Why I am voting NO on the Park Disttict

Permalink +

Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 10:40 am  //  John Servais

I will be voting NO to the Park District - and I am not a developer.  And I know this issue inside and out.  I have at times led the effort to save trees on the southside, and have all my life advocated for our environment.  This tax is onerous and will hamper future efforts for Greenways Four and the proponents are less than honest about what is in the ballot measure.

Voting for the Park District in order to supposedly "save" a very small part of the huge Chuckanut Park from possibly being used for homes is like giving a sledge hammer to a group of people for who like to hammer things when all we have to do is drive in one nail.  They may well find other things to hammer - other things to tax us for and "save".  They may not sit with a sledge hammer for 10 years and do nothing. 

First, the group is being - shall we say - less than honest in suggesting we have to save the forest.  Gentle reader, the forest has been saved.  Our Bellingham City Council and former mayor Dan Pike saved it in 2011 by buying the entire thing from the bank for $8 million.  It is saved.  Now.  Already.  It is ours. 

We now have 5 years in which to figure out how to reimburse a city park maintenance fund that was used for $3 million of the purchase.  Everyone - council, mayor, citizens - is willing to find a solution.  A community wide solution - a city wide solution. This Chuckanut Park, along with Fairhaven Park and Larrabee Park and Connelly Creek Natural Area and Woodstock Park, are all treasures of Bellingham's southside and everyone from Bellingham, Whatcom County and Skagit County and the whole world can enjoy them.  Now and forever.

There is a small part of less ecologically important land along Chuckanut Drive that might make great housing area and provide enough money to pay some or all of the loan.  Or the next Greenways Levy might have sufficient money to pay it off.  Or, some other solution can be found.  No public process has tried to define options - not yet. 

What has happened is some of our more green southside residents - and especially those who live near the park - have panicked and feel we must immediately resolve the loan issue.  They do not trust in city hall nor Greenways committee.  And I am hardly one to trust city hall or the secretive methods of the Greenways Committee and the manipulations of our Parks Department. 

But creating a new government agency with the power to tax, condemn land, sell bonds, increase taxes and never go out of existence is very much the wrong move.  I know that with good active citizenship and public effort we can solve this situation to the common community wide satisfaction. 

The group behind the park district is not interested in any solution but their own - keeping every square foot a park.  This may be foolish.  The city bought a huge tract of land and all the high hills and wetlands are valuable and securely saved.  But the group is hell bent to save every square foot of the land purchase for park. 

And so, to drive a single nail - to find a solution to a single loan - we are not being asked for a community wide use of a hammer but are rather being asked to buy a sledge hammer and give exclusive use of it to a group for years. 

In closing, my comments and all those who write against this park district, are being labeled "fear tactics".  In one sense the group is right - I fear giving this much power to another government agency.  Where they are wrong is to think fear is inappropriate.  This park district plan is irresponsible and reckless.  It is a panic solution to a community problem which we have 5 years to solve. 

Vote NO for the Metro Parks District.  And if you oppose this, then it is most important that you vote NO because a simple majority will pass this.  No minimum vote is needed.   Not voting is a half vote for the park.

Update:  If you vote no, also then vote for Anna Williams for the park district board.  She is opposed to this park district but is runninng so we have a watchdog on the board who, even if a minority, can speak out from the board. 

Wendy Harris  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 11:42 am

There is no land of less ecological importance. The land along Chuckanut Drive is neccessary as a buffer that protects the ecological functions of the forest.

The park district protects the entire acreage. Any solution involving the City will result in some amount of development.


Frank James  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 11:45 am

John it is sad to see that your personal feelings are interfering with your objectivity and judgement. From your email “the proponents have attacked me”.

You also seem upset that folks are not using NWcitizen as the vehicle for discussion again from your email, “Proponents did not submit anything to NWCitizen until the opponents did.”

I am sorry your feelings are hurt but your parroting the misleading information of Bill, Ophalee and a handful of build it all out folks at any cost.

