In Office Since January 2010

News

Fighting Back Against Biased Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The American Tradition of Prayer in the Public Square

May 29th, 2013

Dave was invited to speak at the Memorial Day Celebration conducted by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Washougal on Memorial Day 2013. The address that follows was well received by those in attendance. To see the Couv.com interview with Dave regarding prayer in public places, click the link below.

Couv.com Interview

We began our activities this morning by invoking the blessing of the Almighty on our endeavors. The freedom to do so was won for us by our ancestors, established in our Constitution, and preserved by those who served in the forces that guard our country. Some of these guardians of our freedoms are memorialized by the headstones you see about you, and by grieving families for whom the pain of losing a loved one never ceases. We gather here today, a free people come to recognize those ultimate sacrifices of our warriors, and all the sacrifices, large and small, by those who serve and their families. Prayer will be an integral part of our ceremonies today. This is nothing new! But it is controversial!

Our country was founded by people fleeing oppression because of their faith. As a nation, we have a long history of opening and closing public meetings with prayer to invoke the blessings and guidance of the Almighty for our endeavors.

An early recorded instance of public prayer by those who founded one of the first colonies on American soil was the Mayflower Compact, the signatories on which included one of my direct ancestors. The Compact began with the words “In the name of God, Amen.” It was signed the day before the Mayflower made port in 1620, and made frequent reference to the Almighty.

The US House of Representatives, IAW Article I, Section 2 of the US Constitution, elected its first Chaplain at its initial meeting on 1 May 1789, and has begun each session since with an opening prayer. The Senate has done likewise since 25 April 1789. There are Americans who would have it otherwise.

So long as Congress, or any other legislative authority in this country, does not attempt to establish a state religion however, there is no Constitutional prohibition on prayer at public meetings. In fact, it is protected by the First Amendment. Those who would prohibit religion in the public square often incorrectly interpret Thomas Jefferson. The “Wall of Separation between Church and State” that Thomas Jefferson mentioned in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut was actually intended to illustrate the protection of their religious rights from actions by the state. Jefferson would be appalled that his words are being used to justify prohibition of religious expression at public meetings. The Constitution protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Those who wish to be free from religion may be so, as long as they do not infringe on the constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion by others.

Jefferson recognized that religion is one of the major underpinnings of a free people. It encourages citizens to exercise personal responsibility to govern their own behavior and acknowledge the rights of their fellow citizens. Religion strengthens families, the basic building block of any society, reduces the need for government enforcement and makes possible the smaller government that is the prerequisite for a free people.

US and Washington State law both protect the right to prayer at public meetings. But courts have set guidelines that make such exercise of religious freedom somewhat difficult, and there is always the threat of lawsuits from those who would deny the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens.

As a soldier, I discovered in combat that there are few atheists in foxholes. Prayer is important to soldiers. They know that they may meet their creator at any moment, and yearn to be in His good graces. If you have ever witnessed the comfort a dying soldier experiences from religious observance, you can understand the importance of our First Amendment Right to Freedom of Religion. I suspect that some of you have had that experience. It sets us apart from our fellow citizens on whose behalf we endure such hardships. It provides an appreciation for the value of religion in public life.

The appropriateness of prayer in public places is a discussion we should have. It should not be shut down by those who employ rhetoric and attack the messenger to preclude the discussion. And may the Almighty inspire us and guide us to a proper conclusion of this discussion.

A final thought on the subject of prayer in public places. If you are willing to have your First Amendment Right to Freedom of Religion curtailed, what other rights would you be willing to sacrifice? Other portions of the Bill of Rights are under attack too, among them the Second Amendment right to bear arms, the Fourth Amendment Right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Tenth Amendment Right reserving to the individual states all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution or prohibited to the states by it. Where will you draw the line?

Thanks for taking the time this morning to hear the ruminations of an old soldier on the importance of prayer in our public lives. It is good to be in the company of so many who have served, and those who appreciate those who do.

