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When former Washougal city councilwoman Molly Coston officially announced her 2017 Washougal mayoral campaign August 6 it set the stage for a vigorous Fall political season in a city rocked with leadership turmoil.

Coston is competing with Washougal city councilman, Dan Coursey, for the mayor’s position to succeed former mayor Sean Guard, who resigned earlier this year amid harassment allegations. A completed Washington State Patrol investigation shows a string of electronic communications between Guard and an unidentified woman that may result in the case being handled by the county prosecutor.

Following Guard’s resignation, Coston was encouraged by supporters to run for Mayor. And, this isn’t the first time she’s answered the call to serve amid unfavorable conditions.

Coston has been active in city politics for much of her 16 year residency in the city, serving on the city council from 2005-2011, and as Mayor Pro Tem in 2010 when former Washougal mayor, Stacy Sellars, abruptly resigned.

“There was a dispute about her mayoral policies,” said Coston. “And when Stacy resigned I spent three months as acting Mayor. It was a very difficult time filled with confusion and challenges. I gained a good understanding of how the city works. And here we are again.”

She said Washougal has been pummeled by turmoil which is why she’s created a vision for the city.

Top Reasons Coston Is Running

“I have a vision for Washougal,” she said. “And, it’s very bright. I want an engaged community with a focus on public safety, a vibrant economy, and continued improvements in transportation.”

Coston outlined a three-pronged vision for Washougal, which is as follows:

  • Economy: Create a favorable business environment for businesses by keeping government that is small and stable. Coston believes in working with private enterprise to create public-private partnerships to attract more companies into Washougal.
  • Public Safety: “We need more policemen,” she said. “I want to add one more per year as our economy and community grows. Our officers answer more calls than Camas does.” She wants to engage local neighbors and build community with more communication and involvement.
  • Transportation: Find a way to reasonably manage current roads and walkways. “As we continue to grow, we need solutions and the public-private partnerships are key to making this happen.”

Molly Coston

Community Involvement

As a city councilwoman, she was involved in the following:

  • Parks Board  (Council Liaison) 2005- 2011
  • Cemetery Board (Council Liaison) 2005-2011
  • SW Washington Regional Transportation Council-  2008-2010; Elected as Camas/Washougal Representative to serve on the Board of Directors. RTC Board of Directors Chair – 2010
  • Clark County Community Action Advisory Board – Director representing East County  2009-2011

She has served in the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club since 2004:

  • Club President – July 2014-June 2015
  • Local Foundation President – July 2015-June 2016
  • Community Service Chair – July 2016-present

League of Women Voters of Clark County, 2000-present

  • President 2007-2010
  • Board of Directors 2005-2012

Civil Service Commission: 2013-present

Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards, 2010-present

  • Board of Directors – 2014-present
  • President, 2016-current

Citizens for Better Schools PAC, 2005-present

  • Chair – Washougal Schools District Levy Campaign 2005 (successful)
  • Active Member – Washougal School District Levy Campaign 2008
  • Active Member – Washougal School District Levy Campaign 2014
  • Active Member – Washougal School District Bond Campaign 2015

Unite! Washougal Community Coalition, 2010-present

  • Long standing member of state funded coalition that work together to support youth, enrich community, encourage families, and guide healthy choices. 

To learn more about her campaign, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/mollyformayor/

Washougal City Councilman, Dan Coursey, will officially kick off his Washougal Mayoral campaign tonight at 6 pm at the Port of Camas-Washougal office. The address is 24 S A St, Washougal, WA 98671.

Tonight’s event features special guest speaker Eileen Quiring, a Clark County Board Councilor. Also, State Representatives Liz Pike and Vicki Kraft, and others will be in attendance. Food and beverages will be provided, and the forum will give voters an opportunity to ask questions.

The first-term councilman has called Washougal home for the past for 12 years, and has spent years working in local politics as a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO), campaign manager, and general volunteer. The computer systems engineer says if elected he will go into semi-retirement to focus on leading Washougal.

“Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve promoted transparency, ethical behavior, and accountability,” Coursey said. “I strongly believe in those things. I respect the voter and the taxpayer. When I ran for office two years ago, I knocked on 1,750 doors — and you learn a lot when you do that.”

Reasons Coursey is running

The candidate discussed several reasons why he’s running: 1) Economy; 2) Affordable living; and 3) Create more recreation spaces for families in Washougal.

On the economy: “A mayor should be a leader and advocate for businesses to come into town,” he said. “A mayor should discourage over-regulation. For example [as a city councilman] I’ve voted against raising car tab fees.”

On affordable living: “Everyone knows that Washougal water costs are too high,” he said. “Let’s see how we can lower the water rates, and look at reasons why it’s too expensive.”

On recreation spaces: “One thing I learned knocking doors is that there are many young families who want more family venues in town,” Coursey said. “We did a survey in 2016, and the one thing Washougal voters wanted most was a community center. But, who pays for it? Some small part will come from the city budget, but we need a third party to come in.”

