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Oregon state Senator Chip Shields explains why he voted for the CRC bill

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 8th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Senator Chip Shields.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Many of you where surprised and disappointed when Oregon State Senator Chip Shields voted in favor of HB 2800, a.k.a. the CRC bill. Shields is a Democrat who represents the north and northeast Portland district that will be most immediately impact by this massive freeway expansion project.

Shields' vote was surprising because many of his constituents urged him to vote no and he is someone who understands the impacts this project will have. No one knew why Shields voted yes because he hadn't responded to any constituent emails about the bill. Until now. Several BikePortland readers have just sent me a note from Sen. Shields that explains why he voted yes.

Read Shields' full email below (emphases mine):

"I made the best choice I could at the time, and it was an incredibly close call. I didn't go against your wishes and the wishes of many of my constituents lightly."

Thank you for writing to urge my No vote on HB 2800-A-- the Columbia River Crossing bill.

I apologize for delay in responding.

Here’s what was happening behind the scenes that resulted in my Yes vote.

In the legislature, our vote is our leverage. To increase that leverage, I banded together with two Senators leading up to the vote. They also wanted to change the direction of the project for the better. One wanted assurances that rural transportation projects, including a bridge in his district, wouldn’t be hampered by the CRC’s debt service. The other shared my concern that the low span would cost living-wage manufacturing jobs across the river in Vancouver. Additionally, I was working with the Coalition for a Livable Future on creating a real environmental mitigation/community enhancement fund. I was also pushing for congestion pricing to reduce carbon emissions. Finally, I wanted to make sure residents of N/NE Portland had equal opportunity to build the bridge as apprentices, skilled tradesmen and women and as contractors, so I pushed for bigger investments in pre-apprenticeship training for outfits like Oregon Tradeswomen, Constructing Hope, Portland Youthbuild and the Margaret Carter Skills Center at Portland Community College.

The three of us Senators decided that we would stick together and negotiate as a bloc.

It had some effect. I am pleased to report that on Monday morning, on the day of the Senate vote, I was able to confirm the Governor’s support for Speaker Kotek’s efforts on the environmental mitigation/community enhancement fund, as well as his support for increased funding for pre-apprenticeship training. I will be submitting a bill shortly to appropriate $4.5 million for pre-apprenticeship training focused on women and people of color. The effort will be funded through what’s called federal transportation flex funds.

I wanted more, but that Monday morning, I polled a few key Senators and it was clear that HB 2800-A proponents had the votes to pass the bill no matter how the bloc voted. Our votes would not affect the outcome. The bloc decided to disband and vote independently. The negotiation was over. It was time to vote Yes or No.

I considered that I had neighbors on both sides of this issue. The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods was strongly opposed to HB 2800-A and had filed a lawsuit in partnership with Coalition for a Livable Future to block the CRC. The overwhelming majority of Northeast Portlanders who wrote me opposed HB 2800-A.

But I also now represented Hayden Island and neighborhoods along the Columbia River. These neighbors-- the Bridgeton Neighborhood Association, the Hayden Island Neighborhood Network, East Columbia Neighborhood Association and several other groups close to Hayden Island supported HB 2800-A. As Ron Schmidt of the Hayden Island Neighborhood Network wrote:

“The I5 bridge is the only way for our over 2000 residents to get home and for thousands of employees and thousands of customers to the businesses on our island whether it be by bike, bus, boot leather or buggy so when I5 stops, our lives do too. Portland police get delayed trying to get to us when traffic stalls or stops, neither ambulances nor backup fire trucks can. We have no hospital nor medical facilities on the island. Not only do we support the I5 bridge replacement, our lives depend on it. Please build the bridge.

“As this project is being delayed, we have families and businesses who don’t know when they will become condemned but live in constant fear if and when they will. We have businesses and families unwilling to invest or build in our community because of the uncertainty and we fear the crime that has struck our island and the degradation of the properties surrounding the bridge is in part from the delays in the project. Our state and our region suffer economic and environmental damage from the transportation blockage that has existed for years.

“We have a unique perspective of the implications of plan design and a vested interest for a great plan design. We support the $450 million project plan. We hope to continue to work together with the CRC and others and we ask to continue to have a place at the project development table. Please build the Bridge right.”

In the end, I decided to vote for HB 2800-A in solidarity with Hayden Island residents. I also hope that my “Yes” vote will give me an opportunity to stay at the negotiation table in order to shape the design and implementation of the project to mitigate the environmental and fiscal implications and to ensure residents of N/NE Portland had equal opportunity to build the bridge as apprentices, skilled tradesmen and women, and contractors.

