Clark County Commissioner David Madore, on his first official day in office on Wednesday, asked fellow commissioners Tom Mielke and Steve Stuart if he could take a look at the county books in an effort to try and find savings.
Clark County Commissioner, District 2 candidates
Money raised: $9,831.
Money raised: $25,110.
Money raised: $1,576.
Money raised: $98,792.
Marc Boldt, a Hockinson Republican seeking his third term on the Board of Clark County Commissioners, knows where to find some of his biggest critics. They serve on the executive board of the Clark County Republican Party.
Boldt, who served in the state Legislature before being elected in 2004 to the county commission, was disciplined last year for making decisions with which the executive board didn't agree. The party has endorsed anti-Columbia River Crossing activist and third-bridge proponent David Madore to represent District 2.
Boldt, who has acknowledged that he's become more moderate since his days in Olympia, said after he was sanctioned that he was disappointed but, "I think there's a difference between being elected by the party and governing for everybody."
Madore, owner and chief executive officer of U.S. Digital, raised his profile in 2010 with his political action committee, NoTolls.com. Madore was the leading local donor in that fall's elections, with NoTolls.com raising approximately $180,000 for candidates who were against light rail and bridge tolls. In 2011, Madore put $95,000 into another political action committee, Save Our City.
Save Our City supported candidates including Vancouver City Councilor Bill Turlay, who ousted council incumbent Pat Campbell.
For his bid to become a county commissioner, Madore has raised $98,792, with $90,000 of it a personal contribution, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.
"I lead by example," he said of his decision to run, stressing the importance of having officials experienced in running a lean business.
The county needs to deliver services as efficiently as possible to create a business-friendly environment, he said.
Madore, who moved from California in 1990, said the state has driven out businesses with unfriendly policies.
Madore's candidacy prompted Campbell to run as an independent. he says the local Republican party has shifted too far to the right. A former Republican
precinct committee officer, Campbell said he left the party years ago because it had become too extreme.
"We have to have a government that functions, especially at the local level," Campbell said. "Things have to work."
Democrat Roman Battan shares Madore's concern about county efficiency and making sure the priority remains delivering basic public services.
Battan questioned the county owning the 33-mile Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, for example. While current commissioners see the railroad as an attraction for businesses, Battan said perhaps money spent managing the railroad could be better used to develop infrastructure to make land for potential employment shovel-ready.
Among Boldt's priorities if re-elected would be the rural comprehensive plan and shifting focus back to the rural centers and continuing work on the Aging Readiness Plan so the county can accommodate the "silver tsunami" of baby boomers.
Campbell would ask Clark County Administrator Bill Barron about priorities.
Elected officials give input, but the person who knows best how to proceed is often the administrator, Campbell said.
Barron oversees day-to-day county government operations, but the three commissioners set policy.
Republican Commissioner Tom Mielke is also up for re-election. Commissioner Steve Stuart, a Democrat, was re-elected two years ago.
District 2 covers east county, including most of Vancouver east of Interstate 205.
Candidates run districtwide in the Aug. 7 primary. The top two finishers will advance to the Nov. 6 general election, where they will run countywide.
Commissioners currently earn $102,228 a year.
Madore said he will return 20 percent of his salary to the county.
While commissioners typically do not have outside jobs, Madore said he will be "more than committed and available" for public service despite owning a multimillion-dollar company that has 117 employees, as well as a website, Couv.com.
"I've been blessed with a great leadership team," Madore said of U.S. Digital.
When asked about the decision to sue the federal government over allowing the Cowlitz Indian Tribe to take 152 acres into trust west of La Center, Boldt said allowing a casino on land zoned for agricultural use was in conflict with the state Growth Management Act. A decision by a U.S. District Court judge could come later this year.
Madore said he doesn't have access to the information commissioners relied on when they decided to sue, but in general does not support the idea of a casino in Clark County. Battan understood why the county sued, but if the county loses, he would carefully consider the reasoning behind the ruling before appealing.
Campbell said the lawsuit is a waste of money.
The sanctions against Boldt mean he hasn't received any financial support from the party or had access to resources such as mailing lists.
Former chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, Brandon Vick, has said that the members of the board when the decision was made to sanction Boldt were himself, current chairwoman Stephanie McClintock, Ryan Hart, Nancy DeLeo, Anna Miller, Sharon Long, Michael Cummins, Mary Graham and Kelly Stoner. Vick said the decision was not unanimous. Two members who joined the board after Boldt had been sanctioned, Nelson Holmberg and Troy Van Dinter, resigned in March after the board refused to lift the sanctions because they felt Boldt was treated unfairly.
Among the reasons cited for the sanctions: Boldt endorsed Stuart in 2010; Boldt was chairman of the C-Tran Board of Directors when the public approved a local sales tax increase to maintain basic bus service; and Boldt refused to promise to the executive board, a week before a public hearing on an admissions tax to help build a baseball stadium, that he would vote no (he ended up not supporting the proposal).
Also last year, Boldt and Stuart voted to increase the county 911 monthly excise tax from 50 cents to 70 cents to fix Clark Regional Emergency Service Agency's budget. The budget problem was due in part to the fact that commissioners weren't charging the maximum rate of 70 cents, which resulted in the state withholding money.
If commissioners hadn't approved the increase, CRESA said it would have laid off 10 dispatchers.
Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.