Posts tagged ‘Stacee Sellers’

May 22, 2012

Jon Russell Resigns From Washougal City Council

by lewwaters

Not really a big surprise, but Washougal City Council Member Jon Russell has announced he will resign his council seat effective July 1, 2012.

In an email sent out, Russell says,

“I am submitting my resignation from the Washougal City Council, effective July 1st 2012. I have accepted a job promotion which will take my family and me to the east coast. Please thank the city employees for their tireless dedication and their assistance to me as a City Councilman. Washougal is a great city and will only get better in the years to come. My last Council meeting will be June 25th.

On a personal note, thank you for your integrity and diligence in making our city run smoothly.

Sincerely,
Jon Russell
Mayor Pro Tem
Washougal City Councilman

read more »

June 17, 2010

Jon Russell Still Exaggerating His Worth

by lewwaters

Jon Russell, Washougal City Council Member, former candidate for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, who bailed after seeing any hopes me held dashed by the entrance of Jaime Herrera, and current hopeful to replace Jaime as she steps down from her seat in the 18th Legislative District, is still trying to build a resume’ exaggerating questionable accomplishments.

After he tucked tail and slinked away from the 3rd CD run, obviously sucking up to Herrera by endorsing her after she destroyed any prayer he had, I placed Jon on ignore. But, sometimes, I just can’t ignore obvious bogus and exaggerated claims.

The claim? Look at the bottom of the follow flyer Jon is spreading around and you’ll see, “He forced a corrupt elected official in his own party to resign.”

Although Stacee Sellers did step down before her time was fully up, I have yet to hear of any charges of corruption filed against her or of any criminal charges filed on anybody over the mis-actions that she and the city council allowed to occur.

Jon also doesn’t say that he was on the oversight committee, signing off on the very expenditures he says were corruption.

Although Stacee Sellers did step down before her time was fully up, I have yet to hear of any charges of corruption filed against her or of any criminal charges filed on anybody over the mis-actions of her and the city council.

Russell Shows Lack of Experience on City Council

Russell’s Apologists Cover For Poor Council Performance

Jon Russell Says, “The People Deserve To Know The Truth”

To me, it only stands to reason that since Jon had oversight on the mayor’s expenditures and signed off on those expenditures, can he be any less corrupt than he accuses her of being?

Jon, clean up the mess you helped create in Washougal before you try to get to Olympia to create new ones.

February 18, 2010

Jon Russell To Re-Launch Campaign In March

by lewwaters

Washougal city council member and struggling candidate for Washington’s Third Congressional Seat being vacated by Democrat Brian Baird has issued a notice on his facebook page saying, “Hometown Congressional Campaign Kick off” followed by, “If you have not been to a Jon Russell for Congress event, this is a do not miss occasion. It’s time for all hands on deck!”

Strange, “a do not miss” occasion?

Jon posts,

Jon Russell invites you to a hometown launch of his
2010 Congressional Campaign
Thursday, March 4th 2010
6:30pm

Location: Washougal Salvation Army Building
1612 I St. Washougal, WA
(Corner of Washougal River Rd. & I St.)

Sorry Jon, but campaign fundraisers for politicians are not exactly highly sought after events, as a concert by a well-known rock star would be.

I am at odds with how Jon labels this a “Campaign Kick-Off,” as he has been campaigning since the summer of 2009, having thrown his hat in the ring just a few weeks after the first challenger, David Castillo announced his run against Baird.

Jon has held numerous campaign fundraisers labeled as “Townhalls,” as he tried to capitalize on last year’s announcement by Brian Baird of not holding townhalls.

Unfortunately, Baird relented and went ahead with townhalls just as Jon was launching his.

Jon hasn’t had an easy time running for higher office from early on. He has been beset with what I would consider missteps and even some things beyond his control, such as 18th Legislative District Representative Jaime Herrera announcing her own run before the ink had a chance to dry on Baird’s release announcing is retirement.

