Need for port reform is very real

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Thu, Jul 30, 2009, 8:08 pm  //  John Servais

I'm endorsing Ham Hayes and Doug Karlberg for Port Commissioners. You will be receiving your ballot in the mail either today or tomorrow. It's time for us to act intelligently.

What started as campaigns to make the Port more responsive to our economic needs and public process has now become a need to rid the Port of two corrupt commissioners - Scott Walker and Doug Smith.

During routine research on Port finances, Ham Hayes stumbled over a 10 year record of the Port giving $180 million in low interest bonds to Scott Walker's employer, BP Refinery (formerly Arco). During this same time, all other businesses in Whatcom County received only $13 million of these very valuable bonds. These bonds are intended for local businesses that need help to grow and aid our economic development. BP is not local and has no such need, with the result that the interest money saved simply went into their billions in profits. They had plenty of money to improve their refinery. Not a penny went to the Conoco Phillips refinery or to Intalco.

When asked to defend these bonds, Scott has twice avoided answering directly. First, he said Ham does not understand, then later said they just gave the bonds to whomever asked. He admitted the Port did not tell local companies about the bonds. He also tried to say it was a State program, when in fact, it is the Port that makes the recommendations to the State.

I will be voting for Ham Hayes in the 1st District primary. He has decades of solid business experience, including the management of large, multi-million dollar projects. He has integrity. He has the management skills to direct our Port away from the past 10 years of money losing operations and move us forward toward becoming a force for creating good jobs and good local companies in all parts of Whatcom County.

A vote for John Blethen is also a good vote for Port reform. He and Ham are running for Scott's seat. John has spent many years as a local activist and is a favorite of local enviros. Ideally, we would have Ham and John in the general election.

Then we have Doug Smith of the 2nd District. Doug has been feathering his own nest while a commissioner. His company, Com Steel, has built an unknown number of buildings for those who get land leases from the Port. When asked how many, at first he could only recall one - and then two more - and then admitted there might be more. He didn't know. This is good old-fashioned corruption. Nothing subtle about it. You want a lease? Then do business with me.

In his only appearance at a forum, Smith had only one reason for us vote for him - because his two challengers have not been to many Port meetings. Doug Karlberg, a fisherman for 37 years, noted that the fishermen have never seen Smith down on the Port docks. And this is sufficient reason alone to toss out Smith. He uses the Port for his own benefit and has had little involvement in Port affairs.

I urge those of you in the 2nd District to vote for Doug Karlberg or Mike McAuley. Mike is a very intelligent guy and would be far superior to Smith. But Doug Karlberg has many years of professional experience with the Port and I am endorsing him. Karlberg has an amazing grasp of the facts and issues surrounding our Port of Bellingham. He uncovered the study that shows our Port is a money-losing Port - totally putting the lie to Walker and Smith saying they are managing our finances well.

A PLEA

It is not enough for any of us to just vote for one of the challengers. If you love this county and want it to have a solid economic future, you also need to get your family and friends to vote for a challenger. It would be a fatal mistake to think at least two challengers will make it to the General Election and you can vote for one then. If the challengers do not get high vote numbers in the Primary election, they will not be able to raise money and run effective campaigns this fall. The two corrupt incumbents will simply sit out much of the campaigning and spend thousands in the final two weeks on media. And win again. It is the harsh truth of our politics.

I've been a critic and supporter of the Port for 30 years. The Port is the agency that can help us, as a county, to thrive with a healthy economy. We have the opportunity now - these next two weeks of the Primary voting season - to change this. But only if each and every one of us takes action to get the challengers enough votes to be taken seriously in the general election.

Tip Johnson  //  Fri, Jul 31, 2009, 11:25 am

Vote for either of the top two Port candidates. It’s that simple.

As luck would have it - literally the luck of the draw - both Port incumbents appear at the bottom of the ballot list of three candidates for each district.  That makes voting easy.  No worries about name recognition or the problem with the Herald completely ignoring this important Port election.

Vote for either of the top two Port candidates. It’s that simple.

And tell your friends. Port reform is possible starting today. Get out the vote.


David Camp  //  Sun, Aug 02, 2009, 3:28 pm

One timely issue - the “National Search” for the replacement POB CEO, using a high-priced (non-local) executive recruiter, is ongoing. The Port Commissioners want this position filled before the election, according to discussion at a June Port Commission meeting. Larry Boone, POB HR director, told them the search process should be complete by November. I think, given the high possibility that we will have new Port Commissioners, the selection of a new CEO should wait until the new Port Commissioners are sworn in, especially since the interim CEO is well-regarded. To do otherwise is, IMHO, potentially subverting the will of the people. Not a new tactic for the Port, I suppose.


