Judges and Voters and Scares, Oh My!

by lewwaters


College 4Submitted by Professor Robert Dean

The 170’ high Crescent City Connection Bridge blocks passage of a Carnival cruise ship on the Mississippi River at New Orleans

The 170’ high Crescent City Connection Bridge blocks passage of a Carnival cruise ship on the Mississippi River at New Orleans

Paul M: Tap, Tap, meeting in session.

Paul M: I’ve called this emergency meeting of Identity Vancouver because, as you’ve already been told, the judge ordered us to let the people of the City of Vancouver vote on light rail.

All: Grumble. Shocking. Tea bagger…

Jim M: Yay!!!

Paul M: Excuse me? Jim, did you say something?

Jim M: No, nothing. I just said yay.

Tim L: What’d you mean by that?

Jim M: Nothing. Just that I’m happy that we get to show those goofballs, Madore and company, that the people of Vancouver really do want light rail.

Paul M: What on earth makes you think that?

Jim M: Well, you for one thing. When you sent me that last check you also sent a fax saying we were to tell everyone that the people actually want light rail.

Tim L: Yeah, I got that, too. But, it had a line of Xs across the top. That means it’s facts that we are supposed to tell the public – not facts we are supposed to believe ourselves.

Jim M: Oh!

Jim M: I don’t look at anything unless it has at least 3 Xs. When I saw those 11 Xs I thought…

Jack B: Wait a minute, I thought that was why we gerrymandered the last C-Tran vote. Why’d we go to all that trouble unless there was a better chance of getting light rail approved if we excluded the rural folks who have to pay but don’t get a vote?

Jim M: I was wondering why there were no pictures.

Paul M: It was worth a shot, Jack, but it didn’t work – did it?

Larry S: Well, what about the Columbian poll?

Paul M: Yeah, that’s right. We paid a lot of money for that, too. Lou, what happened there?

Lou B: Slam dunk! Great timing, too. In a week when the Washington Legislature was killing funding and the Senate was calling for investigations and the Downtown merchants were holding rallies attended by hundreds and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera and State Senator Don Benton were taking turns publicly carving up Federal Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood, we were able to keep all those stories out of print while we published the results of our poll – sorry, your poll.

Jim M: See? See? That’s what I’ve been saying!

Paul M: Careful, Jim, remember what we said about facts for public consumption and not painting yourself into a corner?

Jim M: Huh?

Lou B: Yep! And Eric and Aaron did a masterful job spinning it just right.

Jim M: Are you saying the poll didn’t come out so well after all?

Lou B: Oh, no! No, not at all – the poll was great. It took several iterations but in the end we got it say that there is slim support for light rail in Vancouver.

Jim M: Yay!!!

Tim L: So we can let the vote go forward after all?

Ted G: Great! Now you tell me?

Paul M: We’ve got no choice – do we? Lou, tell them now, I guess.

Lou B: Well, OK, here’s the rub. The poll showed that an awful lot of people don’t know beans about the CRC or their local government. It seems they just trust us to look out for their interests all the time.

Jim M: Of course! How many even know that I sued them so we could tax them more? Thanks for spinning that and leaving my name out, by the way, Lou.

Lou B: Well, Jim, we’re all in this together.

Lou B: Anyway, the poll showed that the more people learned about the CRC, and what it will cost them, the more they were opposed to the idea.

Tim L: How could they learn what it costs? I haven’t told them.

Paul M: Nobody has, Tim. That’s why we issued a benefits analysis and not a benefits/cost analysis.

Larry S: We should be OK then?

Lou B: Not quite.

Paul M: That’s right, Lou. You see, Larry, after the failure of C-Tran’s Proposition 1 last year, the City of Vancouver is going to be asking for tax increases to pay for the Operations and Maintenance of the light rail itself. That gets around RCW 81.104, the HCT Act, which says the people have to vote on O & M.

Larry S: Sure the people have to vote on O & M but Jeanne Stewart points out that both the C-Tran and RTC resolutions approving the CRC Locally Preferred Alternative say that it’s the C-Tran voters who have to vote.

Paul M: Yes, that’s a problem – so is Jeanne Stewart. But, we’re shopping for an attorney in Seattle who will find a way around that. Might have to go to San Francisco.

Larry S: Well, what about it, Mr. Mayor? I’m Mayor Pro Tempore and you never told me about any of this. How is the City going to come up with the money to fund operations and maintenance of light rail?

Tim L: I was going to tell you, Larry, but I forgot.

