Posts tagged ‘Bankruptcy’

October 27, 2015

George Francisco, Honesty Really Is the Best Policy

by lewwaters
George Francisco

George Francisco

I really had intended to stay out of campaigns this election, but at this late date find myself compelled to enter the fray to not only counter the many lies being told by Vancouver City Council candidate, George R. Francisco against incumbent Bill Turlay, a decorated retired U.S. Navy Jet Pilot, but also to shine a little light on what he hasn’t been too forthcoming with.

It must be remembered that Mr. Turlay came under fire back in 2013 over a 20-year old business bankruptcy when he ran against Mayor Tim ‘the Liar’ Leavitt. Yet, in this 2015 race with Francisco endorsed by Leavitt, no one is discussing Francisco’s more recent bankruptcy I stumbled across this evening vetting him.

Unfortunately for Mr. Francisco, it is the very lies he has continued telling that prompted me to vet him, since apparently the Lazy C isn’t as interested now as they were two years ago. You started lying, George and I went looking.

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January 16, 2014

Lazy C’s Rice Tips Over the Hypocrisy Scales

by lewwaters

Col. ScalesThere is little doubt that Southwest Washington is in sore need of a newspaper, a real newspaper that actually covers news, both locally and nationally and gives an objective view in articles. The poor excuse for a “newspaper of record” currently in Southwest Washington isn’t even fit to line the bottom of a bird cage, in my opinion.

But, even with my sour view of what amounts more to an ‘unofficial daily newsletter for the Democrat Party’ than a news outlet, even I am surprised at their height of hypocrisy at times.

Such is the case with writer Stephanie Rice’s latest entry in their “All politics is local” section, Mielke’s plan for improving employee morale where she actually whines because, as she wrote, “Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke has wielded his authority as chairman of the board to decree that the newspapers be kept out of sight.”

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October 17, 2013

Lazy C Goes Barrel Scrapping, Again (Updated)

by lewwaters

Barrel 2It’s a given that a conservative candidate, for the most part, cannot get a fair shake when it comes to news by the Lazy C, aka the Columbian. Especially if they oppose the CRC they can expect to never see a positive word about them in the pages.

Editor Lou Brancaccio has claimed many times now that it is not so, but the evidence of their bias is so blatant it literally screams.

Such is the case with Vancouver City Council member Bill Turlay, running to replace Mayor Tim Leavitt.

Turlay has not once received the papers endorsement in previous tries for office, but the people rallied behind him since he actually sides with the people against special interest groups promoting the disastrous CRC light rail project.

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January 21, 2013

If Canadians Can See It, Why Can’t Our Government?

by lewwaters

Canadian M.P. Pierre Poilievre lays out precisely what led to and keeps America rushing over the cliff.

Why isn’t any of our elected officials screaming this from the roof tops?

Scariest is seeing that the interest paid on our debt will soon be funding 100% of China’s Military and other countries as well.

May 24, 2011

The Columbian: Bankruptcy, Restructure, Tax Breaks and Still Late

by lewwaters

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to see our local newspaper of record once again reporting news after others do. It seems to be the pattern down there for some time now.

Be it the news of death threats against former congressman Brian Baird being found not credible before his August 18, 2009 town hall, uncovered by blogger Kelly Hinton weeks before the Columbian reported it or ongoing problems at the Hazel Dell Value Motel, reported on and uncovered by Marcus Griffith of the Vancouver Voice, not to leave out the numerous times KPAM, KATU, KPTV, KUPL or KGW news teams scoop them on local Clark County news, the Columbian continually comes up short when it comes to getting news out in a timely fashion.

Editor Lou Brancaccio has said they will not run with rumors or publish speculation, which was highly noticeable in the case of former 49th legislative district representative Jim Jacks abruptly quitting the seat, mid-session and just weeks after being sworn in for another term.

Others weren’t so fortunate to have the local paper of record in their pocket that spared little ink in speculating or questioning the truthfulness of their claims.

In the case of Marcus Griffith of the Vancouver Voice, someone I have had my differences with, he did make the effort to confirm what nearly all of us in town knew, that there were serious infractions and shady dealings going on at the Motel. I believe he could have accomplished that without spending the night there, but have to credit him with actually going in there and doing his own investigation and then reporting on it, once again, before the Columbian reported about it.