He said there are new development plans at the Port of Camas-Washougal, and he hopes that private owners can come to a final agreement so development can proceed. He says construction of that new development could provide a new venue for families.

“I’m very expense conscious,” he said. “We don’t want undo hardships on our families. If local residents are wiling to pony up for family venues, we can do that. I’m for good roads, and fixing them.”

He is running for the position that is being vacated by current Washougal mayor, Sean Guard, who decided not to run for re-election. His opponent is Molly Coston, who is a former Washougal City Council member that Coursey defeated two years ago.

“It’ll be a re-match,” said Coursey.

Coston will be interviewed in a future article.

On background

Coursey grew up in an agricultural community, and has been married to Margie for 22 years. She works as a project manager in the financial industry. Coursey currently works as a systems engineer, and previously worked in the banking industry doing technical projects, financial analysis, commercial lending and mortgage underwriting.

To learn more, visit www.dancoursey.net

#dancoursey

 

… not be silenced, to seek cross-river solutions

Editor’s Note: Lacamas Magazine offers a forum for all sides to express their viewpoints and opinions.

By Rep. Liz Pike

The Columbian, Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt and some other local elected officials have a lengthy, well documented history of supporting a failed and costly light rail project between Clark County and Portland, known as the Columbia River Crossing (CRC). For years, these folks supported bringing Portland’s light rail to our community against the objections of our own citizens.

Liz Pike

Rep. Liz Pike, R-18

Entering into any agreement between Clark County’s taxpayers and an agency with Tri-Met’s financial woes ought to be troubling to every elected official in Southwest Washington. According to Tri-Met’s 2015 Audited Financial Report, unfunded liabilities are 459 percent greater than the costs of current payroll. It is estimated Tri-Met’s unfunded pension liability exceeds $1 billion. It is no surprise our local citizens have completely lost faith with the CRC’s promoters.

Beyond these details, there is no reason to re-litigate why this $3.5 billion – $5 billion light rail project, disguised as a bridge, had to be stopped in its tracks. It’s time to put all this behind us and move forward with affordable transportation solutions.

Fast forward to today, House Bill 2414 is a perfectly-structured bill to put an equal number of Democrats and Republicans at the same table, representing both chambers from two states. The legislative members of this Bi-State Bridge Project Work Group would be appointed by caucus leaders to ensure that all constituencies are equally represented in an open and transparent process. The group is tasked with identifying affordable solutions to meet current and future needs of the region and prioritize the sequencing of those projects.

For the second time in two years, HB 2414 sailed through the House Transportation Committee with unanimous bipartisan support — evidence this bill is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, there are a few legislators who still cannot get past the grieving process of CRC’s death long enough to work for the common good. It’s either their way or no way. So they operate behind the scenes to kill a perfectly good bill in order to advance their own political agenda. The result of that agenda condemns our hard-working commuters to worsening congestion, longer commute times, years of enduring a failing I-5 corridor, increased pollution, higher costs for employers, fewer jobs and decreased quality of life.

It is shameful these critics tear apart those who are actively working to find affordable cross-river bridge solutions, but offer no solutions of their own, other than the dead-and-buried CRC plan. Our citizens want forward-thinking leaders to work together and move beyond the CRC with new solutions. That was the idea behind HB 2414.

The I-5 corridor belongs to the entire region, not just the legislative district or the city where it is located. Washington is the most trade dependent state in America, giving this corridor both regional and national significance.

Clark County citizens have every right to have their voices represented by their elected officials in all discussions regarding new cross-river solutions. It is wrong to tell their state legislators to be silent and step aside just because they disagree with the mayor, The Columbian, and those on record who wish to force Portland’s light rail upon our citizens.

Voters in the 18th Legislative District have twice elected me to be their voice in Olympia. They support me because I demonstrate the courage to stand up for my constituents. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, I will not abdicate my responsibility to identify and defend common sense and affordable solutions to improve freight mobility and relieve traffic congestion in this important corridor that serves our entire region, state and West coast. I invite people to join me, just as I did in HB 2414, because the problems will not go away on their own.

As Winston Churchill said: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

When it comes to my constituents, they deserve strong leadership that does not yield to intimidation. I will always stand with them and will never give in.

OLYMPIA, WA — Eighteenth District Representative Liz Pike has been appointed to serve on the House Local Government Committee.  The committee considers issues relating to the operations and financing of counties, cities, and some special districts. It also considers issues relating to the Growth Management Act and land use issues such as local permitting and the subdivision of property.

Pike, who served on the Camas City Council from 2003 to 2007, says the new committee assignment is a good fit that will allow her to utilize her past experience in city government.

Liz Pike
Lacamas Magazine Archived Photo: Rep. Liz Pike at the 2012 Clark County
GOP Convention at the Hilton in downtown Vancouver.

