Blom changes mind, endorses Boldt for county council chair (Update with comment from Quiring)
Republican Clark County Councilor John Blom has broken with his party to endorse incumbent Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt, an independent, in his bid for reelection.
Yesterday, Blom wrote in a statement on his Facebook page he initially wanted to stay out of the race but is now supporting Boldt over Republican county Councilor Eileen Quiring. Blom wrote that what caused him to reverse course was a controversial mailer sent out by Quiring that made misleading and incomplete statements regarding Boldt’s record on the funding for the sheriff’s office, taxes, property rights and parking fees.
“I made the decision to run for Council in 2016 in part because I was tired of the misleading and dishonest statements routinely issued by the incumbent for my district, David Madore,” wrote Blom. “I was disappointed to see my fellow councilor, Eileen Quiring, use the same tactics of distortion and outright lies.”
Specifically, Blom, referencing a report in The Columbian, wrote that the mailer included misinformation about the sheriff’s budget being slashed when it had actually been increased.
In the mailer, Quiring also faulted Boldt for not supporting Alternative 4, a zoning change proposed by former Clark County Councilor David Madore that would have decreased minimum lot sizes. The county council adopted a comprehensive plan with a reduced lot sizes for rural and resource lands (not as small as Alternative 4), which was struck down by state land-use board.
“If that plan, which is now embraced by Quiring had been adopted, taxpayers would now be bearing the burden of even more legal fees defending an unworkable and illegal plan,” wrote Blom. “Councilor Quiring knows this, yet she continues to make promises to the rural citizens of Clark County that she will somehow undo 30+ years of planning under (the Growth Management Act). That’s fundamentally dishonest.”
Blom also took issue with Quiring’s attack on raising the total property tax levy by 1 percent. Quiring was the only councilor to vote against the increase this year and Blom wrote that the council’s vote for the increase made it easier for her to maintain her position.
“When asked what she would cut to maintain a balanced budget, she had no solutions,” he wrote. “This is on the record.”
Blom praised Boldt for making hard decisions like the vote to raise the levy and that his record as a legislator and county commissioner made him best-equipped to provide flexibility to rural property owners under the state’s land-use laws.
Both Boldt and Blom have had a sometimes fractious relationship with the Clark County Republican Party. In 2016, Blom beat fellow Republican Madore in the August primary. Afterward, the party, heavily funded by Madore, refused to endorse Blom’s candidacy. Boldt left the Republican Party after being censured by it.
Clark County Republican Party Chair David Robert Gellatly shrugged off Blom’s refusal to endorse the only Republican in the race for council chair and. In a Facebook message, he said that Blom was basing his decision on his experience working with other members of the council. Gellatly acknowledged that while the mailer might have made the race more contentious, he hoped there would be respectful debate.
“Debate is healthy, and often helps facts about the issues come out,” he said.
Quiring sent me the following email:
John and I often agree on issues and have been working well together the past couple of years. And while I respect his right to his opinion,
I disagree adamantly with his statements in this matter. My mailer is factually correct which is proven out by the (public) record. Public officials must own their voting record, good or bad.
I hope to have a collegiate relationship with John whenever we can find common ground.