Commissioner Mielke blocks verbal jabs

County Commissioner Tom Mielke used his new authority as chairman of the board to stand up to a citizen singling him out during a lengthy public testimony Tuesday.

Hazel Dell resident Jack Davis attended the meeting to, once again, speak out against the proposed 20-acre sports complex slated for construction in Hazel Dell. Davis regularly testifies against the project at commissioners meetings.

The county entered into a memorandum of understanding with the neighboring Vancouver First Church of God and King’s Way Christian Schools regarding the use of the fields. Mielke is a member of the church but was absent when the commissioners voted on the MOU and said he would have recused himself from the vote.

During his testimony Tuesday, which lasted nearly nine minutes, Davis repeatedly mentioned Mielke’s ties to the church.

After several jabs, Mielke spoke up and told Davis he was crossing the line.

“I’m just stating a fact. You belong to the King’s Way Church of God,” Davis said. “That’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re a member.”

“You implied, Jack, that we made an exemption because I attend the church,” Mielke responded.

Davis agreed to walk away from the issue, “for now.”

After airing a few more complaints with the proposed complex, Davis sneaked in a few less obvious digs.

Davis spoke about the county losing forest land and added, “I don’t think that’s crossing the line, Mr. Commissioner.”

After mentioning the cost of the complex, Davis said, “Commissioner, that’s a fact. I don’t think you can complain about that.”

Then, Davis got a bit more direct.

“For you to say I can’t mention you’re a member of that church, that’s not crossing the line. That’s a fact,” he said.

Mielke calmly asked Davis to wrap up his comments. When the red light signifying time had expired flashed, Mielke interrupted Davis and told him his turn to speak was over.

The timer started late so Davis actually got more time than others, Mielke added.

At that, Davis grabbed his papers from the desk, turned to Mielke and said, “Thank you for cutting me off,” and walked back to his seat.

Attend next week’s meeting for round two.

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