How well do you know your cities?

Ballots will be mailed Monday, and anyone wanting to hear county commissioner candidates answer questions — or, in a few instances, not answer questions — should take the time to watch an Oct. 10 debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

You can watch the video here.

Jane Van Dyke, a former Clark PUD commissioner, questioned Commissioner Tom Mielke and challenger Joe Tanner and Commissioner Marc Boldt and challenger David Madore.

The two challengers talked about all the big changes they are going to make, and the incumbents tried not to laugh.

When Tanner pledged to remove all park entry fees and parking fees at regional parks, for example, Mielke said he’ll have to increase property taxes to do it.

One question that appeared to catch a few candidates off-guard? They were each given a city to talk about.

Of Washougal, Tanner first talked in general about unemployment and how it leads to increased crime and divorce, which means increased need for county services. Then he predicted it will become the area’s capital of microbreweries, said “we need to make sure coal trains don’t cut Washougal in half” and expressed enthusiasm for economic development at the Port of Camas-Washougal.

Of Camas, Mielke said it’s the “best-kept secret of Southwest Washington.” He cited the high-tech industry and the “beautiful, exquisite homes.”

Boldt was given the town of Yacolt. He talked about the timber history and how the county provides deputies and road services for Yacolt. He said three public works employees who drive snow plows all live in Yacolt, so the roads are kept clear in winter. He mentioned that a few years ago the county gave Yacolt land for an urban reserve and the town is working on developing a sewer system because all of the residents have septic tanks.

Madore was given La Center. “Well named,” he said. He said the city is in one of the more rural areas of Clark County and, showing his fixation on the Columbia River Crossing, said La Center is in C-Tran’s taxing district.

That’s it. He didn’t even mention cardrooms.

Madore went on to talk in general about the beauty of small cities, then changed the subject and started talking about how the Clark County Sheriff’s Office needs more deputies.

(All without raising taxes, of course. Or cutting other services.)

Then — are you reading this, Sheriff Garry Lucas? — Madore said since commissioners control the budget he will make sure the county has more deputies because it’s unacceptable that deputies don’t have the resources to follow up on some property crimes. He won’t just give Lucas money – he will set the staffing levels. (Despite the fact voters elected Lucas to set policy for that office.)

That line was posted on Facebook by a debate watcher. As Assessor Peter Van Nortwick (another elected county official who gets money from commissioners but sets his own policy) responded, “Good luck with that.”

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

Scroll to top