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

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

PUD incumbent candidate McClure's architectural contribution to downtown

This week's Weekly 'Gristle" salutes the city for funding a building pad to overcome "profound geotechnical issues" for a building they encouraged at the corner of Railroad and Holly.  But there's more to the story.

Once the notorious Pit, the city acquired the property after the original building burned down, leaving a hole in the ground.  Originally purchased for a parking garage, it now houses Starbucks coffee and the architectural offices of PUD incumbent candidate Jeff McClure - ironically creating parking demand instead of supply.  McClure partnered on the venture with Barclay Village interests who were benefiting from an exodus of professional services leaving downtown because of a parking deficit.

In a "special process" that skirted city procedures for disposing of property, McClure's proposal for the imposing gateway structure was selected from among just one other in a well-under-market sweetheart deal.  After McClure's design was selected, he revealed that coal galleys under the site presented geotechnical issues that required the city to sweeten the pot with several hundred thousand additional public dollars.

Here's the kicker: McClure, years earlier when the city first considered acquisition, testified for an appraisal that the coal galleys below the site would prevent anything more than a three story stick-framed structure from being built.  Nevertheless, his proposal was for a much more substantial structure.

In the bargain, 32 young people advocating for more public space instead of an insider giveaway were arrested and vigorously prosecuted in what at the time was dubbed the Pitgate Scandal.

Today, as PUD commissioner, McClure recently brokered another apparent insider, sweetheart deal with the backers of the proposed coal dump at Cherry Point.  At a time when issues of water rights and availability are thornier than ever, McClure bent policy and maybe law to revive, extend and transfer defunct, expiring water rights for 5.33 million gallons a day to the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal for the next 30 years. 

Challenging PUD Commission candidate Bob Burr said, “I believe this transfer was illegal because it did not meet state standards for such a transfer of rights. These purchased rights were set to expire next year, but rather than wait until the decision on coal terminal permitting was in, the PUD last year unanimously and unnecessarily approved extension of those rights for 30 years to 2042."

 

32 public space advocates were arrested and vigorously prosecuted for opposing the insider giveaway

Tip Johnson  //  Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 12:51 pm

Concerned that finer distinctions may be useful in discussing the PUD’s new contract with the proposed coal dump at Cherry Point, I contacted Water Resources specialist Tom Buroker at the Department of Ecology.

Tom used the analogy of owning a home connected to a city water supply.  The homeowner is a customer and contracts with the city as purveyor.  The homeowner gets water that is paid for, but does not gain any actual water rights - a rather technical statutory entitlement.

Similarly, the PUD purveys water to industrial customers without conveying underlying rights.  However, the customer’s contract does effectively encumber the PUD’s water rights for the amount of water under contract. So the customer gains contractual rights but the PUD retains technical water rights. It is an important distinction worthy of note, but has little effect on the fate of the 2 billion gallons per year of Nooksack River water the PUD contract authorizes for the next 30 years.


Walter Haugen  //  Fri, Oct 24, 2014, 11:00 am

On the PUD water-for-Cherry Point issue, several of us brought this up when Ferndale changed from PUD water to well water for the city supply. It seemed far from coincidental, given that Mayor Gary Jensen was an early supporter of the proposed GPT. Of course Gary denied vehemently that there was any “quid pro quo.” I am not convinced.


Terry Wechsler  //  Fri, Oct 24, 2014, 9:13 pm

My comment at the Ferndale hearing for the GPT EIS:

My name is Terry Wechsler, I live in Bellingham and I want to talk about facts, in this case, about water. Bellingham has great water because we divert all we need from the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River to Lake Whatcom. We get melting glaciers and snow pack. Ferndale used to drink glacier water; now you drink ground water, and from what I hear, you don’t like it so much.

Pacific International Terminals claims they would use a state-of-the-art dust and fire suppression system for that 80 acre pile of coal that’s about six stories high. That system requires ...water. 1.9 billion-with-a-“B” gallons of water per year from PUD, though the Project Information Document (PID) averages it to 5.3 mil. gallons per day. To put that in context, that’s more water than Ferndale uses daily; half of what all of Bellingham uses. It’s about a third of the water PUD currently supplies to six industrial and fifty irrigation customers in the Cherry Point area.

The PID describes a system that will use less water when it rains, more in the summer dry months when, of course, the Nooksack has the lowest flow. And according to a study done by a professor at Western for her master’s thesis,[1] because of the effects of global climate change on the Nooksack, summer flow in the Middle Fork could decrease by over 8% in the future.

The EIS must consider future water resources based on changing climate scenarios and determine how GPT’s state-of-the-art dust suppression system, that depends on our best water source, would impact this region’s homes, farms and industries in the worst case scenario over the proposed life of the terminal. And if I lived in Ferndale, I would specifically ask whether it will EVER be possible for PUD to supply your water in the future if the largest coal terminal in North America were competing with you.

                                                                          Terry J. Wechsler


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

3 comments; last on Oct 25, 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

Johns Repair

Specializing in German vehicles...