I am glad that you have pointed out that Anna is in fact against the park and the district, her very misleading flyer that has gone out gives the opposite impression. Another blow to honest in our community.

You feel left out and you feel that the folks that want the wetlands left intact and the developers to keep their mitts off one of the most beautiful places in our city. These folks for the most part do not live in the district but want to tell those of us that do what to do in our community, it saddens me greatly that you have joined them.


John Servais  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 12:33 pm

Frank, again you show how a personal attack is what you proponents prefer.  Not a word in your post about the issues.  You try to paint me as acting on emotion rather than the facts. 

Your citing of emails betrays you. Obviously you have been forwarded emails between myself and others.  As you bring up the subject of the proponents not submitting an article to NWCitizen, I will point out that in early January your steering committee had one member call me and ask that I NOT post my views as they knew I was skeptical.  In exchange I asked that the group submit an article so there could be public discussion.  They agreed. Then the group decided apparently to not send anything.  I was muzzled and duped.  And that is what I was referring to.  Normally I write and accept from those who want to post.

Your citing an email and citing it out of context is inappropriate and you should know better.  Try addressing the issues posted on this website. 

I have been on this issue longer than you and most of the proponents.  I have provided information to Bill Geyer and others - not the other way around.  Bill is a good voice in our community - even while we have been on the same side of some issues and opposed on some others.  It is shameful how you and the proponents have tried to marginalize his opinions. 

I have tried to keep this on the issues and not the personalities.  My article dealt with the issues.  Try it yourself.  One of the best reasons to vote NO is because you proponents refuse to address the issues brought up by those of us who are concerned.  Calling me a dupe probably does not go far with those who know me.


Steve Wilson  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 12:43 pm

I am voting FOR the park district because I respect and trust the proponents.  I’ve known these folks for many years and find the work they do in our neighborhoods and larger community to be exemplary.  I believe them when they say they have looked at the alternatives and are putting forth the best of those options to vote on this election.  I also believe it’s our best chance to get this issue resolved.  None of us deserve to be held hostage any longer to the threat of development of this unique habitat at any time in the future.  I am proud to be a part of this solution.
If you believe the opponents will pick up the pieces and try to save the woods if the current proposal fails, well, I believe you are suffering delusions.  The only way opponents can get some attention is to send out a ‘shock and awe’ piece, complete with red, white and blue half-truths.
I’m not falling for it.  I’m voting for preserving the woods for future generations.  I’ve got my eyes on the prize, and I hope you’ll join me in making this a reality.  Vote YES!


John Servais  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 1:16 pm

And again, the woods are already preserved for future generations.  They belong to us now - to the city - to Greenways - to the Parks Department.  They are already saved. 

And I guess I do trust our community at large.  And you proponents do not trust our council nor our mayor nor the Greenways Committee nor the Parks Department.  So please, the distrust is on both sides.  Steve, you and the others do not seem to recognize your own fear tactics and the huge distrust you all have.  There is a lot of distrust. 

I also have known most all the proponents for decades - and I know how the best of intentions can be swayed by new circumstances.  Giving such huge power to a small group is not good government.  Asking the residents of the southside to pay for a city park is not fair.


David Marshak  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 2:12 pm

John wrote: And I am hardly one to trust city hall or the secretive methods of the Greenways Committee and the manipulations of our Parks Department.

I’ve been a member of the Greenways Advisory Committee (GAC) for two years. The GAC has monthly public meetings, the first Thursday of each month. Each meeting has a public comment section. Each meeting is open to the public, except for the section of the meeting in which members discuss specific potential rights or land purchases. This is required by law to be in executive session.

The GAC has had fewer than its potential maximum membership throughout the past two years. Any interested Bellingham citizen could apply for appointment to the GAC by the mayor.

The GAC also has a strategic plan posted on the COB website.

The GAC also has no legal authority to do anything other than make suggestions to the City Council. The Council makes every decision.

So much for “secrecy.” 

