Posts tagged ‘Loot Rail’

October 23, 2012

Mayor Leavitt, You’re the Man!

by lewwaters

Submitted By Professor Robert Dean

 

Ring, Ring!

Leavitt: Government Contracts R Us; Junior Civil Engineer, Tim Leavitt, speaking.

Nathan: Well, well! If it isn’t His Honor, himself!

Leavitt: Nathan? I told you not to call me about city business while I’m at work.

Nathan: Come off it, Tim! You wouldn’t even be Mayor of Vancouver if it wasn’t for me and my prophesies. And, besides, your firm donated $9,000.00 to your campaign. Don’t tell me they didn’t expect to have to share your time and attention with the rest of the city.

Leavitt: Well sure, but you’re not a big developer who can shovel work our way. You’re not even from Tri-Met.

Nathan: You mean “Loot Rail, The Gravy Train, The Crime Train?”

Leavitt: Disparage it all you want, Nathan. I’m in favor of it. I’d even break all my promises about tolls and having the local community pay 1/3 of the cost if it means we get light rail. And besides, Tri-Met hired Government Contracts R Us to be their on-call civil engineering firm. That’s a pretty big feather in our cap considering who else they could have hired instead of us. And the $100,000 doesn’t hurt, either.

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May 22, 2012

Light Rail Likely To Raise Vancouver’s Crime Rate Again

by lewwaters

It wasn’t that long ago, just in February that the Columbian was telling us that Clark County saw decrease in crime in 2011, welcome news to any community that wishes to provide its citizens a safe and comfortable place to live.

The report tells us, “Property crime was down by 1.7 percent. Burglaries increased by 11 to 950. Arson, theft and auto theft dropped” while murders saw a tragic increase, in large part due to the brutal act of Tuan Dao and his five children that died in a blaze he set on Easter morning.

But overall, Vancouver saw a 2.1% drop in crime while unincorporated Clark County saw a 9.6% drop. The smaller cities in Clark County saw even better overall decreases in crime in 2011.

That most likely will see a dramatic reversal should the Leavitt Cabal succeed in dragging Portland’s financially troubled light rail across a new bridge over the Columbia River as currently planned.

This is no surprise to opponents of Portland light rail as we have been making this claim for several years while supporters and other pundits favoring Leavitt’s “choo choo train” scoff at the idea and try to remind that the claim of increased crime is ridiculous as criminals already ride across the bridge in cars or buses.

But they are wrong.

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May 17, 2012

Will Leavitt Lose His Block Veto Power Over C-Tran?

by lewwaters

Probably no one in Clark County understands the futility and frustrations associated with Vancouver holding block veto power over the C-Tran Board of Directors than does city council member, Jeanne Stewart, who was unceremoniously dumped from her long held seat on the C-Tran Board at the direction of Mayor Tim Leavitt.

Ms. Stewart had the audacity to join with the rest of the non-Vancouver city council members of the Board and vote to split ballot measures pertaining to continuing funding of C-Tran with a sales tax increase from another sales tax increase to pay for operations & maintenance of Portland’s financially plagued light rail being extended into Clark County, a position the council adopted well after they dumped her off of the C-Tran Board.

At issue was the city council policy of the 3 representatives from Vancouver on the C-Tran Board being required to all cast votes in accordance with any position adopted by the council over concerns for citizen’s views. In effect, the Vancouver city council selected to give itself power over the rest of the county served by C-Tran.

Since the majority of the council most often sides with Mayor Leavitt when it comes to his strong desire to stack Portland’s light rail on our backs, holding block veto power over the Board of Directors at C-Tran and the council policy of requiring the 3 Vancouver representatives to the Board, you could say that one man, Tim Leavitt, holds excessive power in regards to the direction of our transportation policies in Clark County.

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May 15, 2012

$10 Schmillion: A Conversation Between Mayor Leavitt & Larry Patella

by lewwaters

By Professor Robert Dean

Ring, Ring!

Leavitt: Government Contracts R Us; Junior Civil Engineer, Tim Leavitt, speaking.

Larry P: Well, well! If it isn’t Hiz Honor himself!

Leavitt: Larry? I told you not to call me about city business while I’m at work.

