Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
By law, any appointed council member must run for the office in the next general election. So that person must campaign for and the office, and run against any challengers, in November 2010.
Then, the winner of that election must run again in the 2011 general election, when that council seat's term expires.
It'll make for a very long campaign "season" for the person selected, but I can say from experience that if you would like to serve your community in this way, all of the effort is worth it.
I (and I'm sure the City Council, too) would be absolutely elated to have hundreds of applications for the vacant council seat.
This is a real opportunity for citizens in our community that have an interest in serving (and working hard) on behalf of our citizens.
If you think this opportunity might be for you, please take a moment to visit the city's website and review the application .
Forward the application to friends, business colleagues, neighbors….anybody who you think may have an interest.
Applications are due by 5pm on Friday, December 18.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I and some of my fellow councilors voted against the tax increase, because the revenue for the city would be a drop in the bucket. But the message sent by increasing taxes in such tough times would be terrible – it would be like saying, “we know you’re struggling, but we’re going to ask for more taxes anyway.”
When I campaigned to become your Mayor, my first and primary pledge was to examine city spending and make better use of your hard-earned tax dollars. We cannot continue to raise your taxes every time City Hall sees a shortfall – that is an attitude of the past. It is our responsibility, as your elected representatives, to spend your money wisely and in your best interests.
There will be some difficult decisions in coming months, as we reinforce and clarify our city’s priorities. But you have made yourselves heard and your wishes are clear: just as you, in home and business, are being forced to do much more with much less, so must your government.
Thanks once again to all of you who made yourselves heard, in person and in letters and phone calls. We need your input and participation on this and all matters. I and many of your council members make a solid and concerted effort to get out into the community and talk with and listen to you. But we need you to reach out, too—so thank you for doing so, and for helping us make informed decisions.
To shift gears a bit now, I am very excited to announce a couple of upcoming events on New Year’s Eve and January 20. More on these to come very soon … but let me just say right here, that if you don’t have plans yet for New Year’s Eve, you do now! Stay tuned …
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Very simply, an upgraded crossing means better safety and travel throughout our region—for trucks, commuters, travelers, bikers and pedestrians.
Very simply, less traffic congestion means lower transportation costs, which results in a more affordable gallon of milk from the grocery store.
Very simply, less traffic congestion means less environmental pollution, which results in a cleaner Pacific Northwest.
Very simply, less traffic congestion and light rail transit means a more reliable commute for all workers on both sides of the river, which results in greater productivity.
But, very simply, we MUST have a project that is both affordable and financed fairly—resulting in a stronger partnership for our region.
The proposed project continues to be refined. Initial cost estimates were as high as $4.2 billion. Now, in response to concerns raised by much of our community and several project partners, CRC staff have proposed refinements and cost savings alternatives, shaving some $650 million off the price tag. This is a great step forward.
Now with a price tag of $3.6 billion, another big step is necessary – pinpointing appropriate and equitable financing to see this project come to fruition.
Our project partners must stand together, helping each other move this project forward without losing sight of its purpose. Locally, we must stand behind our state and federal representatives as they fight for transportation dollars for our region. In order to be successful they will need our support. But at the same time, our local officials must have the same support from these representatives as we work diligently to protect our local commuters and businesses from the project’s potentially significant and detrimental impacts.
Fortunately, there have lately been rumblings in Washington, DC, about possible stimulus funding for projects just like this one. Although the CRC project is not ‘shovel ready’, its status as a federal interstate and its potential impact on the entire region make it increasingly identifiable as a prime candidate for a stimulus-type project.
I continue to maintain that this project is a federal interstate project, and needs significant attention from the federal transit and highway administrations. Using the current estimate of $3.6 billion, the following is the breakdown that I feel is most equitable and appropriate for this project:
Federal: $2 billion.
Oregon: $500 million.
Washington: $500 million.
Local: $600 million.
The local portion could be financed by tolling, with exemptions to local commuters who must cross the bridge for work, and exemptions to local businesses conducting commerce between our two states.
This scenario establishes appropriate financial responsibility for the project and doesn’t penalize our commuters or businesses, but also requires an investment for all involved, that will ensure a commitment to seeing that the project is done right, and serves all of our needs as effectively and efficiently as possible.
If the project price is right; if we work together as regional partners; if we can fight on behalf of our communities without fighting amongst ourselves….we can get this done. I’ve got my work gloves ready.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I had the great pleasure and honor of volunteering at the local Eagles Lodge on Thursday, scooping out green beans to about 100 visitors who were there for a free, hot meal during the hour I was there. At that rate, they served hundreds of people and had dozens of volunteers on-site throughout the day.
We have so many people and organizations in our community who really care about helping others, and I was so pleased to be able to be a part of it.
Giving thanks and giving food were a naturally strong theme this holiday weekend, with the Festival of Trees hosted by the Vancouver Rotary Club. Events for the festival were free , with cashiers taking donations of non-perishable food.
On Friday night, we got the holiday season off to a great start with the Community Tree Lighting in Esther Short Park. It was a huge crowd and a gorgeous night. Thanks to everyone who attended, and to the Rotary Club, Clark PUD, the sponsors who made it possible, and Santa!
This weekend, don't forget to keep the spirit going by contributing the Walk & Knock. Leave a bag of non-perishable food at your front door on Saturday morning by 9am, and volunteers will pick it up for delivery to our area's food pantries. And if you've got some time on Saturday and are able to volunteer, contact Walk & Knock to find out how you can help!
Friday, November 20, 2009
While it's exciting to be closing our 2009 as the City of Vancouver's Mayor-elect, it's also incredibly humbling and heart-wrenching to know that it's been a difficult year in many other ways, for so many of us.
In these tough economic times, we've got more people out of work than any time in recent history, and more and more families across the country are going hungry every day.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I hope we'll all take a look at what we can do to help others in our community, however we can -- and to keep that community spirit going throughout the year.
On Thanksgiving Thursday, I'll be joining the Vancouver Eagles at their lodge Downtown to give away free meals to those in need. This is a great service the Eagles provide every year, from 8am to 2pm, serving about 1,000 people. I will be heading over about 11am. if you've got some time and want to lend a hand, please give them a call at (360)693-8119.
And if you know some hungry people who could use a free meal and some good company on what can be a very lonely holiday for those without, please tell them to visit the Eagles on Thursday. 107 E. 7th Street.
Thanksgiving weekend also brings another community tradition, the Festival of Trees. I'm looking forward to the Community Tree Lighting on Friday night, and decorated trees at the Quay all weekend. This year, they've waived the admission fee and are asking guests to bring non-perishable food to donate to our food shelters and the Share backpack program. I hope to see you there, welcoming the Christmas season and joining with the community to help our neighbors.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
|Vancouver Mayor-elect Tim Leavitt|
Friday, November 6, 2009
3:15pm, Firstenburg Community Center
On Wednesday, please join me as I officially accept victory in this Mayor's race and discuss plans to move forward once I assume office on January 1, 2010.
This is an important time for Vancouver, and I am honored and humbled by the outpouring of support I have received. Royce Pollard has been an important part of Vancouver's progress through the last two decades, and I am very happy that he will continue to be involved in and engaged with our community.
At Mr. Pollard's Friday press conference conceding the race, the incumbent Mayor expressed his intention to ensure a smooth transition.
I share this goal with Mr. Pollard.
My transition team and I will be working diligently for the next two months, and conversations with Mr. Pollard will be a part of that if he is willing. And, as he said at his press conference, he will be Mayor through the very end of December. I have no intention of stepping on his toes.
At Wednesday's press conference, I will discuss my plans for the new administration, including:
-City Council meetings that occur throughout the city,
-Quarterly Mayoral town halls,
-A thoroughly vetted and streamlined city budget,
-Reviewing city permits and fees to help local businesses to be more successful, and
-A continued fight against tolls on the I-5 bridge while also fostering better communication between project stakeholders.
Please join us at the Firstenburg Center on Wednesday. Now is when the real work begins, and I look forward to working with and serving you in the exciting time ahead!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I’d like to thank all of you --- supporters, friends and residents of our fine city – for your kind comments, words of encouragement, and enduring support.
