Live chat transcript: Vancouver City Council candidate Bart Hansen

By Libby Clark, Columbian Web Editor

Published:

 

Vancouver City Council candidate Bart Hansen took some time on Tuesday to field questions from Columbian.com users.

The chat touched on a variety of topics, including the CRC, the possible biomass plant in downtown Vancouver and the subject of public/private partnerships. Here’s a transcript that's been edited for clarity.

The full transcript is also available at www.columbian.com/chat-archive/.

Libby Tucker:

For some background on the candidates for Position 4, see our recent story: http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/oct/21/wentzel-hansen-contrast-in-council-race/

Libby Tucker:

Josephine Wentzel did not respond to our invitation to participate in the chat today.

Comment From Bob Travis

I think that it's sad Libby that Ms. Wentzel did not bother to respond. While not a supporter, it would be nice to hear her views on something other than the CRC or the Gavel Down incident.

Bart Hansen:

I would like to thank the Columbian for providing this opportunity to meet with citizens of Vancouver.

Libby Tucker:

Welcome, Bart, thanks for taking the time to engage with the citizens of Vancouver on our site!

Comment From Bob Travis

Good morning Bart, thanks for being here

Bart Hansen:

Thanks Bob for joining in.

Libby Tucker:

Let's get started! Bart, will you tell us a little about who you are and why you're running for City Council?

Bart Hansen:

I am a life long resident of Vancouver and wanted to do more for my community. My education and background are a great fit for representing the citizens - especially young, working families.

Libby Tucker:

And this isn't your first race. How long have you been on the council and/or run for the position?

Bart Hansen:

I also have priorities that I want to protect, such as public safety and the other core essential services.

Bart Hansen:

I have been on Council for almost two years. This is the third year in a row that I have been running for Council. You don't run for three years unless you really want it.

Comment From Jim Rourk

Council Member Hansen, thank you for serving on council. You make a lot of difficult decisions. two items for the moment.

Comment From Jim Rourk

One Would it be possible to change the decision on the Lucky Lager building?

Bart Hansen:

Thank you for the question, Jim. The lucky Lager decision was made before my time. We, as a Council, can ask for further study. As far as changing the decision, it is not within our power.

Bart Hansen:

There will be a lot of impacts with the CRC project and we will all that we can to ensure our citizen's voices are being heard.

Libby Tucker:

Part two of Jim Rourk's question: Would it be possible to relocate the biomass plant elsewhere? The downtown area seems to me, to be a poor location for such a process. Thank you

Bart Hansen:

The original plans advocated to have the plant in Chelatchie Prairie. I am seriously concerned about plans to locate it in downtown Vancouver. If the county would like to evaluate other locations in the county, I would be open to that as well.

Libby Tucker:

Bart, how can you ensure that the citizens are heard on the CRC project? (One reader asked last night about allowing a citizen vote.)

Bart Hansen:

Meeting with the Department of Transportation and expressing our concerns as a Council is one way. The DOT has now increased their public outreach after hearing the Council's concerns. This process has been going on for over a decade. Now that we are getting closer to the Record of Decision, it is vital that we continue this dialogue with the DOT.

Bart Hansen:

Great question about having the vote. This is a state and federal project that is going to have a direct impact on multiple surrounding counties. It would be difficult to have a vote and incorporate all the affected counties. We've brought up this question in the past and have been informed that it is not legal.

Comment From Bob Travis

Bart, as election day approaches, give us a status update on you feel the race is going? Are you feeling confident?

Bart Hansen:

The race is going great! Whenever I'm running for office, as I have in the last three years, I go at 100%. I do that because I'm here to represent all Vancouver. I feel confident because I have maintained a positive race.

Comment From Dee Little

Are you saying that you support the people's being shut out of the process, and will your vote be in line with the will of the people?

Bart Hansen:

Thanks for the question, Dee Little. The people's voice has not been shut out. There has been over a decade of public process. We have been advocating for more public input from the DOT. I'm not sure what vote you are referring to.

Comment From Dee Little

thank you for your reply. if the people are denigrated and there is a 'gavel down' mentality in the council, then aren't they ignored?

Bart Hansen:

We as a council dealt directly with an unfortunate incident that occurred over a year ago. I don't share your belief that people are denigrated. That mentality is not on Council. We go out of our way to gather input from citizens.

I encourage public input and in fact go out of my way to hear more from the citizens. I have attended over 30 neighborhood association meetings and have brought their concerns back to Council for action.

Comment From Christina Baldisseri

Bart, beyond any of the particulars that are often debated in these races, I want to thank you particularly for being a voice for young, working families in our city. Why else is your voice unique or valuable to our City Council and what do want your children or grandchildren to remember about your impact?

