Plan Commission & Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing
Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am // Dick ConoboyOn 21 July the City Council bypassed the Planning Commission and the Samish Neighborhood by considering for docketing a comprehensive plan rezone "application" that arrived at the Planning…
Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 3:24 pm
Catherine Rampell, in a recent Washington Post article, follows a Supreme Court ruling to the next logical step. Here are some excerpts.
“If companies are claiming the rights and privileges of people, maybe people should start claiming the rights and privileges of corporations.
“…Businesses, for example, can transfer their “intangible” property — things like patents or trademarks — to holding companies in tax havens. … (If) individuals were treated like corporations, I could set up an affiliate called “Catherine Rampell Bermuda,” have it pay my college tuition and then declare that the affiliate owns the resulting degree. I could then tell the IRS that everything I earn above the average high school grad’s wage should be recorded as income in Bermuda, since it’s all derived from a Bermuda-based asset.
“…Home-buying would also become more attractive. Right now there are limits to how much mortgage interest humans can deduct. But if you analogize your primary residence to a “corporate headquarters” and your vacation homes to “branch offices,” you can deduct the full interest on every McMansion you ever buy.
“…If people were treated like corporations, perhaps we’d be able to “merge” with whomever we want without worrying about restrictive marriage laws… We could also choose to abide by the family law in whichever state we like best, regardless of where we live. … That’s one reason Delaware is home to more businesses than people.
“But the best perk …? Even if you killed someone, stole a house, funded a genocidal regime or terrorize the global economy, you wouldn’t go to jail. At worst, you’d pay a fine. … To err is human; to err and bounce back unscathed, you really need to be a company.”
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Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 2:24 pm
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck
Mon, Jul 28, 2014, 5:30 am
According to a recent article in the New York Times: "Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.
"The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.
"The Russell Sage study also examined net worth at the 95th percentile. (For households at that level, 94 percent of the population had less wealth and 4 percent had more.) It found that for this well-do-do slice of the population, household net worth increased 14 percent over the same 10 years."
Sun, Jul 27, 2014, 5:24 pm
According to an article posted on the Washington Post website: "House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement to deal with the long-term needs of the struggling Department of Veterans Affairs and plan to unveil their proposal Monday.
"...According to a draft summary of the measure provided by House aides, Congress would give eligible military veterans a “Veterans Choice Card” and allow them to seek health care outside the VA medical system from Medicare-eligible providers, other federally qualified health centers or facilities operated by the Defense Department or federal Indian Health Service centers. ...A veteran could leave the VA system if they’re unable to receive an appointment within 14 days — the current VA wait-time goal, or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.
"...The measure also would authorize $5 billion in emergency spending to pay for hiring new employees; require VA to enter into 27 leases for new major medical facilities; expand a scholarship program for the surviving spouses of service members who died during conflicts since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; and allow VA to provide counseling care and other services to veterans who suffered sexual trauma while in the ranks. Additionally, VA would be required to conduct regular audits on the accuracy of care and staffing levels at each major medical facility."
Sun, Jul 27, 2014, 5:30 am
According to an article published in the Imperial College London News, "Mathematical modelling work by Drs Michael Pickles and Marie-Claude Boily from Imperial College London estimates that decriminalising sex work could prevent up to 33 to 46 per cent of HIV infections among female sex workers (FSWs) and clients worldwide over the next decade.
The international study looked at how the legal, social, and political environments in which people who sell sex live and work – which the researchers call “structural determinants” – influences the HIV epidemic. ...(They) collected all the available data on HIV prevalence, condom use and structural determinants among sex workers, and used a mathematical model to simulate the effect of different interventions in three contrasting settings: Vancouver, Canada; Bellary, India; and Mombasa, Kenya.
The research shows that eliminating sexual violence could reduce HIV infection rates among FSWs and their clients by up to a fifth over 10 years in the settings investigated, through its immediate and sustained effect on non-condom use. In Kenya, improving access to antiretroviral therapy for FSWs and clients could prevent around 34 per cent of HIV infections among them in the next decade.
