Letters to the Editor for April 26, 2016

RTC’s actions are outrageous

The Southwest Washington’s Regional Transportation Council’s Matt Ransom trusts David Evans & Associates (DEA) with another transportation contract. Sadly, Washougal’s Paul Greenlee, Ridgefield’s Ron Onslow, and Vancouver’s Jack Burkman, Anne McEnerny-Ogle agree. RTC will pay DEA $137,600 to study C-Tran buses driving on I-205 and Highway 14 shoulders.

David Evans mismanaged our CRC, allowing a “$50 million maximum” contract to balloon to almost $200 million.

Forensic accountant Tiffany Couch analyzed CRC spending, finding millions unaccounted for in David Evans’ bookkeeping.

Couch examined thousands of pages of electronic CRC documents. Beside the significantly over-budget contract, anomalies included mis-reporting costs to build interchanges and the bridge, thus inflating the need for tolls; mis-reporting funding sources to pay for the project; and millions of dollars in invoices lacking appropriate names and accounting codes to identify services rendered.

The Couv.com reported:

“In May 2005, the CRC signed a $50 million contract with David Evans to deliver a draft environmental impact statement for the project. The contract included large mark-ups for overhead and an assortment of other fees on top of labor charges. For example, one invoice dated April 17, 2007, David Evans listed its labor cost as $91,536, but the invoice totaled $280,291 after various mark-ups were applied. The CRC paid it.”

“Couch also discovered that until August 2009, David Evans routinely added a four percent fee to subcontractor billings, a practice not stipulated in its original contract. David Evans received more than $1.4 million in income from these unapproved fees.”

Washington State’s Auditor identified $17 million in “excess and questionable costs” or “higher than typical and questionable charges.”

Councilor Jeanne Stewart strongly opposed this, asking why anyone would trust DEA. Jerry Oliver voiced strong opposition. Julie Olson asked why give a contract to a contractor with “questionable integrity”? Marc Boldt was mainly worried “this would be a fiasco on the Lar Larson show.”

The RTC could have awarded the contract to one of two competing firms. The RTC’s own request stated: “The final decision regarding contract award will be made by the RTC Board of Directors. RTC reserves the right to accept any response or to reject any and all responses.”

A citizen asked Jack Burkman: ‘are you saying a history of shady dealings is insufficient reason to not award a contract?” Jack’s reply: “basically, yes.”

This phase one study will lead to a phase two contract. You can bet David Evans will get that second contract as well. This is an outrage.

John Ley, Camas

Vote for Cruz

Washington’s Presidential Primary is approaching, and is likely to be crucial for Republicans. The outcome of the nomination contest between Cruz, Kasich, and Trump may depend on our election, which allocates Washington’s GOP delegate votes on the first national convention ballot.

Voting begins on May 6 and ends May 24.

Ted Cruz has earned my vote. He is principled, demonstrably brilliant, courageous, with a phenomenal intellect acknowledged even by those who do not agree with him. He has maintained a professional demeanor even when his wife (also accomplished and articulate) was attacked. Courteous throughout the campaign, he is well situated to unify our party.

His Washington State campaign, beginning months ago, is intelligent and focused, optimizing our grass-roots volunteers.

Republicans, don’t sit out this perhaps historic election. Ted Cruz has earned your vote.

Ann Donnelly, Vancouver