Madore: Elected officials need to apologize to voters

Commissioner says light rail vote shows 'we have not acted with integrity'

By Erik Hidle, Columbian staff writer

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Madore's 'Integrity' resolution

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Clark County Commissioner David Madore will soon introduce a resolution for his fellow commissioners to consider that “apologizes for breaking faith with the citizens of Clark County,” declares the county will “notify the appropriate authorities that we have not acted with integrity,” calls for an investigation into the Columbia River Crossing, and formally requests funding for the project be withdrawn at local, state and federal levels.

Madore announced at Tuesday’s regular commission meeting that he will introduce the resolution.

“This addresses the situation we find ourselves in as elected officials, and what’s unfolded over the last several weeks and really the last several months regarding the future of our community and the biggest project in our history and how that’s handled,” Madore said.

At the heart of the matter is the September decision by the C-Tran Board of Directors — on which all three commissioners sit — to operate light rail on what is now an Oregon-led Columbia River Crossing project.

The C-Tran board voted 5-4 in favor of the funding plan. The three county commissioners split their votes, with Democrat Steve Stuart voting yes and Republicans Tom Mielke and Madore voting no.

Since then, Madore has been outspoken in his continued fight against the plan in public meetings and on his Facebook wall.

The resolution won’t be officially presented to commissioners for at least another two weeks, but Madore chose to read it into the record during Tuesday’s commissioner communications.

And while it focuses heavily on the light rail funding plan, the resolution is officially titled, “Calling for integrity to be restored to Clark County representatives.”

Madore said, “I don’t point the fingers at others” before reading the text aloud. The document includes 14 “whereas” statements espousing his reasoning for how the process of the plan is flawed and declares commissioners “acted in bad faith by rushing ahead of the voters …”

The resolution appears largely nonbinding in nature. But it does issue a formal apology for the vote and declares it will notify unidentified authorities of what it says are the elected officials’ lack of integrity, misrepresentation of the voters and noncompliance with environmental policies.

Further, it asks other agencies to halt funding to the project, asks Oregon to disclose information regarding the CRC project, and “calls for a full investigation of the CRC Light Rail project as called for by forensic accountants.”

What agencies are being referred to or how that investigation would be funded isn’t defined. It’s unlikely the county will conduct it, however, as in February both Mielke and Madore voted in favor of a resolution opposing the CRC project that included the statement “the Clark County Commission strongly objects to the efforts to commit any funding to the Columbia River Crossing light rail tolling project as currently planned.”

After Madore read the resolution, Mielke said he would be submitting “small” suggestions for changes to Madore before the resolution officially comes before the board.

Stuart said he wouldn’t make comment on the matter, as he was choosing to follow advice Madore gave him after Madore chided Stuart for commenting against the county’s waiver of development fees earlier this year.

“I was told by a commissioner earlier this year that after a decision was made, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” Stuart said. “So I’m not going to say anything right now.”

In June, Madore told Stuart during a board time meeting: “Once a policy is set, the time to campaign against it is over. As official voice from the county, the time to support that is something I think we all need to get on board, and at least not continue to campaign against it.”

After Madore acknowledged Stuart’s reference to his words, Stuart pointed to the document and said, “Maybe you use that advice on yourself at some point, but I’m going to use it today.”