CRC Office Closing; Bringing New Meaning to the Phrase ‘Done Deal’

Posted: July 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Over the weekend, the conclusion of this year’s legislative session in Olympia came without passage of funding for everyone’s favorite bridge project. Now that even the Columbian concedes that the CRC has met its end, at least in the near term, it is time to debrief and see what we can glean from this experience in terms of political wisdom. We have listened to many proponents of the light rail/tolling scenario assuring us that there was absolutely nothing that could be done about the implementation of this unwanted project. Over and over we were told that it was a ‘done deal’, and nothing we could say or do could change that. A sampling:

“In New york, where tolls are ubiquitous, they’re 2-3 bucks. There is no way of knowing for sure. But this I will tell you for an absolute fact. No elected official from a medium sized town or a small, half rural county that’s on an international trade and defense route will have any input into the amount or reality of tolls. Anyone who pretends to have that influence is blowing smoke. This candidate doesn’t even know what the job of county commissioner entails, or how this project works. Are the people of Clark County really that stupid? This candidate seems to think so.” -Pat Jollota on David Madore

This comment was in response to our sign project last October, notifying commuters that if something was not done (such as electing David Madore), tolls to cross the interstate bridge would soon be a reality.  Is there even a question at this point that Madore’s election has contributed to the defeat of the CRC project? The moral here is that citizen voices CAN make a difference, and don’t believe anyone who tells you differently. Ms. Jollota’s ‘absolute facts’ ended up not being worth very much.

Death Star

“When I ran for the office of Mayor, I told you honestly and in good faith that I would fight against tolls on the Columbia River Crossing. But unfortunately, not every battle can be won. I could continue to protest, to throw up my arms and stomp out of the room, as some of my detractors have insisted. But frankly, whether or not I protest, the bridge will go on and tolls will happen.” -Tim Leavitt, July 19th 2010 Vancouver City Council meeting.

Another great lesson to be learned is that when an elected official assures you that there is nothing further he can do to stop a bad project, he is lying and has ulterior motives for standing down. Such is clearly the case with Mayor Leavitt, who had numerous opportunities over the past three years to continue to fight against light rail and tolls. The truth, of course, is that he never had any intention of opposing what was in his personal financial interest to support. Contrast his behavior with David Madore, who, like Leavitt was not a member of the legislature that the mayor swore up and down was the only body with standing to change the ‘inevitable’. Somehow, Madore kept fighting, and now, strangely, there are no pending tolls or light rail.

It is said that ‘victory has many fathers’, and there are a lot of people to credit for this tremendous victory:

1. Don Benton- I have not always agreed with Senator Benton, and it is very likely that I will disagree with him again in the future, but his work to win the Senate seat in the 17th LD and then the subsequent coalition he helped form with two Democrats has been HUGE in keeping the tax-and-spend agenda of the Democrats at bay. Time after time, as terrible legislation sailed through the House, the Senate was the only body standing between the citizen flock and the Democrat shearers looking to relieve them of money and liberty. If Tim Probst had won that Senate race, Governor Inslee would have been able to appropriate the necessary $450 million to continue with the CRC plan. A hearty THANK YOU to Senator Benton for his work on our behalf.

P.S. I still don’t agree with his appointment to the County.

2. David Madore- A lot of people mocked him for spending $300k of his own  money on a county commissioner race, but the majority of that money was spent fighting the CRC insanity, including on the ballot last fall. Passage of the ‘Operation and Maintenance’ sales tax increase would have been the only vote by the people that the CRC would ever have needed in order to justify the project. That they were forced to move on without any semblance of popular support seriously eroded at their message. Madore continued that fight as commissioner and as a member of the C-Tran board, while also being target #1 for local unions and others seeking to profit from massive appropriations of taxpayer funds. The time and money that he has spent in raising awareness of this issue has borne fruit in terms of citizen involvement and media coverage, and his name will always be linked with this major political victory in Clark County.

3. Jim Moeller- I have to think that his constant mocking of those arguing for fiscal sanity served to keep those who were against the CRC engaged and energized. His cartoonish behavior galvanized his opponents in a greater way than anything else ever could. We owe you a debt of gratitude, Representative Moeller. Please keep making a daily mockery of the term ‘elected official’. You add more to our ranks every day.

There are, of course, many more to thank – some, even, from the other side of the political spectrum. Even Congresswoman Jaime Herrera joined the fray on the right side, with a little nudging from the citizenry. In the end, this was a victory by citizen activists in Clark County. Look for more such victories as activism continues to increase.

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Comments
  1. rlcgrn says:

    I can remember so many of the naysaers on the Columbian before and after Madore’s election would not have any effect on the inevitablity of the CRC with lightrail and tolls. How long would all those comment threads look compiled together if only we could go back to the Columbian and pull what they have likely scrubbed by now.
    We have momentum right now, so let’s keep slugging away.

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