Smoking Gun: Fraud and Deception

Permalink +

Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 3:18 pm  //  Guest writer

Someone pulled the wool over this community's eyes by fudging the costs on the ASB marina option by over $20mm

Submitted by Doug Karlberg.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

The Port of Bellingham has lost the public’s sentiment, and it must be regained. The dysfunction at our port has festered far too long. The public owns the port, but for decades only two commissioners and a loyal staff have controlled it.  The public needs to retake control of the port.

The port’s narrow and self-centered outlook endangers the future of our waterfront and desperately needed jobs that it can support.  The port, with the city’s help, wants to sell real estate instead of promote jobs and is now poised to wreck our capacity to support good paying jobs for the foreseeable future.

We can fix this, but first a stroll down memory lane to understand how we got here.

Our port tends to have commissioners for life. This wasn’t always true, but since the mid 1950s, commissioners have tended to remain in office for long, long times, decades in many cases. It may just be human nature, but when people remain in public office too long there can be negative effects.

The Port of Bellingham was for years the Port of Zuanich (44 years) and Asmundson (35 years).  Then it became the Port of Walker (21 years) and Smith (16 years). With a three person commission, any two commissioners can effectively control our port.

Port meetings are held during weekday work hours so the public hardly ever attends.  A chronic lack of public perspective feeds a creeping imperialistic control of this public founded and funded organization. Under the three-commissioner system, two port commissioners can do whatever they want.  Theoretically, they constitute a quorum and should not meet to discuss port business without public notice. In practice, the efficiency and lack of debate attendant to the execution of the port’s business belies their attention to these details. Staff comes and goes, but all know who has the power at the port, and who not to cross.

Secure in their incumbency, the port commissioners decided in 2004 to condemn and seize Georgia-Pacific’s (G-P) treatment lagoon (the ASB) for the “public purpose” of a marina for large yachts. This seizure fractured the community.  G-P was long a mainstay of the local economy and a major employer.  Even though they were obviously winding down the operation, many felt that such heavy-handed treatment was unwarranted and unwise. The ongoing tissue operation and the co-generation plant were still using the ASB.  What were these facilities expected to do?

Equally important, for nearly ten years G-P along with 14 agency stakeholders had been negotiating a robust clean up of the waterfront. G-P’s scientists, the Department of Ecology (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wildlife, Fisheries, environmental groups and others had worked cooperatively to come up with a plan that all agreed on, one which would have cleaned up the waterway completely.

G-P was anxious to start the clean up, get it done, and sell the land.

It was a serious clean up plan supported by all who had studied and worked for years to develop and compare nine remedial alternatives (archived page with some bad links). The DOE and EPA were willing to sign off. This was not the design of a bunch of Southside carpetbagger greenies, as Port Commissioner Smith enjoyed characterizing them.

In just one month, the port flushed ten years of hard work down the toilet and adopted a plan that accomplished the least possible clean up. The most affordable way to clean up the contaminated sediments next to G-P was to store the dredge spoils in the ASB. Any large clean up requires a disposal site, but the port seized G-P’s intended disposal site for a marina. The years-long good faith effort, ready for signatures, was junked because the port wanted a yacht basin to complement the upscale condos they envisioned for the waterfront.

The shipping channel would no longer be cleaned up.  Under the port’s plan the channel would be abandoned and ‘capped’, reducing its depth. This channel extended from the full depth of Bellingham Bay, past the port’s International Shipping Terminal, along much of G-P’s length, to the shoreline at the Waterfront Tavern and the Granary Building, where Citizens Dock once stood. This channel has been used for commerce extensively since Bellingham was founded. After capping, the channel will be limited to small craft and kayaks.

How polluted is the Whatcom Waterway? It is bad. Everything from the pulp mill site drained into the shipping channel for decades. The fishing fleet used to moor boats in the channel for a couple of days before hauling out for bottom work.  The toxins would kill everything growing on the hull, making cleaning easy. I wouldn’t eat any of the fish out of the shipping channel, even after it is capped. This channel will probably need permanent signs warning against fishing, crabbing and clamming.

