Posts tagged ‘Columbia River Crossing’

November 24, 2019

Local Newspapers Don’t Matter to me

by lewwaters

For many months now, the editor of our local newspaper, the Columbian, aka the Lazy C has treated us nearly every Saturday to some editorial on how the paper is structured, assembled, operates and generally how much we need and depend on them.

To this blogger it has been an oversell and reinforced today in Lazy C opinion page editor’s latest screed Local newspaper matters to you

Jayne struggles his best to impress on the reader as to just why the local paper matters, which got me thinking. I no longer fish, so I don’t need it to wrap up my fish caught. I don’t have a bird in a cage, so no need to buy and have paper on hand to line the bottom of the cage.

Okay, that’s a bit snarky, but seriously, does the local newspaper matter to any of us? More than anything I’d love to answer ‘yes,’ but looking back over the years I was politically active, I can only answer a resounding ‘NO!’

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February 23, 2017

Orcutt Speaks Against HB 2095

by lewwaters

Rep. Ed Orcutt (R. 20th) speaks in opposition to HB 2095 before the Washington State House Transportation Committee, Feb 22, 2017, a bill to “develop a process for planning for a new Interstate 5 bridge.”

Likely one of the more sensible and logical comments heard yet.

TVW – House Transportation Committee

The bill passed out of committee by a 14 to 10 vote.

March 14, 2016

Can We Please Drive a Stake Through The Heart of Light Rail?

by lewwaters

I am convinced that light rail, whether we like it or not, must be a part of the project. As such the responsibility, again whether we like it or not, falls on the community to cover the cost of the operation and maintenance…” Former Port of Vancouver Director Larry Paulson March 26, 2012

Light Rail HellThe words above spoken by former Port of Vancouver Director Larry Paulson is indicative of the uphill battle we waged for nearly 20 years against forcing us to accept Portland, Oregon’s financially ailing light rail system a few blocks into our community, across state lines.

“It’s a done deal,” “Nothing you can do will stop it,” “Hounds of Whinerville,” and of course, “like it or not” were repeatedly heard as we plowed ahead, elected representatives that supported us over Portland and eventually, saw the ill-fated Columbia River Crossing project die painful death.

Or so we thought.

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April 15, 2013

Applying the Paul Montague Method of Interpretation to the CRC Poll

by lewwaters

CRC RobberAs first mentioned on the Columbian and this blog in Of Increased Decibels, Cutting Bait and the Four P’s, the much anticipated poll results are in with Editor Lou Brancaccio claiming, “the poll showed slim support for the entire project.”

Of course, given the polling method chosen, targeting certain zip codes where support might be stronger than outlying areas within the county, it is no surprise and actually a result I would expect to show an even larger degree of support.

But is this really how the County feels? Does this interpretation really give the outlook of the majority within in Clark County? Lou Brancaccio seems to think it does. But what if we applied the same logic to this poll that Identity Clark County President Paul Montague applied to the overwhelming defeat of last year’s C-Tran Proposition 1 to increase sales tax to fund light rail operations and maintenance? (Video after jump)

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April 14, 2013

Of Increased Decibels, Cutting Bait and the Four P’s

by lewwaters

CRCUnable to read the tea leaves, by all appearances proponents of the costly and controversial light rail project, falsely promoted as a bridge project, the Columbia River Crossing are responding to the call of Governor Jay Inslee to “increase the decibels” as if they were trained seals blasting on a horn to be rewarded with a small piece of fish.

Increasingly we see elected officials fall in lock-step along partisan lines to promote this boondoggle, falling back on all of the disproven talking points and at times, gross exaggerations if not outright lies.

Early last week we saw outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood parachuted in to manipulate the State Legislature into voting for and supporting this project where he said, “This is the 11th hour. Fish or cut bait. Make a decision.”

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March 30, 2013

CRCFacts.info Rally Excerpts

by lewwaters

Clips from Fridays rally held at the Red Lion’

See CRCFacts.info and Clark County Conservative Archive for more information on why opposition is growing and the Columbia River Crossing Project, as currently designed, must be stopped.

As speaker Ty Baxter, owner of Baxter Auto Parts coined, “it’s the economic equivalent of the Berlin Wall.”

UPDATE: Full videos now available at http://www.portlandpolitic.com/crc.html

August 31, 2012

HOW MUCH FOR THE LOCAL CONTRIBUTION?

by lewwaters

 

Contributed by Professor Robert Dean

 

HOW MUCH FOR THE LOCAL CONTRIBUTION?

What are the direct costs of the CRC light rail project to the local community?