I’ll be candid here – the past couple weeks of this election season have not been very pleasant. But, I’m extremely proud of our campaign team and our supporters.
Indeed, politics is a contact sport and debating the real issues is fair game. But, when attacks become personal, when the truth is distorted, and when outright lies are freely tossed about – we must ask the question: Who wins?
Certainly, it isn’t our community that gains.
There were some who insisted we sling mud right back at my opponent.
There were some who encouraged our campaign to ‘fight fire with fire’.
And there were some who demanded that we respond with our own negative website, mail out ‘hit pieces’ and produce negative television and radio ads about our opponent.
I know the folks who made these recommendations meant well, and want to see us win.
But when it comes to dirty politics ...
Absolutely not. No question in my mind about it.
If those actions are what it takes to be elected the Mayor of Vancouver, then I’m not the right candidate for the job.
I’m really looking forward to 8:31pm tonight. That is one minute after the County Elections Office is scheduled to announce the first results of this mayoral race.
8:31pm is the first minute that our campaign team, our volunteers, our supporters – and you, the voters of Vancouver – can release that long-held breath in anticipation of a movement forward.
8:31pm is the first minute of the beginning of the real job – bringing our community back together, healing the wounds of a decade of divisiveness, and wiping the slate clean of business-as-usual.
8:31pm is the first minute of the beginning of transition -- a transition that includes placing Community at the forefront – where all of our neighborhoods and all of our citizens have a voice in our future. Where new attitudes, fresh perspective, and leadership that IS looking out for OUR best interests takes the reins.
At 8:31pm, regardless of the outcome of this mayoral election, we will be able to look each other in the eye, knowing that the Leavitt campaign debated the issues, maintained our integrity and upheld our personal character.
Leadership by example.
Our Community deserves nothing less.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Next to tolls, this election is really coming down to one issue: reviving our sagging economy.
My opponent has been bragging about his “Jobs Plan,” but no one seems to be asking the obvious question: where has this plan been for the last 14 years?
According to my opponent, he himself has brought 14,000 jobs to Vancouver in the last 14 years. Even if you accept the flawed idea that the mayor, not business, creates jobs, that number is embarrassingly low. In the last 14 years, our population has doubled. By adding 14,000 jobs, that means Mr. Pollard is boasting about just 2 jobs for every 10 new residents.
And to put that number into even sharper perspective, in the last year alone, Clark County has lost nearly 9,000 jobs!
We need a better idea.
If you read my opponent's “jobs plan,” you'll see that what he's essentially saying is “keep doing what we've been doing.”
But if what we've been doing had been successful, would we be in the same mess we're in now?
If we had enough jobs on this side of the river to employ the 60,000 people who have to commute to Portland every day, we might not have been hit so hard when the economy did crash last year. And if we had those jobs on this side of the river, you can be sure that the argument about tolls would be a different one. What if Mr. Pollard had worked to create a business climate that benefited all of our local companies instead of just a few big ones? We certainly wouldn't have been so deeply affected when SEH went through a major series of layoffs, when Nautilus repeatedly verged on bankruptcy, or when HP started stripping down its workforce.
I don't begrudge my opponent his position – having never worked in business, his perspective is understandably limited.
He simply doesn't understand that government doesn't create jobs; businesses create jobs. And in order for businesses to thrive, government needs to get out of the way.
I've been working with local business owners for years – local people who own businesses of all sizes and industries. And what they want is simple: streamlined permitting processes, taxes and fees that are reasonable and legitimate, and a city that prioritizes its commitment to basics like police, fire, and infrastructure. They want to know that their storefronts, warehouses and offices are safe, and they want the sidewalks and roads in front of them to be accessible and free of cracks, dips and holes.
By listening to our business community, and working with them to help them be successful, the City will benefit. Those businesses will grow, new businesses will be established, and City revenue will grow accordingly.
This is a time of much uncertainty, but there's one thing we do know for sure: what got us here isn't going to get us where we need to go.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It's a shame my opponent missed it!
My opponent sent a substitute to the event, the employee who is out doing Mr. Pollard's doorbelling. Eric did a commendable job in attempting to represent his boss's positions. However, many attendees expressed disappointment afterwards -- saying they'd have preferred to actually hear from the candidate instead of a representative.
He'd have been wise to rearrange his schedule, as I did. Not just because of the great experience, but also because his staffer made a few statements that I hope Mr. Pollard will want to clarify for the voting public:
In response to school funding:
Pollard would support city management staff pay cuts in order to supplement state-funded educational programs at the District.
In response to the future of Joe’s Place Farm:
Pollard is “proud” of the 18th Street project, which according to the owner of Joe’s Place Farms, will destroy his business and, according to the residents of the area, rip the neighborhoods apart.
I did my best to help him out, explaining the differences between School and Municipal funding sources, and the actual ramifications of the 18th Street project. But I didn't want to speak for Mr. Pollard. Perhaps these are messages he wants to send.
After the event, I stayed behind to talk with a long line of students and parents – even chatted briefly with one of my former classmates from the Engineering program at Clark, who's now working for the District. As is usually the case, I was the last to leave the event!
We're all incredibly tired at this point in the campaign, but it was invigorating to talk with of these interested young people who really embrace the potential for positive change and are looking forward to helping build a stronger, more inclusive Vancouver.
Come on out to Lapellah, and join me when I go for a late dinner around 8pm.
Owner Brad Root is doing a great thing and donating 100% of today's lunch and dinner proceeds to the Free Clinic.
So head over to Roots, Lapellah and/or 360 Pizzeria.
Have an amazingly good meal, support a local business, and help one of our community's stellar non-profits. And if you can't join us for dinner tonight, try to get to one of these spots for lunch!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
We'll be having a short press conference outside City Hall at noon Monday.
Ryan Martin, President of the Vancouver Police Officers' Guild, and other Guild members (all off-duty!), will be joining us to talk about why they are endorsing me for Mayor of Vancouver.
As the saying goes, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. And for Vancouver, it's time to more forward!
We need a police force and fire department that have the resources to do their jobs and be PROactive instead of REactive.
We need a City Council that has the leadership to ask tough questions when it comes to budgeting and priorities.
We need a Mayor who actually understands business and can foster a climate that helps our local businesses, of all sizes, succeed and thrive.
We need a Mayor who will stand up to the status-quo forces that are pressuring Clark County commuters to pay the majority share of costs for an interstate bridge.
And most of all, we need a Mayor who fosters a spirit of collaboration and communication in our community — someone who listens to our citizens even when they disagree, and who works to build relationships, instead of tearing them apart.
I look forward to serving as your Mayor, and to working with City Council to make our government accountable to the people we are elected to serve. For too long, we have been dictated to instead of engaged, and we are now seeing the desperate machinations of a man who approaches his office as a right, rather than a privilege.
This has been a long, tough battle and I suspect that in the coming week we will only see my opposition grow uglier and fiercer in their attempts to scare you. Even as their campaign digs deeper and deeper into the mud, we will continue to engage you on the issues, not scare tactics.
Please, if you can, join us on Monday afternoon for a brief press conference and rally. The Vancouver Police Officers' Guild will speak about their support for me, you'll hear from a mother who is supporting me, and we'll take the opportunity to de-bunk some of the lies my opponent has been circulating.
If it's clear out, we'll be on the steps at City Hall. If it's raining, we'll be under the overhang.
Thanks once again for your support.
Please call 10 friends and remind them to vote, forward this message, and tell people why you are supporting Leavitt for Mayor: A Better Idea for Vancouver's Future.
We can do better. And starting November 4, we WILL!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Lest anyone think we are making false claims, we printed the list two days ago. A scan of that printed page, which does not include the mayor of America's Vancouver, is below. (And for anyone who might think we doctored it, we'll happily show you the original print, or you can visit Google's cached list page from last month.)
To give my opponent the benefit of the doubt, it's entirely possible that Mr. Pollard did sign the agreement and a simple oversight meant that it wasn't posted online in the many months since the campaign season began.
