Ten Washington legislators wrote to the Oregon Legislature, asking our Solons to kill off the Columbia River Crossing Project, the Oregonian reported yesterday. Observing that Clark County has voted against light rail several times, Rep. Liz Pike of Camas asked the legislature not to give in to "special interests who are attempting to override the will of citizens and locally elected county officials."
The story's author, Jeff Manning, quoted this reaction of Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, a prominent supporter of extending light rail across the Columbia: "Individuals like Sen. Ann Rivers, Sen. Don Benton and a couple of local supposed "Republican" Representatives have dismissed the desire of our public. Instead of faithfully representing the will of the representatives of our local community, these individuals are entwined in political expediency, manipulation, and ideological rhetoric."
Did you notice the twist in Mayor Leavitt's statement? The mayor is suggesting that the job of the elected officials is to represent the will "of the representatives of our local community," not actually of the public. In other words, he's implying that Clark County's legislators should be representing Clark County's other elected officials, and not the voters who elected them.
Besides the intriguing descent into meta-representative government that this implies, some facts get in the way of Mayor Leavitt's argument. For instance, on the C-TRAN board, two of the three Clark County commissioners voted against light rail, and two of the three elected representatives of cities other than Vancouver voted against light rail. Rep. Pike is more in touch with the views of the elected officials of Clark County than Mayor Leavitt is giving her credit for.