As for the Chuckanut Community Forest initiative—City Council members invited any motivated citizens to suggest a proposal for repaying the Greenways Endowment. The folks who organized the initiative stepped up and proposed this solution. I live in the taxing district, and I support this proposal.

I have not seen any of the opponents step up and offer any realistic alternative at any time since the purchase.


John Servais  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 2:40 pm

David,  the GAC does have a culture of secrecy - and committee members have told me that directly.  Several - some current and some past.  It is complicated and involves work done outside the committee meetings and also the extensive time the committee spends in executive sessions.  There are current members on the committee who want to make the committee work more transparent. 

Secondly, to say no “realistic alternative” has been offered is to ignore or disqualify what Bill Geyer has brought forward.  Please see the support for TDSs that Nicholas Zaferatos presented in a comment to Bill’s article.  Nicholas is a former chair of the Bellingham Planning Commission.  David, there have been good alternatives presented by individuals - and what we need is a public process through our established city government to consider these and select the best solution.


Steve Wilson  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 5:17 pm

  John, in response to my comments you really went out on a limb to characterize Park District proponents as ‘distrustful of city council, the mayor, Greenways Committee and the Parks Department’.  I know the proponents to be ‘critical thinkers’, but ‘distrustful’...really?  Hmm…
  Then you assert in a following rebuttal that you see promise in the Transfer of Development Rights concept.  Could you please share some successful examples of TDR’s in Bellingham’s recent past that lead you to such a conclusion?
  After listening to the deafening silence it might be easier to see exactly why a Municipal Park District makes more sense at the current time. 
  Once we have a park district established, and only then, do I think you opponents will be motivated to jump on the TDR issue. Then your fruitful efforts will help reduce the levy burden, and shorten the time in which a parks district needs to exist. I call this a win-win situation…and it’s about the most wishful thinking I can muster.
  It’s not too late to become part of the solution.  You’ll have to trust me on that assertion.


Frank James  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 7:21 pm

John

The only email that I have read on this is the one that YOU sent me, I am perplexed by your comment and believe that your emotions are distorting your judgement, that is not a personal attack and is supported by this very observation. You also refer to “you” as if there is some monolithic group out there. The folks that put this on the ballot are folks well know to me and I have been very supportive of their effort but ‘they’ are not me. I am not a member of the Chuckanut Community Forest organizing committee.

The facts of the matter that you say you would like to discuss are straightforward. The community has been in dialog with the City Council, the Mayor, other parties that have managed these issues in the past, everyone from Land Trust members to former mayor (several) to Responsible Development, to those that were opposed and now are supportive.

There is broad consensus that the property is an integral whole and that the sale of the souther portion for construction projects would threaten biological integrity of the extensive category 1 wetlands on the rest of the property. IF you disagree please provide the details of what that is based on. Sarah Cooke, John McLaughlin, and the Cities own environmental review came to this conclusion.

It will take 10 years of collecting funds to pay off the property with the proposed Parks District and the City Council has agreed that that would be acceptable, how ever to say we have 5 year to develop a plan is simply not true. Did you read Wendy Harris comments just below your post?

The forest is not as you put it ‘saved’. It is currently the intention of some within the City to sell the southern most portion of the land to repay the loan and if there is no realistic plan to raise the funds that is exactly what would happen.

No one “panicked”, other than the folks that see their opportunity to make a great deal of money at the expense of the public slipping away. With regard to the ‘secretive’ Greenways Advisory Committee, I would refer you to the comment of a member of that group that has provided direct information about just how open the process has been.

With regard to the ‘manipulations” of our Parks Department I really dont know what you are referring to, the Parks folks and the community have done a very good job of cleaning up the property but that was done in broad daylight and in the most cooperative of fashions.

The intentions of the Park District are clearly to raise the money to pay for the property AND to put exactly the sort of restrictions on it so that it is not later sold off for development just like the Land Trust has done on many occasions within the City and County. NOTHING ESLSE, have you read the commissioners statements that were send to you for posting but which you have not yet posted?