However, the study shows that decriminalisation of sex work could have the greatest effect on the course of HIV epidemics across all settings studied. Within a criminalised environment, sexual violence is prevalent and has a negative effect on condom use. It forces sex workers to work in unsafe environments that promote high-risk behaviour. Sex workers also experience police harassment, which also increases HIV risk by forcing them to rush transactions and forgo condoms, and preventing them from reporting violence to authorities.
Sat, Jul 26, 2014, 5:29 am
A new article on the IFLScience website reports on a revolutionary new plan to release genetically modified mosquitos into the wild.
"When you think about the deadliest animal in the world, what immediately springs to mind? Sharks? Hippos? Crocodiles? While these animals may look the part, the biggest killer amongst us is much more inconspicuous, and it can deliver that one potentially fatal bite without you even noticing. I am of course referring to the mosquito. Mosquitoes kill more people each year than all other animals combined, and on average they kill even more people than humans do. It is estimated that over 1 million people die per year from mosquito-borne diseases, such as Malaria and Dengue Fever, and millions more endure pain and suffering.
"Tackling this problem has proved a formidable task in the past, but a very small UK-based company called Oxitec have been developing and implementing an exciting and cost effective technique that could help curb vector-borne diseases in problem areas without the negative environmental impacts that other approaches often bestow. This sustainable technique, which involves the release of “sterile” insects into the wild, has already proved a success story in several dengue mosquito trials in different areas of the world, and can also be applied to control other insect problems such as agricultural pests which risk food security. Furthermore, a factory in Brazil is set to be opened next week in order to raise and release these mosquitoes on a commercial scale in order to tackle Dengue Fever."
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 1:47 pm
This almost could be labeled ‘how I’m voting’ except I would vote for Seth Fleetwood if I were in the 42nd district. Seth is running against long time state Senator Doug Ericksen - and Doug does not serve his district nor the people of Washington state. Where Seth has shown he actually represents people, Doug has shown that he serves his own interests to a degree that is disappointing. This primary is a meaningless contest because they will face each other in the November general election - and that is when one of them will be elected. Still, the primary serves as a super poll and helps a challenger and his supporters have confidence in the general campaign.
Bob Burr for PUD. The most important vote Whatcom County can make is for the PUD - the Public Utility District. This is a real primary, with three candidates. Only two will advance to the general election in November. The PUD has been a good old boys bastion for decades - and has served special interests only. I am voting for Bob Burr because he will open the process in the PUD and look for ways it can best serve more of Whatcom County. Conservative or liberal, Bob is the best choice.
Satpal Sidhu for 42nd District Representative. The other 42nd District contest is for state Representative replacing Overstreet. Without question, the best person by qualifications and experience is Satpal Sidhu. He is everything conservatives say they want in a candidate. He is also progressive and very intelligent. Gee - we might be going against our county traditions to vote him into public office to represent us. Actually, for conservatives who cannot bring themselves to vote for Satpal, they would do better to vote for Nicholas Kunkel, who is running as a Libertarian, than either Luanne VanWerven or Bill Knutzen. Nicholas probably represents conservative values in the rural county much better than either of the other two.
As a liberal, I could recommend Joy Monjure against Vincent Buys in the 42nd, except Vincent does a good job representing his conservative district. He talks with people and listens. He is a good representative.
Finally, I will be joining Riley Sweeney and writing in “Nyima” for Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney. Dave McEachran is the worst elected politician in our county. He is unchallenged because any local lawyer would have serious reprisals if they dared to run against him. More on him in the coming months. For now, Nyima has my vote.
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 8:02 am
A recent Washington Post story looks at the high price of specialty drugs--and who should get them. "Months before Gilead Sciences’ breakthrough hepatitis C treatment hit the market, Oregon Medicaid official Tom Burns started worrying about how the state could afford to cover every enrollee infected with the disease. He figured the cost might even reach $36,000 per patient.
