From McCleary to bridge to restrooms, primer on issues for those seeking office
Friday was the deadline for candidates to file for this year’s election, kicking off the campaign season. Three legislative districts — the 17th, 18th, and 49th — rest entirely within Clark County, meaning that a total of three state senators and six members of the House represent the vast majority of residents.
Odds are that several of the candidates seeking those offices will knock on your door between now and the Aug. 2 primary, and voters should be prepared to engage with them. With that in mind, here is a primer on the issues for quizzing candidates and holding them accountable:
• Education funding.
In the 2012 McCleary v. Washington decision, the state Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature has not lived up to what the state constitution says is its “paramount duty”: Funding basic public education. Since then, lawmakers have increased spending on K-12 education by $4.8 billion, but prior to the 2016 legislative session the court chastised them for not doing enough. The justices held the Legislature in contempt and issued a fine of $100,000 a day.
This year, lawmakers responded by passing a plan to plan for education spending, kicking the issue down the road another year. Do candidates believe a property-tax increase is necessary for funding basic education?
No.Would this allow local districts to reduce their reliance upon local levies funded by property taxes?
Not necessary.Should the state pass a capital-gains tax to help fund schools?
No.Has the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds in dictating increased funding and,
Absolutely. The Court has zero authority over the Legislature. The end.if so, how should lawmakers respond?
They should ignore the Supreme Court and refuse to pay a dime in fines.
They should cut the number of Justices to 5 by killing their funding.You wanna do that, it's up to you.
But WE do not have to accommodate YOUR choices or decisions.• Climate change.
Gov. Jay Inslee has said he wants to be the nation’s “greenest governor” and has put forth several policy ideas that largely have been ignored by the Legislature. Last year, lawmakers inserted into a transportation package a provision that forced the governor to choose between low-carbon fuel standards and the much-needed transportation funding. Candidates must be ready to answer these questions: Should state government take climate change seriously?
No.And what should the Legislature do about it?
Nothing. It's not a state issue.• The Interstate 5 Bridge.
In 2013, the state Senate scuttled a Columbia River Crossing plan that had been a decade in the making and would have replaced the century-old bridge. Some local representatives — and many local residents — opposed the plan because it included an extension of Portland’s light-rail system into Clark County. So, where do we go from here?
We build an additional bridge to the west of I-5 to the Hillsboro area.
And we build a bridge to the east of I-205 so that we've got 4 bridges crossing the river.
We make sure that none of those bridges are light rail ready or capable.
THEN, we look at replacing the I-5 Bridge... but not until the other bridges are completed.Candidates must be ready to weigh in on the future of the Interstate 5 Bridge;
We consider replacing it AFTER the other bridges are built.the future of light rail in Vancouver;
There IS no future for light rail in Vancouver.and how to engage Oregon officials to forge a compromise that is beneficial for both states.
We force them to build these bridges through federal means. They can be involved... or it can be rammed down their throats like they tried to ram loot rail down OUR throats.• Bathroom politics.
Proponents are collecting signatures to try and place Initiative 1515 on the ballot, regarding the use of bathrooms by transgender people — an issue that has made news across the country this year. What do candidates believe is an appropriate response on this topic?
You go to the can with what you were born with. And you can take a shower with those who have the same equipment you were born with.
Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid, and mutilating yourself is stupid.