Just Say No - to the Incarceration-Industrial Complex
Fri, Oct 02, 2015, 11:48 am // David CampKey data to help you make your decision on the county’s proposal to borrow $97 million to build a new jail: Amount borrowed: $ 97,000,000 Annual Interest Cost:…
Fri, Oct 02, 2015, 2:03 pm
CPA and very experienced corporate accountant David Camp has been working weeks on the artcle we posted up this morning. He projects a county future of financial troubles for county if we pass the jail sales tax proposition. Other local governments have made such arrogant mistakes and suffered. It is absurd to think we might be immune to local elected officials leading us down a path to perdition.
Looking to the recent past, Tip Johnson has posted an article on the excessive land costs. He is hard on the pursuit of county documents detailing the history of the land we paid almost $6 million for. He is not having an easy time getting records that should be public, recorded, indexed and easily available. He is finding land id numbers changed, which makes the task harder. He has another article almost ready for posting. Already we know the county paid at least twice and maybe three times the value for that property. Why? Who profited?
And I posted up an alternative solution should we succeed in defeating the sales tax proposition. No one has made much of an attempt to criticize my plan. Dialog is not engaged when you have a losing proposition. I will be posting more and countering the one very weak criticism.
We will be posting more on why to vote no on the jail. Please share links via your Facebook or Twitter with your friends. Unlike electing persons to public office where we can un-elect them 4 years later, this jail tax will hobble us for the next 20 or 30 years. It is a terrible plan.
If the leading proponents - Elfo, Louws, Ayers and Browne - know of factual errors in our articles, they all know how to contact me. If there is a good article online that factually counters what we have posted, then send me the info and I'll link to it. Dialog is what we should seek when making important community decisions.
Conservative or Liberal, city or rural resident, Democrat or Republican - this jail plan runs counter to your values. Vote no.
- John Servais
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Sun, Sep 27, 2015, 11:50 pm
Just reported - Shell Oil has decided to end exploration drilling in the Arctic Ocean for the "foreseeable future". That means no plans to return.
Last May, local environmentalists actively protested the when Shell brought a couple of their ships into Bellingham for docking. NWCitizen reported on the beginning of the flash mob protest and the story of the three night protest by Chiara D'Angelo when she hung by the anchor chain - gaining international attention to Shell's intentions.
Shell spent over 7 billion dollars on its Arctic adventure, doing the first drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 24 years. Results were "disappointing".
Unreported is the possibility that the protests had some impact on Shell's public image and corporate may have felt the poor results were not worth the continuing bad press. Protests do work - but corporations are loath to admit it as admission only encourages more protests. And big corporate media tend to not report what cannot be firmly established as fact.
We give one last tip of the hat to Chiara D'Angelo who showed all others a determination and no holds barred approach - all while not hurting anyone, not harming property and making her protest directly on the object of concern - the ship. Possible fines by the authorities are still pending as far as I know. She should not be fined at all given the elegant manner of her protest. She gained the admiration of all - even those who do not usually cheer on civil protests.
- John Servais
Sun, Sep 27, 2015, 3:08 pm
I'm not seeing specifics in local print media or even online for those of us wanting to watch the lunar eclipse tonight. So, I've done a bit of research and here is the information for the Whatcom County area. In a nutshell: watch the moon rise at 7:51 p.m. tonight. (note: I got the moon rise time wrong by checking a source that had it wrong. too late now)
The total eclipse of the moon begins at 7:11 pm tonight, but we will first see it when the moon rises above the eastern horizon at 7:51 p.m. The total eclipse will last until 8:23 p.m. For most folks who have trees, houses, hills or mountains to the east of them, the moon will not rise until 8 or even 8:15 pm. There is an advantage to driving to the north of Bellingham to get a view of the moonrise over Mount Baker. We can expect some cool photos of that in the next day or so.
The darkest part of the eclipse is just before our moon rise at 7:47 p.m. For the best view, watch it rising.
Because we are the cloudiest place in the United States, we miss most eclipses of the moon and sun. So tonight's incredibly clear skies, with a light northerly breeze to keep the air clean, is a very unusual and fortunate occurrence during an eclipse. Yes, this is the 'harvest moon.' It is an extra large moon also because it's orbit will bring it the closest to earth that it will get this year.
Here are some good websites to learn more.