I have promised you, my constituents, that on this and other matters I will: 1. Listen to you. 2. Tell you the truth, and 3. Vote my conscience.

Here's what I said about the CRC to the League of Women Voters during the 2012 primary election, which was featured in their candidate guide:

“I support early tolling on today's bridge so that we can make a down payment and see how tolling affects traffic flows. Residents of N/NE Portland must have equal opportunity to build the bridge as apprentices, skilled tradesmen and women and as contractors. The bridge should meet the needs of Hayden Island residents. Environmental impacts should be mitigated and the size constricted to what we can afford. I support an up or down vote on bonding for the bridge.”

I was able to advance some of those items. Others I could not. I made the best choice I could at the time, and it was an incredibly close call. I didn't go against your wishes and the wishes of many of my constituents lightly. I am proud of my 94% Oregon League of Conservation Voters lifetime rating, and though we came to different conclusions on this bill, I thank you for your feedback and for taking the time and effort to contact me on this important issue.

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if I can assist you and your family in the future.

Sincerely,
Chip

The length of this explanation shows how important this vote was to Sen. Shields. It also provides fascinating (to me) insight into how legislators weigh their votes. Many of the reasons cited here I've heard before, and they all lead to the same thing: They require a level of trust from ODOT/CRC staff that I don't think they deserve. And what's this about flex funds going toward apprenticeship training? That's news to me and that's not the type of expenditure ODOT has typically given those funds to.

Also, for Shields hang his decision solely on the (supposed) support of the CRC from Hayden Island residents is also interesting. Hayden Island residents are not all supportive of the project; they are simply going along with HB 2800 out of fear that if they oppose it they'll lose their seat at the table in planning its final design. That's a big risk for them — and this vote was a big risk for Shields.

What do you think?

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Comments
  • Brock Howell March 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I'm not pleased that flex funds are being used to pay for apprenticeships. That's money that should go to walk/bike/transit, not job training.

    Recommended Thumb up 16

    • sabes March 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Yeah! Screw people wanting jobs! We want to ride our bikes!

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • pliny March 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm

        To our jobs. Without risking our lives.

        Recommended Thumb up 23

      • Bjorn March 9, 2013 at 8:34 am

        building sidewalks and other construction with the flex funds is a job actually. training can be good and may even be needed by some folks, but this isn't the money that should be used for that. I'm actually a bit surprised that it even can be used in that way.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Tiago Denczuk March 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    What a bunch of crap, that's what I think. He betrayed his constituents. Democrats have been so weak in every level of politics, coming up with excuses to why they did something against people's will - the people that elected them in the first place. And then they give us this bullshit, treat us like we're stupid, as if they (and not us) knew what's better for us. I still have hopes that this project won't actually happen, but no thanks to this sell-out.

    Recommended Thumb up 34

    • Rol March 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      Yeah, crap usually is long and tortured like that. Someone with clear principles would've wrapped it up in one paragraph. Not even: "Yep I did the right thing; next question." People who do wrong are always spending all day explaining how complicated life is.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Beth March 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I received the same email today.
    While I understand that Senator Shields felt he was walking some kind of political fine line, that purported argument went out the window as soon as the bloc realized it had no real power and voted to disband and vote independently.
    Shields' logic in supporting a relatively small group of Hayden Island residents and businesses at the expense of the larger majority of N/NE Portland residents -- whose quality of life and safety will be negatively impacted by the bridge in its present design -- is hard for me to wrap my head around.
    As for the use of flex-funds, I'm not sure how he will "leverage" steering that money towards something other than its stated purpose without some serious legislative slight-of-hand.
    All I DO know at this point is that I'm pretty unimpressed with Senator Shields' vote on this issue, and I'm going to have to think very hard when he comes up for reelection.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

    • matt picio March 11, 2013 at 6:43 am

      Perhaps I am being overly cynical, but I look at the average income of a Hayden Island resident and the average income of the N/NE residents in Shields' district, and I really wonder exactly who he is representing? As a former (and soon to be again) resident of that district, I will definitely be taking a close look at Representative Shields' legislative decisions with an eye towards the next election.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • matt picio March 11, 2013 at 6:45 am

        Pardon me - Senator Shields, not representative. Jonathan, it's hard enough to keep track of state legislators (even my own) without misleading titles like "why-oregon-state-rep-".

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Hart Noecker March 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Just a Chip off the ol' Democrat bloc.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • michelle March 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    He's lost my vote.

