The latest results from Tuesdays primary election show that incumbent Vancouver City Council member Pat Campbell losing to both challenger, Bill Turlay and Anne McEnerny-Ogle. I have to admit, even I didn’t think both would beat Pat in the primary, but they have.
Pat Campbell will be gone after only one term on the city council.
Given the contentious nature of the ongoing controversy over matters effecting the city and taxpayers, the largest being the proposed multi-Billion dollar Columbia River Crossing Project, to include extending Portland’s MaxLine (Light Rail) a short distance into the city, it cannot be ignored that voters, who have been denied a vote to approve the project, are sending a strong message to city council, 3 of whom sit on the C-Tran Board that votes in favor of Light Rail.
On three separate occasions, 1995, 2002 and 2004, voters said they didn’t want light rail from Portland, Oregon coming into Vancouver. 1995 saw a direct vote asking about Light Rail and was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.
2002 saw a statewide transportation measure defeated due to linkage as a backdoor deal for Light Rail.
2004 saw a county sales tax measure defeated after it too was linked as a backdoor deal to extend Light Rail. After losing that one, C-Tran officials gerrymandered a sub-district and brought the measure back in 2005 and it passed, although much of the county did not have the chance to vote on it.
Plans are now in the works to gerrymander yet another sub-district to pass the sale tax increase for Light Rail operation and maintenance that we were promised were promised last year would be on this years’ ballot when it was split apart from the current measure we will vote on in November to increase sales tax to fund C-Tran bush service.
That one merits a NO vote from me due to the ruling class lying to us and denying us a vote.
Campbell, although not sitting on the C-Tran Board, has been a strong advocate of Light Rail. Week after week saw citizens appearing before city council in opposition to the planned extension and were ignored as plans continued to move ahead.
Bill Turlay, who finished the primary on top has been an opponent of Light Rail, but would listen to citizens if they were permitted a vote.
Anne McEnerny-Ogle is a little more measured by advocating a vote for Light Rail, but has not taken a strong position on it.
Both believe a new bridge is in order, though.
Campbell also voted to close Fire Station 6 while he voted to approve other measures for spending that do not reach the level of priority as do our Police and Fire Fighters.
While Light Rail is a contentious matter for taxpayers in Vancouver and Clark County, it should be remembered that it isn’t the only issue the city faces. The city faces several issues with declining revenues and citizen needs as well as continuing high unemployment.
Union contracts are all currently under negotiations for city employees and just recently, the Chief of Police stated the Police Department could not continue relying on federal grants to keep Police Officers employed. While asks for dedicated public safety revenues, taxes, city council is hesitant to ask for more taxes at this time.
We are also facing the prospect of an additional $20 a year fee on reregistering our car license plates, a 5% entertainment tax to pay for 70% of proposed stadium to host a Class A baseball Team and seeking hundreds of millions of more taxes to build a Bus Rapid Transit system down Fourth Plain Blvd.
There are several matters the city must decide on in the future beyond just these.
Two other council members are also up for reelection and did not appear on the primary as they each had only one challenger. Bart Hansen, first appointed to replace now Mayor Tim Leavitt when he won the Mayor’s race in 2009 will be facing community activist and former Police Detective Jospephine Wentzel. Larry Smith, a retired US Army Colonel and Vietnam Veteran will be facing 24 year-old Ron Paul supporter Cory Barnes.
I will continue my policy of not endorsing any of the city council races though as I don’t get to vote in the city, living outside the city limits. Nonetheless, I will urge you that do vote in the city races to look over the candidates well and choose the one who you feel will best represent the people.
Attend every campaign function you are able to, visit each campaign web page and don’t fear approaching these people. They each want your vote, whether a challenger or incumbent and will answer your questions. Contact them through email too, if you so choose.
But, I do think the defeat of incumbent Pat Campbell by both challengers is a message to the other City Council Members from voters.
Will they heed it?