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Retired 747-airline pilot Dick Sohn spent his first years of his retirement in a recliner. Then, the 2009 Pollard vs. Leavitt Mayoral race got him so “riled up enough”, he hasn’t been back to the chair since.
That year, Sohn voted for Tim Leavitt because he stood firmly on the stance of no tolls and a more open environment for citizens at council meetings.
“I was one of the people that Tim Leavitt fooled, and I will not be fooled by Tim Leavitt again,” said Sohn, sitting in his 1989 Ford Ranger that supports a massive sign reading “LEAVITT LIED, LEAVITT LIES, HE’LL LIE AGAIN, ONE TERM TIM.”
The roving 4×8 foot billboard can be seen all around town, but it is frequently parked outside Vancouver City Hall, visible to city employees and park goers.
This public demonstration is particularly troublesome for the Mayor, as he is running for re-election in November.
Tim Leavitt actively campaigned for no tolls, and some may say he won because of those promises. Once Tim Leavitt got into office, Leavitt “flip-flopped within weeks” says Sohn.
When pressed by the public, Leavitt claimed that the Council had nothing to do with the CRC and light rail, despite city council members voting for the CRC light rail project, as the ‘locally preferred alternative’.
Sohn also claims that Leavitt promised an “Open environment” at city council meetings, compared to Pollard’s strict handling of council meetings. Once elected, this seemed to be the case; Citizens could provide public comment every Monday night, even if it wasn’t on the consent agenda.
It wasn’t long before the council changed its mind, and began limiting two way citizen communication to twice a month. The remaining two weeks of citizen communication were limited to the consent agenda only, without an immediate response from the council. After citizens regularly opposed tolls during public comment, Leavitt attempted to limit non-agenda item comments to a once-a-month town hall, without the presence of CVTV cameras. This proposal was widely unpopular and was never adopted.
Mayor Leavitt responds
Couv.com invited Mayor Tim Leavitt to respond to Sohns claims via email:
“It’s sad that he doesn’t figure out how to turn all that unhappiness and negativity into an effort that directly benefits our community and helps those that could use a lending hand.
Our community deserves better than this non-sense perpetrated by Sohn and his associates. I’m encouraged by the many comments I’ve received expressing disgust in his actions and rhetoric. His actions are reflecting poorly on the candidates he’s supporting and the people he associates with.
Campaign signs vandalized
Unrelated to Dick Sohn, someone has been spray-painting multiple Leavitt campaign signs with the word “Liar”.
Sohn on the vandalism: “I would never do something like that. It’s too bad that there are people in our community that think vandalism is appropriate behavior. I don’t.”
Dick Sohn does not claim the website timleavittwatch.blogspot.com either, which also calls Tim Leavitt a “Liar”. “I’ll just stick to my sign”, said Sohn.
Sohn has been involved with local and state campaigns, but this billboard project is his “personal protest against Tim Leavitt.” He designed and constructed the sign himself using personal funds.
We invited two independent therapists, David Simonsen Ph.D., LMFT and Dan Bates, B.S., C.C. of Head Shrink Inc to provide analysis of this unique situation. We invite you to listen to their conversation in the podcast below.
Therapist David Simonsen points out that the mayor “doesn’t address the alleged lies” in his written response. “I think the mayor would have been much better served if he acknowledged maybe some [Sohn’s allegations]…”
While Sohn’s method could be labeled extreme, some circumstances call for extreme measures, and the sign is perfectly within his rights of freedom of speech.
“I respect that about him,” said Dan Bates “It seems like he is trying to force a conversation which everyone seems to not be wanting to have.”