May God bless you and keep you, and as my fellow pilots say, may He grant you fair skies and a following wind on your journey through this life.

Dave Declares Reelection Candidacy for Position 6, Washougal City Council

May 13th, 2013

This afternoon I registered on-line to run for reelection to Position 6 on the Washougal City Council. Privileged to represent fellow Washougal citizens on the City Council since 2010, I ask for your vote to continue to serve and lead. Much of the council’s work is done in committees. I chaired both the Public Safety and Regional Fire Authority Planning Committees, and served on the East County Ambulance Advisory Board and Community Development Committee. My council colleagues elected me unanimously this year as Mayor Pro Tem. I share the administration’s goals of improving streets, facilitating downtown development, stabilizing water rates, and increasing public safety staffing. I also strongly advocate local control and preserving our financial reserves for emergencies.

Protect Our Tradition of Prayer in Public Places

April 24th, 2013

Our country was founded by people fleeing oppression because of their faith. As a nation, we have a long history of opening and closing public meetings with prayer to invoke the blessings and guidance of the Almighty on our endeavors.

An early instance of public prayer by those who founded one of the first colonies on American soil was the Mayflower Compact, the signatories on which included one of my direct ancestors. The Compact began with the words “In the name of God, Amen.” It was signed the day before the Mayflower made port in 1620, and made frequent reference to the Almighty.

The US House of Representatives, in accordance with Article I, Section 2 of the US Constitution, elected its first Chaplain at its first meeting on 1 May 1789, and has opened each session since with an opening prayer. The Senate has done likewise since 25 April 1789.

So long as Congress, or any other legislative authority in this country, does not attempt to establish a state religion, there is no Constitutional prohibition on prayer at public meetings. In fact it is protected by the First Amendment. The “Wall of Separation between Church and State” that Thomas Jefferson mentioned in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut was actually intended to illustrate the protection of religious rights from actions by the state. Jefferson would be appalled that his words are being used to justify prohibition of religious expression at public meetings. The Constitution protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Those who wish to be free from religion may be so, as long as they do not infringe on the Constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion by others.

US and Washington State law both protect the right to prayer at public meetings. Courts have set guidelines that make such exercise of religious freedom somewhat difficult, and there is always the threat of lawsuits from those who would deny the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens. The discussion the council needs to have is whether to exercise our constitutionally protected freedom of religion to offer brief prayers to open and close public meetings, and whether we can afford the lawsuits that may follow.

It is a discussion we should have. It should not be shut down by those who use debate limiting tactics to achieve their ends.

Let the debate begin! And may the Almighty inspire us and guide us to a proper conclusion.

To see the Couv.com interview with Dave regarding prayer in public places, click the link below.

Couv.com interview prayer in public places

Have the Debate and Pass the Resolution!

April 7th, 2013

In its 30 March 2013 “In Our View” column, “The Columbian” editors gave jeers to “wasting time in Washougal.” They chided the city council for discussing a resolution opposing the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) in its present form that includes light rail. They also asserted that the resolution is “inaccurate.”

In my “Camas-Washougal Post Record” editorial of 2 April – Take a Stand! (Available on the News Page of my website http://dave-shoemaker.com/), I identified such objections to discussion as a tactic for defeating issues that council minorities oppose by shutting down discussion of them. In summary, if it never comes to a vote, the minority will not lose that vote. And CRC supporters, currently in the minority on the Washougal City Council, are using such tactics to try to shut down the discussion of a resolution opposing the CRC in its present form. Apparently they, and their tactics, are supported by the Editorial Board at “The Columbian.”

The question of accuracy is more difficult. Suffice to say however, that neither side of the CRC question has an absolute monopoly on truth. Each of us must sort out that question for ourselves, although my own opinion favors the anti-CRC side because its arguments are more factual than emotional. The history of such projects in nearby locales, however, does offer some insights.

History offers us the opportunity to include in our assessment of such projects facts not made known by proponents at the time the projects were being advocated. Take the Portland light rail experience, for example.