There has been a broad discussion with many community members over many months to come up with this option, the terms ‘hell bent’ and ‘not interested in any solution other than their own’ simply are not accurate. Please let you readers know what your judgements are based on.

All the talk about a “new government agency” with the power to tax, condemn, etc IS fear mongering in that all of the current commissioners have pledged NOT to do anything other than pay off the land and get out of the way. If they have other intentions where is the evidence of that? Please provide some information if you have it.

Finally here is a copy of the email YOU sent ME that I was quoting from in my first post, just so you and everyone else knows that that is all I have read from you and there is not some vast conspiracy to discredit you based on private information.

“I have just posted up my reasons for voting NO on the Chuckanut Park
District. I am notifying you because the proponents don’t want you reading
what I think - and asked me to not post my views. Even in my trying to allow
both sides of the issue to present their views the proponents have attacked
me - one even threatening a lawsuit. It has been nasty. And so I am finally
posting my view.

Proponents did not submit anything to NWCitizen until the opponents did.
Since then it has not developed into anything resembling a civil discussion
of the issues. I am sorry to have to say that. My first article on Chuckanut
Ridge from 1996 is still online. I have long advocated for saving this area.


This is a south Bellingham issue, so if you live elsewhere you might prefer
to skip it. But if you have any friends on the south side, please forward
this to them so they can learn more about this issue before voting. Thank
you.

+ Link

John Servais, publisher”

I will assume the fact that my account at NW Citizen was disabled and I had to create a new password was just an accident. Thanks for creating this forum.

Frank


Gerry Wilbour  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 9:37 pm

Thanks John for the opportunity to comment even though we strongly disagree.

I am confident that the CCFD will pass and I think it is our last best shot at preserving this property intact.  The citizens group that formed to find a suitable funding solution engaged in a very broad and inclusive process of examining all options.  Establishing a Park District was only one of a variety of options that were investigated.  In the end, it was the only one that really worked even though we knew up front it would not be easy. 

The ecological significance of this property and it’s ability to support active outdoor recreation in the context of an urban area is unmatched.  The nature of my job is such that I get to work in and visit many special natural areas in other towns and Cities in this State as well as other parts of the country.  I have never seen an unprotected natural area of this quality within a City.  It is that unique.

There are a variety of passions that drive people to support it’s preservation,  for many, it’s the unusual combination of high quality wetlands & riparian areas, deep forest and sandstone ridges that support 2 salmon bearing streams and an unusually large number of species.  It is a breading area and critical core habitat for critters that visit our nearby neighborhoods and greenways.  Some also value it as a resource for environmental education and see significant potential for greater educational activity here for students of all ages.  Some think it would be a great place for a “kids forests,”  essentially a series of child centered active environmental interpretive stations.  For decades, many have used the area for a running and walking.  Many younger people in the neighborhood have gotten away from their TV’s, Computer Games etc by riding their Mountain Bikes in the woods, creating jumps and banked turns that sharpen their riding skills.  There will be significant land management challenges going forward in creating a community based a stewardship plan that accommodates all of these uses and passions in a sustainable manner.  When viewed this way, the area that we have know is rather small.  To make it smaller by developing portions of it would make it dramatically more difficult and expensive to manage all of these interest in a compatible fashion.  To secure it all now means that we can move forward with much needed and an effective stewardship plan in the near future.

I’ve worked in a number of areas that have Park Districts that overlap a county or City with a Park Department.  I find the districts to be very focused on their core mission and very in touch with the community that they serve. There are over 80 of them in the State with three in Whatcom County, one in Skagit and two in Island County.  They all provide a wonderful additional service or facility that would not otherwise be possible.  They often collaborate with other governmental entities to make projects possible.  This is the largest Bellingham Greenways purchase ever. Since the rest of Bellingham will pick up the majority of the tab for this property, having the neighborhoods closest too it pick up the rest seems only fair.


