You can’t fight city hall: city hall doesn’t fight fair

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm   //   Guest writer

Pat McKee guest writes this.  He is a resident of Sunnyland and was a leader in their seven year planning effort. - The future look of Bellingham's distinctive…
Editor's Blog

Army Ranger School Opens to Women

Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 5:17 am

The AP is reporting, “The Army is opening the door for women to go to Ranger school, in one of the first steps toward allowing women to begin moving into more grueling combat jobs.

“Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Friday that he believes he will be able to put women in the Ranger course next spring.

“While completing the leadership course would let women wear the coveted Ranger tab, it does not let them become members of the Ranger regiment. Currently only men can be in the 75th Ranger Regiment - the special operations forces unit based at Fort Benning, Georgia. Joining the regiment requires additional physically, emotionally and mentally challenging schooling.

“Women can now begin volunteering for the course and will also be asked to serve as advisers and observers.

“By January 2016, the military must open all combat jobs to women or explain why any must remain closed. The Pentagon lifted its ban on women in combat jobs in 2012, but gave the military services time to gradually and systematically integrate women into the male-only front-line positions.

“Special operations jobs are some of the last to be addressed, as commanders review the qualifications needed and assess the impact of bringing women in.

“Military leaders have made it clear that they will not reduce standards for any jobs in order to let women in.”

Deb Gaber


One Minute a Month

Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 5:30 am

According to a post on Bernie Sanders Senate website, "Most network evening news broadcasts and Sunday shows have dedicated little substantive time to covering campaign finance reform. The sparse coverage of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling and last week’s four-day Senate debate on a constitutional amendment to undo the decision “is part of a larger pattern in which the networks have largely underreported the rolling back of campaign finance reform and the unprecedented influx of billions of dollars into the federal election system,” according to the Media Matters for America report.

"...The study found that each network devoted less than single minute per month to talking about campaign finance reform. ...Sanders cited a recent Gallup poll that found Americans' faith in television news and newspapers is at or tied with record lows. The findings continued a decades-long decline in the share of Americans saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers or TV news."

Deb Gaber


News You Can Trust

Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 5:30 am

It's a math problem.

Deb Gaber


Wonks Only

Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 2:11 pm

Political junkies will thoroughly enjoy the three reads linked here.  One is Nate Silver the well known political forcaster who has gotten elections so right in 2010 and 2012.  The second and third are from Sam Wang who actually got the last election predictions more right than Nate.  For this coming November election, Nate is saying the Republicans will probably gain control of the U.S. Senate, while Sam is predicting the Democrats will probably retain control.  And it is getting almost personal.  

For us political wonks, it is fun reading.  These guys are both very good and the opposite of TV news show pundits who predict based on what their network wants them to say.  Nate started the personal criticism with an early morning post yesterday that faulted Sam's methods.  Nate's post is too long for most of us to carefully read.  Sam responded later in the morning with a brief post and expanded with a still easily read post this morning.  

Nate's original post early morning Sep 17

Sam's reply late morning.

Sam's expanded reply on Sep 18

The control of the U.S. Senate in the next two years is the most important election issue in the United States.  It may determine, for many years to come, how the Supreme Court rules on Hobby Lobby, Citizens United and women's ability to control their own bodies.  It will also seriously impact how President Obama's last two years will play out.  So watching Nate and Sam crank up a duel on how to read polls and calculate probabilities is serious as well as fun.  For some of us.  

- John Servais


Countries That Have Declared Independence from G.B.

Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 8:43 am

With Scotland set to vote on independence from Great Britian tomorrow, I came across this map. An accompanying article is posted on globalpost.com

Deb Gaber


Young Families: Better Educated, Less Income

Tue, Sep 16, 2014, 7:45 am

The New York Times is reporting on a financial survey done by the Fed,  "YOUNG families are better educated than ever before, but they are earning lower real incomes.

"The Federal Reserve Board’s newly released 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances indicates that the median family headed by someone under 35 years of age earned $35,509 in 2013 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that is 6 percent less than similar families reported in the first such survey, in 1989.

