Riley’s Top 5 Whatcom Political Stories of 2014

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Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 12:23 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Ralph Schwartz and Samantha Wohlfeil offered their “Top 10 Whatcom Political Stories” in 2014. Take a gander at their list, they have some good picks.

In a sign of the ever-constricting economics of newsrooms, some of these stories (most notably the City Council vacancy, the newly appointed Justice Montoya-Lewis, and the PeaceHealth tax) only warranted one or two 350-word articles in the Herald, and these were the most important stories of the year. Just to be perfectly clear, Ralph and Samantha do a good job, but with dwindling space for news in our daily paper, they can only do so much.

That said, here is my picks for the top five political news stories of 2014.Obviously, Seth versus Doug captivated everyone but here are some other stories that didn’t make the Herald’s list.

1) Rep. Jason Overstreet is pushed out/unexpectedly resigns. Local gold-enthusiast and incumbent legislator Jason Overstreet announced his retirement from public office rather suddenly. His calls forWWU President Bruce Shepard to resign were not well received by the Republican leadership and long-time party activist Luanne Van Werven was tapped to run in his stead.

2) The first retail marijuana store in the state opens in Bellingham. We don’t often get the spotlight but when Top Shelf Marijuana opened at 8am on July 8th, we had a flurry of attention. With only one other store (Seattle) opening on the first legal day of Pot Sales, Bellingham got to bask in a green glow. I was there on the scene reporting on the chaos.

3) PeaceHealth shuts down services to vulnerable seniors, blames Obamacare. When PeaceHealth decided to shut down their Adult Day Health Center they placed the blame on budget woes from the Affordable Care Act – saying that less people are seeking expensive hospital treatment since they now have insurance to seek preventative and palliative care earlier in illness. Which is a bad thing? Oh, and the Bellingham branch of PeaceHealth pocketed $39 million in profit in 2012.

4) Roosevelt Neighborhood Opposes C-Curb on Alabama StreetHundreds of Roosevelt neighborhood residents rallied at a neighborhood meetingprotested on the city streets and lobbied the city council to keep a C-Curb from blocking most left turns on Alabama Street. In the end, they were partially successful, blocking some of the C-curb from disrupting their neighborhood – although they are still installing one in front of my street.

5) Open Carry Advocates March in Bellingham Pride Parade. In the light of multiple mass shootings in the last couple of years, Open Carry advocates applied to march in the Bellingham Pride Parade, a move that generated a little furor – especially after they planned their social event at the same time and place as the Pride Family picnic. Gun advocates denied any attempt at intimidation – but in the end, they simply staffed a booth at the Pride festival without actually marching.

Honorable Mentions: The county tried to buy a toxic morgue from its own coroner, a move that is almost as incestuous as it is environmentally troubling and the County Planning department hires the former lead permit guy for the Gateway Pacific Terminal as a senior planner.

As always, you can support alternative citizen media by clicking here. Merry Christmas and stay tuned for a 2015 preview in the next couple of days.

Riley’s Top 5 Whatcom Political Stories of 2014

Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 12:23 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The Herald gave us their top 10 stories, Riley gives you his top 5

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Where are the persuadable voters in the 42nd District?

Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 2:48 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley dives into the data with precinct maps and historical perspectives

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Paper Dreams in Fairhaven

Next door to Village Books

Tune in TONIGHT for Political Comedy

Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 5:36 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley does a local political comedy show

1 comments; last on Oct 15, 2014

Few Surprises at the Tea Party Debate

Thu, Oct 02, 2014, 1:33 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

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

1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2014

Who Will Be Appointed to Lehman’s City Council Seat?

Tue, Sep 09, 2014, 7:21 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

Fleetwood versus Ericksen: What Happened in Round One?

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 9:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Some Context for the Primary Results

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Northwest Citizen Releases Polling of Whatcom Voters

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 10:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Northwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!

9 comments; last on Jul 29, 2014

Who Filed for Charter Review Commission?

Sat, May 17, 2014, 1:34 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley takes a closer look at the Charter Review Commission candidates

2 comments; last on May 21, 2014

The Whatcom Republicans’ Huge PCO Advantage

Tue, May 06, 2014, 4:52 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .

