Archive for October, 2015

Clark County’s own version of Rita Skeeter is at it again. In a recent yarn which can only be described as politically-motivated rumor-mongering, Columbian reporter Katie Gillespie states that, despite David Madore’s regular and effusive public praise of acting county manager Mark McCauley, the county councilors are actually secretly displeased with him to such a degree that his ‘days are numbered’ in the position.

Daily Prophet Reporter Rita Skeeter


Columbian Reporter Katie Gillespie


Gillespie further attempts to manufacture hysteria on the left by implying that longtime State Senator and current county environmental services director Don Benton is waiting in the wings for the job.

Why not? The Benton boogyman has been a great device in the past, and despite rave reviews on his job performance from County Staff, including McCauley himself, Benton remains an attractive target for the ultra-partisan crowd that makes up Gillespie’s readership base. A sampling of Gillespie’s very transparent demagoguery:

Sources also said Environmental Services Director Don Benton is being pegged for the top job. When asked directly whether the rumors were true, Benton, also a Republican state senator for Vancouver, scoffed at the idea.

“It’s news to me,” Benton said. “I’m very happy with the job that I have.”

Benton’s own arrival at the county was mired in controversy the community will be hard-pressed to forget. Benton was appointed to his position by then-Commissioners Madore and Mielke, prompting outcry that his appointment was political cronyism.

Yes, the community will be hard-pressed to forget what the Columbian insists on printing ad nauseum. Never mind that Benton was actually appointed to the position by former County manager Bill Barron without observing the normal hiring process that both Madore and Mielke were expecting, complete with other candidates. Facts are not important in the Skeeter-esque school of journalism. What does matter? Speculation on Facebook, and various “sources who wish to remain anonymous”. While Gillespie admits that she couldn’t confirm any of it, she apparently deemed it print-worthy nonetheless.

I admit that beyond the similarities in appearance and writing style, there are some clear differences between Gillespie and Rita Skeeter. For one, Skeeter has the magical ability to transform into an insect in order to get a juicy story, whereas Gillespie, because of her limitations as a Muggle, is forced to rely on the creatures who already buzz around county government.

“Yes, it is true,” former Commissioner Betty Sue Morris posted on Facebook about the allegations. “I’ve spoken with several staff.”

Also, while Skeeter’s closest associate is a photographer named Bozo, Gillespie must be content to work with editor Lou Brancaccio.

Okay, maybe they aren’t really that dissimilar after all.


Browsing through social media, I happened upon a post by Washougal Mayor Sean Guard and thought it deserved some attention.Apparently, Mr. Guard was so proud of his post, he follows it up with this gem:

Folks, please SHARE this far and wide. Apparently it is touching some nerves in the Madore/Pike camp. So far none of them have been able to argue against it, so it appears they are being their own version of Fem Bots from Austin Powers and their heads are popping. So, please Share the post and let’s watch what happens. If nothing else, we all will cost Madore more $$ since he is paying his bloggers for every post they are putting out there, even if off-topic.

I admit that it was something of a surprise to find out that most elected officials, despite their incessant campaign boastings, are not actually the most accomplished or intelligent among us. In fact, in the several years of close observation I have recently experienced, it seems that politics draws more than the normal share of ignorant loudmouths who just like to hear themselves talk. If this Sean Guard fellow wasn’t an elected official, I would have assumed that this was the rant of an old man on a bar stool somewhere at the local watering hole. Perhaps the reason nobody has argued against it is because they thought it was alcohol-induced. In any case, if he is looking for a response, I am happy to provide him with one.

My take on this county council write-in effort is many-fold. First, I don’t think she has any chance to win. I am told by people close to the “campaign” that she does not think she has a chance at winning either. To be clear, I have not heard this from her directly, but I would agree with it.

It’s fine to believe a write-in campaign won’t win, although it is interesting how much time he has devoted to writing about a campaign with no chance of success, isn’t it? As I watch the many elements that make up this effort, it seems doubtful to me that Guard has actually spoken with anyone who could credibly be described as “close to the campaign”. Based on recent statements Liz has made, it seems equally unlikely that Guard has spoken to her about her chances of winning. Only yesterday, Liz had this to say on her Facebook page:

I’m honored to be drafted as a write in. I wrote my own name in on my ballot yesterday and already mailed it in. I hope I win the County Chair race. I hope everyone who wants principled leadership, fiscal responsibility, county-wide collaboration, and a new era of civility in public meetings will vote for the [Write in Liz Pike].”

