We need to rebuild Clark County; it starts with rebuilding the I-5 Bridge. True leadership is not about telling people what to do because you can; its about working together towards shared goals and solutions. We need to rebuild the I-5 Bridge and any dedicated lane for transit must be Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along with shared Freight Mobility. We are not Portland and therefore we need solutions for Clark County. I also believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time, this means that we can move forward on rebuilding the I-5 Bridge but we also need to start planning for other bridge crossings including and/or discussions on a possible ferry system.
Protecting property rights. That includes protecting agricultural land, small farms and our way of life. People in Clark County are hardworking people that care about their families and community. We must ensure their voices are never lost.
Whether we are taking about Rail Development, or massive development along the I-5/179th Corridor, we need to have a citizen first policy; we need a countywide visioning initiative where we look at where we have been, where we are and where citizens want us to go as a county. Then use this to be our compass when it comes to land use planning, zoning, capital facilities planning and overall allocation of county resources. I DO NOT SUPPORT THE CURRENT PLAN AS IT STANDS. Additionally, when talking about development along rail lines, we need to ensure that property owner’s (along the rail lines) voices are heard, and if development occurs, place restrictions on rail usage trips, allowable industries that can develop along the rail lines, and protect the environment; I support economic development however, we must plan wisely and not impact our way of life!
Olympia passed a capital budget and legislators included $21.5 million to the Public Works Board for the purposes of expanding high-speed broadband service infrastructure in rural areas. In Clark County, areas like Hockinson, Brush Prairie, Amboy and other areas would benefit from these funds. I will work with legislators, local agencies like Clark PUD, along with my Clark County Councilors to get access to these funds to benefit those in my district.
I-5/179th corridor development:
Clark County is considering a massive development along I-5/179th street which would bring thousands of residents and all the traffic congestion and school crowding that would follow. If the county does this, it would require an enormous amount of our money to put in all the roads, sewers and other infrastructure including new schools, law enforcement and fire protection planning. I want to ask you a question; is this responsible growth policy? This will change this region permanently. We need a visioning initiative at the county level. We need to ask our citizens how they envision their community looking like in the future and how we should get there. I support responsible economic development and growth but developers need to pay their fair share; taxpayers shouldn’t pay the whole bill for growth. All we have to do is look at California’s problems to learn ourselves. High cost of living, crowding schools, and traffic are top concerns for many places in California including Sonoma California. We don’t’ need to follow California. Let’s chart our own path. I’ve lived here for over 37 years and I know where we have been, where we are and what we need to do to move forward.
Economic Development/Building permit department:
The County works for the community not the other way around. Why does it take weeks or months to get a building permit? The county can contract out in terms of decreasing the wait time for permit turn around. The county needs to be more responsive in terms of its building permit department. There’s no reason we should be making job creators wait or citizens that want to develop their own property wait long times.
New county jail:
Our county jail has had many recent examples associated with the overcrowding. Our current jail was built for a maximum population of 590 beds; we currently have an average daily population of 635 according to county officials. Currently, Clark County is examining expanding or building a new jail that will “meet the needs going into the future” according to the Correctional Facility Advisory Committee. This committee identified that 850-880 beds will be needed by 2050. Two years ago, county officials commissioned another study that concluded that more than 1,100 beds would be needed by 2036 with a cost ranging from $63-284 million. What should be done? Should we just spend hundreds of millions of our tax dollars and hope the consultants are right? How do we fund all the additional staffing cost that a newer and larger jail will bring? Before we ask taxpayers to pay millions of dollars in new taxes for a new jail, we have to ask ourselves should we? In 2004, Oregon spent $54.8 million dollars on the Wapato jail and wasn’t able to afford the staffing to operate it. They eventually sold the facility for $5 million 15 years later at a massive loss of taxpayer funds. We can do better. We need to focus and expand on our world-class specialty courts: Felony drug court, Juvenile Recover Court, Veterans Court and expand into a Mental Health Court. According to the Superior Court 2017-2018 report, 641 graduates completed the county’s adult felony drug court and 82 percent have not re-committed a felony. Drug courts save up to $27 for every $1 dollar invested in them. Instead of asking taxpayers to pay more taxes towards new jails and adding more people to our already crowded jails, we should be investing in and emphasizing our specialty courts. They save taxpayer money, they get help (with results) to those who need it and they protect our community.
Keeping taxes low. People are moving here in droves from higher tax states to take advantage of what Washington has to offer. In other words, people that are seeking leadership positions in Clark County and trying to capitalize on what brought them here. I’ve been part of the process that created this environment that attracted individuals and business. Being fiscally responsible with our tax dollars is the paramount mission of my platform. This policy issue probably distinguishes me more than many other things. Let me be very clear; I will NOT SUPPORT INCREASING YOUR POROPERTY TAXES! Clark County needs to get its fiscal house in order. What does this mean? We need to prioritize spending on community wants and needs-Public safety (Sheriff), Courts, Prosecutors office, transportation improvements and maintenance needs to name a few. It means creating a community visioning initiative! We need citizens in the driver’s seat; not politicians. Stop the waste. Stop blanket subsidizing growth with taxpayer dollars. Better planning, increased community input. So again, I WILL NOT SUPPORT RAISING YOUR PROPERTY TAXES!
“My governing lens will be the following: To me it’s not a question of what should the government be doing; its what the government shouldn’t be doing. Our resilience and work ethic are what drive our local economy; I’ll do my part to do what I can to keep the county out of the way of our economic success. I recognize that we need leaders that can work collaboratively to advance our collective interests. Many of the issues and solutions are non-partisan; I can work with anyone to find the best solution. When choosing your next representative on council, I encourage you to go with home- grown established leadership. Please contact me anytime to discuss any issues that are important to you.” –A. Cortes