“During my time on the city council, I learned about municipal budgeting, ordinances, land-use policies and the Growth Management Act, as well as many other issues involving local government. I’ve walked in the shoes of the local elected officials and I know the challenges they face and the services expected from local government by the public,” said Pike, R-Camas. “I have six small cities just within my legislative district, so I’m looking forward to helping them, their constituents, and other local governments across the state.”

Pike said one of her priorities will be restoration of the Public Works Assistance Account, which makes low- and no-interest loans to cities and utilities to finance water, sewer and street projects. Last year, the Legislature used the money, $354 million, to help balance the state operating budget. As a result, no loans were issued. Pike said those monies are vital to local governments to provide funding for needed infrastructure. The sweeping of those funds was one of the reasons Pike voted last year against the operating budget proposal.

“I’ll also be working to limit unfunded mandates to our cities and counties that are working with limited budget authority. If we could reduce some of the financial burdens on our local governments, it would increase delivery of services to those communities and help our citizens immensely,” she added. “That’s the direction of change I hope to make with this new committee assignment.”

Open House

The open house is Friday in downtown Camas, from 4 to 6pm at Representative Liz Pike’s new district office – 415 NE Cedar Street. 

The address is 415 NE Cedar Street, Suite A, Camas, WA 98607. Pike’s office asks that you RSVP at 360-786-7812 or email Garrett.Delano@leg.wa.gov

Pike emphasizes no tax dollars were spent to provide tonight’s delicious appetizers prepared by Susan Rosso Page. Enjoy lemonade, cowboy cookies and chocolate truffles donated by Shangri-La Farm and wine donated by Craig Stein of Stein Distributing.

“We’re very pleased with the location of the office and that it will give the constituents direct access to their representative,” said Pike.

Washington, DC –Jaime Herrera Beutler released the following statement today after voting against a proposal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit to accommodate its growing $16 trillion debt:

“I’m done kicking the can down the road. Congress and the President have radically overspent the nation’s credit card. We are borrowing 30 cents on every dollar to cover today’s spending. I believe that continuing this course risks destroying the economic security for virtually every American. I will only vote to raise the debt limit to allow more borrowing when, at the same time, I can also vote for the plan to reverse the current course.

“The President argues that I must vote to extend the debt limit because it is needed to fund obligations already incurred. My answer is this: would anyone consider loaning money to another person who had dramatically overspent on their credit card without also requiring a plan to stop the behavior in the future?”

 

 

Hererra
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3rd District)
speaks to a constituent at the Hilton Convention Center in Vancouver.

 

Lynda Wilson is the newly-elected Clark County
GOP Chairwoman. She has been a local business
owner for many years.

VANCOUVER — The Clark County Republican Party made major changes at their organizational meeting held on December 13 at the Heathman Lodge.

A record-setting 161 Precinct Officers attended the party’s organizational meeting, and were present to cast their ballots and consider proposed bylaw’s changes.

The party activists elected a new chairman, vice chairman, secretary, treasurer, state committee people, and five legislative directors.

The elected officers are: Chairman, Lynda Wilson; Vice Chairman, Steven Nelson; Secretary, Vicki Caldwell Kraft; Treasurer, Bryan Johnson; State Committeeman, James Randall; and State Committeewoman, Laney Maxwell.

Legislative Chairman/Directors are: 14th District, Douglas Kobilan; 17th District, Eric Heredia; 18th District, Kenny Smith; 20th District, Ron Fitch; and 49th District, Kathy Metzger.

Several activists viewed the election as struggle between mainstream Republicans and Ron Paul supporters, and several said several votes were extremely close. The party upheaval was orchestrated by the PCO Liberty Alliance, a grass-roots group of Tea Party advocates, libertarian Republicans, and values voters who primarily supported Ron Paul during the Republican presidential primaries.

“I feel like there was plenty of funny business going on,” said Susie Huckvale, a newly-elected Precinct Committee Officer, from Camas. “I think the way they handled Mary Graham’s (former 18 District Legislative Director) balloting was atrocious. It looked like something odd was happening. And the way it turned out a lot of Ron Paul people took over, and I feel like my party’s been hijacked by people who want to destroy it.”

Outgoing chairman, Stephanie McClintock, sees the change as a major upheaval. “Basically, the Liberty Alliance took over the Clark County Republican Party last night,” she said.

She added that she hadn’t anticipated a fight with her fellow Republicans.

Others feel that newly-elected Chairman, Lynda Wilson, has the capacity to bridge the ideological fractures that exist within the newly elected party leadership.

Long-time GOP activist, Brent Boger, said he feels hyper-partisanship is affecting the party at large – and that it’s not good.

“There is a gap between the regular Republicans and the Ron Paul people,” said Boger. “And some of those in between the gap got elected. Lynda Wilson is one of them. She formed an alliance with the Ron Paul people and those people won the day.”