But if he did sign the agreement to campaign ethically and honorably, then that very much begs the question --
Why Hasn't He?
It remains unclear if it would have been better for Mr. Pollard to stay "unsigned," or to now be effectively admitting that he has broken the oath.
Royce Pollard, as the candidate, has the power and ability to stop this negative campaigning. Even those attacks that are coming from independent organizations -- he has the ability to stop them and he is choosing not to.
We've only got a couple weeks of this campaign left, and I urge all of you to examine the disconnect between my opponent's words and deeds, and know that I will continue to operate above-the-level and treat the office I am running for with the dignity and respect it, and you, deserve.
Thank you for your support.
Monday, October 19, 2009
When I began my campaign for Mayor, I signed the League of Women Voters’ campaign ethics agreement without reservation. I intended to debate and deliberate with my opponent on the issues of our community, a task that would require no unethical behavior.
After weeks of increasingly negative attacks from my opponent and his supporters, I am not surprised to learn that Mr. Pollard did not sign the agreement to campaign ethically and honorably.
Negative campaigning hurts everyone —- not just the target of the attacks. In assaulting my character, allowing and encouraging the fire union and electricians’ union to dig up “dirt,” distorting the truth, and manufacturing lies that he tries to pass off as truth –- one is naturally led to question the ethics behind these acts of desperation.
Politics is a contact sport. And aggressively defending one's positions and vision for our future is to be expected. But….
My opponent and/or his supporters have vandalized our campaign signs, threatened and harassed my supporters, sent unidentified canvassers door-to-door in my name in order to lie about my platform, broken campaign finance laws, and misused private mailing lists and contact information in continued efforts to smear my name and mislead the public.
There is no place for this behavior in Vancouver. This is not respectful of the people we have been elected to represent.
If this is politics-as-usual, then we definitely need a new direction.
Royce Pollard, as the candidate, has the power and ability to stop this negative campaigning. Even those attacks that are coming from independent organizations –- he has the ability to stop them and he is choosing not to.
In fact, the Columbian reported on October 14, he thinks the attacks are funny and has no intention of putting a stop to them.
Well, I have a different sense of humor, a different level of respect for the office of the mayor, and a different approach when it comes to setting an example for and listening to the people of Vancouver.
When campaign tactics sink to this level, who benefits? Certainly not the community.
And the citizens of Vancouver, frankly, are my greatest concern. I refuse to stoop to the level my opponent has sunk to. I will continue to defend my name, my positions, and the people who have made the courageous choice to support me even in the face of harassment and bullying by representatives of the status quo.
But I will not sling mud, nor will I lie or distort the facts.
One candidate behaving that way is one too many. It is now long past time for my opponent to act in a way that is respectful of me and of the citizens he is supposed to represent, and to denounce and retract the assaults that he is making and others are making on his behalf. When this is the game we play, everyone loses.
I will not become a part of the circus he is building around him.
We've only got a couple weeks of this campaign left, and I urge all of you to examine the disconnect between my opponent's words and deeds, and know that I will continue to operate above-the-level and treat the office I am running for with the dignity and respect it, and you, deserve.
Thank you for your support.
This past weekend was quite busy both with events and campaigning. I attended a couple of great events on Friday night:
Korean American Celebration: Hosted by the Korean Society of Vancouver, the purpose of the event is to celebrate Korean culture and American citizenship. There were a number of Korean speakers, including Yeong Han Choi, the Consul of the Republic of Korea. The evening included performances by the Korean School of Vancouver Choir, Tae Kwon Do Master David Han, Nanta, and traditional Korean dance and drum. Korean dinner also was served. It was a great event, and packed with an enthusiastic crowd.
Silver Buckle Fundraiser: Also on Friday night was a fundraiser for the Silver Buckle Equestrian Center . This non-profit has the mission to improve the quality of life of young people by teaching life skills to help them become productive members of society. The mission is accomplished through horsemanship, with lesson plans designed to assist youngsters to achieve personal growth and responsibility. I am proud to support this group and the work they do -- they've made incredible impacts on the lives of so many young people here in our community.
Courtyard Coffee Lounge: Thank you to the Courtyard Coffee Lounge in the Academy building for opening up on Saturday morning and hosting our candidate coffee talk. Some 20 participants engaged me with questions and conversation about important issues in our community, including matters of leadership by example, communication with our citizens, and the affordability of living in our city.
Doorbelling: On Sunday, we spent nearly 4 hours in east Vancouver saying hello to residents at their doorsteps. Much appreciation to my supporters who joined. We had quite a productive day, visiting some 250 doorsteps. The reception was fantastic! Many folks have already submitted their ballots and are in favor of a new perspective at City Hall! Thank you!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
“A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman thinks of the next generation.”
She used this quote to set the stage for a question about leadership. As it turns out, leadership has become a crucial aspect of this election. My opponent and I are both leaders in this community -- the question in this election isn't about who IS a leader. It's about what TYPE of leadership we as a community are looking for.
I've said before and I'll say again – I have a great deal of respect for Royce Pollard. He served his city well, and has helped us move forward.
But this is a different world and a different city than it was 20 years ago when he first took public office. What got us here isn't going to get us where we need to go.
When I'm asked the "leadership" question, my reply is:
I listen, I collaborate, and I communicate.
I don't have all the answers, and I would never presume to say that I did. I seek the opinions of many others in order to make informed decisions, and don't shoot from the hip.
As a public servant, entrusted to be a steward of your city, I take my role very seriously.
I'm an engineer by training, and at times may be a little dry and analytical. But that is a trait that has served me well in public service. Bringing diverse interests together, building on common ground, and moving forward in a positive direction toward a collective vision – that is how I strive to lead, and that is why I have dedicated my life to helping make our home a better place for every single one of us.
My opponent has a military background, and used a military analogy to frame his leadership style:
“I told my men, 'if you do what I tell you to do, without question, you'll get through this alive.'”
While that's exactly the right direction for a battlefield, it simply is not appropriate for public service. There is far too much at stake for our leadership to be tossing out orders and treating civic responsibility like an armed command.
I have incredible respect for my opponent’s military service – I am honored to know him, and thank him and every active and veteran soldier for their service to our country.
But Vancouver needs a leader who is prepared for the challenges of today and looking toward tomorrow, not one who is focused on waging a battle.
My opponent has repeatedly said that he only wants another four years. While he and I agree that the next four years are important to Vancouver, where we disagree is that I am also concerned about the next four years, and the four years after that. I intend to live here for a very long time – and am looking out for the future that my children, and my children's children, will inherit. Folks, to me…each and EVERY year is important for our community.
We can't just be focused on the next four years – our lives are on a continuum, and our leadership should be, too. Vancouver needs a Mayor who is prepared to lay the groundwork for the next 40 years, not just the next four.
We can do better!
Together, when you elect me Mayor, we WILL do better!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Some 35 community advocates were present, including myself.
I applaud LOCALS and Bruce Lyons of Vancouver Woodworks for this undertaking, and their recognition that it is in all of our best interest to be local and buy local.
The LOCALS effort will include raising awareness of the economic importance of shopping local (in tax revenues to our struggling public agencies), and informing our community of what local shopping options there are available right here in Vancouver.
Now, more than ever, we as a community must look out for each other.
Renowned economists are predicting this economic recession will continue until at least the end of 2010.
There are many options for shopping locally that we must consider, before crossing into Oregon.
Shopping local provides tax revenues to public agencies, and income revenues to local businesses so they can keep their doors open, and maybe even create a new job or two!
I spoke to the group about my vision for Vancouver's future with local business, and where the City must be a stronger partner.
We can do better.
Local business owners that live in our community, are vested here, raise their children here and volunteer here….they deserve more attention and cooperation from City Hall.
The City must make it easier for business owners to chose to expand operations, produce more…and thus create more jobs, right here and right now!
The City can make further improvements in the permitting process -- further cutting red tape to gain building and land use permits. I know this can be done -- recent conversations I've had with City Staff have proved fruitful and I will pursue all avenues to implement streamlining efforts.
