County proposes free pass for vacation rentals
Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 2:05 pm // Guest writerTani Sutley guest writes her third article about the lack of county regulations for residental homes being converted to vacation rentals. - - - The Whatcom County Council…
Wed, Apr 01, 2015, 8:43 am
A tip of our hat to Riley Sweeney for the new dynamic format at his Political Junkie website. Check it out. This morning, he posted up 4 new articles - a couple that are a bit tongue in cheek in honor of today's foolish day.
We don't know if this look is only for today as a ripoff of Buzzfeed, or if it bodes for the future. Regardless of format, Riley continues to center his articles around the personalities of local elected officials. No one is safe, even those whose campaigns he has managed in the past. And with his light touch, all enjoy being skewered a bit by Riley. (well, all except possibly Doug Ericksen)
What is valuable about the Political Junkie is Riley's focus on the character and personalities of those in office and those campaigning for it. He interviews, attends forums, talks to acquaintances and then provides us citizens the best profiles of the actual persons behind the political face of any blog or news media in the area.
- John Servais
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Tue, Mar 31, 2015, 12:59 pm
In two special meetings today at 1801 Roeder Ave, one starting at 3 p.m. and one at 6 p.m., people will have their last chance to comment on the ports proposed deal to give away our public waterfront to a shell corporation of foreign nationals.
Port Director Rob Fix said, “Dollars are a very important consideration ... but it’s certainly not the only factor here." Indeed. It seems to have more to do with wool, partly of the Irish variety.
The Port will not be receiving a Deed of Trust, securing its land loan against the land in first position. This effectively enables Harcourt to use the Land as its downpayment to banks after which it will have only an unsecured obligation to repay the Port.
The Port is "Rob-bing" the public by artificially "Fix-ing" the fair market value at less than 1/4 to 1/2 of what it really is and requiring only a token downpayment. Future values over the estimated timeline inure to the developer.
The public is on the hook for at least $100 million with zero return on investment while development as proposed could devastate the existing downtown.
Harcourt will not have to pay legal costs for disputes even though they have a reputation for being litigious.
Someone other than Harcourt must be benefitting or this wouldn't be happening, but the public is only getting fleeced and the wool pulled over their eyes.
Mon, Mar 30, 2015, 2:16 pm
19 Nov 2014: Harcourt’s last available accounts show it had €70 million in net assets at the end of 2012. The developer had debts of €800 million, a proportion of which was due to the National Asset Management Agency....
15 February 2015: "...this piece of group-restructuring gymnastics, achieved by banging ownership of its shares through several different entities in Ireland and the Isle of Man in a single day last week, has been coupled with a re-registering of Harcourt Developments in Dublin as an unlimited company. Harcourt can now have its accounting cake and eat it. As it is unlimited, it does not have to file detailed public accounts in the Companies Registration Office. So its creditors, rivals and the pesky reprobates in the media will no longer be able to turn up anything about the financial performance of Harcourt"
17 February 2015: "The sudden move by Titanic Quarter Ltd comes after loans relating to the company were sold by Ulster Bank. They are now owned by Davidson Kempner, a US vulture fund with a reputation for cost-cutting."
The image above is from the Porrt of Bellingham, given the Bellingham Herald to depict the maximum contemplated development, for an article published April 27, 2013.
Sat, Mar 21, 2015, 2:54 pm
A must read Krugmann article eviscerates the Republican budget that proposes "… savage cuts in food stamps, similarly savage cuts in Medicaid over and above reversing the recent expansion, and an end to Obamacare’s health insurance subsidies. Rough estimates suggest that either plan would roughly double the number of Americans without health insurance. But both also claim more than a trillion dollars in further cuts to mandatory spending, which would almost surely have to come out of Medicare or Social Security."
He points out that "The modern G.O.P.’s raw fiscal dishonesty is something new in American politics" and warns that "We’re looking at an enormous, destructive con job, and you should be very, very angry."
On the heels of the recent mutiny of 47 members of Congress interfering with the administration's diplomatic relations with Israel, and now this budget clearly aimed at harming the poor, isn't it time to admit Republicans are crazy?
They are threatening to directly harm many citizens, and what they propose will most certainly harm many of them, too. Isn't being a clear and imminent threat to yourself and others grounds for involuntary commitment? Last I checked, mutiny still was. Why are these dangerously insane people allowed to wander freely, posing such significant risks to themselves and others?
