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Camas Mayoral Debate Set for October 22; Public Invited


Camas, WA — A formal Camas Mayoral debate has been set for Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30 pm at the Grass Valley Fire Station in Camas, and the public is invited to attend.

All three candidates for Camas mayor — Shannon Turk, Barry McDonnell, and Melissa Smith — were invited to attend and participate in the 90-minute debate, which is being organized and hosted by Lacamas Magazine and Clark County Today.

Doors for the event will open at 6 pm, and residents are encouraged to come with questions.

“Although all the rules haven’t been set and approved by the candidates yet we encourage Camas residents to attend the event, and come prepared to ask questions,” said Ernie Geigenmiller, publisher of Lacamas Magazine. “It will be a real debate in which the candidates are asked questions by moderators, their opponents will offer a rebuttal, and there will be opportunity for real dialogue between them — as well as an opportunity for residents to directly ask questions. There are also rules of decorum at public facilities like the fire station that will need to be followed. More details to come.”

Mayor Turk and McDonnell have accepted the invitation, while Smith, citing health concerns, said she will not attend the debate.

Turk ran unopposed until early October when McDonnell, a newcomer to politics, announced his write-in candidacy. Days later, Smith, a veteran Camas City Council member, also started her own write-in campaign.

“I am excited that this has come to fruition and am looking forward to it,” said McDonnell. “I think public debate is important for an authentic democratic process and regardless of outcome, this will be a win for the citizens of Camas. I hope we get a great turnout!”

Turk didn’t issue a formal statement, but welcomed the opportunity.

The mayoral race became competitive after weeks of increasing concern about Proposition 2, the community aquatics center and sports field bond, which is on the November ballot.

We encourage you to post your questions in the comments section of this article — or on our Facebook or Instagram social media sites. You may also email us: [email protected]

8 replies
  1. Margaret Tweet
    Margaret Tweet says:

    Proposition 2 on the ballot has not had a debate. All the forums are candidate forums only.
    I would like to see a debate on Proposition 2 , the $78 Million Bond on the ballot, as this has the potential to significantly raise property taxes in Camas.

  2. Tonya Lance
    Tonya Lance says:

    Questions I have for candidates running for Mayor..
    * How do you feel about the Lacamas North Shore Development plan?
    * What will you do to protect what is left of our Green Space?
    * Will you work toward making the Mayor position a full-time job?
    * How do you plan to go about letting the community have a voice and choice in decisions that impact our lives during your term?

  3. Peg
    Peg says:

    If you think we can afford a $78 Mil Bond, WHY were citizens of Camas told we couldn’t afford 2-3 Million to repair or replace Crown Park Pool?

  4. Margaret Tweet
    Margaret Tweet says:

    Last week, after a forum at the library, City administrator Pete Capell explained that Camas does not use a competitive bid process for professional services contracts. An example of such a contract would be the recent contract to renovate the City Hall Annex.

    Another contract example is the contract

    For the Mayor, how many no-bid professional services contracts have authorized since you joined the council in 2012? What is the total dollar amount of these contracts? Please provide a full list of all the consultants who have been awarded professional services contracts by the City of Camas with your approval since 2011.

    For both candidates, when it comes to professional services contracts, would you support a change to a competititve bid process?

  5. Margaret Tweet
    Margaret Tweet says:

    PS. for the Question about no-bid contracts for professional services, for write in candidate Barry McDonnell.

    If elected as Mayor, would you support a competitive bid process for some of professional services contracts now awarded without a bid? Please explain.

  6. Margaret Tweet
    Margaret Tweet says:

    The Mayor and council awarded a no-bid contract to WSP USA to provide information to residents about the proposed Aquatic-Events Center near the lakes, and improvements to several sports fields like artificial turf and lighting. Proposition 2 is on the ballot, which asks citizens to select No or Yes to a $78 Million bond loan to pay for the Aquatics Center and Sports field improvements. See the ordinance posted at the elections website

    A formal complaint has been filed with the PDC about ”
    1) Misuse of public funds to support a political campaign (RCW 42.17A.555, WAC 390-05-271, WAC 39-05-273)It appears unambiguous that the City of Camas has violated Washington State’s campaign finance laws by using public resources to support a $78 million general obligation bond , which is on the November ballot in about a month (The ordinance which approved this $78 million bond, states (from the city of camas website):
    In this case, there appears to be several violators of the statute involved.
    1.The City Council approved the ordinance and voted to approve the vendor contract referenced above. The Council members are Greg Anderson, Ellen Burton, Bonnie Carter, Don Chaney, Steve Hogan, Deanna Rusch, and Melissa Smith.
    2.The Mayor Shannon Turk is also responsible in a Mayor-Council form of government.
    3.The Camas City Administrator Pete Capell appears to have negotiated the contract in question
    Review the complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission https://www.pdc.wa.gov/browse/cases/58473