Having his campaign manager/blogger accuse local media of “Missing in Action in Southwest Washington’s U.S. Congressional Race” doesn’t exactly endear media to his campaign. It might work somewhat in Los Angeles, but not in Clark County or other media in the Third Congressional District.

It’s hard enough for Republicans to gain positive coverage without trying to shame them into covering a distant third place candidate who isn’t really earning headlines. The media may have loved him when he was in the midst of mishandling the Washougal Mayor’s scandal, but once they succeeded in replacing a Republican with the Democrat challenger they no longer needed him.

Jon was further plagued by comparison of his claims versus his record, which although not bad, didn’t exactly match completely.

As if yet another smack down for Jon, his last Town Hall Meeting was scheduled to this evening, February 18 at Sarah J. Anderson Middle School at 7 PM. As I write this I assume Jon is holding this last townhall event of his while many others are on the line with Jaime Herrera, who also scheduled a telephone townhall of her own this evening at 7 PM.

Jon remains far behind Herrera and Castillo in funds, not to mention Democrat Denny Heck. As poor as the economy is, people just don’t have the money to throw away on a candidate that really isn’t advancing.

Unlike Herrera, Jon doesn’t enjoy being a party insider with strong connections back in Washington D.C. to hold fundraisers and draw money from outside the district.

Unlike Castillo, Jon doesn’t have the ‘command stature’ David displays when he stands up straight before an audience. David easily draws people to him and it shows by his currently being the top Republican in funds, even ahead of Herrera.

Like it or not, the entry of Jaime Herrera into this race took the wind right out of Jon’s sails, leaving him floundering and dead in the water.

You’ve put up a good fight, Jon, but you got out-classed in this race. No shame. It’s just not your time.

Two years on a small town city council just isn’t the experience Washington’s Third Congressional District is looking for.

December 9, 2009

Where Is Russell’s Transparency?

by lewwaters

Listening to the Victoria Taft program on Portland’s KPAM 860 AM radio this evening, I was somewhat surprised to hear a comment made by Washougal’s city council member, Jon Russell complaining about the lack of transparency in government.

Surprising in that the dust has yet to settle in Washougal after the scandal broke of a State Audit announcing unaccounted for funds in the city.

Russell was fast to distance himself from the scandal, pointing fingers at the mayor, Stacee Sellers and the rest of the city council in not properly performing their oversight duties.

Several releases to the Columbian had him saying he saw troubles some time ago, but could not rally support “amongst the Progressive majority” on the council who were loyal to the mayor.

Clark County Conservative has written on the shortcomings displayed previously at Russell Shows Lack of Experience on City Council and Jon Russell Says, “The People Deserve To Know The Truth.”

Russell was instrumental in censuring mayor Sellers and bring about her immediate resignation under threat of impeachment and ever since I have been critical of comments left on the Columbian articles by the former mayor and brother of mayor elect Sean Guard, Jeff Guard.

Jeff has been commenting constant criticism of Stacee Sellers specifically and occasionally council members in a more general sense. On the surface, since Russell has been less that forthcoming on his inability to properly provide the oversight he was charged with by Washougal voters, I assumed Guard was displaying sour grapes since Sellers defeated him in 2005.

Then, it dawned on me, sour grapes or not, Russell’s finger pointing towards other council members didn’t add up with what Jeff Guard says of the council during his time in office.

Russell claims these same council members would not support his efforts in correcting the actions of mayor Sellers due to their loyalty to her. Stacee Sellers, although a Republican, was said to have a “Progressive” council.

Jeff Guard said, “I can 100% guarantee nothing even remotely close to this ever happened during my term,” in response to my saying a deeper investigation was in order.

That’s when it dawned on me. The council Russell pointed fingers at is the same council that Jeff Guard had, some of them still sitting on the council today.

Are we to believe this city council that worked well with Democrat Jeff Guard switched loyalty as soon as Republican Stacee Sellers assumed office?

Or, did Russell level the accusation to distance himself from the scandal and his own failure to perform his duties in oversight?

Little doubt that Jon Russell is a very ambitious young man.