Then the price for the drug was released last December: $84,000 for a 12-week treatment course.
At that price, the state would have to spend $360 million to provide its Medicaid beneficiaries with the drug called Sovaldi, just slightly less than the $377 million the Oregon Medicaid program spent on all prescription drugs for about 600,000 members in 2013. It potentially would be a backbreaker.
...Executives at Gilead, which makes Sovaldi, said the uproar over the drug’s price tag will die down as more stories emerge about patients being cured.
“We believe that over time the health-care system will save a lot of money by these patients being healthy again,” said John Milligan, president and chief operating officer, on an earnings call Wednesday night.
Sovaldi recorded $2.3 billion in sales over the first three months of the year, making it the best launch of a drug in history. On Wednesday Gilead reported second quarter sales totaling $3.5 billion."
Read the full story at the link listed above.
Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 8:17 am
According to a piece on npr, "The Federal Communications Commission received more than 1 million (1,067,779) public comments on the issue of net neutrality during a five-month commenting period that ended Friday.
It's the biggest public response the FCC has ever gotten on a policy matter in such a short period, and the second most commented-upon FCC issue, period.
The proposal would allow cable companies to charge content providers extra fees to deliver faster service.
...But there's one problem, according to George Washington University law professor Richard Pierce.
..."The vast majority of the comments are utterly worthless," Pierce says. "This has been studied quite a bit by some very good academics," he says. And the studies show that rule-making or policymaking tends to be systemically biased to favor the industries that are affected by the regulation.
"(In a study of banking reform, they found that) while proponents of strict regulation of financial institutions dominated the comment process numerically, their comments were useless to decision makers, because the vast majority of them were identical form letters without data or analysis.
...The folks who do comment with the detail, data and analysis that can change minds? Deep-pocketed industries.
"Those comments that have some potential to influence are the very lengthy, very well-tailored comments that include a lot of discussion of legal issues, a lot of discussion of policy issues, lots of data, lots of analysis," Pierce says. "Those are submitted exclusively by firms that have a large amount of money at stake in the rule-making and the lawyers and trade associations that are represented by those firms.""
You can read the full article at npr.org.
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Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 11:40 am // Riley SweeneyNorthwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!
9 comments; last on Jul 29, 2014
Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am // Dick ConoboyIn contravention of the Bellingham Municipal Code, the City Council will consider on 4 August a last minute docketing request that ignores the Planning Commission and Samish Neighborhood.
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:47 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Mike Rostron explains how Bellingham city planners played loose and illegal with planning processes.
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 7:22 pm // John ServaisSunnlyland residents win one - after a seven year effort. Planning Department failed them and all of us.
2 comments; last on Jul 23, 2014
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:30 am // Guest writerLandlords are so caught up opposing a licensing and inspection ordinance, they cannot see the upside for them in ridding the city of bad rentals.
18 comments; last on Jul 28, 2014
Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 1:24 pm // Guest writerJudith Green explains how the Bellingham Planning Department is trying to cram their plan onto a neighborhood.
5 comments; last on Jul 21, 2014
Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 2:26 pm // Terry WechslerYears after BP completed its north dock, the Army Corps of Engineers released a draft EIS and it's really really stupid.
Tue, Jul 08, 2014, 8:20 am // Dick ConoboyThe city council "persuades" the city administration to withdraw a request for an intrusive police threat warning system
2 comments; last on Jul 08, 2014
Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 6:54 am // Terry WechslerIt is time we stop allowing corporations to externalize the costs associated with their risky business practices, and demand more from our regulators who hold the keys to…
3 comments; last on Jul 13, 2014
Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:04 am // Guest writerGuest writer Sandy Robson breaks the story of officials from Washington treated to a coal-promoting junket to Wyoming.
2 comments; last on Jul 13, 2014
Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 5:00 am // Guest writerFerndale's most famous landmark is frequently commented on and is often in the news. Here is their side of the story.