Eric H: Jeez, Tim, I’ve been telling everyone that this petition vote is irrelevant! Now we find out that it could be the very thing that stands in the way of our circumventing the HCT Act by funding O & M for light rail ourselves.

Ted G: Makes me look like an idiot, too – thanks Tim!

Jim M: But, but, but, the people want light rail. Mike Briggs said so just yesterday.

Paul M: The poll says there is slim support for light rail – not even a majority. That support fades the more people learn about this debacle. We can’t hold a vote on any of this until November. By then, the Coast Guard will have either refused to issue a permit, or just as bad for us, issued a permit contingent on us spending $116 million of tax-payer money to move 4,000 jobs to Texas. Our vote for raising taxes to pay for O & M for light rail won’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell.

Lou B: We could keep it out of the papers – no one would have to know.

Jim M: Next step please!

Tim L: I’m a cup half full kind of guy. I say full steam ahead.

Bart H: Build that bridge!

Larry S: Oh God!

14 Comments to “Judges and Voters and Scares, Oh My!”

  1. Well, that sums it up neatly!

  2. Sounds like somebody has been reading Moeller’s Big Book of Tricks, footnotes and all. As Jerry Lee once said
    -A whole lot of shaking going on-

  3. Nice one, Robert Dean. In addition to this well-informed, document-filled write of yours…the little thorn in Ray LaHood’s bonnet after getting a lashing from Rep. Herrera-Beutler:


    The sparks aren’t flying just here in town or in Olympia. The heat is on. Oh you bet it’s on and the battle isn’t over yet…not by a long shot!

  4. The battle is raging but the ragtag hounds from whinerville will not let go once they have sunk their teeth into this thing! Larry S better be praying to God!

  5. I’m confused, was that fiction?

  6. “What on earth makes you think that?”, The best stuff always has more than an element of truth. And this is some of the best!

  7. Does Jim M know Larry S. is a Christian?

  8. The petition vote is limited to the City of Vancouver. Even if the organizers thought they were getting an up or down vote on light rail countywide, and they won’t, this vote is still crucial.

    The CRC and Tim Leavitt are exploring ways to circumvent RCW 81.104 by having the City pay for O&M instead of CTran. That is why they fought the petition so desperately – if was only symbolic they would have let the vote go ahead because they believe within the City limits there is overwhelming support for light rail.

    If this vote goes our way they will be stymied again – if it goes their way they still have to get voters to approve a tax for O & M.

    There will be competing ballots in the City next November – one for funding O & M and one prohibiting the City from funding light rail. This works in our favor because the topic will be huge by then and more people will be well-informed.

  9. Do you really think that the bastards are going to give up that easily, Robert?

  10. Jack they are refusing to allow the vote under the guise that the city has no business voting on light rail. That is a lie and they know it. However to fight them Larry Patella has to sue them again. Obviously unless the people realize what is happening here he will not be able to do that. It could be that this never gets on the ballot. However what will the bastards do? Their plan B is always tolls.That would require an amendment to the HCT act which will not get past the Senate. Also the traffic volumes will not support extra funding through tolls. – as will be revealed next October with the investment grade study. So that leaves Plan C which is funding O & M through City of Vancouver coffers. The City of Vancouver is broke. They will have to hold a vote to raise taxes and fees to fund O and M of light rail. Unless Larry Patella’s ballot measure is right there beside theirs they will get away with their hypocrisy – we will not be able to convince the people that they were lied to.

  11. Correction: The traffic portion of the investment grade study will be released in June, 2013.

    Click to access Toll_Revenue_and_Funding_Capacity_Analysis_copy.pdf

  12. Well, I don’t mean to say I told you so. But…

    C-Tran hired an attorney out of Seattle to give an opinion (at the request of Mayor Leavitt) on whether C-Tran voters would have to approve any plan to have the City of Vancouver fund light rail maintenance and operations out their own coffers. See page 61 here:

    Click to access May_14_2013_special_meeting_agenda_packet_051413.pdf

    I guess they couldn’t wait for the free (and binding) opinion from the Attorney General that’s still in the pike. Maybe you get a better result if it’s not free.

  13. This is a very dangerous comment from their hired attorney, “It is well-established that the citizens of a municipality may not usurp from the municipality’s
    governing body any power that has been statutorily conferred on that governing body.”

  14. The opinion C-Tran published is stamped confidential attorney client privilege. It is now out there for our attorneys to shred at will. I hope we have some. No doubt he is using the same arguments and cases here as the city will use against Larry Patella and Stephen Pidgeon. They still need our help, by the way.

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