Throwing monkey wrenches into the public’s clean-up plan made marshaling public support for the ASB marina critical for the port. They hired a consulting firm to study five potential sites for a future marina, including the ASB. This report was delivered to the port and released to the public in advance of the final G-P purchase decision.

However, the report was altered to mislead the public. The report rates the ASB as the most economical site.  This finding was needed to support the ASB marina plan.  It was crucial to justifying both the G-P site purchase and the condemnation of the ASB. This document is now evidence.

For a time, this file was publicly available as a Word document online.  It included embedded Excel object information.  The document’s description of each site includes an embedded Excel spreadsheet table.  If you have MS Office, you can double click on any table in the Word document and a spreadsheet will open in Excel.  The Excel file includes tabs for all five sites.  In four of these tables, the ASB tabs are identical and show costs of $50,731,417. However, the Word document table for the ASB lagoon shows costs of only $33,939,485. It is clear that the Word document description of the ASB site was altered after the authors embedded the Excel information.  The Excel object information shows the ASB site having the highest costs. The document is a proverbial “smoking gun.”

The $21,612,932 discrepancy in favor of the ASB site, in favor of this whole unsavory waterfront boondoggle, is at least misleading and probably fraudulent. I contacted port staff for an explanation and they refused to respond.  However, the online edition of the Word document immediately disappeared from their website.   But not before I saved a copy!

(Note: Changing tabs with the table open in Excel can alter your copy of the document if you save the changes. To preserve the document, simply don't save changes.)

Today, searching portofbellingham.com for “marina site survey” returns a single, unsearchable PDF:  The minutes of the May 19, 2009 port commission meeting in which a Mr. Stahl reports that “the Makers 2004 Bellingham Bay Marina Site Survey identified the ASB as the preferred location for a marina within Bellingham Bay.”  That is not true.

These behaviors evidence a pattern of deception underlying the very essence of the waterfront plan we just adopted. This is categorically unacceptable for a public agency.  It is illegal behavior that should be punished. It is cause to reconsider the entire waterfront plan before plunging the public into incomprehensibly expensive commitments.

The report includes another doozy.  The consultant states that North Puget Sound will urgently need 3,100 new marina berths by 2010. Nearly four years after this dire prediction we know the prediction was bunk. Demand for yacht moorage dried up when the economy tanked.  Building the marina will obligate Whatcom County taxpayers to repay nearly half a billion dollars.  Would you bet a half billion that four hundred 60-100 foot yachts will want to come to Bellingham?

The marina study ignored other obvious factors. The Lummi Nation is planning a marina. Their location is closer to the northern San Juans and especially better for many fishers, most of whom are already weary of the port.

Mucking out the ASB is estimated to cost $43 million. The port is desperate to justify this expense to build a breakwater worth maybe $6 million.  Alternatively, we could fill the ASB and sell the land for $10 million. We could actually clean up rather than cap the waterway and retain options for both commerce and safe fishing on the new waterfront.  It would save millions in disposal costs and millions more not constructing an unneeded marina.   But the port and city have worked together to hide the true costs from the public by concealing the marina in the No-Action alternative and by evidently falsifying crucial data.  Even the DOE (document linked below) originally commented that the port’s strategy, “deprives the public and other interested parties of the opportunity to have meaningful input to the complete planning and development process.”  That has proven true.  It has allowed the port to bamboozle its citizens and the city while crafting their vision out of whole cloth.

Meanwhile, Greenberry last year leased 10+ acres from the port and spent $200 million locally. Even the port’s phony inflated numbers would require 20 years for the ASB marina to generate that much economic impact, using four times the area (37 acres) – if there were enough mega-yachts to fill the slips. 