Larry P: Come off it, Tim! You wouldnt evn be Mayor of Vancouver if it wasn’t for me and my listserv. And, bsides, your firm donated $6,000.00 to your campaign. Dunt tell methey didn’t expect to have to share your time and attention with the rest of the city.

Leavitt: Well sure, but you’re not a big developer who can shovel work our way. You’re even against light rail.

Larry P: U mean “Loot Rail, The Gravy Train, The Crime Train?”

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May 9, 2012

Updated: Mayor Leavitt Continues to Thumb His Nose at Taxpayers & Voters

by lewwaters

Many thanks to Jim Karlock for taping the May 8, 2012 meeting and supplying this clip to me. Full length video at Vimeo

Once again, we see Tim Leavitt, who blatantly lied his way into the Mayor’s office in essence stating he doesn’t care what voters and taxpayers think, by our vote, he and the C-Tran Board are “committed” to dragging Portland’s financially stumbling light rail into our community over the proposed Interstate Bridge project, also plagues with its own problems, the least of which is citizen disapproval as designed.

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January 19, 2012

Forensic Accounting Analysis Released, Time To Pull The Plug On CRC

by lewwaters

See also Couv.com for Forensic accountant slams high costs, low competition of CRC and Audio of testimony by Ms. Couch

After many months of work, Forensic accountant Tiffany Couch has released her CRC Forensic Accounting Analysis (81 page pdf)

Her work has “identified numerous significant questionable accounting and contracting practices involving the CRC.”

Today, January 19, 2011, she held a meeting in the Republican Caucus Room with Washington State Legislators where she shared her findings with “Representatives Armstrong, Clibborn, Harris, Moeller, Orcutt, and Rivers. Washington State Department of Transportation officials on hand included: David Dye, Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Steve McKerney, WSDOT Director of Internal Audit; and Bob Covington, Director of Accounting and Financial Services. CRC project office officials and staff were invited but chose not attend.”

As previously noted, Tiffany Couch was one of 15 speakers speaking at the Smarter Bridge Committee News Conference held last Thursday morning on the northern bank of the Columbia River, each expressing their own misgivings on the current project as planned.

Ms. Couch communicated questionable accounting practices on just where has some $150 Million of our tax dollars gone. She touched on this in the Executive Summary,

“As a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner it is my professional opinion – based upon the information I have reviewed, and measured against the continued difficulties I’ve experienced with Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project office members – that the accounting and contracting practices for the CRC project are characterized by irregularities and planning missteps on many fronts. The magnitude of these irregularities, in terms of quantity, amount, and qualitative aspects of the project, are more than adequate to indicate that this project is suffering from a severe lack of accountability, transparency, and oversight. It is my further opinion that these irregularities are of a sufficient depth to warrant an intervention on the project, and perhaps a termination or delay until procedures are in place that provide for centralized accounting and financial decision making, and compliance with federal and state contracting standards. Whether there is sufficiency to elevate these irregularities to a definition that would warrant the assertion of civil or criminal practices is not the subject of my comments today. Such definition could not be ascribed without further scrutiny and investigation. That responsibility from here forward falls to you – the elected officials who run these states – in your representation of your constituents, the citizens of Washington (and Oregon).

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December 16, 2011

Will ‘Boss Leave-it’s’ Choo Choo Train Die Like Detroit’s Did?

by lewwaters

An interesting article from the Detroit Free Press tells us how Detroit’s dream of a choo choo train died and was killed off due to “doubts that Detroit could pay operating costs over the long term for the light-rail line because of its and the state’s financial problems…”

While we in Clark County aren’t in quite as severe financial problems as is Detroit and the state of Michigan, we do continue to see middle class taxpayers struggling well into our 3rd year of double digit unemployment, not helped by the recent slate of tax and fee increases handed to us by the state, county and city.

We also have the little matter of strong opposition still to the Loot Rail aspect of the CRC and that recent polls indicate how SW Washington remains strongly opposed to tolling. None of that seems to matter to ‘Boss Leave-it’ as he remains determined to tax and toll us to ensure he gets his choo choo train from Portland.

