Hope for Chuckanut Ridge

Permalink +

Thu, Oct 01, 2009, 5:20 pm  //  Larry Horowitz

If you are interested in saving Chuckanut Ridge, there is some glimmer of hope for preserving this ecologically-rich and environmentally-sensitive property. If you are willing to make a single phone call and/or send a single email to prevent Horizon Bank’s Fairhaven Highlands project from destroying this mature urban forest, which serves as the headwaters to two salmon-bearing streams, a wildlife sanctuary, and an extensive network of high-value wetlands… please read on.

Violations of the 1994 FDIC Order

Banking and real estate development are like oil and water; they don’t mix. Banking relies on a relationship business model designed to keep customers happy and loyal. By contrast, real estate development is a transactional business designed to make one-time profits for developers before they move on to another project. Real estate developers are comfortable creating enemies of local residents. Bankers are not.

For that reason, real estate development has long been considered as an “activity that is not permissible” for FDIC-insured banks. Banks can apply for an exception, and, in 1994, the FDIC approved Horizon Bank’s application to engage in real estate development activities subject to four conditions. The two most critical conditions are impacted by the bank’s Fairhaven Highlands development application.

Condition 2: “That activities be limited to the development of real estate intended for single-family residential use;” and

Condition 3: “That the applicant's aggregate investment in the activity at any one time not exceed 25% of its Tier 1 capital.”

It is clear that Fairhaven Highlands, a multi-family development, violates Condition 2. The original application proposes the construction of 558 multi-family units, or 76% of the 739-unit total. The other alternatives being considered propose the construction of either 688 multi-family units (93%) or 722 multi-family units (98%). Horizon Bank’s declared preference is to build 722 multi-family units. It would be hard to convince anyone - especially the FDIC - that the Fairhaven Highlands project is intended for “single-family residential use.”

Conclusion: Fairhaven Highlands violates Condition 2.

Condition 3 is a moving target because the bank’s investment in the project and its Tier 1 capital are constantly changing. According to Horizon Bank’s June 30, 2009 quarterly report, its “real estate joint venture has a consolidated carrying amount of $27.2 million.” In other words, its investment in real estate development activities has mushroomed to $27.2 million as of June 30. According to the Horizon’s Uniform Bank Performance Report, its Tier 1 capital as of June 30 is $45.3 million. Therefore, the bank’s real estate investment now represents 60% of its Tier 1 capital (27.2 / 45.3), a far cry from the 25% limit imposed by the 1994 FDIC Order.

Conclusion: Fairhaven Highlands violates Condition 3.

So, Horizon Bank has violated two key conditions of the FDIC Order.

Does anyone really care?

Well, apparently the FDIC does, and this is where you come in.

We have been told that FDIC attorney Jim Miller and the FDIC Case Manager Richard Evans “are in constant communication regarding Horizon Bank.” According to Mr. Miller, “the issues involved in this matter have been the subject of many discussions within the FDIC,” and the FDIC will “ensure that the units that may be ultimately approved by the city of Bellingham for construction on the site are, in fact, intended for single-family residential use and that the Bank remains in compliance with condition #2.” Additionally, the FDIC “will continue to closely monitor the Bank’s investment in this regard to ensure that the Bank remains in compliance with condition #3.”

In a recent email from Mr. Miller, he closed by stating, “We appreciate receiving your information.”

How you can make a difference

Every person who either opposes Fairhaven Highlands and/or supports the preservation of Chuckanut Ridge has their own personal reasons for doing so. These personal views need to be respected.

If you either oppose Fairhaven Highlands or support the preservation of Chuckanut Ridge – for whatever personal reasons you have – you can make a difference by focusing on this single issue.

Horizon Bank has violated two important conditions of the 1994 FDIC Order that allowed the bank – as an exception to standard banking law - to engage in the real estate development business. The FDIC has the authority – indeed, the responsibility - to order Horizon Bank to cease and desist from pursuing the Fairhaven Highlands development, a project that violates the 1994 FDIC Order.

It’s really that simple.

If you want to make a difference, I urge you to contact FDIC Attorney Jim Miller and encourage the FDIC to properly enforce the conditions of the 1994 FDIC Order. Let Mr. Miller know why you oppose this project and/or support the preservation of Chuckanut Ridge. Mr. Miller is very cordial and has expressed an interest in hearing from us.

Jim Miller’s direct line is: (415) 808-8175.

If you prefer to send an email (or would like to follow up by email):

Jim Miller’s email address is: JMiller@FDIC.gov

Richard Evans’ email address is: REvans@FDIC.gov.

For those who have wondered how you can make a difference, I hope you will.

Time is of the essence. Please call Mr. Miller today!

