Letters published Oct. 4, 2019
Time to fire Witt
There comes a time when enough is enough and you must cut ties. The time is way past due for Columbia County to cut ties with Democratic Rep. Brad Witt. I have just gone over Witt's voting record clear back to 2009 and encourage you to do the same; he has done absolutely nothing for the people of this county and needs to be fired in 2020.
The fact is, Witt seems to favor illegal invaders, criminals, nanny policies, public employee unions, legislation that violates your rights, killing jobs and businesses, and the disenfranchisement of voters instead of his employers — you.
Witt says he didn't vote for the cap-and-trade bill, but he neglects to tell you that he voted "no" five times on sending it to five different committees to slow it down or kill it. Hmm. Oh, and by the way, since Witt didn't vote for cap-and-trade, he now says he has a better cap-and-trade bill ... is that like a better communism? He's found a better way to steal and redistribute the fruits of our labor?
Brad has been very vocal that he is a believer in the religion of global warming, he pretends to "not vote on cap-and-trade" when he thinks it benefits him.
The Legislature spit on the voters by passing driver licenses for illegal invaders that voters had already voted down twice; Witt did not vote for this, but he sponsored two bills in the past that did basically the same thing, the last one in 2018 ... tactical. Witt voted to steal your kicker. He voted "yes" on the job-killing hidden sales tax HB 3427. He voted "yes" on the forced vaccination bill that would destroy religious liberty. He voted to violate the Constitution and your rights by helping pass the law that would give our electoral votes to the national popular vote winner ... dangerous. Witt runs around saying he is a hunter and pro-gun rights, but he voted "yes" on the confiscation expansion bill SB 4145, and I have audio of him wanting to pass illegal gun laws that covered several that were in SB 978, the dangerous anti-gun bill that would have made most law-abiding people of this state into felons. We only beat that one because the Republican senators walked out leaving no quorum.
Time to fire Witt. Brad does not represent you, he only represents himself. If you are a criminal, an illegal immigrant or a public union, he might go to bat for you. Witt is pro big government, pro voter suppression, anti-business, anti-gun rights, anti-religious liberty, and anti-American. Let's fire Witt in 2020 and replace him with Brian Stout, someone who will represent you, not himself.
Not feeling the spirit of Halloweentown
Saturday morning, Sept. 28, I drove to the downtown area of St. Helens to meet my daughter. At the junction of First and St. Helens streets I was stopped by barriers. There were no warnings or apparent reason for the barriers and no signs from the police department.
So, I took a left to pass through the Columbia County Courthouse parking lot. I encountered more barriers and again no signs. I put my car in park, got out and moved one barrier in order to pass through. I drove down Strand Street to Cowlitz.
I pulled into a parking spot at the same time a United States Post Office vehicle pulled up across the street. I spoke with the post office worker who appeared rather amazed at the barriers because, as he stated, "It is against federal law for anyone or anything to interfere with the delivery of the U.S. mail" and a report would be made.
I did not have my cell phone with me so when I headed home I stopped at the St. Helens Police Department station. The door was locked so I rang the buzzer. The buzzer was answered by Central Dispatch, which informed me no one was in the building — they were all out on call. Dispatch offered to call an officer if I would wait there. I wasn't about to wait in front of the police station so I went home.
An officer later called me and appeared to know nothing about the barriers and would investigate.
The barriers remained up during the entire day, with no instruction for alternative routes and no indication as to why they were there in the first place. There was one sign marked "parking" with an arrow pointing up St. Helens Street.
According to businesses and restaurants in the downtown area, the barriers were devastating to their sales and they had no prior warning from the city.
As it appears to have turned out, apparently Tina Curry-Cannard — owner of E2C Corp., resident of Vancouver, Washington, and event director for the city of St. Helens with whom she has a contract for $120,000 per year — was planning a Fairy Festival and a practice session for Spirit of Halloweentown, as she freely admitted to a local businessman.
Unfortunately for Curry-Cannard, no more than a handful of people showed up for the "festival." The barriers were down later that evening and not put back up on Sunday. The people of St. Helens, however, must once again contend with the Styrofoam Stonehenge, the plastic tents and, in particular, the rusted old green panel truck which was left on the public property for six months after the last Spirit of Halloweentown.
And nobody from the city of St. Helens said no. Apparently, we now know who runs St. Helens.
I have the results from the public information request form I filed last week. I wanted to know the owner and the price of the metal sculpted tree on display at the totally devastated public land adjacent to Strand Street in St. Helens. I had asked for this same information two years ago and, even with the help of the district attorney, I did not receive it.
