There's the subtle hint of testosterone filling the political room as the young bull prepares to take on the old bull.
At the end of the day, Vancouver is a slow-motion train wreck for a variety of reasons, most of which I will avoid discussing for now, because none of them come close to the negative impacts of the biggest waste of money in the history of the Northwest.
The chief crime the City is committing against this community is their moronic insistence on wasting $4 Billion on a bridge replacement we do not need, all for the purpose of installing a light rail system we do not want.
As a part of that, this process will enslave a minimum of 60,000 commuters (although Mr. Leavitt uses the figure of 65,000) to the tune of at least $100 per month... $1200 per year... $72,000,000 per year in the aggregate.
And folks, that is $72,000,000 that will be sucked out of our economy. That is $72,000,000 that will take food out of the mouths of our children; it will take clothes off their backs; it's going to make life, particularly for our lower income commuters, just that much more difficult.
So, what we have here is a tax on top of the horrific Oregon state income tax, demanded by a large group of people who hypocritically will not have to pay it.
The hypocrisy of this position is overarching. It dwarfs any other aspect of local government, because the imposition of this tax on a people that do not want, need or have been queried as to THEIR desire indicates that governmental arrogance is the order of the day. It also shows beyond any doubt that this is just the first in a series of projects we're going to have to pay for that government is doing everything it can to implement without our permission... because, after all, if they can do this now, there's no limit to the totalitarian projects they can ram down our throat and force us to pay for. After all, we're just the people... what do we know?
I have been hammering the City and Mr. Leavitt like a nail over this issue. I haven't been saying much about Pollard, who is the chief criminal in this enterprise; not because I don't think he should be immediately removed from office for his selfish and unjustifiable efforts because the more simple elements of government, such as "implementing the will of the people" seem to be concepts simply beyond his ability to grasp. I haven't been saying much about Pollard because chances of reforming Pollard are about as likely as reforming Eichman. And that ain't happening.
Based on Mr. Leavitt's response to the fantasy that was Pollard's "state of the city," there are differences between the two. But in comparison on the most important position either could take, there's not a dime's worth of difference between them.
If there is any difference, it is limited to efforts to provide a political portrayal of difference, with nothing in substance.
That is, Pollard is a supremely arrogant clown who sees himself as politically bullet-proof. Thus, he makes no bones about his demand to shackle our local economy and enslave a huge segment of our working public with onerous tolls for a colossal waste of billions of dollars. To his credit, Pollard is out front on his idiocy; he polishes it, shines with it, revels in his utter stupidity and criminal neglect of the will of the people.
Leavitt is much more subtle about it, but unfortunately for him, the outcome is the same because he will not take the simple step of demanding a county-wide vote on the project before we go forward and waste any more than the ten's of millions we've already vaporized on this effort.
The problem for Tim is that, at the end, his position is then SAME as Pollards. And when positions are the SAME, the incumbent almost always wins.
Here's the entirety of Leavitt's take as written in his response to Ceaser Pollard's Fantasy Island speech, so that there is no question concerning context. Read it... and form your own opinion:
"At the regional level, we are faced with both opportunity and challenge in a new Columbia River Crossing. Let me be perfectly clear, I am fully supportive of improving the safety and commute for our citizens and businesses by replacing the antiquated bridge, reconstructing safe interchanges and providing adequate merging lanes, and the limited extension of light rail transit into downtown Vancouver. However, on specifics of this matter, the current Mayor and I have sharply different views. He promises there will be tolls. I am gravely concerned about the burdensome effect of tolls on Clark County commuters, hard-working men and women already paying an Oregon State income tax, and on our local employers who must conduct commerce across the river as a regular partof their business. While tolling will encourage some to commute via public transit, carpooling or other options, the reality is that this fee will be an additional financial burden on the 65,000 daily commuters from Vancouver and Clark County. Ladies and gentlemen, I view tolls even for consideration only if and[sic] adequately-sized bridge design is moved forward, only after all other potential sources of federal, state, and local funding have been exhausted, and only as a measure of absolute last resort."As I pointed out in the title, this effort at "feeling our pain" isn't nearly good enough.
The weakness in this style over substance self-flatulation is that first, Tim does not define "adequately sized bridge" which, of course, means it could be anything. Secondly, this means that Tim WILL advocate tolls. And he WILL advocate tolls without asking us.
It COULD have been with just a few simple words... words that could have actually won Mr. Leavitt the mayorship of the city of Vancouver... words left out that no amount of money will overcome. I'll rewrite the section as to what would make Tim Leavitt the next mayor of Vancouver, instead of relegating him to political obscurity over what might have been.