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December 10, 2011

Do You Think Leavitt’s “Choo Choo Train” is the Answer?

by lewwaters

17 miles in only 78 minutes? For all of the hype we hear of “21st Century Technology,” it sounds more like a return to the Model T era instead of efficiently getting to your destination.

Mayor Tim Leavitt and County Commissioner Steve Stuart remain determined to force this boondoggle on us in Clark County and Vancouver. They claim it to be the “locally preferred alternative,” meaning they chose it over the objections of voters.

The Clark County is in our 3rd year of double digit unemployment with the state considering more taxes on a struggling middle class to try to close an ever growing budget deficit, along with the tax increases seen from both city and county, means nothing to Kings Leavitt and Stuart who are now trying to strongarm yet another tax increase on us for a Bus Rapid Transit system down Fourth Plain and to pay for operations and maintenance on light rail from Portland.

If you believe the taxes will stop there, think again.

November 28, 2011

Live from Post-CRC Clark County‏

by lewwaters

 

By Professor Robert Dean

 

Ring Ring!

Brancaccio: Columbian, sup?

Stuart: Lou, Steve Stuart.

Brancaccio: Who?

Stuart: Steve Stuart – Clark County Commissioner.

Brancaccio: Baby! Sup?

Stuart: Commissioner Marc Boldt and I would like to take you on a tour of post-CRC Clark County, or rather, of I-5, from Woodland to the Tim Leavitt Bridge.

Brancaccio: You mean, outside – in the field? Sounds like fun.

Stuart: We’ll pick you up in one of our county limos at your office Downtown.

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November 20, 2011

C-Tran Already Drooling For Even More of Your Tax Dollars

by lewwaters

In a Sunday November 20, 2011 Op-Ed in our local version of Pravda, the Columbian, that should rightfully be filed away in the “have you no shame” column, C-TRAN Executive Director/CEO Jeff Hamm, still drooling over having successfully conned nearly 54% of Clark County voters begins laying out his next rip-off of taxpayers, in our third year of double digit unemployment.

Oddly enough, Hamm now informs us that C-Van will be expanded with the passage of Proposition 1. I don’t recall much, if any mention that part of Prop 1 was to “expand” C-Van, do you? I thought all along it was if they didn’t get deeper into our pockets, Granny and the handicapped were going to be left standing out in the cold with no way to get to the doctor.

Apparently gazing into some liberal prophetic crystal ball, Hamm says, “Someday soon, Clark County will return to times of economic prosperity and again grow its population and employment base.”

“Someday soon?” I thought the Clark County Pravda has been telling us how much better things are now, with 9% unemployment being a “new norm” Democrats speak of and supporters of Prop 1 telling us we are stingy and greedy if we don’t give up more of our dwindling paychecks to whatever the ruling class in Clark County tells us we must.

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August 24, 2011

CRC Funding on the Chopping Block?

by lewwaters

A coalition of 4 advocacy groups calling themselves “Green Scissors 2011” has issued a report identifying programs that they see as “wasteful or environmentally harmful” and are recommending to the recently formed super commission to cut funding. Page 18 of the report lists “Columbia River Crossing” at the lower cost of $3.6 Billion saved.

In reality, we here in Clark County know that if cut, much more than that will be saved.

The coalition comprised of Taxpayers for Common Sense, The Heartland Institute, Friends of the Earth and Public Citizen has no personal stake in these programs and recommends over more than $380 billion in wasteful government programs the commission could cut.

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August 3, 2011

Have the Light Rail Votes Already Been Counted? Before A Vote?

by lewwaters

As we all know, citizens of Clark County have voted against 3 measures to approve extending Portland’s financially plagued Max Light Rail into our community. In 1995, a vote was held for a direct approval and was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.

In 2002, state-wide Resolution Bill 51 for transportation improvements was seen largely as a back door approval for funding light rail and was rejected state wide in the 2002 general election.

In 2004 we defeated a sales tax increase in Proposition 1 in the general election in large part due to the written statement against that said, “C-Tran contributed $3,000,000 out of the $65,000,000 cost for I-5 HOV lanes. Now Clark County Commissioners can ask taxpayers to raise car license fees for additional tax dollars; possibly paving the way for light rail.”
“C-Tran paid over $3,000,000 for light rail studies. Portland owns the MAX gravy train. Washington taxpayers will pay a percentage of Tri-Met’s total transit costs even if only one inch of light rail crosses the river; more Clark County taxation without representation!”