Thanks to various studies and investigations, including those by the Libertarian Cato Institute, Boston-based Economic Development Research Group, “Portland Tribune,” and “Willamette Weekly,” we now know that the Portland light rail project was rife with inaccuracies and corruption from the beginning. It did not deliver on its promises. Worse, it enabled a few to get rich at public expense.

Former Governor Neil Goldschmidt and his associates used their influence to ensure generous contracts were awarded to friends and supporters. Key decisions were based not so much on the public interest as on benefitting those tied to Goldschmidt’s crony capitalism.

Goldschmidt touted “urban planning” as a way of creating population-dense neighborhoods and focusing transportation expenditures on mass transit. The unfortunate side effect was disadvantaging automobile drivers who paid the gas taxes that were diverted to help fund mass transit.

Mass transit supporters and anti-automobile groups united to support urban planning. Urban planning, however, turned out to be deceptive cover for a crass scheme to enrich Goldschmidt’s group at taxpayer expense. Portlanders recently have begun to recognize the significant damage it did to Portland area transportation systems and neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, Washington’s urban planning efforts offer more of the same opportunities for corruption on a large scale project like the CRC. Early cost overruns suggest reason for concern.

This brings us to the question of who benefits most from the CRC on our side of the river. The same groups that benefitted from Portland’s light rail corruption will also benefit here. Land speculators, politically-connected developers and contractors, construction and transit unions, and the politicians they all support will all get a piece of the pie. Taxpayers will get the bill. And as we have seen with TriMet’s current financial difficulties, the taxpayers’ bill will grow over time.

As with all such projects involving billions of dollars in public funds, opportunities for corruption will be available. History suggests that they will be taken. It is not so much a question of whether there will be corruption, but the degree of corruption that will attend such efforts.

Why then should Washougal council members not publicly register their concerns over this profligate misuse of public funds, a portion of which comes from Washougal residents in the form of federal income, state sales, gas, real estate, and other taxes, to say nothing of the inevitable tolls? We would be remiss if we did not! And it would take less time if those opposed to the discussion would enter the debate instead of taking up council time trying to shut it down.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman

Take a Stand!

March 29th, 2013

In our scheme of government, we elect representatives to take a stand on issues that affect their constituents. Among those representatives, leaders take a stand! Politicians don’t!

Leaders study the issues and decide what policy best supports the interests of their constituents as a whole. Politicians take a position based on what is best for the advancement of their own interests.

As I approach the end of my first term as a Washougal Councilman, I note the number of times a small minority has encouraged the council to avoid taking a stand on issues by stopping the conversation. Sometimes it is done with parliamentary maneuvers limiting debate, tabling an issue, or refusing to let an issue come forward for consideration. Sometimes the attempts are more subtle, trying to pressure council members to avoid an issue because it might be “controversial,” or beyond the scope of the city’s authority, or its consideration “an embarrassment.” Other factors also work to limit discussion.

In addition to the debate limiting and pressure tactics, the Washington Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) limits discussion among council members to ensure that decisions are made only at public meetings. That limitation increases the importance of debate at public meetings. Let’s have that debate!

To be sure, council members have raised controversial issues. Some issues considered by the council in recent years include illegal immigration, E-Verify (a federal database identifying legal workers), and rail traffic. The most recent one concerns the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Project. But controversy should not deter council members from debating these issues because each of these issues affects the people of Washougal. And because they affect our constituents, council members should take a stand on these issues. They should be leaders, not politicians!

We are not just Washougal citizens – we are Washingtonians – and Americans. If we want our government at all levels to protect our interests, we must communicate those interests.

One way of communicating our interests to local, state, and federal levels is by passing a council resolution on issues being considered by other levels of government. Resolutions convey the city’s opinion, as determined by council majority vote, on topics that affect our constituents. They enable the council to take a stand. Does anyone believe that conveying to our port, county, state and federal representatives our opinion of the consequences of their actions is a bad idea? Does anyone think that the actions of these governments do not affect Washougal? Should we not comment on those consequences – in advance of the action? Or should we content ourselves with complaints after the fact?