Date and Time dot Com is a great all around reference.
Astronomy Picture of the Day is a favorite I check daily.
NASA will live stream the eclipse online. Awesome.
Space.com has great info and a fine video.
If anyone takes a great photo of the red moon above Mount Baker, please send me a link to their website. Even this evening I will be watching for any photos posted and can add the link here, at the bottom of this post. Or, send the photo to me, firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll post it here and credit you.
We thank Stephan Michaels for sending a photo of the moon in full eclipse. Differs from a full moon in its reddish hue. He is a local professional photographer and has a great online gallery of his work. Stephan's website is 2nd Wind Productions.com
- John Servais
Wed, Sep 23, 2015, 6:52 pm
The Restorative Community Coalition, led by Irene Morgan & county executive candidate Joy Gilfilen, has identified 15 ways the County has stuffed the jail in their Report to Taxpayers (p. 10-11).
It gets worse. When Whatcom County Booking ADP Information 1984 - 2010 (PDF) shown in the County’s Background Documents on Jail Planning is compared to statewide statistics compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs, shown in Crime in Washington State 2010 (PDF) , arrests have reportedly spiked in Whatcom County during the recent jail planning years while statewide crimes and arrests are down or flat across the board.
For a full sized image of the graphic on the left, click here.
Worse yet, the audited Whatcom County Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the year ending 2013 (p. 206 - 207) reports that the Average Daily Jail Population has remained essentially unchanged from 2004 to 2013, averaging 269, well below the 400 to near-700 figures being fed to the public (including policy makers) by the Sheriff and County Executive. The bottom graph shows a general decline in commissioned officers consistent with the general decline in crime and more efficient enforcement. Not in Whatcom County. Here, Law and Justice has gained more than 30 employees while all other departments have lost about 20.
How big a jail do we really need? No one knows. That's apparently why a needs assessment has been avoided.
- Tip Johnson
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 1:52 pm
The Sheriff’s answers to County Council questions on April 23, 2015 included excerpts from the ungoogleable document, "Technical Assistance Report (TA#04J1051) - “Operational Review of the Whatcom County Jail”" by Jeffrey Schwartz, PhD, 2004. One such reason was highlighted on page eight of the document and can be seen by enlarging the photo.
Pulling the supports from under a building is a sure-fire way to create a crisis. Was anyone held responsible? Have repairs been effected? Has the overarching thrust for a new facility submerged all interest in accountability and stewardship?
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 4:34 pm
This afternoon I'm posting a brief article about a new restaurant opening. Why is there business news posted on the ‘citizen’ political site? For 13 years I promoted the historic Fairhaven district with my fairhaven.com website. While I sold the website last January, I still like to keep up with my favorite part of town. I loved the A.W. Asian Bistro and one of the best little pleasures I enjoyed over the years was the occasional sushi lunch at the beautiful black marble bar - usually as a business meeting. I was very disappointed when Andy and Wilson decided to close last month and return to their families in Seattle.
So I was delighted to learn of Wendy’s plans and have been bugging her the last few days for details for a story here. And now that my full work efforts are towards making this website a success, I’m thinking other business and social news here is a fun way to go. This is also why I posted the weird train article a few days ago about the Rocky Mountaineer.
Yes, we will be posting election related articles as soon as we can. Several writers here will be doing our best to help defeat the jail tax proposition. Tip Johnson, David Camp and myself all have different perspectives on why this should go down to defeat. We do have viable and better alternatives than this proposal by Louws and Elfo that will practically bankrupt our county over the next 20 years.
- John Servais
Fri, Aug 28, 2015, 11:16 am
The Lummi are fishers and according to an article in the Bellingham Herald are “done talking” about the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. I don’t blame them.
When I was a boy, we caught our own herring for salmon bait. You could catch them anywhere, dipping or with hooks. Now folks buy them frozen on styrofoam trays at LFS on the way to their boat. I don’t know where they come from. Back then I was an avid fisher. You could throw a hook anywhere and eat off most any beach. Now I am wary and just want to leave the fish alone. Back then, the water was festooned with flocks of birds sustained by small fish. They are gone now.
I’m not against jobs but think the coal port is headed in exactly the wrong direction. We need to restore our natural resources, not continue to wreck them. The herring feed the salmon orca eat. It’s not just about keeping the whale watching industry alive. It’s about long-term insurance and provision for survival of our species. Herring are the backbone of the food chain that sustained human habitation here for millennia. Failing to understand that is a dangerous psychosis.