In 2005, it was brought back and passed, but with a gerrymandered sub-district, much like is being planned for the promised vote on Light Rail Maintenance and Operation sales tax increase we were originally promised for this year, but may not see until 2012, 2013 if at all.

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July 21, 2011

It Appears Those “Ankle Biting Hounds From Whinerville” Were Right

by lewwaters

Oh those “Ankle biting hounds from Whinerville” as John Laird, the Columbian’s editorial page editor so eloquently described those who have spoken out in opposition of the Columbia River crossing project. They’ve been ridiculed, demeaned, shouted down, gaveled down, marginalized and mostly ignored. Speaking out against the CRC, especially the loot rail component of the project has been treated as blasphemy by supporters such as John Laird and others at the Columbian.

But they didn’t stop, they kept speaking out, writing letters, holding meetings, scheduling seminars inviting experts from all walks knowledgeable about such projects. Seeing that some $130 Million was spent with nothing to show for it, cronyism in people hired and paid quite handsomely for producing very little and questions continually ignored, Vancouver Businessman David Madore, at his expense, hired a forensic auditor to go through the mountains of documents finally given under a FOIA request.

It’s an old tactic to flood a ton of documents, many unrelated when trying to hide what is really there. The concept is the one seeking information will get bored with pouring over frivolous papers and either give up or miss what is right before their eyes.

It didn’t work.

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June 20, 2011

No Muppet Comparison for John Laird.

by lewwaters

In keeping with the spirit shown by the Columbian in their comparison of Muppet characters for elected officials and a few others, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the Muppet show! I thought it only fair to see what Muppet Characters fit the Columbian’s editors.

First was editor Lou Brancaccio compared to Count Von Count, the good natured Count whose vampire attire hides the fact that he his bark is worse than his bite.

Of Brancaccio, Madore and Count Von Count Lou emailed me saying, “The Count. I love it! Have a great week!”

Next comes political editor John Laird with his Sunday column, C-W differences amplified in election where as usual, he took pot shots at conservatives and those of us opposed to how the Columbia River Crossing project is being handled and the desire to force loot rail on us.

I couldn’t find a Muppet that does John justice, though. But recalling other cartoon characters, found one that seems to fit well.

As said in both Lou’s column and my post, Who loves ya, John? Me! (And Gargamel)

June 2, 2011

Once Again, the Columbian Fails the Community

by lewwaters

Where both the Columbian and the Oregonian fail the communities they are supposed to serve, the Willamette Week blows the lid off of the CRC project.

A Bridge Too False “Turns out most of the case for the $3.6 billion Columbia River Crossing Isn’t true.”

“More than 20 lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—have raised hard questions about the project. They say Oregon hasn’t taken a serious look at the project’s risks or at cheaper ways to fix the traffic problems at the Oregon-Washington border.”

“In the current legislative session, lawmakers have debated the proper size of chicken cages, whether it’s OK to use plastic bags, and what kind of dirt should be named the official state soil. But they have only glanced at the project known as the CRC.”

“We’ve had no substantive debate on the project,” says State Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), a CRC critic who calls the project “a steamroller headed off a cliff.”

Myth No. 1: Spending billions on a new I-5 bridge project at the Columbia River will solve congestion.
Myth No. 2: We have to build a bridge because the traffic is only going to get worse.
Myth No. 3: The current bridge is too dangerous.
Myth No. 4: We have a plan to pay for it.

Millions of tax dollars have been wasted to date in useless “studies” with pie in the eye promises while citizen concerns have been scoffed at.

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May 7, 2011

Pat Campbell Talks Light Rail

by lewwaters

At the May 2, 2011 Vancouver, Washington City Council Meeting, Council Member Pat Campbell relayed the above description of a trip he took on Portland, Oregon’s Light Rail Max Line that sent Pat to a Bar, er, actually it was a Starbucks. Knowing that Pat is a strong supporter of extending Light Rail into our community, I thought I’d have a little fun by editing in comments from others taken from earlier meetings. The trip description itself is unedited, though.