Frankly, I don’t concern myself too much about the projected $4.2 billion price tag[i] of the CRC light rail project. If the feds want to further squander our gas taxes, or borrow from China, there’s not much I can do or say that would dissuade them. I got a little more concerned, though, when, in 2010, Joe Cortright alerted us that the total 30 year cost of the CRC light rail project would approach $10 billion.

He published his report and it caught the attention of the public and the CRC. The CRC, by way of ODOT, posted a weak refutation, mostly arguing semantics; if you buy a house for $300,000 you don’t count up the mortgage payments and say you are living in a $600,000 house. To which Mr. Cortright answered: no, but you’d better be sure you can make those payments before you borrow to buy the house.

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June 9, 2012

Of ‘Self Inflicted Wounds’ and ‘Fairly Horrible Experiences’

by lewwaters

Once again, we see the bias in favor of the Democrats that the Columbian says doesn’t exist, displayed so brightly it nearly blinds. We saw it early last year as Democrat Jim Jacks abruptly abandoned and walked out on constituents in mid-session as editor Lou Brancaccio maintained there “was no paper trail” to follow to get to any story on his quitting the position he had just been elected to.

I contrasted that to the Richard Curtis saga just a couple years before in a blatant display of bias.

We once again can see it displayed as just a few months ago, the Clark County Republican Party was taken to task over sanctions set in place against County Commissioner Marc Boldt who frequently went against his stated position in campaigning as a Republican to be elected to the County Commission.

Of course, the Columbian did not bother to say anything until months after the sanctioning that I know they had to be well aware of as they were mentioned on this blog in November 2011 and Columbian follows both this blog and Clark County Politics to see what we are up to.

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April 18, 2012

City of Vancouver Rejects Most Signatures On Anti-Light Rail Petition

by lewwaters

It comes as no surprise, in the ongoing melodrama from the city of Vancouver, Washington, that we now read Anti-light rail petitioners fall short of signatures, to include “Review costs city $31,000,” all in the effort to further denigrate citizens opposed to dragging Portland’s financially troubled light rail across the Columbia River into our community.

That a petition had to even be circulated in an effort to let taxpayers who will see generations into the future stuck paying for the bloated Columbia River Crossing Project is sad in itself. But, as we have seen explained on this blog and others like Clark County Politics, the powers that be, mostly under the direction of Vancouver’s Mayor Tim Leavitt, voters true input is not wanted, just our paychecks.

We read that some two-thirds of signatures on the petition were “invalid.” Further down in the article, we see that what makes them “invalid” is duplication or that some lived just outside the actual city limits.

Missed in this latest effort to deny taxpayers a voice in this boondoggle, is the taxpayer opposition to light rail, shown in how many people who felt they were within the city limits signed the petition.

Much is made of the claimed “$31,000 cost” to verify signatures, but I have to question the veracity of that being an actual cost. Since there were just over 9,000 signatures turned in, how does it cost nearly $3.50 per signature to verify? And, since it is City/County employees doing the verification, aren’t they on the clock doing what we already pay them for?

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October 12, 2011

Largest Recipient of CRC Funds Sues to Keep Financial Records Secret

by lewwaters

An interesting development in the ongoing “transparent and open” process of the Columbia River Crossing Project, responsible for so far swallowing up some $140 Million in “studies” for a new I-5 Bridge to run Portland’s Light Rail into Vancouver, wanted by taxpayers or not.

David Evans and Associates, so far the single largest recipient of funds from the CRC, accepting more than $30 Million so far, answered a notice from WashDOT over their intent to comply with a FOIA request for financial records with a lawsuit quietly filed in Thurston County to block release of their records on file with WashDOT here.

The records request was part of an ongoing private audit of the CRC finances funded by successful Vancouver businessman David Madore. Tiffany Couch, the forensic auditor hired by Mr. Madore says, “the request for the Evans financials was one of series of records requests she’s filed.”

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July 16, 2011

Josephine Wentzel Brings a “Taste of Guam” to the Campaign Trail

by lewwaters

Josephine Wentzel

Several people attended the Josephine Wentzel campaign kick-off for city council last evening, July 15 and were treated to a mouth watering sampling of treats prepared by friends and supporters. All were treated to generous amounts of delicious island BBQ ribs & chicken, Spanish red rice, Pancit, potato salad and more.

Dr. Rick Lee Jackson provided live entertainment with his musical talents and in the capacity of Master of Ceremonies.