Bart Hansen:

Thank you, Christina. Young working families are very important to me and as I said, I represent everyone. My work on the Children's Justice Center and Elder's Justice Center shows my devotion to the vulnerable in our community. I want my grandchildren and children to know how important it is to be part of the process. Everyone needs to contribute to this community.

Bart Hansen:

We as a council dealt directly with an unfortunate incident that occured over a year ago. I don't share your belief that people are denigrated. That mentality is not on Council. We go out of our way to gather input from citizens.

I encourage public input and in fact go out of my way to hear more from the citizens. I have attended over 30 neighborhood association meetings and have brought their concerns back to Council for action.

Comment From Dee Little

How have you voted regarding light rail?

Bart Hansen:

As a CTRAN board member I voted to authorize the Director of CTRAN to sign off on the FEIS. This did not approve light rail. It only approved that the environmental impacts had been adequately studied for this project. I will, on Council, work to make sure that the citizens get the opportunity to vote on the operations and maintenance of LRT in 2012.

Comment From Dee Little

Do you support light rail?

Bart Hansen:

Yes. I use public transportation every day and know the importance of connecting into a larger system. Alternatives in transportation have to be established now for future generations.

Comment From Harrison Lynch

Good morning Bart, thanks for speaking today! I also wanted to thank you for standing up for the entire community of Vancouver and not just a fringe group. It is a shame that Josephine didn't show up. Thank you for being a true voice of the people and for all that you have done for the community!

Bart Hansen:

Thanks, Harrison. My opponent has her reasons for not being here today.

Comment From Jim Rourk

As you know I am retired and use my time to attend performing arts, and also participate in performing arts. Do you know what the status is, or if the city is trying to help develop a performing arts center in Vancouver? And what would be the status of the money the city received form the sale of the Columbia Arts Center?

Bart Hansen:

I would love a performing arts center if the funds are available. There have been recent discussions about a center. I don't know if the current economic conditions support that effort today. The money received from the sale is still held by the city.

Comment From dimplecheek

What do you see as the best way to make sure fire station 6 stays open after the 2 year grant money is gone? -Mary Elkin

Libby Tucker:

More info on Fire Station 6: http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/oct/24/station-6-rises-from-the-ashes/

The station has been closed since Jan. 1 but will reopen Nov. 7 with a $2.3M federal grant.

Bart Hansen:

Thank you, Mary. We've begun working on the 2013 budget now. The labor negotiation process over the past few months has proven to be cost effective. 75% of the operations and maintenance budget of the city is for salaries and benefits. The only way to maintain that station, and other services for the city of Vancouver, is to address the runaway health care costs. We are achieving this and have more work to do.

Comment From John Elkin

Thank you for taking the time to communicate with the people today, something I thought your opponent was basing her campaign on, With the reopening of Fire Station 6 the clock starts ticking on a two year clock to get the city budget right to keep it open and the 13 new firefighters employed.

Bart Hansen:

Thank you, John.

Comment From Scott Roseberry

Bart, in the next year what do you see as one of the biggest hurdles Vancouver will face?

Bart Hansen:

Thanks for commenting, Scott. The biggest hurdle for any Councilmember is to balance the budget and meet the needs of our citizens. I'm also concerned about the staffing levels in our public safety. The first goal will be to find ways to maintain that staffing then followed by enhancing it.

Comment From Pam A Schwartz

What idea's do you have to get our already failing roads repaired and back into good condition?

Bart Hansen:

Great question, Pam. Transportation breaks down into four parts. First is construction, second is repaving, third is filling the potholes and fourth is sealing. The city of Vancouver will not have funds, after 2013, for capital road projects. It is time for the city to stay focused filling the potholes and sealing our roads. We have to maintain what we currently have and prioritize future projects for repaving.

Comment From Dee Little

What does the 2012 budget cover regarding the new bridge?

Bart Hansen:

Dee Little, there is nothing in the 2012 budget for the new bridge except for a little bit of staff time. It's a state and federal project. We're not spending city of Vancouver money on it.

Comment From Bob Travis

Bart, can we hear from you regarding your views on on public/private partnerships to spur economic development here in Vancouver?

Bart Hansen:

I like public private partnerships. I agree there needs to be a policy on how they are administered. The first question I ask is what was there before and what will be there after. Heritage Place was two houses and a parking lot, not bringing in a considerable amount of property tax revenue and zero sales tax. Now look at what has taken its place. It is now back on the property tax rolls and collecting sales tax.

Libby Tucker:

Thanks, Bart! Great chat.

And thanks to everyone who participated!

Bart Hansen:

Thank you Columbian for giving me this opportunity to meet with the citizens of Vancouver. If they want to learn more they should go to www.barthansen.com

Libby Tucker:

You can read more about Josephine Wentzel at http://www.electjosephine.com/

Libby Tucker:

This concludes our series of chats with City Council candidates. It was a great success and we'd love to do more of these in the future.