Deconstructing Chuckanut RidgePermalink +
Wed, Jan 14, 2009, 8:28 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.
Bellingham's only heron colony needs forested buffer - and the land owner is willing to sell. Greenways has voted to buy it, but our city council must act.
Tue, May 31, 2016, 9:51 pm
This veteran, Chris Brown, deserves our deep thanks for his achievement with Growing Veterans as Executive Director, a post that he has left. He will continue as President…
Thu, May 26, 2016, 5:23 am
2 comments; last on May 31, 2016
As the city council takes up consideration of the comprehensive plan, citizen input is critical. Otherwise in a few years and in response to housing and land use…
Mon, May 23, 2016, 5:21 am
The planned concrete walkway from Boulevard Park to the Cornwall landfill, using millions in Greenway funds, has been abandoned by Bellingham. We again thank the Lummi.
Sat, May 21, 2016, 4:32 pm
11 comments; last on May 26, 2016
Jay Taber, a strong environmentalist for decades, guest writes a harsh critique of the 350 org anti-fossil fuel demonstrations at the Anacortes oil refineries last weekend.
Wed, May 18, 2016, 4:46 pm
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016
Bellingham School officials expect a slam dunk by Hearing Examiner and city council on street vacation and conditional use permit. By Patrick McKee.
Tue, May 17, 2016, 7:45 pm
2 comments; last on May 18, 2016
Uber, the cheap ride taxi company, is targeting the troops to become drivers in ads disguised as articles in publications such as the Army Times.
Mon, May 16, 2016, 5:20 am
The March Point protestors this weekend will hopefully show serious concern and not disturb the heron colony near the refineries.
Sat, May 14, 2016, 9:34 am
2 comments; last on May 15, 2016
The Seattle office of the Army Corps of Engineers has formally denied a permit for building a coal terminal at Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Updated at 4pm.
Mon, May 09, 2016, 12:10 pm
4 comments; last on May 09, 2016
Supporters say he will beat Hillary Clinton.
Sat, May 07, 2016, 10:47 pm
3 comments; last on May 24, 2016
Group cites failure to investigate assaults on anti-police-racism marchers
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 7:04 pm
4 comments; last on May 03, 2016
Also to all U.S. Representative candidates in the 1st and 2nd U.S. Congressional districts for the election in 2016
Tue, Apr 26, 2016, 3:46 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 27, 2016
Republicans rolled over and approved the Democrats' map to set the stage for a legal challenge
Thu, Apr 21, 2016, 8:40 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 24, 2016
GOP vote for Democratic plan to prevent locked committee and then county council becoming decision makers of districting boundaries
Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 8:01 pm
1 comments; last on Apr 21, 2016
The Bellingham City Council conducted a retreat on 16 April to discuss a number of issues, including a set of proposed strategies to ensure "sustainable services."
Tue, Apr 19, 2016, 5:14 am
Liquid natural gas terminal is rumored to be in planning stages for Cherry Point as the Oregon proposed LNG plan is abandoned.
Mon, Apr 18, 2016, 11:55 am
6 comments; last on Apr 19, 2016
Fate of new county five-district map remains uncertain.
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 10:43 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 14, 2016
If you do, you better make sure you have something to say that's going to change someone's mind.
Wed, Apr 13, 2016, 9:09 am
3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2016
The Sunnyland residents have just learned they have only today to comment on a huge impacting building project in their neighborhood.
Mon, Apr 11, 2016, 1:06 am
11 comments; last on Apr 23, 2016
After a public hearing next week, the committee will be asked to vote on a five-district map for Whatcom County in two weeks.
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 9:18 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 09, 2016
The Districting Master (the official title) has submitted his map for review by the Districting Committee this evening. Here it is for your review.
Wed, Apr 06, 2016, 1:14 pm
5 comments; last on Apr 07, 2016
At Clayton Beach, we have tracked increasing erosion under railroad tracks and written to the railroads and federal inspectors. To no avail.
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 8:17 pm
2 comments; last on Apr 05, 2016
Accelerating efforts across the U.S. to install a $15 minimum wage are playing into the hands of big business and codifying enormously insufficient wages for years to come.
Mon, Apr 04, 2016, 5:25 am
2 comments; last on May 24, 2016
Fri, Apr 01, 2016, 3:49 pm
3 comments; last on Apr 02, 2016
Activist contests $10,000 fine for climbing on a Shell oil vessel. Rob Lewis guest writes this report.
Wed, Mar 23, 2016, 2:37 pm
Updated Wed, Mar 16. Tuesday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., any registered voter of Whatcom County can vote in person at the conservation district office.
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 8:26 pm
Updated 4:30pm. Helena, Montana newspaper says GPT may be denied this week by Army Corps of Engineers. US Rep Zinke panics and accuses Army of politics.
Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 12:19 am
4 comments; last on Mar 24, 2016
Not even a letter from a coal terminal spokesman can save them now.
Tue, Mar 15, 2016, 12:04 am
2 comments; last on Mar 17, 2016
We post the next two maps to be discussed at the Districting Committee today, March 14. For the few who might study them and later contribute perspectives.
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 1:53 am
Legally threatening letter sent by Seattle law firm retained by prominent leading Democratic Party leaders.
Sun, Mar 13, 2016, 1:06 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 14, 2016
The third annual deArmond dinner celebrated the work of Sandy Robson and Neah Monteiro.