    Why pretend to care what we think?

    What's the hidden relationship between Ron Schmidt and Chip Shields I wonder. Why is Hayden Island > than the rest of N/NE Portland?

    Our only hope now is Clark County and Ann Rivers. *sigh*

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • Justin Morton March 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    It'll be interesting to see if Tina and Chip pay a political price for this vote.

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Old Rusty Bridge Fan March 8, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Interesting. If Sen. Shields overriding concern is providing reliable access to Hayden Island, the best solution would be a second bridge from the Oregon side. Something like the Sauvie Island Bridge, which cost just $38 million (in 2006), a far more affordable alternative to the CRC -- which will be just as congested (according to the CRC studies) as the existing bridges, so no different for Hayden Island residents.

    I suspect the recent WW article gives the most honest reason why our legislators pushed this through so quickly... if you haven't read it:

    http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-20317-the_woman_behind_the_bridge.html

    Recommended Thumb up 20

  • Allan Folz March 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Interesting. I had written Senator Shields as well. For those potentially interested my reply to his reply I've paste below:

    Dear Allan,

    Thank you for writing to urge my No vote on HB 2800-A-- the Columbia River Crossing bill. I apologize for delay in responding.

    Here’s what was happening behind the scenes that resulted in my Yes vote.

    In the legislature, our vote is our leverage. To increase that leverage, I banded together with two Senators leading up to the vote. They also wanted to change the direction of the project for the better. One wanted assurances that rural transportation projects, including a bridge in his district, wouldn’t be hampered by the CRC’s debt service. The other shared my concern that the low span would cost living-wage manufacturing jobs across the river in Vancouver. Additionally, I was working with the Coalition for a Livable Future on creating a real environmental mitigation/community enhancement fund. I was also pushing for congestion pricing to reduce carbon emissions. Finally, I wanted to make sure residents of N/NE Portland had equal opportunity to build the bridge as apprentices, skilled tradesmen and women and as contractors, so I pushed for bigger investments in pre-apprenticeship training for outfits like Oregon Tradeswomen, Constructing Hope, Portland Youthbuild and the Margaret Carter Skills Center at Portland Community College.

    The three of us Senators decided that we would stick together and negotiate as a bloc.

    It had some effect. I am pleased to report that on Monday morning, on the day of the Senate vote, I was able to confirm the Governor’s support for Speaker Kotek’s efforts on the environmental mitigation/community enhancement fund, as well as his support for increased funding for pre-apprenticeship training. I will be submitting a bill shortly to appropriate $4.5 million for pre-apprenticeship training focused on women and people of color. The effort will be funded through what’s called federal transportation flex funds.

    This is politically correct posturing. A close examination of employment statistics show that the latest recession has hit men working in the trades far worse than women. I understand it's not fashionable to be a white blue-collar worker, or any white male for that matter. (The number of nationally prominent white men adopting and trumpeting some sort of Hispanic heritage is getting comical.) But let's not be so easily fooled. Great and proper strides were made to level the playing field. Unfortunately, our national leaders have gone from working to make a level playing field to having a hugely tilted one against white men. This something you're proud of? Please explain.

    I wanted more, but that Monday morning, I polled a few key Senators and it was clear that HB 2800-A proponents had the votes to pass the bill no matter how the bloc voted. Our votes would not affect the outcome. The bloc decided to disband and vote independently. The negotiation was over. It was time to vote Yes or No.

    I considered that I had neighbors on both sides of this issue. The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods was strongly opposed to HB 2800-A and had filed a lawsuit in partnership with Coalition for a Livable Future to block the CRC. The overwhelming majority of Northeast Portlanders who wrote me opposed HB 2800-A.

    Indeed.

    But I also now represented Hayden Island and neighborhoods along the Columbia River. These neighbors-- the Bridgeton Neighborhood Association, the Hayden Island Neighborhood Network, East Columbia Neighborhood Association and several other groups close to Hayden Island supported HB 2800-A. As Ron Schmidt of the Hayden Island Neighborhood Network wrote:

    I can sympathize with those residents on Hayden Island, but they knew what they were getting into when choosing to move there, no? This strikes me as someone living near an airport complaining about noise from increasing air traffic. Unstated, but not unthought is how much more their property would be worth without those pesky flight patterns, or traffic jams. I also rather suspect their problems could be solved for far less dollars and with far less impact than is now on offer with the CRC highway expansion.

