In Office Since January 2010

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

WE APPRECIATE THE POLICE!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Demonstrators across the country are blaming police officers for the deaths of young men who violently resisted arrest, some thereby putting in jeopardy the lives of the arresting police officers. Demonstrators in the 1960s originated these tactics and have been successfully using them for the past 50 years.

Time to grow up! Put on your big boy pants and take responsibility for your actions. Argue your arrest in the courtroom with the judge, not on the street with the arresting officer. Place the blame where it belongs – on the criminal.

The demonstrators conveniently ignore the criminal behavior that prompted the arrest confrontation, and the pattern of criminal behavior that preceded the day of reckoning. Solutions they propose generally (1) ascribe fault to the police for the way they handle violent law breakers, and (2) excuse criminal behavior. In essence, they propose not to enforce the laws against violent law breakers. No society can long survive using such an approach.
If you need an example, go to any core urban area where police have a limited presence. Legitimate businesses are few in such areas. Criminal activity dominates the economy and intimidates residents. Those who have a way out generally take it at their earliest opportunity. The police are the first line of defense for residents of such areas.

The police, in fact, are a thin blue line between law abiding citizens and the barbarians at the gate. Self preservation suggests that gratitude should be the guiding principle of relations between law abiding citizens and those who make up the thin blue line. Unreasonable criticism, such as that being made by many of the demonstrators and their supporters in the media, as well as a variety of unprincipled, personally ambitious politicians and race hustlers has a detrimental effect on police morale, recruitment and retention. As a result, it will be more difficult to recruit, train, and retain the types of police officers we need and the demonstrators and their fellow travelers say they want.

As we enter the Christmas Season therefore, I would like our police everywhere to know how most Americans feel about you. We appreciate your sacrifices, the hardships and dangers you face, your persistent efforts to do the job right, your emphasis on serving and protecting, and your willingness to confront evil.

May God bless you and keep you from harm as you work to ensure our safety. Know that you are appreciated by a grateful community, and don’t be surprised during the holiday season by expressions of gratitude from an admiring public. You earned it! Thank you!

Dave Shoemaker
Councilman
City of Washougal, Washington
www.dave-shoemaker.com

VOTE “NO” ON PROPOSITION No. 1, Clark County Home Rule Charter

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

As a private citizen, I urge all Clark County voters to vote NO on Proposition No. 1, the proposed Clark County Home Rule Charter. Using the knowledge gained from a doctoral degree in Organization and Leadership at the University of San Francisco, and extensive experience with federal, state, and local government, I reviewed this proposal and found it seriously flawed. It was put together by a group of former, current, and aspiring politicians who rejected sound advice from a minority opinion group within their ranks. The resulting proposed charter has the following flaws:

1. The charter can be amended after five years, but cannot be repealed. The provision that precludes repeal suggests ulterior motives and should set off warning bells for all voters.

2. The charter replaces a stable, working form of government with a 125 year history in Clark County. This form of government is laid out in Article XI, Section 5 of the Washington State Constitution as the standard for county government. Thirty-three of 39 counties in our state use this form of government. Why tamper with success?

3. Six Washington State Counties have adopted charters (Clallam, King, Pierce, Snohomish, San Juan, and Whatcom). Four others (Clark, Jefferson, Spokane, and Thurston) have explored or rejected this approach. Clark County has rejected it at the polls three times, the latest in 2002. As a general rule, charter counties have:
a. Less respect for property rights,
b. Larger governments,
c. Higher taxes,
d. More debt, and
e. More regulation.
Are you ready to sign up for that? Only Clallam County, among charter counties, has escaped this fate.

4. The charter proposal shifts authority significantly from the officials you elect to unelected bureaucrats, and diffuses responsibility. These outcomes do not bode well for accountability. As a former project manager for the Little Hoover Commission in California, whose task is to report to the Governor and Legislature on the effectiveness and efficiency of government operations, these aspects of the charter proposal are a red flag for me. They ought to be for you! Authority and responsibility go together in any well-structured organization. They don’t in this charter.

5. The wording of the proposed charter suggests that local initiatives will be better received under this new form of government. That has not been the case in most charter counties, and certainly not at the state level.

Bottom line – this charter proposal is good for politicians and the bureaucracy, but not good for tax payers. It concentrates authority among unelected bureaucrats and diffuses accountability – a bad combination in any organization.

Personally, I do not trust the group that voted to approve this charter proposal for the November 2014 Ballot. They are politicians looking after their own interests and those of special interest groups whose causes they have historically supported. Their approach to this charter is to get the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent,” then add changes later. This is the approach used by proponents of change who do not wish to reveal their entire agenda to the voters. The charter provision that reveals that intent is the inability to repeal the charter.