"...Among families of all ages, those with more education tend to earn more than those with less. But that differential appears to be shrinking. at least for younger families. In 1989, the median income of families headed by young college graduates was twice that of similar families headed by high school graduates who never attended college. Now, the difference is only 52 percent. There are more college graduates in the group, but those graduates have a lower real median income than their predecessors."

Deb Gaber


Public Meetings

Tue, Sep 16, 2014, 5:30 am

Maybe every vote does count.

Dear Ms. Gaber:

Thank you for your interest in the GP West Site.  The public comment period closed on Aug. 27, 2014 and I am responding to your request (attached below) for a public meet.  If 10 or more persons request a public meeting, Ecology shall host one.  Only five requests were received and a public meeting will not be held.  Other comments were received on the cleanup documents and Ecology is preparing a response to comments.  Ecology's response to comments will be emailed to you when they become available.

Thank  you again.

Brian S. Sato, P.E.
Dept. of Ecology
Toxics Cleanup Program
3190 160th AVE SE
Bellevue, WA 98008-5452
(425) 649-7265


Sales Tax Dependence Slows State Tax Revenue

Mon, Sep 15, 2014, 11:28 am

KING5.com has posted an article about a new Standard & Poor’s report. “Washington is among the states that depend most heavily on sales taxes for revenue, and a new report links a decline in growth of such funds to the rising concentration of wealth for the richest U.S. households.

“…Most economic activity comes from consumer spending, a key driver of growth. But consumers have become increasingly reluctant to spend as median incomes have barely increased over three decades… Median household incomes, adjusted for inflation, were $54,045 in July, about 4.6 percent lower than in late 2007.

“By contrast, the top 1 percent of earners have prospered for more than 30 years. Adjusted for inflation, their average incomes have nearly tripled to $1.26 million since 1979, according to the IRS.

“…Lower-income brackets pay more of their income on sales tax, state numbers show. Those making $17,000 a year or less pay 11.5 percent of their income in sales taxes, while those who make more than $175,000 a year spend just 2 percent of their income on sales tax, according to data from the state Department of Revenue.

“A 2012 report by the state Office of Financial Management found that the top 5 percent of the richest households had more than half of the total wealth in the state. And the top 1 percent earners in the state captured 19 percent of the wealth.”

Meanwhile, “State lawmakers are facing a projected budget deficit for the next spending period of nearly $1 billion. To satisfy a state Supreme Court decision to allocate more money for education, that shortfall could be up to $3 billion for the 2015-17 biennium.”
Deb Gaber


Hmmm…

Mon, Sep 15, 2014, 8:08 am

Wink, wink

Deb Gaber


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Samish Way Experience - Drug Dealing Dangers?

Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:26 am  //  John Servais

We 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

Who Will Be Appointed to Lehman’s City Council Seat?

Tue, Sep 09, 2014, 8:21 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley 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

Village Books

In historic Fairhaven. Take Exit 250 from I-5.

An Imminent Threat:  The State Plans for CBR Disaster While Counties Punt

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 11:48 am  //  Terry Wechsler

While 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

You can’t fight city hall: city hall doesn’t fight fair

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm  //  Guest writer

Patrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.

2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014

Good Friends and Neighbors:  What $54 Million Doesn’t Buy, Part 2

Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 4:54 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Not content with causing massive inconvenience, BNSF is now literally dumping on county residents.

10 comments; last on Aug 26, 2014

Devil In the Details

Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith 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

Good Friends and Neighbors:  What $54 Million Doesn’t Buy

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 7:12 am  //  Terry Wechsler

A 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

Reliable Prosperity

Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm  //  Guest writer

Sandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.

4 comments; last on Aug 18, 2014

Fleetwood versus Ericksen: What Happened in Round One?

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 10:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Some Context for the Primary Results

0 comments

The Rule of Law - Bellingham Style

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:31 pm  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.