In addition to electing new officers, the Precinct Officers adopted a new set of bylaws. One of the main attributes of the new bylaws is the enhanced authority of the PCO’s by emphasizing more grassroots involvement, making the Board more accountable to the Central Committee.

The Clark County Republican Party is an all-volunteer organization, and their next major event is the Lincoln Day Dinner.

“As a new board, our philosopy is that we work for the Precinct Officers,” said Wilson. “The Precinct Officers were elected by the citizens of Clark County. Also, a primary principle initiative is that of upgrading to new technologies, increase communication capabilities and continue with a new volunteer structure that supports our elected officials. We would like to extend our gratitude for the hard work and dedication of those that have served before us. Their commitment to our Party will always be appreciated.”

About Chairman Lynda Wilson: Lynda is a 40-year resident of Clark County. She and her husband, Tracy, are partners in a local family-run business established over 50 years ago and employing more than 100 people. Lynda has been politically active over the past four years as a PCO, and recently a member of the CCRP Board. She has been a delegate to County and State Conventions, Chairman of the We the People, Governmental Affairs Director at their manufacturing company and Governmental Affairs committee of the AWB (Association of Washington Business, also serving on AWB’s Health Care Committee. Lynda was recently appointed to the C-TRAN Citizens Action Committee (CCAC). She regularly attends Clark County Commissioner meetings and has participated in over 100 hours of Constitution classes, most notably the Thomas Jefferson Center for Constitutional Studies and the Freedom Foundation.

 

 

By Ernie Geigenmiller

Editor’s Note: This is the third article following the results of the March 30 Clark County GOP Convention held at the Vancouver Hilton. The event itself has been laden with charges of incompetence, vote tampering, political shenanigans, and fraud.

On Thursday, April 19, GOP Delegate Nathan Mellor, from Precinct 925, filed a legal challenge to the results of 18th Legislative District (LD) caucus election of delegates and alternates to the Washington State GOP Convention.

According to Mellor, the basis of his challenge is “simple – the 18th LD caucus election was fraudulent, violated the rules of the Washington State Republican Party, and should be set aside, because significantly more ballots were cast than the number of eligible voters (credentialed delegates) present at the caucus.”

Mellor is referring to events on the afternoon of March 30. The credentials committee representative Margie Ferris declared, prior to voting on delegates for the state convention, that 213 delegates were credentialed to vote.

After the first round of voting, 284 votes were cast, and that cast doubt on the entire process, which was beset with a confusing registration process and numerous delays.

Mellor contends in his challenge that there are only two possible explanations for the outcome.

“Either a significant number of people who voted who were not properly credentialed,” Mellor says. “Or else credentialed delegates cast multiple ballots.”

 

GOP
Legislative District 18 in a caucus breakout session gathered
on March 30 to vote on 32 delegates to send to the Washington
State GOP Convention in May.
He’s also upset that caucus leadership permitted the results of the election to stand.
Mellor claims Washington State Republican Party (WSRP) rules were violated. He cites rules 14, 15, 24 and 29. In rule 24, he says “rules are obviously designed to ensure that only qualified votes are allowed to vote in the election of delegates to the state convention.”
He says the 18th LD violated both the letter and spirit of the WSRP rules.
“The fraudulent results of this caucus must be struck as void, and the delegates and alternates elected from the 18th LD should not be seated at the state convention,” Mellor stated.
The proceedings were filled with confusion and delays. Several delegates were concerned that caucus leadership did not sufficiently control access to ballots. It was also clear that non-credentialed individuals were allowed to mix with delegates in the room. Daniel Rupp was seen carrying four ballots. It was later explained he was voting for his father, and that teller security officers closely monitored the process. An explanation for the other two ballots is less clear, but party officials state two ballots were destroyed.
“I smelled a rat from the beginning,” said Delegate Susie Huckvale, who witnessed the proceedings as they happened. “The whole day was chaotic.”
Delegate Craig Rollins, who was also witnessed the proceedings, said “I saw very well-meaning people overwhelmed and unprepared for the details of the day.”

“I really don’t know what happened with regard to credentialing,” Graham said. “But I felt from the aspect of running our district caucus we did the best we could. We had to give everyone time for nominations and speeches and that took a long time, but those are the rules.”

She said when Ferris provided her report to the district “she looked horrible, like something bad happened to her – and that’s not her, she’s usually very upbeat and happy.”