We seriously need to pull the plug on the port’s corrupt waterfront plan and make immediate changes to bring the public back into this process. Port meetings need to start happening in the evening when people can attend, like city and county council meetings.  The commission must be expanded by two at-large positions to increase candidate access and reduce entrenched incumbencies.  When agencies lie to their constituents, it is time for radical action.  Investigating this fraud is the place to start.  Who falsified these records?  Who helped?  On whose orders? It's deposition time!

The evolution of the waterfront plan has increasingly ignored public sentiment.  This has become a common refrain from all who have tried.  We need to back up, adopt an honest and open framework that can produce a plan consistent with public sentiment.

Without that, we cannot succeed.  On the waterfront, we cannot afford to fail.

Here is how the fudged numbers appear in the now disappeared Port Marina Site Survey document (Available for download, below)

Here's how the numbers appear in the embedded Excel object information that didn't get changed. Somebody has been very naughty!

Attached Files:

-> Read what the DOE thought of the Port hiding the marina in the No-Action plan

Related Links:

-> See the Smoking Gun for yourself (2.2MB .doc)

Alex McLean  //  Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 12:12 am

I worry that the fanatical level of commitment the Port has for this Marina will mean that even proof of criminal conduct to finesse the deal will not distract them. They might stumble, pay a fine or confess a sin, then get right back on their favorite pet pony.

The City has proven to be utterly cowed by the Port, granting nearly everything it wishes without query or qualm.

So, then, what are the prospects for some sort of citizen initiative—a ballot or signature campaign—which might spank some sense into this intransigent public agency?

Marinas are cute. Few people actively harbor angst against them.

But I think the ugly economics of this thing, in tandem with a seemingly educated public, could help to put a stake in the vampire’s heart before it sucks millions of dollars from our wallets.

I’d like to help, in any sort of effort, because I see this aspect of the waterfront development as having way too many unintended consequences. The ripple effect of the marina, as your article points out, impacts our clean-up efforts, our local economics, and the overall flexibility of using that area for other, better, purposes which could supply us with better jobs, more recreational space, or, well, anything besides a millionaire’s parking lot surrounded by razor wire. It is not the sort of infrastructure which will buttress the living wage jobs envisioned for the Waterfront District or otherwise act as an economic multiplier for the community. The Port itself may benefit from the leases of berths—and that may be its only merit or rationale—but that is hardly a civic goal worthy of sinking millions of tax dollars into.

Thanks for the article.


Tara Nelson  //  Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 12:50 pm

Agreed, Alex.


Tip Johnson  //  Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 4:43 pm

I sure would like to hear what elected officials are thinking.  Did McAuley know this was fudged?  Does Weiss think the funky numbers are OK?  Does anyone feel suckered by the Port? Will everyone look at their shoes and pray it is swept under the rug?  Who will call for an investigation? Both the Commission and the Council are so empowered.  Is there an inch of spine between them? We shall see.


George Dyson  //  Wed, Nov 20, 2013, 7:43 pm

Excellent detective work by Captain Karlberg. To fully connect the dots, you have to understand how this ties in to the other great act of malfeasance in this story, the de-authorization of Whatcom Waterway as a Federally-authorized navigation channel. When this nation was founded, its founders enshrined these navigation rights in the Constitution, specifically to preserve these precious and irreplaceable rights as a common good (and common responsibility) safe from the sort of local manipulation we have witnessed here.

When a waterway is authorized as a navigation channel, it means the Federal Government, represented by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (who are supremely good at doing what they are assigned to do) is responsible for maintaining the authorized depth. Why on earth would any local government, let alone a Port District chartered to promote local transportation, industry, and commerce, give up this precious privilege so coveted by all other ports? It’s like saying, “No thanks, please take Interstate 5 back, and we’ll close 3/4 of our businesses and bill the local taxpayers for maintaining a two-lane road instead.” What gives?

