It’s finally done…except the lessons

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Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 11:49 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The CIty Council has just reported, on Channel 10, a decision made in executive session to purchase the Chuckanut Ridge development.   This promises to end a debate that has been ongoing since 1981, finally preserving the only property that can expand Fairhaven Park to meet the City's own standard for the area's planned population, the only property that can bridge the park to prior Interurban Trail acquisitions, and the only property that in combination can form a regionally significant gateway to the Chuckanuts.  This is vision on a scale with Stanley Park in Vancouver. Kudos to decisionmakers.

Needless to say, I approve, but with reservations.  This is the best possible outcome and the highest and best use for a property that has been subject to divisive controversy for over two decades.

When saving important lands from development, arriving on an agreed price is always difficult.  The public never wants to spend more than necessary, yet when competing against development, spending more than the developers is inevitable.  Perhaps it costs more, but at least the potential is not squandered.  We are spending a lot, but I believe time will show the wisdom of today's action.  That said, there are still important points to ponder.

The City had a recent appraisal that showed a value of $8.7M.  A previous, publicly sponsored appraisal came up with something over $3M.  That's a big difference for property on which nothing has changed.  Yes, prices went up.  But they also came back down.  Furthermore, the DEIS for the proposed project showed it was essentially undevelopeable at even half the zoned density.  That's what we really need to look at.

The City, through bad public policy and bad (possibly illegal at the time) public procedure, zoned this property at a level of development that eventually proved unsupportable.  The City created vast phantom value on this land - value that expanded to $26M before collapsing under the weight of the real-estate bubble to the $8.2M - $8.3M we will now spend.  The City refused to follow its own guidelines, giving the project every advantage - even at the risk of public health and environmental protections.

The lessons?:
1) Follow zoning procedures for notification, advertisment, and review.
2) Assure consistency with area policies, goals, and objectives.
3) Enforce current regulations for public health and the environment.
4) Don't rush into vesting of private entitlements. Let projects prove their completeness and compliance.
5) Listen to the public, or, "Excuse us, but we live here."  That's what representation means.

Finally, don't be such a weanie.  Do some forensic analysis to discover why we spent so much more than should have been necessary.  We know someone consolidated this property and pulled a fast one through the Council to get the "magical zoning" first described by former chief City Planner, Chris Spens.

6) When an error in zoning has been made, do not hesitate to reexamine it.  That's your job.

What to do ? 

7) The City should now issue a subpoena to the State of Delaware to discover the principals of the West Eden Land Development Corporation who assembled and sold this land, with basic entitlements, to the chain of intractable developers who claimed, "We bought density." 

We might find several parties willing to volunrarily contribute generously toward this important public preservation project!

At the end of the day, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, or not.  What will it be?

BTW, it's time to vote the primary.  Hint: Everyone should do it once!

Hue Beattie  //  Tue, Aug 16, 2011, 2:00 am

Worth watching on TVW. Gene Knutson gave an elegant submation of the long struggle. Happy in Happy Valley tonight.

Mike Rostron  //  Tue, Aug 16, 2011, 9:38 am

With reference to your points 4 and 5 it seems the city is far too content for the most part to let the planning department run the show, with predictable results (Chuckanut Ridge, Fairhaven, York, Sunnyland).  Time and time again neighborhoods find themselves in a defensive posture as private developers attempt to foist their visions for vast profits on the residents—all too often with the aid of a planning department that seems to act as an arm of the development corporations.
If city leaders do not wish to fight a case by case battle with each new proposal brought by developers they need to start listening to the residents and property owners in the neighborhoods.  Neighborhood leaders are motivated by a higher code of ethics.  They wish to preserve and enhance the neighborhoods where they live.  Their vision goes beyond mere profit or the latest development fads and fashions.  Neighborhood resident’s concerns should have priority over those of development corporations.  We in Sunnyland applaud this decision and hope it represents a general trend in the council (and we especially commend Mr. Knutson).  We look forward to a new era where the neighborhoods and city council cooperate to ensure the preservation and enhancement of our city’s best assets.  As for those who wish to remake our city into another version of Seattle or something similar—we suggest they invest elsewhere!

Mike Rostron Sunnyland Neighborhood board member

Larry Horowitz  //  Tue, Aug 16, 2011, 10:55 am

Thanks Gene, Seth, Barry, Michael, Terry, Stan and Jack!

g.h.kirsch  //  Thu, Aug 25, 2011, 9:38 pm

I’m sorry, Larry, but just couldn’t pass it up!