But, savory food and live entertainment is not what drew as many as 100 people to Vancouver’s Historic Academy last evening. People turned out to meet and hear Josephine Wentzel, known to many simply as that “NoTolls woman,” for her community activism in opposition to exorbitant tolls on a new Columbia River Crossing. They came to hear what she stood for in her quest to gain a seat on the city council, now held by Bart Hansen who was first appointed in occupy the seat vacated by now Mayor Tim Leavitt after the 2009 general election.

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May 12, 2011

Dump the Vancouver City Cartel

by lewwaters

With the latest stunt of Vancouver, Washington mayor Tim Leavitt and the city council, which more resemble a cartel than an elected body of representatives, it has come time to vote out any up for reelection.

Last September Mayor Leavitt, now known for his blatant lies to be elected as the Mayor in opposing tolling the new bridge that will eventually be constructed across the Columbia River, engineered a little sleight of hand trick, combining a citizen vote on extending Portland, Oregon’s financially failing Light Rail in with a vote for a sales tax increase to “preserve and expand existing C-Tran bus service” in Clark County.

One lone council member, Jeanne Stewart, gauging strong public sentiment against light rail from Portland, cast the deciding vote to split the ballot measures, correctly seeing that the public wasn’t going to fall for Leavitt’s trick and that C-Tran would most lose a significant portion of their funding.

Leavitt and the rest of the city cartel ungraciously voted to oust her from the C-Tran board, replacing her with Larry Smith.

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April 22, 2011

Stand Up To The Elected Bullies

by lewwaters

Although pertaining to Canada, 88 year-old Joy Taylor speaks her mind against these government programs the left claims is for our benefit and so they can “take care of us.”

Her message is plain and simple, “Stand Up To The Bullies.”

How many times now have we seen elected officials ridicule, smear or denigrate citizens? Think Jeanne Harris and ‘Gavel Down’ if unable to think of an example.

How fast did Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt flip-flop on his campaign platform of No Tolls?

How often has Portland Mayor Sam Adams ignored citizen concerns?

Stand up! Speak up! Fight back!
March 22, 2011

Portcouver City Council ‘Modifies’ Citizen Speech Rights…. Again

by lewwaters

As taxpayer opposition to the boondoggle Columbia River Crossing Project grows and citizens continue to appear before the Vancouver City Council to express that opposition, especially to extending Portland, Oregon’s financially failing Loot Rail to Vancouver, action had to be taken.

From Washington State Senator Patty Murray to Portland’s Mayor Sam Adams, Vancouver’s ruling class seems to have received orders to squelch the dissent, Murray saying in August 2010, “If there is complete controversy at the local level, it [federal funding] has no chance.” Hence, my calling Vancouver “Portcouver” now, since the ruling class seems to receive marching orders from Portland and beyond.

Nearly everybody has seen or heard of the now famous melt-down of council member Jeanne Harris in September 2010, taped by citizens in attendance that evening, removing any chance of the ruling class erasing the incident. This most embarrassing conduct I have ever witnessed from an elected representative towards those they supposedly represent earned Ms. Harris a minor censure and removal from some committees.

Citizens, on the other hand, faced the scorn of the ruling class with efforts to shut them up, but only if they oppose this bloated project that is destined to be an albatross around future necks. Those wishing to speak in favor of the boondoggle have always been well received by the ruling class, who might have expressed minutes before that Portcouver’s city council has no voice in the project, tolls or extending the bankrupt Loot Rail across the Columbia River.

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March 7, 2011

Mayor Leavitt Says He Does Not Want A Citizen Vote On Loot Rail!

by lewwaters

Part of much larger 20 minute interview on the March 7, 2011 Lars Larsen Show.

Throughout the interview, Leavitt exposes his disdain for citizens and lack of knowledge on even how the boondoggle I-5 Bridge and Loot Rail will even be paid for. Lars gets him twisted in knots and Leavitt continually contradicts himself.

Be sure to visit the Lars Larsen Show web site and listen to the full interview.

February 20, 2011

Columbia River Crossing Fatcats Continue Assault on Citizens

by lewwaters

After years and years of endless studies and well over $100 Million in taxpayer money wasted, the likelihood of a wasteful, overly expensive new bridge across the Columbia River, including extending Portland’s Loot Rail into Vancouver, seems to be building to a fever pitch as the fatcats who stand to increase their personal wealth on the backs of struggling taxpayers apparently have lined up the troops to begin attacking through the Columbian those who are concerned with bankrupting our community with this boondoggle.

We see city government falling in line and taking measures to squelch dissent to the project, shortly after Washington State Senator Patty Murray visited Vancouver, leaving behind her instructions to local business and political leaders to get behind the project.

