He’s lived in the Battle Ground area since he was 6 years old and serves his community in a number of ways. He’s a father of two children, happily married and has a desire to help make Battle Ground better for future generations. I had the privilege of sitting down with Adrian Cortes a couple days ago (November 1). You can read our conversation below. My questions are in red.
Can you please tell me about your background?
I’ve lived in the area since I was 6 years old and graduated from Prairie High School where I loved to play baseball. I also grew up with a hard work ethic that was instilled in me by my mother.
On your website you state, “We must promote individuals and groups that encompass pro-business and pro-economic development philosophies.”
What are some specific actions you would take to promote business and economic growth in Battle Ground?
I have two examples. As Board member with the Battle Ground Chamber I helped form a public/private partnership for the Scotton Way and 20thAve project. I worked with property owners to help establish a plan for big box retailers to come to Battle Ground. One big box retailer (like a Fred Meyer) will bring the City an estimated $150-$250k a year in sales tax. That’s enough to support a couple police officers right there. On top of that these new businesses are expected to create an additional 700 jobs for the people of Battle Ground. The second example is regarding impact fees. As Chairman of the Battle Ground Planning Commission I oversaw a legislative process which led to the reduction of impact fees by 30%. I have more examples but these come to mind because they happened in the last 12-18 months.
You also state on your site, “We must manage our city’s budget responsibly however, levying new, non-voter approved taxes to solve structural budget issues is not the solution.”
What are your proposed solutions?
I believe in growing your tax base instead of squeezing your existing tax base for more money. Let’s take the admissions tax for example, which was spearheaded by my opponent. This would have been a tax on cinema sales that the people of Battle Ground would have had to pay. My opponent said the Cinema owner supported it but when I contacted the owner he told me he never said he supported any such tax. So I’m against an admissions tax on the cinema. I’m also against a county wide admissions tax.
You also state, “I do not support levying new user fees on our existing Battle Ground parks assets. My opponent, an entrenched, incumbent, may think this a good idea but doing so with chronically high unemployment and a fragile economy is tantamount to financing our parks on the backs of the unemployed and others living in the reality of a weak economy.”
What new user fees would your opponent support increasing?
I’m against park user fees. My opponent wants to increase user fees on Park assets. He wants to implement a parking fee in Kiwanis Park. This is an example of a fundamental difference between us. See, the people have alreadypaid for these parks once; why make them pay additional park fees? Unemployment is around 12-13% and you want to add more fees to families who are going to the movies or to the park? I just don’t agree with that.
You seem to care very much about your community. I see you serve as:
· Current Chairman for Battle Ground Planning Commission
· Clark County Parks & Rec Commissioner
· Arc of SW Washington Board member
· Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce Board member
· Charter Member with the Battle Ground Rotary
What motivates you to serve your community?
Like I said, I’ve grown up here since I was 6 years old and I plan on spending the next 35 years here. I thought, “How can I contribute to making this community better?” Win or lose this election I’m still going to be involved in this community. I’m not in it to be mayor. I’m here for the long haul. I’m interested in long-term relationships and making this community better for future generations. Do you support Proposition 1, to increase the sales and use tax by 0.2 % to preserve existing C-TRAN bus levels? Let me be bold and upfront with you. Yes. I support it. Many of the critics of Proposition 1 have not sat down and looked at the numbers. Right now we’re dealing with a chronic high unemployment rate and cutting bus services isn’t going to help that. No, Battle Ground doesn’t have the highest ridership. But do you know what that means? It means the bus lines to Battle Ground would be the first to be cut and the citizens of Battle Ground would still have to pay to support C-Tran. C-Tran said, “If this doesn’t pass serious cuts would be made to Battle Ground.” And the people who will be affected the most by this are the developmentally disabled people who use C-Van to commute. The cost would only be an additional 2 cents on a $10 purchase. It’s very miniscule. I mean you can be philosophically opposed to taxes but really, this isn’t much. I also think it’s necessary to point out that this is not a stepping stone to light rail. I think the critics are trying to make it look like Proposition 1 and light rail are one and the same when they’re not. Let me read you a few quotes by our founding fathers and then ask you a question.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
And Samuel Adams said, “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”
Do you believe people’s morals will affect their ability to enjoy freedom and liberty under the Constitution?
People’s morals will definitely have a positive or negative affect not only on their individual lives but also the communities in which they reside. Our founding fathers established our nation with the spiritual influence of a Judeo-Christian but they believed that the freedom from religious prosecution was a sacred right. What is disappointing in current times is the rise of political leaders using religion as a rallying cry to secure the vote of a particular religious voting bloc. We need to respect people of all faiths and their right to practice their religion. While I am a Christian, you will not see me touting this fact as a reason to support me. I have many friends that are Apostolic Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, and more; I respect and value them greatly.
Adrian Cortes is running against Paul Zandamela for Battle Ground City Council Position #3.
For more information about Adrian Cortes visit adriancortes.com, find him on Facebook here, or follow him on Twitter here.
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