David Marshak  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 11:53 pm

In two years of Greenways Advisory Committee meetings I’ve never seen John Servais in attendance. I’ve never been asked about Greenways activities by John Servais.

In contrast I’ve had many conversations with Bellingham citizens about Greenways activities. I’ve shared the Greenways Strategic Plan with many folks as well. If you look at the Strategic Plan, the long term intentions of the Greenways project are very clear. There is nothing secret about this.

The only privileged material has to do with potential purchases of specific properties or access rights. And this material is privileged both by law and by reasonable operating procedures. Purchase negotiations are not conducted in public by any government.

The Committee meets in executive session only to discuss specific potential purchases. Sometimes this is brief; other times it goes on and on. Calling the length of executive session an indication of secrecy is ridiculous.

According to you, John, you know more about the Greenways Committee than I do.

I wonder why you’d think for a minute that I’d find your comments more credible than my own experience?

As for the Chuckanut Forest—no alternatives were framed and presented in a timely manner. If these folks had done so, we’d be discussing their proposals. Now we are voting. Timing matters.

 

 

 

 

 


Barbara Perry  //  Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 12:17 pm

Contrary to what you say, John Servais, the Chuckanut forest has not been saved.  Even you admit to allowing it to be opened for construction to pay for the existing loan and waiting for five years to get untrustworthy government officials to protect it for the future..

Sorry John, but you open your article about voting “No” on the Park District with much Pomp of your great knowledge, but in fact this issue needs secure conclusion. We have two active salmon streams in this area to protect as well as the whole forest.  It is in limbo now.  We need to vote yes for it to become secure. I am tired of going to meeting after meeting to protect Chuckanut Ridge.  Southsiders most benefit from this neighboring forest, and we have the obligation to protect it.  Because it is so close to us, it benefits us most.

The forest may be ours now but even you admit it is open for construction to help pay for it.  Sorry, you are being naïve in trusting the current government forces to adequately protect this forest. 

The following issue may seem irrelevant but it is not:  We citizens bicycle, walk, and live near the toxic hill of the too toxic to move dioxin recently dredged out of the sound and dumped in two piles just north of Boulevard Park and south of downtown.  The hill is covered with pretty white plastic because it is too toxic to move. A small warning sign exists reading:” Danger! No trespassing.”  In ignorance, Dogs and dog owners walk there anyway.  Politian’s have been legally obligated to tell us about these carcinogenic hills to get our comments, yet they have not.  Apparently the only safe method of disposal is quite expensive.  Look for this issue in the coming February 2013 issue of Whatcom Watch.  Thank you retired layer Wendy Harris for reporting on this issue.
And John, you expect voters to trust these same politicians to protect our forest?  Some of us are not that naïve.
The government will be so busy securing this toxic trail for tourist and citizen use, it will not have money for securing the forest. We Sounthsiders must do so ourselves.  We do not have five years to wait for a solution from our mayor who did not even tell us about the toxic mountain.  We came up with a solution for the forest ourselves.

John, the forest committee only exists for ten years and has no powers over the park district.  It is a voluntary board to recommend and watch over the land. Your “sledge hammer” metaphor of control is you creating fear to present your weak points. 
All these words are not as powerful as the two sentence comment from Wendy Harris replying to your argument.  Rather than have the reader search,  it follows:

Wendy Harris //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 10:42 am
There is no land of less ecological importance. The land along Chuckanut Drive is neccessary as a buffer that protects the ecological functions of the forest.
The park district protects the entire acreage. Any solution involving the City will result in some amount of development.

 


Alex McLean  //  Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 10:55 pm

Hi Barbara,

I live on 32nd St., which the MPD advocates generously included in their districting, and this forest is no less than 2.7 miles from my house—even farther for those thousands who are crammed in apartments and condos further up the road from me.

The goal of the Bellingham Parks Dept., and part of the guiding metric for Greenways strategic plan, is to provide some functional and significant park space for every resident within a half-mile radius of their homes.

