Clark County approves 'integrity' resolution

Stuart votes against nonbinding measure spurred by C-Tran issue

By Erik Hidle, Columbian staff writer

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Merriam-Webster defines integrity. The Oxford English Dictionary defines integrity. And now the Clark County commissioners define "integrity" in one part of a 13-page, nonbinding resolution that commissioners have finally passed by a 2-1 vote after more than a month of acrimony.

For two hours Tuesday afternoon, commissioners debated the specifics of a document that was originally intended as a board-level apology for a vote undertaken by a different board that the commissioners sit on, but do not control.

Republican Commissioner David Madore originally introduced his "integrity resolution" as a way to declare that the C-Tran board broke faith with the community when it approved a potential light-rail funding plan in September.

Integrity as defined by commissioners’ resolution

“Honesty, soundness, trustworthiness to fulfill commitments, truth-loving, worthy of belief or reliance, trustable, believable, forthrightness, good for one’s word, a reliable witness to the truth, worthy of reliance or trust.”

In its final form, the resolution mostly laments the Columbia River Crossing project and states the county will tell several government agencies of its concerns.

The resolution is one of the largest commissioners have tackled this year. It contains 31 "whereas" statements that refer to a second document of 97 references linking mostly to government websites. Also in the references are four links to videos starring Madore that were produced by Madore's media company.

Madore stated during Tuesday's hearing that the references were included to ensure the document was taken as fact, not opinion.

The document also defines "integrity" in a way that does not appear in any online dictionary: "Honesty, soundness, trustworthiness to fulfill commitments, truth-loving, worthy of belief or reliance, trustable, believable, forthrightness, good for one's word, a reliable witness to the truth, worthy of reliance or trust."

Madore and fellow Republican Commissioner Tom Mielke voted in favor of the resolution. Democratic Commissioner Steve Stuart voted against it.

While Stuart spent most of the two hours debating the merits and accuracy of the document, he eventually recognized his labors were fruitless, as the document is nonbinding.

"Pass it, don't pass it, it will have no effect," Stuart said, visibly irritated by the scenario. "This is a waste of everyone's time and resources."

What the final document will look like is still being refined as several last-minute scrivener errors were updated. Madore said some parts of the document had been updated online as recently as Tuesday morning before the commissioners' meeting.

At one point, Stuart queried if Mielke had read every piece of the resolution and its references. Mielke said he had not, which prompted Stuart to compare the situation to the flak he has recently taken for not having a finalized contract in front of him before voting on the C-Tran matter that prompted the resolution.

Five people gave public testimony on the matter Tuesday. All of it was against the resolution.

At the end of the day, Mielke made final comments on the matter saying he believed the negative attitudes came as a result of folks not wanting to hear the truth. He also described the process of the three meetings necessary to pass the resolution as "painful."