Vancouver City Councilor Pat Campbell is finishing his first term with two challengers in the Aug. 16 primary for his seat: Anne McEnerny-Ogle and Bill Turlay.
Turlay, a retired commercial pilot, and McEnerny-Ogle, a retired mathematics teacher, are familiar faces on the campaign trail, both losing their first bids for a city council position in 2009 (Turlay lost to Bart Hansen, McEnerny-Ogle to Jeanne Harris). They said they’ve learned much since their first runs and are ready to try again.
■ Who: Vancouver city councilor, retired community corrections officer.
■ Age: 66.
■ Experience: Washington Trails Association; Coastal Conservation Association; Sierra Club member; former member of several Christian denominations including involvement in Elijah House prayer counseling; past president of AFSCME Local 53; past elected Republican precinct officer and both Republican and Democratic candidate for state representative.
■ Endorsements: Does not seek endorsements.
■ Money raised: Does not accept contributions.
■ Website: patservesus.com
■ Who: Retired public school mathematics teacher and college instructor.
■ Age: 57.
■ Experience: Vancouver Planning Commission, 2002 – 2007; Chairwoman of Shumway Neighborhood Association, 1995 – present; Chairwoman of Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance, 2009 – present; Vice President of the Clark County Historical Society, 2010 – present; candidate for Vancouver City Council, 2009; member of I-5 Transportation and Trade Partnership Task Force, 2000-2002; and Scoutmaster for Boy Scouts of America, 2008 – present.
■ Endorsements: Vancouver Police Officers’ Guild; Vancouver Firefighters Union; National Women’s Political Caucus; Friends of Fire Station 6.
■ Money raised: $5,367.
■ Top/Notable Contributors: Vancouver Firefighters Union, $1,600; Lisa Ghormley, $300; Jesse Magana, $100.
■ Who: Retired, U.S. Navy; commerce aviation; beverage broker; small-business owner.
■ Age: 75.
■ Experience: Fort Vancouver Kiwanis; United Way; Military Officers Association of America; Red River Fighterpilots Association; Navy Crusader Network; the Skyhawk Association; Forum at the Library Steering Committee; and Lutheran Church.
■ Endorsements: Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver; Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland; former NFL tight end Clint Didier; Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver; Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke; David and Donna Madore.
■ Money raised: $5,510.
■ Top/Notable Contributors: David and Donna Madore, $1,600; Elton and Susan Parker of McLean, Va., $1,000; Tom and Carmen Mielke, $100.
■ Website: turlay4citycouncil.com
Campbell, a retired community corrections officer, had said when he ran in 2006 that he was interested in serving one four-year term on the city council, but has since found his job isn’t yet done.
The three candidates share views on several hot-button issues. None is in favor of using a 5 percent admissions tax to build a baseball stadium at Clark College; none favors building a biomass plant downtown.
But on the Columbia River Crossing, the candidates represent a spectrum. Turlay said he’s adamantly against light rail and the rest of the plans for a new Interstate 5 bridge and highway improvements. Campbell said he supports plans as they are now. McEnerny-Ogle said she’s waiting for a citizens’ vote on a sales tax for operations and maintenance of light rail before making her call.
The two candidates who advance from the primary election will vie for a spot on a seven-person council tasked with finding ways to fix the city’s budget. Vancouver has slashed $16 million from its general fund over the last two years, putting services at the level they were in 1998, when the city had 24,000 fewer people.
Spending cuts, taxes and other ways to generate revenue are a big part of the job.
McEnerny-Ogle, who has been chairwoman of the Shumway Neighborhood Association for 16 years, said it’s time to comb over every tax and what it is or isn’t being used for.
“I expect them to bring all of the taxes out on the table: admissions, lodging and the B&O (business and occupation) tax,” she said. “We’re at the point where we need to look at every single tax and where it’s going.”
Turlay said he believes a free market is the solution to local and national budget woes. The city should hire professional fundraisers, he said, to ask businesses and others to donate for needed improvements, he said.
“Is it better to draw those people in, or is it better to tax your local economy?” he asked.
Campbell said he supports paying for the “absolute essentials,” and right now, that’s a bond to beef up crumbling fire stations and other city buildings.
“Looks like we’re whittling it down,” he said. “If we do take something to the voters, it will probably be a public safety capital construct bond for fire stations and building or hardening an operations center.”
Council members are paid $1,781 a month for their part-time public-service positions.
The candidates gave their top three issues, in their words:
• City Budget: We must continue to intelligently refine and adjust budget to the rapidly changing economy.
• Capital improvements: We need to ask the voters to support replacing deficient fire stations, the public works ops center, and water towers with earthquake resistant construction.
• Continue police reform process: VPD management needs ongoing backing by Council.
• Public safety and economics: These two issues are tied closely together with priority budgeting in order for us to have a safe and secure community involving police and fire. It’s our legal obligation.
• Infrastructure: Transportation projects including a new bridge and light rail, if supported by a citizen vote, are integral to our quality of life and economic growth. I’m committed to keeping our taxes low with an efficient government and to planning our community’s economic and infrastructure future by working with our current business owners and citizens.
• Neighborhood livability: We need council members that work with the neighborhoods, businesses and the citizens to protect our Pacific Northwest values. Potential employers and businesses are more likely to come to safer locations with a good quality of life that includes peaceful neighborhoods with parks and greenspaces.
• Debt: Annually Vancouver spends about $10 million interest on debt servicing. We cannot invest in our future by “borrowing” from parks, police, fire, and infrastructure thus jeopardizing these basic core services.
• Choices: Difficult economic times demand projects are prioritized according to Need not Want.
• Columbia River Crossing: Vancouver needs at least 3 new bridges, but it doesn’t need light rail or bridge tolls. I do not support building a new bridge if it means adding light rail and tolls.