Archive for October, 2012

KATU Botches Toll Sign Segment

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Tonight KATU Channel 2 in Portland did a segment on the sign story that has been making the rounds for the last several days. Unfortunately, the piece was so painted and even fabricated in several points that the end result was almost unrecognizable to anyone who was actually involved in the sign-waving event. A few of the outlandish quotes:

Protesters demonstrating against plans for a toll to pay for a new Interstate 5 Bridge have been given the boot by the Washington Department of Transportation.One of the reasons they got in trouble was for standing along the freeway onramp. Earlier this week the protesters were along the north and south ends of the Interstate Bridge, but the signs they were using were also a problem. Protesters held large, orange signs made to look like construction area warning signs but that carried the anti-toll message. Demonstrators also wore vests and hardhats like construction workers do. It was all to promote a Clark County Commission candidate opposed to the current plan for the Columbia River Crossing project. But Washington’s department of transportation told the protesters to move because they were in a dangerous area, and the signs could confuse drivers.

I began to wonder as I read this if we were still, in fact, talking about the same people. First of all, we were not ‘protesting’; we were campaigning for David Madore, who they curiously never mentioned in the piece at all. We were also never ‘given the boot’ by anyone. As we were leaving a two-hour session on one of the on-ramps to I-5 South on Monday morning, our signs already having been packed up and all of us headed home, a state trooper pulled up, took our names and told us that pedestrians were not allowed in that area. He stated very clearly that he had absolutely no issue with the signs (we asked) and that we were free to set up on any sidewalk we wanted. He also told us that it was a very common mistake that he has to deal with every election season because people think that if the homeless people can come and hold their signs, so can everyone else. We were not cited, and we shook hands with him and went on our merry way.

The painted story is ironic, because we were passed by at least a half-dozen police before the state trooper came, and they merely waved at us. If we were doing anything obviously dangerous, it is highly doubtful that they would just pass right by us at the crawl that always results from an on-ramp light without saying a word. The truth is that there was no perceivable danger in the situation at all, the speed of the cars going by was slower than I could run. One driver was actually having a 20-second conversation with us about how she was from Chicago, and it was very necessary that we get light rail so that Vancouver could be just like her hometown.

The Department of Transportation has never contacted us, nor did they have anything definitive to tell us when we took it upon ourselves to contact them. So to say that they ‘gave us the boot’ is a total falsehood. The article goes on to say that we were wearing construction-worker outfits, including construction vests and hard hats. The reflector vests we were wearing were yellow like any pedestrian or bicyclist might wear (note the picture in my previous post). Construction vests are orange (see below).

I have no bloody idea where they got the hard hat thing from. There aren’t any in the pictures, we never had any…they just completely made that part up to fit their narrative that we were impersonating construction workers. It kind of makes me wonder what else they are making up…

Columbian Adds Toll Sign Story

Posted: October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Columbian picked up the same story I wrote on a few days ago regarding the toll signs that have been making waves in Vancouver this week, the brainchild of Christian Berrigan of the PCO Liberty Alliance in an effort to support county commissioner candidate David Madore, who has been fighting the light rail boondoggle for many moons as a private citizen. The signs, which raise awareness on the reality of bridge tolls soon to be instituted in our fair county if certain interests have their way, have made appearances on both sides of the river and caused the pro-light rail crowd much consternation. A few of them had threatened to notify authorities about our ‘illegal activities’, and finally a state trooper did indeed intercept our group just as we were packing up for the morning. The gist of his message was that he had no issue at all with the form and nature of the signs, but that pedestrians were not allowed near on-ramps, the daily presence of homeless people with cardboard signs notwithstanding. He advised us to stick to the sidewalks henceforth, and we happily agreed to comply as we shook hands with him and took our leave. Thus passes my brief brush with the law for the year.

The Columbian reporter also apparently spoke with the Washington DOT who had already been notified by non-fans of our signs. The WADOT representative was “very concerned about the signs, because of safety issues”. It is uncertain what safety issues remain after we agreed to stay on the sidewalk, but according to the article their concern may even elevate to the point of issuing a warning giving us 15 days to ‘come into compliance’ or risk being fined for unsafe sidewalk sign waving. The deadline for compliance could possibly come as early as two days after the election.  Having no desire to run afoul of the Washington DOT, we would reluctantly be compelled to abort any post-election sign-waving plans we might have had. Somewhere, I know that the friends of light rail are cheering over this victory, and that really hurts, but we will recover in time and live to fight again.

Meanwhile, the Columbian story, which came out around lunchtime today, has already been shared on facebook over 600 times, far surpassing all other political articles from this week. I guess maybe there is some interest in the toll issue around town after all. Or perhaps everyone is just wondering who the mysterious ‘unidentified man’ in the picture might be.