Does this sound like someone who doesn’t believe she has a chance? Checking the PDC website, it seems like there are quite a few donors, and one very large one, who also believe the campaign has some legs. Even the infamous Editor of the Columbian, Lou Brancaccio, has this to say on Liz’s chances:“…make no mistake, she could win. She’s very popular to many in the county. And if Dalesandro and Boldt split the moderate vote Pike could squeak out a victory.”

Second, the whole appearance of another councilor buying a seat for someone so closely aligned with him to remain “in power” is both disgusting and the main reason she won’t be successful. I just don’t think voters just are that dumb.

I continue to be confused about the interpretation of spending in a campaign. If one does not reach a certain threshold of funding, he or she is not considered a serious candidate, but too much funding means one is attempting to ‘buy the seat’. Monica Stonier and her supporters (primarily unions) spent far more only last year in a losing effort for an arguably less significant seat, that of 17th LD Representative. Why was Stonier unsuccessful in ‘buying the seat’ if such things can be bought? A certain amount of money is needed to get a campaign message out. Beyond this, the voters will decide, as they always do. Sean Guard believes that the majority of voters can be bought for a few hundred thousand dollars. I disagree.

Third, this whole “game” they are playing is to get her county-wide name recognition to run her for Councilor Mielke’s seat at the next election. Evidently Madore has decided that Mielke really isn’t a strong player for his team.

Guard appears to have completely missed the whole charter election we had last year. Why would Liz give up her seat in the legislature to supplant fellow conservative Mielke as a part-time county councilor? And why would she need ‘county-wide name recognition’ to do this? She already has name recognition in Mielke’s district, since she is a sitting state representative there. The only county-wide race on the County board is Council Chairman. Does Guard expect Madore to defer to Liz next time and support her candidacy for County Chair? How does that idea fit into the whole ‘Madore is trying to rule the Galaxy’ narrative?

Fourth, over the last year or more, Liz has repeatedly locked horns with the republican leadership in Olympia, and has also managed to get on the bad side of the Senate Republican leadership. The result? I highly doubt Liz will have much success influencing much of anything in Olympia for a long, long time, if ever again.

Aside from the fact that Guard just revealed that he is an Ann Rivers stooge, I am curious what kind of influence he expected Liz as a member of the House to have over the Senate. In any case, invoking ‘Republican Leadership’ as though being at odds with them is a damning thing is to seriously misunderstand the current political climate. Hearing that Liz might be challenging the same Senate leadership that just jacked up everyone’s gas taxes to pay for roads in King County is likely to make her MORE popular in her district, not less.

Fifth, 2016 is an election year for all of the House of Representatives and 1/2 of the State Senate. Typically, very little advances in Olympia during an election year. That is also why every other year is a short session (in theory) in Olympia.

That said, Washougal still needs two representatives who are watching out for us. It is very apparent from her recent comments about now really wanting the county council seat that Liz is not very interested in being one of those engaged representatives. Even though she says she won’t take time to campaign, I would suggest that she is spending lots of time doing just that. Call it blogging, call it letters to the editor, call it being out at public events more than normal……..she is campaigning (although she and her handlers will just say that her ramped up schedule and engagement is normal for a representative)(and it should be, but it appears much more than she has done since first being elected).

I just don’t like our county government being a pawn of a small group of people. Especially when they so blatantly flaunt their cash and attempt to distort the truth and tear-down the reputations of people who have actually cared for this community for a long time. That is just plain wrong.

So now, going to public events is a bad thing for a representative to do? Mmmkay…right. Most of this is just uninformed and biased opinion, but it should be noted that Liz is known far and wide as the hardest-working state rep in our county. Guard may have noticed that nobody is drafting HIM as a write-in candidate for anything, or Ann Rivers either, despite the fact that she hinted earlier this year that she might be interesting in the County Chair gig. Maybe they are jealous that Liz enjoys so much grass roots support.

Some folks also say that elected officials should always be very cautious in postings like this. Well, I am probably just too old (even at 53) and too tired to play these games with the future of our county and our State. It reflects on all of us. I have also been around politics long enough to know that this is NOT the way you represent the people successfully. I would prefer to see us move forward and not be pawns in someone’s mind games with people who don’t think like them.

I am very sorry for what our greater community of Clark County is going through, and I likely won’t keep quiet about it.

For a man who betrays so little understanding of the charter, or the makeup of the county council, of the houses in the legislature, or the current political climate, it is amusing to read him extolling his experience in politics. All I see is a very foolish man who should probably take the advice of the people around him urging him to post less stupidity.