Our representatives at other levels of government have expressed their desire to hear from us, and advised the use of resolutions to convey our opinions. Let’s take their advice. We may not have the power to make these decisions, but we can influence those who do!

On Monday 25 March, the Washougal City Council voted four to three to table a resolution opposing the CRC in its present form. A variety of procedural objections were raised before the vote but determined to be invalid. One of my council colleagues even had the impertinence to suggest that if those of us opposing the CRC in its present form wanted to take a position on issues under consideration by other levels of government we should run for office at those levels. He subsequently asserted his ardent support for debating issues. Somehow, those two statements seem contradictory.

On Monday 8 April, the Washougal City Council will again take up the issue of a resolution opposing the Columbia River Crossing in its current form. I will be asking my council colleagues to take a stand, debate the issue on its merits, and pass a resolution to convey our position to governments at every level. I urge you to email your city council representatives and encourage their participation in this effort. Their email addresses are available on the Washougal City Website at http://www.cityofwashougal.us/home/city-council27.html.

The council has heard from the few who consistently attend council meetings and town halls to advance their political agenda. We need to hear from the rest of you about how you perceive your interests. And, as your representatives, we need to take a stand! Please communicate that need to your city council representatives.

Council Colleagues Unanimously Elect Dave to Mayor Pro Tem Post

February 16th, 2013

At the first council meeting of the year, the Washougal City Council appointed council members to key committee assignments and elected Dave the mayor pro tem for 2013. The mayor pro tem stands in for the mayor when he is absent or otherwise unable to perform his duties. Dave was also reappointed as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee overseeing police and fire issues. In addition, he is Chairman of the Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee leading the effort to determine whether to create a regional body to administer fire and emergency medical services in the Washougal, Camas, and East County areas. Rounding out his council committee assignments, Dave also serves on the East County Ambulance Advisory Board, and the Washougal Community Development Committee.

Dave Speaks at Washougal Cemetery Memorial Day Rememberance

May 29th, 2012

We gather here today to honor those who have sacrificed for our country. We consider it our patriotic duty to memorialize their efforts and accomplishments in building this exceptional nation.

There are Americans today who differ with us. They view our country as being in decline. Some even relish this possibility, preferring a more even distribution of economic, military, and political power throughout the international community. They decry the sacrifices of those who serve in the forces that guard our freedom as unnecessary, and too great a burden to bear. On this day, and on this ground hallowed by such sacrifices, I would take issue with these Americans.

To fail to acknowledge this country’s current problems, however, is to bury one’s head in the sand. We do have problems – among them:
Unsustainable spending
Excessive public debt
Reluctance to confront our problems
A divided electorate, and
Threats to our security

Everything else is going great!

But, this situation is not unique. American power and influence have waxed and waned before as we passed through various stages in our development as a nation. The good news is that – up to now – we have always pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and reasserted ourselves as a great nation.

But let us not dwell on the past. Let us take inventory of our strengths as predictors of our future. We are militarily and economically strong. Because of our military and economic strength, we also exert significant political and cultural influence.

Our military remains the dominant force on this planet. No nation can expect to prevail against us. And those who would employ terrorists to evade responsibility for their attacks on our shores have been put on notice that they will ultimately pay the price. Some already have.

Those who say we are overstretched around the world fail to consider our past commitments. In the 1960s we had 3.4 million active duty troops, a million of them overseas. Today we have 1.4 million active duty troops, with nearly a million of then stationed in the US and its territories. The annual cost of our military has declined as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 6 – 10 percent during the Cold War days to about four percent today.

Even with these reductions, the US military provides security to about half of the land mass of our planet, polices the world’s toughest regions, and serves not only as the free world’s first responders, but also as its final line of defense.

