"Your council sucks"

I thought I’d seen all the baseball-related emails sent by county officials, but came across a real gem on Monday as I was reviewing commissioners’ correspondence, which was provided to me as a result of a public disclosure request.

I’m defining “real gem,” as “an email that made me, Marissa and Andrea gasp and laugh out loud.”

On May 3 — 10 days before the proposal to bring the Class A Yakima Bears to Vancouver was made public — Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart and Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt traded emails on the subject.

The owners of the Yakima Bears want county commissioners to enact a countywide 5 percent admissions tax. Investors in the privately-built stadium at Clark College would likely want assurance the city of Vancouver won’t enact its own tax, which would mean a majority of the admissions tax revenues could not be used to pay off stadium construction bonds.

In an email I’d seen, Leavitt wrote to Stuart, “I think I can get you political cover with a majority of the Council supportive of your action to implement the tax, but doubt I could get the council to support the credit behind bonding. Not enough vision there and I don’t have the ‘pull’ to force the issue.”

Here’s Stuart’s gem of a response: “Your council sucks. Luckily the big bad County has the stones to move forward on a project that will serve the City’s interests.”

Now, it’s been well-documented on this blog that Big Stu and Lil’ T are BFFs. Big Stu said Tuesday that he and Tim often joke about county-city business.

“It helps lighten very serious issues,” Big Stu said.

However, “the humor was inappropriate. I certainly don’t think ill of his council.”

Humor has its place, he added, but not in public emails.

County commissioners have since said they will not back the stadium with the county’s general fund, and the owners of the Bears have said they would arrange for financing. (And, contrary to what Leavitt wrote in the May 3 email, Councilor Bart Hansen has said he does not support an admissions tax for a stadium.)

Stuart said the response “does reflect my frustration with some preconceived opposition to what I believe could be a great opportunity.”

Leavitt said Tuesday he took no offense at the response.

Leavitt said he appreciated the reminder of the gender of the commissioners.

“Maybe there’s too much testosterone on that board,” Leavitt said of the lineup of Stuart, Marc Boldt and Tom Mielke.

Scroll to top