The issuance of industrial permits at Cherry Point wiped out more the 60% of the herring production in all of Puget Sound. That’s brutal. The survivors still struggle with health problems. There’s a natural resources damages claim in this theft and it ought to be prosecuted. Instead of arguing over whether we can detect the harm caused by yet another increment of pollution, we should be committed to finding the cause of the herrings’ decline and fixing it. ASAP.
Citizens should demand that environmental regulators restore the Cherry Point herring production before issuing any more permits to pollute.
Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 2:53 pm
Most local citizens - residents, voters, people, whatever - I am willing to bet have never heard of conservation districts - or have in the same way as flood control districts or cemetary districts. We sort of know they are somwhere but are of no concern to us. And yet our taxes pay the salaries and expenses of conservation districts and pay for their programs. They have elected supervisors and we have a right to vote for them. Yes, we are taxed without actual representation.
Barbara Perry, a citizen of Bellingham's Happy Valley neighborhood, got curious and as she learned more she became more concerned. The conservation district folks were not exactly forthcoming with information or help. She tried to participate in and follow the election process in March - and came to the conclusion that there is institutional fraud associated with conservation districts in Washington State.
I agree. And much more investigating needs to be done. Every county in Washington has at least one conservation district. The League of Women Voters did a report in 2011 explaining the concerns about the elections. How can you call an election anything but a secretive process when, for example, of 261,250 registered voters, only 12 voted for the conservation district election. 12 - hell, that is almost just district staff and spouses. Read the report.
Today, NWCitizen and the new local website Noisy Waters are posting Barbara's article in slightly different formats. Deb Gaber did her usual great job of editing the article to about half its original length for NWCitizen. Dena Jensen choose to post the original article on her Noisy Waters site and include more of the details. While Noisy Waters started only this June 2015, it is a site very worth checking - and I am adding a link to it in the right side column under 'Local Blogs& News'.
Me thinks we need reform. Reform of the election processes for all the conservation districts in Washington State.
- John Servais
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 2:38 pm
Am dropping off a ballot for a friend this afternoon - and wondered if there was a drop box closer than the courthouse. Yep, at WWU bookstore.
Our county auditor, Debbie Adelstein, has added more of these drop boxes over the past couple years. Above is a map of all 11 that are out there.
Caution: The Everson and Meridian Middle School boxes are not in use for this primary election. The other nine are.
Drop off ballots up until 8 pm this evening and they will be counted. Not tonight, maybe, but over the next few days. 8 pm is the firm cutoff time, as we all know.
Here is the link to the Auditor's webpage with this map.
- John Servais
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Sat, Oct 03, 2015, 3:47 pm // John ServaisJames King to return to Alaska and take job with U.S. Forest Service. Mayor will appoint a new parks director.
1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2015
Fri, Oct 02, 2015, 11:48 am // David CampThe "... new jail just doesn't pencil out", writes a well qualified accountant. A look at the future costs of the proposed jail.
8 comments; last on Oct 04, 2015
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 5:54 pm // John ServaisThere is a good alternative for a decent jail - but we first must vote down the jail sales tax proposal in November.
5 comments; last on Sep 24, 2015
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 4:37 pm // John ServaisWendy DeFreest, of Avenue Bread, will open a new "burger joint" called The Filling Station by late October in Fairhaven. It will not be a sandwich cafe.
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 6:26 pm // Tip JohnsonFEMA camp or new county seat?
12 comments; last on Sep 24, 2015
Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 9:42 am // John ServaisBeware walking RR tracks on the Fairhaven waterfront in the event of unexpected encounter with a high speed train
2 comments; last on Sep 18, 2015
Mon, Sep 07, 2015, 9:06 pm // Tip JohnsonMains a' bursting - Avast!
Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 10:17 am // John ServaisPadden Creek daylighting project strays far from city promises to homeowner that his property would remain intact.
4 comments; last on Sep 05, 2015
Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 5:11 am // Guest writerChristopher Brown guest writes how traditional communal warrior reintegration practices could help our returning combat veterans.
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 7:55 pm // Whatcom CitizenA Whatcom Citizen writes of protest movements and how our proposed county mega jail is related to them.