    “The I5 bridge is the only way for our over 2000 residents to get home and for thousands of employees and thousands of customers to the businesses on our island whether it be by bike, bus, boot leather or buggy so when I5 stops, our lives do too. Portland police get delayed trying to get to us when traffic stalls or stops, neither ambulances nor backup fire trucks can. We have no hospital nor medical facilities on the island. Not only do we support the I5 bridge replacement, our lives depend on it. Please build the bridge.

    “As this project is being delayed, we have families and businesses who don’t know when they will become condemned but live in constant fear if and when they will. We have businesses and families unwilling to invest or build in our community because of the uncertainty and we fear the crime that has struck our island and the degradation of the properties surrounding the bridge is in part from the delays in the project. Our state and our region suffer economic and environmental damage from the transportation blockage that has existed for years.

    “We have a unique perspective of the implications of plan design and a vested interest for a great plan design. We support the $450 million project plan. We hope to continue to work together with the CRC and others and we ask to continue to have a place at the project development table. Please build the Bridge right.”

    Again, I can well see how the highway expansion would be a great thing for property owners on Hayden Island. I rather suspect Port of Portland, owning half the island resting fallow, would _really_ see this as a great thing. However, I'm not sure it serves anyone in the district outside of the island a commiserate benefit. To the contrary, it is going to considerably increase pressure for yet more highway expansion south. With a $3.4 billion sunk cost in the CRC highway expansion, it's going to be a very hard thing to resist further expansion to finish the job the CRC started.

    I have to ask have you considered these follow-on, 2nd-order effects for _after_ the highway expansion is completed?

    BTW, does our mayor still live on Hayden Island? Just curious.

    In the end, I decided to vote for HB 2800-A in solidarity with Hayden Island residents. I also hope that my “Yes” vote will give me an opportunity to stay at the negotiation table in order to shape the design and implementation of the project to mitigate the environmental and fiscal implications and to ensure residents of N/NE Portland had equal opportunity to build the bridge as apprentices, skilled tradesmen and women, and contractors.

    And once this one-time, mega-project is complete, where are all these newly minted workers going to find employment? One of the things the unions are well cognizant of is that too many workers competing for too few jobs is not good for wages. It's simple supply and demand, something our national economists pushing an open border agenda seem to have conveniently forgotten amidst the worst employment recession since WWII. As a legislator answering to a more local constituency I would expect you to have a more practical, dare I say realistic, view in this issue. I suppose the alternative is an unstated discrimination against regular, white male apprentices while the CRC expansion is going on. The overall number of apprentices could remain constant, but the number of women and minorities increased at the expense of white males. Do you have any suggestions for them? I'm not a young white male looking to get into the skilled trades myself, but for the record I'm against discrimination of any kind, even if its against the sons and grandsons of past discriminators. My conscience is that two wrongs don't make a right.

    I have promised you, my constituents, that on this and other matters I will: 1. Listen to you. 2. Tell you the truth, and 3. Vote my conscience.

    Two out of three?

    Here's what I said about the CRC to the League of Women Voters during the 2012 primary election, which was featured in their candidate guide:

    “I support early tolling on today's bridge so that we can make a down payment and see how tolling affects traffic flows. Residents of N/NE Portland must have equal opportunity to build the bridge as apprentices, skilled tradesmen and women and as contractors. The bridge should meet the needs of Hayden Island residents. Environmental impacts should be mitigated and the size constricted to what we can afford. I support an up or down vote on bonding for the bridge.”

    I was able to advance some of those items. Others I could not. I made the best choice I could at the time, and it was an incredibly close call. I didn't go against your wishes and the wishes of many of my constituents lightly.

    Many or most?

    I am proud of my 94% Oregon League of Conservation Voters lifetime rating, and though we came to different conclusions on this bill, I thank you for your feedback and for taking the time and effort to contact me on this important issue.

    Well, clearly they don't grade on a weighted scale, because quite frankly the scope of the CRC highway expansion, and the follow-on effects it is assuredly going to bring about, will vastly overwhelm an enormous number of smaller, albeit good, projects.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if I can assist you and your family in the future.

    Well, if I'm mistaken on any of my comments above please correct me. Until then, I shall stand by my original assertion: Lew Fredrick did the right thing, and will be remembered for such.

    Sincerely,
    -Allan Folz

    Best,

    Chip

    Senator Chip Shields (D-22, N/NE Portland)
    503-986-1722
    ________________________________________
    From: Allan Folz
    Sent: Friday, March 01, 2013 9:52 AM
    To: Sen Shields
    Subject: CRC funding bill

    Greetings Senator Shields,

    I'm a constituent residing in Piedmont neighborhood in North Portland.

    I am writing to let you know I (and for what it's worth all my
    neighbors that I've spoken to) am very much against the CRC highway
    expansion. I'd like to ask how you'll be voting on the funding bill,
    which I understand is going to be in front of the Senate next week.

    Representative Fredrick did the right and principled thing and voted
    down the funding bill in the House. I hope you will do likewise.

    Sincerely,

    Allan Folz

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Allan Folz March 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Well, I tried to set-off my text in blue, but the HTML mark-ups appear to have been stripped out or ignored. Apologies. A preview option would have been helpful.

      --- Hey Allan. Sorry. I went ahead and blockquoted it for you. -- Jonathan

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Allan Folz March 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

        Thanks Jonathan. That looks much better. I appreciate it.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • are March 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      if white males have more of the jobs, then when the recession hits white males will take heavier losses. this does not mean that a push to increase the share of these jobs going to minorities and women becomes suddenly wrong.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Allan Folz March 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

        First, the still on-going jobs recession has affects men _disproportionately_. All men, not just white men, have lost work far more than their numbers in the work force would have indicated.

        Second, if there is a shortage of jobs, and there is, training more people to fill those limited number of slots is an unequivocal waste of resources. The people with existing skills can't find enough work, and now there are more people with new skills that can't find enough work.

        In short, "job training" is wasteful pork-barrel spending. It employs a bunch of job trainers, a bunch of job trainees, and subsidizes the employers as they are able to enjoy a labor surplus to pressure wages down. All paid for out of tax dollars that incumbent politicians use to curry favor among otherwise desperate voters.

        That people are comfortable with bald-faced discrimination in the training system shows what a farce the whole thing is.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • kittens March 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    a great illustration of how and why political "pork" is made: to buy votes from unscrupulous politicians for whatever stupid pet project they might have in mind. Here it is simply Chip's apprenticeships. Exceedingly narrow focus allows Chip to rationalize his vote on this monstrosity. Not exactly the mark of a leader.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

    • Allan Folz March 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Unscrupulous? He voted his conscience! Obviously, since he said so.

      Far be it from us mere voters not to appreciate a legislator's conscience is dictated by ensuring a chosen few in his district get a 0.1% cut of the pork, white males need not apply.</sarc>

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jeff Bernards March 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    He's going to help train bridge builders? Portland is currently building 2 bridges, I'm sure anyone with bridge building knowledge is on those projects. I'm willing to bet that 80% of CRC workers will be from out of state. I thought this was suppose to be a local jobs program?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • sabes March 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      And I'm willing to bet you pulled that 80% out of your ass.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

  • DG March 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Chip decides to ignore the majority of his constituents to "leverage his vote". The morning of the vote, the leverage is taken away, but he votes for it anyway??!!. Seriously, WTF? I understand that people who live an an island have limited access, but a bigger freeway can still get backed up, accidents will still cause backups. A local bridge is the appropriate fix. Chip conveniently neglects to mention all of the pain (diversion, pollution) that this will bring to his constituents. Chip Shields has utterly failed at his job. For the promise of a jobs training program (he could not have any details if he learned about it the morning of!), he sold out the majority of his constituency. I am furious with Chip and this pathetic excuse only makes it worse.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

  • 9watts March 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Chip, if you want to meet a vote of conscience, let me remind you of Barbara Lee's vote in 2001
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2001/09/alone-hill

    There's a time for horse trading and second guessing future chances at what your seat at the table (you don't get a seat if you vote no - what kind of political system is this?!) might yield, but in the view of many this was probably not the best time to go that route.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • wsbob March 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

    Chip Shields reasoning that led to his vote for the bridge, is just strange. He votes for a bill supporting the construction of this leviathan nightmare of a bridge, which apparently most of his constituents oppose, in exchange for on the job training opportunities for these same constituents. They get to learn work skills on a project they know is likely to have a deleterious effect on their neighborhoods near the bridge.

    For my own information, I suppose I need to look into what this 'Coalition for a Livable Future, effort on creating a real environmental mitigation/community enhancement fund, that he says he partnered with the coalition on, is.

    Maybe that alone was worth his vote contrary to his constituents wishes on the bill. Of things locally, on a smaller scale than global warming and population explosion, that may negatively effect the environment and the community, for which a fund will be needed to mitigate the impact, the CRC bridge may be it.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • dwainedibbly March 9, 2013 at 4:59 am

    The bridge will be around long after any job training, etc, is gone. Here's hoping for an active Primary season next time...