Yet, in his lengthy list of accomplishments and business ventures, he makes no mention of his company, Northern Concepts LLC that not long ago campaigned for one of the largest tax increases ever seen in Clark County.

But, he readily boasts of a one percent cut in Washougal property taxes.

That’s not transparency; it’s politics as usual for the ambitious.

Before Jon calls for transparency from others, shouldn’t he man-up and stop pointing at everyone else?

Jon, a leader doesn’t blame everybody else for their own shortcomings. They accept responsibility and correct things.

As I learned long ago, when you point a finger at someone else, Jon, you have four pointing back at you.

Finger pointing is not transparency!

November 29, 2009

Jon Russell Says, “The People Deserve To Know The Truth”

by lewwaters

Jon Russell, 33 year-old city councilman from tiny Washougal, Washington is making quite a name for himself in his bid to run against incumbent Democrat, Brian Baird in the 2010 elections. His campaign manager/blogger labels him as “Courageously Wading Into Troubled Waters” for throwing his fellow Republican mayor of Washougal under the bus as news of unaccounted for monies surfaced just days before this year’s election.

Others, less enamored with Russell, label him a political mercenary, inexperienced and even opportunist. Whatever we label him, he is a legitimate candidate who claims he is the one best suited to be nominated to run against Baird.

That Russell quickly began distancing himself from the scandal and appeared to take a leadership role is without question. He issued a lengthy statement to supporters on October 30, days within the release of an audit critical of Washougal finances and mayor Stacee Sellers.

Russell seems to absolve himself of any responsibility or accountability in the scandalous events leading up to this audit and makes some very direct claims pertaining to him self in that release, ending with the sentence, The people deserve to know the truth.”

I couldn’t agree more with that statement. I’m not too sure Jon or his campaign manager/blogger will, though.

On Jon’s facebook page, an October 23, 2009 posting made the claim of,

We just received word from a source that one of Jon’s Congressional competitors contacted the City to ask for his City Council attendance record. It looks like the silly season of politics has started.”

Yes, it does appear the “silly season” is well underway, since this information is readily available on Washougal’s website for any who wish to see it without making any request to the city. In fact, that is where I went to ‘fact check’ Jon’s amazing claims he made in distancing himself from the fallout of the State Audit.

To settle any attendance claims, Jon only missed 7 meetings in his entire time on the council, giving him nearly a 90% attendance rate. I’d rate that as very good.

What may not be so good for Jon is looking over the council meeting minutes and comparing what is recorded in them with some of Jon’s other claims in his letter to supporters.

While minutes might not show contentious exchanges they do show voting and opposition in their summaries of the meetings. After being accused by those from within the Russell campaign of “eagerly manipulating this to reflect negatively on Russell,” that same person recommends “stepping back and looking at the facts (not the innuendos).” Where better to find those “facts” than the council meeting minutes?

We are told that Jon began seeing troubles the State Audit found back in 2007 and was unable to do anything about it because he could not rally support from the council’s “progressive majority in lockstep with the Republican mayor.”

From reviewing the minutes and how voting on motions went, excluding motions to adjourn naturally, I found that Russell voted in agreement with the “progressive majority and the Republican mayor” some 89% of the time, voted against them only 9.5% of the time an abstained only 1.5% of the time.

After the mayor’s challenger read his letter sent to the State Auditors about the cities finances at the August 17, 2009 meeting, Russell voted with the “Progressive majority and Republican mayor” 74% of the time, against 26% and no abstain votes in that few weeks.

While he might not have been able to “rally support” from the “Progressive majority,” it appears to me they received plenty of support and agreement from him.

Jon tells us that the mayor made an internal rule that Council members could not ask anything of department heads and that he “was the only one to question this internal rule.”

Nowhere in the minutes is there any record of him questioning such a rule.

Lest you think that is something that would not be recorded, council member Paul Greenlee expressed his disappointment with no scheduled workshops citing that “the mayor can speak with staff at any time but council cannot have discussions outside of a scheduled meeting” at the October 6, 2008 meeting.