4 comments; last on Jul 07, 2014
Wed, Jul 02, 2014, 5:14 pm // Terry WechslerOn the anniversary of the Lac-Megantic disaster, communities throughout North America rally in solidarity to remember and protest wholly inadequate government response to crude-by-rail's risks.
4 comments; last on Jul 12, 2014
Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 9:01 pm // Guest writerIn the Weekly, Tim Johnson left out three words in quoting Craig Cole - and his story misleads readers. Guest article by Sandy Robson.
11 comments; last on Jul 01, 2014
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 10:24 am // Dick ConoboyThe Bellingham Police Department wants to purchase "threat assessment" software with federal monies. Citizen comments were vehement and negative. City Council confused.
5 comments; last on Jul 03, 2014
Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 10:18 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the failings of a bad policy framework are revealed
1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014
Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 7:53 am // Dick ConoboyThe possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.
1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014
Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 11:39 am // John ServaisWyoming Senators and coal honchos were in Whatcom County June 10 - to hold a news conference with select reporters.
7 comments; last on Jun 20, 2014
Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am // John ServaisBellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.
3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014
Fri, Jun 06, 2014, 2:07 pm // Terry WechslerPart 2: Following Ken Oplinger to California, and Home Again
4 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014
Sun, Jun 01, 2014, 12:39 am // Guest writerA Venn diagram where coal, the Endangered Species Act, Republicans, and Wyoming’s Board of Education collide.
2 comments; last on Jun 02, 2014
Wed, May 28, 2014, 3:15 pm // Guest writerA perspective by guest writer Ellen Murphy reflects on the Whatcom Watch and the threatened law suit by Craig Cole.
22 comments; last on Jun 01, 2014
Tue, May 27, 2014, 1:23 am // Wendy HarrisWhy was so little consideration given to the concept of developing the waterfront for eco-tourism?
5 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014
Mon, May 26, 2014, 7:51 pm // Wendy HarrisCity park improvements have implications on the local and global scale.
2 comments; last on May 29, 2014
Thu, May 22, 2014, 12:10 am // Guest writerWyoming is ready to try and legally force us to limit our environmental scoping for the Cherry Point coal terminal
4 comments; last on Jun 17, 2014
Sun, May 18, 2014, 11:57 pm // Wendy HarrisReckless rezones and far-fetched explanations result in more slaughterhouses and meat packing plants
3 comments; last on May 20, 2014
Sat, May 17, 2014, 2:34 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley takes a closer look at the Charter Review Commission candidates
2 comments; last on May 21, 2014
Tue, May 13, 2014, 5:04 pm // Wendy HarrisBellingham's annual water quality report indicates that city hall's propoganda machine is going strong
1 comments; last on May 14, 2014
Sun, May 11, 2014, 2:20 pm // Terry WechslerPart 1: Introduction to the Bellingham Basin’s Potential for Fracking, Earthquakes, and Earthquakes Due to Fracking
3 comments; last on May 14, 2014
Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am // John ServaisThe Political Junkie for Whatcom County - that would be Riley Sweeney - has Overstreet not running for reelection in the 42nd.
1 comments; last on May 13, 2014
Fri, May 09, 2014, 6:10 am // Terry WechslerWhy Washington must step in and assume lead agency status in Skagit County for the Shell crude by rail proposal.
6 comments; last on Jun 21, 2014
Tue, May 06, 2014, 5:52 pm // Riley SweeneyThe value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .
1 comments; last on May 07, 2014
Mon, May 05, 2014, 3:34 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein the gyrations of the bid for widespread county slaughter are exposed.
2 comments; last on May 07, 2014
Thu, May 01, 2014, 10:21 pm // Guest writerMove to Amend is a national movement to amend the U.S. Constitution and define persons as people and speech as not money.
7 comments; last on Jun 02, 2014
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am // John ServaisRiley posted this morning that Seth Fleetwood has decided to challenge Doug Ericksen for state senate in the 42nd District.