Graham said there were problems all over the place and was worried because there was no Sergeant-At-Arms. Graham is also addressing fraud allegations from delegates who claim there were alternates in the room than necessary – and that they came in before being credentialed.
“I’m looking closely at caucus paperwork and matching those names to registration records,” she said. “We are taking an exhaustive look at everything.”
Delegates from Precinct 966 felt disenfranchised because six delegates were voted in at caucus but the County GOP turned three away. What happened?
“The precinct representation shrunk over time,” Graham said. “Why? Because their voting habits show a decrease in voting, so they were cut in half. We flipped a coin to see which three would have to be turned away.”
Other precincts have reported their full delegation was in attendance and saw alternates mingling and voting at the convention.
“Those alternates should not have been there,” said delegate Rick Russell. “Our entire delegation was there and there were alternates from our precinct walking around and voting. I want that investigated.”
Graham says they continue to look into the matter and are checking registration records. And therein lies the problem – registration was chaotic.
Brent Boger, a GOP rules official said “it was a train wreck and I could see it coming.”
Boger said simply a lot of people were not properly checked in, so chaos ensued.
“It was clear there were alternates that should not have been there,” Boger said. “The convention showed problems within the party apparatus. There are many things that need to be fixed. I also wanted more rules to be transparent in the official book, but I was limited to two pages. I really wanted people to have all the rules in front of them, but I wasn’t allowed to do that.”
He also places blame at Ron Paul supporters.
“They like to cause chaos and delay and get their opponents worn out so they go home early,” Boger said. “We have lives, the Ron Paul people don’t.”
Regarding this challenge, Boger believes it would be embarrassing to have no representation from the 18th LD, but “to have no Romney delegates from a district that went overwhelmingly to Romney is simply wrong.”
If this challenge holds up, Boger says, the 18th LD results from March 30 would be null and void.
Mellor thinks the problems from March 30 stem from “a lack of planning for a group of this size.”
Mellor believes a good reform is to abolish the caucus system and reinstate a binding primary again for Washington state.
Brian Kashas, a Ron Paul supporter, disagrees. He says “our founders wanted a representative democracy and the caucus system does that.”
Kashas says the results of the convention were raw politics, but legal. But he agreed the process was disorganized and confusing, and invited tampering. He wasn’t pleased with the process and the delays.
Mellor also calls for an investigation on why the credentials report was so inaccurate.
 “Individuals who had not been credentialed were permitted to mix with delegates on the floor and ballots were distributed without verifying credentials,” Mellor said in his legal challenge. “These individuals could have been alternate delegates, they could have come from other counties, or they may even not have been registered voters or Washington voters.”
He says democracy was turned upside down and that the only way to protect voter rights is to not seat the 32 delegates because “they were elected by fraud.”
He says this will send a strong message to people who try to commit fraud and shenanigans.
So where is the problem?
An anonymous source within the County GOP thinks the party needs to purge the Ron Paul supporters from two leadership posts.
“They say one thing and then do another and then scream the loudest!” the source says. “They cause confusion and want to abolish everything. Sometimes I think they’re really radical Democrats, other times I think they’re anarchists. Either way, they really don’t belong in the Republican Party. They’re not our friends.”
Boger agreed with the anonymous source. “Ron Paul supporters don’t back down and have very strong opinions that are more in line with the Libertarian Party and that’s where they should be,” he added.
Huckvale questions Ron Paul supporter’s motives.
“I question whether they really support GOP principles or are just trying to make noise,” Huckvale said. “In the end will they really support the GOP nominee?”
The anonymous source also points blame directly at Katja and Mike Delavar. “They play right into the Ron Paul playbook which is delay, confuse, delay, confuse and then try to be the stand-up’s in the room. When the 284 count was announced Katja was the first to cry foul and then started yelling. They did this before and they’ll do it again. Katja stood up many times during the proceedings to interrupt and throw everyone off track. They just try to tire everyone else out so they go home before voting is complete. It pads their numbers.”
Dirk Bunker thinks Ron Paul supporters are “really Democrats trying to screw up the Republicans – and it’s working.”
“Katja acted like she knew what was going on,” said Rollins. “But we’re not so sure.”
The anonymous source also thinks long-time GOP activist Mike Gaston needs to go. For the record, Gaston is not a Ron Paul supporter.
“He has served the GOP well,” said the source. “But it’s time for him to go. He hasn’t kept up with technology and is very disorganized. We all end up following his lead – to our detriment. His heart is in the right place, but it’s just time he leave.”
The WSRP provided a letter from Chairman Kirby Wilbur, indicating they were in receipt of Mellor’s challenge.
In the letter, Wilbur states “I will refer these materials to the Credentials Committee of our Republican State Convention for their consideration. The Credentials Committee will review the challenge, and make a determination of how to proceed. WSRP staff does not evaluate the materials upon which credentials challenges are based or where the challenge complies with the convention rules. Those decisions are made by the convention’s Credentials Committee.”
There are several outcome scenarios. One outcome is that the entire 32-seat delegation will not be seated, citing irregularities and rule-breaking as the basis. Another outcome is to change nothing. Still, a third outcome, says Boger, is to re-do the 18th LD elections – but that’s unlikely.
The WSRP Credentials Committee will make a decision in May.

