Ever since Vancouver, Washington Council Member Jeanne Stewart stood up for the citizens of Vancouver and cast the vote to grant citizens a vote on funding light rail from Portland, Oregon into the community, she has come under fire from Mayor Tim Leavitt. The latest being a comment made and quoted by the Columbian newspaper, accusing her of "pandering."
"With exception of one pandering Council Member (who previously voted in support of a replacement bridge and light rail transit), I have no reason to believe that the Vancouver City Council has an inclination to reverse direction from its decision of 2.5 years ago."Four citizens stood up at the April 25, 2011 City Council Meeting in her defense. Not one other council member defended her, much to their shame.
September 9, 2009 on his blogsite Tim Leavitt put up campaigning, he wrote a post "Continuing to stand up for the Residents of Vancouver and Clark County"
"Portland Mayor Sam Adams insisted that from his perspective, no tolls means no project."On August 7, 2009 Tim Leavitt wrote in his blog post "OREGONIAN Editorial Board Out of Touch--Tolls are Unnecessary and Unjust!"
"I made it perfectly clear that I have no intention of rolling over on tolls." "Tolling is an extremely regressive tax. Whether one has an income of $10,000 or $100,000, everyone will pay the same toll. To suggest a tolling 'credit' or 'mitigation' for the low-income is simply to admit that tolling is unfair to the working class and those of lesser financial status."
"Who is representing the hard-working families and businesses of the Portland-Metro region, and particularly SW Washington? It's certainly not the Oregonian Editorial Board. It's certainly not local elected officials, like Vancouver's current Mayor, Royce Pollard. Nor are a number of other higher-up elected officials. Nor are transplants from the east coast, who proudly proclaim that tolls are a way of life. Tolls may be a given on the other side of the country, but one of the reasons many of us are here in the west coast is because it's NOT like the east coast!"July 27, 2009 he wrote in his post, "How to Pay for a New Bridge without Breaking the Backs of Vancouver's Working Class."
"You see, it's quite easy to force an issue onto the public when you don't have to worry about facing that public every day to listen to the hardship and explain why your position just cost jobs, homes and closure of businesses. It's easy to force a matter onto the public when you have only a few months or years left in public office, and then can go into retirement and out of the public eye."
"Our current leadership has failed to create good, new jobs locally--forcing our citizens to cross the river to earn a decent wage, for the dubious privilege of paying Oregon income tax. And now, after this failure, that same incumbent leadership is saying that we need to just "accept it," and "get over it." and prepare to pay tolls."On September 14, 2009 he wrote in "Tolling is NOT the Only Answer!"
"I submit that tolls are not a foregone conclusion, and this project can be done without detrimental financial impact to our hard-working families, employers or seniors on fixed incomes."
"In the Editorial section of the September 9 Columbian, Tom Koenninger writes that tolls on the new I-5 crossing are a foregone conclusion, and insinuates that anyone who claims otherwise is a fool or a liar."Who has been "pandering," Mayor Leavitt? You have!
"Indeed, since Mr. Koenninger and the current Mayor of Vancouver, among others, have been stubbornly trying to force tolls onto our community for years now, one can hardly expect that they'd suddenly come to their senses."
"It's because of this hard-headed refusal to do what is right for our community, and to defend the very people who need it most, that I am running for Mayor. Our community really does deserve better ideas, better leadership, and a stronger commitment to our citizens."