Looks like the gloves are coming off in the race for mayor of America’s Vancouver, which pits city council member Tim Leavitt against veteran incumbent Royce Pollard.
From The Columbian:
Vancouver mayoral candidate Tim Leavitt has missed “an outrageous” 16 elections over the past 10 years, including primary elections in 2008 and 2006 and general elections in 2002, 2000, 1999 and 1998, according to a review of voting records by the Vancouver Firefighters Union. Leavitt doesn’t dispute missing the votes, but says it has nothing to do with his ability to serve as mayor.
And an IBEW political action committee, PAC 48, has put up a little web site in honor of Leavitt called “Stop Lying Tim Leavitt.” Nothing subtle about that.
Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian had an interesting little post today concerning a $15,000 donation made to an Oregon IBEW committee from wealthy Clark County resident David Nierenberg, who has given mightily to all sorts of Democrats, philanthropic causes and his former boss Mitt Romney. From Jeff Mapes on Politics:
As it happens, though, the PAC operated by Local 48 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on the same day – Sept. 23 – gave $30,000 to PAC 48 of Washington. That PAC is also operated by the union, but it operates across the river where many of the union’s members are located.
So it appears Nierenberg is coming in big in support of long-time incumbent Royce Pollard. Well, $15,000 isn’t really big money for a guy like Nierenberg, but in a Vancouver mayor’s race it’s still a decent chunk of change. (Full blogger ethics panel disclosure: I knew Nierenberg from a campaign group called Evergreen Citizens for Schools from roughly 1998-2002. While he would probably take a phone call from me, I haven’t spoken to him for several years.)
Chris at Politics is a Blood Sport has a pretty straight-forward take on Nierenberg’s involvement:
David Nierenberg contributes to causes and candidates that he believes will benefit the region. While there’s little agreement from this little blog about the benefits of a Mitt Romney, there’s a wide range of agreement on other candidates Nierenberg has backed over the years.
Pollard is truly in the fight of his political life, and he’ll need all the help he can get from IBEW Local 48 and others if he is to succeed. What may have started as a simple off-year mayoral race is turning into a referendum on the new bridge, light rail, and the overall direction of Vancouver for years to come.
Leavitt has mounted a serious challenge to Pollard, that’s for sure, but he’s done it by exploiting economic uncertainty and trying to have it both ways on tolling when it comes to the CRC project that would build a new bridge on I-5 between Vancouver and Portland. A lot of Leavitt’s rhetoric is that same old “waste fraud abuse” stuff, burbbling about government being run like a business, etc. You know the type.
There isn’t going to be a new bridge without tolls; the Congressional delegations know it, Oregon officials remind us of it repeatedly, and at least Royce Pollard faced up to this basic fact a long time ago. Leavitt can try to finesse the issue all he wants, but he’s built a campaign by capitalizing on the issue and if elected mayor, it would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, for him to endorse tolling. In essence, the bridge project would most likely be doomed.
There’s a great irony in all this. Leavitt is the preferred candidate of the local BIAW chapter, whose members presumably would benefit from improvements in transportation between Clark County and Portland. In a conventional political world like the ones in political science textbooks, the bidness guys and gals from the BIAW would get behind the moderately conservative, pro-business incumbent who wants to make it easier for people to live and shop in their city. But the conventional, tidy views of politics that still find voice in newspapers and on NPR exist only in some imaginary pony land. In the real world, conservatives pull out all the stops, on every issue, from the top to the bottom, and with control of both Clark County and the City of Vancouver within their reach, they’re not bloody likely to let up now, and they’re not at all sentimental about all the good things Royce Pollard has done over the years, either for them or the community at large.
I don’t know who the BIAW thinks buys their warranty-free houses, or rather will buy them again if the economy recovers from the international financial larceny made possible by the same neo-liberal ideology that informs every action of the right, and a fair portion of the “left.”
The BIAW long ago gave up any pretense of being interested in anything other than ultra-conservative ideology and gutting government for the sheer hell of it. It’s not a bug, it’s a design feature. If Leavitt becomes mayor, Vancouver might as well change its name to “Vista, Washington.”