1 comments; last on May 07, 2014

Charter Review and District Only Voting

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 9:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting

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Roosevelt Neighborhood Pleads for Left Turns

Wed, Apr 09, 2014, 8:07 am  //  Riley Sweeney

City pushes for Alabama Street improvements, residents speak out

3 comments; last on Apr 14, 2014

County Considers Purchasing Toxic Property

Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 9:32 am  //  Riley Sweeney

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

3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014

Rep. Vincent Buys Appears to Break State Fundraising Laws

Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 10:24 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley catches State Rep. Vincent Buys for soliciting funds during session

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County Hires GPT Permit Lead as Senior Planner

Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 9:51 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into an unusual hiring decision at the County Planning Dept

1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2014

Do Changing Liquor and Marijuana Laws Affect DUIs

Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 7:26 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs through court data and discovers the real impact of privatization and legalization

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County Releases EIS, Prepares to Purchase Jail Site

Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 10:59 am  //  Riley Sweeney

The county takes two big steps forward on the new jail, while still missing the point

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Election Analysis: What Happened with the Port Races?

Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 10:21 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley crunches the numbers on Renata and McAuley's races to find answers

2 comments; last on Nov 13, 2013

How the Coal Industry Funneled $40,000 into Whatcom

Wed, Oct 02, 2013, 5:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley uncovers how the Coal Industry is funding conservative candidates in Whatcom County

11 comments; last on Oct 03, 2013

Over $330,000 raised and spent on elections in Whatcom County

Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 6:08 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines who is donating to which candidates

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Can We Talk? Doug Ericksen for Congress!

Mon, Aug 19, 2013, 7:08 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley whole-heartedly urges Doug Ericksen to run for Congress in 2014

2 comments; last on Aug 19, 2013

Council Chooses Reasonable Regulation on Retail Marijuana

Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 9:26 am  //  Riley Sweeney

After attending the public hearing on the marijuana ban, Riley breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly

4 comments; last on Aug 20, 2013

Sen. Doug Ericksen Co-opts rather than Cooperate

Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 6:29 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney examines Sen. Ericksen's legislative methods

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Freedom Academy Comes to Whatcom County

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 5:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley attends Tea Party training and runs afoul of Rep. Overstreet

1 comments; last on Apr 22, 2013

PeaceHealth Merger Threatens Women’s Health in Whatcom County

Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 6:39 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley details upcoming merger between PeaceHealth and a much more conservative entity

1 comments; last on Feb 26, 2013

Doug Ericksen’s Opening Moves

Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 4:53 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley looks into Ericksen's legislative efforts this session

1 comments; last on Jan 22, 2013

The Public Locked out of Jail Selection Process

Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 9:53 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines why the new jail site was selected without public input

1 comments; last on Nov 12, 2012

Election Predictions

Wed, Oct 31, 2012, 7:29 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Here's your shot at fame and glory as a political pundit

4 comments; last on Nov 02, 2012

Print Media: Death Knell or Phoenix Moment?

Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 3:15 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley talks about the Seattle Times, Newsweek and the future of Print Media

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Rep. Jason Overstreet’s Record

Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 8:35 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley pores through Rep. Jason Overstreet's legislative record

7 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012

Rep. Vincent Buys’ Record

Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 8:22 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines Rep. Vincent Buys' legislative record

1 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012

Local Conservative Blog Fails at Flowcharts

Wed, Sep 05, 2012, 11:00 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley patiently explains to the Whatcom Excavator what a flowchart should look like

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The Political Junkie interviews “Power Past Coal”

Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 8:00 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley sits down with Matt Petryni with Power Past Coal to get the latest scoop

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The Political Junkie covers the Tea Party forum

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 4:44 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley gathers quotes, video footage and pictures from the recent tea party forum

1 comments; last on Jul 20, 2012

From the Political Junkie: Judges, Jails, and Local Politics

Wed, Jul 04, 2012, 10:42 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley interviews judicial candidates, reviews campaign tactics, and discusses fireworks

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Last chance, file for PCO

Fri, May 18, 2012, 10:27 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A short plea for public involvement from Riley

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Ron Paul Delegates Railroaded at Whatcom GOP Convention

Tue, Apr 24, 2012, 11:07 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley attended the Whatcom GOP Convention and reports back

