Listen to Jeanne Stewart on KPAM 860 Victoria Taft Program HERE.
Represent the “will of the people” over the “will of the council” in Vancouver, Washington seems to carry with it grave repercussions today. In expressing their displeasure that council member Jeanne Stewart sided with the citizens and taxpayers of the city of Vancouver, Washington, fellow council members decided to remove Ms. Stewart from the C-Trans board for a vote cast months ago on separating a ballot vote on funding ‘Loot’ Rail from funding C-Trans itself.
Having the audacity to represent the people, a position apparently we mistakenly believe we elect these people to do, Jeanne Stewart was removed from the C-Trans Board Monday evening, January 10, 2011.
Pat Campbell is who called for her removal, described in the Columbian as “calling for Stewart to be yanked from C-Tran.” They quote Campbell as saying,
“I object to Ms. Stewart continuing on that [C-Trans Board]. She told us she wasn’t going to represent council wishes on a vote back in the fall … the person that we appoint should be someone that represents council and doesn’t tell council that they’re going to represent themselves.”
Larry Smith, who I have come to respect a great deal surprises me by adding,
“Once you get in this mode of determining what’s best and not representing the will of the council, I think it’s a slippery slope for all of us.”
What sort of a “slippery slope” is it to continually ignore the very people that put you into office and instead side with big money special interests?
Jeanne Stewart said,
“I want to make it clear that my first and primary duty is to the citizens. They are my boss. I split (the vote) out because if people chose not to support light rail, at least we had an opportunity to support basic bus service.”
Jack Burkman adds that “Stewart could have easily voiced her displeasure with the vote before casting it, or abstained,” again ignoring that the will of the citizens is being ignored and the will of special interests takes precedence.
Clearly, the Vancouver City Council has chosen a path of raising their middle finger at struggling taxpayers and dictating, not representing. Raising sales taxes to fund ‘Loot’ Rail from Portland to Vancouver, bundling it in with funding bus service, could very well, as Ms. Stewart indicates, end up leaving bus service un-funded. ‘Loot’ Rail has been voted down in the past by large margins, a vote ignored by the City Council and others as they now decide ‘tough s**t,” citizens, you’re getting it anyways.
This is not “Representative Government,” but “Dictating” the will of a handful to the overall majority and goes against the very founding of our country. It is the very basis of the anger seen last year in town halls and rallies all across America.
It is the basis of the anger expressed last fall in Vancouver that led to the now famous “Gavel Down” incident that resulted in this same city council bring ethics violations complaints against the only other female council member, Jeanne Harris, who to her credit, abstained from voting for Ms. Stewart’s ouster from the C-Trans Board.
Candidates campaign against other candidates on accusation of “voting lock-step” and now we see a council member ousted from an important committee assignment because she does not vote “lock-step?”
Citizens of Vancouver should be outraged that the city council has now flipped them off and taken retribution against a fellow council member for heeding the will of taxpayers and voters.
Allegations of corruption have in the past disturbed Pat Campbell to the point of him speaking out against such allegations.
After seeing him lead the charge to oust Stewart because she sided with voters against the council, what are we left to think of those allegations now, Pat?
Citizens of Vancouver, Washington are owed an explanation of why their voices are ignored and something as unnecessary and overly expensive as Portland’s ‘Loot’ Rail is being shoved down their throats after they have repeatedly voted against it.
Don’t forget, council members, it is voters, taxpayers and citizens that comprise the city you were elected to represent. You were not elected to dictate.