Here’s the deal. When the Corps of Engineers conducts maintenance dredging to maintain an authorized waterway, there is no charge to the local beneficiaries. But, if any of the dredge spoils are too contaminated for normal in-water disposal, the Federal Government will dispose of them properly as necessary, and send the bill to the liable party. In the case of the severe mercury contamination of Whatcom Waterway, there is no question as to who the liable party is: Georgia-Pacific, and their new owners, Koch Industries (known better as the Koch Brothers). This liability was not extinguished by the sale of Georgia-Pacific to Koch, or by the AIG insurance policy, or by the transfer of the property to G-P. The only way this lingering liability could be extinguished was by cleaning up the waterway to the authorized depth(s)—as G-P and Ecology had already agreed to, and as Doug so well summarizes.

Now, when the Port of Bellingham decided to use the ASB for a marina (on the surface, exactly the kind of constructive project they should be doing) this presented a massive problem: the liability for the contamination in the waterway, that could no longer be resolved by isolating the sediments in the ASB. The only way to let G-P, Koch Industries, and AIG securely off the hook (and disguise the true cost of the “Clean Ocean Marina” to the local taxpayers) was to de-authorize the Federal navigation channel (something it takes an Act of Congress to do). The officials who pushed this through, without anything but the barest nod to public process, should be ashamed. They sold the future of Bellingham as a true working waterfront community down the river, to help further line some of the deepest pockets in history. Marinas are wonderful, and a marina in the former ASB footprint could be especially so—but the way this project was bought and paid for stinks.


Ryan M. Ferris  //  Wed, Nov 20, 2013, 9:06 pm

This is a really nice piece of explosive journalism.  Please feel free to write a few more!


Wendy Harris  //  Thu, Nov 21, 2013, 5:26 pm

Wonderful journalism! Thank you.

I also found the attached DOE comments very interesting.  The first comment, in May 11, 2007 is from the local Bellingham office, and is rather critical, as Doug points out.  They also note concerns over the lack of public process when DOE is contributing “substantial public money”, and resources, including a community liaison position to keep the public informed. 

The comment also states that “the over-water pedestrian bridge, parks, trail linkages, transient moorage floats and other related features should be evaluated” in the EIS.  This was not done, and it has had significant consequence.

For example, had the EIS included the overwater walkway, the city and port may have been prevented from building such an environmentally harmful project, and at least the public would have known about it before it was a done deal. The port may have been required to file a supplemental EIS before it dumped dioxin at the Cornwall Landfill, again quietly, and without public understanding. If parks had been included in the EIS, the city would have been more accountable for its waterfront plan changes. It would not have been so easy to reduce public parks, envisioned throughout the waterfront site, into one mega-toxic site at Cornwall, with residential and commercial development and roads.  And had trail linkages been included, we would not have a plan with fragmented connectivity.

Instead, a second DOE comment was issued on June 7, 2007, from DOE Regional Office.  It references discussion with the port.  One can infer that the port was not happy with the comment letter from the local office, and went over their head to the Regional Office and got a new letter issued, which toned down the language and eased up a little on the pressure. 

What is interesting is that the port ignored concerns from both comments in its EIS reports. For example, there is a request for consideration of shoreline use by shorebirds. Instead, the port dissuaded the largest breeding colony of Caspian terns from the waterfront without any discussion or analysis. There is request for consideration of the marina “design alternatives regarding upland habitat relative to public access.”  To this day, upland wildlife habitat has not been addressed and the conflicts between public access and habitat have been ignored.

All of this underscores the need to dump this plan and start from scratch. The waterfront plan is flawed at its very core, in ways that can not be corrected through revisions and amendments. It reflects a vision for the waterfront that is fundamentally at odds with the public’s vision.


Dick Conoboy  //  Thu, Nov 21, 2013, 6:37 pm

For those of you who might have missed the public comments at the City Council meeting last Monday, take the time to listen to Bob Burr tell the council exactly what he thinks of the council’s work on this issue.  Go to 03:00 on the video counter for Bob’s remarks. + Link

The voters missed a great opportunity when they did not elect this man to the council.


Misleading/Incomplete Report on Rental Inspection Results

On 26 September the city's Planning Director provided a report to city council on rental inspection results that is misleading, incomplete and, intentionally or unintentionally, tends to understate…

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Sep 30, 2016, 3:37 am
0 comments

The War Has Just Begun

Slum landlords are alive and thriving. Over this summer 50% [corrected] of rental units failed the city's initial health and safety inspection.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Sep 16, 2016, 8:02 am
16 comments; last on Sep 26, 2016

MNAC Paddy Whack Give the Dog a Bone

The vital role in city politics of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission (MNAC) has gradually diminished over the past five years and is now at an all time…

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Sep 12, 2016, 1:57 am
10 comments; last on Sep 24, 2016

Reader paid for ads. Click to see all choices.

Chapter 3: City Council Agenda Management

Anne Mackie writes the backstory that tells "the rest of the story" of how the August harsh attacks on citizens by the council had roots in July.

Guest writer
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 1:02 am
1 comments; last on Sep 10, 2016

Housing Forum on Wednesday, Sep 14

The York Neighborhood is sponsoring a forum on housing concerns on Wednesday, Sept 14th at the Garden Methodist Church at 7pm.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Sep 07, 2016, 8:09 am
4 comments; last on Sep 10, 2016

A Big “Never Mind”

Anne Mackie gives us an overview of the planning kerfuffle during August between citizens and the Bham city council. And the bad attitudes of some council members.

Guest writer
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 4:59 am
5 comments; last on Aug 31, 2016

Coal Trains Blocked by Local Protesters

Updated on Monday. An elaborate tripod was erected over the railroad tracks on the bridge over Chuckanut Bay and protesters sat in a sling. 11 hour train stoppage.

John Servais
Sun, Aug 28, 2016, 4:56 pm
3 comments; last on Aug 29, 2016

Chapter 2:  Playing the race card

Three emails: April Barker writes about ADUs and her perspective; Anne Mackie and Dick Conoboy respond.

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 9:02 pm
6 comments; last on Aug 25, 2016

Temper Tantrum Taints City Council

Council President Pinky Vargas loses it over minor violations of the three-minute comment rule. Is this any way to run a council?

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 3:13 am
11 comments; last on Aug 29, 2016

Anti-Nuclear Weapons ship ‘Golden Rule’ to Visit

Ellen Murphy writes about the sailboat that sailed toward nuclear test site in Pacific in 1958 and will visit Bellingham August 20 - 22. Now protesting modernization of…

Guest writer
Sat, Aug 13, 2016, 11:19 am
1 comments; last on Aug 15, 2016

Hiyu ferry for Lummi Island service - Explained

Jim Dickinson writes: Why the surplus Washington State ferry Hiyu should replace the Whatcom Chief for our Whatcom County ferry service to Lummi Island.

Guest writer
Tue, Jul 12, 2016, 10:55 pm
6 comments; last on Aug 06, 2016

Lummi Island Drawbridge

The Lummi Island ferry is a very old and decrepit vessel. The state ferry system wants to give us a newer one in great condition. Whatcom County says…

Tip Johnson
Sat, Jun 25, 2016, 10:08 pm
6 comments; last on Jun 30, 2016

Options High School: Great idea, wrong site

Tim Paxton guest writes about the defects in planning for the Options High School.

Guest writer
Mon, Jun 06, 2016, 5:03 pm
5 comments; last on Jun 26, 2016

Ferndale volunteers build kids playground

Over 2,000 volunteers have just built a new playground in six days. We do a photo story.

John Servais
Sun, Jun 05, 2016, 8:29 pm
1 comments; last on Jun 06, 2016

Greenways may reverse heron colony buffer purchase this evening

The Greenways Advisory Committee meets this evening and may reverse their May decision to purchase the heron colony buffer woods.

