At one point during the hourslong discussion on Clark County Commissioner David Madore’s “integrity resolution” on Tuesday, Commissioner Steve Stuart asked Madore if he was seeking “a pound of flesh” after a C-Tran vote didn’t go Madore’s way.
“That’s what you want,” Stuart said. “You want your pound of flesh.”
The comment was one of the more tense moments during the four-hour meeting of Clark County commissioners. The meeting was intended to be a discussion on Madore’s apologist resolution over a recent C-Tran vote authorizing a funding plan for a potential light-rail line in Clark County.
But through the rambling discussion, mostly between Madore, a Republican, and Stuart, a Democrat, the two commissioners clashed over the validity of recent nonbinding advisory votes, past votes taken by Stuart, and Madore’s intentions and statements related to the resolution.
The commissioners’ resolution actually in question was presented in a new draft form at the Tuesday morning meeting. In its current state, it is a far cry from the original copy provided by Madore in October that apologized for breaking faith with county residents and declared the county would notify unidentified “authorities” of its own misconduct.
In its current form, the resolution mostly states the county disagrees with the transportation project and states it will tell state and federal agencies of its concerns.
The changes irked Stuart, as he believed Madore’s original intent was to place blame on the five C-Tran board members who voted in the majority for a light-rail funding plan. Telling Madore to “choose your path,” Stuart said the first draft was an “attack” and the current draft is a hybrid between that and an anti-Columbia River Crossing resolution.
Stuart then went item-by-item through Madore’s eight-page resolution — which is nonbinding in nature, as the county has no control over the Columbia River Crossing — to point out perceived inconsistencies and errors.
Madore countered Stuart through most of the discussion, saying Stuart was voicing “general denials” and that the resolution “does not speak to the motives of anyone … this speaks to the decision.”
Madore further stated that his many references — some of which still must be added to a final draft — answer several of the questions Stuart raised.
Stuart disagreed with many of the documents in question, and spent time refuting them with documents of his own.
When Madore used the phrases “giving away the farm” and “selling out” to describe the situation, Stuart again took issue.
“(That language) is impugning the motives of people who are our colleagues,” Stuart said. “And I’d appreciate it if you’d stop it.”
While the two argued for most of the meeting, there appeared to be some verbal agreement by Madore that he would consider some of Stuart’s grievances with the document.
Whatever changes will be made likely won’t be available until Nov. 21, and the next public hearing on the matter won’t be until Nov. 26.
Toward the end of the meeting, Stuart explained why he spent the time hashing out the issue.
“I am having extended conversations with you about this because it is important to me that citizens know there is not only one side to this story,” Stuart said.
He continued, “Please don’t take this as any indication that I support the time and effort that we as a board of county commissioners are taking, and telling our staff to spend, on an item that is outside of our control, an item that all of us have said we have no jurisdiction over directly.”
Republican Commissioner Tom Mielke — who had previously asked his fellow commissioners to hold discussion for the next hearing — told Stuart he had brought the argument on himself.
Stuart responded: “I’m being forced to because this (resolution) is coming forward.”