With your thanks to the council, and conspicuous snub of the mayor, it’s surprising you didn’t point out that they were “just signing on.”

But I understand, acknowledging Pike’s role might have broken the Linville Boys Scout Honor code.

he he.

Larry Horowitz  //  Fri, Aug 26, 2011, 3:03 pm

Well, Greg, considering the dozens of articles I?ve written on the subject, I didn?t think it was necessary to explain why I might thank council and not the mayor.  Since Pike took office, he has failed to address the key issues surrounding Chuckanut Ridge, just like his predecessors.  The difference is, before he was elected, candidate Pike made a firm commitment to resolving these issues.  Once elected, he totally disengaged and perfected his ?disappearing act?.

Had Pike addressed these issues ? most notably the enforcement of the CAO ? the city could have acquired the property for millions less while saving hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of time spent by concerned citizens fighting a project everyone knew was an abomination.

IMHO (and I?m probably alone in this), Pike blew it in every way imaginable.  The resolution has been presented as a fair compromise, but is in fact a tragedy.  Mayor Asmundson and the prior Council had committed at least $6 million and up to $8 million of the Greenways 3 (GW3) levy to acquire Chuckanut Ridge.  The Greenways Advisory Committee, which refused to appoint anyone who supported the acquisition of Chuckanut Ridge onto the committee, chose to limit the amount to $4.145 million.  A real compromise would have been roughly $6 million from the GW3 (midway between $4 and $8 million).  Instead, Pike allocated only $4.5 million, or $1.5 million shy of a real compromise.  And you want me to thank him for that? 

As everyone knows, Pike?s plan does not solve this problem; it only delays its resolution.  At some point in the future ? when Pike is long gone - someone will need to come up with another $3.23 million plus interest.  Failure to do so will place the property at risk again, and concerned citizens will be right back where we?ve been.

Greg, I know you?re fixated on Kelli Linville; but this issue has nothing to do with her.  Pike had more than ample opportunity to address the key issues.  His failure to do so artificially propped up the value of this distressed property and ended up costing taxpayers millions.  Because you don?t pay city taxes (or contribute to the Greenways levy), you may not care.  But for those of us who pay city taxes, it?s a big deal.  I don?t need a runaway mayor? and I certainly won?t thank one who failed to enforce an essential public safety regulation.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Larry Horowitz  //  Fri, Aug 26, 2011, 3:07 pm

By the way, everything I?ve written here I?ve shared with Mayor Pike?  numerous times.  Considering Pike?s habit of defending himself in public, I?ve always wondered why he won?t do so when I make these public accusations.  Greg, can you share some light on that subject?

g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 4:21 pm

“At some point in the future – when Pike is long gone - someone will need to come up with another $3.23 million plus interest.  Failure to do so will place the property at risk again, and concerned citizens will be right back where we’ve been.”

True enough.  But, as I recall, those Fairhaven Fat Cats (FFC) have been making a lot of noise for years about contributing, so Bellingham’s other citizens won’t bear the cost of their pet issue.

Every Monday Morning Quarterback could have played the game better than the guys who actually had to suit up.  I’m sure you’d have beat up Washington Federal, straightened out the FDIC, and cut a few million off the price. (and saved the FFC from steppin’ up)

Coulda, whoulda, shoulda!  And how much would have gone to the lawyers needed to take that hill?

The fact is Pike, not Linville, has secured the opportunity to take this from private to public property.  A few steps remain.

After the FFC chip in their share, the rest of Bellingham, in 2017, will decide whether to pay off the balance to Washington Federal in another Greenways vote.  If they don’t, Bellingham will have to sell some of the property to cover the balance.

And certainly, by then, Pike will be long gone.

But even if your girl, Kelli, knocks him out this time ‘round, has she promised you FFC folks $3,200,000?  I doubt it, or, at least, I doubt here sincerity.

The fact is, as always, you’re depending on the citizens of Bellingham to give you what you want.  And they probably will.

I repeat, you snub Pike, but he was the one at the table to get a deal done for you.  Don’t vote for him.  But at least say thank you.

You aren’t in the game if your sittin’ in the bleachers.  And that’s where the bunch of you will be whether Pike wins or loses.

Larry Horowitz  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 4:59 pm

I appreciate your ?Monday Morning Quarterback? football analogy.  I have one of my own. 

Let?s say the Seahawks are playing the Rams for the Division Championship.  With 4 minutes to go, the Seahawks begin their final drive on their own 20 yard line.  For eight consecutive plays, the ball is handed off to Marshawn Lynch, who carries it for 78 yards to the Rams? 2 yard line.  On the final play of the drive, Justin Forsett scores on a 2-yard touchdown to win the game.  Question: Who deserves credit for the touchdown?