- Tip Johnson
Fri, Mar 06, 2015, 12:13 am
It seems the 100 car long oil trains like to derail on curves. That makes sense to anyone who played with model trains as a kid. Long heavy trains can tend to pull off a rail towards the inside of the curve. The West Virginia one did this in February and the Galena, Illinois train did it today along the Galena River. For stability - and to keep the oil tank cars on the tracks on curves - they often contain a few cars loaded with sand. Well... maybe shorter trains are better for safety
The 103 car BNSF oil train with Bakken crude derailed this afternoon and promptly burst into flames with explosions. Well, BNSF may say it did not explode, but this video certainly is a bit more than a fire. The photo at top is from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
We have very curving railroad tracks along Chuckanut, especially near Larrabee State Park, Governor's Point and enering the Edgemoor in Bellingham. Indeed, through Bellingham the track curves several times and a derailment like this - with explosions - could be tragic.
- John Servais
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 2:24 am
Renowned weather forecaster and blog writer Cliff Mass of the University of Washington has weighed in on our proposed coal terminal at Cherry Point. In a Thursday post, he looks at what will happen with our frequest high winds at Cherry Point. He takes a common weather feature of our Whatcom County and finds the obvious result - a lot of blowing coal dust. Coal dust that will worsen our air quality.
Years ago, I lived less than two miles down wind of what was then the largest coal loading terminal in the world. Lamberts Point in Norfolk, Virginia. Everyone in Norfolk accumulated coal dust everywhere in their homes. After a week or so, you could wipe your index finger along a window sill and it would have a black line of coal powder. It got inside homes. It got everywhere. And it was just a fact of life there. But it is not yet a fact of life here in Whatcom County.
Check out Cliff's informative post. It tells us what will happen to our community in a few years. Right wing political denials and rants against liberals will not change the wind and the spread of coal powder. It will coat conservative window sills, tables and dishes as well as liberal ones.
- John Servais
Mon, Feb 16, 2015, 3:46 pm
Along a river in the center of West Virginia, a 100 car oil train derailed this noon. The tracks wind along the river's edge, sort of the way our local RR tracks wind along Chuckanut Drive. As of this afternoon, 14 cars are burning, one is in the river and one car smashed into a house and is burning. Two nearby communities have been evacuated. Reuters has a good report and Time has some good photos - and you can find more if you look.
The danger to our area is very real. The RR tracks do more twisting and turning along Chuckanut than anywhere else along the oil train route going to Cherry Point.
- John Servais
Thu, Feb 12, 2015, 8:07 pm
We (US), the "Land of the Free", formerly admired for government 'of, by and for the people' isn't doing so well in the global rankings. Our "Fourth Estate", that all-important 'check and balance' of free societies, has earned a very poor grade for 2014. Ranking 26th overall, we lost 14 points - an extreme margin of change that puts us in league only with Kenya, Kuwait, Zambia, Greece, Guinea, Paraguay, Central African, Mali, Guatemala and Chad.
We just celebrated Riley Sweeney for his work for our local "Fifth Estate". During the event, many spoke to the necessity that citizens must do more of what media companies used to do. Now we have proof. The 'people's friend and tyrant's foe' seems to be slipping into a dangerous slumber.
Citizens would be well advised to start waking up, in case our media outlets don't. Some slopes are just way too slippery.
Sat, Jan 31, 2015, 6:02 pm
The story behind this photograph is in Time magazine.
My thought is that if someone here were shot dead by the police at a peaceful demonstration, even fewer people would exercise their right of free speech.
I know so many people who are afraid to speak out on local issues because it might hurt their career, or their social standing or their earning potential. Or their neighbors might shun them. Or they might not be invited to parties. Their boss may not believe the same as they do.
Many of us just want to live in Bellingham but not get involved. We love the outdoors and the cocooning. It is uncomfortable to speak out and so we often do not.
Shaimaa al-Sabbagh did not want to die. We can be sure of that. But she was shot by the Cairo police or military - does it matter? - and it seems they were not even targeting her. Just a shot at the peaceful protestors. From a police shotgun with bird shot. Read the story.
- John Servais
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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.
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
Paper Dreams in Fairhaven
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
4 comments; last on Mar 03, 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
Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 12:26 pm // John ServaisBellingham Public Works shows how tone deaf they can be to business concerns. They insisted on street work that takes away up to 80 parking spaces in Fairhaven…
Tue, Dec 16, 2014, 3:51 pm // Dick Conoboy7-0! City Council Unanimous. Rentals Will Be Inspected in Bellingham. Thanks go to WWU students for speaking out to city council.
