Who Are The Real Culprits?

by lewwaters

Earlier in the month, the Lazy C saw fit to publish a series of Letters to the Editor condemning the actions of officials in killing off the CRC light rail project.

We read,

“Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, has burned any and all bridges when it comes to starting a new dialogue about the construction of a new Interstate 5 Bridge.”

“There is solid evidence that Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, worked hard to kill the Columbia River Crossing project because she was opposed to light rail coming into Vancouver.”

“The most important reason to build a new Columbia River bridge is safety. When the big earthquake strikes this area, the bridge will collapse and many people will die. An eastern bridge won’t help.”

“So as soon as the Clark County Republicans get serious about a new interstate bridge, maybe then traffic will improve.”

“Brown listed a number of elected officials who are to blame for the Columbia River Crossing fiasco, but two culprits were missed: Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima.”
“It has been well-documented by The Columbian that Rivers refused to listen to the city of Vancouver, C-Tran, Regional Transportation Council, Columbia River Economic Development Council and the state of Oregon. Rivers also ignored the significant public process and, in doing so, wasted $200 million in taxpayer money.”

It’s the usual slate of proponents spewing sour grapes over the voters winning and stopping the light rail project that was being forced upon us even though we voted down every single funding measure presented after candidates repeatedly denied us the direct up or down vote they often promised.

In an effort to “set the record straight,” I submitted the following Letter to the Editor early in June that they apparently have decided not to publish, which is often the case with their pro-CRC and liberal bias. In light of that, I will do so here.

Who Are The Real Culprits?

There seems to be a concerted effort in affixing blame to those elected officials that actually listened to taxpayers for the death of the CRC light rail project. Their blame is misplaced for that waste of $200 Million, though.

The blame really lies with the likes of Steve Stuart, Tim Leavitt, Jack Burkman, Jim Moeller, Annette Cleveland and several others that sat on the C-Tran Board of Directors and adamantly refused to listen to voters who repeatedly voted down every single funding measure presented, since a promised up or down direct vote on light rail was denied us as well.

No matter what we defeated at the polls, they forged ahead as if we didn’t matter and had not spoken, eventually costing $200 Million to be wasted before we finally stopped it from growing into a multi-Billion dollar waste.

Likewise, several citizen comments before County Commissioners, City Council and C-Tran Board meetings were completely ignored over the years, Leavitt even trying to “cut off the mic.”

Place the blame where it belongs, on those that gave struggling taxpayers the finger, not those who faithfully fulfilled their oaths of office and actually listened to us.

Yes, we taxpayers are out some $200 Million with something like $20 Million unaccounted for, just disappeared down some dark hole somewhere.

We should thank those accused of killing this boondoggle that would have plunged us into a generations of Billions in debt for a promised 58 second increase in travel time.

Proponents do not like it and I would like to see a Justice Department investigation into where all of the money went as originally, a limit of some $50 Million was slated for the project studies.

We dodged a bullet on light rail, but now face the same aspect of our voices being ignored as C-Tran bypassed our advisory vote and defeat of a funding measure for BRT down Fourth Plain, C-Tran Director Jeff Hamm scoffing at the advisory vote showing public opposition to BRT with, “concerning a ‘recent advisory vote, the citizens… denied using tax revenue for high capacity transit‘; an important clarification here is that this was a county, and not a C-Tran, advisory vote.”

In simple terms, up yours, taxpayers. We do as we please and you will pay for it!

3 Comments to “Who Are The Real Culprits?”

  1. I wish the would have printed it!

  2. I know I am not their favorite citizen 😉

    But they have printed other LTE’s I have sent in.

    Not this time, though

  3. The “most important reason for the CRC was safety” is yet another big lie. The current bridge is not considered structurally unsound (by the state). It is rated “functionally obsolete” as are countless other bridges in the state. Over the years, Federal highway standards have evolved. Shoulders that allow a disabled car to pull out of the lane(s) of traffic are now a general requirement. Most bridges, built before the change in the standards, were built with minimal shoulder area, if any.

    As for earthquake safety, it is an unknown what exactly would occur during an earthquake. Obviously the best case would be that the state’s bridges would all survive intact. It is likely, however, that many highway bridges would be damaged. As a former resident of California, I have more than a little experience with earthquakes. Nearly every major quake in California has caused revisions to building codes and highway standards. The failure of the Nimitz Viaduct in the Loma Prieta surprised the engineers. An unexpected vertical component of the earth movement “pounded” the concrete support columns, causing them to fail. This had not been observed in previous earthquakes and the design did not survive that movement, despite an enormous amount of rebar in each column. (Throughout California, concrete support columns on freeways have all been wrapped in a steel “coat” to maintain integrity under a repeat of those conditions. However, some future earthquake may well provide other new and surprising results.)

    Since the limitation of bridge design depends on the assessment (guess) of engineers about _likely_ ground movements, there can be no bridge (built within any sort of reasonable budget) that can be considered “absolutely” safe from a failure caused by ground movements. It is just as likely that the I-205 bridge may be significantly damaged while the I-5 bridge is not.

    In other words the “safety” (in earthquakes) argument is a bogus justification to build the bridge for its real intent– to force light rail into Clark County.

    Indeed, if earthquake safety is such a big deal, where is the pressure to update building codes. In observing local home building practices (I pass through a couple active subdivisions on my daily walks), I am shocked at the “backwardness” of the construction practices as relates to earthquakes. In California, steel corner braces and sheer walls are required in many areas of the structure. The intent is to make housing (newly built or remodeled) safe for earthquake intensity up to 8 on the Richter scale. In contrast, the new construction I’ve observed here does not include these “post Loma Prieta” building code upgrades. While the likelihood of earthquakes are smaller here, the “big one” that’s predicted (and, perhaps, is overdue) is expected to be at 9 or above on the Richter scale. That is 100 times more violent than the “8” level ….

    Should we experience an earthquake of sufficient magnitude to seriously damage the Interstate Bridge … that will most likely be the _least_ of our worries.

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