Posts tagged ‘Washougal Washington’

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!

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?

May 8, 2009

Delavar For Washougal City Council, Pos 6

by lewwaters

.Delavar 006
As most know, Michael Delavar mounted an unsuccessful run to unseat Brian Baird from the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2008 election. Although his bid was unsuccessful, he still mounted an impressive 39% of the vote in Clark County, not too shabby for someone young with no political experience under his belt. He has nothing to be ashamed for as he did mount a good campaign and performed better than many expected.

Michael, a pilot with Horizon Airlines, has taken his initial defeat in stride and focused his sights on running for the Washougal City Council, Position 6. A position that he says

is a position that I can bid around with my flying job and not have to take time off for.”

Michael, 34, is the father of 2 young boys, which is what impressed me from the first meeting with him, viewing his interaction with his children when he didn’t know I was watching. More fathers need to embrace their role in the raising of their children as Michael has.

Regular readers of Clark County Conservative may recall that I did not endorse or support Michael for his run for Congress, mainly due to our differences on our involvement with Iraq. Even with that I readily agreed he held some sound fiscal ideas and values.

It is due to those ideas and values that I wholeheartedly support and endorse him in his bid for the Washougal City Council.

His campaign website has changed to where he outlines his vision for the City of Washougal, receiving over 2200 votes in that City alone. From a city with a population hovering around 9,000, that many votes is quite impressive.

Michael advocates reasonable taxes in a time that others think increasing taxes and fees to be appropriate. Michael is correct as increasing what taxpayers must pay during such economic troubles we currently face can only cause further economic strife for families.

He believes in “Ensuring the public has the necessary input on projects,” which I can personally attest too. Even with one who opposed his run, he was very approachable and open to listening, as acknowledged on his campaign site,

I learned a lot during last year’s campaign. The biggest thing was that there are good people on both sides of the political spectrum. I am glad to leave behind partisan politics.”

Another thing learned by Michael last year in the “partisan politics.” is the viciousness associated with a run for federal office. Perhaps that is why he told me in email, “I have no plans for moving on to a higher position than city council right now,” indicating he plans to actually work to better Washougal and not use the position as a stepping stone to a higher office.

In working with the other City Council Members, Michael would be a good addition who would retain the small town flavor of Washougal while working to draw “responsible, sustainable businesses” to the community and giving vital input countering current measures Washougal residents are unhappy with.

Washougal, I encourage you too take a serious look at Michael Delavar and support his common sense approach to local government by electing him to your City Council