Fri, Mar 11, 2016, 11:28 pm
2 comments; last on Mar 13, 2016
What almost happened on the coast of Maine could happen here at Cherry Point. Portland, Maine, stopped oil exports - and Whatcom County can also. If we act.
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 11:20 pm
Durham is an example of the efficacy of rental inspections, putting to bed the unsupported objections of landlords by presenting facts about conditions.
Wed, Mar 09, 2016, 2:20 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016
Wherein, we correct some misassumptions but still ask the questions
Tue, Mar 08, 2016, 2:47 pm
The Republicans made concessions on their district map but took a final stand at Nooksack, Everson and Sumas.
Tue, Mar 08, 2016, 1:15 am
6 comments; last on Mar 12, 2016
Could this address the real problem with Puget Sound?
Mon, Mar 07, 2016, 10:40 am
6 comments; last on Mar 08, 2016
Republicans and Democrats remain far apart. Democrats have the legal high ground, but Republicans would go to court to challenge that if necessary.
Sun, Mar 06, 2016, 11:39 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 07, 2016
Wherein someone's gotta do the right thing
Tue, Mar 01, 2016, 3:40 pm
Chiara D'Angelo comes across as emotionally intelligent and uncompromising in her high-stakes Coast Guard hearing.
Mon, Feb 29, 2016, 11:55 pm
1 comments; last on Mar 01, 2016
Wherein inquiring minds want to know!
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 1:24 pm
Republicans focused their efforts on torpedoing the Democrats' five-district proposal at the second committee meeting.
Tue, Feb 23, 2016, 5:01 am
4 comments; last on Mar 01, 2016
The Coast Guard has levied $30,000 in fines on two Bellingham climate activists. They will fight to have the fines dropped.
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 5:01 am
16 comments; last on Feb 22, 2016
Wherein sanity may finally be approaching a nagging jail issue
Sun, Feb 14, 2016, 8:54 pm
2 comments; last on Feb 19, 2016
Republicans and Democrats traded barbs on the first day of the Districting Committee, but Dems may have won the first battle.
Tue, Feb 09, 2016, 5:02 am
5 comments; last on Feb 10, 2016
Inspections of rentals cannot begin too soon. Seven fires in rental units since 2011 and almost half with ONE landlord. No but the clock may be running out.
Mon, Feb 08, 2016, 6:26 am
From all the monumentally boring hoopla to the shameful rousting of the homeless Super Bowl 50 exceeds all expectations for greed and excess.
Fri, Feb 05, 2016, 12:45 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 12, 2016
Harriet Spanel was many years our representative in the state legislature and served Whatcom County and Bellingham very well.
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 5:49 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016
Lisa Anderson will fill the remaining term of real estate broker, Cerise Noah. who left the Bellingham Planning Commission several months ago.
Wed, Feb 03, 2016, 2:53 pm
Talib Kweli played the Wild Buffalo a couple evenings ago and Ralph Schwartz was there. He writes a very personal take on the evening.
Mon, Feb 01, 2016, 4:00 am
2 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016
Uber has started a new type of public taxi service in many cities, including Bellingham. It is controversial.
Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 12:04 pm
3 comments; last on Feb 04, 2016
Raising the minimum wage to $13.50/hr by 2020 cements workers into permanent slave wages that cannot pay the bills.
Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 6:35 am
1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2016
They are less famous than the eagles on the Skagit but closer to Bellingham, fewer people and still lots of eagles. A great January afternoon outing.
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 12:18 am
1 comments; last on Jan 13, 2016
Earthquake near San Juan Island felt in Bellingham late Tuesday night
Wed, Dec 30, 2015, 1:15 am
What the campaign styles of local politicians Pete Kremen and Carl Weimer tell us about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
Tue, Dec 29, 2015, 12:06 pm
4 comments; last on Dec 31, 2015
Shell Polar Pioneer floating oil drill rig left the Pacific Northwest for Norway today. Nice holiday gift for all of us.
Fri, Dec 25, 2015, 11:31 am
2 comments; last on Dec 25, 2015
Tani Sutley writes on the continuing issue of houses in residential zones that are used essentially as hotels and disrupt quiet neighborhoods.
Mon, Dec 21, 2015, 3:14 am
Statement by Whatcom Family Farmers on “Eric Hirst and his water ideas” and Hirst's Reply
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 12:11 pm
1 comments; last on Dec 20, 2015
Wherein inquiring minds just want to know!
Mon, Dec 14, 2015, 4:58 pm
Wherof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent?
Wed, Dec 02, 2015, 9:31 pm
3 comments; last on Dec 06, 2015
The Planning Commission has a vacancy. Now is the time for the appointment of a member who represents the interests of the neighborhoods.
Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 6:29 am
About NWCitizenDonations maintain site
Thru the years
Election LinksJeff Strung / WA Auditor
Mike LaPointe / US Congress
League of Women VotersCalendar of Events
Videos of Districting Committee
Local Online NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
KPLU fm radio
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut C. Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Powder River Basin R. C.
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Our Governments- Whatcom County
Port of Bellingham
US Supreme Court
US The White House
NWCitizen 1995-2007Early Northwest Citizen
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?
Local LeisureAdventures NW
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Change The Mascot
Edge of Sports
Foreign Policy in Focus
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Register
Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
Intrnational Herald Tribune
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph