Archive for June, 2013

A few details on last Saturday’s quarterly meeting of the PCOs. Notable attendees were Senators Ann Rivers and Don Benton, Reps Paul Harris and Liz Pike, County Auditor Greg Kimsey, and Vancouver City Council members Jeanne Stewart and Bill Turley. Most of them left shortly after addressing the body. The city council members were there to talk about their campaigns, the representatives spoke about the endless extra sessions that Governor Inslee is calling to try to get funding for the CRC, and the Senators came primarily to address the recent negative press regarding their much-publicized feud, and to let the PCOs know that they were putting it behind them.

Senators Benton and Rivers bury the hatchet. (Photo courtesy of Carol Brown via the CCRP Website)

Props go to the following leaders and officials:

1. CCRP Chair Lynda Wilson, for leading a stellar meeting. This meeting contained updates on the record-breaking Lincoln Day Dinner fundraising efforts, the unveiling of the new party website , speeches by candidates and elected officials, the election of a new party treasurer, and the deliberation and passage of several resolutions. Those leading the meeting exuded competence as they addressed each topic, and most attendees went away feeling that the party is in great hands. Lynda has brought tremendous credibility back to the local party, as the presence of so many candidates and elected officials demonstrated.

2. Outgoing CCRP Treasurer Bryan Johnson, who was run ragged during his short tenure in office as he did PDC filings for record donation levels, as well as attending long planning sessions on a board full of what he called ‘four-minute milers’. Bryan was a voice of caution and kept meticulous records, and as he passes the baton to super-volunteer Dan Coursey, hopefully he knows that his excellent and money-saving work is appreciated.

3. LD 18 State Senator Ann Rivers, for addressing the PCOs frankly and directly with an apology for the distraction that the situation with Senator Benton might be causing to their efforts. I have not been a great fan of Senator Rivers, since she tried to sneak her friend Adrian Cortes into her State Rep seat on filing deadline day last year, but this apology showed grace and consideration, particularly given that she does not seem to be the initiator in this mess, at least in the public sphere. Rivers and Benton later hugged and posed for pictures

4. CCRP Operations Director Christian Berrigan, for not only working like a rented mule on every aspect of this new and improved party structure, but also for coming up with a very bold resolution involving the termination of the IRS (more details soon on this). As the leader of operations for the PCO Liberty Alliance, Christian made a lot of statements that some considered outlandish and unattainable about his intentions to effect change in the local party. He is matching words with deeds, with much more in the works. His many detractors over the last year are looking very foolish these days, and are strangely quiet of late.

5. Reps Harris and Pike for showing up and staying through most of the meeting despite the fact that they were due in Olympia at 1 p.m. the next day. Their presence was marked and appreciated.

The other note of interest at this meeting had to do with Greg Kimsey’s appearance, apparently for the sole purpose of passing out literature advocating his new alliance with County Commissioner Steve Stuart in the context of pushing a particular slate of freeholders in the upcoming elections and creating a new office of County Executive, which, coincidentally, he would like to run for. Kimsey did not stay for the meeting, despite the fact that he is a sitting PCO, and he was not around to discuss the issue of his new group, Team ClarkForward , which, in addition to Kimsey and Stuart, also includes recently deposed CCRP executive director Mike Gaston and Dan Ogden, a former Democrat party chair. This group is being called ‘bipartisan’, although, oddly enough, there are no conservatives in the group. No word on whether Marc Boldt and Brent Boger will also be joining this group of ‘Republicans’. It is not news to any readers of this blog that Greg Kimsey, Mike Gaston, and the moderates who used to run the old CCRP do not speak for Republicans in Clark County or represent their interests. This is precisely why they were voted off the board. It is also no surprise that people of this ilk feel comfortable working with liberal Democrats on projects having to do with designing county governance. After all, they agree that big government is a necessity. Here are Kimsey’s thoughts on the matter:

“When a government increases in size and complexity, the power of the elected officials entrusted with that government … also increases,” Kimsey said. “And when this power is entrusted in a single branch of government, and among a small number of elected officials, the potential for abuse increases.”

It is important to note here that Madore and Mielke have primarily been criticized by the Left for their efforts to reduce the size and scope of government, which is a central Republican tenet. They drew criticism for reducing impact fees on new businesses, and for removing the county park user fees. Kimsey, on the other hand, not only believes that government should increase ‘in size and complexity’, but also that this increase should be spread among an ever-widening body of elected and appointed officials, of which he would like to be the new head-guy-in-charge. His plan calls for a strong administrator and five weak commissioners, or, as David Madore recently put it, “A monarch and his advisors”.

It is probably unavoidable that a smooth politician like Kimsey will end up in the role of County Executive if that position is created in the new charter. The hope here is that at least the 15 freeholders who design the charter are chosen from among the grass roots rather than the power elite of Clark County. If ever you wanted to get involved in government to effect change, now is the time. Please consider running for freeholder in your district.


A CRC Analogy

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

It is sometimes helpful to put government issues in terms of people in order to understand them. For instance, this video really cut through a lot of empty rhetoric coming from Congress and the White House regarding the debt limit. So I was imagining what the Columbia River Crossing/ Light Rail boondoggle might look like on a personal level:

Imagine a situation where a family during difficult economic times had to replace their water heater within a few years, and knew it was going to be costly. Imagine the process of choosing which option in water heaters was a balance between function and cost effectiveness. Now imagine that the contractor they hire to install it decides to up-sell them, saying that they need a really expensive one that heats way more gallons than the family needs, that it ought to feed into a new jacuzzi as well. As he is coming up with the bid for all of this, the family also learns that actually, the contractor and the family’s HOA have already decided that this plan is the ‘locally preferred alternative’, and they have already voted to approve it, using the family’s funds. When the family protests, imagine the bank coming in and telling them not to worry, that they can provide a low-interest loan to pay for the whole thing, and that they can spread the cost over the next 30 or even 50 years. Now imagine that actually, they don’t have a choice about that either, the bank and the contractor and the HOA have signed all the necessary loan paperwork already on the family’s behalf. Now imagine that on top of all this, the family is required to hire a guy to maintain the new jacuzzi and water heater at union/prevailing wages, and he will also be charging them a fee every time they want to take a shower or use the jacuzzi. Also, they find out that in order to accommodate the new water heater, they have to remodel the garage such that the door is too low for their car to enter and park, so they have to park outside.

Imagine the family asking the HOA to be allowed to vote on this ‘locally preferred alternative’ and being mocked and laughed at by a circle of people that includes the contractor, the bankers, and the HOA. Then imagine the family appealing to their Congresswoman, only to find out that the contractor is one of her top campaign donors . So now the bank, the housing authority, the contractor and the congresswoman all shrug their shoulders and tell the family that they have been outvoted and the jacuzzi project is a ‘done deal’. They say further that if the family wanted to have input on the project, they should have gone to the two or three meetings that this circle was having a few years ago.

The family then asks how they are going to pay for things like their kids’ education, and the contractor responds, “Well, my kids are going to be educated instead. My son is training to be a contractor, and my daughter is training to be a Congresswoman.”

Does this situation seem at all strange to anyone?