• Arne Mortensen

A response to a Facebook comment about the SWAC meeting of 10Jul2018

Using Facebook has some consequences that not everyone wants to incur; indeed it was a big step for me to get on Facebook. So, for those who don't want to deal with Facebook, I write this entry.

TDN printed an article about my comments regarding the recent SWAC (Cowlitz County Solid Waste Advisory Committee) decision to recommend that the County keep the operation of the Headquarters Landfill (HQLF). Below is one comment from a citizen, and my response.

Scott Varner Typical. Screw what the public says and do what ever the heck you want. Right Arne Mortensen????? You should be next up on the chopping block.

My Reply:

Scott, the public was not represented on the SWAC. All but one or two had financial interests in the outcome; some had very strong financial interests. In fact, the truth is exactly opposite of what you accuse: we have elite taking care of themselves at the expense of the other ~107,000 residents of the county.

At that meeting, independent citizens overwhelmingly spoke in favor of the landfill deal; the count was skewed because many of the ones supplying "testimony" were also the elite and the sour grape crowd. Steve Brumm from Recology (one of those vying for the contract) and Eddie Westmoreland from Waste Connections, Inc. (also vying for the contract) provided sour grapes testimony. Others who spoke to keep the landfill include: MaryAlice Wallis, Scott Vydra, Chet Mackinster, Kurt Sawha (spelling), all from the Longview City Council. They did not have even one argument against Republic or the deal based on logic; they hope to squeeze some of that money for themselves. And so it was ... BTW, none of them had any downside or responsibility or accountability. Also, did you know that the "opposition" hired a PR firm from Portland to produce the website and ads that you see on Facebook to fight the deal. Those ads are replete with false claims. What does it tell you when a PR firm is hired by the elite?

Additionally, letters to TDN from supporters of the deal, as reported by one of those giving testimony at the meeting, have been suppressed. Elite comes to mind again.

The reason there is such "controversy" is because there have been outright purposeful misrepresentations of facts (PR firm comes to mind), as well as omitted facts. An example of the latter is that the previous board of former commissioners were planning to sell to Waste Connections (or lease, not clear from the documentation) HQLF for $30 million plus the bond payment (another $30 million). Compare that to the minimum of $480 million we have on the table from RSG, and that number likely is > $700 million.

There are myriad of details that would surprise you and anger you as you realized that it was business as usual ... elite first, people last. I invite you to visit me in person, and I will go over as much detail as you want. BTW, did you know that last year (2017) more than half of the waste that went into the HQLF came from out of the county ... at prices lower than you and I pay. This is appalling.

I also invite you visit my blog for much more detail, which I have been giving to the public.

Lastly, I am in this office for the 107,000 people of the county, not for me. I do not need this job and do not have plans to run again. I made this public from day one. I ran on principle not promises on this vote or that vote. This means that even if all the constituents in my district requested that I pass an ordinance to prohibit, say, the possession of firearms in the county, I would not do so. My oath of office as well as my integrity and principles are not for sale.

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