4 comments; last on Dec 18, 2014
Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 5:05 am // Dick ConoboyThe Bellingham City Council has added an inspection component to the registration-only rental ordinance proposal of Councilmember Murphy
4 comments; last on Dec 16, 2014
Wed, Dec 10, 2014, 6:37 am // Dick ConoboyThe ban on consumer fireworks that took effect last summer is valid all year, even New Year's Eve
1 comments; last on Dec 11, 2014
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 1:31 pm // John ServaisThe Horizon Lines ship - the many year resident of the Port of Bellingham - broke loose this morning due to failure of some system. A few photos.
3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2014
Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 2:25 am // Guest writerTani Sutley writes of how unregulated vacation rentals are invading the Lake Whatcom watershed. She urges action before the Planning Commission meeting on 11 December.
4 comments; last on Jan 03, 2015
Wed, Dec 03, 2014, 2:20 pm // Richard LewisPoet Richard Lewis reflects on Elizabeth Warren
3 comments; last on Dec 07, 2014
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 4:27 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein Whatcom's Klan heritage may be oozing from some cracks
8 comments; last on Dec 06, 2014
Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 3:48 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley dives into the data with precinct maps and historical perspectives
Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 9:15 am // Dick ConoboyCampus Crest Communities, Inc. has officially offered for sale the Lincoln St. property that was to be a student apartment development.
2 comments; last on Nov 23, 2014
Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 1:51 pm // John ServaisUpdated Nov 12. Howard Harris, the founder of the Bellingham silent peace vigil at the Federal Building in Bellingham, has died. He and Rosemary were leaders in our…
Tue, Nov 11, 2014, 2:34 pm // John ServaisOn this Veterans Day, a note about how vets need our government to step up - as has never been done. And a personal note on the power…
3 comments; last on Nov 13, 2014
Thu, Nov 06, 2014, 6:53 am // Dick ConoboyThe Campus Crest apartment complex may be the "victim" of a corporate restructuring plan.
3 comments; last on Nov 10, 2014
Tue, Nov 04, 2014, 12:28 pm // John ServaisWhile smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.
6 comments; last on Nov 11, 2014
Mon, Nov 03, 2014, 8:14 pm // Richard LewisPoet Richard Lewis weighs in on the Tea Party values
Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 12:29 pm // Tip JohnsonOr why to vote for Nyima, the dog, for County Prosecutor
4 comments; last on Nov 03, 2014
Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:18 am // John ServaisA link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.
1 comments; last on Oct 30, 2014
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 11:01 am // Tip JohnsonIt's just how things roll in Whatcom County
5 comments; last on Oct 26, 2014
Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 2:44 pm // John LesowUpdate Oct 22: John Lesow has posted a comment with considerable more information on this issue.
1 comments; last on Oct 22, 2014
Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 6:36 am // Riley SweeneyRiley does a local political comedy show
1 comments; last on Oct 15, 2014
Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm // John ServaisThree final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.
6 comments; last on Oct 11, 2014
Sat, Oct 04, 2014, 12:23 pm // Tip JohnsonWherein we see that sometimes government can do what business can't.
9 comments; last on Oct 07, 2014
Fri, Oct 03, 2014, 10:26 am // Dick ConoboyAn experienced real estate inspector provides a window to the dangeroous conditions found in rentals in Bellingham
3 comments; last on Oct 05, 2014
Thu, Oct 02, 2014, 2:33 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley files a full report of the Tea Party debate for State Leg candidates
1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2014
Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 8:00 am // Guest writerWherein a Fulbright scholar, professional engineer and successful business owner files for public office
4 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014
Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:07 am // Dick ConoboyLast Thursday, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the docketing of the spot rezone of 801 Samish from Residential Single to Commerical Planned (non-retail)
6 comments; last on Oct 03, 2014
Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:26 am // John ServaisWe post a disturbing report of a personal encounter along Samish Way, with the permission of John Stark, who experienced it.
2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2014
Tue, Sep 09, 2014, 8:21 am // Riley SweeneyRiley and John share the short list of who might replace Cathy Lehman on the Bellingham city council on January 5.
8 comments; last on Sep 10, 2014
Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:48 am // Terry WechslerWhile the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars defining risks of crude by rail, Skagit County finds no significant adverse impacts of a crude-by-rail proposal.
1 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm // Guest writerPatrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.
2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:54 pm // Terry WechslerNot content with causing massive inconvenience, BNSF is now literally dumping on county residents.
10 comments; last on Aug 26, 2014
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm // Guest writerJudith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.
1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2014
Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 7:12 am // Terry WechslerA massive upgrade of the Cascade [rail] Corridor has left residents stranded and the sheriff asking Washington, DC, to intervene.
7 comments; last on Sep 02, 2014
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm // Guest writerSandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.
5 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014
Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 10:52 am // Riley SweeneySome Context for the Primary Results
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:31 pm // John ServaisBellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.
7 comments; last on Aug 14, 2014
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