The City can ease the high cost of impact fees, development review fees, system connection charges, business taxes and utility taxes. I see these options as a short term 'stimulus' package, that will reap benefits on the ground -- right here, right now.
The City can work closer with property and building owners, to support façade and tenant improvements, all through some local monies, and state & federal grant dollars.
We can do better to support local business.
We can do better to support efforts by LOCALS.
We will move our community forward more sustainably.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
My opponent seems to think that missing some ballots while in your 20s and early 30s makes one unfit to participate in our community.
Contrary to what Mr. Pollard says, the reality is that many young people have found themselves in the same position as I was – having returned home from college, moving around, getting established...these are the things young people focus on. Voting and community investment often come later. I commend those who have voted consistently since age 18. But I also understand the realities of those who have not.
Exercising the right to vote is a very important part of being an American citizen.
I do not dispute, nor have I ever disputed that.
However, I do ask Mr. Pollard how exactly he thinks this kind of behavior from him and his campaign encourages citizens to become engaged? If he is going to resort to tactics like this – digging up the voting record of a young adult and insulting their very character because he thinks it will score him political points? How does this set an appropriate example for the rest of our community?
My opponent and his spin doctors are trying to make you believe that because I correctly called their desperate act nothing more than a sleazy maneuver, I am somehow a bad person. But the truth of the matter is that the timing, positioning, and intent of their “discovery” reveals much more about my opponent than it does about me.
I don't argue the truth about my voting history. It has gotten better as I've gotten older and more involved and invested in our community. And I know that many of you have the same experience.
BUT my opponent knows he is down in the polls.
He lost the primary election, and is failing to connect with the voters on the issues that actually matter to them. He has decided that the only course to take at this point, is to resort to digging up dirt and using character assassination tricks to gain the upper hand.
Because I have been out at your doorstep, at neighborhood meetings, and in the community talking directly with you, I know that you are too smart to fall for this misdirection and “politics-as-usual” campaigning.
I know that you are tired of the same-old, same-old, and you are looking for a mayor who can handle complex issues, who can present a positive and professional image for our city, and who does not try to bully others into a “my way or the highway” kind of thinking.
Ballots arrive in your mailbox starting Thursday, and you have the opportunity to exercise your vote and take part in bringing real change to Vancouver.
If nothing else, the primary election this past August did show how important a single vote can be. We won by just 43 votes, and I realized quite powerfully how important a single person's vote can be.
Rest assured that indeed I will be voting in this election…and I hope you will too.
Vote for a fresh direction, positive leadership and better ideas for taking Vancouver into the next decade.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Vancouver, Wash. – On October 8, Vancouver City Manager Pat McDonnell released a statement that he will be asking the City Council to suspend previously approved fee increases for building permits and development review activities. In addition, the city's Transportation Department will ask City Council to forgo the annual adjustment to the Transportation Impact Fee (TIF) Program for 2010.
Vancouver City Councilman and Mayoral candidate Tim Leavitt commends McDonnell for taking these steps. Leavitt has been fighting for the creation of local jobs and business growth throughout his time on City Council. “It’s business in the private sector that creates jobs. We need to make it easier and less costly for potential employer to hire more of our residents,” said Leavitt, “this action makes the City of Vancouver a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.”
As recently as December 8, 2008, Leavitt argued against increases in Transportation Impact Fees, noting in his remarks during a Council workshop that raising fees is an action detrimental to bringing businesses and jobs to Vancouver. Said Leavitt during that meeting, “I submit, Council, that if we really want to make some bold decisions about increasing the attractiveness of our community to businesses … I think we really need to look at an alternative to the impact fee program.”
In this important election year, Councilman Leavitt is pleased to see his suggestions and directions take root, and looks forward to helping Vancouver create its own economic recovery.
The Board of Directors of the Clark County Association of REALTORS® has voted to endorse Tim Leavitt in his bid to become Vancouver’s next Mayor. “We are endorsing Tim Leavitt because of his support of REALTOR® issues.” said Sherri Adams, 2009 CCAR President. “Tim has a keen understanding of the many complex issues facing our growing community and more specifically, the issues facing our industry. A man of character, Tim has consistently demonstrated a pro-business philosophy in opposing fee hikes and taxes on business and citizens while serving on the Vancouver City Council. As Mayor, he has the vitality to lead the charge to improve the business climate in Vancouver,” said Adams.
“Tim has exhibited a willingness to work cooperatively with neighboring jurisdictions. He understands the importance of funding transportation projects that truly improve mobility and the City of Vancouver’s role in maintaining healthy job growth in Clark County. He has demonstrated leadership to seek efficiencies at all levels of Vancouver City government. He has also made public safety a top priority by leading the charge to put more police officers on the road,” said Adams.
According to the Clark County Association of REALTORS® Tim Leavitt supports the ideals of the REALTOR® Quality of Life program which recognizes the need to sustain and enhance the quality of life enjoyed by Washington’s citizens. REALTORS® believe better communities can be built by supporting quality growth and seeking sustainable economies and housing opportunities that embrace the environmental qualities county residents cherish, while protecting a property owner's ability to own, use, buy, and sell property. REALTORS® don't just sell homes, they sell communities - they sell Quality of Life.
After an interview process was conducted by CCAR’s REALTOR® Political Action Committee, the decision to endorse Tim Leavitt for Vancouver Mayor was ratified by the Board of Directors.
The Clark County Association of REALTORS® represents nearly 1,500 real estate professionals. Together with its members, CCAR is committed to improving the quality of life in local communities and providing housing opportunities for all who desire to own their own home.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It was refreshing to see so many different faces in the audience, diverse in age, ethnicity, background and area of study. There must have been some 150+ students and others on-hand to ask questions of me and my opponent about our positions and the future of Vancouver.
Clark College is a tremendous asset for our community. I'm proud to be an alum, and continue to be active on campus as an Alumni Association Board Member, a new member of the Penguin Athletic Club, and the sponsor of a scholarship. I encourage each and every one of you to also remain engaged with the College once you've finished your education there. We need your support!
Participants asked great questions, ranging from improving parking/access to the College to addressing homelessness to the proposed bridge crossing and tolls. As candidates, we also made opening and closing remarks about why we are running for the position and our vision for the future of Vancouver.
I want to apologize, on behalf of my opponent, that you were short-changed by his closing remarks. Rather than speaking to why he believes he is the candidate to be retained for just another four years, he chose to spend most of his time stooping to a new low. Rather than defending his 14-year record, or informing you about how he promises to grow beyond it, he decided it more important to sling barbs at my personal voting record at the ballot box.
I'm sorry that you were then indoctrinated into the sometimes-ugly side of politics.
And that ugliness speaks to the character of the person.
When times are tough, we see the real character of a person.
Actions reflect attitudes, beliefs and moral values.
In politics, when desperation sets in…when it is looking as though a loss is at hand, you learn the true nature of a candidate's character. And my opponent, we are learning, when faced with the toughest challenge of his political life, goes negative and gets dirty.
Vancouver deserves better. And in November, with your support, we'll get it.
Monday, October 5, 2009
As a successful small business person here in our community, I know what it takes. In fact, on creating real jobs in our community, the scoreboard reads Leavitt 43; Pollard 0.
Managing budgets, being held accountable for revenues and costs, hiring and letting employees go, evaluating progress versus goals, and insuring the bottom line is in the black – this is the kind of job-creating experience and financial background I will bring to the Office of the Mayor. Having grown an office of professional, family-wage positions from 2 to 45 in the past decade –- this is the kind of experience and knowledge needed to further grow jobs throughout our community.
In our society, the private sector creates jobs and economy. Local employers hire staff and drive employment. Local business generates personal income for personal spending, thus generating sales taxes, property taxes, and employment taxes. It is business that provides economy and jobs, bringing the revenues into the City so that services can be provided.
For the past 20 years, the incumbent hasn’t gotten it.
Contrary to his political rhetoric, the evidence clearly shows that his efforts have failed to bring about jobs for our community.