The minority among the freeholders who opposed many of the problematic provisions of this charter are elected leaders I trust. Kudos to them for their participation in this endeavor, and for their steadfast opposition to the more problematic provisions. It is unfortunate that their concerns were not addressed in the final proposal.

Dave Shoemaker, Ed. D.
Councilman, City of Washougal

Dave Speaks at Washougal Memorial Day Ceremony 26 MAY 2014

Monday, May 26th, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY ADDRESS
26 May 2014

My thanks to the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars for hosting this patriotic event today.

I have been privileged for the past five years to deliver this brief address here in memory of those who sacrificed to preserve our freedom and our unique form of government based on God-given rights. This is an emotional event. It resurrects some memories better forgotten, but it also puts life itself into perspective.

For those of us who endured combat, it raises the question of why we survived when others did not. The very fickleness of fate inspires a strengthening of our faith in God, if for no other reason than to find an answer to the question – why me? – and to express our gratitude. Combat experience is humbling.

But the greatest benefit of these patriotic events is that they bring us together with others who have had similar experiences. We know each other intuitively in the crowd – there is something in the eyes, the posture, the walk – the waistlines – that identifies us to each other. Warriors are drawn together by their shared background and love of country – as are all of us here today.

I will draw today on remarks by former presidents who identified principles that Americans have fought to preserve for over two hundred years. It is in defense of these principles that our youth have given that last full measure of devotion by laying down their lives to preserve freedom.

George Washington, in his farewell address, warned against foreign entanglements. His advice guided US presidents from 1796 until 1947 when Harry Truman committed Americans to “…support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or outside pressures.”

It is for this noble purpose that our youth venture onto foreign shores. History is replete with examples of international aggression not countered that eventually evolved into a threat to the freedom of others. Recent history is no exception.

While some of our youthful warriors who responded to such aggression gave all, all gave something to the cause. Many returned home bearing the physical and emotional scars of combat. It is about our obligation to these warriors – our warriors – that I wish to speak this morning.

Abraham Lincoln, in his Second Inaugural Address, established the principle of caring for those who have borne the burden of battle.

And when today’s warriors return home wounded or injured, how well do we adhere to Lincoln’s principle of caring for those who have borne the burden of battle on our behalf?

For more than a decade – not well! The recent Department of Veterans’ Affairs scandals demonstrate conclusively a flagrant, and long-standing, lack of concern for our returning warriors. Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay get better care than our own wounded warriors. The ratio of prisoners to doctors at Guantanamo is 1.5 prisoners to one doctor. In the VA Hospital System, there are 35 patients for every doctor. That our wounded should die awaiting treatment is inexcusable. That their treatment should be second priority behind our enemies is a national disgrace!

Current attempts to improve on the incredibly poor performance of the VA Hospital System are not only wholly inadequate, they are misdirected! Inspector General Investigations, Congressional hearings, and White House statements are not going to solve the problem.

The number of VA hospitals involved in the scandal suggests an organizational culture that is not only unsupportive of the welfare of our veterans, it is counter to it! That is the problem!

As one with a doctorate in organization and leadership, I know that such problems cannot be solved by tinkering around the edges of the organization. Change begins at the top. And it is at the top that we must begin.

The American Legion and other veterans’ organizations have called for the replacement of the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, Eric Shinseki. That would be an excellent beginning.

General Shinseki is an honorable man with a history of long and valorous service to his country. He was both Airborne and Ranger qualified, awarded the Bronze Star for valor, and twice wounded. He rose to four star rank, becoming Army Chief of Staff.

His past performance notwithstanding, General Shinseki has had five years to solve the problems identified in 2008 by President Obama, and has been unable to make sufficient progress to keep increasing numbers of our vets from dying while awaiting treatment. It is time for new blood at the top. But we can’t stop there!
The new Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs must have the authority to change the VA culture that embraces lying to cover up bad results. That means firing people who are willing to lie to conceal their inability to do their job and protect similarly incompetent subordinates. A thorough housecleaning is needed! The good news is that we have VA employees who are risking their livelihood to expose this chicanery!

While we’re at it, let’s solve the VA’s other big problem – tooth to tail ratio – the number of care givers versus the administrative staff.

Like many federal government organizations, the VA has an overly large administrative overhead. Some of these highly compensated executives are political appointees whose contributions to the mission are dubious. We can no longer afford political patronage. Many other VA employees have jobs that do not contribute directly to the primary mission of caring for the troops. Overly protective civil service rules need revision to empower the new Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs to do a thorough restructuring.

