Friday, June 26, 2009

Hate and Bias Crimes Must NOT Be Tolerated


Earlier this week, the Columbian’s Laura McVicker reported on an appalling crime that affected an entire neighborhood and one family in particular.

Read the article here.

Hate and bias crimes are serious offenses that must not be tolerated. No citizen should feel unsafe in our community.

I commend the County Sheriff and his office for their quick work to remove the graffiti from public property, and for the media release they issued, condemning these actions. The Sheriff’s office has said that they will be working with the local YWCA to put together a series of community forums, which is a strong step toward creating understanding among all members of our diverse community.

There are many other organizations right here at home that also serve our underrepresented populations, including LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), the NAACP, the Asian Family Center, PFLAG, the Disability Resource Center, and our county’s own diversity staff—among many others. Members of these groups and others worked with Clark County in 2007 to put forth a resolution condemning hate crimes and promoting collaboration, respect and diversity.

The City of Vancouver has no such resolution, despite multiple efforts on the parts of many dedicated people. This recent graffiti, even though it occurred outside city limits, affects us all.

It is time for the City of Vancouver to make a strong statement against hate and bias crimes, and work with the County and local advocacy organizations to promote community understanding and collaboration.

I am working on a draft resolution, to put before the City Manager and City Council, to stand strong with the County and others in our community against hatred and intolerance, and help make Clark County and the City of Vancouver a place where every resident can feel safe.

If you have any information about the parties responsible for the recent incident, or witness any future event, please call the Sheriff’s Office West Precinct at 397-6079, Central Precinct at 397-6195 or 911 after 5pm. Within the City of Vancouver, call the Vancouver Police East Precinct at (360) 487-7500, West Precinct at (360) 487-7355, or 911 after 5pm.

I’m happy to add that we are working with the Scott family to get the hateful graffiti that was left on their driveway removed quickly and at no cost to the family. Last year, when a citizen encountered hateful property damage and graffiti because of the Obama sign on his lawn, some dedicated citizens put together a fund to help victims of racist vandalism cover costs of repair and replacement. Chris Bassett, who led that charge, is working with the YWCA to make this fund available to the Scotts for any costs they might face. Once this driveway is cleaned, the fund will be used to help others in the neighborhood who experienced graffiti on their cars and other property.

If you would like to contribute to this fund and help members of your community recover from this incident, visit this link to contribute online. Specify "Graffiti Incident" to direct your contribution.

I’ll keep you posted about the progress on this resolution, and look forward to working with all of our citizens to make a stronger, better Vancouver.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Ballpark in Vancouver? YOU Should Be The Ones Who Decide!

As you might have heard, the Portland Beavers are soon to be a team without a stadium -- and one option that's come up is locating the new park up here, in Clark County.

Yesterday, KGW came out and interviewed me, as well as the incumbent, about our views on the matter. You can see by watching the clip that although both he and I are baseball fans (he of his hometown Boston Red Sox and me of the Northwest's own Seattle Mariners) -- I appear to be the only one interested in finding out what YOU have to say about it!

For those of you who've been paying attention the last few years, you'll probably find it as funny as I did that the man who's been consistently raising your taxes year after year, while slashing vital services, waited until he was in front of a TV camera to talk about how he'd rather spend tax dollars on police and fire.

That statement would be a lot more compelling if it were actually true.

Yes, he does love to tax this community -- but every year, as his revenues get larger -- he makes bigger and bigger cuts in core services -- including police, fire, road repair, and parks.

A ballpark might be a great addition to the county. But it might also be a huge drain. Something this big isn't for me, or for a sitting Mayor who's on his way out to decide. Only you, the voters, should have the say on something that big, and which could have such an impact.

So tell me! What do YOU think?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

County Commissioners Provide Relief for Troubled Developments; City of Vancouver Should Follow Suit

Today, the Clark County Board of Commissioners showed strong leadership in adapting to the current economic slowdown, by extending permit deadlines for six months on projects that would normally be moving forward but the economy has forced them to a halt.

The Board recognized that these unintentional holds could force the projects to repeat the approval process they already underwent, and waste both public and private resources. This extension will undergo the standard hearing process and can be revisited if the slowdown continues to impact projects set to expire.

This small act of flexibility could save a large number of projects, and shows strong leadership and willingness to work with constituents to manage hard times.

Vancouver City Council must follow the leadership that the Clark County Commissioners have demonstrated and make similr adjustments and concessions to help the people and companies in our City limits who are struggling to do business.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New e-newsletter hot off the virtual presses!

Our latest campaign e-newsletter just went out today. If you're on our email list, you've probably seen it. But if you missed it, check it out at And then send us an email at to get on the distribution list!