Video from KING 5 News, Seattle Wa.
The ‘light rail at any cost crowd’ to include the Lazy C wasted no time in spinning last evenings collapse of a section of the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River upstate to promote forcing Clark County into accepting Portland, Oregon’s financially beleaguered light rail.
Even before the reason was known, the structure being struck by an over-sized load on a semi-truck, the light rail at any cost crowd was blasting those who oppose dragging the light rail line into Clark County, presenting it as a ‘wake-up’ call with dire, ominous predictions of the bridge between Vancouver and Portland facing imminent collapse as well.
Rep. Jim Moeller (D. Portland/Vancouver) wasted no time crying how “unsafe” our bridges are, neglecting that he and his fellow Democrats have for years diverted transportation funds to studies to drag light rail into Clark County and the massive Alaska Way Viaduct project in Puget Sound, depriving the rest of the states bridges from funds needed for maintenance and repairs.
CRC proponents recently released an ad and Jim Moeller made sure to circulate it throughout the legislature in an effort to convince elected officials in Olympia they were in the majority.
Couv.com has released a more truthful ad featuring numerous citizens expressing why the CRC is a bad deal for Clark County.
Proponents ad may be seen at the Couv.com link above. Take note, those speaking in the pro-ad are all speaking from the exact same script with the editing cut to switch back and forth to say their pre-written message.
Couv.com did not have a written script, we each spoke freely of our views.
Ignoring the concerns of their constituents in the 49th Legislative District, all 3 Democrats elected to represent us have now vowed to cast our concerns aside, continue ignoring our voices and work as hard as possible to screw us over to ensure funding of the highly unpopular Columbia River Crossing light rail project.
An email received from rookie Senator Annette Cleveland today says, “We are working hard to fund the Columbia River Crossing”, concluding with “Rep. Moeller, Rep. Wylie and I will continue to work on CRC funding throughout the special legislative session to ensure that our state meets the September deadline and qualifies for the $850 million in federal funds. Anything less would be fiscal lunacy and a terrible mistake for our community’s future.”
That voters have rejected every funding measure proposed and outright rejected light rail itself back in 1995 doesn’t enter into the equation.
As we see more and more Washington citizens and businesses joining in opposing the Columbia River Crossing light rail project, the desperation seen from Oregon in wanting to tap into our tax dollars to bail out their folly of light rail increases.
From Governor Kitzhaber’s proclamations published in the CRC mouthpiece Kitzhaber: Without light rail, new span across Columbia is history and Kitzhaber: Removal of light rail will kill CRC project to now an editorial in the April 25 Oregonian, Hey, Olympia: Suck it up and help build the CRC demanding we just ‘get onboard’ and do as they say.
Kitzhaber’s call showed that the calls of “decrease congestion,” “unsafe bridge” and “improve freight mobility” have been nothing more than lies and reaffirmed what this blog and several others have been saying for several years, light rail is the only factor driving this project.
Access between the States of Washington and Oregon, separated by the Columbia River has long been a problem for commuters. For many decades there was only one bridge for several miles in each direction, down the I-5 corridor.
After much fighting between the states, Oregon trying to drag their feet, a second bridge was opened a few miles east of I-5 in 1983, the Glen Jackson or if you prefer, the I-205 Bridge.
That lessened a little congestion down I-5, but as we saw this week with the collision of a Semi-Truck driving the wrong way over the I-205 Bridge, essentially shutting it down, people were once again stuck in traffic on both arterials and access roads as many tried to avoid the mess on the I-205 Bridge and others sat for hours, unable to escape the back-up.
It is becoming common knowledge that the Columbia River Crossing Project is falling apart as more and more, people open their eyes to the lack of transparency long associated with it and the many false claims used in promoting it.
From poorly designed plans to calls for tolls on top of tolls, increasing gas taxes and license fees on cars to come up with funding for it, people are waking up and standing up against it.
Tired of being silenced, marginalized and just outright ignored, those of us who will long be on the hook to pay for a light rail carrier we have rejected have been pushing back, defeating funding measures associated with CRC and electing officials who are willing to scrutinize the project.
None of that has fazed one of the strongest proponents of the CRC, 49th Legislative District Representative, Democrat Jim Moeller, quite possible the single most arrogant person elected to our state legislature.
We’re all familiar with the term, Kangaroo Court meaning “a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted.” Maybe it is time we also applied it to townhalls by elected officials who have no intent to listen to constituents and instead seem to think they have to sell us on a defective project the majority of their constituents’ have indicated they do not want.
A Townhall is supposed to be an “informal public meeting where everybody in a town community is invited to attend, voice their opinions, and hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest.”