    Citizens have questioned whether the information provided at the website developed by WSP in conjunction with the city is biased in favor of Proposition 2. In addition, public records from the July 15 workshop related to Proposition 2 used to be posted at the Camas Community Aquatics Center website , and these records were removed from public access at this website by Oct. 4, and have not been restored to that dedicated website yet.
    Question for both candidates: Is the public interest served by removing public records from a website that is supposed to inform the public? Should the public records be restored to that special website ASAP?

    This city makes this claim at the Camas Community Aquatics Center website,
    The timing of the bond is set to ease the overall financial impact on taxpayers. 2021 is the same year that a projected $1.32 of Camas School District bond levy taxes (see bit.ly/CSDbudgetandreports), as well as 12 cents in Camas Public Library building construction levy taxes, will expire.* At that time, the addition of the aquatics center and sports field bond levy and the reduction in the School District and Library taxes could result in a net reduction of 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

    This claim seems to omit projected tax increases to the school local levy that could go into effect in 2020 or 2021. (see http://www.Tweet4Camas.com for details)
    Question for both candidates: Should the city update the property tax impact to include projected tax increases as well as projected decreases?

    The Camas Community Aquatics Center website does not include the estimated interest costs that Camas Taxpayers would have to pay if the $78 Million bond loan is approved.
    Question for both candidates. Should the Camas Community Aquatics Center website be updated to include this vital information?
    Mayor: How much are the interest costs of the proposed 20-year $78 Million bond loan?

    For the Mayor: how many other no-bid contracts has the Mayor and Council approved with WSP in the last 6 years? For what services and $ amount? Are there any other WSP contracts that have been approved related to the proposed Aquatics Center?

    For Barry McDonnell- How would you inform the public about any future bond propositions that might be placed on the ballot?
    Do you think the WSP work is serving the public interest? Should any changes be made in how the city provides information?

    Both candidates: Is a costly consultant contract the best way to reach out to Camas Citizens about ballot measures? If another proposition is placed on the ballot, would you approve a similar consultant contract to inform the public?

  7. Margaret Tweet
    Margaret Tweet says:

    City Parks: Some parks in the city, Goot park a Grass Valley park include bathrooms with running water, sinks, and also drinking fountains. These parks also include basketball courts. Heritage Park also has bathrooms.

    Crown Park does not have similar bathrooms, just a port-a-potty. Crown Park does not have a basketball court since the city ripped it out without replacing it associated with the demolition of Crown Park outdoor Pool.

    Mayor: Why the disparity in public services in Crown Park vs. other city parks?

    Barry McDonnell: Any comments about the process the city uses to decide what features citizens want in their parks? Do you think a basketball court would serve residents of many ages? Is Park feature evaluation now overseen and directed by a consultant? For the Grass Valley park, interested citizens in the neighborhood were invited to be on committees and research desired features in city parks and present information directly to the Parks and Rec department and city. Some residents wanted no features at all, others wanted activities for a broad age range. The result was some of both.

  8. Margaret Tweet
    Margaret Tweet says:

    Procedural question.
    At the July 15 City Council Regular meeting, the ordinance for what is now known as Prop 2 was read in title only, with blanks to be filled out. The ordinance on ballot at the elections office is different than the one approved by council on July 15.
    This is the version that landed on the ballot. https://www.clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/dept/files/elections/2019/201911%20November%20General/City%20of%20Camas%20-%20Ordinance%2019-007.pdf

    Question for both Candidates: Would you approve of a change of the recent practice of the council to take action using title only passage of actions by the council? It is difficult for those who rely on audio to hear the city business and discussion if bills are read by title only.

    Also, the city administrator told me not to attend a recent meeting at which the Mayor and a city councilor were in attendance discussing city business. The excuse given was that the city administrator said it is not an open public meeting because there was not a quorum of members in attendance.

    Barry McDonnell, If elected, would you permit the public to attend meetings where the Mayor and one or more city councilors were in attendance? Would you give public notice of such meetings as open public meetings? https://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=42.30


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