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COUV.COM staff invited every candidate competing in a contested race for city or town council positions, or for mayor, in each of the eight cities in Clark County to come to share their views on seven different issues. We also invited candidates Craig Riley and Sharon Wylie, who are competing to represent the 49th legislative district.
Topics included impact fees, taxes and expenditures, bus rapid transit, C-Tran management, light rail, growth vs. sprawl, and financial responsibility. We also gave candidates an opportunity to make an impromptu closing statement, in case they felt compelled to address different topics or share why they were running for office. We will be posting a couple of videos at a time, each day from Thursday, October 6 until they are all online well before ballots are mailed. Please check back daily.
A total of 21 candidates participated in our video interviews. The remaining candidates chose not to participate, despite multiple invitations by e-mail and phone. In order to be as fair as possible, each candidate was asked the same seven questions by a member of the COUV.COM staff they did not know personally. Each candidate could speak as long as he or she desired to fully answer each question. No candidate knew what questions would be asked before recording started.
Candidates agreed to keep the questions and topics confidential until after we started posting the videos on COUV.COM. We did not share the questions beforehand because we wanted to know what the candidates thought in their own words, not what a political consultant would advise them to say. We encourage you to ask each candidate about their experience with this project. Candidates were very complimentary and we think this will be very helpful to our community.
We understand that there are many more topics worth exploring and each city has its own unique issues. In retrospect, it may have been helpful to have tailored additional questions for each city. Perhaps, we can do that next time.
Some voters, and even some candidates, may think that some of these issues really do not apply to them and that they are only for the city of Vancouver. The fact is every city or town council member in Clark County is charged with the responsibility of dealing with each of these issues in one way or another, especially as it relates to matters of transportation and C-Tran.
Seven of the eight cities in Clark County (excluding Woodland) have representation on the C-Tran Board. In the case of the smaller cities, one board member represents two cities (Camas/Washougal, Battle Ground/Yacolt, and La Center/Ridgefield). Decisions that the C-Tran Board makes, such as proposing a new sales tax or spending two million dollars to study Bus Rapid Transit, impacts the smaller towns. C-Tran is a huge responsibility with a budget that is much larger than the smaller cities in Clark County. That is why we included the C-Tran questions for every candidate.
We based our questions on stories that were current at the time we started. Once we interviewed the first candidate, the questions remained fixed, even if the stories continued to evolve.
One example is Chuck’s Produce. Part way through our process, the $1 million traffic impact fee that Chuck’s initially received for a proposed store in Salmon Creek was reduced to $843,000. The five percent entertainment tax for a new minor league baseball stadium was also current at the time we started. If the stadium does not happen, the entertainment tax could still be an option that the county commissioners or individual city councils could adopt.
We all face a local private jobs crisis. What would each candidate do to open the floodgates for local private jobs? The answer to that question can be deduced by the sum of their answers that will encourage business growth or drive businesses away.
We intend to include a poll that will allow you to say who you support. Our software will only allow one vote per device. We ask you to indicate your choice only for the valid choices on your particular ballot.
We are here to serve our community. How are we doing? Please share your feedback with us so we can serve you better. If you like COUV.COM, please tell others about us and like us on Facebook. Thank you. We will also be posting information for and against ballot issues and allow you to show which measures you support or oppose. Our goal is to enable voters to cast informed votes November 8.