John Servais
Fri, Jun 03, 2016, 12:29 am
10 comments; last on Jun 07, 2016

We need to protect our Great Blue Heron colony

Bellingham's only heron colony needs forested buffer - and the land owner is willing to sell. Greenways has voted to buy it, but our city council must act.

John Servais
Tue, May 31, 2016, 9:51 pm
5 comments; last on Jun 01, 2016

Memorial Day 2016 - Thanking a True Soldier

This veteran, Chris Brown, deserves our deep thanks for his achievement with Growing Veterans as Executive Director, a post that he has left. He will continue as President…

Dick Conoboy
Thu, May 26, 2016, 5:23 am
3 comments; last on Jun 08, 2016

Singing the Comp Plan Blues

As the city council takes up consideration of the comprehensive plan, citizen input is critical. Otherwise in a few years and in response to housing and land use…

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 23, 2016, 5:21 am
0 comments

Proposed over-water walkway is dead

The planned concrete walkway from Boulevard Park to the Cornwall landfill, using millions in Greenway funds, has been abandoned by Bellingham. We again thank the Lummi.

John Servais
Sat, May 21, 2016, 4:32 pm
11 comments; last on May 26, 2016

Breaking Free: A New Age Ghost Dance

Jay Taber, a strong environmentalist for decades, guest writes a harsh critique of the 350 org anti-fossil fuel demonstrations at the Anacortes oil refineries last weekend.

Guest writer
Wed, May 18, 2016, 4:46 pm
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Missing Options High School traffic study

Bellingham School officials expect a slam dunk by Hearing Examiner and city council on street vacation and conditional use permit. By Patrick McKee.

Guest writer
Tue, May 17, 2016, 7:45 pm
2 comments; last on May 18, 2016

Uber: Supporting the Troops?

Uber, the cheap ride taxi company, is targeting the troops to become drivers in ads disguised as articles in publications such as the Army Times.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, May 16, 2016, 5:20 am
0 comments

Herons or Oil: Which are long term?

The March Point protestors this weekend will hopefully show serious concern and not disturb the heron colony near the refineries.

John Servais
Sat, May 14, 2016, 9:34 am
2 comments; last on May 15, 2016

No Coal Terminal at Cherry Point - Final

The Seattle office of the Army Corps of Engineers has formally denied a permit for building a coal terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Updated at 4pm.

John Servais
Mon, May 09, 2016, 12:10 pm
4 comments; last on May 09, 2016

Boring, predictable Trump plays to conservative Lynden crowd

Supporters say he will beat Hillary Clinton.

Ralph Schwartz
Sat, May 07, 2016, 10:47 pm
3 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Citizens: BPD dismissive of people of color

Group cites failure to investigate assaults on anti-police-racism marchers

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 7:04 pm
5 comments; last on Aug 25, 2016

An Open Letter to U.S. Representative Rick Larsen

Also to all U.S. Representative candidates in the 1st and 2nd U.S. Congressional districts for the election in 2016

David Camp
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 3:46 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 27, 2016

Five districts pass; GOP incites conservatives to fight map in court

Republicans rolled over and approved the Democrats' map to set the stage for a legal challenge

Ralph Schwartz
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 8:40 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 24, 2016

Unanimous Yes vote for 5 county council districts

GOP vote for Democratic plan to prevent locked committee and then county council becoming decision makers of districting boundaries

John Servais
Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 8:01 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 21, 2016

Report on City Council Retreat

The Bellingham City Council conducted a retreat on 16 April to discuss a number of issues, including a set of proposed strategies to ensure "sustainable services."

Dick Conoboy
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 5:14 am
0 comments

OregonLNG quits: Cherry Point may be new target

Liquid natural gas terminal is rumored to be in planning stages for Cherry Point as the Oregon proposed LNG plan is abandoned.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 18, 2016, 11:55 am
6 comments; last on Apr 19, 2016

Deck stacked against Republicans at Districting Committee hearing

Fate of new county five-district map remains uncertain.

