Two hard-working, forward-thinking Vancouver city councilors deserve to be returned to office, and they should be joined by a community activist whose civic involvement is so extensive as to exhaust a casual observer. Incumbents Larry Smith and Bart Hansen and newcomer Anne McEnerny-Ogle have earned endorsements by The Columbian. Here’s why:
Smith knows Vancouver
Whether it’s promoting veterans events, working calmly through grueling budget calamities or serving as a leveling influence in the volatile political arena, Larry Smith makes one thing perfectly clear: He loves Vancouver. Consider him the city’s cheerleader in chief. Eight years on the council was preceded by several years’ work in the parks department.
Smith snaps “Yes!” with an authority that reflects his 26 years in the Army. He is habitually “for” proposals that enhance the city’s future: a new bridge, light rail, waterfront redevelopment, and public-private partnerships. (He does oppose, however, the county’s proposed admissions tax to fund a baseball stadium and the proposed biomass power plant).
Smith was the top choice even before his foe (Cory Barnes) rendered himself unelectable. That occurred over four years as Barnes amassed 11 traffic citations and paid none of the fines.
Hansen learns quickly
In less than two years on the council, Bart Hansen has emerged as a quick learner and collaborative visionary. By contrast, challenger Josephine Wentzel has emerged as a toxic influence at council meetings, a chronic complainer whose frequent trips to the podium have followed a pattern of unproductive negativity.
Hansen also brings one distinct presence to Vancouver’s city council. He’s the only councilor with both of these qualities: a full-time job and a family with young children. We like having that perspective on a council that typically draws retirees or people who don’t have to balance the time-consuming obligations of a young family with the demands of local politics.
Hansen is steadfastly “pro” on issues that matter, but he has also gone against his colleagues by arguing for a stronger commitment to funding public safety departments. As a result, Hansen has the support of police and fire unions, but he also says he’ll be tough at the negotiating table.
Wentzel has shown no capacity to cooperate with any elective body. Her obstructive, combative approach does not fit well in collaborative community discussions.
Vote for McEnerny-Ogle
Anne McEnerny-Ogle was our pick in this race in the Aug. 16 primary, and she’s still campaigning compellingly, with a positive outlook that would work well in city politics.
Her opponent, Bill Turlay, led that primary with 34.6 percent of the votes, but McEnerny-Ogle finished close behind with 33.2 percent. McEnerny-Ogle’s experience at the community level, especially in neighborhood associations, far exceeds Turlay’s contributions to the community. She is “for” much of what Turlay is “against,” and that includes a new bridge (although she remains cautious about funding mechanisms) and waterfront redevelopment.
Turlay claims a greater knowledge of the business world, but that assertion lost strength with the publication of a Columbian story after the primary: For 11 years, he operated a company from his home without the required city business license.
Both candidates ran unsuccessfully for Vancouver City Council in 2009. This time, we think, is Anne McEnerny-Ogle’s time to move from the countless community meeting rooms to the position of authority at council chambers at city hall.