Related Links:

-> 1994 FDIC Order and Conditions
-> Horizon Bank's Uniform Bank Performance Report / Tier 1 Capital
-> Horizon Bank's June 30, 2009 Quarterly Report

Larry Horowitz  //  Sat, Oct 03, 2009, 8:21 am

First, I would like to thank all of you who have already called and/or emailed FDIC attorney Jim Miller and FDIC Case Manager Richard Evans.  I especially thank those of you who have sent copies of your emails to me and have emailed me to let me know you have called.  Please continue to do so.

A number of people have asked for suggestions about what to say when they call Mr. Miller.  I believe the following list of questions might be helpful:

1) Is the 1994 FDIC Order - which restricts Horizon Bank to single-family residential development comprising no more than 25% of its Tier 1 capital ? STILL IN EFFECT?  Has the Order been modified in any way?

2) Is there any question that Horizon Bank?s Fairhaven Highlands project is a predominantly multi-family development in clear violation of Condition 2 of the FDIC Order, which restricts the bank to single-family projects?

3) Is it true that Horizon Bank has invested $27.2 million in its real estate development activities? 

(To confirm, click on the ?Related Link? above for Horizon Bank?s June 30, 2009 Quarterly Report.  In the ?Find? box of the PDF, type in ?27.2? and click enter to search.  You?ll be taken to the last paragraph on page 29 of the PDF (page 24 of the actual report) where you?ll find this sentence, ?As of June 30, 2009, the real estate joint venture had a consolidated carrying amount of $27.2 million…?)

4) Is it true that Horizon Bank?s Tier 1 capital is $45.3 million as of June 30, 2009?

(To confirm, click on the ?Related Link? above for Horizon Bank?s Uniform Bank Performance Report.  You?ll see that the bank?s ?Net Tier One? as of 6/30/09 is $45,301,000.  This is the fifth number in the first column of numbers.)

5)  Does Horizon Bank?s investment in its real estate development activities represent 60% of its Tier 1 capital as of June 30? 

(This is simply the ratio of $27.2 million to $45.3 million, or 60%.)

6) Is there any question that Horizon Bank has violated Condition 3 of the FDIC Order, which limits the bank?s investment to 25% of its Tier 1 capital?

7) Did Horizon Bank intentionally ignore the conditions of the FDIC Order or were they simply negligent in their compliance?  Are they out of compliance with any other FDIC conditions or requirements?

8) When did the FDIC first discover these violations?

9) What has been Horizon Bank?s response?

10) Does the City of Bellingham know that the FDIC plans to enforce its 1994 Order and will ?ensure that the units that may be ultimately approved by the city of Bellingham for construction on this site are, in fact, intended for single-family residential use.?

11) Why has Horizon Bank spent more than $200,000 on an EIS for a multi-family project if they can only pursue a permit for single-family development?  Isn?t that a substantial waste of time and money, not only for Horizon Bank, but for city staff and the 17 federal, state, local and tribal agencies currently reviewing this 500-page document?

12) When does the FDIC plan to enforce the conditions of its 1994 Order?

13) What can the public do to ensure Horizon Bank?s compliance?


Tip Johnson  //  Sat, Oct 03, 2009, 3:50 pm

After a quick review of the new plans, I remain unconvinced that they could even build this project without breaking their already teetering bank.  I think it is a ruse.

I am commenting to the FDIC that the project is more likely an attempt at blackmail and fraud against the Greenways Levy, that the plans are nothing more than scary pictures of a horrific environmental catastrophe, and a tragedy to neighborhood character, designed to squeeze top dollar out of the public coffers. That’s a bad plan for a so-called community bank.

I am suggesting a subpoena to the state of Delaware to finally reveal the original consolidators of the property, principals of the West-Eden Land Development corporation officed in Lynden, who originally benefited from the illegal rezone that added so much phantom value to the property and created the mess we witness today.

This key piece of information would establish the chain of ownership and become critical to understanding the conundrum of this projects ability to survive, answering the question of why the city did none of the things they should have done that would have limited the project’s damage, and did many things they shouldn’t have that preserved the project.

To me, it looks like a bunch of family and friends trying to make the most out of a piece of essentially undevelopable property.  It was not developed for over a century because of environmental constraints, long before the importance of wetlands and salmon streams was recognized.

Today, the prospect is literally absurd. Something fishy is going on - and not in the 90 million gallons of pure, clean water that the property delivers to tributaries of Padden and Chuckanut creeks every year.

I know the FDIC will not share my personal conclusion, but here it is: Up with the Woods, Down with the Bank!


