Steven Cox withdraws from Vancouver mayoral race

Ken Vance, editor
ClarkCountyToday.com

 

VANCOUVER — Steven Cox has withdrawn from the race for the position of mayor of the city of Vancouver.

Steve Cox
Steve Cox

 

Cox will remain on the November ballot because the deadline to remove a candidate from the ballot was May 22. However, his departure from the race essentially leaves Anne McEnerny-Ogle as the only remaining candidate. Current Mayor Timothy Leavitt did not seek re-election.

 

Cox spoke during citizen comments at Monday’s Vancouver City Council meeting. He accused Council Member Jack Burkman, who was not present at Monday’s meeting, of violating his First Amendment rights at a Sept. 19 Burnt Bridge Creek Neighborhood Association meeting. Cox claimed Burkman told him to “back off’’ after Cox criticized the city’s purchase of about 12 acres of the Town Plaza property in central Vancouver earlier this summer.

 

In a letter distributed to ClarkCountyToday.com and other area news organizations Tuesday, Cox admitted that he made a mistake.

 

“Last night, 25 September 2017, I falsely accused an innocent man of wrong doing [sic],’’ Cox wrote in the letter. “Jack Burkman is an upstanding citizen and credit to his community and I sincerely apologize for mistakenly using his name.  The shame is mine and not his.’’

 

Burkman responded on his Facebook page Monday night, testifying that he was not at the Sept. 19 meeting as Cox had alleged.

 

“This evening Mr. Steven Cox attended the Vancouver City Council meeting, spoke during the Citizen Forum, and told a blatant lie about something he claims I said and did,’’ Burkman wrote. “I was not at the Council meeting since I was in Utah with my grandkids and just arrived back home so I could not defend myself at that time.

“Mr. Cox said I attended the last Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance meeting where he spoke and told him, apparently loudly, to “Back Off”, and that I was violating his First Amendment rights,’’ Burkman wrote. “This was broadcast on CVTV and you can watch that here … http://www.cvtv.org/vid_link/20846?start=1298&stop=1336

“I was not even at the VNA meeting,’’ Burkman added. “I do not quietly accept attacks like this so I am speaking out …’’

Cox responded to Burkman’s comments on the council member’s Facebook post.

“Jack, I want to publicly apologize for this error,’’ Cox said. “I do not know why I used your name while I scribbled out my statement. Bart Hanson was the councilor present. This is my mistake and I own it and am deserving of your scorn. You have every right to be angary {sic} and I will gladly go back to city hall to correct the record if you wish.’’

Burkman then accepted that offer.

“Mr. Cox, since you attacked me at the Council’s public meeting, that’s the appropriate place for you to address this,’’ Burkman wrote. “The next Citizen Forum is at 6:30 pm on October 9 at Vancouver City Hall.’’

“You shall have it,’’ Cox replied.

After Cox circulated his letter on Tuesday, Burkman attempted to close the matter with another Facebook post.

“Mr. Cox, I appreciate your efforts to apologize and thank everyone for understanding,’’ Burkman wrote. “It’s time to move on and end this discussion.’’

In his letter, Cox expressed shame for his actions.

Open-Letter

“I cannot explain my mistake other than to say if you are a Veteran with MTBI/PTSD you will identify with and understand the symptoms,’’ Cox wrote. “There is a reason I am 100% disabled and it was believed I could lead a normal life with therapy. This is my third attempt at leading a normal, healthy and productive life and I have failed again, embarrassing friends and family, those people I love and harming those who are innocent.

“This scar of humiliation is not easily erased from one’s physique,’’ Cox wrote. “Mine is only to love others, speak truth and live in the image of my Lord. With this in mind, there is only one honorable course of action remaining for me.

“I hereby withdraw my candidacy for mayor of Vancouver,’’ Cox wrote. “You deserve better than I can provide. I thank all my loyal supporters.  Your warm friendship has meant the world to (wife) Cindy and me.  I shall return donations to those I still can.  I apologize to you for not living up to your expectations and any embarrassment I may have caused you.’’

 

Cox also stated in the letter that he resigned as chairman of the Burnt Bridge Creek Neighborhood Association.

 

“I know many of you put your faith in me and I regret letting you down,’’ he wrote. “You are the greatest neighbors anyone could ever hope for and I know you will carry on without me.

“I resign as Prescient [sic] Committee officer 692,’’ Cox wrote. “You deserve someone who has full use of their cognitive abilities who can accurately represent you.

“I resign from the Republican Party,’’ he asked. “I have dishonored our brand and you will be wise to distance yourselves from me. Integrity violations are inexcusable and my only redemption is self-exile. My continued presence would only tarnish the legitimacy of my Comrades and our oath.

“Cindy and I ask you all to respect our privacy and leave us as we came, in peace,’’ Cox wrote. 

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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