You claim that Pike was the one at the table who got the deal done.  What you ignore is the most critical aspect of the entire transaction:  Motivating the seller to sell at a bargain price. 

Who do you think is responsible for getting Washington Federal to the table?  Pike?  Council?  Staff?

I don?t think so!  If left to their own devices, the city would have approved the permit to build 739 units long ago.

You wrote, ?You aren?t in the game if you?re sittin? in the bleachers.?  True enough.  But I?ve hardly been ?sitting? in the bleachers.?  And neither have many others.  We?ve been sluggin? it out with Horizon Bank, Edelstein, and Washington Federal, while Pike, Council and staff sat on the bench enjoying the show.

You wrote, ?You snub Pike??  Really, I snubbed Pike?  What planet do you live on?  I have approached Pike so many times I lost count.  Most recently (for the past several months), I have been providing Pike with enough ammunition to save taxpayers at least $2-3 million on the acquisition.  What did Pike do with the ammunition I gave him?  Squat, diddly, nada, nothin?. 

Why should the FFC pay an extra $2-3 million because Pike can?t negotiate himself out of a paper bag? 

You wrote, ?The fact is, as always, you?re depending on the citizens of Bellingham to give you what you want.?  Not exactly?  For more than six years, myself and dozens of others have spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars preventing the Fairhaven Highlands project while the city failed to enforce its own public safety regulations.  We have contributed millions towards the Greenways levies that we?ll never see, most of which will subsidize parkland acquisitions in other parts of the city.  We?ve done this on our own without depending on the ?citizens of Bellingham? who were not inclined to help.  We have certainly not depended upon county residents ? like yourself - who don?t pay city taxes or contribute to the Greenways levy.

Your fixation with Kelli is getting old.  Kelli has nothing to do with the acquisition of Chuckanut Ridge.  I like Kelli, but it is demeaning to Kelli to call her ?my girl.?  To my knowledge, she hasn?t made any promises regarding this property. 

You have every right to defend your friend Pike; but your lack of information places you at a tremendous disadvantage.  Of course, Pike?s actions aren’t helping you much either.

g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 5:29 pm

Larry, you’re playing Fantasy Football.  It’s time to play the real game.  Edelstein and Horizon Bank was last season.

Washington Federal and the FDIC were last Sunday, and Pike was quarterback.  You think he should have scored more points, or the defense should have held them to less, but the fact is you won.  Get over it.

As fixations go, your’s and John’s vis a vis Pike, based largely on his unwillingness to let you trump Bellingham’s staff, legal and planning, at will; now that’s a real fixation!

“Pike, Council and staff sat on the bench enjoying the show.” is it any wonder you don’t get any traction with Pike, council or staff?

I’m as much a nuisance and liability to Pike as I am to most politicians.  Doesn’t bother me, though.  And not paying city taxes or voting in city elections is hardly a criticism, I’m objective by comparison to you.

It just shocks me that you and John find yourselves on the same side as Joe Wilson (AFY), Jack Petree, the BIAWC, Pete Kremen et al, and don’t get it.

g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 5:39 pm

I didn’t mean to leave off that political seer, man of few (intelligent) words, Seiner Man, Doug Karlberg.

Larry Horowitz  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 6:06 pm

Edelstein and Horizon Bank are hardly last season; more like the first half of a long game.  Your sports analogies are no longer effective.

It’s not that I ‘think’ Pike “should have scored more points”; I KNOW he should have negotiated a better deal.  I wouldn’t say we won; more like a $3 million Pyrrhic victory.

Greg, I have no fixation vis-a-vis Pike.  He’s just an obstacle.  I do have a fixation vis-a-vis Chuckanut Ridge. 

I’m no judge as to whether or not you’re objective.  I know for a fact you are not well informed.

As far as your friend AFY is concerned, I believe the two of you are on the same side regarding the traffic cameras.  Are you not?  Is that some kind of litmus test?  By the way, I’m not alone in not supporting Pike.  I believe Pike has lost the support of the author of this article as well.

I’m not too worried about gaining traction with Pike, Council or staff.  Pike’s the third mayor I’ve worked with on this issue, and Jeff Thomas is the third planning director.  On Council, only two remain of the seven who committed $8 million toward the acquisition of Chuckanut Ridge.  With all that turnover, there’s plenty of opportunity to build bridges and very little concern over burning a few along the way.