But all of this activity starts with action from the head of the Executive Branch! How did former presidents handle such situations?

When faced with the Iran-Contra Scandal in 1987, Ronald Regan took responsibility. He said:
“…I take full responsibility for my own actions and those of my administration….As disappointed as I may be in some who served me, I’m still the one who must answer to the American people for this behavior….as the Navy would say, this happened on my watch.”

Contrast that with the finger pointing that characterizes reactions in Washington, D.C. today. The president blames Congress for insufficient funding, Congress criticizes Administration performance. Neither is taking meaningful action.

Congress is talking about holding hearings, while the President is awaiting the results of an Inspector General report. Hearings on something as complex as the VA Hospital System take time and seldom result in meaningful action. They are more about fixing blame than fixing the problem. The Inspector General report is unlikely to tell the President much that previous IG reports in 2005, 2007, and 2012 didn’t already report. Meanwhile, the VA is paying performance bonuses to executives who helped cover up this mess. Your taxes at work! It is time for a change!

The good news is that although change begins at the top, it can be inspired from the ranks. But it takes work!

I urge all of you to communicate to our elected representatives in both the legislative and executive branches the need to (1) recognize the scope of this problem, (2) assume responsibility for the situation, and (3) do whatever it takes to ensure that our courageous troops who survived the battlefield do not return home to die of neglect while awaiting medical treatment.

The message to Congress and the President is a simple one – get off your collective backsides and fix this problem!

And if you can’t fix it, then disband the VA Hospital System and give veterans vouchers for private health care coverage.

Your current inaction is a failure of your responsibility to those who elected you, a violation of your oath of office, and travesty against those who have served in the forces that guard their country.

If you can’t solve this problem, you don’t deserve the office you hold, and we don’t need you. The American voter is tired of excuses, dithering, and blathering. Get it done! Be effective or be gone!

Thank you for inviting an old soldier here today to your celebration of those who serve in the forces that guard our country – and those who hold them dear. May God grant them the recognition and care they so richly deserve, in this life and the next.

And may He grant all of you fair skies and a following wind as you navigate this life.
AMEN

Fighting Back Against Biased Media

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

My family and I like to stay informed on current events. Toward this end we subscribe to four newspapers, a variety of magazines, and internet service. When any of these news providers continually fails to separate their own views from the news stories they cover, however, we discontinue our subscriptions. There is no point in supporting news organizations that (1) attack public officials personally while obscuring facts that do not support their point of view, (2) fail to confine their own views to the editorial page (3) refuse to answer your calls and emails to discuss the matter, (4) limit the length of your published response, and then (5) edit even this limited attempt to correct their disinformation campaigns. For details on the most recent misinformation from “The Columbian,” please check my 28 November 2013 post “The Columbian” Newspaper Misrepresents Dave’s Views on the NEWS page of my website at www.dave-shoemaker.com/news.

Accordingly, we recently cancelled our subscription to “The Columbian” newspaper because of woefully inaccurate reporting that mischaracterizes the policies I support and my reasons for supporting them. We also cancelled our subscription to the “Camas-Washougal Post-Record” because of inaccurate personal attacks by their editor and publisher, and their failure to follow their own editorial policy not to publish personal attacks by others. I encourage everyone who reads this post to do likewise. Unfortunately, there is no way to strike back against the biased coverage of Channel Six, the CBS Affiliate in Portland for their distorted coverage of my views. Suffice to say, we won’t be watching them anymore.

Washougal Voters Re-elect Dave Shoemaker

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

THANKS WASHOUGAL! Today I received in the mail from Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey the official Notice of Election to Washougal City Council Position # 6. I will be sworn in for my second term sometime before the end of the year. Upon completion of the Oath of Office, the County Auditor will provide the official Certificate of Election. I will continue to serve the rest of this calendar year under my current term which began on 1 January 2010, and begin my new term of four years on 1 January 2014. Thanks to all who contributed to my re-election campaign, especially those who walked their precincts with my literature and hosted my yard signs. Special thanks to my daughter Jennifer, who consulted on digital strategy and ran my FaceBook and Twitter campaign efforts.

“The Columbian” Newspaper Misrepresents Dave’s Views

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

“The Columbian” misrepresented my views in its 27 November 2013 front page article about East County Social Services. East County Social Services is often referred to as The Children’s Home Society (CHS), the name of their operating agency.

The article, by Tyler Graf, is entitled “Agency’s funding could be cut.” Graf made three phone calls to me over a two day period, then disregarded my input and misrepresented my position as being primarily motivated by objections to abortion referrals.

