Friends, I hate to report that the third Metro President debate I've attended, held between candidates Rex Burkholder, Bob Stacey and Tom Hughes this afternoon at City Club, was by far the most boring of theirs debates I've seen.
Oh I miss the glory days on January, when the candidates did not have their talking points completely hammered out and talked rather off-the-cuff about substantive issues. Back when Stacey lashed out at the Regional Transportation Plan as a "charade" and the candidates discussed the Columbia River Crossing in heated terms.
The word "CRC" did not come up once at today's city club debate. It's our region's largest transportation project. It's a $3.6 billion project that the current metro president has taken an outspoken stance on. None of City Club's pre-vetted questions asked about the divisive bridge project and none of the candidates thought to mention the CRC either. BOOO.
In today's debate, the candidates stuck like glue to their campaign rhetoric, Hughes reiterating against and again the need for jobs in the region and Burkholder and Stacey styling themselves as experienced, practical environmentalists. No one openly disagreed on anything. They all support jobs. They all say they support smart land use policy. None took the chance to point out their major policy differences.
The most interesting idea that came up in the hour-long conversation was Stacey's suggesting to create a packaging tax to cut down on trash. Okay, I'm with him there... that might be a viable way to reduce unnecessary packaging waste.
Also of interest, when addressing with the legitimately shocking fact that half of greenhouse gas emissions in the Metro area come not from transportation, but from things consumers buy, Stacey came thisclose to saying something controversial.
"We should consider, carefully, and with public process funding a program for end-of-life disposal—"
"What?!" I thought.
"—for appliances," continued Stacey.