Wanted: Vancouver leadership
Statement of values.
Respect for others and their opinions.
Joy in serving others.
Education (formal or self-taught).
Recent postings in the “general community” section of Craigslist include pleas for a pig farmer, foreign exchange student hosts and any tips related to the death of Possum, a 10-year-old cat that was run over on St. Johns Road.
Then, nestled among the usual mishmash of ads, there’s this gem: “Mayor and City Council Positions (Vancouver).”
The ad reads, “In our hometown, we have a serious shortage of truly competent and ethical leaders. Such leaders are typically busy people and are highly reluctant to endure the heavy strain of the campaign process. That includes being misrepresented by the opposition and a biased media.”
The ad was posted by “a nonpartisan group of local citizens dedicated to solving this problem.” It promises “volunteer and financial resources.”
No names are listed on the ad.
The ad has some unintended hilarity, be it of sinister (the last three digits of the phone number are 666) or overly paranoid nature. (The contact email ends in hush.com, and Hushmail touts privacy and unlimited email aliases).
Not surprisingly, a call from The Columbian to the number — 360-921-8666 — went unanswered this morning, and the outgoing message simply says “candidates for Vancouver” is unavailable. A search shows that phone number was registered to a company that sells prepaid cellphones.
The ad lists all four positions up for re-election this year. The seats are occupied by Mayor Tim Leavitt and Councilors Jack Burkman, Jeanne Stewart and Jeanne Harris.
Nobody has publicly announced plans to run against either Leavitt or Burkman.
Ty Stober, an initiative manager for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, has said he’ll run against Stewart.
Anne McEnerny-Ogle, chairwoman of the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance, has said she’ll run against Harris.
Galina Burley, a human services manager for Clackamas County, Ore., has said she’ll run but hasn’t said whether it’ll be against Stewart or Harris.
According to the Craigslist ad, which was posted April 24, the anonymous group’s objective “is to significantly change the impact and strain of a campaign on the candidates for any Clark County position — and in turn attract more-qualified candidates. We want nothing in return — other than wise steward leadership that truly builds the strength of our community.”
Qualifications, according to the group, include a “statement of values,” “respect for others and their opinions” and “joy in serving others.”
Education may be “formal or self-taught,” so long as the person has capital-W “Wisdom” and capital-I “Integrity.”
Of course, all of this could be a capital-J “Joke.”
An email query about the identity of the person or people who placed the ad yielded this response: “Hi Stephanie, Thank you for your inquiry. It’s exciting that you are interested in local politics. Many great reporters have turned out to be memorable politicians (Lew Fredericks and Stephen Colbert).”
The email continued: “Hopefully you will hear the calling. Hopefully you will run for mayor or council. By throwing away the Selectric (typewriter) and picking up a copy of Winston Churchill’s The Dream, you begin the honorable journey that enlightens not only yourself, but those beneath you. It will be an honor to support and guide you to the center seat in chambers.”
Oh wait, it gets better: “Simply send us your résumé and a brief explanation of the term ‘Ways and Means’, along with a recent photo. This is a very popular job and we expect many responses. Don’t miss out. Act fast. This is a limited-time offer.”
The author signed off with this: “(As always, follow all Craigslist rules and don’t be scammed.) It’s best that we meet in a public place during daylight hours.”
On a serious note, filing week at the Clark County Elections Office is May 13 -17.
Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.