VANCOUVER, WA — More than 1,000 Clark County Republicans gathered on Saturday in an emotionally charged convention at the Vancouver Hilton to elect delegates to represent various legislative districts at the GOP State Convention in late May.

Delegates at the State Convention will vote on national delegates to represent Washington state at the GOP National Convention this coming August.
Saturday’s event was to finish business that began on March 3 at the local caucus events, which sent a majority of Romney delegates to the County Convention. Party organizers were again overwhelmed by the turnout, which resulted in hundreds of people waiting in line for hours and a delay to convene the proceedings.
Irregularities began before the event even started, said Romney delegate Rick Russell.
“Some lines are checking ID, while others don’t,” he said. “It seems like anyone can get in here if they get in the right line. They let some people in ahead of others. Some delegates are complaining because their name isn’t on the approved list, and they get turned away. They aren’t checking people in correctly. It’s a total train wreck.”
Dozens of people walked around unsure of where to go and what line to wait in. Emotions were running high before 9 am, and that was before the opening gavel.
 
The story continues after the jump (just below the photos):

GOP Convention
GOP delegates gathered at the Clark County GOP Convention
at the Vancouver Hilton.

 

GOP Convention
Delegates spent nearly 12 hours at the convention, which
was beset with delays and rule confusion.
Once started, GOP candidates or surrogates from every level spoke on themes of party unity, limited government, taxes, health care, beating the opposition and taking back the White House in November.
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera spoke on party unity and “how debates are good.”
In her speech, the Congresswoman criticized President Obama’s spending and took him to task on increasing debts. She believes the current debates between factions of the party will eventually make the party stronger and are essential to a free society.
Earlier in the week, organizers from the Romney, Santorum and Gingrich campaigns had agreed on a “Unity Slate” that included 18thDistrict delegates who pledged to vote for the eventual party nominee. That Unity Slate plan was put on ice by an official Santorum representative, who said the campaign was not part of this agreement.  He instead asked supporters to unite behind an Open Convention Slate.
Tensions started to rise at that moment.
Camas resident Susie Huckvale was worried that when the convention divided into individual districts that the Unity Slate plan would fail.
“I don’t feel good about this,” she said. “I smell a rat. The Santorum people are up to something. I think they’re colluding with the Ron Paul people, and double-crossing the Romney delegation.”
When the convention broke into legislative districts, Lacamas Magazine covered the 18th District’s proceedings. The convention was already 90 minutes late and confusion reigned as Mary Graham, the 18th District Legislative Caucus Chair, convened her district’s meeting.
The district meeting’s primary job was to elect 32 delegates to represent the 18th district at the State Convention. Initially, 134 delegates were slated but that soon ballooned to more than 170 as people could nominate themselves.
Katja Delavar, a Ron Paul supporter, consistently interrupted the proceedings by challenging rules and motions, much to the exasperation of many around her. One delegate asked to stop talking and emotions ran high. She and her husband, Mike, a former Washougal city councilman, left their seats and went to the back of the large room.
“I find that woman to be very disruptive and annoying,” said Huckvale.
Once nominations were closed, it was a requirement to allow the delegates 30 seconds to make a personal statement. Delegates attempted to amend this rule and allow no time for personal statements. Again, emotions ran high. The rule stood and the audience listened to the delegates make their case.
Delavar challenged nearly every motion or rule by speaking up or going to the district board at the front of the room.
“Who is this person?” said Huckvale. “She’s all over the place and she’s delaying everything – and look how wrong she is most of the time.”
One member of Precinct 960 is going to investigate why a lower numbered alternate from the caucus was in attendance as a delegate.
“Our entire delegation was here,” he said. “And he wasn’t on our list. Something fishy is going on.”
He plans to take photos of the alternate on Monday to the Clark County GOP and show them evidence of fraud.
The proceedings were delayed another hour as delegates waited on alternate voting to fill in delegate absences. Once that was done, the voting could begin.
The credentials representative reported that 213 delegates from the 18th District were credentialed and allowed to vote.
Instructions were vague and sometimes contradictory as ballots were handed out, and several delegates noted there were no safeguards.
“Nobody is watching how many ballots each delegates receives,” said Cynthia Haddock. “People could take more than one ballot and nobody would notice.”
Santorum and Romney delegates kept raising concerns to officials, only to continue to get brushed off.
“It’s not a perfect system,” said official Brent Boger, multiple times to multiple delegates. “We’re doing the best we can.”
One responded: “This whole thing is flawed. You’re not getting away with this.”
One anonymous delegate reported she received two ballots that were stuck together.
“It was hard to punch through the chads and then I noticed two were stuck together, so I returned one,” she said. “A dishonest person can easily commit fraud.”
Whispers of concern ran rampant as voting for 32 state delegates began. Charges of fraud were audible as one Ron Paul supporter wearing a cowboy hat was seen and videotaped holding four ballots.