15 comments; last on Sep 04, 2015
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 5:00 am // Dick ConoboyMoves to set the minimum wage to $15, even if successful, are woefully insufficient. And why aren't people speaking out about abusive work scheduling?
2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2015
Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 12:17 am // Guest writerBruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, reported to be assaulted by police for handing out leaflets
5 comments; last on Aug 27, 2015
Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 3:39 pm // Guest writerIs the tail wagging the dog? Edward Alexander guest writes on why predictive software for our police needs basic questions answered before purchase.
1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2015
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 11:29 am // John ServaisNothing in the Herald this morning, so NWCitizen is informing citizens of shootout at Cornwall Park.
1 comments; last on Aug 13, 2015
Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 11:52 am // Guest writerBarbara Perry has been researching the secretive election processes of the Whatcom Conservation District. Really secretive. Probably fraudulent.
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 8:09 pm // John Servais9:52 - final post for tonight. A running blog about the election results on this August evening. Feel free to comment.
8 comments; last on Aug 06, 2015
Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 10:14 am // Dick ConoboyWhile the city deals with permitting on the Hansen rental megaplexes, the council has asked for proposals from staff on design standards for historic areas.
9 comments; last on Aug 07, 2015
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 12:42 am // Guest writerEric Hirst provides us all with a well researched report on Whatcom County water issues - rights, Lake Whatcom, ground water and more.
10 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 4:13 pm // John LesowThe fight to keep Point Roberts from becoming a Radio Tower Farm is not over.
3 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015
Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 5:38 am // Dick ConoboyBellingham police are obviously trained to de-escalate armed confrontations. This is the way it should be.
6 comments; last on Jul 14, 2015
Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 8:27 am // John ServaisLois Garlick has died. For many decades, she and George served as environmental stewards and leaders in preserving wildlife and nature.
2 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015
Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 9:27 am // John ServaisLast minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 9:13 am // John ServaisThe Charter Review Commission made Monday evening's meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council
3 comments; last on Jul 08, 2015
Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 5:34 am // Dick ConoboyFor Rent: York neighborhood, new, 7 bedroom single-family home, near WWU. Only $44,000 a year. City planning not paying attention.
6 comments; last on Jul 09, 2015
Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 4:30 pm // John ServaisTwo dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.
3 comments; last on Jul 07, 2015
Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 2:55 pm // David CampTrees are dying for lack of water! Only citizen action can save them.
Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 7:47 am // Dick ConoboyIf your 4th of July holiday is much more quiet this year, you can thank Clay Bulter who passed away at the end of May.
Mon, Jun 29, 2015, 5:00 am // Dick ConoboyThe Samish Neighborhood Plan has been the subject of three undesired rezones in the last year. The city ignores its own guidelines to the detriment of all.
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 6:00 pm // John ServaisUpdated at 6 pm. Our county justice system has spent 6 years trying to teach Luba Pekisheva that she should not defend herself. Justice denied and miscarried.
8 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015
Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 5:00 pm // David CampA look at the proposal in historic financial context with projections and several questions for the proponents.
8 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015
Mon, Jun 01, 2015, 3:49 am // Dick ConoboyThree extraordinarily large (7-bedroom) single family home rentals are proposed by developers Dave and Jon Hansen on Iron St. in the York Neighborhood.
7 comments; last on Jun 10, 2015
Mon, May 25, 2015, 8:17 pm // John ServaisYoung Chiara spent 3 nights hanging from the anchor chain of Shell Oil's Arctic Challenger as a protest to arctic oil drilling.
Thu, May 21, 2015, 11:50 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we ponder the fate of humanity
Mon, May 18, 2015, 11:17 pm // John ServaisJoy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.
4 comments; last on May 20, 2015
Fri, May 15, 2015, 6:10 pm // John ServaisRunning update of who is filing for office in Whatcom County. Posts during day Friday and final update Friday evening.
4 comments; last on May 17, 2015
Wed, May 13, 2015, 5:30 pm // John ServaisUpdated | Ski to Sea race does not need to race through sensitive Chuckanut Community Forest Park for special mountain bike leg. City did not renege.
10 comments; last on May 15, 2015
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 2:05 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley writes a second article on the increasing number of vacation rentals - and the County Council bill to let them expand dramatically.