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Bjorn March 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

    I listened to Shields talk at a town hall I went to. He talked for a long time about working to get this kind of job training stuff up and running. To me that is a really unusual use of those funds and while earmarks aren't necessarily unethical it appears to me that his vote was bought as it probably would have gone the other way without that odd use of those funds.

    Also this is the first I have heard of Hayden island residents being pro-CRC, I hear lots more of we don't want to lose our only grocery store than we want a mega freeway project. It seems absolutely clear that a local bridge with no freeway widening provides far more benefit to hayden island than the CRC does.

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • ed March 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

    His explanation bears a striking resemblance to that which comes out the hind end of a horse, and is just as palatable.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Jay March 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    If the bill already had enough yes votes, then he could've voted "no" as his constituents requested of him without even thinking too hard about it. He didn't get anything out of this for his constituents and robbing ODOT flex funds for job training is ludicrous. Job training should be part of the project costs, as TriMet does through its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. Don't these representatives understand this stuff? This is politics at its worst.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Jeff Bernards March 10, 2013 at 9:14 am

    $4 billion for 2,000 residents? Wow I've heard of special interest but this is a little over the top.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jonathan Ostar March 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

    This surprised me, given that the Hayden Island Livability Project, comprised primarily of residents from the Manufactured Home Community, have sued the federal government over the inadequacies with the current project design and analysis as disproportionately impacting low-income residents. Chip has unfortunately chosen to use solidarity with a small minority of island residents and business owners as pretext for his vote.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • kgb March 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    For the cost of CRC planning to date we could have built 5 bridges to Hayden Island.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Brian March 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Seems like good evidence that 1) reasonable people can (and should) disagree reasonably, and 2) the legislative process is more complex than most people realize. It's fun to think of nice scenarios like a dedicated bridge to Hayden Island -- but if they aren't on the table and you cannot realistically get them on the table, then they aren't a viable alternative. It leads to an interesting philosophical question of whether one should support the lesser of evils, or oppose all the evils. I guess it depends on the perceived degree of evility.

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  • jd March 11, 2013 at 2:40 am

    In this economy, Shields wants to spend several billions of dollars for the (supposed) benefit of 2000 people? That's almost $2 million a person. It must be nice to be the sort of person who feels they deserve that kind of treatment from their government. I'd feel guilty taking food stamps...

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  • peejay March 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Let's see how this works out. Most people here will still probably vote for their Democratic representative in the general election in spite of their idiotic CRC vote. But things could get really uncomfortable in the primaries. Let's try to make a few of them pay for taking our votes for granted, and in the process, we might wind up with a more progressive Dem caucus.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • chucklehead March 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    How many people against the bridge actually use the bridge?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • GlowBoy March 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      I'm against the bridge, and I use it every few weeks when I'm headed north out of town in my car. How is that relevant? Do I need that slab to double in width? No, it works fine today.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Alan 1.0 March 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      CRC != bridge

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Ron Buel March 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I will be voting for Chip Shields at every chance going forward. He is a great legislator in my opinion, and I could go on and on about his accomplishments. He doesn't understand the Hayden Island situation very well. No talk about the 600 foot-wide earth berm 50-60 feet high all across the Island -- 6 million cubic feet of dirt, the loss of more than 600 permanent jobs there, staging the 6-8 years of construction next to the trailer park on the West side of the Island, where the noise, dust and vibration will make a living hell for residents. The level of hype and mendacity that has gone into this project, the strong support from Labor unions, the Governor and leadership buckling to the source of their money -- 2/3rds of the money for the contested swing seats for Democrats from labor. All of this goes un-mentioned by Chip, but it is very real. Fortunately the ground has shifted in Washington State & Clark County and this project, as currently designed, will come to an end in the next few months. In the meantime, our good liberal Democrats have protected their meal ticket, and maybe they will go on to do good work in other arenas. Chip certainly will. I am less certain about some others. It is a credit to Mitch Greenlick that he got the triggers in the bill that will prevent the CRC from selling bonds and buying property to lock the project in. It is a credit to Dingfelder, Frederick and Tomei that they understood the issues and voted their consciences.

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  • Ron Buel March 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Chucklehead. Try asking that question in Clark County where people understand that this bridge will increase congestion on I-5 every workday morning when six lanes narrow to three at Delta Park, less than two miles from the big new bridge. There will be a massive traffic jam every workday morning. This is why you are supporting the bridge? You are a sucker for all the lies surrounding it.

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