Friday, November 6, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

A message to the mayor-elect

After the most expensive race in city history, today there is no doubt that Councilman Tim Leavitt will become the 57th mayor of Vancouver. And like anyone else campaigning in a hard-fought election for the past eight months, perhaps he feels like he’s in for a little break.

But if mayor-elect Leavitt is looking for a vacation, he’s in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The problems our city and region faces are too important to wait for Day One of the Leavitt Administration.

After covering his campaign this summer and fall, it is clear Tim cares deeply about a city he’s called home since childhood. But in regards to certain promises made on the campaign trail to the business community – well, we plan to hold him accountable in the coming months.

First and foremost on that list – jobs. Clark County continues to be one of the hardest-hit in terms of unemployment in the state. Firms just emerging from the longest recession in 60 years are still reluctant to hire. Many other companies, retail outlets and restaurants have shut their doors for good.

When we talk about jobs, other issues seem to diminish in impact. For example, the controversy over proposed CRC bridge tolls would be far less pressing if thousands of Clark County residents did not have to commute to jobs in Oregon everyday.

Mayor Pollard was willing to travel anywhere, anytime if it meant landing a new business for Vancouver. His successor has a golden opportunity to coax across the river Oregon business owners nervous about impending tax hikes, as well as California companies looking to ditch a state notoriously unfriendly to business interests for one ranked in the Forbes Top Ten.

Second, the mayor-elect needs not only to keep his promise to convene a business advisory council, but to carefully select its members. The council should be composed of business leaders from companies of all sizes and all economic sectors, including those who may have supported the incumbent in this year’s election.

So Mr. Mayor-elect, if you’re out there – the time for decisive action not only to help sustain our economy, but to be an integral part of its growth, starts now.


Anonymous said...

Paul, I totally agree. Tim is a bright guy. He is hard working, intelligent and savvy. The young people of Vancouver seem to love him and his idealistic approach to issues. But I don't think that he is entirely prepared for the profundity of his upcoming responsibilities. I feel that some of his campaign promises were limp at best. But Vancouver now has a new mayor and those who supported him will mature with the reality of the new leadership- along with the new leadership. I sincerely wish him the best and hope that his supporters will continue to work with him to achieve the best for Vancouver.