Need for port reform is very real

Thu, Jul 30, 2009, 8:08 pm  //  John Servais

I'm endorsing Ham Hayes and Doug Karlberg for Port Commissioners. You will be receiving your ballot in the mail either today or tomorrow. It's time for us to…

2 comments; last on Aug 02, 2009

Doug Karlberg - candidate for Port Commissioner

Tue, Jul 28, 2009, 2:31 pm  //  Guest writer

Note: Each primary election candidate - Port, County Council and City Council - has been invited to submit one article for posting here on NwCitizen. The first we…

3 comments; last on Jul 30, 2009

Village Books

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

Poop - Bellingham’s Billion Dollar Boondoggle

Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 1:35 am  //  Tip Johnson

This week's "Gristle", by Cascadia Weekly Editor Tim Johnson, includes this electoral season's first substantive issue to appear in local print media 0 comments

All Quiet On The Western Front

Mon, Jul 27, 2009, 1:21 am  //  Kamalla Rose Kaur

"In a society of free men (and women) the proper aim of education is to prepare an individual to make wise decisions. All else is but contributory."
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Bellingham Herald continues slide to irrelevance

Sat, Jul 25, 2009, 12:21 pm  //  John Servais

Our local daily newspaper, the Bellingham Herald, continues to decline in its usefulness and value to citizens and residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County. The Herald, one of…

3 comments; last on Jul 27, 2009

Bill Mize Forum recap

Thu, Jul 23, 2009, 10:48 am  //  John Servais

Last night's Bill Mize forum was very informative - as it is each year. It was also great Americana at the rural Rome Grange hall on the Mt…

5 comments; last on Jul 25, 2009

We need two new Port Commissioners

Wed, Jul 22, 2009, 11:22 am  //  John Servais

Lets vote in two new Port of Bellingham commissioners. There is one very good reason - to return the Port to economic stimulation and job creation in…

1 comments; last on Jul 22, 2009

Is Whatcom County Government ‘Frugal’?

Mon, Jul 20, 2009, 11:33 am  //  Tom Pratum

We have heard for years about how our county has been prudent in its expenditures and exhibited only the best in financial stewardship. The only proof - as…

3 comments; last on Jul 24, 2009

Paul de Armond - Contributing Writer

Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 9:50 pm  //  Paul deArmond

Paul de Armond used to be a writer, reporter and research analyst. He is the recipient of the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force 2001 Human Rights Award. In…

0 comments

Tom Pratum - Contributing Writer

Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 8:59 pm  //  Tom Pratum

Tom Pratum is a native Whatcom County resident, having arrived at St Josephs Hospital, and having attended Lowell, Fairhaven, and Sehome High Schools. He later obtained a PhD…

0 comments

The Public Health Care Option

Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 6:56 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The big debate in Congress is now the health care. A number of months ago I posted another option and will repost that again in the next few…

7 comments; last on Jul 20, 2009

Let’s Meet At Burns’ Cabins - For my regional hero, June Burn

Sun, Jul 12, 2009, 4:37 pm  //  Kamalla Rose Kaur

"Our friend had found two acres at the foot of Sehome Hill, one a little fir-clad knoll, the other a level acre of meadow and garden. If we…

7 comments; last on Oct 23, 2009

Reunions, Reprobates and Sarah Palin

Mon, Jul 06, 2009, 9:21 pm  //  John Lesow

Note:
This article was originally posted on September 7, 2008, shortly after John McCain announced he had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. The negative…

4 comments; last on Jul 08, 2009

Salute to the 4th and our flag

Sat, Jul 04, 2009, 4:06 pm  //  John Servais


Salute to the 4th of July and our celebration of Independence from foreign governance, invasion or control. May we some day have the wisdom to grant the same…

2 comments; last on Jul 05, 2009

Rolling Rolling In Their Graves - What happened to WWU?

Wed, Jul 01, 2009, 7:39 pm  //  Kamalla Rose Kaur

Interim Editor's Note: Hi. John Servais, the esteemed publisher, will be back from vacation soon and I had very little to do while appointed interim editor of Northwest…

9 comments; last on Jul 11, 2009

 

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