Our economy, weakened as it is by the current recession, remains the world’s largest. Together, the 27 economies of the entire European Union barely rival us. Many industrialized countries would find enviable our current public debt level of 85 percent of GDP. Britain’s public debt is 413 percent of GDP, France’s 250 percent; Japan’s 199 percent, Germany’s 185 percent, and Australia’s 138 percent. Not good company to be travelling in, but at least we are not heading this pack of spendthrifts. There are times when it pays to lead from behind!

The US remains the engine of economic development in the global economy. It hosts 18 of the 50 largest corporations in the world – three times its closest challenger – including the largest in:
Aerospace (Boeing)
Biotech (Amgen)
Pharmaceuticals (Pfizer)
Software (Microsoft)
Computer Services (IBM)
Communications Equipment (Cisco), and
Heavy Construction Equipment (Caterpillar)
And the list goes on. But I don’t want to bore you.

The United States is also unique among western industrialized nations today because it has a population growing at or above the minimum replacement rate. Populations in Europe and parts of the former Soviet Union are declining at rates that suggest their future irrelevance on the international stage.

America overcame worse challenges in the last century. And as The American Legion Magazine recently notes, no country enfolds the full spectrum of economic, military, and cultural power, and embraces universally appealing attributes such as political pluralism, economic opportunity, and cultural openness like the United States does. This confluence of strengths gives the United States a decisive edge.

This is no time to be complacent, but it certainly is not time to accept defeat. This country will be what Americans make it – using the strengths we have developed over two centuries.

Together, Americans will overcome these challenges as they have overcome past challenges, and retain our position of leadership in the community of nations. To do otherwise is to betray the sacrifices of those who went before us in the battle to remain free and prosperous, and to accept second class status. Americans don’t do that well. Nor should they!

It has been an honor for an old soldier to be here among you today. May God bless you and keep you, and grant you fair skies and a following wind on your journey through this life. And, although I realize it is a little late for Mother’s Day greetings, for all you mothers out there – thank you. Without you there is no exceptional nation!

A QUESTION OF TRUST

August 4th, 2011

Lately Washougal City Councilmembers have been urged to trust various local leaders on issues ranging from granting a half million dollar economic development contract to the management of financial reserves. Among those proffering the advice have been other elected officials, our local newspaper publisher, and individual citizens.

Trust, however, is not something that the prudent individual gives lightly. It must be earned, particularly from elected officials whose primary function is to ensure the proper and meaningful use of the public’s hard earned taxes. Our system of checks and balances works best when each branch of government remains vigilant while watching over the actions of the others.

Trust, but verify is a good approach. As the sign at the Center for Disease Control put it – “In God we trust – everyone else has to show us the data.”

I was delighted to see a local resident take up the challenge implied in my editorial on Preserving the Reserve, and sad to see that those on our city council who have opposing views have not risen to defend their voting records on this issue. In her letter to the editor published in the “Post Record” on 26 July 2011, a Washougal resident whose opinion I have come to value suggested a variety of reasons to spend the city’s financial reserves on infrastructure projects. Among them were the comparatively low cost of doing the work now when construction companies are competing fiercely for a limited number of jobs, and the need for infrastructure projects to attract businesses – both good arguments when taken in isolation.

Given the present economic uncertainties and our projected deficits resulting from a current structural imbalance between city income and expenses however, the timing of such projects is critical. This is not the time, for example, to be spending nearly $300,000 for sidewalks along sparsely populated sections on the southern side of E Street that already have sidewalks on the other side of the street.

That amount is roughly equivalent to the projected 2013 deficit in one of our fire department accounts, from which we recently committed $155,000 of our reserves to extend current levels of ambulance service during a six-month trial consolidation with Camas. While it is worthwhile to explore the possibility of savings through consolidation, and consolidation may turn out to be a necessity in the long run, this project does not provide a solution to the current structural imbalance and the impending deficit. In fact, it aggravates it.
There appears to be a hope, unsupported by the facts, that the economy will improve soon and higher tax collections will enable us to replenish our financial reserves. It is not likely to happen in the next few years.