And now, even while he claims that he's not running on promises, he turns right around and makes the promise that he intends to spend the next four years becoming Vancouver's 'jobs mayor'?
Enough of the political double-speak.
Where are the facts to back up his claims of creating jobs? With the highest unemployment in the state of Washington, evidence clearly points to the contrary. And for those who are fortunate enough to have jobs, 60,000+ Clark County residents still travel to Portland each and every day to go to a job that they CAN’T find here in Vancouver.
Forbes Magazine recently ranked the State of Washington as #2 in our nation for business-friendly environment. How is it, then, that Clark County and Vancouver have an unemployment rate that's nearly 1.5 times higher than the national average?
Our local businesses and employers continue to let staff go, continue to struggle with high taxes and continue trying to navigate the City's cumbersome permitting process.
In the meantime, the incumbent brags of traveling to Japan five times, as well as to Texas and California, to attempt to bring new business to Vancouver. What is there to show for these efforts? Nothing. There is no relief in sight, nothing in the near future, for local business growth and more jobs. Had the incumbent spent more time here in our own community, talking with local businesses –- those small and medium-sized companies that ARE the backbone of our jobs and economy -– we might have more jobs in Vancouver. But 20 years of misplaced priorities leave us with the highest unemployment in the State of Washington, more local businesses closing doors, and more of us traveling to Portland to look for work.
It isn't government's responsibility to create jobs, but local government can create a positive environment and opportunities for BUSINESS and EMPLOYERS to create more jobs. And setting the stage for more jobs means considering how heavily we are taxed and to what effect, and how difficult it is for our local businesses to get permits and licenses.
Every time taxes are increased, local small and medium-sized employers are forced to re-evaluate plans for expansion, plans to increase productivity, and plans to hire more employees.
The incumbent has created an increasingly hostile job-growth environment in Vancouver. In his 20 years, he has fought for and voted in favor of every single tax and fee increase, and done nothing to cut permitting bureaucracy and red tape. That is his answer every time there is a decision about services and revenues; his voting record is all you need to see.
My opponent is sadly mistaken to think that piling more and more taxes on our community and our employers will create more jobs. But, given that he has no business experience, has never had to work competitively to earn a paycheck, has never been responsible for a real-world budget, and has never been accountable for the bottom line –- it’s not surprising that he is comfortable continuing to tax the rest of us into unemployment.
Nearly every day, I work with property owners, builders, developers and local government departments to help permit projects. Over the years, as both a Planning Commissioner and as your City Council member, I’ve fought for stronger protections of our natural resources, coupled with reductions in red tape, process and timelines for gaining permits. For an employer wishing to expand operations or move to our community, the City’s current permitting process and timeline can be a deal-killer.
My opponent has no such experience or record, and he appears to see the city’s businesses and residents as little more than “cash cows.” He has consistently voted to increase and add unreasonable fees, and to make the permitting more complex and drawn-out than it needs be.
Interestingly enough, after 20 years spent in this way, he appears to have read and liked my proposals and platforms—-since he is now parroting them verbatim despite all evidence to the contrary.
Some progress has been made in recent years on permitting and red tape, but not enough. I’ve met recently with city staff and representatives from the development community to discuss further improvements. There will be improvements with new leadership. There will be better job opportunities with new leadership.
City Hall must set the stage for immediate local economic recovery and jobs creation.
Leadership that has the right experience.
Leadership that actually has created well-paid jobs.
Leadership that is willing to work with, instead of against, our local employers.
This is how we will get people back to work.
This is how we will create more job opportunities here in our own community.
This is how we will minimize the need for Clark County residents to have to commute to Oregon for a job (and pay that Oregon Income Tax).
This is how we will create more local economy to support government services.
This is how Vancouver must move forward.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
It's a great honor for me to be a part of the Fourth Plain Corridor Revitalization Task Force, working with a strong, dedicated group of volunteers, from all walks of life, who are working collectively to re-energize this area. Downtown and Esther Short Park may be the “heart” of Vancouver, but Fourth Plain is the backbone. It's a truly international culture that spans all generations and income levels. This is Vancouver's hidden treasure, and we need to bring it out into the light.
Our schools, gathering places, nonprofits and businesses along this strip are suffering the kind of urban problems that you'd normally only see in larger cities.
We have gang and graffiti issues, language barriers, serious poverty, and a real lack of resources for this area.
86% of students at Washington Elementary and 80% at Roosevelt qualify for free/reduced price lunch—those schools are #1 and #4 in the Vancouver School District for students eligible for subsidized lunches. Both schools qualify for Title I federal funding assistance, which is directly tied to poverty levels.
Businesses along the corridor suffer from high crime activity and serious safety concerns, both for themselves and their customers. While millions upon millions of dollars in real funds and tax abatements have been invested in the downtown and riverfront areas, next to nothing has been allocated for this part of the city, and private investment has not been encouraged, either.
And while it can be a pretty depressing picture, there are also many great things happening.
For example, the Re-Store building supply store choosing to locate here, and the Free Clinic continuing to expand its offerings to meet growing demands. Volunteer programs are modeling effective ways to work together to fix up homes and public spaces.
And then there's the task force -- this incredible group of caring volunteers who get together regularly to strategize and put into action plans to improve this area, one small step at a time. I've been grateful for the opportunity to get directly involved, supporting efforts of the Second Saturday volunteer events that Ray Garza has organized, including much-needed repairs in the mobile home park in Rose Village. Working with a professional landscaper who donated volunteer support for the recent street cleanup. And planting flowers in the Washington State display at I-5 and Fourth Plain.
It was a distinct honor, two years ago, to work with Representative Bill Fromhold when local funding for summer camps was cut. Together, Rep. Fromhold and I secured $25,000 from the State Legislature in order to restore this program for our neighborhood children in Evergreen and Waterworks Parks.
And a couple months back, I had the pleasure of shoveling and hauling bark dust to assist with the gateway garden project at 39th & P Streets, led by the Americans Building Community group.
In fact, the name of Mark & Patti Maggiora’s ABC organization gets at the heart of what's going on here: it's Deliberate Community Building. Neighborhood leaders, property owners, non-profits and local businesses -- working to re-create a sense of community and personal investment in this area.
And now, under a new administration, it'll be time to give these efforts the City support and backing they need and deserve.
Indeed, my opponent and I do agree that this election is not about promises for the future, but about a record of leadership and action. And while my opponent has suddenly begun making new promises when he's had 20 years and hasn't done a thing, I've actually been out working with, talking with, and making plans for the future with the people who care the most about this area.
It’s easy to dismiss promises, when those of the past have not been met.
And it IS action that speaks louder that words.
So what action is needed now? City support for these great efforts is long overdue. The Fourth Plain Subarea Plan has been on the shelf now for over two years. It is time right now for the City and other public agencies to engage and take action –- no more of the wait, wait, wait until yet another project in some other area of town is completed.
It's time for our government to start thinking about more than just the money. Return on investment also needs to include quality of life.
A $10,000 investment from the city might not make a drop in the bucket downtown, but along this corridor, to a small business owner, it could mean the difference between staying open and closing forever. And a successful business here will provide a consistent, long-term asset for the community as well as a source of revenue for the City.
My vision for the Fourth Plain corridor is an area that comes back into its full vibrance and diversity, where residents, business owners and visitors can feel safe and excited to be here -- whether they're coming home from work, going out to dinner, or taking the kids to the park after school.
Burying power lines, repairing tattered roads, working with businesses to help them pave the way toward prosperity and success. Whether that means fighting for transportation dollars for improvements that actually light up the street after dark. Or creating a renovation/improvement business loan program. Or developing a cultural center to provide meaningful and engaging activities for our youth. Or purposefully designing culturally competent gang outreach programs. Or partnering with groups like ABC and others to re-dress our neighborhoods and residential streets.
The first thing I will do for this area as Mayor will not be to issue edicts and ultimatums, but to hold a series of forums, here in the corridor, so that we can talk about what YOU need and what YOU want to see happen here.
There is a lot we can do, and it's far past time for the City to step up and start doing it. As your next Mayor, I look forward to working with each and every one of you here to make that happen.