1 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014
Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am // Dick ConoboyEvery Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.
4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 1:59 pm // Terry WechslerA closer look at Whatcom County's industrial "stewards of the environment."
3 comments; last on Jun 25, 2014
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 11:43 am // Wendy HarrisThe public needs to support city council and request that a waterfront habitat assessment include terrestrial species and habitat connectivity.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 2:57 pm // Terry Wechsleror How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs
12 comments; last on Jun 30, 2014
Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am // Riley SweeneyA simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting
Wed, Apr 09, 2014, 9:07 am // Riley SweeneyCity pushes for Alabama Street improvements, residents speak out
3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2014
Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 4:29 pm // Guest writerBy Christopher Grannis: Wherein despite every effort and expense, citizens cannot make the City follow the law or work for neighborhoods
2 comments; last on Apr 07, 2014
Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 12:52 pm // Terry WechslerWhy commenting on the EIS for Comp Plan revisions for Cherry Point means demanding an EIS in the first place.
5 comments; last on Jun 25, 2014
Wed, Apr 02, 2014, 6:00 am // Dick ConoboyAmbling University Development Group pulls out. University Ridge will not be built.
12 comments; last on Apr 06, 2014
Tue, Apr 01, 2014, 1:27 pm // Wendy HarrisPlease help us protect county wildlife by ensuring that the scope of the EIS review is adequate. A sample scoping letter is included.
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 2:23 am // Wendy HarrisThe public has a week to comment on the scope of issues reviewed under the EIS.
Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 1:32 am // Wendy HarrisOn March 26, 2014 the city and county provided their update and assessment on the status of Lake Whatcom. This is mine.
2 comments; last on Apr 01, 2014
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue
3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 12:52 am // Wendy HarrisThe public is not provided with a proposed plan or adequate information prior to the annual "state of the lake" meeting
4 comments; last on Mar 18, 2014
Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 1:11 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein there's a crackdown on growing plants, and plans to let slaughter run free
2 comments; last on Mar 16, 2014
Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 10:47 am // John ServaisFukushima radiation has been found 20 miles from Whatcom County farmland along the Fraser River in British Columbia.
1 comments; last on Mar 17, 2014
Wed, Mar 12, 2014, 8:28 am // Dick ConoboyThe infamous American Legislative Exchange Council plans to send its spawn to cities and counties throughout the U.S.
1 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014
Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 11:24 am // Riley SweeneyRiley catches State Rep. Vincent Buys for soliciting funds during session
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 10:51 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into an unusual hiring decision at the County Planning Dept
1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2014
Sun, Mar 02, 2014, 3:22 pm // John ServaisThe editor of the Whatcom Watch, Richard Jehn, has resigned effective today. Chalk up a victory for Craig Cole and Pacific International Terminals.
8 comments; last on Mar 05, 2014
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 9:29 pm // John ServaisThe full text of Craig Cole's threatening letter of libel against the Whatcom Watch. And the emptiness of the threat.
16 comments; last on Mar 20, 2014
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 4:33 pm // Wendy HarrisWe were led to believe the city would review waterfront wildlife and habitat connectivity. It turns out that the city intends to focus only on nearshore fish.
Sat, Feb 22, 2014, 1:16 am // Wendy HarrisAccepting the Paul deArmond award of citizen journalism on Feb 7, Wendh Harris gave this speech. We think it deserves its own post.
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 5:48 pm // John ServaisCraig Cole, the local contact for the proposed Cherry Point coal port has threatened the Whatcom Watch with a libel lawsuit.
6 comments; last on Mar 20, 2014
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 8:26 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs through court data and discovers the real impact of privatization and legalization
Sun, Feb 09, 2014, 10:35 pm // Wendy HarrisThe mayor wants to amend a city law to increase flexibility for a GMA provision that should be used rarely, if ever at all.
3 comments; last on Feb 11, 2014
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