Most of our city’s income comes from property and sales taxes. Property values are not likely to rise significantly anytime soon because of (1) excess housing inventory, and (2) poor prospects for a quick return to full employment levels. Sales tax collections are not likely to improve to the degree required to cover our structural deficit without significant improvement in hiring. People concerned about finding or keeping jobs are not likely to spend for anything but necessities.

The current economic situation should give pause for thought, and encourage prudent financial decisions. The money that elected officials are spending, after all, comes from the tax payers, for whom it is a sacrifice.

As many credit card holders have discovered, you can go broke taking advantage of available bargains. As a city, we are now at that point. We need to evaluate carefully how many of the bargains available to us in this economy we can afford to take advantage of, and what the consequences will be if we deplete our financial reserves before the recession ends. The current Washougal City Council makeup makes that course of action difficult, if not impossible.

The current council has two members running for reelection this year who consistently vote for spending that is unnecessary, and in this economy, unwise – Molly Coston and Rod Morris. For the first time in several years, these council seats are being seriously contested. There is a reason for that.

Concerned citizens are beginning to recognize that this is the time for a change of leadership, and stepping forward to offer it! This year you have a choice. Please vote in the upcoming primary election on 16 August, and in the general election this November. The future of your city is in your hands.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman

Choose the Best Qualified Councilmember Up for Reelection This Year

August 4th, 2011

After reviewing the qualifications of the candidates for Washougal City Council Position 5 this year, I am endorsing Jennifer McDaniel. She is best qualified, an experienced leader, a dedicated and contributing current council member, and an outstanding member of our community.

Of the three candidates for Washougal City Council Position 5 this year, Jennifer McDaniel has far superior qualifications. She is currently serving on the council and will have four years of legislative experience by year’s end. She exhibits the maturity and judgment required of legislators.

Jennifer is recognized by her council colleagues as a leader. The council selected her this year to serve as mayor pro tempore, standing in for the mayor in his absence. Because of her interest in school matters, Jennifer was selected by her fellow city council members to be their liaison to the school board. She has performed that duty to the satisfaction of both the council and the school board. She has also served on key council committees, including Finance, Public Safety, and Community Development. In addition, she has served as council liaison to the Parks Board and the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, and is currently the alternate Camas and Washougal representative to the Regional Transportation Council.

Jennifer shows up at each council meeting and workshop thoroughly prepared to contribute. She does her own research on issues and is a major participant in council deliberations. Her opinion is sought and respected by all council members, an unusual accomplishment in these days of partisan divisions in the body politic. She often renders the deciding vote on contentious issues, relying on the facts and guided by what is best for the city and its citizens.

Jennifer McDaniel is an integral part of the Washougal community, as a serving council member, an involved citizen, and a frequent volunteer in local activities and organizations. Among her many volunteer activities are the Girl Scouts, Meals on Wheels, and the Washougal Schools Foundation. Her past residence in other parts of the country is an asset because it provides knowledge of how other communities address municipal problems, or avoid them. She came to Washougal seven years ago, embraced it as her home, and dedicated herself to growing with the city. Jennifer McDaniel is the obvious best choice for Washougal City Council Position 5.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman

PRESERVE THE RESERVE

August 4th, 2011

The City of Washougal has had a structural budget deficit off and on since 2006. That means that we committed to spending more than we earn. The deficit is projected to worsen each year until the economy improves.

Mayor Jeff Guard recognized in 2001 that the $50,000 city reserve was inadequate. He began strengthening the reserve. Mayor Sellars, benefitting from a growing economy, added to the reserve in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 the current economic downturn intensified, initiating the current string of annual deficits that pose a continually increasing challenge.

This is the situation that current mayor Sean Guard inherited. It was aggravated by employee contracts negotiated by the Sellars Administration that escalated salaries and benefits substantially in future years based on tax and fee revenues that were not guaranteed to continue, and didn’t.

For three of the past five years, the city has balanced its budget by drawing down the reserve built up during good economic years. Last year, the mayor, thorough good management and a million dollars in transfers from reserves to set up needed new accounts, managed to end the year with a surplus in excess of $350, 000. This surplus, and a couple of hundred thousand dollars more, evaporated in new spending under a budget amendment the city council passed in March 2011. Few of the projects approved in that amendment are essential.