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July 17, 2009

Congress Tries To Save Auto Dealers. Too Little, Too Late?

by lewwaters

Dodge 2

During the recent bankruptcies of both Chrysler Corporation and General Motors, much of America and Congress stood by as both passed judgment on hundreds of Auto Dealers around the country, pulling their franchises, effectively putting them out of business and handing the franchises to other dealerships, free of charge.

Ignored by all as the White House manipulated these closings and handed down directives to receive his socialist help is that the very proceedings by-stepped and ignored individual state laws on franchises.

Over a month later news is coming out that both Houses of Congress, seeing how many people they threw into the unemployment lines, are taking steps now to “protect and reinstate dealers” that so unceremoniously lost their franchises.

With Obama announcing his opposition to such measures, I feel these moves are just another smoke screen thrown up to convince voters they tried and not to be held accountable for all the newly unemployed laid off from so many dealerships.

Should, by some fluke, the auto dealers regain their lost franchises, it will most likely be too little too late.

For example, the auto dealership I was employed at for 19 ½ years as a technician is one of those that lost their franchise in Chryslers closing of 789 dealers. Locally, we were known as Vancouver Mazda Dodge owned by Allen Webb since October 2005.

Webb has retained his Mazda franchise and has renamed the Dodge portion to “Used Car City.” Webb recently finished and moved the dealership from its former location in Hazel Dell to a new $11 Million facility, just weeks before losing the franchise.

Many bloggers discovered a disproportionate number of dealers losing their franchises that supported Republican candidates over those who supported Democrat candidates, fueling much speculation on the closing having a political payback motive.

Nothing has ever been proven in that regard.

It is doubtful that played any part in Webb’s case, as he is a Democrat.

In my estimation, Webb brought on his own problems as from the time he purchased the dealership, adding it to others in his Auto Group, a series of mismanagement and bad calls coupled with poor customer service in the last year doomed the dealership as the long time customer ship present when he purchased it just walked away.

The day he took over the dealership the entire sales crew walked out, with only one returning right away and just for a short time.

When he purchased the dealership, we were known as Clark County’s Dodge Truck store, selling and servicing an awful lot of Dodge Trucks, especially the Cummins Diesel models. We had a contingent of factory-trained technicians that had been employed with the previous owner 20 years or more, the newest technician being employed with the dealership 4 or 5 years.

Dealership Service Departments with that many long term technicians is nearly unheard of in the trade, giving us an advantage over other dealers as customers new us by name and felt comfortable bringing their vehicles to a shop with such stability. Many would drop their cars or truck off and step into the Service Managers Office to chat with “John,” as they knew him well and trusted us.

We weathered previous recessions due to such trust and familiarity with customers who knew they would receive the best service possible.

None of this was good enough for Webb as he first trusted the newly acquired dealership to a General Manager who decided to put Dodge on the back burner and build up the inventory of Mazda Vehicles. That began losing sales as buyers began looking elsewhere for the trucks or cars they desired while Mazda sales rose only slightly.

Adding to the demise of the dealership was to pressure the Service Manager to leave and bring in more of a “yes-man” who was recently fired from another dealer, a Jeep Dealer that today, remains in business.

“John” realized that in order to keep well-trained and knowledgeable technicians, we must have an opportunity to make up lost pay from when we spent much time on difficult warranty diagnosis and repairs. Webb had decided that the “soup” work should go to lesser-paid lube techs so that service jobs would make him more profit personally.

“Floyd,” the new Service Manager, began right away alienating long term technicians as he brought with him other techs, not trained explicitly in Dodge, including his own son. Within a few months, as better paying jobs went to the new people “Floyd” brought with him and long term techs saw their paychecks dry up, those who had carried the dealer through rough financial times in the past began leaving, 4 in one day alone in September 2008.

Undeterred and leading many to think that was “Floyd” and Webb’s intent, more from the Jeep dealer were brought over as that one began recovering. More long-term customers began going elsewhere as they began discovering the trust they were used to enjoying was no longer there, as the new crew began their “shake them down” attitude towards customers.

