Deconstructing Chuckanut RidgePermalink +
Wed, Jan 14, 2009, 7:28 pm // John Servais
On Monday afternoon, backers of buying and preserving Chuckanut Ridge - CR - got alerting phone calls that the council was going to vote on the Greenways Strategic Plan that very evening. This agenda item was not known - except by the few who wanted this plan passed. The Plan eliminated millions of dollars that were promised for CR acquisition - and I'm not going to go into those controversial promises here. Regardless, opponents to the cut in funding were kept in the dark regarding Monday's planned approval by the council. This was an effort by staff and the GAC to slam dunk passage of this plan. It failed. Now comes the reckoning.
Supporters of full funding for acquisition of Chuckanut Ridge showed up in numbers at the council meeting and spoke strongly against the weak funding for CR. Council listened. Council tabled the Plan by a 6 - 1 vote with Stan Snapp being the Plan loyalist who wanted to vote it through. And this issue is again ablaze in our community, dividing us yet again.
I have stayed out of this issue for years now but after Monday night's sneak attack on public process, I'm now fascinated. I checked the council agenda and found the plan document was a PDF document formatted to prevent word searching. This prevents a citizen from scanning the 20 page document for key words. This is city staff routine for hiding information from the public. Blame for this deception must be put in the Mayor's office. He can change this routine with one word to staff. He has not. I told him of this problem when he ran for mayor and he promised change.
City staff, not the council, put this on the agenda and did not inform the public. Staff worked with the Greenways Advisory Committee to sneak this through. Council members - with the probable exception of Stan Snapp - did not know this was coming. The council expected it in February as did the supporters of preserving Chuckanut Ridge. It has existed as a draft plan since November 13 but has never been made public. Yes, this was a back room deal.
Tuesday night the mayor was scheduled from some time back to attend the South Neighborhood Association meeting at Faihaven Middle School and answer questions. Well, the council meeting Monday night set the stage for over 80 residents to give him some very sharp questions for two hours. It was not pretty.
Dan Pike was a straight shooter during his campaign for mayor and got my support and that of many other activists who wanted more open public process in city hall. Last night Dan scattered his shots all over the room and it looked like a couple went right into his feet. I thought he was talking down to the crowd but others told me later that, no, he was simply a deer in headlights. He defended staff, he suggested the residents should pony up the money to help purchase the ridge, he said unless you give money then you are not sincere in your efforts, he said funds are needed by Parks for maintenance, he said there are many other priorities. He denied any back room dealing - but then he may not be able to recognize that behavior. Like a civics teacher, he told these people who have worked for 19 years to preserve the ridge that they just need to be persistent in their efforts. How nice of him.
By the end of the meeting at 9:10 pm, Dan told the crowd the words he was told to say - that he "favors saving Chuckanut Ridge". Quite a turn from 8:04 pm when he said the issue is between serving north side interests versus south side interests and implying that north side interests would be served.
We worked to get Dan elected hoping he would bring leadership to good issues in our city. Instead we now realize we elected a very nice bureaucrat and technocrat who has much more concern about the feelings and priorities of other bureaucrats than he does for citizens. He is steadily stopping communications with those who worked for his election as he turns to the old established powers for his base of support. Last night saw him in the wrong meeting after a failed attempt by him and his staff to execute a back room arranged power play.
Dan could have prevented all this by insisting that his staff adhere to open public process. As the tag line on this website says, the mission here is to push for open public process by our government agencies. The question now is - will Dan Pike dig his hole deeper or will he learn and get a clue that we want leadership and open public process. And that he needs to build public trust - not assume he has it.
Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 5:41 am // Dick ConoboyThe student housing project for 648 individuals called NXNW (North by Northwest) on Lincoln Street is moving forward briskly. This is an update.
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Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 6:45 pm // John ServaisSecond tally of 10,000 more ballots is in. Jail sales tax is now being rejected. Probably 15,000 or more ballots to go.
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Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 12:05 am // John ServaisThe first returns - probably 60% of the final vote - shows contradictory propositions passing and most candidate races decided.
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Sun, Nov 01, 2015, 9:31 am // John ServaisWhere more substantial evidence is presented against proposition 9 - and why you should vote REJECTED on it.
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Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 9:25 am // John ServaisCounty Executive - and candidate for reelection -Jack Louws has written county officials with his regrets over jail mailer.
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Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 4:54 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, 3:37 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.
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4 comments; last on Sep 05, 2015
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Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 10:29 am // John ServaisNothing in the Herald this morning, so NWCitizen is informing citizens of shootout at Cornwall Park.
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Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 10:52 am // Guest writerBarbara Perry has been researching the secretive election processes of the Whatcom Conservation District. Really secretive. Probably fraudulent.
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Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 7:09 pm // John Servais9:52 - final post for tonight. A running blog about the election results on this August evening. Feel free to comment.
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Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 9:14 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.
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Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 11:42 pm // Guest writerEric Hirst provides us all with a well researched report on Whatcom County water issues - rights, Lake Whatcom, ground water and more.
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Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 7:27 am // John ServaisLois Garlick has died. For many decades, she and George served as environmental stewards and leaders in preserving wildlife and nature.
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Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 8:27 am // John ServaisLast minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.
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Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 8:13 am // John ServaisThe Charter Review Commission made Monday evening's meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council
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Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 4:34 am // Dick ConoboyFor Rent: York neighborhood, new, 7 bedroom single-family home, near WWU. Only $44,000 a year. City planning not paying attention.
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Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 3:30 pm // John ServaisTwo dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.
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Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 1:55 pm // David CampTrees are dying for lack of water! Only citizen action can save them.
Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 6:47 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, 4:00 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, 5:00 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.
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Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 4:00 pm // David CampA look at the proposal in historic financial context with projections and several questions for the proponents.
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Mon, May 25, 2015, 7:17 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.
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Mon, May 18, 2015, 10:17 pm // John ServaisJoy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.
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Fri, May 15, 2015, 5:10 pm // John ServaisRunning update of who is filing for office in Whatcom County. Posts during day Friday and final update Friday evening.
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Wed, May 13, 2015, 4:30 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.
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Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 1:05 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.
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