About 45% of the current city reserve of 3.9 million dollars is maintained to comply with best financial practice guidelines. This practice allows the city to manage the ebb and flow of expenses and tax income, which often do not match up. Bills come due monthly, while tax income arrives at varying times throughout the year. Without this part of the reserve, bills might have to wait for the next increment of tax revenue to arrive. That would not be a good way to do business.

The remaining 2.2 million dollars, is available to be spent as needed. The problem, as a recent speaker during the public comment period put it, is determining “want versus need” when considering proposed spending.

The definition of “want versus need” has set the stage for the conflict of visions that now engages Washougal City Council members. Free spending holdovers from the Sellers Administration era see the reserve as a way to maintain, and even boost, spending on a variety of existing or new programs. As Councilman Greenlee put it recently, the reserve was created during good years to be spent during lean years.

More fiscally-conservative council members see a need to match a decline in tax revenues with a decrease in spending in order to preserve the reserve. They view the reserve more as a contingency fund for emergencies.

Emergencies are unpredictable events entailing unusually high costs. Most of the emergencies that Washougal might experience are events that could significantly damage infrastructure or compromise public safety, such as severe floods, earthquakes, storms, and wildfires. Any one of these events could trigger spending that would substantially deplete our reserve. Barring such emergencies, the city should manage its budget to keep expenses within current income.

The key budget questions are (1) for what purposes the reserve should be spent, and (2) when the city should begin to curb spending to preserve the reserve. Answering these key questions requires something we currently don’t have but badly need, a concise mission statement listing essential services the city must provide. A crystal ball might also help.

The mission statement should list services required by law and desired by the taxpayers. Tax revenues permitting, it may also include services city government considers important. The city council must prioritize this list to enable the city administration and council to make good financial decisions.

Prudence suggests that the reserve should be devoted only to emergencies as we go through the lean years while the economy recovers sufficiently to restore our tax revenues. No one can be certain how long this economic recovery will take.

The consequences from depleting the reserve could be disastrous for both city employees and residents. If ever there was a time to be prudent, this is it! But you can choose your future.

For the first time in several years, every Washougal City Councilmember running for reelection is being opposed, most by multiple candidates. This election is your opportunity to reset your city government’s direction. The choice is between those who would prudently spend your hard-earned taxes, and those who would not.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman

“SMART GROWTH” May Be Coming to Your Community

August 4th, 2011

“SMART GROWTH” MAY BE COMING TO YOUR COMMUNITY

The Washougal City Administration introduced to City Council members at the 9 August 2010 council workshop a Clark County proposal seeking municipal partners in a US Housing and Urban Development Department grant. The HUD grant is an attempt to impose so called Smart Growth policies on municipalities. Essentially, HUD is proposing to provide some funding in exchange for your acceptance of their vision for your community.

The Sellers Administration in Washougal pushed hard to restructure the city using Smart Growth policies. Smart Growth is a problematic land use and transportation planning concept that legislates higher population densities and discourages driving. Smart Growth policies:
• Fail to recognize the automobile as the mode of transportation needed and desired by local residents for essential travel to major employment centers and commercial concentrations.
• Raise the cost of housing and reduce its availability by coercive over-regulation that tries to predict the housing market. (e.g. Cottage housing regulations.)
• Introduce congestion on streets to discourage automobile use. (e.g. Use of curb extensions and the E Street Road Diet.)
• Justify imposition of congestion and inconvenience with theories about the dangers of carbon dioxide to the environment for which there is:
 An unraveling scientific consensus.
 Significant evidence that suggests man has little effect on carbon dioxide levels, and less ability to influence them.
• Raise the cost of City government. (e.g. By requiring hybrid vehicles.)
• Create bicycle and pedestrian traffic thoroughfares used primarily for recreation at the expense of vital motor vehicle lifelines to employment and shopping centers.