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

‘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

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

Steal this Waterfront: Costs without Benefit

Sat, Dec 07, 2013, 9:23 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the direct, indirect, hidden and lost opportunity costs make this a waterfront boondoggle of billions

3 comments; last on Dec 11, 2013

Noballmacare and Setting the False Standard

Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 2:39 am  //  Tip Johnson

Dear Mr. President, There's a sucker born every minute, and two to take him.

7 comments; last on Nov 21, 2013

The Slaughterhouse Referendum - Citizens Opposing Widespread Slaughter (COWS)

Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 11:19 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we discover why we exert our rights - and grab some more petitions before it's too late

3 comments; last on Nov 06, 2013

As Goes Slaughter, So Goes Coal

Sun, Jun 02, 2013, 1:41 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein various comments are compiled and compounded, and citizens encouraged to act

2 comments; last on Jun 11, 2013

Who’s Selling Who Down What River

Sat, Apr 13, 2013, 9:19 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we see how the Ds do the work the Rs can't get away with

7 comments; last on Apr 17, 2013

The Waterfront Will Be Safe.  Trust Me!

Sat, Apr 13, 2013, 3:47 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the people who call capping a clean-up say toxics safe enough for day care.

1 comments; last on Apr 25, 2013

Notice of Defect

Mon, Apr 08, 2013, 12:56 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we complain about the City and Port stealing from the public

6 comments; last on Apr 13, 2013

Read All About It!  Cattlemen want slaughter.

Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 4:01 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the Cattlemen define 'small scale' as an unlimited number of facilities of up to 50 million live pounds per year.

3 comments; last on Mar 26, 2013

Living Wage and Working Waterfront 101

Sat, Mar 23, 2013, 11:53 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the rate base gets a soaking while officials keep big-bubble toking

7 comments; last on Apr 08, 2013

Legislation and Sausage

Tue, Mar 05, 2013, 4:20 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein it's even worse when the legislation is about sausage

0 comments

Marine Sanctuary Standards

Sat, Mar 02, 2013, 9:03 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the ironies of life are explored and the necessities of life are contemplated

2 comments; last on Mar 12, 2013

Petition to Establish a Bellingham Art Market

Mon, Feb 25, 2013, 6:51 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein artists have to eat, too!

0 comments

Slaughtering the County Tax Base

Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 1:20 am  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the Slaughterhouse Ken and Barbie show present Slaughterville, their new vision for Whatcom County

9 comments; last on Feb 19, 2013

Slaughterhouses and Rendering Plants - Videographers Needed

Mon, Dec 03, 2012, 4:26 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein citizens must hold their representatives' feet to the fire

6 comments; last on Dec 09, 2012

Meat Axe or Scalpel?

Sat, Nov 03, 2012, 2:21 pm  //  Tip Johnson

An letter to the County Council on opening the county to the slaughter industry

8 comments; last on Nov 09, 2012

Xwe’chi’eXen: Where the Big Picture is a Very Small Fish

Mon, Oct 08, 2012, 3:53 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The Lummi Nation Declares Their Sovereign Objectives at Cherry Point

2 comments; last on Oct 14, 2012

BNSF Shoreline Improvements for the Proposed Gateway Pacific Coal Port

Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 1:54 am  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we see the Railroad walking it's walk while we get ready to talk our talk.

1 comments; last on Jul 16, 2012

Game on!

Thu, Jun 07, 2012, 8:37 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Hereby hoping to stimulate discussion of what expanding the Port Commission is meant to achieve, what constitutes good government and how we might best achieve it.

18 comments; last on Jun 14, 2012

Time for a Change

Wed, Jun 06, 2012, 10:32 am  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the port proves they are incompetent to do the public's business

0 comments

DRONES!

Thu, May 17, 2012, 10:43 am  //  Tip Johnson

Footage overlooking the Fairhaven area

5 comments; last on Jun 19, 2012

Earth Day Alert:  Rocket Donuts to throw Fairhaven trees in the Deepfry

Sun, Apr 22, 2012, 7:28 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Will donuts prove more important than street trees?

10 comments; last on May 02, 2012

A Time for Port Reform

Sun, Apr 08, 2012, 11:33 am  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the shenanigans start smelling too fishy to tolerate

1 comments; last on Apr 11, 2012

Commmunity Governance at its Best

Mon, Jan 09, 2012, 10:27 pm  //  Tip Johnson

We have a new mayor!

4 comments; last on Jan 10, 2012

The Cole Train: Loads of BS

Sun, Dec 04, 2011, 6:53 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the sooty prospect of economic necessity rears its ugly head

2 comments; last on Dec 05, 2011

Deer me!

Sat, Nov 26, 2011, 5:30 pm  //  Tip Johnson

O.K. Who's in charge of all these ungulates?

14 comments; last on Dec 02, 2011

Post Election Wish List

Fri, Nov 11, 2011, 5:11 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Daydreams of a recovering politician

2 comments; last on Nov 12, 2011

Hold The Presses!

Thu, Sep 29, 2011, 9:00 pm  //  Tip Johnson

I think we've got a winner!

