Site Directory
Off the Wire

Are the City and County Getting Diverse Input?


Clark County and the City of Vancouver have Neighborhood Associations that are made up of member/residents over the age of 18. and

In Vancouver, the municipal code requires that Neighborhood Associations make a "good faith effort to recruit a diverse and representative group of residents” to fulfill the functions of the association which, in part, include:

"community input on the efficiency and effectiveness of the city's delivery of services. Making recommendations concerning particular actions, policies, plans, programs, projects, and other matters to the city council and to any city department or commission affecting the livability of the neighborhood, including, but not limited to, land use, housing, community facilities, human services, social and recreational programs, open space and parks, traffic and transportation, environmental quality, and public safety”.

Here is the concern. The census data indicates that our average age of Vancouver residents is 35.9 years and close to 30% of our population is in the 19-39 year old range. The associations do not have nearly enough representation from that age group and, therefore, the City and County aren't getting enough input from our next generation of leaders.

Right2BHeard will be working closely with the associations to get younger people involved. They are the generation that will be affected the most profoundly on the issues of land use, housing, social and recreational programs, environmental quality, etc.

Let's get the word out.


Neil Chambers, contact 6204 NE 67th Street Vancouver WA 98661 (360) 699-5119 Email: Boundaries: North: I-205, East: Andresen Rd.,...

Where Have All the Voters Gone?

All you who are running for about making voting fun again!

I am bored to death with campaigns. Don't come to my door! You lost me when you approached my door with brochure in hand and uttered, "Hi, I am running for..."

If you are this uncreative when you want my vote, imagine how ordinary you will be as my representative. Yawn.

Calling all candidates to join in a celebration of democracy and partisanship that mobilizes voters.

Better than the boring repetitive customs of the campaign season: doorbelling, community parades and cold calling angry voters. Get your opponent to agree. Campaign together. Have a bonfire. Have a festival.

Be different before I change the channel or find a more interesting link.




Crude by Rail Safety Act of 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new rules governing the safety of oil train tank cars.

“The new DOT rule is just like saying let the oil trains roll. It does nothing to address explosive volatility, very little to reduce the threat of rail car punctures, and is too slow on the removal of the most dangerous cars. It’s more of a status quo rule than the real safety changes needed to protect the public and first responders.”

In March following four fiery derailments involving oil trains, Cantwell introduced the Crude-By-Rail Safety Act of 2015with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). The legislation requires the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to establish new regulations to mitigate the volatility of gases in crude oil shipped via tank car. It also would immediately halt the use of older-model tank cars at high risk for puncturing and catching fire in derailments, as well approving $40 million for first responder training programs to improve emergency response procedures.


Be Heard by a Few Friends...Discuss Mental Health


In Context: What Baltimore's Mayor Said 

From Politifact

Did Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake make a conscious decision to allow violent protestors to loot and set fire to stores and police cars in her city? Some people think she might have. A local CBS news video caught her saying we "gave those who wished to destroy space."

We thought it would help to provide the entire text of what the mayor said, and the clarification her office put out about 24 hours later. Read the entirety of her comments.



Rand Paul attacks Hillary Clinton's on Benghazi 

From Politifact

Speaking on CNN, 2016 Republican candidate Rand Paul said this of Hillary Clinton: "She didn't provide the security, not just that day, for nine months. Dozens and dozens of requests for more security, all completely ignored by Hillary Clinton."

The numerous requests from officials on the ground in Libya for better security for the Benghazi compound are undeniable and well-documented, though saying "dozens and dozens" might be an overstatement.

Paul is treading into uncertain waters, though, in saying Clinton flat-out ignored those requests. No one has shown Clinton willfully ignored the cries for help from Libya. We rated his statement Half True.



The 'most popular' high-school history textbook?

From Politifact

Rick Santorum, a possible candidate for president in 2016, posed this question to the audience during a recent speech: "Do you know the most popular textbook that's taught in our high schools in America is written by a man named Howard Zinn, who is an anti-American Marxist, and that is the most common textbook?"

While there is anecdotal evidence that Zinn’s work is popular among some high-school teachers, there is zero hard evidence to support Santorum’s core statistical claim -- that Zinn’s volume is taught in more high-school history classes than any other book. We also covered some of Zinn’s interesting biography.

The claim contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rated it Mostly False.



Vancouver USA Strategic Plan 2015 Update

In 2014, the Vancouver City Council started the process of creating a new strategic vision and plan for the City. From March-May 2014, the Council held four “strategy sessions” to identify high-level goals that would serve as the foundation for a strategic planning process.

The goal of the strategy sessions was to review, refine and verify the City's vision for the community. The Council began by identifying their shared values and vision for the community, defining what excellent leadership looks like, and discussing what they would like their legacy to be. Strategy sessions also included an environmental scan, looking at the City’s purpose, inputs, outcomes, feedback loops, etc.

The strategic planning sessions were a starting point to explore answers to important questions like:

  • What kind of city do we want to be?
  • What do we want for our future?
  • What are the most pressing issues and challenges our community will face in the next 5-10 years?
  • What should our priorities be?

Work on development of the new Strategic Plan will continue throughout 2015, with the goal of completing it by the end of the year.

How can I get involved?

Development of the Strategic Plan will include outreach and engagement with the community.  More information on how you can become involved will be available in the coming months, so please stay tuned. If you would like to receive occasional email updates about the Strategic Plan during development, including opportunities for public input, please visit the City of Vancouver website.




Ranked Choice Voting is a Win-Win


To the Editor:

There is a growing, grassroots movement afoot for electoral reform called Rank Choice Voting, aimed at strengthening the power of the vote for Maine Citizens. RCV was initiated by the League of Women Voters of Maine in 2013 in order to revise Maine Election Laws to reduce the influence of outside moneys and political agendas in our elections. As the electoral process is key to retrieving lost Constitutional Rights, over 450 volunteers from across the state have gathered the 60,000-plus signatures required to bring this issue to a referendum vote in November 2016.

Ranked Choice Voting is an initiative to regain civil rights lost in the current political landscape. It does not favor one political party over another and would make candidate selection a truly democratic process and uphold the principle of majority rule. Elected candidates are chosen by the majority of voters and will serve with greater credibility. There would be no spoiler candidates, no more wasted votes. Political polarization would be minimized and campaigns more civil because candidates would have to appeal to the majority of voters, not just to their supporters.

Other benefits include reduced cost of campaigns, opening up the political process, promoting more diverse representation and giving voters more choices. Campaign organization is rewarded, negative rhetoric discouraged and the influence of money and the pressure to raise it is reduced. Lastly, Ranked Choice Voting is less expensive for the tax-payer by making elections a one step process; all is decided on election day. No run offs, requiring a return to the polls, will occur.

Ranked Choice Voting represents a revitalization of our democratic process, which is a win-win proposition for both the voters and the candidates for elected office.

Stan Payson


Combining Physical and Digital Public Participation

The art of combining physical and digital participation
Dominique Ollivier, President and Jimmy Paquet-Cormier, Innovation and New Media Officer,
Office de consultation publique de Montreal
September 11, 2015 in Portland OR

Based on a strong “face to face meetings” legacy, the Office de consultation publique de Montreal (OCPM) acknowledges that citizens and civil society groups are using different types of technologies and new media to express their opinions, to get informed and to create online communities. This societal transformation led us to begin a long reflection on how to integrate these rich online contents and how to innovate through a hybrid methodology. This session will focus on traditional methodology used by the OCPM since 2002, the digital evolution of OCPM practices, the successes and failures of our digital experiences, and the differences between physically based methods and online methods.