The Washington State Republican Party, hearing speculation that Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt or Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart might challenge U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler next year, filed public disclosure requests asking for every email Tim and Steve have received or sent since taking office.

Stuart gave me a response, which is included in the story.

Tim chose to write his response, so while I quoted a few lines in the article, I wanted to share the full text of his email to me. Enjoy.

Stephanie –

You ask what I think about this?

Of course, the City will comply with the request, per State Law.

There will be tens of thousands of emails that City and County staff will have to review to insure compliance with State Law and the FOIA request. Unfortunately, that will take away from directly serving our citizens.

Such an egregious request makes a mockery of a legitimate State Law and is an assault on taxpayers of the City of Vancouver.

At best, this is inconsiderate of strained public resources. At worst, it’s an entirely irresponsible to make such a merit-less and time-consuming request – stretching our scarce tax dollars for a response at a time when we are struggling in the City to meet demands of police and fire response, and maintaining our roadways, medians and parks & trails. Instead of directly responding to our citizens concerns, we’ll now have legal and customer service employees reviewing and collecting thousands of emails, to insure they meet the criteria of the FOIA request.

If I’m a taxpayer in Vancouver, I’m outraged that at this abuse and that my tax dollars are being siphoned to respond to what is clearly an underhanded partisan tactic. The people I speak with everyday in our grocery stores, at the gas station or on Main Street tell me they are fed up with precisely these types of tactics. Leadership clearly hasn’t figured out why people feel Congress is broken, or, maybe they don’t care?

If I’m a donor to the State Republican Party (which I personally have been in the past), I’m upset that my contributions are going to pay for State Party staff to pore over thousands of emails from me and Commissioner Stuart, as well as creating a strain on local service in the City and at the County.

If I’m a Democrat, I’m producing a television commercial and press release about this, saying something like, “Is this where we should be spending our tax dollars – responding to frivolous information requests in order to attempt to find “dirt” on a potential candidates for Congress? Where really are the priorities of the State Republican Party?”

And, as Mayor of Vancouver, I say this: I’m right here. You know where to find me. Bring your cameras and your microphones, or send me an email and ask the questions you want answered. Waste MY time in an effort to find a needle in the haystack. But, don’t waste the time of the city and county staff that are working hard, with limited resources, to directly address our citizens needs.

It would be prudent of leadership to narrow down the FOIA request so that there won’t be such a dramatic drain on public resources. To that end, I call on our reasonable local Republican state legislators to implore the State Party instead make a more responsible request of information.

Timothy D. Leavitt, PE

Sr. Civil Engineer/Project Manager

PBS Engineering + Environmental
Engineering | Natural Resources | Environmental | Health and Safety
1310 Main Street Vancouver WA, 98660
ph: 360.690.4331 : fax: 866.727.0140

Scroll to top