All Politics is Local

Adrian Cortes found Gary Medvigy’s interview on Lars Larson concerning

Who is the boss?

When Republican Clark County Councilor appeared on the Lars Larson Show earlier this week, he had mostly nice things to say about the county, didn’t directly bad-mouth anyone and didn’t lay out any Machiavellian ambitions to bend the council and manager as he fulfills his ruthless vision of conquest.

But Adrian Cortes, a Democrat running for Medvigy’s seat, found reason to be concerned by some of the remarks the councilor made on the conservative talk show.

In a video Cortes posted to Twitter and Facebook, he said that Medvigy sounded like “controversial politicians of the past.” Specifically, Cortes compared Medvigy to former Clark County Councilor David Madore.

Readers of this blog will recall the Madore era of Clark County government as particularly pugnacious. Madore waged bitter quarrels with the rest of the council and staff that included lawsuits over public records and outside investigations. In 2014, voters approved the home rule charter changing the county’s commission form of government to a council-manager form. Two years later, Madore, who already had his power reduced by the charter, was ousted by fellow Republican John Blom.

So far, Medvigy, who appointed to a vacant council seat in January, doesn’t seem to be having the same issues. In an interview earlier this month, he told me he “thinks the world” of the county manager and the rest of the council. The rest of the council seems to like him too, including its sole Democrat, Temple Lentz (who was no fan of Madore).

Under the council-manager form of government, councilors give policy direction to the county manager, their sole employee, and have no direct administrative control. Cortes took issue with Medvigy’s remark that he was frustrated that nobody works for him.

“Why is he worried about not having people to boss around when he should be more concerned about the people that are his boss, you, the citizens of Clark County?” said Cortes.  

Cortes currently serves on the non-partisan Battle Ground City Council, which operates under a council-manager form of government. He said that it creates a separation of powers and puts the day-to-day operations of government in the hands of “qualified professionals, not politicians.” He said that council-manager arrangement works well if you have the “right people” who will demand fiscal responsibility.

Cortes chalked up Medvigy’s remarks to inexperience in local government and the fact that he only recently moved to Clark County. But Cortes noted, “It doesn’t make him a bad person, it just makes him the wrong candidate for Clark County.”