Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jobs: What Got Us Here Won't Get Us Where We Need To Go

Next to tolls, this election is really coming down to one issue: reviving our sagging economy.

My opponent has been bragging about his “Jobs Plan,” but no one seems to be asking the obvious question: where has this plan been for the last 14 years?

According to my opponent, he himself has brought 14,000 jobs to Vancouver in the last 14 years. Even if you accept the flawed idea that the mayor, not business, creates jobs, that number is embarrassingly low. In the last 14 years, our population has doubled. By adding 14,000 jobs, that means Mr. Pollard is boasting about just 2 jobs for every 10 new residents.

And to put that number into even sharper perspective, in the last year alone, Clark County has lost nearly 9,000 jobs!

We need a better idea.

If you read my opponent's “jobs plan,” you'll see that what he's essentially saying is “keep doing what we've been doing.”

But if what we've been doing had been successful, would we be in the same mess we're in now?

If we had enough jobs on this side of the river to employ the 60,000 people who have to commute to Portland every day, we might not have been hit so hard when the economy did crash last year. And if we had those jobs on this side of the river, you can be sure that the argument about tolls would be a different one. What if Mr. Pollard had worked to create a business climate that benefited all of our local companies instead of just a few big ones? We certainly wouldn't have been so deeply affected when SEH went through a major series of layoffs, when Nautilus repeatedly verged on bankruptcy, or when HP started stripping down its workforce.

I don't begrudge my opponent his position – having never worked in business, his perspective is understandably limited.

He simply doesn't understand that government doesn't create jobs; businesses create jobs. And in order for businesses to thrive, government needs to get out of the way.

I've been working with local business owners for years – local people who own businesses of all sizes and industries. And what they want is simple: streamlined permitting processes, taxes and fees that are reasonable and legitimate, and a city that prioritizes its commitment to basics like police, fire, and infrastructure. They want to know that their storefronts, warehouses and offices are safe, and they want the sidewalks and roads in front of them to be accessible and free of cracks, dips and holes.

By listening to our business community, and working with them to help them be successful, the City will benefit. Those businesses will grow, new businesses will be established, and City revenue will grow accordingly.

This is a time of much uncertainty, but there's one thing we do know for sure: what got us here isn't going to get us where we need to go.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Campaign Season's Final Forum was a Great One -- Too Bad My Opponent Missed It!

Last night, I had the great pleasure of speaking with a group of high school students and parents at Evergreen High School. Teacher Patty McMaster and her “We the People” students put on a wonderful event that was attended by close to 200 people, with students from three area high schools. The students asked some great questions and really did a top-notch job of running the forum.

It's a shame my opponent missed it!

My opponent sent a substitute to the event, the employee who is out doing Mr. Pollard's doorbelling. Eric did a commendable job in attempting to represent his boss's positions. However, many attendees expressed disappointment afterwards -- saying they'd have preferred to actually hear from the candidate instead of a representative.

He'd have been wise to rearrange his schedule, as I did. Not just because of the great experience, but also because his staffer made a few statements that I hope Mr. Pollard will want to clarify for the voting public:

In response to school funding:
Pollard would support city management staff pay cuts in order to supplement state-funded educational programs at the District.

In response to the future of Joe’s Place Farm:
Pollard is “proud” of the 18th Street project, which according to the owner of Joe’s Place Farms, will destroy his business and, according to the residents of the area, rip the neighborhoods apart.

I did my best to help him out, explaining the differences between School and Municipal funding sources, and the actual ramifications of the 18th Street project. But I didn't want to speak for Mr. Pollard. Perhaps these are messages he wants to send.

After the event, I stayed behind to talk with a long line of students and parents – even chatted briefly with one of my former classmates from the Engineering program at Clark, who's now working for the District. As is usually the case, I was the last to leave the event!

We're all incredibly tired at this point in the campaign, but it was invigorating to talk with of these interested young people who really embrace the potential for positive change and are looking forward to helping build a stronger, more inclusive Vancouver.

Have a Great Meal, Help a Great Cause!

Hey folks!
Come on out to Lapellah, and join me when I go for a late dinner around 8pm.

Owner Brad Root is doing a great thing and donating 100% of today's lunch and dinner proceeds to the Free Clinic.

So head over to Roots, Lapellah and/or 360 Pizzeria.

Have an amazingly good meal, support a local business, and help one of our community's stellar non-profits. And if you can't join us for dinner tonight, try to get to one of these spots for lunch!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Press Conference/Rally with Vancouver Police Officers Guild and Moms for Leavitt

Join us at noon on Monday!

We'll be having a short press conference outside City Hall at noon Monday.

Ryan Martin, President of the Vancouver Police Officers' Guild, and other Guild members (all off-duty!), will be joining us to talk about why they are endorsing me for Mayor of Vancouver.

As the saying goes, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. And for Vancouver, it's time to more forward!

We need a police force and fire department that have the resources to do their jobs and be PROactive instead of REactive.

We need a City Council that has the leadership to ask tough questions when it comes to budgeting and priorities.

We need a Mayor who actually understands business and can foster a climate that helps our local businesses, of all sizes, succeed and thrive.

We need a Mayor who will stand up to the status-quo forces that are pressuring Clark County commuters to pay the majority share of costs for an interstate bridge.

And most of all, we need a Mayor who fosters a spirit of collaboration and communication in our community — someone who listens to our citizens even when they disagree, and who works to build relationships, instead of tearing them apart.

I look forward to serving as your Mayor, and to working with City Council to make our government accountable to the people we are elected to serve. For too long, we have been dictated to instead of engaged, and we are now seeing the desperate machinations of a man who approaches his office as a right, rather than a privilege.

This has been a long, tough battle and I suspect that in the coming week we will only see my opposition grow uglier and fiercer in their attempts to scare you. Even as their campaign digs deeper and deeper into the mud, we will continue to engage you on the issues, not scare tactics.

Please, if you can, join us on Monday afternoon for a brief press conference and rally. The Vancouver Police Officers' Guild will speak about their support for me, you'll hear from a mother who is supporting me, and we'll take the opportunity to de-bunk some of the lies my opponent has been circulating.

If it's clear out, we'll be on the steps at City Hall. If it's raining, we'll be under the overhang.

Thanks once again for your support.

Please call 10 friends and remind them to vote, forward this message, and tell people why you are supporting Leavitt for Mayor: A Better Idea for Vancouver's Future.

We can do better. And starting November 4, we WILL!