But as we continue to see, many of those elected officials appear reluctant to listen to constituents areas of concern in Washington State 49th Legislative District, especially where the overly ambitious Columbia River Crossing Project is concerned.
It has long been shown that the Columbian, the so-called newspaper of record for Southwest Washington, is solidly in the tank for the effort to force Clark County to accept Portland, Oregon’s financially ailing light rail system by supporting the Columbia River Crossing project, falsely being sold as a “bridge replacement project.”
Replacing the aging spans is secondary to forcing light rail across state lines a short distance into our community, as was revealed early in 2012 by an Oregon State Supreme Court ruling in an unrelated case. To date, the Columbian has not acknowledged that revelation first made known in the Willamette Week article, The $2.5 Billion Bribe.
Far from being just an “ugly baby” we are somehow beholden to, as described in editor Lou Brancaccio’s Saturday Press Talk column, It’s an ugly baby, but it’s ours, it is in reality the epitome of the war on the middle class as expenses of this boondoggle fall directly on the backs of a still struggling middle class in Clark County trying to recover from 4 straight years of double digit unemployment.
None of us get through life without making mistakes, messing up on something that we end up going back and redoing or fixing. Mistake happen to all of us and let’s face it that is why pencils all have erasers on them, so we can erase a mistake and rewrite it.
But we seem to learn from our mistakes and do our best not to repeat them, especially ones that end up costing us more money than we were prepared to spend.
We don’t seem to see that “learn from our mistakes” attitude in many public/private ventures like the Columbia River Crossing, though. Even though it is crammed with mistakes, the CRC attitude is more of ignore them and forge ahead, regardless of what it will end up costing taxpayers.
To date the CRC has cost over $160 Million and been spread out over a decade and still doesn’t have a design adequate to gain a Coast Guard permit to build the bridge for light rail due to insufficient clearance for river traffic. Somehow, planners ignored that at least 3 current businesses upriver require much more clearance to fit their products under the current bridge between Clark County Washington and Portland, Oregon, even though they were aware of it years go.
Patty Murray, Democrat Senator from Washington State, following the lead of all other Democrats, portrays herself as a “Champion of the Middle Class.” They swept to power in both houses of congress in the 2006 elections by that claim, bashing President George W. Bush and the spineless Republicans who failed to counter the claims with truth.
The middle class has never been worse off since.
Winning office in the early 1990’s as just a “Mom in tennis shoes,” the now 62 year-old has shown herself to be more of a “Mom in muddy shoes,” sparing no effort to retain her cushioned seat of authority, promoting a Progressive agenda on the backs of the middle class while catering to big labor and selected corporate special interests.
Not even a month into his term as our newest County Commissioner and already David Madore is acting on his campaign promises, standing up for Clark County citizens and bucking the light rail swindle from Portland into our community, just as we asked him to do when we elected him.
As can be expected, that is not setting well with the ruling class elites pushing light rail in order to gain access to our revenues to bail out their deeply indebted transit folly, now sitting at about $1.6 Billion and growing every day.
We elected David Madore over keeping Marc Boldt and together with fellow conservative Tom Mielke, have a fighting chance to see some accountability where the CRC swindle is concerned.
Knowing now that our County Commissioners will stand on the side of citizens over the special interests of the CRC swindle, we can expect volleys of attacks aimed at the County Commission and they have already started.
It is no secret that much of Clark County, Washington holds a very negative view of the Columbia River Crossing project (CRC). The more the layers of this scam are pulled back, the more we appear justified in our disdain for what more and more comes across as a massive swindle to suck revenue out of our own cash-strapped community and give it to Portland, Oregon to help with the massive debt, some $1.6 Billion and growing daily, associated with their bloated light rail line.
Even though Clark County citizens rejected extending their folly into our community in 1995, the push has continued to force Clark County to accept it, even to the point of gerrymandering a sub-district in 2005 in an effort to ‘fix’ the vote to approve a C-TRAN sales tax increase perceived to be a back door funding of light rail that was rejected county-wide in the November 2004 election.
Once again we witness efforts by the few in Southwest Washington to circumvent voters, ignore our votes and lobby funds the state does not have to forcibly ram Portland’s financially beleaguered light rail on us and into our community.
It is Kelly Parker, President/CEO Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce who has sent out an email soliciting signatures from selected business owners with the Greater Vancouver area to show support for the Columbia River Crossing Project and light rail, even though voters have clearly said we do not want it in proxy votes, such as the recent defeat of C-TRAN’s Proposition 1 to fund operations & maintenance by a sales tax increase.