The result of Smart Growth policies in various sections of the country has been road and street congestion, empty storefronts, light rail trains with insufficient ridership to pay more than 50 percent of its operational expenses, and increased crime. If you want to see these results, take Burnside out to Gresham, Oregon.

If this is what you want for your city, this grant is for you. If not, call your council members and give them your thoughts on this proposal.

Dave Shoemaker
Washougal City Councilman

Dave Shoemaker Speaks at Washougal Memorial Day Ceremonies

June 20th, 2010

Councilman Dave Shoemaker was invited by Washougal American Legion Post 122 to speak on 31 May 2010 at the Legion’s annual Memorial Day Ceremonies at the Washougal Municipal Cemetery.  His remarks were covered in the 1 June 2010 edition of the Camas-Washougal Post Record.

Dave Shoemaker Presentation at the East Clark County Candidate Fair

October 15th, 2009

Watch Dave’s presentation at the East Clark County Candidate Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Rotary, and the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce.

TV Times:Tue, Oct 20 at 10:30 am on channel 21
Wed, Oct 21 at 8:00 pm on channel 23
Thu, Oct 22 at 9:00 pm on channel 21
Sat, Oct 24 at 7:00 am on channel 23
Tue, Oct 27 at 7:00 am on channel 21
Thu, Oct 29 at 1:30 am on channel 23
Sun, Nov 1 at 6:30 am on channel 21
Mon, Oct 29 at 11:00 am on channel 23
Tue, Nov 3 at 9:05 am on channel 21

“Camas-Washougal Post Record” Endorses Dave for City Council Position 6

September 30th, 2009

Voters have two choices in the Washougal City Council Position No. 6 race. Larry Wagoner, a lab technician with Georgia-Pacific, and David Shoemaker, a retired military officer, both have strong ties to the community, but it is Shoemaker’s experience and long-term vision for the city that makes him the Post-Record’s top choice.

Join Dave October 13th at “Dessert with the Candidates”

September 23rd, 2009

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a “Dessert with the Candidates” evening beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday 13 October at the Commons Area of the Washougal High School, 1201 39th Street. All East Clark County general election candidates have been invited to speak for five minutes. Candidate tables to display literature and allow candidates to interact with voters one-on-one will be set up in the Commons Area. Dave will be there.

Dave Interviews with CVTV on Primary Election Night

August 20th, 2009

Dave Shoemaker Garners nearly 50% of the Vote in the Primary Election

August 20th, 2009

Results from the Primary Election are in. Dave Shoemaker earned nearly 50% of the vote for Washougal City Council Position 6. Election results of the election can be found on the Camas-Washougal Post.

Washougal League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Showcases the Washougal City Council Position 6 Race

August 5th, 2009

Camas-Washougal Post: 2009 Primary Election: Washougal City Council Position 6

August 4th, 2009

The Camas-Washougal Post outlines the four candidates running for Washougal City Council Position 6.

Building Industry Association endorses Dave Shoemaker

July 31st, 2009

Dave receives the endorsement of the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Clark County.
please see Government Affairs/Endorsements.

Building Industry Association endorses Dave Shoemaker

July 31st, 2009

Dave receives the endorsement of the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Clark County.
please see Government Affairs/Endorsements.

Candidates’ Forum Sponsored by The League of Women Voters

June 28th, 2009

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a candidates’ forum at the Camas/Washougal Municipal Court Building Community Room, 89 C Street in Washougal. It is next to the Interfaith Treasure House and near the Chevron Station at the intersection of Second Street and Highway 14. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and the event begins at 6:30 p.m. All candidates for Washougal City Council, State 15th Legislative District, East County Fire District, and Port of Camas who are listed on the 2009 Clark County Primary Ballot have been invited.

Dave Shoemaker announces candidacy for Washougal City Council Position 6

June 5th, 2009

Please visit the Camas Washougal Watch website for an in-depth article examining Dave Shoemaker’s candidacy announcement.