This picture, of several volunteers (including yours truly) trying to wake people up to the reality of bridge costs, has been making the rounds on facebook. Some of the interesting comments from those in favor of the $Multi-Billion project:

” For those who have taken the time to read a little and understand who really owns I-5 (the feds) it’s easy to understand what is going to happen to this important interstate highway. No County Commissioner is going to have much of anything to say about this bridge- boondoggle or not. MADORE and Company HAVE REALLY BEEN MISLEADING THE VOTERS OUT THERE. And THAT I find is the biggest crime of all. Tolls? Sure, this will be a toll road just like the many THOUSANDS of them across the U.S. Simple fact of life people. The amount? No one knows right now. But I can tell you the toll across Lake Washington, Seattle to Kirkland, is something like $3.50+. A vote for or against the Prop 1 measure coming up WILL HAVE ZERO EFFECT ON THE BRIDGE OR LIGHT RAIL. It is only for the possible funding of Maintenance and Operation. That’s it. The bridge is going in…even now as I write this. They have already been busy looking for footings in the river, taking measurements, etc. Folks, this is a DONE DEAL. If you think voting for this wealthy guy who wants to be a County Commissioner, MADORE, is going to stop this bridge or anything else, you are deluded.”

Getting into the ridiculous bureaucracy and cost associated with the building of this $4 Billion+ tribute to liberal insanity is beyond the scope of this post, but David Madore was fighting this project as a citizen and if elected, he will do so from a much more influential position. The rhetoric of the left is nothing if not consistent. Pass outlandish spending projects and then, when faced with associated funding problems, insist that it is a ‘done deal’ and nothing more is allowed to be said on the topic. Sound familiar? This is exactly how they did it with Obamacare. Just like Obamacare, however, there is the small matter of the expense, and unfortunately, the people who railroaded this through have not volunteered to pick up the tab. They expect us to take care of that small detail via tolls, property taxes, etc. They just don’t want us to say anything while we are opening our wallets.

It has been amusing to watch the left spontaneously combust over this picture. This effort appeals to a demographic that is rarely consulted on these matters – the taxpaying wage earners who will actually be driving over the bridge and paying tolls. The reactions from them were more interesting: Many of them had no idea that they would soon be paying tolls. Not exactly the part of the deal that liberal politicians have been leading with.

The bottom line is that this project is being done with borrowed funds in a state and country that has already maxed out its credit cards. That fact demands a certain careful frugality, like any family would have to exercise under similar circumstances. When one is in debt up to one’s eyeballs, he does not buy the luxury foreign car with fancy stereo and up-to-the-minute gadgets. He buys the simple, dependable car that will get him to work and back and doesn’t put the family’s solvency in jeopardy. We expect the same from our representatives, and we will get that kind of responsibility from David Madore.

Recently, a brouhaha erupted among a few CCRP board members because they found out that one of the newly-elected PCOs, whose term starts in December, is sporting a Gary Johnson sign on his lawn. Johnson is the former two-term Republican Governor of New Mexico who is running on the Libertarian ticket for President. Despite his pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage stances, many find his fiscal record in New Mexico impressive and believe he would actually cut spending and government intrusion on civil liberties, unlike Mitt Romney, who appears to largely support the status quo of big deficits and increased government powers over individuals. At the same time that the Romney campaign has done everything in its power to alienate Liberty voters, Gary Johnson has been actively soliciting their votes. This situation leaves many in the Liberty group in a quandary about who to vote for and how much to advertise that choice, particularly if it isn’t for the Republican nominee. Establishment folks are quick to point out that a public endorsement of anyone other than Mitt Romney is a traitorous act and worthy of some kind of public censure by the party (there appears to be no legal recourse, since PCOs are actually elected by residents in the precinct). How much loyalty to the party as a whole do PCOs have? Does going against the choice of the Republican Establishment mean that individual PCOs are not ‘Real Republicans’?

Amid this interesting moral dilemma, a great irony has surfaced from the ‘moderate’ side of the party. I noted a while back that U.S Representative Jaime Herrera had decided to endorse Marc Boldt in the County Commissioner race against David Madore. Recently, she doubled down by approving an ad  in the Reflector affirming that endorsement.

Boldt, also a newly elected PCO, has drawn the ire of many in the local G.O.P. to such a degree that he has actually been sanctioned   by the party formally and given no aid in his quest for reelection against a strong challenger. In addition to his support of extending Portland light rail into Clark County at tremendous cost to taxpayers and questionable benefit, he has voted with the Democrats on a number of issues ranging from property tax increases to gun control during declared emergencies (the one time when people might actually need a gun). He even went so far as to endorse the Democrat in 2010 for another Commissioner’s seat, a seat which the Democrat, Steve Stuart, eventually won. So why does Representative Herrera feel comfortable endorsing Boldt despite the fact that the party has endorsed the more conservative Madore?

At some point, the conservative branch of the Republican Party will figure out that they are the only ones allowing themselves to be handcuffed by this ‘party loyalty’ argument, and that the moderates are free to move in and out of the party alignment whenever it suits them. Liberal Republicans vote with Democrats to raise taxes and increase the size and scope of government, and as we are finding out with Marc Boldt, Democrats are happy to return the favor . This is why we get a steady stream of Liberal Republicans and Democrats as elected officials. I submit that the only way to interrupt this never-ending cycle of government-loving candidates is to stop supporting them .