By the way, since it looks like it’s just the two of us having a private conversation, I wanted to point out the difference between my criticism of Pike and yours of Linville.  As far as I know, you have never sat down with Kelli to discuss your objectives and concerns, yet you criticize her constantly.  On the other hand, I have met with Pike on a number of occasions and have communicated with him by phone, letter and email many more times.  My criticism of Pike is based on my direct experience with him.  Based on what I have experienced personally, I cannot support him.

Larry Horowitz  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 6:29 pm

I wanted to add one more thing that won?t be of interest to anyone but the two of us.

It?s true that I cannot get any traction with staff and several council members; but that started not as a result of my work on Chuckanut Ridge.  It started back in 2005, when I was working closely with your ex-wife, Susan, you, Helen Green, and the Macombers to challenge the city?s Comp Plan and prevent urban sprawl.  I lost traction with (and respect for) several staff and council members then, while fighting in front of the Growth Management Hearings Board on YOUR fixation to prevent the inclusion of Larrabbee Springs in Bellingham?s UGA.

You?re welcome!

Larry Horowitz  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 6:41 pm

BTW, I am not sure getting traction with Pike is all it is cracked up to be.  I know a number of Chuckanut Ridge supporters who have kissed his ass since he was elected, and they are still stuck with a $3 million bill.  As least my nose ain?t brown.

Regarding traction, how much do you expect to have if Kelli is our new Mayor and Erickson is our new County Executive?  I have not seen you use much honey with them.

g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 6:44 pm

I respect the fact you acknowledge your antipathy to Pike is “Based on what I have experienced personally,” and hence, “I cannot support him.”

On the other hand, my opposition to Linville is based on her well established record in the Legislature as one of the “Roadkill” caucus who supported numerous compromises of Democratic initiatives.

Particularly when it came to legislation needed by the BIAW, supported gladly for campaign contributions and leadership votes. 

Kelli remarked, after being voted out of office, how it irritated her that after years of compromising her principles for her Republican constituents, they voted her out anyway.

I only wish she had gone nobly, before she had to face the truth of standing for nothing but election and/or reelection.

g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 6:52 pm

As regards Larabee Springs, CAITAC, or whatever, the UGA fight, yes, you were the first to discover the fraud in the Bellingham Comp Plan. 

But I was the first to understand what you were talking about, and make it an embarrassment.  And only when I explained it to Pike did the city switch course and become the major obstacle to that project.

Now at stake is who will guide the revision of the Bellingham Comp plan, Pike, or the elected representative of the BIAWC and Realtors.

g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 6:55 pm

All of which reminds me, now you’re supporting Ted Michaikov’s candidate for mayor. Our man from CAITAC!

How ironic.

Larry Horowitz  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 7:24 pm

Well, I guess you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do:  Take an article about Chuckanut Ridge and criticize Kelli Linville.  Seems like quite a stretch to me.  On the other hand, I posted a gracious thank-you to Council on the 16th and remained quiet about my dissatisfaction with Pike until you “couldn’t pass up” making a comment nine days later.  And you make a big deal about why I can’t gain any traction?

I raised the issue about Larrabee Springs to point out that I had already lost traction with staff and council before Pike came on the scene.  (And I lost that traction working on YOUR pet issue.)  Pike, being nothing more than a bureaucrat, was never going to listen to me when challenged by staff and council.  I never had any traction to gain or lose.

Regarding the future of the Bellingham Comp Plan, it’s possible neither Pike or Linville will be around at the end of 2016 when the next Plan is adopted, now that the city has accepted the state’s offer to delay our 20-year growth plan for five years.

Finally, assuming you supported Pike last time, you also supported Ted Michaikov’s candidate.  Talk about irony!

I’m sure you’ll want the last word.  I’ve got nothing, so please feel free.


g.h.kirsch  //  Sun, Aug 28, 2011, 8:16 pm

Thank you, old friend, you are, as always with me, gracious in allowing me to close. 

I think it was Anatole France who pointed out, “irony” is the joy of reflection with the benefit history.

In this instance, it was Ted whose expectations in Pike were misplaced, not mine or yours.

Till now, we’ve disagreed on very little.  I do wish you wouldn’t push me to too strongly advocate for Pike, who I’ve shared with you, is just the least of several evils.

You know, I do agree with you regards his weakness for staff reasoning.

And, mis-describing CAITAC as my pet issue, you’ve certainly forgotten that development around Lake Whatcom is my personal battle.