What Leavitt wrote:
"...While tolling will encourage some to commute via public transit, carpooling or other options, the reality is that this fee will be an additional financial burden on the 65,000 daily commuters from Vancouver and Clark County. Ladies and gentlemen, I view tolls even for consideration only if and[sic] adequately-sized bridge design is moved forward, only after all other potential sources of federal, state, and local funding have been exhausted, and only as a measure of absolute last resort."Here is what Leavitt SHOULD have written.
While tolling MIGHT encourage some to commute via public transit, carpooling or other options, the reality is that this fee will be an additional financial burden on the 65,000 daily commuters from Vancouver and Clark County. Ladies and gentlemen, I view tolls even for consideration if only if this entire question is put to a countywide vote.
Government has a role in the lives of the people of our community. But that role does not include ignoring the concerns and desires of those we would govern in the name of some inate superiority or political arrogance. We are faced with the possibility of building the largest public works project in the history of the northwestern United States in terms of cost. Ultimately, our community generally and those 65,000 commuters specifically will be expected to pay for it.
We must not move forward with this project without discerning the public will to pay for this project. We must not move forward without determining if the public wants this project. We must not move forward without determining if the public, who has once before overwhelmingly rejected light rail, has undergone a change of heart and would now support it.
As an elected leader of our community, my job, in part, is to reflect the desires of the community which elected me. My positions will not be determined by special interests, like those who have set the agenda for my opponent. My positions will not be determined by ego or arrogance, the type of ego and arrogance that has led us to a situation where those supporting this project so rabidly turn a deaf ear to the cries of pain the implementation of this effort will inflict.
And make no mistake, it will inflict pain. Taking $72,000,000 or more out of our economy every year will inflict paid on our families. Taking $72,000,000 or more out of our economy every year will inflict pain on our retail sector. And taking $72,000,000 or more our of our economy will cut revenues at every level because, ladies and gentlemen, neither city nor county coffers will see one dime of that money for use in our general funds.
My opponent and his supporters show monumental arrogance to believe that their wisdom somehow supercedes that of the people. It does not. And as a result, the least we can do is to give voice to the people; to seek out and listen to their opinions and then to apply the highest value to that opinion, expressed in that time-honored American way... the ballot box.
And I will accept no other outcome when it comes to the voice of the people on this issue.
In the past, I have been a major supporter of replacing our current bridge and bringing light rail into our community. I will continue on in that regard, but I relaize that my continued support must be tempered by the wishes of those we would govern.
YOU are the reason I am here. And with a project of this magnatude, when other options are available, to ignore YOU, or silence YOU is simply unacceptable and a concept with which I will not abide.
Is this much longer? You bet. But the very fact that Mr. Leavitt spent so little time and effort on this, the most important transportation issue in Southwest Washington, if that clown Pollard is to be believed, means that much more time SHOULD have been spent discussing this issue.
You heard it here first: Tim Leavitt will lose. His failure to seperate himself from Pollard on issues that really matter; his inability to reach our beyond city borders for campaign funding, the fact that when given the choice between a candidate and an incumbent, the people must be angered or otherwise motivated to remove that incumbent... all of those facftors doom his candidacy.
And that's too bad. He could have been a contender.
City of Vancouver
Vancouver City Councilmember & Mayoral Candidate
“A New Chapter”
Times are tough right now. As a nation, we face one of the bleakest economic periods in decades. Right here in Vancouver, our local businesses are closing up shop; large employers are laying-off by the hundreds; and our cities, schools and libraries are struggling to provide services.
But the citizens of Vancouver aren’t the kind of people who look at a tough time, throw their hands in the air and walk away. Ours is a community that traditionally faces challenges head-on, that recognizes the importance of each and every citizen, and that understands we live in a fast-paced, modern world. Past mayors like Albert Angelo Sr., Jim Justin, Bruce Hagensen have contributed tremendously to our progress. And Royce Pollard’s passion and consummate cheerleading is unparalleled. These chapters in our history are well documented. Now, it is crucial that we begin a new era, revitalize City Hall and start a new chapter for our community; we know that what may have worked over the past 20 years just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Vancouver ends the first decade of this 21st Century facing a new array of challenges. We are the fourth largest city in the state of Washington, a diverse and dynamic community of nearly 165,000. But to maintain that vitality, to propel us through this troubled time and into a prosperous future, we can’t simply rely on what has always been. The political landscape around us has shifted. Vancouver’s mayoral leadership must adjust also. Quite simply, it is time to refresh the leadership at City Hall, it’s time to restore stability in local government, and it’s time to raise expectations about how City Hall serves our community.