Ralph Schwartz
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 10:43 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 14, 2016

Don’t speak at tonight’s Districting Committee hearing

If you do, you better make sure you have something to say that's going to change someone's mind.

Ralph Schwartz
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 9:09 am
3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2016

Bellingham Planning tries to sneak one through

The Sunnyland residents have just learned they have only today to comment on a huge impacting building project in their neighborhood.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 1:06 am
11 comments; last on Apr 23, 2016

No sign of agreement as districting committee enters final phase

After a public hearing next week, the committee will be asked to vote on a five-district map for Whatcom County in two weeks.

Ralph Schwartz
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 9:18 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 09, 2016

Proposed redistricting map for your review

The Districting Master (the official title) has submitted his map for review by the Districting Committee this evening. Here it is for your review.

John Servais
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 1:14 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 07, 2016

BNSF: A casual approach to railroad safety

At Clayton Beach, we have tracked increasing erosion under railroad tracks and written to the railroads and federal inspectors. To no avail.

John Servais
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 8:17 pm
2 comments; last on Apr 05, 2016

$15 Minimum Wage - Assured Debt Peonage

Accelerating efforts across the U.S. to install a $15 minimum wage are playing into the hands of big business and codifying enormously insufficient wages for years to come.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 5:25 am
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016

Cherry Point coal port development put on ice

Work on EIS put on hold as coal companies wait for Army Corps of Engineers decision. Well, it was not in March. This is not an April 1…

John Servais
Fri, Apr 01, 2016, 3:49 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 02, 2016

Fuller calls on Coast Guard to ‘stand on the right side of history’

Activist contests $10,000 fine for climbing on a Shell oil vessel. Rob Lewis guest writes this report.

Guest writer
Wed, Mar 23, 2016, 2:37 pm
0 comments

Voting guide for Whatcom Conservation District

Updated Wed, Mar 16. Tuesday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., any registered voter of Whatcom County can vote in person at the conservation district office.

John Servais
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 8:26 pm
0 comments

Will Cherry Point coal port be denied this week?

Updated 4:30pm. Helena, Montana newspaper says GPT may be denied this week by Army Corps of Engineers. US Rep Zinke panics and accuses Army of politics.

John Servais
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 12:19 am
4 comments; last on Mar 24, 2016

Dems, GOP primed for legal fight over districts

Not even a letter from a coal terminal spokesman can save them now.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 12:04 am
2 comments; last on Mar 17, 2016

Districting maps E and F for reference

We post the next two maps to be discussed at the Districting Committee today, March 14. For the few who might study them and later contribute perspectives.

John Servais
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 1:53 am
0 comments

Democrats threaten legal action on districting

Legally threatening letter sent by Seattle law firm retained by prominent leading Democratic Party leaders.

John Servais
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 1:06 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 14, 2016

The state of citizen journalism is strong: Two receive deArmond awards

The third annual deArmond dinner celebrated the work of Sandy Robson and Neah Monteiro.

Ralph Schwartz
Fri, Mar 11, 2016, 11:28 pm
2 comments; last on Mar 13, 2016

Potential Oil Exports From Cherry Point—Something else to put on your radar

What almost happened on the coast of Maine could happen here at Cherry Point. Portland, Maine, stopped oil exports - and Whatcom County can also. If we act.

David Camp
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 11:20 pm
0 comments

Durham, NH, - Surprise! - Rental Inspections Worked

Durham is an example of the efficacy of rental inspections, putting to bed the unsupported objections of landlords by presenting facts about conditions.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 2:20 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016

Dogged Pursuit of a Failed Vision?