Parker’s email bypassed numerous businesses, such as Acuity Group PLLC, a Forensic Accounting Firm in Vancouver hired to independently audit CRC’s books and that was met with foot dragging, a huge document dump, usually designed to confuse and overwhelm, lack of cooperation and even a lawsuit from a contractor to inhibit access to some documents that might show where some $160 Million of our tax dollars has gone, seemingly targeted to those few who may profit from the project or who would merely pass along any expense to taxpayers, already bearing the brunt of the multi-Billion expense.
Patty Murray, the so-called senior Washington State Senator has long advocated for the Columbia River Crossing and forcing Clark County to accept Portland, Oregon’s financially ailing light rail, even though Clark County voters have voted it down in every ballot measure perceived to support it.
But that doesn’t stop dictatorial Democrats like Patty Murray, even though she is clueless about what goes on in Clark County since we never see her unless she is up for reelection or seeking donations to retain her in the cushioned seat of authority she has gotten accustomed to.
In spite of the apparent corruption surrounding the CRC, having sucked up over $160 Million in planning and can’t even design a bridge with enough clearance to meet U.S. Coast Guard specifications for river traffic clearance, she lends her voice to Oregon’s Governor in the call for “damn the voters, full speed ahead” with the project.
Portland’s light rail being forced upon Clark County is and has been a very contentious matter for a number of years. Supporters want us to believe how beneficial it will be while opponents see it for what it is, an expensive boondoggle set to bankrupt our struggling community.
Efforts to shine some light on the CRC has been met with extreme opposition, often to the point of disgust from supporters in elected office who make decisions pertaining to extending it a short distance into our community.
Throughout it all, facts have been ignored, glossed over, and labeled lies, to the point of ridiculing any that would dare shine some light on the project. Most notable would be when Vancouver’s mayor, ‘Teflon’ Tim ‘the liar’ Leavitt’s effort to silence critics from speaking in opposition before City Council.
Facts are out there and through the efforts of David Madore’s Couv.com are continuing to be presented to the voting and taxpaying public. The latest effort to come from Couv.com will be a series of factual presentations in video format, beginning with Portland Light Rail: Tracking the Facts [pt. 1].
Once again, voters in Clark County have spoken on dragging Portland, Oregon’s financially failing light rail into our community by defeating the latest C-Tran Proposition 1 for raising the sales tax to cover the cost of operations & maintenance of the light rail line. Just as before, voters resoundingly rejected it by nearly 20,000 votes.
In spite of claims otherwise by proponents, the vote was well known among voters to be a proxy vote on light rail itself since all promises previously made of letting voters vote on whether or not we even want Portland’s folly have been denied by elected rulers.
One of the first was Vancouver’s Mayor, ‘Teflon’ Tim Leavitt, known for lying through his teeth to win office as upon seeing the results of the election indicated the “result only confirms that voters do not support raising sales tax to pay for light rail.”
A citizen perspective by Margaret Tweet
For the last few years, I’ve followed the proposed light rail extension from Portland to Vancouver via meetings by CTRAN, the Regional Transportation Council (RTC), the Washington Policy Center, the Cascade Policy Institute, and town halls on transportation issues. Precious little discussion is held on the true transportation needs of our region by the government agencies that propose costly solutions. Instead of thoroughly examining present conditions, the focus is on rosy predictions for 2030 and 2035 and the most costly transportation options possible. CTRAN, RTC, and the contractors that will benefit have a dream, and they expect Clark County taxpayers and businesses to pay for it. The CTRAN and RTC boards that oversee the agencies include all 3 county commissioners and select city council representatives. Following is information I’ve gleaned and offer to fellow citizens.
Vancouver Mayor Leavitt and State Representative Moeller have oft declared that light rail is required on the proposed CRC I-5 bridge replacement. Recently, WADOT Director Paula Hammond clarified at the October CRC oversight committee meeting that light rail is a “political” requirement placed on the project by Oregon. In the Tuesday Nov. 6 election, WA voters have a say on light rail via CTRAN proposition 1. The CTRAN proposition is to raise the Clark County sales tax to extend Portland’s TriMet light rail into Clark County and add costly $Million 60 foot bendable buses to the CTRAN fleet. If voters approve the High Capacity Transit taxing authority, the CTRAN long term plan is to extend light rail and 60 foot bendable busses in Clark County.
It was surprising to see so many comments deny that tolls to cross the I-5 Bridge have been estimated to be as high as $8 under the Columbian article Toll signs attract state’s attention, ire. Surprising because that is exactly what we were told back in 2009 by one of today’s biggest CRC supporters.
I make no comment concerning the use of signs the articles addresses, nor does this blog approve of their use since in 2010, the use of very similar campaign signs was condemned by this blog. The responsible party has claimed ownership of them as he should.