Thursday, July 9, 2009

Following Up After Today's Forum

This morning,Vancouver's Downtown Association hosted the first mayoral forum of the race. Thanks to the VDA for organizing it, and to everyone who attended--we had a good turnout, especially for so early in the morning!

Good points were raised all around, and the audience had a lot of great questions. Since we were in a forum structure instead of a debate, I wasn't able to respond to some of the misleading statements put forth by my opponent, Mr. Pollard--so I'll tackle them here!

Is Bigger Really Always Better?

Asked about his vision for our city, the incumbent replied that "we need to be big; that's the only way anyone will pay attention to us." Respectfully, I beg to differ. Certainly, growth is often good. But growth for growth's sake alone is short-sighted. As we've seen in our current recession, bigger ISN'T always better: if there's no foundation to support the building, it will crumble. The truth is that Vancouver and SW Washington will make progress only with leadership that has earned respect in Olympia with collaboration and teamwork--not with size alone. The old swatting the fly with a hammer approach hasn't worked yet and it won't work in the future! The reality is that Vancouver will never have a size advantage over the entire Puget Sound region--and it's foolish to try. We will gain influence in Olympia with fresh, forward-thinking, and respectful dialogue.

The Incumbent Will Go To Japan To Grow Jobs, But He Won't Go Up To Fourth Plain?!
During the forum, my opponent emphasized repeatedly that he is willing to go anywhere, anytime, to try to get big businesses to relocate here. Japan, have to wonder where Vancouver fits in to this picture. Instead of focusing on the city he's supposed to be running, Pollard is spending city money to jet off to different states and countries to try to woo businesses that have no vested interest in our community. We've got incredible talent and resources here, and we need to be working with the people who already live and run businesses here to help them be as successful as possible. Mister Pollard should spend a little less time traveling and a little more time in his own backyard.

Who's the Candidate With Real, Strong Relationships?

The incumbent is quick to say that he's "got the relationships" necessary to get things done, and he points to our state and federal representatives. But the truth of the matter is, those elected officials need Vancouver as much as, or more than, we need them. They want to be able to show that they have our support--it doesn't matter WHO the Mayor is--they're smart people and they're not going to alienate the sitting Mayor, whose support makes it seem as though they have a connection to our area. What's more important are the relationships with the entities we need to work with every day to make the city run effectively-- county commissioners, other neighboring cities, city and county employees, and citizens--all of these are strong relationships I have, and have been building one by one, person to person, over the last 29 years. These are relationships I work on and grow every day--not just when I'm running for office. This is supported by the endorsements of the unions that represent City employees and C-Tran employees. Those that have the experience of working with me on a regular basis know that I listen and collaborate across the board.

The Citizens Should Get to Decide On Tax Increases to Fund Major Projects
We were asked about funding for a build-out of Main Street. The plans are complete, but they've been shelved because the city doesn't have the $10 million it would need to complete the project. How would we find that funding? The incumbent said that there are a lot of projects that have been shelved during his time in office, and he's not sure how, but we'll "find the money." If it's anything like the way he's "found" money in the past, it'll be by raising fees, raising utility costs, and raising sales tax--things the public is not required to vote on. But every increase like this makes it even harder for our businesses and our citizens to be successful. What he doesn't seem to understand is that the more successful our businesses and citizens are, the more successful the city will be. It's HARD to run a successful business. Why is the city adding extra barriers, making it even harder for our own citizens to succeed? There will certainly be times and projects that need extra income from the citizens--but the citizens should have the right to vote on whether or not it's important enough to them to make that sacrifice. A well-reasoned, well-coordinated campaign to rally support in our community, will bring the support needed--and encourage public investment in resources that benefit us all. City Hall shouldn't be arbitrarily adding taxes and fees because they can't balance the budget without doing it.

True Leadership
In closing, the incumbent said that in our current times, we shouldn't be looking for a Mayor who makes a lot of promises.
And he's absolutely right.
We should be looking for a Mayor who KEEPS them.
Which is why I look forward to being your next Mayor.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

City Employees' Union and C-Tran Union Endorse Leavitt for Mayor of Vancouver!

The American Federation of State, County and Local Employees (AFSCME Local 307VC) and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU Local 757) have endorsed Vancouver City Councilman Tim Leavitt for Mayor of Vancouver. Local 307 is the labor union that represents 154 employees working in the City’s Water, Streets, Traffic, and Public Works Departments, as well as the clerical unit of the Law Department. Local 757 represents 250+ C-TRAN bus drivers and transit workers.

“Tim has shown that he will fight for the little guy: you and me,” says Roy Jennings, C-TRAN driver and ATU Executive Board Officer. “Tim has not only the knowledge and experience to be a terrific Mayor for our great city, he also brings along with him the energy of youth to do the job.”