3 comments; last on Sep 30, 2011

Chuckanut Ridge: Good Deal, Bad Deal?

Mon, Sep 26, 2011, 12:59 am  //  Tip Johnson

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

15 comments; last on Sep 29, 2011

The Hills Are Alive!

Sun, Sep 18, 2011, 6:16 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Spoiler Alert: If you are enjoying your blackberries this year, read no further

2 comments; last on Sep 19, 2011

Lummi Island Ferry Deal: Stockholm Syndrome

Wed, Sep 14, 2011, 1:38 am  //  Tip Johnson

A bad deal, but good enough - for now

1 comments; last on Sep 15, 2011

Lummi Island Ferry: Incompetence, confusion, terror, and disenfranchisement

Mon, Sep 12, 2011, 2:44 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Legislation and Sausage: Very hard to watch being made.

2 comments; last on Sep 13, 2011

Vendovi Views

Sun, Sep 11, 2011, 10:36 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Republished from Whatcom Watch - Let's Save Vendovi Island!

2 comments; last on Sep 15, 2011

It’s finally done…except the lessons

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

Should we accept or dig into Chuckanut Ridge?

21 comments; last on Aug 30, 2011

The Cole Train: Tell it to the Herring

Mon, Jun 20, 2011, 11:42 am  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein something smells a bit fishy

2 comments; last on Jul 29, 2011

The Cole Train: First Salvo

Mon, May 30, 2011, 11:40 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein blackened hearts and minds are initially examined

6 comments; last on Jun 02, 2011

They Exist!

Thu, Mar 03, 2011, 2:16 am  //  Tip Johnson

Or, The Village That Once Was. Or, I Didn't have Time to Write Something Short, Again.

7 comments; last on Apr 24, 2011

Indian Band Tests Sovereignty: Orders County to Cease Ferry Operations

Thu, Feb 24, 2011, 3:09 am  //  Tip Johnson

You've gotta be kidding!

13 comments; last on Mar 01, 2011

Statutory Purgatory: A failure of Government

Fri, Nov 26, 2010, 2:09 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein surrender may be the key to success

5 comments; last on Dec 11, 2010

Lummi Island - The Price of Admission

Thu, Aug 26, 2010, 4:01 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Legal or Political Football?

4 comments; last on Aug 27, 2010

Lummi Island Softball

Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 5:26 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Islanders need a new game

1 comments; last on Aug 24, 2010

Cantwell Confused

Wed, Aug 18, 2010, 6:07 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Ignoring the real problem

3 comments; last on Aug 19, 2010

Lummi Football

Sat, Aug 14, 2010, 2:20 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Time for hardball?

0 comments

Act of War or Act of Congress?

Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 3:50 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Where, oh where, are our federal representatives?

6 comments; last on Aug 06, 2010

Greed: The Shadowy So-called Non-profit Taecan

Mon, Jul 19, 2010, 1:53 pm  //  Tip Johnson

For-Profit Non-Profits - Pulling the Plug on Services

0 comments

The Forsaken Constituents of Lummi Island

Mon, Jul 19, 2010, 1:20 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Taxation without representation

4 comments; last on Apr 16, 2011

Never Enough? Enough is Enough!

Mon, Jun 21, 2010, 6:40 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the absurdity of the Lummi Blockade is explored in yet more excrutiating detail

1 comments; last on Jun 22, 2010

The Dumbest Meeting Ever

Tue, Jun 08, 2010, 11:31 pm  //  Tip Johnson

I mean, come on!

3 comments; last on Jun 09, 2010

Five Minutes

Tue, Jun 01, 2010, 9:33 am  //  Tip Johnson

Oil Addiction: All Day Every Day

0 comments

Secret Deals - Stinkier and Stinkier

Sun, May 02, 2010, 6:31 pm  //  Tip Johnson

More problems with secret government

1 comments; last on May 03, 2010

Welcome to Bellingham, Arizona

Sat, May 01, 2010, 9:53 pm  //  Tip Johnson

In which the perils of a police state are only barely considered

2 comments; last on May 04, 2010

Lummi Accolade: Brave, Smart and Honest

Fri, Feb 05, 2010, 2:23 am  //  Tip Johnson

Lummi officials and Lummi Island residents meet -Village to Village

2 comments; last on Feb 07, 2010

The Lummi Blockade: Block Lummi Aid?

Wed, Feb 03, 2010, 3:31 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Whatcom County lacks both authority and leverage to negotiate a Lummi Island ferry deal

0 comments

The Lummi Blockade

Sat, Jan 23, 2010, 8:15 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The Lummi Nation appears prepared to implement a threatened blockade of Lummi Island commencing February 14th

1 comments; last on Jan 24, 2010

Sport of Bellingham

Tue, Jan 05, 2010, 1:17 am  //  Tip Johnson

Port of Bellingham in the news

0 comments

Dear Mr. President

Thu, Dec 31, 2009, 7:15 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Tip writes a letter to President Obama about Health Care and about his concerns that Obama has sold us short.

8 comments; last on Jan 04, 2010

 

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