Jon also said in his letter,

For two years I have been asking for a profit-loss statement for the different city events that the administration had sponsored.”

The only thing remotely close to that I found in the minutes was from the November 3, 2008 meeting when Jon “mentioned he had reviewed the budget and would like to see a detailed budget,” but also added, “it was a good job.”

Disturbing to me is Jon’s words of,

For years I was unable to rally any alarm because of the extreme loyalty of the progressive majority on the Council, which followed the Mayor in lockstep.”

The last I heard, Progressives are more aligned with the Democratic Party, which mayor Sellers challenger, Sean Guard belongs to. Russell claims to also be a Republican, just as mayor Sellers was. While we may have RINO’s and liberals in the party, I do not find those I would call “Progressives” within.

And don’t forget, Russell voted in agreement with that “Progressive majority” 89% of the time.

In the beginning of his letter to supporters, Jon lays claim to, “I take no delight in leading our council in an inquiry of our current Mayor’s troubles,” yet it was he who pushed for a rapid censuring of mayor Sellers and began calling for her resignation and impeachment if not submitted. Jon appears to have appointed himself Judge, Jury and Executioner before the State Auditors complete any investigation into the matter.

In all I see a lot of excuses given to distance himself from his own lack of performing his job on the council. As I said earlier, how would he rally the support of 434 other House members, many of whom are also “Progressives,” when he couldn’t rally any with 6 council members?

Jon seems to have burst on the scene locally just a few years ago, having moved here like many of us have. That he has political aspirations is a well-known fact around Clark County. While he rightfully attacks Congressman Baird over his lack of addressing many economic issues facing the country today, he neglects and covers-up his own lack of proper performance in the same sort of financial matters for the city of Washougal.

We were just days ago told of how he flaunts his record on tax cuts, due to a 1% decrease he sought for Washougal property taxes. But, we see no mention of when his company, Northern Concepts LLC campaigned on behalf of the Port of Vancouver for one of the largest tax increases ever proposed for our community.

Most telling from the article on his “flaunting his tax cut record” is Jon’s own words,

This gives me the ability to say, ‘Hey, I do support tax cuts’.”

Is there some reason you did not already have that “ability,” Jon?

What leaves me scratching my head trying to figure out is in reading Jon’s own “About Jon” page on his campaign website. Missing from his long list of accomplishments, jobs and positions held is any mention at all of his company, Northern Concepts LLC.

In fact, there is very little mention of this company of his anywhere, even though it was “the first to be recognized through the Camas-Washougal Chamber’s new ‘Business of the Week’ program.”

Only Jon knows why he isn’t as proud of that as he is every other listing on his web page.

Jon tells supporters in his letter, “I will fight for open and transparent government.” Jon’s campaign manager/blogger tells us he is “exactly the sort of person we should have in the office of U.S. Representative from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.”

From what I discovered in comparing his claims versus what is recorded in the official Washougal City Council Meeting Minutes, and in Public Disclosure Commission filings, he is nowhere near what we need or deserve representing the 3rd District on the US House of Representatives.

Although I initially asked readers to support David Castillo in his quest to unseat congressman Baird before Jon entered the race, I was willing to give Jon a fair chance to show he was also suited for the position.

After seeing his subtle attack on Castillo at the September 30, 2009 Central Committee Meeting and how fast he has been to throw a fellow Republican under the bus in favor of a Democrat candidate and how he seems to be padding a resumé while not being totally forthright with voters in the 3rd District, I can in no way get behind such a person.

Placing that ‘R’ behind his name does not make him anything in my eyes nor should it automatically garner support from voters.

I desire to see Brian Baird voted out of office and replaced by a strong advocate for the 3rd Congressional District, not just another slick politician sporting a Used Car Salesman Grin on his face and enamored with himself.

I encourage you all to review the council minutes for yourself and see what is recorded in them. It’s time to Be The Party, not use the party.

