Saturday, July 11, 2015

A little bone to pick with Phillip Johnson, Deputy Mayor of Battle Ground, on the gas tax.

Deputy Mayor Johnson stands as a symptom of the greater disease: the tunnel vision of politicians who have a single-minded fixation on their agenda to the exclusion of all else.

These are the type of politicians who see their view as the only view.  Who are, at some level, terrified at the thought of actually seeking the permission of the people to engage in huge policy initiatives because, well, hell... the people were stupid enough to elect him, so now he can do whatever he wants, regardless of what the people may want.

I take a dramatically different view of government.

Mr. Johnson, however, clearly does not.

My Senator, Ann Rivers, promised as a part of her 2012 campaign not to vote for a gas tax increase.

Yet, when crunch time came, she did the very thing she promised NOT to do.

In the parlance, that's known as either a broken campaign promise (think in terms of Tim "The Liar" Leavitt, most notable for his outright and obvious lies to get elected concerning his non-existent opposition to tolls on the CRC/Loot Rail scam... a wedge issue that useful tools also foolishly believed) or a lie.

It all depends on how polite one wants to be.

Rivers has been hearing it, so as a result, she's taken her campaign page down.

But in that regard, Google is forever.  And here's the entirety of her transportation position used to get elected:

"Spending billions to move a few people makes no sense, and that money should be spent entirely and only on projects that will enhance safety, reduce congestion and increase freight mobility. The CRC and light rail as envisioned accomplishes none of those goals while spending as much as $10 billion… all without asking those who use the bridge if they want to pay for another one."

Here.  Let me modify that a bit:
Spending billions on a massive gas tax increase (The biggest in this state's history) to move a few people makes no sense, and that money should be spent entirely and only on projects that will enhance safety, reduce congestion and increase freight mobility. The massive black hole of wasted King County mass transit projects... all the way down to the wasted $100 million CRC I-5/Mill Plain intersection as envisioned accomplishes none of those goals while spending as much as $15 billion… all without asking those paying this tax already if they want to pay for a bigger one.
Not that much of a stretch, is it?

Meanwhile, the good Deputy Mayor is positively giddy that Sen. Rivers is ignoring the sense and will of her constituents, because the City of Battle Ground is sucking up a large portion of the few dollars remaining from this rip off in Clark County after the I-5/Mill Plain intersection debacle.

Lew Waters posted Sen. Rivers explanation video which I have watched and which regular readers already know I strongly disagree with.

Under the video on Waters' blog, Deputy Mayor Johnson wrote this:
There is a car tab fee in BG, because if we don’t fix our own roads, who will? There is also money in the transportation bill to fix STATE HIGHWAYS 502/503 here in BG. The question again is: if they (the state) will not fix their roads who will? God bless Sen. Rivers for thinking about us in the 18th. Our other representatives decided that they would sit this out and spout lofty ideals on how they see the government working. If it is the job of our reps. to represent their district then Messers. Vick & Harris, and Mrs. Pike and Wilson must have decided that the folks in BG, Camas and Washougal had everything they needed in transportation services and that it was our duty to pay the tax, but not derive any benefit.

Thanks again Senator Rivers for thinking about us in BG, and helping us with other things as well as the transportation package, you delivered for us real benefits, not lofty ideals.
This goes to show that Johnson doesn't care what politicians say or do, as long as he gets his.

Not exactly a man of integrity, but then, integrity requires "lofty ideals" of which Deputy Mayor Johnson apparently has none.

I wrote a response to Johnson's idiocy, his "the ends justify tyhe means and who cares what the people want" approach to government:

“Represent their district.”
The district, of course, is far more than Battle Ground. Clearly, some believe that it begins and ends there when, of course, it does not.
In this case, “represent their district” means to do only what the select few want them to do. It means ignoring what the rest of the people in the district want.
Philip got his rice bowl filled from the state trough… that WE will get to pay for without being asked… while the rest of the district got screwed sidewise. And he’s grateful that Rivers did HIS bidding.
I’m not.
I have a different view. A view that asks a lot of questions but doesn’t come up with very many answers.
But then, Rivers didn’t give a damn what I thought. She, quite apparently, did what Johnson wanted.
It’s just a damned shame for her and Battle Ground that the district is much bigger than both of them.
Those who voted against this idiocy… those who made a serious effort to put a referendum clause on this… those who were opposed to the bogus emergency clause put on it… those who actually listened to the people… those who did not make a campaign pledge to not vote for gas tax increases and then break it… those who saw it for what it is… mere crumbs from Inslee’s table…
They are the ones who have my gratitude.
No one is more sorry than I that it turned out this way. That a very few people in BG are giddy over this betrayal?
Well, I sincerely hope you choke on it.
Please do not misunderstand me.

My concern begins and ends with the monumental arrogance displayed by Johnson and Rivers because they mistrust us... the voters... so much... that they can't find it within themselves to actually ask us first.

Had they ASKED to impose these taxes... had we VOTED THEM IN... this would be an entirely different discussion.

But they didn't trust us enough to ask.  In fact, both have opposed asking us... and the GOP Senate opposed asking us, instead making it practically impossible for us to have any say by virtue of attaching an emergency clause to this idiocy.

I remember back in the good old days when Betty Sue Morris was a commissioner.

There was/is a local option where counties could (can?) add a penny or two to the gas tax locally, and that was under discussion.

I looked at Betty Sue and said, "you know what?  I wouldn't have a problem with this if you'd let us vote on it."

Her reply?

"Well, what happens if it loses?"

Gee.  That's a toughy.

What happens if it loses?


That, however, goes to the entire philosophical question: do we work for and answer to government?

Or does government work for and answer to us?

Johnson and Rivers obviously seem to believe that it's the former over the latter.

And while Johnson may be doing cartwheels down Battle Ground's Main Street at this betrayal, I sink deeper into my political depression caused by ever advancing government totalitarianism and ever decreasing rights of the people... as this case study shows that those who are supposed to champion those rights are co-opted by the system and become a part of the problem... and not the solution.

1 comment:

Pete Masterson said...

The basic problem is the most politicians make the mistake that "government is a force for good." That is the general operating philosophy of politicians from both major political parties (and many of the lesser parties). The primary difference is what the politicians of the different parties would choose to prioritize.

It NEVER occurs to them that government is a drag on the economy and a yoke of repression on the voters. That given choices, voters might actually be more effective at spending their own money -- that's why "free market" choices tend to be better than political solutions.

While providing various "public infrastructure" is a role that government usually fulfills, with the proper legislation, then private investors might be able to build roads (and bridges) as needed -- with rather more moderate costs associated with these projects and efficient toll-taking systems that might work out to cost less than the tax burden. There have been some experiments (with private companies building a few highways and/or "HOV" lanes) -- but these experiments ought to be extended ... with the taxpayer not being the one to underwrite projects that often make little economic sense that politicians conceive. (Would a private company have built the I5/Mill Plain interchange?)