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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Council candidate: Vancouver’s taxes punish business

Forsman focuses on taxes, fluoride in water

By , Columbian staff writer

A former Vancouver city council candidate, who in his wildcard 2015 and 2017 campaigns stood out for his candor and strong opinions on fluoride, is running again this year.

Justin Forsman filed a campaign for Vancouver City Council Position 2 on May 17. He’s up against Erik Paulsen, the incumbent, and two-time unsuccessful candidate Maureen McGoldrick.

Forsman, 31, is running on an anti-spending, anti-establishment platform, he said in a interview on May 20 with The Columbian .

“There’s kind of a lack of follow through for a lot of politicians who we elect,” Forsman said. “It seems like all they wanna do is just raise taxes and just kind of sit there.”

“What have any of these members done for the people?” he continued. “I’m not complacent. I don’t really trust the government. I’m not there to be friends, and I’m not there to be enemies.”

If elected, he pledged to vote against raising taxes. He’d also like to see existing city taxes cut, though didn’t say which taxes he’d slash — rather, he said more generally he’d like to see a better tax environment for businesses.

He said he’d prefer to raise revenue through a collection tin model, where Vancouver residents voluntarily donate money to specific citywide causes.

“You could throw out money, for say homeless or certain things where you can actually say where it’s for, so you could give people an opportunity to throw into that pot,” he explained.

Forsman is against the revenue-generating proposals laid out in A Stronger Vancouver, he added.

“Just taxing businesses and startups, it seems like we’re pretty bent on taxing everything we do,” he said. “In some of the ways that we deal with businesses locally, we almost punish them.”

During his previous runs, he made removing chemicals from Vancouver’s water and land a cornerstone of his campaign. In 2016, Forsman also sparred with the city council over “chemtrails” he claimed airplanes were spraying into the atmosphere.

And he still has strong feelings about the fluoride in Vancouver’s water. He’s against adding fluoride to drinking water to prevent cavities, claiming it causes cancer, thyroid problems and bone fractures (the city has added fluoride in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health guidelines since 1961.)

For much of the interview, Forsman pivoted away from city issues and toward state and national topics. Election to city council could serve as a stepping stone to higher offices, he said, where he could better serve the issues he feels most passionately about.

“That wouldn’t be my only stop, you know? I’d like to move forward.”

He said that during his 2015 campaign, many people painted him as a far-right extremist. He’s not, he said. He leans to the left on many partisan issues, including legalizing drug use and supporting strong unions.

His liberalism has two major exceptions. The first, Forsman said, is he is very much against abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. His opposition extends to cases of rape and incest.

“I read something once — if you have an abortion, you almost let your rapist turn you into a murderer. It’s a little extreme, but there’s some truth to it,” Forsman said. “You have some resentment for why it’s inside of you… but once you have that child, you’re not going to think about that anymore.”

He’s also in favor of an unfettered Second Amendment. Over the last couple years he’s tried to sue the government for the right to own a firearm — in 2008 he was convicted of first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree trafficking of stolen property. As a convicted felon, he was stripped of gun ownership eligibility until the end of last year.

“I’m pro-gun, I’m pro-freedom, I’m pro-liberty, but I’m definitely on the left on some things,” Forsman said.

Columbian staff writer