Thursday, June 4, 2009

Second Weekend of Doorbelling Another Success!

I finished a couple of neighborhoods in the Vancouver Heights area and was warmly received by those neighbors who were home and interested in chatting about the future of Vancouver. As you may recall, it was quite warm both days --- particularly Sunday. Couldn't ask for any better. Chatting with neighbors, getting some exercise and…well, developing a tan!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Leavitt is Fighting for our Kids

In 1980, my family moved to Vancouver into an apartment complex in the Minnehaha neighborhood.

The first two summers we lived here, my younger brother Todd and I were enrolled in the Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation Summer Camp program. Nearly every day, we would either catch the CTRAN bus or ride our bicycles to Leverich Park to participate in a full day of fun and education with some 50-75 other children. I have very fond memories of those times, and to this day, still keep in touch with others who were in that program with us.

Under the current Mayor, Parks & Recreation programs have been whittled away since 2001. And there has been no concerted effort to find a solution to funding these valuable programs. It became apparent that someone needed to step forward and start thinking about the future of these programs and the potential impacts on our community's families and children if they were to go away entirely.

My frustration with continual cuts to teen and after school programs boiled over last year. Taking personal action, I contacted our state legislators to rally support for summer camp programs at Evergreen Park and Waterworks Park. These two parks are located on the Fourth Plain corridor -- an area with the highest crime rate, the lowest home ownership rate and the highest unemployment rate in the city. Gangs and illegal activity had infiltrated both parks. Not a safe or fun place for families and children.

Fortunately, Representative Bill Fromhold responded and obtained $25,000 from the State Community Trade and Economic Development program to support summer camp programs at both parks. We all owe Bill a debt of gratitude for his efforts, and local neighbors expressed as much. I visited the program at Evergreen Park last summer, and was elated with the feedback from staff and families. They spoke of the fun their children were having; their comfort with their children's safety; the productive time their children were spending in educational activities; and the disappearance of the gang members and crime activity. Their park had been returned to the neighborhood! By all accounts, the summer camp program was a huge success, with City Council receiving written letters from thankful neighbors.

With the programs in jeopardy yet again this year, the Parks Foundation and City Parks staffs worked diligently to scratch up some money. The Community Foundation of SW Washington graciously stepped forward and granted monies to both organizations to allow for kids/teen programs to continue this year. We are thrilled and relieved to see these programs continue. Thank you to the Community Foundation!

Realizing that there is such tremendous need for the public to support opportunities for our disadvantaged youth, I also decided to commit to an ongoing (monthly) personal contribution to the Parks Foundation's 'Everybody Plays' recreation scholarship program. This program provides access to recreational opportunities for Clark County's low income families, seniors and citizens with disabilities.

After-school and summer camp programs have special meaning for me. There are many in our community who feel the same way and contribute money and effort to better the opportunities for those less fortunate. I am pleased to be a true supporter of Parks and Recreation programs, and I strongly encourage you to join me. Please visit the Parks Foundation website at and make a contribution of your own!

Saving these programs for the health of our children and our community is of vital importance. Only through real action and effort are we going to maintain these quality-of-life programs that make Vancouver a great place to live, work and recreate.

Let's 'walk-the-talk' together.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Join Us for Three Filing Week Events this Week!

Filing week begins tomorrow, and we at Team Leavitt are excited--this is the week when the playing field is defined, and the campaign kicks into full gear. I've been out knocking on doors and talking with voters for the last 2 weeks now, and have been getting a great response from citizens who are ready for a change!

If you'd like to join me when we canvass your neighborhood, please let us know, either on this blog or at

In the meantime, we have three events planned this week that we'd love to have you join us for:

Candidate Filing:
Filing for office is a pretty straightforward thing: you fill out a form, pay your money, and go. But we're doing it a little differently this time, and making it an event! Anyone who'd like to join us for a walk from my office to the elections office is welcome to join us. It'll be a beautiful day, it's a short walk, and it'll give all of us a chance to talk a bit on the way over.

We're meeting outside my office at PBS Engineering, 1310 Main Street, at 11:30am tomorrow, Monday, June 1. Since we ARE a working office, please just sit tight outside or grab a cup of great coffee next door at Paradise Cafe if you arrive early. We'll gather at 11:30, walk to the elections office, I'll file, and we'll walk back.

If you can make it, please comment here or let us know by emailing, so we know that we should look for you--and so we also have an idea of whether we'll have a small group or a full-on parade!

(and a note to some of our more zealous supporters: we love your enthusiasm, but I want to be clear: we're taking the sidewalks, traveling sensibly and obeying all traffic laws and right-of-way. Whether we're five people or 25, we're going to set a GOOD example for our fellow citizens! [though we do appreciate your energy!])

Filing Week Fundraiser #1:
As you know, this is a difficult race -- whereas the incumbent has already drawn half of his support from just a few large donors, we have the support of the people! Our support base is much broader, but that means we need your help even more!

Please drop by, have a drink and some great food, and make a contribution of $20, $40, $60 -- whatever you can contribute will go directly to our voter contact materials. Why $20 increments? Because that's the number of years of incumbency we have to overcome!

Because we're trying to *raise* funds, this event is "no-host." But Blackstone has generously offered to donate back 10% of the proceeds from our group's drink and food orders. They've got a great Happy Hour, so come and refuel after the workday and know that a part of everything you order goes to Team Leavitt, too!

Monday, June 1
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Blackstone American Grill, upstairs
3200 SE 164th Avenue, Vancouver, WA


Filing Week Fundraiser #2:
A major part of our platform is that we need to respect ALL parts of the City--east side, west side, and everything in between. So, on Monday we had an after-work event on the east side -- on Friday, we're having a lunchtime event on the west side. Please attend whatever is most convenient for you!

Like our venue for the Monday event, for Friday, Pepper's has generously offered to donate back 10% of the proceeds from our group's orders. They've got incredible salads, burritos, tacos....pretty much everything, so come and refuel and know that a part of everything you order goes to Team Leavitt, too!

Friday, June 5, 2009
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Pepper's Taqueria, bar side
800 Main Street, Vancouver, WA


And, if you're on Facebook, find and respond to these events by searching "Filing Week Fundraiser #1" and "Filing Week Fundraiser #2".

As always, THANK YOU for your support and for all you do for our great city!