CAITAC is part of my general concern for protecting rural and resource lands from rape by the BIAWC and Realtors.

Mike Rostron  //  Mon, Aug 29, 2011, 9:28 pm

“You know, I do agree with you regards[sic] his weakness for staff reasoning.”

To get away from your private battle a little (after all, this is a public forum), the city council is also way too susceptible to staff pressures.  In this town, it appears the tail wags the dog.  It is about time elected representatives start giving the staff direction, and not vice versa!

Larry Horowitz  //  Mon, Aug 29, 2011, 9:46 pm


Thanks for joining in.  There was never any intention to prevent others from commenting, but no one else seemed to have anything to add.

My conversation with Greg is not a private battle with him.  My battle is with Pike and Council.  As you have correctly observed, the tail absolutely wags the dog in Bellingham.  Both Council and Pike take direction from staff, especially the legal staff. 

Our elected officials need to direct the legal staff, instruct them how they would like to proceed, and verify they are on sound legal footing.  Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in this city.  I have worked closely with three Fortune 500 company clients and a number of smaller ones.  In every case, company management tells the corporate lawyers what they want to achieve and relies on their attorneys to ensure they follow the law.  In Bellingham, the mayor and council are told by the city attorneys what to do.  It’s bass-ackwards to say the least.  I guess that’s what happens when you elect bureaucrats.  I hope we don’t continue to make that mistake.

Again, Mike, thanks for joining in.

g.h.kirsch  //  Tue, Aug 30, 2011, 7:36 am

The problem is hardly limited to the city.  The county is even worse.  McEachran’s latest direction to the planning department (not to penalize SSA for illegal clearing) is a good example.

In my career I’ve had altogether too much experience with the bar.  And I agree with Larry, you have to tell the lawyers what to do.  Sometimes their advice is good, but more often it’s self serving: avoid tough fights and avoid losing.

But as that great philosopher, Wayne Gretzky, observed, “You miss every shot you don’t take.”

In my opinion, our legislative bodies lack an independent staff. (not that it would do any good at the county, they’ve got Belcher-Swanson to advise them!)

As a result, it’s the administration’s agenda that goes forward, and the legislators are left to go along with largely the advice the administration thinks they should have.

Now, that’s “bass-ackwards”!

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Tue, Nov 04, 2014, 12:28 pm  //  John Servais

While smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.

6 comments; last on Nov 11, 2014

A Recent GOP History in Not-So-Terse-Verse

Mon, Nov 03, 2014, 8:14 pm  //  Richard Lewis

Poet Richard Lewis weighs in on the Tea Party values



Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 12:29 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Or why to vote for Nyima, the dog, for County Prosecutor

4 comments; last on Nov 03, 2014

Election Recommendations

Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:18 am  //  John Servais

A link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.

1 comments; last on Oct 30, 2014

Something Gristly to Chew On: The rest of the story -

Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 11:01 am  //  Tip Johnson

It's just how things roll in Whatcom County

5 comments; last on Oct 26, 2014

Point Roberts vs. the FCC:  Modern David and Goliath

Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 2:44 pm  //  John Lesow

Update Oct 22: John Lesow has posted a comment with considerable more information on this issue.

1 comments; last on Oct 22, 2014

Tune in TONIGHT for Political Comedy

Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 6:36 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley does a local political comedy show

1 comments; last on Oct 15, 2014

Bham Planning Director - Rick Sepler Chosen

Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm  //  John Servais

Three final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.

6 comments; last on Oct 11, 2014

The Business of Government

Sat, Oct 04, 2014, 12:23 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we see that sometimes government can do what business can't.

9 comments; last on Oct 07, 2014

Rental Conditions -  A Real Estate Inspector’s View

Fri, Oct 03, 2014, 10:26 am  //  Dick Conoboy

An experienced real estate inspector provides a window to the dangeroous conditions found in rentals in Bellingham

3 comments; last on Oct 05, 2014

Few Surprises at the Tea Party Debate

Thu, Oct 02, 2014, 2:33 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley files a full report of the Tea Party debate for State Leg candidates

1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2014

Satpal Sidhu, Candidate for State Representative, 42nd District

Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 8:00 am  //  Guest writer

Wherein a Fulbright scholar, professional engineer and successful business owner files for public office

4 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014

Hickory, Dickory, Docketing…Yet Another Spot Rezone

Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:07 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)

6 comments; last on Oct 03, 2014

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

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.

5 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014

Fleetwood versus Ericksen: What Happened in Round One?

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

Some Context for the Primary Results


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.

14 comments; last on Oct 01, 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


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