Friday, September 25, 2009
The Vancouver Police Officers' Guild has endorsed Vancouver City Councilman Tim Leavitt for Mayor of Vancouver. The VPOG represents the Police Officers, Corporals, and Sergeants of the Vancouver, Washington, Police Department.
In a letter announcing the endorsement, Guild President Ryan Martin says, “We appreciate [Leavitt's] past and present concerns over the leadership within the Vancouver Police Department.”
Leavitt joined the Vancouver City Council in 2003 and served on the City’s Planning Commission before that. During his time as a councilman, Tim has regularly listened to and spoken with Guild membership, closely evaluated the recent Matrix study of the Department, and held frank discussions about issues affecting both sides of the table.
The VPOG supports Leavitt's message of positive change and forward movement for the City of Vancouver. “Our membership believes there is a time for change within our city government. We also believe there is a time for change within our city's leadership team. We believe that time is now.”
“Our city employees are passionate about the future of Vancouver,” says Leavitt. “We are in absolute agreement that the City must stop cutting budgets for core services like Police and Fire. It’s time to re-prioritize at City Hall. That is what I’ve been fighting for and one of the reasons why I have received support from the Police, who have been repeatedly underfunded year after year.”
Leavitt has also been endorsed by AFSCME Local 307VC (Vancouver City employees) and Amalgamated Transit Union Local No. 757 (C-Tran employees) and has received the informal support of Unite Here Local No. 9 (Hilton Vancouver employees).
Persons interested in volunteering, donating, or learning more may contact the campaign office at 360.609.4846, via email at email@example.com, or by visiting the campaign website at www.leavitt4mayor.com. The campaign also has a Facebook page and group, at “Leavitt4Mayor”.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Working up a bit of a sweat the last couple of days, I spoke with dozens of neighbors in the Heights of Vancouver. This evening it was a little cooler out, and we went to my old stomping grounds in the Image neighborhood. It was exhilarating to meet and chat with so many people who are excited with my candidacy and the possibilities for fresh leadership at City Hall. We can hardly keep up with the requests for Leavitt yard signs -- they are going like hotcakes!
We'll continue to meet you at your doorstep, where I will be listening to your concerns and asking questions about your interests for the future of Vancouver. I hope to see you soon!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
In light of recent attacks on me, and my opponent's efforts to distort the facts, the intent of this blog is to set the record straight. For the curious or doubtful out there, these matters are all in the public record and available for everybody to verify. In all instances cited, you may reference the council proceedings for yourself. By visiting CVTV's website , you may either view the video or request copies of the meetings from CVTV archives.
Regarding the 2009-10 City Budget
(See CVTV Vancouver City Council video dated 11/07/2008, Water, Sewer and Storm Water Utility Tax Rate Change)
The City had an operating budget in 2008 of $121 million, a projected budget in 2009 of $125 million and a projected budget in 2010 of $138 million. Revenues into the city are increasing -- not decreasing.
During these budget discussions, in the middle of a deep recession that only seemed to be getting worse for our citizens with each passing day…the incumbent mayor argued in favor of raising your utility taxes to 20%.
While our citizens were struggling to pay bills, losing jobs and losing homes, the incumbent chose to raise taxes.
While our local businesses struggled to keep their doors open, with an already unfriendly local business climate, the incumbent chose to raise taxes.
Even worse, his threat to the City Council was to cut Police and Fire services if taxes weren't increased!
Instead of trimming 4% of the city budget in areas OTHER than Police and Fire, the incumbent placed emergency response services on the chopping block. Let me say that again: instead of making a 4% cut in the City budget – a cut similar to the same cuts we've all had to make in our own homes – the current mayor offered the ultimatum that we either raise taxes or cut core services.
I fought to keep the Police and Fire budget whole.
No cuts, no trimming, no more hiring freezes.
I fought to 'tighten the belt' around other city programs, or fill the budget gap temporarily with reserve monies (rainy day fund). Review the video of our discussion to hear for yourself.
In other words, I was the leader that stood up against governance by ultimatum and fully supported emergency response services. It was your sitting Mayor who threatened to cut Police and Fire if we didn't raise your taxes.
Under his watch over the past 20 years, police and fire staffing has failed to keep up with our population growth and national standards.
Under his watch over the past 20 years, our fire stations have deteriorated so badly that they are in danger of falling apart during an earthquake.
Under his watch over the past 20 years, police investigations have been severely limited and now some investigation of property theft may never happen.
Vancouver, you deserve better.
And with your support on November 3, we WILL do better.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
For some politicians, when talking honestly about the issues doesn't prevail, when their back is against the wall, that desperation sets in.
And in politics, a sign of desperation is a candidate's willingness to leave his integrity at the door and start "slinging mud."
With your support, we won the Primary Election. And we did it by going out into the community and meeting with Vancouver residents. I spoke candidly and honestly about the issues and my voting record, and listened to fellow citizens' broad range of concerns.
The same approach didn't work for my opponent, so we knew to expect he'd turn "negative" as soon as the pressure increased. We just weren't sure when, nor how.
We got our answer as soon as the push poll phone calls occurred over this past weekend. Thanks to each and every one of you who called our campaign to express sincere disappointment in the sitting mayor, and appreciation for our above-board, respectful campaign.
In push polls, the facts are typically distorted, or altogether left out, in order to make the opponent look bad. That is what occurred this past weekend. A Pollard push poll to make me look bad.
What you know and I know is that this community doesn't tolerate those low tactics. We're TIRED of politics-as-usual, and City Hall needs a breath of fresh air! It's a shame our opponent didn't realize that this negative campaign trick only serves to make HIM look unsavory.
Focusing on the issues facing our community, defending voting records and leadership style, and outlining a Vision to move our City forward. That's what I offer you, and those matter-of-fact talking points? Well, they simply didn't work for the incumbent.
In fact, even stretching the truth and claiming accomplishments for many things that have happened in our community due to others' efforts, and spending thousands of dollars to send out multiple mailers with these skewed statements -- even that still didn't work for the incumbent.
The General Election is quickly approaching, and we will continue working hard.
I will continue to meet you at your doorstep.
I will continue to focus on issues and my positions and my vision for the next four years in Vancouver.
I will continue to listen to your concerns.
And very importantly, I will not allow our campaign to be drawn into the negativity that is now the strategy of my opponent.
Vancouver deserves better than that.
In 42 days, we will move on. I look forward to serving our entire community as the next Mayor of Vancouver.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
An important piece of the proposed improvements of the Columbia River Crossing include the ‘Community Connector,’ otherwise known as a ‘cap’ or ‘lid’ over the freeway, located at the Evergreen Blvd. overpass.
As part of the environmental mitigation for the Columbia River Crossing project, a cap over a section the new freeway will be incorporated into the design. Years ago, the I-5 corridor ripped through downtown Vancouver and separated the core downtown area from the Historic Reserve and the Clark College area. This cap will be a beautiful park space that will provide the mandatory environmental mitigation to offset the impacts of the massive pavement project.
But even more important, it will return a link between the two sides of downtown. From the Reserve running west over the freeway, and meeting up with the new library, we'll see a pleasant, walkable connection between east and west, past and present.
I fully support this cap, and think that it will be an important part of the bridge project, even as the cost is scaled down and we find an affordable project that doesn't penalize our citizens for having to commute to Portland for work.
Tale #2: Dividing Neighborhoods and Killing Joe’s Farm
As our population has grown over the years, 18th Street has become an increasingly congested and dangerous thoroughfare. An improvement project has been envisioned for decades now, including safe pedestrian and bike passage, as well as five (5) lanes for vehicular traffic.
Unfortunately, the proposed five-lane project cannot be accommodated without gutting Joe's Place Farms and isolating the Landover-Sharmel neighborhood. In no uncertain terms, Joe Beaudoin testified at a recent City Council meeting, if the project moves forward as presently designed, Joe’s Place Farms will be no more.
