by Randall Stephens
Just prior to the primary election for Clark County Council Dist 2 an interesting issue was raised in a blog post by Kaitlin Gillespie, County Government reporter for The Columbian. In a July 29th blog post Gillespie pointed out the possible conflicts of interests of both Democrat Chuck Green and Republican candidate Mary Benton. Benton failed to advance to the general – but Green squeaked by even with the conflict question hanging over his head.
What’s the conflict of interest for Green? Green is the project manager of C-Tran’s controversial Bus “Rapid” Transit (BRT) dubbed “The Vine”. On the chance that Green get’s elected he could be discussing and voting on C-Tran contracts, Regional Transportation Committee (RCT) issues and other County Transportation projects that are entwined with C-Tran. How will Green avoid going down the government for government sake rabbit hole? Most reasonable people would recues themselves and not vote or take part in those discussions. Green, when asked if he would abstain if such conflicts arose said “If the council is voting on something related to BRT, I may consider recusing myself”. What’s to consider??? What about the myriad of other transportation issues that C-Tran is entangled in with the County? He doesn’t see the problem because it’s inconvenient for him.
What about this new Charter passed by the people of Clark County? Surely it must address the issue? I mean that was the entire point of the Charter right? Return power to the people and remove cronyism from County government? Let’s look at section 5.6 of the document….
Section 5.6 Employment and status as elected official No county elected official shall hold any other office or employment within county government during a term of office.
It certainly looks like the intent was to eliminate the possibility of such conflicts and potential for cronyism. Of course Green and his supporters will rebut with “C-Tran isn’t part of County government”. That’s a thin argument when you consider that two County Councilors sit on the C-Tran Board and RTC Board where they set policy and budgets – basicly they hire Green’s boss!
“There is no conflict.”
There is no conflict? Give me a break!
The conflict is glaring. So glaring that Green doesn’t see it. What did Darth Vader say to his son Luke when the Dark Side was trying to keep the little bit of good in him down? “There is no conflict.”