Along with that comes a pledge of the federal government picking up some 11% of the estimated $4 Billion cost, which most likely will increase greatly once these fatcats succeed in shoving this project down our throats, or up another part of our anatomy.

The Columbian, like trained little puppies, seems to have fallen in line, as expected, by publishing article after article on how we must allow this bankrupting of the city and county and opposition should be silenced, or at least shuffled off into a darkened corner where their voices will not be heard.

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February 19, 2011

What Next at Council Meetings, Jack Booted Thugs?

by lewwaters

The ongoing efforts to silence citizen opposition to extending Portland, Oregon’s Loot Rail into Vancouver, Washington, part of an overly expensive planned project to replace the aging I-5 bridge between the 2 states, is being elevated to a new level, publicly berating citizen’s who exercise their first amendment rights to speak out in opposition.

Saturday’s Columbian contains a front page article, Mayor Leavitt ready to cut open mic at city council meetings featuring the names and photographs of those who have spoken out in opposition to Loot Rail and Tolls at past meetings, including how often they speak.

Previously mentioned HERE, the effort now seems centered around a plan to continue rewriting Guidelines for Citizen Communications, that has been “under review” for several months now and modify or do away with the portion still published that says, “Citizens Communications is the place on the agenda when the public is invited to speak for approximately three minutes about an issue of concern or interest not already scheduled for public hearing during the meeting, or otherwise addressed on the agenda.”

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February 15, 2011

Damn the Taxpayers, Full Speed Ahead on a Wasteful Bridge Project

by lewwaters

The country is near broke, teetering on bankruptcy with the highest deficits and debt in our history, the state is struggling to find ways to fill a multi-Billion dollar budget gap and somehow, Obama finds some $400,000,000.00 to pledge to replace a perfectly good bridge across the Columbia River that will include extending Portland, Oregon’s loot rail over to us, whether we voters and taxpayers want it or not.

Vancouver’s mayor, Tim Leavitt, who sold out the voters with his lies that he would oppose adding tolls to any bridge project states, “This isn’t a piecemeal project. You do not build a bridge without light rail and without a local financing piece. This is all or none,” concerning Portland’s refusal to cover their portion of the bridge project unless we in Clark County submit to blackmail to bail out financially bankrupt Tri-Met and Max Rail in Portland by extending it across state lines in Clark County and add tolls to cross the bridge to get to their filthy city.

Of course, if Leavitt wasn’t such a wuss, he would stand up to Portland’s sweetie pie mayor Sam Adams. But as we saw last year, in the now internationally famous ‘gavel down’ incident of city council member Jeanne Harris, he can’t even stand up to a little woman.

No, it’s easier to lie to voters to get elected and continue raping taxpayers any way imaginable to fund whatever whim comes cross his desk.

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November 15, 2010

Beware the “Hounds of Whinerville”

by lewwaters

John Laird, Columbian Editorial Page Editor known for his vitriolic tirades against most anybody to the right of Karl Marx has again decided it is time to denigrate taxpaying citizens who wish to exercise their freedom to speak out against wasteful programs that stand to bankrupt the citizens of Clark County.

Laird’s latest screed, Balance arrives at public podiums labels those who speak out at public meetings against the notion of an overly expensive and unproven design for a replacement bridge across the Columbia River as,

the Hounds of Whinerville are a leashless confederation of contrarians who could also be described as NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) and my personal favorite: BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). Make no mistake, their disdain for progress is as vigorous as their contempt for a three-minute timer.”

The “balance” Laird claims we taxpayers who still believe in citizen rights are up against? Some “members of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce” supposedly “fed up with all the anti-bridge rhetoric from a small but loud group of grumblers” and under the leadership of a Ms. Kelly Parker, the former Kelly Love who, until recently, was a District Director and Senior Congressional Staffer to retiring Democrat Congressman Brian Baird of Washington State 3rd Congressional District, also a supporter of replacing the aging bridge across the Columbia River that for some unexplained reason, MUST be tolled and include extending the light rail line from Portland, Oregon into Clark County.

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September 21, 2010

City Council Forms Ethics Panel, Harris Travels to Germany

by lewwaters

Last nights Vancouver City Council Meeting might not have seen the fireworks of the previous week, but it was spirited. Council Chambers were filled to capacity, as they were expected to be, many in attendance to call for the ouster of embattled Council Member, Jeanne ‘gavel down’ Harris.

If you recall, Harris suffered yet another meltdown at the September 13 council meeting, lambasting citizens and fellow council member, Jeanne Stewart, covered HERE, HERE and HERE.