In a previous Columbian article on new group formed in support of Loot Rail, Pat Campbell applauded them with, “Great to see some forward thinking, common sense folks taking this on!”

Of course, that was before his nightmare trip that had him end up in a bar, well, actually a Starbucks.”

Has his view of Loot Rail changed any?

My guess is NO!

April 11, 2011

We WERE Promised a Vote on Light Rail, Weren’t We?

by lewwaters

Originally posted April 11, 2011; Updated April 13, 2011

People have long expected politicians and bureaucrats to make promises and then renege on them, sometimes bringing about their defeat in the next election in the case of elected officials with appointed bureaucrats coming under fire. While it is expected, it isn’t appreciated and in days of old, before we became more ‘civilized,’ mobs of citizens negatively affected by such lies would gather and oust the liar from office, often in the most unceremonious manner thought of.

Fortunately for today’s elected liars, we no longer follow along those lines. If we did, I can only imagine the mobs that would be forming outside of city hall, the county courthouse and C-Trans offices as they continue ignoring voters and taxpayers call that we do not want Portland, Oregon’s financially failing Light Rail extended into our community.

Of course, we have been erroneously told that the majority of people in Clark County want it, but the efforts to block any confirmation of that by letting us vote on it are all too obvious.

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March 22, 2011

Portcouver Mayor, Council Members ‘Irked’ Over Public Records Request

by lewwaters

The ongoing saga of Vancouver City Council versus the citizens of Vancouver was elevated up a few notches with a request made under Washington Public Records Law.

The Zero Reports;

“Members of the Vancouver City Council, six of them the subject of a public records request for months of email correspondence, lamented the wide net cast by the request and the cost of the request to the city at a council meeting Monday.”

“Mitch Copp of Vancouver filed two public disclosure requests with the city earlier this year. The first, filed in January, asks for all of Mayor Tim Leavitt and Councilman Jack Burkman’s email correspondence from June 1 to Jan. 11. The second, filed in March, asks for email correspondence for council members Larry Smith, Jeanne Harris, Pat Campbell and Bart Hansen.”

“The number of documents we’re talking about can number in the tens of thousands, and every one of those documents has to be read by somebody to determine whether it’s disclosable or not,” Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes said. “We will be responsible to those to fulfill our responsibility under the statute, but it is a pretty substantial burden on our staff resources.”

Leavitt, still licking his chops over successfully modifying citizens speaking rights before the ruling class said, “It’s going to cause a use of city dollars and resources we could otherwise be putting out on the streets in the form of police officers and firefighters.”

This from the same Mayor who doesn’t have a problem hanging the albatross of the Columbia River Crossing Project, including Portland’s financially failing Loot Rail around future generations necks.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have lied to voters on opposing tolls to be elected Mayor.

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 12, 2011

Smoke & Mirrors on CRC & Loot Rail

by lewwaters

I applaud the Columbian’s editor, Lou Brancaccio for ending their relentless assault on successful businessman David Madore and sitting down with him and giving him a fair ear. It’s nice to see someone actually giving an ear to the community over our deep concerns about the boondoggle Columbia River Crossing project and extending Portland, Oregon’s Loot Rail a short distance into our community.

It was refreshing to see Lou’s Saturday column, Let the community be heard and the seemingly supportive voice in putting the thing to a vote of the people. However, I still have questions on the sincerity as the call isn’t for a binding vote by the people, but a non-binding advisory vote.

In other words, we say what we prefer and the elected ruling class does as they please, exactly has been going on for some time now. Although a step in the right direction in asking for a vote, the newspaper of record could have stepped up and supported a binding vote.

As is usual in these columns and articles, comments from citizens go back and forth from both sides, those that support the project and the rest of us who oppose it. A rare treat though, was seeing city council member Pat Campbell, a staunch supporter of this project added his two cents in.

He first says, “One of the jobs of Council is to study the facts and science of matters that might impact us,” and then goes on listing “a great resource in the community, the USGS David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1300 Cardinal Court, Vancouver 986683; phone 360.993.8900.”

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