Larry Horowitz  //  Sun, Oct 04, 2009, 11:51 am

The following letter was sent to FDIC attorney Miller and FDIC Case Manager Evans by Bellingham resident and former Deputy Attorney General for the California Dept of Justice, Michael Botwin:

Dear Mr. Miller and Mr. Evans,

I am a Bellingham resident and I am sending this e-mail to urge the FDIC to take action against Horizon Bank for its violation of the 1994 FDIC order.  That order permits Horizon Bank, through its wholly owned subsidiary (Westward Financial Services Corp.), to engage in certain types of real estate development activities provided those activities are limited to “the development of real estate intended for single-family residential use” and its “aggregate investment in the activity at any one time [does] not exceed 25% of its Tier 1 capital.”  (See FDIC Order, ?? 2 and 3.)  I believe Horizon Bank has arrogantly and defiantly violated both those provisions in regard to its development of Fairhaven Highlands. 

As you know, Fairhaven Highlands (also known as Chuckanut Ridge) was purchased in 2005 by Westward Financial Services Corp. as part of a joint venture with Greenbriar Northwest LLC (hereinafter “Greenbriar”).  Horizon Bank never intended to comply with the FDIC order in regard to Fairhaven Highlands by limiting it to single-family dwellings.  On April 18, 2005, Greenbriar filed Subdivision Variance Application and a SEPA Environmental Checklist with the Bellingham Planning and Community Development Department (hereinafter “Planning Department”).  The Variance Application described the project as “Residential - Multiple Planned.”  (See Variance Application, ? 8.)  The SEPA application contained more detail and described the project as follows:

“THE OVERALL PROJECT COVERS SOME 85 ACRES.  THE 739 ALLOWABLE RESIDENTIAL UNITS WILL BE SINGLE DETACHED, COMMON WALL, TOWNHOUSE, TRIPLEX, NINE-PLEX, AND MEDUM-RISE BUILDINGS ARE PLANNED.  [SEPA Application, p. 2, ? 16.]  . . . THERE ARE SEVERAL 8-10 STORY BUILDINGS WITHIN THE CURRENT PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT.  [SEPA Application, p. 9, ? 9(a).] ” 

Copies of these two documents can be viewed on the City of Bellingham’s official web page at + Link under the topic “Applications.”  It seems to me that Horizon Bank intended to violate FDIC’s order from the initiation of the Fairhaven Highlands project and never intended to limit it to “single-family residential use” as required by the order.

The Fairhaven Highlands project caused public outrage from the start.  Horizon Bank’s and Greenbriar’s in-your-face attitude exacerbated the public’s resentment over the project.  At a meeting with approximately 500 local residents, David Edelstein stated, “We bought density” when explaining how Horizon Bank and Greenbriar intended to replace the forested mountain that frames the southern border of Bellingham with 10-story high-rises and with other multi-story buildings. 

Signs containing statements such as “Stop Horizon Bank from Destroying Chuckanut Ridge” started appearing throughout the South side of town.  Residents organized.  Responsible Development, a non-profit corporation, was created to fight the development.  (See + Link)  RD hired a prominent Seattle land-use attorney to fight the project and has already spent over $40,000 in fighting Horizon Bank’s project.  More recently, another group (Friends of Chuckanut) also joined the fight against Fairhaven Highlands.

The Fairhaven Highlands development is described as one of the “Top Issues” on the City of Bellingham’s website.  The city acknowledges that the Fairhaven Highlands “proposal has provoked significant community debate. Many area residents are opposed to developing Chuckanut Ridge, which is one of the last large, wooded properties remaining within City limits. They say they prefer to see it preserved for open space or recreational use, they are concerned about protecting sensitive environmental features, and they are concerned about traffic and other neighborhood impacts.”  (See + Link

On September 29, 2009, the Draft Environmental Impact Study of this parcel was finally released by the City.  (Note that Greenbriar is responsible for paying for this report, which exceeds 560 pages.) A local newspaper, The Bellingham Herald headlined this issue, reporting that the Fairhaven Highlands project “is the most controversial one inside city limits in recent memory.” (To read the full DEIS online, see + Link and click on “Fairhaven Highlands? under “Top Issues”)

Patrice Clark, a member of a prominent Bellingham family that donated a sizable parcel of waterfront land to a land trust for the public benefit, terminated her sizable business dealings with Horizon Bank in protest to the Fairhaven Highlands project.  In her October 24, 2007 letter to Horizon Bank, she states the following:
“I shared my concerns about Horizon Bank?s involvement with the Chuckanut Ridge development. I was hoping to hear that your bank would decide that developing this land was not in the bank’s best interest and that you would want to be seen in this community as a “good neighbor‟ and sell to the city of Bellingham, reinvesting in other properties that would not encourage sprawl as this development would do. Unfortunately, you did not see it that way .  .  .  [?]  There still is time to rethink your bank’s investment.  I hope you and your board members will seriously reconsider your option to partner with the city of Bellingham to find a way to finance transfer of this ‘gem’ to public ownership and preservation.”  (See + Link Clark Horizon Bank letter.pdf.) 