October 29, 2009

Russell Shows Lack of Experience on City Council

by lewwaters

Any who have been following the Columbian the past few days have seen the problems unearthed in the city of Washougal, Washington where their mayor, Stacee Sellers is accused of some improper use of tax dollars on personal trips pertaining to charges on her city credit card resulting from an accountability audit.

Audit critical of Washougal spending

Sellers’ Las Vegas expenses questioned

Whether or not Washougal’s mayor is guilty of anything remains to be seen and I am not here to judge her. That will all be settled soon I hope for the citizens of Washougal.

However, this matter has brought something more important to light that must be addressed and placed in front of Washington State voters within the 3rd Congressional District. That being, city councilman Jon Russell who is campaigning for the nomination to run against 6 term Democrat congressman Brian Baird in next years election.

Washougal is a small town with a population of less than 9,000 people, just east of Vancouver, Washington. Jon Russell occupies a seat on the city council comprised of 7 citizens. As in any city council, their duties are to provide oversight of the mayor and to ensure matters pertaining to the city are not just rubber stamped through, but openly discussed and whatever is done is for the benefit of the city’s residents, not individuals.

With the revelation of possible improprieties by the mayor, Stacee Sellers, Jon unwittingly has shown his immaturity or lack of experience for such a seat in his effort to distance himself from the mayor and the accusations against her.

From the first article linked above we read,

“Council member Jon Russell said he believed the findings showed that the problems were bigger than oversights.

“I don’t think these are cracks, they’re craters,” he said. “It looks like a pattern that is not being dealt with and that is not being brought to the attention of the council.”

Russell said he wants the council to hold a special meeting to look into each problem and discipline responsible parties, even ask for resignations if necessary.

“I don’t see how we can trust this administration in moving forward with anything,” he said.”

Does Jon not realize the city council IS part of the administration?

Further eroding confidence in Jon is the second article linked where we see,

“The people responsible for that oversight are members of the city council. Three council members — [Jon] Russell, Lou Peterson and Paul Greenlee — make up the finance committee tasked with approving city employees’ and officials’ receipts and spending.”

Jon appears to be the head of the oversight committee charged with overseeing city expenditures. But he also says he doesn’t recall whether he saw details of the Las Vegas trip expenditures claiming,

“It’s not at all a perfect system.”

The real rub comes in the explanation,

“The committee members do not meet to discuss the expenditures; that practice ended several years ago in favor of council workshops. Instead, members are told to go to Sellers with questions, Russell said.

We have been told by the mayor not to talk to department heads to get answers, that everything has to go through her.”

Jon has been on the council for at least a couple years now and surely must know his duties were to provide oversight alongside the other council members. If what he says is accurate, why has he sat back until now and tolerated such orders from the mayor?

If Jon is unable to stand up to the mayor of a small town of some 9,000, how would he ever stand up to the likes of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington D.C.?

I take no pleasure in bringing this out and in fact, from meeting Jon in person, I like him. But, we in the 3rd District that see congressman Baird has lost sight of who he is supposed to represent want a strong candidate to run against him and someone who will stand up for us and take on the established power base back in Washington D.C. We do not want someone who will go there, collect their salary and perks and just do as they’re told.

I still think Jon is a good guy and has a future with government if he continues. But, at this time, he simply is not ready to tackle the likes of Brian Baird or Nancy Pelosi in campaigning. He just doesn’t have the experience yet.

On the other hand, we also have a candidate that has experience in Washington D.C. with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security, David Castillo of Olympia.

Jon, you look almost as bad as the mayor in this. If she is exonerated of all charges, you remain looking bad in not standing up to her or seeing the excessive expenditures. It is either your naiveté or inexperience.

There is no shame in deciding to wait and gain some valuable experience for a future run at higher office.

Join us Jon. Get behind David Castillo and let’s get Baird out of office this time and get an experienced conservative in office to represent the 3rd Congressional District.

David Castillo

Remember Jon, if you couldn’t stand up to a small town mayor, how would you ever stand up to Nancy Pelosi?