Why Mielke voted no

We all know Commissioner Tom Mielke loves the word “no.” Or maybe I should write it like he did in an email regarding the baseball proposal: NO. Capital N, capital O.

But was I the only one surprised when the C-Tran Board of Directors voted 8-1 on Tuesday to move forward exploring other options to cover the maintenance cost of a light rail extension into Vancouver and Mielke was the 1? The resolution authorized C-Tran to put whatever the funding option ends up being to a public vote.

So Mielke is now against a public vote?

Commissioner Steve Stuart, who made the motion, said that during the roll call vote he gave Mielke a surprised look when Mielke said no. He said Mielke just smiled and winked.

Mielke told me Wednesday that his “no” vote was his way of sending a message that he was not pleased with the way the evening turned out. He was upset the city of Vancouver had used its bloc veto power to kill a motion to put a sales tax to a districtwide vote.

Mielke also was upset to learn that C-Tran does not have legal authority to stop the Columbia River Crossing.

Before Stuart’s successful motion, Mielke made a motion, which was seconded by Washougal City Councilor Connie Jo Freeman, to stop the CRC until funding is determined.

Stuart asked if C-Tran can legally make that motion.

No, said attorney Tom Wolfendale. He explained that C-Tran does not have legal authority over interstate transit projects.

Mielke, who made one attempt at revising the motion into something the board can legally do, eventually withdrew the motion.

Commissioner Marc Boldt made it clear Wednesday he wasn’t pleased with the city’s bloc veto. “How arrogant can you be?” Boldt said when he met with Stuart and Mielke on Wednesday.

Boldt said he would be in favor of getting rid of the bloc veto, which county commissioners can also use.

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