Friday, May 22, 2009

where do you stand on tolls?

The debate over the Columbia River Crossing project rages on. Now that officials are admitting that minimized state and federal support will make local costs skyrocket, you can be sure that outrageously high tolls will be rammed down our throats.

Even though certain officials treat high tolls like an eventuality, and our current Mayor tells us to "get over it," tolls of up to $2,000 a year ARE NOT a foregone conclusion. We have other options. Go to these meetings and make your voice heard!

Columbia River Crossing project to talk tolling in public meetings

The Columbia River Crossing project, charged with planning a replacement bridge for the I-5 structures between Vancouver and Portland, is holding public hearings on the subject of bridge or highway tolls in meetings at the end of June and the first of July.

"We would like to hear how tolling scenarios could work for commuters, nearby communities, and people who use the I-5 and I-205 bridges, says Maurice Hines, spokesperson for the Columbia River Crossing.

Meetings are set for 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 30, in room 102 of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Southwest Region, 11018 NE 51st Circle and 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 1, community room in the Jantzen Beach Center, 1405 N Jantzen Beach Center.

Additional information is available by going to

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Congratulations to Maestro Salvador Brotons and the Vancouver Symphony!

At the May 18 meeting of the Vancouver City Council, I proposed a proclamation to honor this incredible musical artist and the orchestra he leads. The proclamation is timed to coincide with the Symphony's May concert.

On May 23 and 24, the Vancouver Symphony will present a "Salute to Salvador," in honor of his upcoming 50th birthday.

Maestro Salvador Brotons has been the orchestra's Music Director and Conductor for 18 years, and has been incredibly important to our city's cultural development and offerings. Through his efforts, and with the support of a dedicated board, staff and volunteer base, the Vancouver Symphony enriches the community with world-class performances.

This concert will feature Brotons' own "Catalanish Concerto," with special guests and music from his native Spain.

Concerts are at Skyview, 3pm Saturday 5/23 and 7pm Sunday 5/24. I'll be there -- will you?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Notes from 'Anonymous'

This anonymous letter came in today, and we know that the writer isn't alone in the sentiments he expresses. Our campaign team has spoken with a number of people who have privately expressed their support but apologized for being unable to do so publicly because they fear retribution from the "old-school-insider" camp.

Our team debated whether or not to share this letter, because we obviously can't verify it. However, we're hearing so many stories just like this one that we felt compelled to post it. Bullying and scare tactics are not the way to run a city, and we need YOUR help to give Vancouver the Mayor it needs and deserves.

Letter received 5-19-09:

I've been wanting to write you Mr. Leavitt for some time now as I have followed your career on the City Council since you were appointed in 2003. You know me, as do many others of the 'who's-who' crowd here in our community. Because of that (and candidly, because I don't have a backbone), I will remain anonymous. But let me say that I very much appreciate that YOU do have a backbone on issues that are important for our fine City, and I (we) very much appreciate that.

Today I have decided to write to you because I have come to realize that Vancouver does very much need a new attitude at City Hall. After watching your council meeting last night, it became apparent that you best represent the feelings and perspective of the most of us…that the City has a responsibility to protect us, the City has a responsibility to maintain our roads, and that the City has a responsibility keep costs down by supporting community mediation and after school programs for teenagers. Mr. Leavitt, YOU voted correctly on the Supplemental Budget, in opposing the cuts to police and fire staffing. As you said last night, now more than ever our City needs a strong police force. YOUR priorities are the same as ours Mr. Leavitt.

I am perplexed and disappointed in the lack of action by other councilmembers, although several made comments that were entirely supportive and in agreement with your position! Most interesting is outgoing councilperson Pat Jollata. I know of years that she has salivated over the police and fire departments, and last night she described the need for cities to provide basic services of police, fire and roads. Yet she voted to support a budget that cut those programs. I'm sure others who watched the meeting also noted the hypocrisy of her 'soap box'. Is that what happens to politicians who have been in office too long -- speak out of both sides of the mouth? I am hopeful we will have a new councilperson who will be an effective leader.

Lastly, I want you to know that I have known the Mayor for many, many years. Royce and Margaret are friends of ours, so you'll understand that I cannot tell him this to his face -- but it is time for Royce to leave the dance. I'm sad that he has chosen to run again and seek another four year term. Indeed, 20 years is long enough. Having been his friend, it pains me to admit that now I must question his integrity. You see, for me, that a person acts above reproach when nobody is looking…that is a person of integrity. I have been shocked to witness his behavior over the past several months during this election, and how he now appears to be 'respecting' other councilmembers like Jeanne Stewart and Pat Campbell. Those of us who follow city council know full well that this is an about-face from the time when there wasn't a looming election. His bullying, disrespectful and unprofessional behavior toward other councilmembers (and citizens who disagree with him, for that matter), is nothing new -- we all know that. What is new is his new-found demeanor, coincidentally during election season. It's extremely disappointing to us, and for that I must now question his integrity.

Mr. Leavitt, although we have long been friends with the Pollards, we will vote for you for Vancouver's next Mayor. Our friendship with Pollard does not mean that we believe he now is the best choice for Mayor. Many good things have happened in our community under his watch, and some things have happened in spite of him. Now, we look toward the next 20 years as we enter the 'sunset' years of our life, and having followed you on the city council feel quite confident that we are in good hands with you as Mayor. You have demonstrated to us the tact and demeanor needed to work with the other councilmembers. You have taken a stand on issues that matter to us -- and we believe you best represent our interests. It's time to look toward the future. We will do all we can behind the scenes to insure a victory for you, and for our community, come this November.


"Good Old Boy and Girl Vancouver"