As expressed earlier by the Mayor, in response to allegations from fellow Council members, an “Ethics Committee” was formed last evening to “investigate” charges of violating the Charter of the Council by Ms. Harris. Mayor Leavitt appointed Council Members, Larry Smith, Jack Burkman and Pat Campbell to sit on the panel.

Mayor Leavitt asked for approval to excuse Ms. Harris’s absence from council meetings while she is travelling “on a privately-funded John Jay McCloy fellowship through the International Council of National League of Cities to travel Germany with city leaders from around the United States.” It was said last evening she is acting as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for Vancouver while travelling. It received unanimous approval.

After her meltdown last week, I cannot think of a poorer position for her to fill.

The Columbian has also brought out that Ms. Harris “is going through a very difficult divorce” which is absolutely no defense for her offensive conduct towards others. As someone holding a degree in communication, if Ms. Harris’s private life interferes in her public capacity in such a manner, she should know that she should either ask for a leave of absence or voluntarily step down from the council an allow someone to sit in who would be capable of properly performing to job.

Also of concern is a previously undisclosed email Harris sent out to council members, shortly after she issued her questionable “public apology” last week. According to the Columbian’s Andrea Damewood, Harris sent out an email to fellow council members saying,

“Looks like I’ve lost two policies and we’ve received numerous rude phone calls that my 19 year old customer service rep has had to listen to. Apparently the gavel incident is now on utube (sic). Thanks for making my life hell.”

No, Ms. Harris, no one has “made your life hell” but you and your offensive conduct. Blaming others, or even a divorce, doesn’t excuse or justify anything. Your poor overbearing conduct towards others is not new nor is it a one-time event. Many others have gone through much worse and did not find the need to attack others as you have done for so long.

Twenty eight citizens spoke last evening during Citizen’s Communication and for the most part, were well-received in Harris’s absence.24 of whom spoke on the issue of either Light Rail or Ms. Harris’s conduct. Of the 24, two were in support of light rail being extended to from Portland to Vancouver and only one person, tax happy Democratic state legislator Jim Moeller, defending Ms. Harris. 21 citizens spoke against the addition of light rail and/or Ms. Harris.

Of somewhat concern to me was seeing a Police Officer hovering around at the back of council chambers. Although I cannot attend every council meeting, this was the first time I have seen council call in an armed Police Officer for council meetings.

A query to council on the necessity of his presence brought a response from council member Smith of

“Lately, we have posted an officer for security reasons. We have no security measures at city hall like the court house. There has been no threats on Councilmembers and the crowd that has shown up has been excellent. With unemployment very high and folks stressed out coupled with a shooting in Fruit Valley by VPD, we have posted an officer to protect us all. Someone could target City Hall as an easy hit and to make a point over a city issue such as budget cuts. It is a difficult time for many folks. You never know; and I would like us to be proactive.”

However laughter erupted when a citizen, Ralph Peabody, thanked the council for the Police presence to “protect citizens from the city council.”

City Council candidate John Jenkins and County Commission candidate Alan Svehaug spoke in favor of protecting citizens’ free speech before the city council and opposing Harris’s outbursts.

The ethics panel will first meet to decide how many meetings are to be scheduled to investigate Ms. Harris’s outrageous behavior and to recommend what action, if any, is due her. The Columbian’s John Laird has said she is due a “harsh reprimand,” which I feel is way too lenient considering her history of such outbursts.

From what I hear around town, nothing short of her expulsion from the city council will do.

Jeanne Harris has become an embarrassment to the city of Vancouver, Washington. Citizens’ comments last evening reflected our concern not only over her conduct, but the inaction of fellow council members to curtail her outbursts against fellow council members and citizens’. That she was allowed to act as she did during the September 13 council meeting and not one person, other than Jeanne Stewart, spoke up to her is as embarrassing as well.

It is the job of the Mayor to oversee and conduct council meetings on a professional manner and he failed in that regard. No one interceded to calm her down or remind her she is but a representative of the people she is lambasting. No one, other than Jeanne Stewart, stood up for the citizens’ right to address council in grievance.

As I commented on John Laird’s Sunday column,

“Council isn’t elected to dictate to the public, but to represent us. How are they able to represent citizens if they refuse to listen and instead, impose the views of a majority of 7 people on some 170,000?

That is not representative governance.

Most people, left or right, are civil until they see their voices are being ignored. When government at any level so flagrantly ignores the citizens, we cease to be ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’.”

The time has come to ‘gavel down’ Vancouver City Council Member Jeanne Harris.

UPDATE: Vancouver City Council Ethics Panel Decision HERE