Hours were changed to 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM 3 days a week per split crews, further leaving owners at the whims of the new “shake them down” crew who would at times leave a car set the 4 days they were off until they worked again.

New and confusing computer systems were instituted that managed dispatching of jobs and even time keeping for technicians.

In all it rapidly deteriorated into a very stressful workplace leaving older employees exhausted and with much lower paychecks to show for their years of loyalty.

The last long term Dodge technician was terminated June 16, 2009 just days after the franchise was pulled. The remaining technicians are all of the “shake them down” attitude and struggling to survive on used cars or those customers who may think there are still factory trained Dodge technicians there.

What they really receive are recommendations for unnecessary services and even unneeded repairs as the “shake them down” techs fumble through diagnoses.

In the final end, Allen Webb has no one to blame for losing his franchise but himself and his business decisions.

I find it unlikely that any of the franchises would be restored, given Obama’s strong opposition to the plan, but the off chance Webb were to regain his franchise, would it do him any good?

I’m sure that given time, a new customer base would be built and new technicians could be properly trained and hired, but he would never be able to rebuild what he threw away, either in technicians or the same customers who steadily purchased vehicles and returned for service and repairs for so many years.

It took the previous owner as well as “John” and every one of us techs years to build up that loyalty. It took just months to lose it.

I imagine other dealers around America have lost similar business base and technicians and also face the poor likelihood of regaining them in their employ.

While I still think the proposal is more of a smoke screen than anything, to negate an obvious vote loser for them, if Obama signed it into law, it will do little good over all as it will be just too little too late.

Perhaps everyone should have thought the matter out better instead of jumping headlong into such a bad decision in order to nationalize the auto industry and alienate the customer base.

May 14, 2009

Vancouver Auto Dealer On Chrysler’s Closure List

by lewwaters

2008 Challenger 1Alan Webb’s Vancouver Dodge, recently relocated to their new location behind Vancouver Ford on NE 66th Ave received the shocking news Thursday morning, along with 788 other Dealerships around the country that they were slated for closure in Chrysler’s restructuring plan.

The National Automobile Dealers Association says about 40,000 people work at the affected dealerships, but that many will remain employed as Dealers continue to sell the other brands associated with them. Webb employs about 70 people from Clark County and Portland.

Alan Webb also sells and services Mazda vehicles at his 66th Ave Dealership.

Complete list of proposed closures

Webb acquired Vancouver Dodge in October 2005 and almost immediately began plans to relocate the business from its former location on 78th street. He completed construction on his new $10.7 million facility just over one month ago, moving the business in mid-March.

Auto sales have slipped drastically since the current economic downturn began, affecting all Auto Dealerships. Webb believes that with the new facility, “We’ll be in the right spot and in the right facility when sales turn around.”

Announcement of the closure list will further hurt sales as consumers wonder whether or not to buy a new car from the dealers, but the dealers remain open for business and warranties on the vehicles will remain to be honored.

Webb’s new facility contains a large service shop staffed by competent factory trained technicians, some in the employ of Vancouver Dodge for 20 years or more. Service hours are very flexible for customers, being open from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM, Monday through Saturday.

UPDATE: Webb’s facility is no longer staffed by long term, Dodge factory trained technicians. Good luck.

Vancouver Dodge used to be Southwest Washington’s largest Dodge Truck Store.

Oregon faces the closure of 6 Chrysler associated businesses with Washington State facing 15. Also slated for closure is Timberline Dodge on NE Sandy Blvd. and Gresham Chrysler.

Timberline owner Alex Laws says the announced closing will be appealed.

Vancouver’s other Chrysler Dealer remains unaffected at this time, but owner Dick Hannah said, “We’re not expecting to be eliminated, but we don’t know.”

Webb declined to comment any further today than to confirm the dealership is on the list, but unnamed sources within the dealership inform me he intends to fight the closure too.

Alan Webb’s Vancouver Dodge remains open for “business as usual” in the meantime.