4 comments; last on May 02, 2015
Thu, Apr 09, 2015, 5:03 am // Dick ConoboyThe Puget Neighborhood is about to become a bit more crowded but less than originally planned. 600+ students to be housed south of Fred Meyer.
6 comments; last on Apr 12, 2015
Sat, Apr 04, 2015, 1:15 pm // John ServaisThe port's latest bone-headed deal calls for the good citizens of Whatcom County to consider the options...unless we're enjoying our Groundhog Day.
3 comments; last on Apr 07, 2015
Thu, Apr 02, 2015, 8:30 pm // Tip JohnsonThe difference between a threat and a promise
5 comments; last on Apr 03, 2015
Wed, Apr 01, 2015, 12:20 am // John ServaisPort of Bellingham today sold out our public waterfront to a foreign shell company formed 6 days ago. Sold it cheap and with a screwy arrangement.
32 comments; last on Apr 05, 2015
Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 11:16 am // Guest writerKamalla Kaur worked with David Mason on his biographical materials and offers this tribute to his illustrious life.
2 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015
Fri, Mar 13, 2015, 5:00 am // Dick ConoboyThe Whatcom County Council has sent discussion on changing the meth ordinance back to the Public Works, Health and Safety Committee
Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 1:06 pm // John ServaisAdd your thoughts and remembrances. Robyn du Pre` was a stalwart and true environmental advocate for Bellingham and Whatcom County. She died this week.
9 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015
Thu, Feb 26, 2015, 10:39 am // Riley SweeneyRiley shares some insight into the national political parties
5 comments; last on Mar 09, 2015
Wed, Feb 25, 2015, 6:31 am // Dick ConoboyIn a hearing, possibly on 3 March, the Whatcom County Council will consider an ordinance changing the rules for contaminated meth use sites.
1 comments; last on Feb 27, 2015
Mon, Feb 09, 2015, 6:00 am // Dick ConoboyNot all rent-to-own propositions are an unwise method to buy a home but some are schemes to rip off the unsuspecting tenant.
Mon, Feb 02, 2015, 9:34 am // Guest writerNo ballot mailed to you. You must request a ballot for voting in the Whatcom Conservation District election. Deadline to apply is Feb 9. By Barbara Perry
Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 10:56 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein Bellingham's billion dollar boondoggle is revisited
5 comments; last on Aug 14, 2015
Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 9:55 am // Terry WechslerThe Lummi requested on Jan. 5, 2015, that the federal government, through the Army Corps of Engineers, honor Art. V of the Treaty of Point Elliott and deny…
1 comments; last on Feb 04, 2015
Sun, Jan 25, 2015, 12:32 pm // Guest writerAdventures of George Pickett in the Pacific Northwest Wilderness
5 comments; last on Jan 28, 2015
Sat, Jan 24, 2015, 3:15 pm // Terry WechslerThe fourth area refinery crude by rail infrastructure project to receive permits without benefit of environmental review is being appealed, and provides an opportunity to make precedent.
Fri, Jan 23, 2015, 12:13 am // John ServaisThe second annual award for Citizen Journalism will be to The Political Junkie himself who runs the Sweeney Politics blog, Riley Sweeney.
2 comments; last on Jan 24, 2015
Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 3:07 am // Guest writerGuest article by Sandra Alfers. Water and sewer connections drive unwanted annexation. Trickle Creek homeowners are muzzled by a "no protest zone."
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2015
Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 10:14 pm // Guest writerEllen Murphy gives us a poem for this Martin Luther King day of remembrance.
2 comments; last on Jan 21, 2015
Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 9:15 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the ridiculous is ridiculed
5 comments; last on Jan 21, 2015
Thu, Jan 08, 2015, 2:54 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley guest writes about the vacation rentals situation and presents goals for the county council to consider for improving our rural neighborhoods.
1 comments; last on Jan 10, 2015
Wed, Dec 31, 2014, 1:16 am // Guest writerDuuhhh! Try doing without it. Marian Beddill provides an overview of our rural Whatcom County water situation and the efforts to find fair solutions.
3 comments; last on Jan 08, 2015
Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 1:23 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Herald gave us their top 10 stories, Riley gives you his top 5
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 5:04 pm // John ServaisOne part of the environmental study for the proposed Cherry Point mega coal terminal has been completed and released. It deals with ship collisions - they call it…
2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2014
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