Boldt flap prompts two to quit GOP board

Holmberg, Van Dinter say punishment unfair

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

Updated: March 29, 2012, 10:24 AM

 
photoTroy Van Dinter
photoBrandon Vick

Two members of the Clark County GOP’s executive board have resigned over the board’s treatment of Republican Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt.

Nelson Holmberg, the executive director of the Port of Woodland, and Troy Van Dinter, a former La Center City councilor, said Wednesday they resigned before Tuesday’s meeting, during which Boldt asked, without success, for the board to lift penalties against him.

Holmberg and Van Dinter were not on the board late last year, when the board punished Boldt for making decisions with which they did not agree.

The ongoing sanctions mean that at Saturday’s GOP convention at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, all local Republican candidates are welcome to give a three-minute speech except Boldt. The sanctions also mean he won’t receive any financial support from the party or have access to resources such as mailing lists.

Brandon Vick, party chairman, said Wednesday that the board decided to create a seven-member committee that will come up with specific goals for Boldt to meet before the board will consider lifting the sanctions.

Vick said examples of goals could be attending more Republican functions and a greater acknowledgement of the party’s platform.

Both Holmberg and Van Dinter, however, said they didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting because pre-meeting emails exchanged among board members made it clear that the sanctions were not going to be lifted.

“That made it pretty intimidating,” Holmberg said.

They support Boldt, a Hockinson resident who served five terms as a 17th District state representative before becoming a county commissioner. Boldt has gone seven-for-seven in races for the Republican party, and he’s seeking his third term on the Board of County Commissioners.

Boldt acknowledges that he has become more moderate from his days in Olympia. He’s said that if he and Democratic Commissioner Steve Stuart didn’t work out compromises, nothing would ever get accomplished and that he believes there’s a difference between being elected by the party and governing for everyone.

Boldt said Wednesday that he’s inclined not to attend Saturday’s convention, saying that it would be awkward.

Boldt answered questions from the executive board for about 90 minutes Tuesday, then left and the board deliberated for a few hours.

“I’ll just wait and see what (the committee) comes up with and go from there,” Boldt said.

Party divided

Holmberg and Van Dinter, who became executive board members in January, said they were asked by Vick to join the board because they are moderates and Vick wanted some balance.

“I thought it was flattering to be asked to join,” Holmberg said.

He said it didn’t take too long to discover that some members of the board are extremely right-wing and refuse to even consider another point of view.

Van Dinter said he resigned “because it wasn’t a good fit.”

“Nelson and I talked about it,” said Van Dinter, who works as a controller for Skyward Construction in Ridgefield.

Van Dinter said it wasn’t enjoyable or worth his time or energy to try and make a difference on the board.

Part of leadership, Holmberg said, “is to know when to step away instead of beating your head against the wall.”

Both men said they’ve heard from other Republicans who are upset.

“It has definitely divided the party,” Van Dinter said. “It’s bad enough to have Republicans versus Democrats. We shouldn’t have Republicans versus Republicans.”

Vick said Wednesday that Holmberg and Van Dinter were not appointed because they are moderates.

He said he thought their experience and leadership within the community would be a welcome addition to the board.

“I was sorry to see them resign as they are great people, and great friends,” Vick wrote in an email. “They did not express to me that they were resigning due to the sanction.”

Vick said earlier that the members of the board when the decision was made to sanction Boldt were: himself, Stephanie McClintock, Ryan Hart, Nancy DeLeo, Anna Miller, Sharon Long, Michael Cummins, Mary Graham and Kelly Stoner. Vick said the decision was not unanimous.

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, 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 unsustainable 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 funding.

If commissioners hadn’t approved the increase, CRESA would have laid off 10 dispatchers.

Boldt, 57, has two challengers so far in his bid to keep representing District 2, which includes parts of Vancouver east of Interstate 205 and the rest of east county. Vancouver businessman David Madore, 60, and Camas resident Roman Battan, 31, a Democrat, have said they will run.

The top two finishers in the Aug. 7 districtwide primary, regardless of political affiliation, will run countywide in the Nov. 6 general election.

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.