1 comments; last on Apr 29, 2012

The Curious Disappearance of Bob Ferris

Fri, Mar 09, 2012, 11:15 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley gets to the bottom of this in a NWCitizen Exclusive

4 comments; last on Apr 01, 2012

Congressional Candidates and Overstreet’s Town Hall

Sun, Feb 19, 2012, 5:37 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley at The Political Junkie attends a forum of Congressional Candidates, and a town hall meeting in Lynden

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UPDATE: City of Bham Moonlighting Issue - More Documents

Mon, Jan 30, 2012, 11:58 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley updates us on the latest facts coming to light about City of Bellingham employee moonlighting

2 comments; last on Feb 01, 2012

A Worm’s Eye View of our local WorkSource Center

Wed, Jan 25, 2012, 10:42 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley visits the local WorkSource center and interviews the regional director

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The Political Junkie interviews Kathy Kershner

Thu, Jan 19, 2012, 5:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley discusses the Jail, Jack Louws, and an impartial council with our new Council Chair

1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2012

Jack Petree, Olympia, the Whatcom Council and Obama’s Inner Circle

Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 9:04 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Latest from the Political Junkie on a variety of subjects

7 comments; last on Jan 16, 2012

Dan Pike Issues Order to Evict Occupy Bellingham

Tue, Dec 27, 2011, 12:55 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley questions Pike's timing, and Occupy's choice of tactics

2 comments; last on Dec 28, 2011

Updates from The Political Junkie

Tue, Dec 20, 2011, 3:19 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Where Riley provides more info on the City of Bellingham employees moonlighting issue and Crawford's ethical troubles

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Sam Crawford Faces Ethical Concerns . . . AGAIN

Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 1:44 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Local blogger Shane Roth files ethical complaint over Crawford's sweetheart deals

3 comments; last on Dec 16, 2011

Rick Perry, Can We Talk?

Tue, Dec 13, 2011, 10:58 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley has a conversation with Rick Perry

2 comments; last on Dec 16, 2011

For Gift Ideas, Think Beyond Parker Brothers

Sat, Dec 10, 2011, 10:32 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley discusses his love of board games and some good gift ideas

2 comments; last on Dec 11, 2011

The Political Junkie needs your input

Thu, Dec 08, 2011, 1:47 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Please take my reader's survey, I'm planning 2012

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Washington United for Marriage: It’s Time!

Tue, Dec 06, 2011, 12:12 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley attends a public meeting on equality

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UPDATE: City’s response focused on favoritism, not lost revenue

Wed, Nov 30, 2011, 6:51 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

More on the city employee moonlighting issue

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TPJ Exclusive: Little Documented Oversight for City Employee Moonlighting

Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 5:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The Political Junkie breaks a story of employee moonlighting within city of Bellingham

7 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011

Election Analysis: What does it take to win a county seat?

Fri, Nov 18, 2011, 1:28 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines Maginnis/Crawford and Kremen/Larson

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Election Analysis: Dropoff, Lynden Suburbs and the “Buys Bounce”

Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 6:20 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley looks at Lynden and coins some new phrases.

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Political Junkie Election Analysis: Louws/Ericksen

Wed, Nov 16, 2011, 1:31 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley takes a look at Louws/Ericksen in the search for moderate Republicans

1 comments; last on Nov 17, 2011

From the Political Junkie: Is Mitt Romney actually Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth?

Fri, Nov 11, 2011, 9:44 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Mitt Romney is darn lucky

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From the Political Junkie: Voting Trends

Thu, Nov 10, 2011, 12:09 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines WHEN people turn in their ballot, as opposed to who they voted for

3 comments; last on Nov 11, 2011

The Political Junkie is Live-Blogging Right Now

Tue, Nov 08, 2011, 7:30 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Check it out at www.sweeneypolitics.com

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The Political Junkie will LIVE BLOG the Election

Sun, Nov 06, 2011, 9:49 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley plans on stumbling around, occasionally writing on election night

6 comments; last on Nov 08, 2011

Why is Guy Fawkes attending Occupy Wall Street?

Sat, Nov 05, 2011, 5:14 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Remember, remember the fifth of November . . .

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What’s in your mailbox?

Thu, Nov 03, 2011, 7:09 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley takes a look at some local political mailers

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