If you haven't been to Joe's Place, at 112th Avenue and 18th Street, I strongly encourage you to go. Whether you prefer fresh-picked blueberries in the summer or pumpkins and hot apple cider in the fall, Joe and Gayle have an incredible spread and bring a little piece of the country right into the heart of our city.
In both the Landover-Sharmel and First Place neighborhoods, Vancouver's strong sense of community and livability is regularly on display. Not just in the great people you meet if you visit, but in exciting projects like the new neighborhood entryway, that was collaboratively created and constructed by neighbors, friends, and students, with support from the Bonneville Power Administration. Many residents, particularly in Landover-Sharmel, have called that neighborhood their home for decades, and have enjoyed one of the last bastions of ‘rural’ feel in our city.
Joe's Place and those neighborhoods are just two of the great gems that make up our community and remind me why I love this town so much.
Unfortunately, both are threatened by a street-widening project that will, physically, tear the community apart.
Tim’s Response: We Can Do BETTER!
Doorbelling over the past five months, I have listened to many stories of frustration about the lack of attention from our current mayor, the disappointment with continual development of subdivisions and strip malls, and the anger over obligations promised but never delivered upon after annexation some 10+ years ago.
On several occasions, my opponent has publicly stated that “East Vancouver is on auto-pilot,” Revealing his lack of regard for the city’s east side. But it’s not just words that expose his unfortunate attitude about 2/3 of our city; his actions are even more revealing!
While I have been fighting for reconsideration and reduction of the proposed five-lane arterial; while I’ve been fighting to preserve the integrity of the Landover-Sharmel neighborhood; while I’ve been fighting for sustainability, urban forestry (many old growth trees will be removed due to the scale of the widening), and preservation of Joe’s Place Farms and the healthy eating afforded by urban farming; and while I’ve been fighting to prioritize walking, biking and connection of a regional trail system FIRST, before increasing vehicle traffic and congestion….the current mayor hasn’t blinked an eye at the thought of ending Joe’s Place Farms and forever changing the unique character of the Landover-Sharmel neighborhood.
We can do better for our neighborhoods, for sustainability, for urban forestry and for the viability of Joe’s Place.
Just because “this is how we’ve always done it”, doesn’t mean it is the right way to do it for the future. We need fresh eyes and fresh perspective to face the challenges of today as well as tomorrow. This is what we can do. This will move Vancouver forward and to a stronger sense of community.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Indeed, since Mr. Koenninger and the current Mayor of Vancouver, among others, have been stubbornly trying to force tolls onto our community for years now, one can hardly expect that they'd suddenly come to their senses.
It's because of this hard-headed refusal to do what is right for our community, and to defend the very people who need it most, that I am running for Mayor. Our community really does deserve better ideas, better leadership, and a stronger commitment to our citizens.
We DO need to replace this bridge. But we must also fight against tolls to pay for it. Mr. Pollard calls this viewpoint “naive.” To that I counter: if fighting for our community's common good, if refusing the status-quo, if actively seeking creative solutions to problems our incumbent officials have been unable to solve makes me naïve...then I suppose I am guilty as charged.
The only relevant comment in Mr. Koenninger’s opinion piece is that from Paula Hammond, Washington Department of Transportation: “No state money has been assigned for the project.”
To expound on that: No Washington State money, no Oregon State money, and no Federal money.
We're looking at plans to improve a $4 billion interstate asset, and not a single elected official has managed to secure federal or state funding. Instead, my opponent and his supporters have our community in their crosshairs –- how high can they set the tolls before our citizens can no longer handle it?
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is a federal asset that benefits every single person living in this region. Governor Gregoire insists that we must have “user fees,” but her understanding of who exactly the “users” are is flatly incorrect. One-third of Vancouver's population commutes to Oregon each day. Not because they get a kick out of sitting in traffic, but because their home state has not created sufficient family-wage jobs. Incumbent politicians and Koenninger now want to burden these same people with the entire cost of the bridge project. They can't secure federal funding; they can't secure state funding; the only thing they can secure is a commitment from Pollard to tax our working class into perpetuity for the "privilege" of having to commute.
As Mayor, I will not roll over and abandon our community right when it most needs to be defended. Unlike our current Mayor, I will not continue to add bells and whistles and push for 12 lanes at all costs, when I know that we can't afford it.
I WILL support and work toward plan modifications that make the project effective but affordable.
I WILL continue to argue for federal and state funding commitments, and
I WILL seek equitable, reasonable revenue streams to fund a manageable local commitment.
The days of 'spend first, ask questions later' are long behind us, as our current economic situation has shown. Now more than ever, we need leadership that recognizes the regressive inequity of tolling; that is interested in supporting, not penalizing our citizens; and that understands that we shouldn't be spending the public's money without a much better idea of where it's going and what it's buying.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
As I've been advocating for since the beginning, the CRC Staff have begun some real financial analysis to revise this project and make it something that could actually be affordable for the Federal government and States of Oregon and Washington.
Even Oregon's Metro President noted support for a reduction in construction costs that would impact the need for tolling: as construction costs drop, so would the need for tolls. However, Portland Mayor Sam Adams insisted that from his perspective, no tolls means no project.
I made it perfectly clear that I have no intention of rolling over on tolls.
Tolling is an extremely regressive tax. Whether one has an income of $10,000 or $100,000, everyone will pay the same toll. To suggest a tolling 'credit' or 'mitigation' for the low-income is simply to admit that tolling is unfair to the working class and those of lesser financial status.
In an amusing public exchange with one of our more conservative citizens last week, a local state representative made a remarkable leap of logic -- claiming that anyone who opposes tolls opposes the bridge project in its entirety. My opponent and his allies are contorting the facts to suit their argument, and are SO committed to imposing an unfair tax on our citizens that they can't admit that other options are even possible -- let alone preferable!
A third of our Clark County community travels to work in Portland. Most of these folks don't make that commute every day because they just love spending more time in their cars, stuck in traffic and away from their families.
They make that commute every day because good, family-wage jobs are still in short supply on this side of the river.
It’s high time for leadership that is as concerned about our economic present as they are about the future, working with local business to create more jobs right here in Clark County.
We need a bridge that our community can afford. This is what I’ve been working toward for years now.
We need our federal and state governments to make commitments to this project. We need to make the local portion of the funding as small as possible, and find an equitable way to fund it that doesn't make one-third of Clark County pay the bulk of costs on a federal interstate that benefits the entire west coast of the United States of America!
Lastly, it’s high time our elected officials focus on protecting the working class families they represent, rather than playing divisive partisan games.
It’s time to move on.
With your continued support and involvement, better leadership is on the way!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
When we went out yesterday, right out of the gate, Team Leavitt was greeted with overwhelming support -- including one neighbor in the Carter Park area proclaiming, "Who else would I vote for! And please give us a yard sign!"
We spent some time on the West side this week, and will be heading to East and Central Vancouver over the next couple of weeks. While we're making sure not to ignore the West-siders, we're also the campaign that knows that Vancouver extends east of Grand Boulevard! As your Mayor, I will represent the ENTIRE city, and look forward to hearing from all of you!
Our efforts continue today, Saturday…yes, in the rain! It'll take a little while to adjust to Fall weather after a great Summer. But like the mailman, come rain or shine…Leavitt is at work.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
For several years now, through the CTRAN Board and the Vancouver City Council, I have been lobbying for the following on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver, the riders of CTRAN and the commuters of Clark County (and, for my detractors, allow me to say that this is all a matter of public record):
· No Tolls on the I-5 or I-205 Bridges
· More commitment of funding from Federal and both State Governments
· An improvement project, not just a replacement -- a new bridge with 12 lanes and related improvements
· Along with the CTRAN Board of Directors, light rail transit with the following caveats:
o Construction paid by the Federal Transit Administration
o Voters decide on operation and maintenance costs
It has become painfully apparent that neither the Feds nor the States are prepared at this time to commit to the majority of costs for a proposed $4.1 billion project.
BUT, I have made it clear for some two years now that tolling both bridges to pay the bulk share of this project, and burdening the citizens of our City and our County is not acceptable.
Other options must be considered.