This proposal, therefore, seems a few miles too long in the tooth for your broad-brush statement of, “because it is so close to us, it benefits us most.”

I’m probably less militant and/or passionate about this proposal than my rhetoric implies. (This isn’t coal trains, for example, and it most definitely isn’t the preservation of substantial ecosystem functions—the roar of Chuckanut Drive and the Edgemoore neighborhood have already sealed that option.) Still, I would really like to hear from some of the cuddly/wuddly peace-n-love tree-huggers out there about the economic justice elements of this miracle cure you are proposing. Isn’t this an issue, a bullet-point that needs to be checked off the list, in most every other environmental debate? Do we suddenly not care about robbing money from the ghettos along I-5 for the benefit of the wealthiest and most freakishly blessed Greenways recipients in this town? Or, perhaps, is it just that when you state that it benefits “us” the most you are really just looking at where your house is, or your family, or your lucky neighbors as the beneficial subset of “we” who will be paying for this meager sliver of this colossally over-priced land?

I’ve asked Dan Remsen about this and, although not directly quoting him, it appears that the goal/intention of the campaign was to simply troll wallets out in these populated hinterlands and, therefore, defray the larger costs that would sop those blessed enough to live on the forest’s boundaries.

You’re welcome, but, no thanks.


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
5 comments; last on Jul 18, 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

Reader paid for ads. Click to see all choices.

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
4 comments; last on May 03, 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

Super Bowl 50 - Wretched Excess

From all the monumentally boring hoopla to the shameful rousting of the homeless Super Bowl 50 exceeds all expectations for greed and excess.

Dick Conoboy
Fri, Feb 05, 2016, 12:45 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 12, 2016

Harriet Spanel has passed on

Harriet Spanel was many years our representative in the state legislature and served Whatcom County and Bellingham very well.

John Servais
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 5:49 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016

Mayor Picks Lisa Anderson for City Planning Commission

Lisa Anderson will fill the remaining term of real estate broker, Cerise Noah. who left the Bellingham Planning Commission several months ago.

Dick Conoboy
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 2:53 pm
0 comments

In White Skin

Talib Kweli played the Wild Buffalo a couple evenings ago and Ralph Schwartz was there. He writes a very personal take on the evening.

Ralph Schwartz
Mon, Feb 01, 2016, 4:00 am
2 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016

Say Nein to Uber

Uber has started a new type of public taxi service in many cities, including Bellingham. It is controversial.

Dick Conoboy
Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 12:04 pm
3 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016

WA State Minimum Wage Initiative - A Race To The Bottom

Raising the minimum wage to $13.50/hr by 2020 cements workers into permanent slave wages that cannot pay the bills.

Dick Conoboy
Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 6:35 am
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2016

Eagles on the Nooksack

They are less famous than the eagles on the Skagit but closer to Bellingham, fewer people and still lots of eagles. A great January afternoon outing.

John Servais
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 12:18 am
1 comments; last on Jan 13, 2016

Earthquake lightly shakes Bellingham

Earthquake near San Juan Island felt in Bellingham late Tuesday night

John Servais
Wed, Dec 30, 2015, 1:15 am
0 comments

Kremen & Weimer tell us of Clinton & Sanders

What the campaign styles of local politicians Pete Kremen and Carl Weimer tell us about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

Whatcom Citizen
Tue, Dec 29, 2015, 12:06 pm
4 comments; last on Dec 31, 2015

Bye Bye

Shell Polar Pioneer floating oil drill rig left the Pacific Northwest for Norway today. Nice holiday gift for all of us.

John Servais
Fri, Dec 25, 2015, 11:31 am
2 comments; last on Dec 25, 2015

 

We Thank Our Sponsors

Click to See All Sponsors

About NWCitizen

Donations maintain site

Our writers
Thru the years

Election Links

Jeff Strung / WA Auditor

Mike LaPointe / US Congress

League of Women Voters

Calendar of Events

Home page
Videos of Districting Committee

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
Lummi Island Quarry
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