Also slated for closure in Washington,

Bud Clary Jeep in Longview,

Cascade Autocenter in Wenatchee,

Columbia Chrysler-Plymouth in Longview,

Hahn Motor Company in Yakima,

Larson’s Chrysler Jeep in Tacoma,

Lee Peterson Motors in Yakima,

Leskovar Jeep-Eagle in Kennewick,

Milam Jeep Mazda in Puyallup,

Murray Motors in Port Angeles,

Petes Garage in Ritzville,

Roger Jobs Motors in Bellingham,

Skagit Auto Center in Burlington,

Tacoma Dodge in Tacoma,

Tri-Cities Motor Sales in Pasco.

UPDATE: Webb now says, “Unless there is an appeal granted, we will no longer be selling new Dodges or providing warranty services.” He expects to stop selling Dodge by mid-June.

As owner of Clark County’s ONLY Dodge Dealership and having relocated the dealership at the cost of $10.7 million, Webb should fight this closure with everything he has behind him.

In the meantime, Webb plans a huge sale this weekend to liquidate the Dodge inventory. Said Webb, “If there was ever a reason to have a sale, this is going to be it. We will be having one gigantic sale.”

His Mazda, Nissan and Saturn dealerships remain unaffected by Chrysler’s action.

UPDATE: Webb seems to be filling the diminished dealership with high end used vehicles, very few economical vehicles

May 2, 2009

Columbian Files For Chapter 11 Protection

by lewwaters

columbian-21

As has been expected, the Columbian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday.

Columbian seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

This does not mean the Columbian is going out of business or will cease publishing the paper, nor should they. On the contrary, the paper should now be able to restructure its debt and emerge, hopefully, as stronger newspaper and even more hopefully, more representative of the community.

The Columbian has been facing financial difficulties due to declining circulation, declining advertising and the bold move of constructing a new building just as the economy began its downward spiral.

Three lay-offs did not help in recovery from their financial woes.

Lou Brancaccio, editor at the Columbian, see is as, “We’re tough and we’ll get going,” indicating a “business as usual” attitude in that the paper will continue to publish daily, as expressed in his editorial, Of getting tough and comments.

Brancaccio makes mention of “we allow our detractors to use our Web site to tell us how bad we are. As it should be.” But, he makes no mention of listening to those “detractors” who mostly point out the “left-leaning bias,” with a few claiming “right-winged bias.”

Personally, I have yet to see any “right-winged bias” in their articles or editorial, John Laird’s especially.

To show me any right-winged bias, as I was discussing with a couple young ladies outside of the Hazel Dell Fred Meyers recently, all one needs do is show me any editorials or articles that were positive towards President George W. Bush in the last 8 years.

Unexpectedly, one turned to the other asking, “did we run any?”

The recent murder of 13 year-old Alycia Nipp in Hazel Dell received excellent coverage that was compassionate towards her family, I felt. What has been missing since is any articles or editorials on how our Legislature refuses to strengthen sexual predator laws and keep those “homeless” level III predators off of our streets. Instead, the one Senator pushing hard for this needed legislation, Republican Senator Don Benton, is castigated by the Columbian for missed votes, with no mention of all those who missed more votes are Democrats.

The Columbian makes no bones about supporting Light Rail across the Columbia River, which Clark County voters have stated they don’t want in the past. They even ran a very questionable poll, with no mention of the demographics of the poll, showing most people now wanted it. What they neglected to say was that the poll was almost 4 to 1 of Oregonians, not Clark County residents.

This is but a couple examples of how they are not representative of the community they operate in, but instead try to manipulate public opinion towards policies advocated by one political party over another.

Readers grow weary of reading how wrong their values are or out of step they are and they cease purchasing that product and seek alternatives more along their values. In Clark County one lesser area they find that is in bloggers, private citizens who openly state their views online, unedited as many letters to the editors are.

The Columbian is in no danger from us, but has felt that we draw readers away. I feel we just fill a niche left open by the Columbian. As I told Jeffery Mize when he interviewed me for his article, Blogging Clark County, we shouldn’t necessarily compete with each other, but augment each other.

In the end, I think Lou Brancaccio is closing in on the Columbians main problems with, “we allow our detractors to use our Web site to tell us how bad we are. As it should be.”

The only question now is, will they listen to their customers?