In Our View: Re-elect Topper to Vancouver City Council

Vancouver city councilor has shown leadership, commitment to community

Published:

 

Alishia Topper is a clear choice in the race for Vancouver City Council, Position 2, and The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that voters support her re-election campaign.

As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will examine the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.

With Topper, such an examination will reveal a city councilor who has been at the forefront of efforts to relieve a growing homeless problem and who has developed into a strong leader with a sharp understanding of her community.

Over the years, Topper has worked with Share, Columbia Credit Union, Vancouver Public Schools and The Historic Trust. Recently, she was hired as property tax manager for Clark County, with Treasurer Doug Lasher saying, “Alishia brings a strong set of skills and experience that will help Clark County continue to provide excellence in public service.”

This is not meant solely to repeat Topper’s résumé, but it is designed to point out the various ways in which she has served the community. The breadth of her experience has brought her in touch with various charitable, educational and governmental services and has helped her develop a deep knowledge of the issues facing the city and the region.

Since being elected to the city council in 2013, Topper has been a particularly strong advocate for affordable housing and the issue of homelessness. While much work remains to be done, she can be expected to play a leading role as city officials decide how to best use the funds provided by a property-tax levy approved by voters last year.

She also stresses that the city council will need to focus on traffic congestion in 2018, along with the continuing development of the Vancouver Waterfront project. Vancouver is going through a time of growth and transformation, and that will require insightful management from city leaders. Topper’s experience and her thoughtfulness mark her as a strong leader who can help facilitate such management.

Her opponent, meanwhile, does not possess the same deep understanding of the issues facing the city. Justin Forsman is an unconventional candidate who has an earnest desire to help improve city management, but that desire is overshadowed by Topper’s community involvement and the insight she has gleaned from it.

For example, one of Forsman’s campaign planks this year is to advocate for the creation of a city currency, backed by silver. “If it caught on, it could branch out to the county,” he told the editorial board. “It happens all the time.” The Columbian has reported, however: “While community currencies do exist across the U.S., no city has replaced the dollar with its own currency.” In the past, Forsman has appeared before the city council to complain about chemtrails from airplanes poisoning the populace.

Topper’s campaign is rooted more in realistic proposals designed to deal with issues that impact citizens on a daily basis. She lists economic development, public safety, affordable housing and transportation as her top four priorities, and on her campaign website she focuses on, “doing my homework so I know both sides of an issue.”

Topper’s work on the city council has demonstrated that she does not merely give lip service to such a declaration; she lives up to it. The Columbian recommends a vote for Alishia Topper for Position 2 on the Vancouver City Council.