7 comments; last on Aug 14, 2014

Final Updated Election Results

Fri, Aug 08, 2014, 10:10 am  //  John Servais

Updated Wed evening. The Tuesday evening 8:20 pm Auditor report on the election is in.

5 comments; last on Aug 08, 2014

Hickory, Dickory, Docketing…Yet Another Spot Rezone

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 8:49 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Last Thursday, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the docketing of the spot rezone of 801 Samish from Residential Single to Commerical Planned (non-retail)

0 comments

Councilmember Murphy’s Proposed Rental Ordinance Is Deeply Flawed

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 8:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Councilmember Murphy's proposal is based on a complaint-based rental ordinance from Tacoma, demonstrated to do little for the health and safety of tenants.

11 comments; last on Sep 21, 2014

Trial by Fire:  A Rising Tide of Civil Disobedience

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 4:47 am  //  Terry Wechsler

Carefully planned actions are rolling across the state to make the point that it's not OK to expose us to risks associated with CBR.

7 comments; last on Aug 04, 2014

Northwest Citizen Releases Polling of Whatcom Voters

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 11:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Northwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!

9 comments; last on Jul 29, 2014

Plan Commission & Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 7:52 am  //  Dick Conoboy

In 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.

1 comments; last on Jul 30, 2014

Sunnyland Planning Process Explained - Partially

Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:47 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Mike Rostron explains how Bellingham city planners played loose and illegal with planning processes.

0 comments

City Council Approves Resident’s Sunnyland Plan

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 7:22 pm  //  John Servais

Sunnlyland residents win one - after a seven year effort. Planning Department failed them and all of us.

2 comments; last on Jul 23, 2014

What Landlords Need to Know about Rental Registration

Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:30 am  //  Guest writer

Landlords are so caught up opposing a licensing and inspection ordinance, they cannot see the upside for them in ridding the city of bad rentals.

19 comments; last on Aug 01, 2014

Sunnyland Deja Vu

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 1:24 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith Green explains how the Bellingham Planning Department is trying to cram their plan onto a neighborhood.

5 comments; last on Jul 21, 2014

Trial by Fire:  Call to Action to Comment on the BP Pier Expansion

Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 2:26 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Years after BP completed its north dock, the Army Corps of Engineers released a draft EIS and it's really really stupid.

0 comments

Intrado Not to Intrude in Bellingham

Tue, Jul 08, 2014, 8:20 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The city council "persuades" the city administration to withdraw a request for an intrusive police threat warning system

2 comments; last on Jul 08, 2014

Power to the Permit! (or Closely Hold This!)

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 6:54 am  //  Terry Wechsler

It 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

Manifest Clandestine-y

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:04 am  //  Guest writer

Guest 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

A Question of Freedom

Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 5:00 am  //  Guest writer

Ferndale'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

Trial by Fire: Lessons Not Learned One Year after Lac-Megantic

Wed, Jul 02, 2014, 5:14 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

On 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

Sins of Omission

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 9:01 pm  //  Guest writer

In 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

DOJ Grant Brings Confusion and Anger to City Council Meeting

Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 10:24 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The 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

Widespread Slaughter Won’t Work

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 10:18 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the failings of a bad policy framework are revealed

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Fireworks Ban in Bellingham in Effect as of 18 June

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 7:53 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Herald and Weekly Withhold the News

Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 11:39 am  //  John Servais

Wyoming 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

Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.

3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

Stay the Frack Out of Our Forearc Redux

Fri, Jun 06, 2014, 2:07 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Part 2: Following Ken Oplinger to California, and Home Again

4 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

The Road to Perdition

Sun, Jun 01, 2014, 12:39 am  //  Guest writer

A Venn diagram where coal, the Endangered Species Act, Republicans, and Wyoming’s Board of Education collide.

2 comments; last on Jun 02, 2014

Feint, Calumny, Solidarity

Wed, May 28, 2014, 3:15 pm  //  Guest writer

A 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

Extracting Profit and Destroying Experience: The Waterfront Plan

Tue, May 27, 2014, 1:23 am  //  Wendy Harris

Why was so little consideration given to the concept of developing the waterfront for eco-tourism?