It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Votes were counted using a voting machine and party official Mike Gaston announced the first round was complete. “We have 12 winners out of 284 ballots cast,” Gaston said.
Chaos ensued.
Seventy-one ballots were in question. Delavar immediately ran around the convention hallway claiming a break down of the system. “How can that be?” she yelled out. “We only credentialed 213.”
She then returned to her supporters.
Delegates were aghast and concerned about time limits as it neared 4:30 pm. The event was supposed to adjourn at 6 pm and the voting was nowhere near completion.
“We had a credentials report that said there were 213 credentialed voting delegates from the 18th Legislative District,” said Boger.  “We think the 284 number is correct … but we cannot verify that, so we’re going to count everyone in the room … and if we are fairly close to 284 we can just accept that number.”
A worn down and exhausted delegation agreed to the proposal, but once again questioned the integrity of the entire process. Most kept looking at their watches wondering if there was enough time to complete the voting.
Once a manual count of delegates was completed, the original numbers stood, but that left 20 open slots, since nominees were required to receive 50 percent plus one in order to be seated at the State Convention. The first round of elected delegates were Santorum supporters.
“It looks likes the Santorum delegates betrayed the Romney people and colluded with Ron Paul supporters,” said Haddock. “I feel disillusioned.”
A second round of voting began but had to be scrapped because GOP rules require delegates with less than 10 percent in the first round to be dropped from voting in the second round.
Tension and frustration filled the hall.
Romney delegates were shut out completely in the second round as Paul delegates ran away with it. After the third round, Romney delegates realized they had been double-crossed by the Santorum people.
“It’s clear what happened,” said Doug Thurston. “The two other campaigns combined forces to shut the Romney people out.”
He said the disproportion of Ron Paul supporters to the Romney delegates didn’t make sense given the way the caucus turned out.
“Romney clearly won on caucus day,” Thurston said. “And there weren’t this many Ron Paul people that won. Something bad happened.”
Huckvale thinks fraud was rampant all day long.
“The Santorum people double-crossed us,” she said. “And the number of delegates compared to what was credentialed wreaks of fraud. Romney won the caucus and had a clear majority of delegates from the county to win this!”
In the end, only Santorum and Paul delegates were elected from the 18th District.
Delegate Kristy Wasson was saddened by anti-Mormon remarks by Ron Paul supporters. She said one delegate was making fun of Mormons, and then said he was only joking. Another reported several Ron Paul supporters make anti-Mormon comments. Mitt Romney is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I am at peace tonight,” said Delavar to her Ron Paul supporters. “I can happily lay my head on my pillow tonight for what we did. We wiped out the Romney people and our voice was heard.”
One of the supporters said they wouldn’t support Mitt Romney if he got the nomination. He said they hoped for a brokered convention and would embrace presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
Observers were dismayed by the day’s proceedings.
“There was a 30 percent discrepancy between the credentialed delegates and the number of people voting – that’s significant,” said Thurston. “Ballots were handed out and nobody was double checking – one guy had four ballots in his hand. There were no checks and balances in this system.”
Officials were overwhelmed by the process and kept brushing off complaints.
“The system today has been flawed,” said Romney delegate Joseph Burt. “Today we have had a lot of discrepancy, a lot of problems, complete disorganization. The chairman did not have the agenda until this morning. This has been a flawed system and I’m certain there will be challenges.”
Most delegates spent nearly 12 hours at the Hilton, and by 6 pm at least a dozen gave up and went home. The event ended just after 8 pm.
“That’s what the Ron Paul people do,” said Burt. “They delay, delay, delay, cause panic, cause confusion and get people to leave early so they can inflate their numbers. And today, it worked.”
A video component of this story is being produced and will also be at www.LacamasMagazine.com

By Ernie Geigenmiller

In years past, the state of Washington has held both a caucus for each political party and a primary during the same election season.
 
That changed last year with the passage of SB5119, which cancels the 2012 presidential primary by amending RCW 29A.56.020, which was signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire on May 13, 2011. In the last two election cycles, the Washington Democrats (2004 and 2008) nominated by caucus while the Washington Republicans nominated by caucus in 2004 and by both caucus and primary in 2008.
It’s a temporary law, says the Governor’s office, because it expires in 2013, which opens the door to another presidential primary in 2016. The reason is to save the state money. The primary system costs the taxpayer money to operate. Political parties pay for the caucus system.
 
So, Democrats and Republicans, if you’re expecting a primary ballot this election season, don’t hold your breath. You won’t be receiving one.
 
So, what does a civic-minded citizen do now? You go to caucus.
 
What’s that? Put simply, it’s the most grass-roots you can get in American politics.
 
Todd Galbraith, who recently participated in a Minnesota caucus, says it’s chaotic and can be laden with fraud, but is also a lot of fun, if done correctly.
 
