Press Talk: Of Madore, C-Tran & the Feds

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, twitter.com/lounews or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.

Oh my

“I hardly know what to say. This is about the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Big decisions of this magnitude, this is not the way you make them.”

What’s this all about?

If you had to guess, you might think it was a comment by someone over how the M&M boys (county Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke) slipped the wholly unqualified state Sen. Don Benton into a sweet $100,000-a-year county job to head the environmental services department.

Benton — I tell ya — couldn’t tell the difference between biomass and a baloney sandwich. No matter, the M&M boys slipped him in.

Well, if you guessed the above quote was a comment on that Benton hiring ... you guessed wrong.

It was — in fact — Madore complaining about how quickly the C-Tran board was moving to approve a financial plan to operate light rail in Vancouver as part of the Columbia River Crossing.

Now, I’d personally agree that it did seem way too quick for C-Tran to make this decision. But I found it deliciously dumbfounding that Madore would have the chutzpah to complain about a too-quick decision by .... anybody!

He pulled the trigger so quick on that Benton hire, Flash Gordon would have been impressed.

Please follow my advice, commissioner:

Don’t do stupid stuff.

C-Tran

Speaking of C-Tran, let’s move to the 10,000-foot level to analyze what’s going here.

You might remember that C-Tran had this little $2 million item on the ballot not long ago to pay for the operation of light rail. This stuff goes on the ballot to ask for more cash from taxpayers because — well — they needed it! Honest!

When it failed miserably at the ballot box — flash forward to today — somehow, somewhere they figured out a way to come up with the $2 million to run light rail. Without asking taxpayers for it.

Huh?

So why would C-Tran try to squeeze $2 million a year more out of taxpayers when they actually figured out a way to pay for it without that squeeze?

Good question.

This sort of shenanigans is not the way to engender a feeling by the public that government is doing the right thing.

Please follow my advice, C-Tran:

Don’t do stupid stuff.

The shutdown

PANDA-MONIUM: National Zoo’s beloved Panda Cam will shutter if federal government shuts down:

That was the headline in the N.Y. Daily News the day before the partial federal government shutdown.

It’s indicative of how many of us will directly feel this shutdown. Now, that’s not to diminish the impact on federal workers who might not be working today. And it’s not to suggest that others won’t be impacted by it.

It simply suggests just how far-reaching government has pushed into our lives. The government does things for us today that would have been unheard of just a few decades ago. And it would have been unimaginable by the founding fathers. So, yes, it’s unseemly that the government shuts down. But it’s equally unseemly that we can have so many federal employees suddenly out of work and so few of us feel it.

Please follow my advice, government:

Don’t do stupid stuff.