5 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

How Park Improvements Generate Heat

Mon, May 26, 2014, 7:51 pm  //  Wendy Harris

City park improvements have implications on the local and global scale.

2 comments; last on May 29, 2014

Montana & Wyoming to WA: Permit Coal Export Terminals… Or Else

Thu, May 22, 2014, 12:10 am  //  Guest writer

Wyoming 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

The Trojan Slaughterhouse and the Scrivener’s Errors

Sun, May 18, 2014, 11:57 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Reckless rezones and far-fetched explanations result in more slaughterhouses and meat packing plants

3 comments; last on May 20, 2014

Who Filed for Charter Review Commission?

Sat, May 17, 2014, 2:34 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley takes a closer look at the Charter Review Commission candidates

2 comments; last on May 21, 2014

Bellingham’s 2013 Water Quality Report: The Facts But Not the Truth

Tue, May 13, 2014, 5:04 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Bellingham's annual water quality report indicates that city hall's propoganda machine is going strong

1 comments; last on May 14, 2014

Stay the Frack Out of Our Forearc

Sun, May 11, 2014, 2:20 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Part 1: Introduction to the Bellingham Basin’s Potential for Fracking, Earthquakes, and Earthquakes Due to Fracking

3 comments; last on May 14, 2014

Riley scoops Herald - again

Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am  //  John Servais

The 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

An Imminent Threat

Fri, May 09, 2014, 6:10 am  //  Terry Wechsler

Why 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

The Whatcom Republicans’ Huge PCO Advantage

Tue, May 06, 2014, 5:52 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .

1 comments; last on May 07, 2014

‘Legislative Sausage” or “Slaughter this Ordinance”

Mon, May 05, 2014, 3:34 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the gyrations of the bid for widespread county slaughter are exposed.

2 comments; last on May 07, 2014

Move To Amend - Persons vs Corporations

Thu, May 01, 2014, 10:21 pm  //  Guest writer

Move 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

SweenyPolitics:  Fleetwood files against Ericksen

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am  //  John Servais

Riley 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

Planning or Development Commission?

Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 6:28 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Every Bellingham Planning Commission member has ties to development or development-related businesses.

4 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

“Friends and Neighbors”?

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 1:59 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

A closer look at Whatcom County's industrial "stewards of the environment."

4 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014

Action Alert for Tonight: Waterfront Wildlife and Habitat Threatened

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 11:43 am  //  Wendy Harris

The public needs to support city council and request that a waterfront habitat assessment include terrestrial species and habitat connectivity.

0 comments

Water, Water Everywhere, but ...

Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 2:57 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

or How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs

12 comments; last on Jun 30, 2014

Charter Review and District Only Voting

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting

0 comments

Roosevelt Neighborhood Pleads for Left Turns

Wed, Apr 09, 2014, 9:07 am  //  Riley Sweeney

City pushes for Alabama Street improvements, residents speak out

3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2014

Assault

Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 4:29 pm  //  Guest writer

By 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

Killer Industrial Jobs or Long-term Job Killers?

Sun, Apr 06, 2014, 12:52 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Why 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

Anatomy of a Development Part XII - Citizens Win Against University Ridge

Wed, Apr 02, 2014, 6:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Ambling University Development Group pulls out. University Ridge will not be built.

12 comments; last on Apr 06, 2014

Tell County To Expand Scope of EIS Review for Plants and Animals

Tue, Apr 01, 2014, 1:27 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Please help us protect county wildlife by ensuring that the scope of the EIS review is adequate. A sample scoping letter is included.

0 comments

Public May Comment On EIS Scoping For County Comp. Plan Until April 7th

Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 2:23 am  //  Wendy Harris

The public has a week to comment on the scope of issues reviewed under the EIS.

0 comments

My State of the Lake Report for 2014

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 1:32 am  //  Wendy Harris

On 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

 

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