Vancouver Republican David Madore, a candidate for Clark County commissioner, apologized Tuesday for including a false statement in a recent mailer.
Madore claimed in bold-faced type that the incumbent, Commissioner Marc Boldt, “has doubled the size of government during his terms in office.”
Since Boldt has been in office, the county’s biennial budget has decreased from $941 million in 2005-06 to $921 million in 2011-12, said Clark County Budget Director Jim Dickman. The number of full-time equivalent county employees has dropped during that time from 1,760 to 1,640, Dickman said.
The Columbian questioned Madore on Monday about his claim that Boldt has doubled the size of government.
On Tuesday, Madore said he called Boldt and apologized for the error.
“I will also include a retraction and apology in a mailer to voters,” Madore wrote in an email. “It is not in the making of mistakes that defines our character. It is in our response to make it right when we discover that error. I will always tell the truth as best I understand it and correct any errors as soon as I discover them, because integrity and trust are founded on honesty and owning our own mistakes. My sincerest apologies for the error.”
Boldt, a Hockinson Republican, is seeking his third term representing District 2, which includes most of Vancouver east of Interstate 205 and east county.
Other District 2 candidates are Camas Democrat Roman Battan and Vancouver resident Pat Campbell, an independent.
The top two finishers in the Aug. 7 primary will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
Commissioner candidates run districtwide in the primary and countywide in the general election.
Commissioners earn $102,228 a year.
The flier also shows Madore posing on his bicycle next to a sign reading, “Discover Pass Required.” The Discover Pass was created last year by state lawmakers — not county lawmakers — as a user fee to help keep state parks open.
The county started charging for parking at four county parks — Frenchman’s Bar Park, Lewisville Park, Salmon Creek Park/Klineline Pond and Vancouver Lake Park — in the early 1990s and relies on the user fees to help pay for park maintenance. Money from the general fund accounts for 67 percent of the parks maintenance budget.
Madore said he posed next to the Discover Pass sign because the county built the mile-long Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Trail, but users have to pay $10 to park at Battle Ground Lake State Park to access the trail. When work started on the project, the idea for charging to park at state parks had not come up.
Madore said commissioners should have provided free parking for the trail.
Commissioners tried to get a few free spaces from the state, but the state wouldn’t go for it.
Heath Henderson, engineering and construction manager for Clark County Public Works, said commissioners are expected to approve a deal in a few weeks to buy three parking spaces from the state that will be reserved for trail users.
Madore had some of his own questions about the claims on a mailer sent out by Boldt’s campaign.
Boldt claimed that he “held property taxes below 1 percent while balancing the budget — for all budget cycles.”
That “below” should be “at or below,” said Dickman. In 2005, ’10 and ’11 the increase was below 1 percent, but from 2006 to 2009 the increase was 1 percent, Dickman said.
Last year, commissioners agreed not to raise taxes.
Boldt’s flier also said that he “fought for your chance to vote on light rail and his recorded vote is for no tolls.”
The November ballot will include a measure to increase local sales tax by 0.1 percent to pay for the operation of a light-rail extension into Vancouver, planned as part of the Columbia River Crossing project. It would also help fund a proposed bus rapid transit line on the city’s Fourth Plain corridor.
The public vote was supposed to be last year, Madore said. He said voters were promised that a “no” vote would kill the project; now, officials say a “no” vote just means they will find other funding.
Boldt couldn’t be reached for comment, but his campaign manager, Lisa Schmidt, said he has supported putting the funding proposal to a vote.
“In that respect, he has kept his word,” she said.
Boldt did vote against tolls and light rail at a 2008 meeting of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council’s Board of Directors, but he was in the minority, according to meeting records.
Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or firstname.lastname@example.org