 “I went to cast my vote for Mitt Romney, but his name was off the ballot,” he said. “I had to request multiple times for a correct ballot until I was given one.”
 
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, and is commonly used  in the United States and Canada. Each major political party, typically Democrats and Republicans, hold their own caucus on a separate date.
 
A caucus is a cluster of precincts in a geographical area. For example, in Camas there are 23 precincts that comprise the 15th & 18th Legislative districts. Each precinct has a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) who operates their section at the caucus. If a PCO has an inclination to one candidate, he or she will organize their precinct to get the most supporters for that particular candidate.
It’s about organization. Supporters of a particular candidate can overwhelm a caucus.
Precinct members cluster in groups for their preferred candidate and a spokesman for each candidate makes his case and tries to persuade fellow precinct caucus voters. At the end of debate, each member in attendance casts his or her ballot for a chosen candidate. The ballots from each precinct are tallied and given to the caucus coordinator, who tallies all precincts.
Each precinct caucus chooses the precinct’s delegates (PCO is an automatic delegate) to the County Convention or Legislative District Caucuses [based on Washington State Republican Party rules 14, 15, 16]. The County Conventions will, in turn, choose delegates to the State Convention. The delegates chosen at state go onto the National Convention bound to support a particular candidate.
The Washington Democrats have similar system, but they are running on a different set of dates.
 
 
Ron Paul
Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) took his presidential
campaign to Vancouver on Feb. 16.

 

Josh Romney
Josh Romney poses with Kim Jaehee Rancourt and her
family at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver on Feb. 20.
He is acting as a surrogate for his father, presidential
candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney.
 
“On the Republican side, I think Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have the best get-out-the-vote drives,” says Camas resident Susie Huckvale.
“It is grassroots politics at its best,” said Brandon Vick, Clark County Republican Chair expecting a higher-than average turnout at the Caucuses this year.
This year, Republicans will hold their caucus on Saturday, March 3.
 
Democrats will hold their caucus on Sunday, April 15, from 12:30-4 pm and exact locations have not been confirmed.
 
This cycle, Washington has a real say in the partisan battles. By April 2008, the GOP had already decided on John McCain, and the Democrats hadn’t had their caucus yet.
 
Republican Party Caucuses meet in each precinct at 10 am on Saturday, March 3, with doors opening at 9 am. Participants are required to sign a form stating they are Republicans and must confirm their address. Clark County is divided into 194 voting precincts, ranging in size from 2035 registered voters to 85.  Registered voters who consider themselves Republicans will attend Precinct Caucus Clusters.
They’re “clustered” rather than having a meeting place for each precinct, with 11 to 31 Precincts meeting in ten locations. There is no cost to participate.
Republicans who live in Camas will caucus at Camas High School, in the Commons area. The address is 26900 SE 15th, in Camas, and includes the following precincts: 606, 625, 900, 905, 910, 913, 914, 917, 920, 925, 930, 935, 940, 947, 950, 960, 961, 962, 963, 964, 965, 966, and 985.
Basically, if you live in Camas, go to Camas High School to caucus. If unsure of your precinct, it’s on your voter registration card. There will also be a map at the caucus.
The March 3rd caucus is the reason why presidential candidate Ron Paul attended a rally in downtown Vancouver last Thursday at the Vancouver Hilton, and Josh Romney, the son of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, spent time in Vancouver on February 20.
 
Ron Paul’s rally had an estimated 1,500 in attendance.
 
“I’m supporting Ron Paul because I am ready for someone who takes the Constitution seriously and has a record to back it up,” said Camas resident Brian Kashas. “I think the Executive has too much power. I want an end to the interventionist foreign policy that we can’t afford and wins us no friends. He’s [Ron Paul] the only one talking about the role of the Federal Reserve system in funding the deficits and creating the booms and busts through fractional reserve lending- and wants to end this corrupt system by returning to sound money as required by the Constitution. It’s time to live within our means and get back to a principled government that stays within the limits imposed upon it.”
 
The younger Romney is acting as a campaign surrogate for his father by traveling through Washington and Alaska this week.
 
“My dad tackles things head on,” said Romney, who isn’t an official member of the campaign. “And he has more energy than anyone I know. We always have to get advance guys because Dad wears them out all the time. And he really has what it takes to turn this nation around.”
 
Romney rallied the supporters to do phone banking, take 10 people apiece to the March 3 caucus and to come visit with his father on March 1 as he campaigns in Washington.
 
“I also encourage you to respect our opponents,” said Romney. “We have disagreements but we need to be respectful.”
 
Romney spent about 90 minutes with the crowd addressing questions, shaking hands and watching a family sing.
 
The Rick Santorum campaign said their candidate will come to Washington next week and to stay tuned for upcoming announcements. The Newt Gingrich campaign hasn’t announced their intentions.