My position is nothing new. Nor is it based primarily or exclusively on objections to abortion referrals.

I have consistently advocated eliminating the cash subsidy to CHS in budget discussions since taking office in January 2010. My consistent position is based primarily on the fact that the State of Washington established the City of Washougal to provide basic municipal services (like public safety, water and sewer, roads and streets, parks, etc.) that did not include social services. That is our mission.

To perform these services, the state provided a tax base adequate to support the mission requirements. The tax base to support social services was awarded to the county and state because they have that mission. The federal government helps out with a variety of social services programs and supporting funding, most of which goes to the county or the state.

Using city funds to subsidize such social service activities makes them unavailable for other city needs. And the last four years have brought a number of these budget needs into sharp focus because of budget cuts necessitated by falling revenues.

Among the budget discussions the city council is having are (1) Washougal Police Department has the highest number of calls per officer among all Clark County law enforcement agencies, (2) if we do not double the amount we budget for street maintenance in 2014 and future budget years, we risk damage to the street foundations that would multiply our outlays by several orders of magnitude, and (3) to achieve efficiencies that would allow us to continue to provide the current level of fire and ambulance services, we are planning to combine our fire department with that of Camas.

My position is not just about abortion referrals. They are a recent addition to my list of reasons for eliminating the cash subsidy of $7,500. It is about how we spend our limited revenues.

My position has been and is based upon four objections to city-provided cash subsidies to social services in Washougal:
1. Social services are a county and state mission.
2. The city lacks adequate resources to support our mission functions.
3. The city already provides substantial support to CHS, including:
a. A rent-free city-maintained building.
b. All utilities, including water/sewer, electric, and natural gas.
c. Janitorial service.
d. Building security service.
e. Elevator maintenance.
4. Charity is a function poorly and inefficiently performed by government agencies and should be performed by the private sector.

This year, I became aware that CHS clients can request referral to health agencies that provide abortions. That awareness added another dimension to my position. But it did not change my basic position that social services are not a supportable mission for a small city with a limited tax base. It merely supplemented my long-established position based on the above listed factors. And my position does not include opposition to referring low-income women to healthcare providers for basic health services, as the article implied. I do not consider abortion to be a health service. It leaves one dead (the baby) and one wounded (the mother). That is not a healthy outcome.

Graf’s article attributes to Cathy Garland, acting director of The Children’s Home Society in Washougal, the idea that the agency would have to “shutter its doors” without the city’s subsidy. It is not clear whether this comment refers to the cash subsidy of $7,500 or all subsidies. In a discussion with Cathy Garland during the afternoon of 27 November, I discovered that her assumption was that the question Graf asked was about all subsidies. Eliminating the cash subsidy, she explained to me, would cause them to reduce services or operating hours, but not shutter their doors.

I would not like to see CHS shutter its doors. They do some good work in Washougal. They also do some work that I believe raises objections of conscience among a number of our residents and should not be supported with tax monies. Charity should be supported by the private sector.

I understand that “The Columbian” is in the business of selling newspapers, and that controversy attracts readers. I do expect, however, that they will adhere to basic journalistic ethics and confine their personal views to the editorial page rather than suffuse their reporting with their liberal-progressive bent.

Clark County Building Industry Association Endorses Dave Shoemaker

Friday, September 27th, 2013

On 13 September 2013 the Clark County Building Industry Association (BIA) endorsed Dave Shoemaker for Washougal City Council for the second time in four years. BIA likes his focus on fostering a business friendly environment for creation of well-paying jobs.

The Case FOR Proposition # 1 – Continuity and Accountability

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

The council-manager form of government proposed by Proposition # 1 corrects a current organizational problem with Washougal City government. It spreads oversight of city management among seven elected council members instead of concentrating it in one elected, part-time mayor. The benefits are three-fold.

First, this proposed system provides continuity of purpose. We tend not to reelect mayors (only once in over a century), resulting in changing directions, priorities, and political agendas every four years. The city mission is to provide a limited number of basic municipal services, like public safety (police, fire, and ambulance), water, sewers, roads and streets, parks, planning, etc. Diving headlong into the United Nations’ Agenda 21 with its emphasis on global climate issues, or getting involved in urban redevelopment is beyond our resources and purpose. Recent administrations have indulged in such distractions. They have been able to do so because the city administrator reports directly to and takes direction solely from the mayor.