Leavitt joined the C-TRAN board in 2004 and was Chair of the Board from 2006-2008. During his tenure as Chair, C-TRAN introduced hybrid-fuel buses, worked in cooperation with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver’s Downtown Association to create Turtle Place Plaza in the downtown core, and finished the 99th Street Park-and-Ride.

Ron Fredin, President of Local 307VC and Vice President of the Executive Board of Washington State AFSCME Council 2 says of their endorsement, “Leavitt is truly committed to collaboration and relationship-building, has respect for labor issues, and boasts an unmatched record on advocating for jobs that pay family wage.”
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 attended Labor Roundtable meetings, met individually with union leadership, and held frank discussions about issues affecting both sides of the table.

In his five years on the C-TRAN board, Leavitt has continually worked to provide increased and improved transit service, simultaneously respecting and guarding the rights and responsibilities of C-Tran workers. “My first experiences in Vancouver were shaped by riding the C-TRAN bus to Leverich Park for summer camp,” says Leavitt. “That was 30 years ago, and I still remember riding the bus every day, talking with the bus driver, and feeling like I could take on the world right there, from that bus.”

AFSCME reps cite Leavitt’s dedication to fostering relationships of substance, and looking toward the future of Vancouver. “We’re supporting Tim because he walks the talk,” says Local 307VC member Joe Devlaeminck. “Tim is the candidate who has been building respectful and effective working relationships with us and throughout our community. He is never too busy to listen to our concerns, and he then works with us to try and find solutions that meet everyone’s needs. We intend to work diligently to see him become the next Mayor of Vancouver.”

“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 roads maintenance, traffic control and street light repair, and utility services. 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 unions whose members really make this city run.”

Leavitt has also received the informal support of Unite Here Local No. 9 (Hilton Vancouver employees).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

City of Vancouver Passes Resolution Against Hate and Bias Crimes

Last night marked a great step forward for the City of Vancouver-- the City Council reviewed and approved our resolution against hate and bias crimes, and supporting a community of inclusiveness, respect, and collaboration. Many thanks to all who helped make it possible, including LULAC, the NAACP, the YWCA, Clark County, and the Battle Ground Cultural Task Force--among many others!

Here is the text of the resolution that was passed.

A RESOLUTION of the City Council of the City of Vancouver affirming its support of a diverse community and a community free from discrimination, hate and bias.

WHEREAS, the City of Vancouver has experienced significant population growth over the last fifteen years; and

WHEREAS, as the city’s population becomes more diverse, which adds richness and cultural depth, it can also create new tensions within such a growing community; and

WHEREAS, the City of Vancouver as a government organization values the perspective and contributions of all of its citizens; and

WHEREAS, any form of discrimination based on age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation is inconsistent with the City of Vancouver’s organizational values and detracts from the quality of life in our community; and

WHEREAS, the majority of Vancouver’s residents want the city to be a welcoming community where everyone feels valued, accepted, respected and safe; and

WHEREAS, The City of Vancouver deplores all hate and bias crimes against any member of this community.

That as an organization, the City of Vancouver is committed to:

1. Fostering a strong, diverse community connected by its shared commitment to mutual respect, understanding and dignity for all; and

2. Protecting the civil and human rights of all citizens and promoting respect, appreciation, collaboration, diversity and friendship; and

3. Proclaiming by word and action that harassment, intimidation, marginalization and violence shall not be tolerated or accepted.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Vancouver supports the work of local and regional agencies to promote increased awareness, understanding and appreciation of diversity in all its forms, and that the City shall continually work to achieve the commitments set forth in this resolution in both the internal work environment and in delivering services to the public.

ADOPTED at the regular session of the City Council of the City of Vancouver this 6th day of July, 2009.

____________________________ _____________________________
Royce E. Pollard, Mayor Tim Leavitt, Council Member

____________________________ _____________________________
Pat Jollota, Mayor pro-tempore Larry Smith, Council Member

____________________________ _____________________________
Jeanne Harris, Council Member Pat Campbell, Council Member

Jeanne Stewart, Council Member

Monday, July 6, 2009

TONIGHT! Join Us for the Vancouver City Council Discussion of Resolution Against Hate and Bias Crimes


I am very happy to say that TONIGHT the Vancouver City Council will be discussing the resolution against hate crimes that we drafted after recent racially motivated acts of vandalism.

Please join us tonight at the start of the City Council meeting, when the resolution will be presented.
7pm, City Hall Council Chambers, 210 E. 13th Street, First Floor, Vancouver.

Thank you to all of the local leaders, from all sectors, who offered support and guidance as we drafted this resolution. I look forward to the City of Vancouver taking a firm stand against hate and bias crimes, and standing FOR diversity, understanding, and collaboration.

Let's fill the room with supporters of this resolution, to show the City Council that they have the support of this community to take a stand and do what is right!

Please join us tonight at the start of the City Council meeting, when the resolution will be presented.
7pm, City Hall Council Chambers, 210 E. 13th Street, First Floor, Vancouver.

Please share this information with others. I look forward to seeing you tonight!