Other customers also cancelled their accounts with Horizon Bank for similar reasons.

Each year, local residents picket Horizon Bank’s Shareholders’ Meeting in protest.  Some residents even purchased 1 share of Horizon Bank stock so they could attend the annual shareholders’ meeting.  It was reported that during its July 21, 2009 meeting, Lawrence Evans and Richard Jacobson (Chairman and President, respectively) claimed Horizon Bank was in compliance with the 1994 FDIC order and furthermore, the FDIC did not care about compliance with its order.

Equally disturbing is the bank’s failure to limit its investment in real estate developments to no more than 25% of its Tier 1 capital and then misrepresenting its financial status to shareholders.  Horizon Bank’s investment in its real estate developments is substantially more than twice limit imposed by the FDIC.  Worse yet, the bank’s President purportedly misrepresented the bank’s financial status to shareholders at the last shareholders’ meeting.  He allegedly stated that the bank had only invested $18 million in the Fairhaven HIghlands project instead of the $27.2 million it had actually invested and that the Bank had $90 million in Tier 1 capital instead of the $45.3 million it actually had.  In fact, the Bank had lost 50% of its Tier 1 equity in 3 months!  It is my understanding that the purpose of a community bank is to serve the needs of the community and not to deceive it or destroy one of its ecological gems.

Many Bellingham residents have expended substantial time and money to fight Horizon Bank’s Fairhaven Highlands project in order to preserve a unique parcel of land that is a big part of Bellingham’s character.  Among them, Dr. John McLaughlin, a professor of Environmental Science at Western Washington University, explained in numerous letters how the proposed Fairhaven Highlands project would be devastating to the local environment and how preservation of that property offers a unique educational opportunity to grade schools and to the university.  It is the only parcel of land in the country within walking distance of schools and the university wherein field environmental training can be provided.  (See + Link)

I have been a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice for around 34 years until my retirement in 2003, at which time I moved to Bellingham.  I enforced California’s consumer protection and white collar crime statutes during most of my tenure.  I prosecuted numerous cases at the request of various state, local, and, on occasion, federal agencies.  I strongly believe it is important for agencies to enforce their orders.  The failure to do so results in the lack of public confidence in the agency and a lack of respect of those who are regulated.  It promotes lawlessness rather than compliance and deterrence. 

The Draft Environmental Impact Study has been completed and the period for public comment is ticking.  Now is the time for the FDIC to act and enforce its order.  Its failure to do so will cause numerous members of the public and public agencies to spend countless hours evaluating the 500+ page report and commenting upon it.  All this time, effort, and expense will be wasted if the FDIC ultimately intends to prohibit the proposed multi-unit project.

Sincerely,

Michael Botwin


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

Village Books

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

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.

6 comments; last on Aug 21, 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

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.

9 comments; last on Aug 04, 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

County Considers Purchasing Toxic Property

Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue

3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014

Propaganda Replaces Public Information:  An Analysis of the Lake Whatcom TDML Process

Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 12:52 am  //  Wendy Harris

The public is not provided with a proposed plan or adequate information prior to the annual "state of the lake" meeting

4 comments; last on Mar 18, 2014

Mobile Slaughter

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 1:11 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein there's a crackdown on growing plants, and plans to let slaughter run free

2 comments; last on Mar 16, 2014

 

Election Info

Candidate Filings

Primary election results

Whatcom Auditor

Coal, Oil & Trains

Community Wise Bellingham

Powder River Basin R. C.

Local Blogs & News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Cascadia Weekly
Ferndale Record
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
KGMI
Latte Republic
League of Women Voters
Lynden Tribune
MikeatthePort
Northern Light

Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut Community Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
RE Sources
Reduce Jet Noise
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters

Governments

Bellingham

Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Whatcom Auditor
Whatcom Auditor
Whatcom County

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate

Leisure

Adventures NW

Edge of Sports
Entertainment NNW
Famous Internet Skiers
Recreation Northwest
Sailing Anarchy

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
AlterNet.org
Antiwar.com
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The

Common Dreams
counterpunch
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Doonesbury
Drudge Report
FiveThirtyEight
Foreign Policy in Focus
GlobalPost
Guardian Unlimited
Gulf News
Haaretz
Huffington Post
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
MoveOn.org
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
NMFA
numbers
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Reuters
Sea Shepherd
Slate
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
TED
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
Tom Paine.com
truthout
Vox
War and Piece
Washington Votes
WikiLeaks.ch
ynetnews.com

NwCitizen 1995 - 2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Police Activity

Bellingham Register
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
HamsterTalk
Jack Petree
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Orcinus
Post-Oklahoman Confessions
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders