called Moeller on it and he said well of course we will reassign it in legislative action to the commission. To wit I said well that may be but you didn’t pass that legislation did you? So she lied!
    We were not allowed to speak like at a normal townhall with the exception of the last five minutes or so when Jim allowed for a couple of questions that he hand picked. One truck driver questioned their construction design for trucks and said he felt that they were wrong in their planning so that closed that off pretty fast. We were flanked by union guys who were paid to be there arriving right on time and in unison exiting at noon on the dot when their two hours of compensation was over. The event wasn’t over for another 45 minutes. Our questions had to be written in advance and trned in for them to sort through and choose. Jim read the ones he wanted to and Nancy Boyd or Kelly Parker who stated that anyone against this CRC design were the ones that are the elephants in the room, or Scott Walstra answered for the most part. Oh, I forgot, we were blessed with the lobbyist from the Identity Clark County at the table too! How special to have Paul Montague reiterating how important it is for all of us to sign on to going bankrupt! Nice to be made to feel that you are the one wrong when you are sitting there being lied t and it is all said with such syrup poured on it.
    Disgusting display of partisanship in the politicians and all done for the press who was kind enough to grace us with their presence.


  6. According to what I have found on the Columbia River Crossing website, Scot represented NW Natural Gas. Here’s CRC’s link:



  7. And Carolyn…your descriptive of the fiasco town hall…SPOT ON!!!


  8. If I didn’t know we were at the ESD building, I would’ve thought we were at a sushi market on a 110-degree day, looking at yesterday’s sushi left on the counter.


  9. The card he gave to Dennis Henry said he was an economic strategist consultant. I didn’t bother to list the facts that they lied by sheer omission. I am equally sure that they told more than I can remember. If you remember something you heard you should share it so we can start to hold their feet to the fire.


  10. I had planned on being there to tape the party, but had to beg off last night when family things came up.

    But from the sounds of it, I didn’t miss anything, pretty much what I expected it to be. A Ra Ra session preaching to the choir mostly.

    Does it escape them that their ra ra sessions, packed with a paid audience blocks out people that might be willing to listen? All they do is repeat their lies and back slap each other, they build no support.

    Much better to do David Madore, Tiffany Couch and John Charles did in Washougal, bring in Paul Montague and let both sides be heard.

    We win because we are not afraid to let both sides be heard and the facts are on our side. They cannot refute us, so they attempt to silence us and it isn’t working.


  11. There were still empty chairs. We could’ve had more people but it would not have changed to outcome. The normal citizens did not hiss and boo, we were not supposed to clap or cheer either butthe union did not obey the rules. Nothing changes does it?


  12. The members of the unions who showed at the Town Hall at the ESD 112 building definitely displayed the rumors of methods of coercion to anybody who would disagree with them. Their outbursts of …well… joy in their fearless leader and all she had to say (and she was quite opportunistic to their reactions, too) was a clear message that they didn’t give a rat’s rear end what anybody had expressed at the beginning of the gathering, including the members of the panel. If they can’t refrain from listening to the panel’s request, I’d hate to see what these people do in public…tea party gatherings included.


  13. What I could not believe was the excuse Ms. Boyd gave for the $51 million dollar request for funding for a new maintenance facility in Gresham for the new rail cars which would come to Vancouver. WHAT NEW RAIL CARS??? They’re not going to add any new rail cars to the Yellow Line. Their ridership numbers on the Yellow Line have had a steady decline since April of last year and in January are lower than they were back in 2010!!! They’re not going to add rail cars to the line! That’s HOGWASH!!! Yet another lie to add to the countless others!!!

    btw…new email sent to Rep Herrera Beutler by me regarding the lies and deception displayed at the Town Hall. I urge to those of you who oppose the deceptive CRC planners to continue to contact our state senators as well as those on the federal level who will decide whether or not to accept the crossing package. This fight isn’t over, yet!


  14. It isn’t over until the CRC group fold up their tents and go home!


  15. Scot is VP of the Cowlitz Economic Development Council, Was a finance guy locally when on the Locally preferred committee in early 2000’s. I would love to give the guy a pass but his story does not quite jib with the testimony given to the Senate Oversight Committee by Steve Stuart who was at the D&P show and Craig Pridemore who was not at the meeting AFAiK. There is no way they would have lied about being beat up by Vera Katz, is there? In any event the same cross referencing of local v regional was made by Scot in his speil, that the CRC deflector gave in hers, the project is of vital importance to the economy but is hamstrung by the stupid decisions local politicians made in the seventies at the disco bar, compounded at the Casbah in the eighties, revisited by the Baffler in the nineties and wafting in the mansion halls of government to compound every decade with ever more stupid political decisions.

    They actually expect us to go along with the stupid political decisions, but they can’t believe their timing is so horrendously bad. They really don’t give a rats pa-toot about how the thing gets paid for, or any question like that. They want to impress Pacific Rim trade partners with a commuter train. Not with the movement of freight or commerce, Obviously or they would not be so willing to help move Thompson Metal Fab to Longview, not with the safety or even the stability of the current bridge, if they really cared about anything but that light rail train. If they cared about anything but that stupidly expensive Light Rail Train, we would have had a crossing plan with regional elements built in built up and functioning by now. They want us to pretend that stench is the scent of roses and not the excrement on their shoes.


  16. Carolyn, in reference to your comment at 7:56 pm, would you be interested in lies or deception? For instance, the $51 million-dollar maintenance facility the CRC requested funding for is a good example. If you recall Saturday morning, Ms. Boyd had claimed it would be used for the rail cars which would come to Vancouver. If that was so, then where are they maintaining the Yellow Line rail cars today??? The Yellow Line doesn’t even go out to Gresham!!! It travels from Delta Park to SW Portland. A lie? A deception?


  17. Hmm…interesting bit of information from ODOT (link below). According to their data, the I-5 Bridges are vulnerable to damage but not imminent collapse. Page 46 has a chart which displays slight to moderate damage from an earthquake at 8.3 on the Richter scale on the I-5/I-205 bridges. Page 48…at a 9.0, only moderate damage to Portland bridges as well as the I-5/I-205. Here…check it out for yourself.


    Funny how the CRC claims the towers, counterweights, pier columns and truss spans would collapse in a major earthquake…according to the WSDOT, CRC project team brochure available at the Town Hall. So now I wonder…will ODOT pull this report as well???


  18. I had seen that before and called them out on it at one of the oversight meetings last year. But, I think it is important to remind people of it so thanks for posting it too. All these posts are so important to those who surf the web looking for answers. The more of them and the more frequent they maintain a status at or near the top of the postings on google.


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