Royce Pollard would prefer to put the burden of the costs of this enormous project on the backs of the very people he is supposed to represent. Clark County commuters must ALREADY pay Oregon income tax for the 'privilege' of current leadership's failure to create adequate family-wage jobs. NOW, he is insisting that they must also bear the burden of paying for this federal asset?
In order to avoid any possible tolling, the next logical step is to consider scaling back the scope and size of the project. If we can't afford this bloated legacy project, here's a novel idea: let's build something we CAN afford!
You've heard that from me before, and now the public will have an opportunity to hear from the CRC Staff what they have determined is feasible for a scaled-back project. I am extremely pleased that this presentation is occurring.
Please stay tuned, and rest assured that I will continue to look out for you!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Former City Council candidate Bart Hansen today endorsed Vancouver City Councilman Tim Leavitt for Mayor of Vancouver. Hansen, who competed in the Primary election for City Council Position #1, endorsed Leavitt because of his commitment to better local job opportunities, making Vancouver a family-friendly, affordable place to live, work and play, and to fighting against tolls on the I-5 Bridge.
“Tim has shown that he understands how tough it can be out there for working people, people with families,” says Hansen. “I believe that Tim is looking out for ALL of us, and has the experience, common sense, and energy to lead Vancouver into its next chapter.”
Hansen campaigned extensively for the Council position, but was defeated in the primary by Jack Burkman and Bill Turlay. Yesterday, Hansen endorsed Burkman.
Leavitt thanked Hansen for his endorsement, saying that “Bart ran a strong race, and would have been a great addition to the Council. From my perspective as a voter, that was a hard race to make a decision in. They are all strong candidates, dedicated to helping our city advance. I'm happy that Bart will stay involved and interested in City affairs, and I hope we'll see more of him in the future.”
Hansen is looking forward to helping Leavitt continue his leading campaign—-in the unofficial results from the Primary, Leavitt leads the 14-year incumbent Mayor, and the Leavitt campaign is already picking up speed, continuing their grass-roots effort to knock on doors and talk directly with voters.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The Primary election results, and Pollard's commentary about the issues, show that he's simply not listening to the people that he is supposed to be representing.
Or, maybe he is listening and just doesn't care. After all, he has publicly admitted there is no reason for him to travel to Portland. So, paying a toll won't have any personal impact on him.
What he refuses to understand, however, is that a toll that charges Vancouver's working class for the "privilege" of crossing the river because the current administration has done next to nothing to grow jobs here in the last two decades, with the added burden of paying Oregon income tax without receiving representation, is unequitable, undemocratic, and discriminatory.
We need to think out of the box here.
For the umpteenth time, I will say this: that bridge is a federal asset. Yes, we all know that transportation funds aren't what they used to be. But frankly, neither are our savings accounts!
If the federal and state governments can't come up with money for this bridge, what makes Pollard think that Clark County commuters can pay for it?
We need to take a step back and try to collaborate with our federal and state delegations, rather than blindly follow the party line. And if $4 billion is more than we can afford right now, then we need to consider how to scale this project so that we "pay-as-we-go," building it with money we actually have, rather than taking out credit our children's children's children will have to pay back.
Pollard and his yes-men are starting to go around saying that I have some secret, nefarious plan to kill this project. That's a load of baloney, and they're saying it because it's their only hope of swaying public opinion back in their direction.
60% of voters showed last night what this community really thinks--Pollard doesn't get it, and he's not the candidate who's looking out for their interests.
It's time to move away from business as usual, and secure a funding model for this bridge that is equitable for ALL of the stakeholders.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
If the incumbent Mayor is so set on bringing more people downtown to live and work, why has he done nothing in the last decade to curb train horn noise? Fed up with Pollard's inattention, downtown residents have put together a workable plan--and I'll be teaming with other councilmembers to help them find resolution.
The city's top leadership has been on a virtual warpath over the past decade to lure residents, businesses and visitors into downtown Vancouver. Around Esther Short Park alone, the City has spent millions of dollars in public investment: the hotel/convention center (building owned by the public), Heritage Condos (tax abatement), Vancouver Center (tax abatement), Esther Short building (City offices), Vancouver Commons (Housing Authority), and of course the park itself.
Yet with all of this investment and the nice amenity of an urban park, why are residents, business owners, visitors and hotel attendees still complaining about downtown --- some 10 years later?
One of the primary reasons is the train horn noise.
There are two road crossings of the BNSF rail line in downtown Vancouver. Neither of these crossings are protected, and they thus require the train engineers to lay on their horn to warn of the pending crossing. Unfortunately, the trains don't keep "regular" business hours, and they pass through Vancouver at ALL hours of the day.
The horn noise is unbearable, and those in the downtown have been letting the City know this for a decade.
Finally, concerned residents took it upon themselves to research the train horn noise matter, and they initiated conversations with the railroad, business owners and the City. They have now prepared a fix to the problem -- resulting in no need for the horns to blow -- and have presented that resolution to the City.
Yet, there is still no action.
The word from on high, now, is that permanent fixes might occur sometime after 2012.
Another two years of suffering in downtown.
But Pollard is trying to encourage people to live, work, play and stay here?!?
Time to get off the dime and implement the low-cost fix. If the Mayor won't do his part to help, then the rest of us will.
I'll be working with other councilmembers to move this matter forward immediately….for the sake and livability of 'The Heart' of Vancouver.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Vancouver Police Department's current struggle with lawsuits, morale, and internal culture is one of the most important and most controversial matters facing the City. Yesterday afternoon, Monday, August 10th, the Vancouver City Council received a debrief from Police Chief Cliff Cook about an independent report that was completed to review the Internal Affairs, Disciplinary Process and Culture of the department -- the Matrix Report.
Over the past 19 years our Police force has struggled for continuity under 9 different Police Chiefs. Serious tension has developed between police management and the department's rank & file, and the City has paid out millions of dollars to settle several lawsuits that are mired in accusations of bias, discrimination and subjective enforcement of department policy.
The workshop was slated for two hours. Chief Cook spoke for about an hour, reviewing the report, defending his positions and the department, and explaining his intentions for next steps. At the conclusion of Chief Cook's presentation, the meeting then entered into a Q&A with councilmembers, rotating around the council for each member to comment and ask a question.
Given the serious nature of this matter, it was apparent and entirely understandable that Council would have numerous questions and comments. One round of questions was completed and a second started. However, at the very minute the one-hour session of Q&A was up, the Mayor summarily ended the session -- leaving half the City Council without opportunity to ask a second question.
Maintaining accurate schedules is important, but not at the expense of giving an important issue adequate review. What is most disconcerting about Pollard's action isn't just that he abruptly ended the session, but the argumentative way he did it.
Councilmember Smith and I both spoke up and requested additional time to ask a second question--with an extremely short agenda on deck for the upcoming council session, there was plenty of time and flexibility to allow extra questions.
Royce Pollard's response, however, didn't acknowledge this available time, nor advocate scheduling a second workshop to continue the discussion. Instead, he blamed other councilmembers for speaking too long and told us that "You'll need to talk to the other councilmembers about how much time they take in asking their questions."
This is Pollard's example of effective leadership? Instead of allowing three city councilmembers equal opportunity to ask a second question, instead of giving this important matter sufficient review, and instead of trying to find a common solution, Pollard pitted councilmembers against each other --- telling Smith, Leavitt and Campbell to take matters up with Jollota, Harris and Stewart about how much time they take commenting and asking questions.
This is entirely unacceptable. Suggesting that Smith, Campbell and I admonish other councilmembers to annotate their remarks is flat-out ludicrous.
How is this appropriate leadership, particularly on a matter as important as the health of the City's Police Department?
I look forward to bringing my own leadership style to Council as Mayor. My tenure as Chair of the C-Tran Board was extremely successful because of an intentionally collaborative style, and my willingness to afford officials on the board all the opportunity they needed to speak their minds. During that time, we made tremendous strides forward in setting policy for the agency. It will be my pleasure and honor to bring that style back to Vancouver, which has been missing it since Pollard took office as Mayor 14 years ago.