Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leadership for Now, AND the Next Generation

At yesterday's Lincoln Neighborhood Association forum, an audience member recited a quote that is really very telling for this race:

“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

LOCALS Moving Our Community Forward

Yesterday, the LOCALS (Lower Columbia Alliance for Living Sustainably) unveiled a campaign to promote local business in our community.

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 fa├žade 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


In another testament to his true colors, incumbent Mayor Royce Pollard insulted nearly all potential voters under the age of 40, claiming that anybody without a stellar voting record is not fit to serve in public office.

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.