Vancouver, Washington and our surrounding areas is truly a diverse community comprised of several ethnicities and political persuasions. Throughout the years officials have been elected from nearly all trains of thought at one time or another and sent up to Olympia, back to Washington D.C. or to fill local offices.
But, a recent ordinance barely passed by the Vancouver City Council gave me pause to think, where and who is the conservative voice for Vancouver citizens on the council?
If you will recall, a few weeks ago I wrote Free Speech Gains a Short Reprieve from the Vancouver City Council, explaining how a proposed ordinance that held the potential to regulate free speech gatherings was sent back to staff for further rewriting in order to remove that potential of regulating public speech.
At the time, 4 centrist council members saved the day while 3 more progressive council members, including newly elected mayor, Tim Leavitt, expressed they had no problem with the ordinance as written and could not see the glaring possibility of its misuse in the future.
One of those progressives was Bart Hansen, appointed to fill the seat vacated by Leavitt as he stepped over to the mayor’s chair, who now voted against the ordinance, along with Mayor Leavitt and fellow council member, Jeanne Harris, once the wording was changed to remove the potential the ordinance held to regulate free speech.
Hansen cited his opposition as he cannot support anything that is not straight across the board equal, equating our constitutional right to peaceful assembly to express support or dissent of political issues with a rock concert.
Mayor Leavitt, who strongly supported Hansen and appointed him, stated that now the city would have no involvement in such gatherings. Harris cannot see what “the big deal is.”
Our right to peaceful assembly was protected by one vote when the vote should have been unanimous. As said before, I applaud council members Pat Campbell, Jack Burkman, Jeanne Stewart and Larry Smith for the votes and foresight that seems to be lacking in Bart Hansen, who must run for election this year.
Of the 4 council members who “saved the day,” so to speak, I would place all as centrists with a very slight lean to left, some more than others. If only one had been swayed, our constitutional right to peaceful assembly and free speech might have been under regulation in the City of Vancouver. We were fortunate that did not happen this time.
This brings me back to who on the council is a strong and consistent conservative voice for Vancouver’s conservative citizens?
We have a chance to place a conservative voice on the council again this election in John Jenkins, 56 year-old Vancouver businessman running to take over the seat Bart Hansen was appointed to.
Jenkins will bring his experience from chairing the 2004 Salary Review Commission, sitting on the 2006 Vancouver/PDX Aviation Noise Advisory Committee and co-chairing the 2009 City of Vancouver Charter Review Committee to the council.
Jenkins’s had applied for the seat Hansen was appointed to last year, but with no voter input, Hansen was appointed.
At a fund raiser held on his behalf just last evening, it has been reported to me that
“When asked why should a liberal vote for him, John Jenkins conservative response was that he would be mindful of his fiduciary responsibilities, not waste tax dollars and prioritize spending. When asked about Prioritizing Spending John Jenkins advised those present that Citizen’s Safety led by adequate funding of police and fire service would be at the top of his priority list. He was candid and well spoken when he announced that he did not support Bridge Tolls and/or the extension of Portland, Oregon Light Rail into the City of Vancouver. It is too expensive and would cause taxes to increase, he said.”
Vancouver, let’s get serious this year. In spite of all the bashing that has been going on against conservatives, propelling liberals and progressives into power, our economic and personal security has slipped into a very grave situation as once again, the reality shows that conservatism is what benefits people overall the most.
We can begin turning the page to a real recovery by electing John Jenkins.
Don’t forget when it came to foresight in protecting our constitutional right to peaceful assembly and free speech in Vancouver, Hansen bailed!