I received an email from a worker at the city informing me she was instructed to forward that request form to the city's financial director — Matt Brown.
Brown then sent an email, which I included in last week's published letter, and I now reiterate - "Events like Halloweentown and others managed by E2C should be self-sustainable, meaning they bring in enough revenue to cover their costs. That is the goal of every event. The E2C contract is paid solely by the Visitor Tourism Fund along with all expenses that are 100% tourism related."
With the lack of ticket purchase last weekend for the fairy festival at the cost of $15 per person, or the complete tour package at $49 per person, it is doubtful E2C will have the funds to meet the "goal" of this event and to reimburse the city for sand, gravel, city equipment and personnel. Who do you suppose will get stuck with that bill? Let me guess: It will be the taxpayers.
On Monday, Sept. 30, I received a call from Lisa Scholl, deputy recorder for the city of St. Helens. She informed me that Brown had instructed her to call to let me know that the metal tree was originally purchased by E2C owner, Curry-Cannard, who was then reimbursed by the city of St. Helens. According to Scholl, the city retains ownership.
However, according to Scholl, because of the many, many invoices received by Mr. Brown from E2C, he has no idea how much the tree cost or on what invoice it might appear.
There is no doubt this metal tree cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. One could surmise that a person with accounting and financial training would be very unlikely to forget this particular item. Once again, I and the taxpayers of the city of St. Helens are being stonewalled by Brown and City Director John Walsh.
I am so sickened and embarrassed by the inappropriate lack of leadership by the people elected to manage my home town. Maybe we should all get on the impeachment bandwagon.
Reject CC Rider tax
According to the current CC Rider bylaws its purpose is to enhance local and regional public transit services provided within Columbia County. I presume "local" means the public transit of residents within the city where they live, and "regional" to be the transit of county residents between the communities within the county, i.e. Clatskanie to Rainier or Scappoose to St. Helens. Yet, at the August Transit Committee meeting, Columbia County Commissioner Henry Heimuller stated that even if the ballot fails they will continue funding the Portland route.
I consider Longview, Washington, across the bridge from the city of Rainier to be regional. But Portland, in the heart of the Tri-Met region? Are you kidding? If operating correctly, TriMet would have a park-and-ride lot halfway to St. Helens, at Cornelius Pass Road, so that CC Rider commuters could transfer to the bus of their choice travelling to Portland or Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus.
I will not support a transit system that mainly caters to a dedicated 100 Portland commuters or spends $95 for dial-a-ride services while thousands of our neighbors drive to Portland and 100 or more walk to and from shopping at local stores.
And I absolutely detest creating a transit district which opens a backdoor to my bank account for the county commissioners to fund their pet project. What is wrong with going to the voters every two or three years for funding approval? They might say no, and like spoiled children the county commissioners don't want to be told no.
Vote no on Ballot Measure 5-277 in November.
What is Riverkeeper's agenda?
There are a number of mysteries to solve in Columbia County in the waning months of 2019. Chief among them is why, after every one of Columbia Riverkeeper's environmental questions and objections to NEXT Renewable Fuels locating in Columbia County has been answered and refuted, is Columbia Riverkeeper not welcoming NEXT's Renewable Fuels Advanced Green Diesel here?
Columbia Riverkeeper filled local papers with objections to "filthy coal trains covering our communities with coal dust" and then fears of exploding oil trains spontaneously combusting next to schools taking the lives of children. NEXT representatives explained to them in town hall meetings that their product is used cooking and vegetable oils that have been recycled into a second-generation biofuel to replace diesel.
Columbia Riverkeeper warned of miles-long trains either careening dangerously, or creeping safely but endlessly, through our towns, cutting off firefighters or police responding to emergencies. NEXT Renewable Fuels explained that their product will be barged in and out. Riverkeeper raised a specter of fiscal irresponsibility of NEXT Renewable Fuels. Port staff investigated those allegations. All proved to be false. NEXT Renewable Fuels answered every Riverkeeper accusation. Yet, the Columbia Riverkeeper, who unseated good long-serving Commissioners on these accusations, refused to vote in favor of NEXT Renewable Fuels locating here.
Bottom line: The carbon dioxide gas savings created by NEXT Renewable Fuels will be equivalent to removing more than 1 million automobiles from the road.
The mystery to solve: If Columbia Riverkeeper's goals are what they claim, why are not those Port of Columbia County commissioners backed by Columbia Riverkeeper welcoming NEXT Renewable Fuels into Columbia County? What is Riverkeeper's true agenda?
Columbia County GOP Communication Director
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.