Second, Proposition # 1 provides for continuity of effort. A city manager replaces the city administrator and performs many of the same tasks. The difference is his level of authority and independence. The city manager takes mission guidance from the council specifying the goals to be achieved, then exercises independence and initiative to get the job done. The council measures the city manager’s performance using performance metrics. It is this level of independence and initiative that ensures continuity of effort. The composition of councils generally changes slowly – so will the guidance. And as the council slowly evolves, the city manager will provide a continuing mission focus on basic municipal services.

Third, accountability is retained by the council members, who are ultimately responsible to the voters. By law, the council may not interfere in city operations. They may specify what needs to be done, but cannot tell the city manager how to do it. Council members are far from powerless, however.

Under Proposition #1, the council retains budget authority, the ultimate restraint on city managers. Also, if the city manager is unable to meet the council’s performance standards, the council has the authority to replace him. Few city managers in Washington State are terminated for cause. That is a good track record for the council-manager form of government!

Having studied this proposal for a council-manager form of government and found it generally superior to our present mayor-council form, I urge you to vote YES on Proposition #1 in November.

The Effects of Change

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

About midway through a 40+ year management career, I became interested in the phenomenon of organizational change. I learned that people don’t necessarily resist change, but do resist the way change affects them personally. The proposal to convert Washougal from a strong mayor to a council-manager type of municipal government portends the type of change that begets both benefits and difficulties. Among the latter are the effects it will have on current and future council members and candidates, as well as the city administrator.

I leave to others the task of making the case for change. My focus in this editorial is on the effects the proposed change would have on the job of the city council, and the qualifications needed for the job. These issues deserve consideration during the debate.

Under a council-manager government, council members’ duties change significantly – as a group, they would be responsible to oversee the performance of the city manager. That drastic change in level of responsibility suggests the need for a new skill set.

An ideally suited council member who is overseeing the city manager would have managerial training and experience, and familiarity with basic methods for ensuring accountability, including accounting, performance evaluation, contract management, and performance metrics. While council members under the strong mayor system can acquire these types of qualifications on the job because they have the luxury of having a mayor responsible for directly supervising the city administrator, council members under a council-manager government would need to come to their new task already equipped with the knowledge and abilities required to properly supervise the city manager.

Failure to have council members equipped with necessary skill sets opens up the possibility of inadequate supervision of the administrative authority in the council-manager form of government. Not an encouraging prospect! Some Washington cities and counties Washington using the council-manager form of government have had to deal with such difficult situations.

The council–manager form would also place a premium on conflict management skills. Despite their differing philosophical outlooks, council members would have to convey a united front when communicating policy direction to the city manager. Failure to do so leaves the city manager with inadequate or confusing policy direction. The city manager may respond either by doing nothing until the council sorts its priorities out, or by substituting his own judgment. It is a difficult position for a city manager and suggests the possibility of poor results.

Not being managed by knowledgeable council members would be almost as bad as being micro-managed. Even though the council is responsible to the voters for outcomes, they must resist the temptation to interfere in the day-to-day management of the city. Avoiding this pitfall requires knowledge of performance evaluation and metrics, and a focus on outcomes rather than activities. The city manager may not do it the way various council members would do it, but if he gets the required results the council should be satisfied.

My concern about the qualifications and role of council members is heightened by a general distrust I have of so called “experts.” The council-manager form of government is a variation on the theme of trusting “experts” to run things. I have a natural suspicion of people who are supposedly smarter and better qualified than the average citizen. The qualifications listed above are well within the reach of most citizens who are willing to invest the effort to acquire them, even if such skills are not prevalent in the general population. Which brings me to my last concern about the new qualifications needed for council members.

Because the qualifications above take time and effort to acquire, they are generally available in a smaller portion of the population than our current council member qualifications. The pool of potential council members, therefore, is smaller under a council-manager form of government. Given our past difficulty in recruiting and retaining council members, a smaller pool from which to recruit is not encouraging.

I will be interested to hear the input from the public, the administration, and my fellow council members. It should be an interesting debate, and one with significant consequences for our city.

We need to hear from you! Not all council members have made up their minds on this topic.

Although public comment is solicited twice during each council meeting, the Town Hall scheduled for 0900 on Saturday 29 June at city hall may offer the best opportunity for public input. I look forward to seeing you there.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman

State Representative Liz Pike Endorses Dave

Friday, May 31st, 2013

On 29 May, State Representative Liz Pike, 18th Legislative District, endorsed Dave for Washougal City Council. She applauded “…all you are doing for the citizens in Washougal.” Thank you Liz for your support! And please carry on the good work you are doing in Olympia for the cause of freedom. I look forward to working with you to reduce the state regulatory burden in Washougal and Clark County, especially unfunded mandates.