Leavitt and Herrera Beutler agree on one thing

I’ve been wondering for a while whatever happened to the much-ballyhooed face-to-face town hall meetings Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt instituted after he took office.

There were a handful, but none since last November. A news story I wrote in January 2010 says the quarterly town halls were a campaign promise of Leavitt’s.

Well, those days are over, the mayor said Tuesday. Since the last town hall at Wy’East Middle School, Vancouver’s instituted “mini town halls” — aka the citizen’s forums at the end of every bimonthly consent agenda city council meetings.

He said while it was nice to take the “show on the road” and the first January 2010 meeting was a success, Leavitt said the town halls were “largely ineffective.”

The same people with the same concerns about the same topics were showing again and again, hijacking the meetings, Leavitt said.

“I’d prefer to hear from new people with new perspectives and new ideas and insights about the problems we’re facing,” he said.

As for the citizen’s forums, he said they also feature the same limited cast of characters.

“They voice their perspective over and over on hot button issues like the CRC,” Leavitt said. “(Citizen’s forums) are effective for those individuals.”

Seems like the guy weighing a campaign next year against Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and his potential political rival at least have their lack of interest in town halls in common.

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