Wherein, we correct some misassumptions but still ask the questions

Tip Johnson
Tue, Mar 08, 2016, 2:47 pm
0 comments

Districting Committee: GOP accuses Democrats of gerrymandering

The Republicans made concessions on their district map but took a final stand at Nooksack, Everson and Sumas.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Mar 08, 2016, 1:15 am
6 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016

Idea for Our Times: Puget Sound Repair Project

Could this address the real problem with Puget Sound?

Tip Johnson
Mon, Mar 07, 2016, 10:40 am
6 comments; last on Mar 08, 2016

Districting Committee: Republicans lack legal compass

Republicans and Democrats remain far apart. Democrats have the legal high ground, but Republicans would go to court to challenge that if necessary.

Ralph Schwartz
Sun, Mar 06, 2016, 11:39 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 07, 2016

Punishing the Wrong Guys

Wherein someone's gotta do the right thing

Tip Johnson
Tue, Mar 01, 2016, 3:40 pm
0 comments

D’Angelo undaunted by fine: ‘I had to make the moral choice’

Chiara D'Angelo comes across as emotionally intelligent and uncompromising in her high-stakes Coast Guard hearing.

Ralph Schwartz
Mon, Feb 29, 2016, 11:55 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 01, 2016

Elfo: Enforcement, Litigation or Risks?

Wherein inquiring minds want to know!

Tip Johnson
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 1:24 pm
0 comments

‘Goodwill’ wanted but lacking on Districting Committee

Republicans focused their efforts on torpedoing the Democrats' five-district proposal at the second committee meeting.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Feb 23, 2016, 5:01 am
4 comments; last on Mar 01, 2016

Anchor-chain activists face hefty fines

The Coast Guard has levied $30,000 in fines on two Bellingham climate activists. They will fight to have the fines dropped.

Ralph Schwartz
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 5:01 am
16 comments; last on Feb 22, 2016

Jail Reform: Music to My Ears

Wherein sanity may finally be approaching a nagging jail issue

Tip Johnson
Sun, Feb 14, 2016, 8:54 pm
2 comments; last on Feb 19, 2016

Redistricting: Democrats may have upper hand

Republicans and Democrats traded barbs on the first day of the Districting Committee, but Dems may have won the first battle.

Ralph Schwartz
Tue, Feb 09, 2016, 5:02 am
5 comments; last on Feb 10, 2016

Stop the Rental Fires Now!

Inspections of rentals cannot begin too soon. Seven fires in rental units since 2011 and almost half with ONE landlord. No but the clock may be running out.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Feb 08, 2016, 6:26 am
0 comments

 

We Thank Our Sponsors

Click to See All Sponsors

About NWCitizen

Donations maintain site

Our writers
Thru the years

League of Women Voters

Calendar of Events

Home page

Local Online News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Cascadia Weekly
Coal Stop
Ferndale Record
KGMI
KPLU fm radio
Latte Republic
Lynden Tribune
Noisy Waters
Northern Light
Seattle Times
Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut C. Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Powder River Basin R. C.
RE Sources
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Our Governments

- Whatcom County

Bellingham
Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US House
US Senate
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State
Whatcom COG

NWCitizen 1995-2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?

Local Leisure

Adventures NW

Bellingham Wins
Entertainment NNW
Recreation Northwest

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
AlterNet.org
Antiwar.com
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The
Change The Mascot
Common Dreams
counterpunch
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Doonesbury
Drudge Report
Edge of Sports
FiveThirtyEight
Foreign Policy in Focus
GlobalPost
Guardian
Gulf News
Haaretz
Huffington Post
Innocence Project
Irish Times
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
MoveOn.org
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
NMFA
numbers
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Reuters
Sea Shepherd
Slate
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
TED
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
Tom Paine.com
truthout
Vox
War and Piece
Washington Votes
WikiLeaks.ch
ynetnews.com

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Register

Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
HamsterTalk
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Jack Petree
MikeatthePort
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Orcinus
Post-Oklahoman
Protect Bellingham Parks
Sweeney Politics
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders