Little Hong Kong by the Bay

Permalink +

Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 9:56 pm  //  Tip Johnson

What citizens envisioned

Most understand that the reason the port and city went through such gyrations over so many years (with so little result) was to wear citizens down until officials could replace our Waterfront Futures vision with their little Hong Kong on the Bay fantasy. Few understand that Harcourt is just like the derelict Horizon ship tied to the derelict international shipping pier to create the illusion of a functional port. Harcourt is intended to keep things tied up in complicated deals and/or litigation until the roughly $30 million in taxes we put into the AIG insurance policy has matured to a level sufficient to cover remediation AND make AIG money. That's why we will keep studying, looking for the ever-lower cost remedial alternatives the port agreed to accept.

So, anyone still interested in an expanded commission?

How about a crowdsource funding campaign to hire a crack team of professionals to help thoroughly dissect the mess? Many are tired of fighting the port, or even trying to follow their shenanigans. Here's a proposal. Who's got talent? Who's got interest?  Let's pay someone to do the dirty work.  That's what the port does!  We can tax ourselves through crowdsource.  The port taxes us to do harm, why not tax ourselves to right the wrongs?

===

Bellingham Waterfront Public Interest Education Project ~
Exploring the Costs and Benefits of a Public vs Private Waterfront

Goals: 1) Investigate the Port of Bellingham's peculiar management of Bellingham's newly consolidated public waterfront, 2) Produce the highest quality information for citizens, auditors and prosecutors, and 3) Inventory issues that might be litigated or prosecuted. Estimated Cost (Phase I - III): $________ dollars.

Phase I: Fund a professional forensic public disclosure and analysis of public process, principles and procedures pertaining to the waterfront plan. Provide volunteer public interest opportunities for research and reporting.

Phase II: Fund professional public education exhibits and reports for citizens, auditors and prosecutors, including recommendations in the public's best interest.

Phase III: Fund professional education of legislative delegates, auditors and prosecutors, and explore civil litigation opportunities to assure an honest environmental clean-up and a continuing public waterfront.

Background: In 2001, Georgia-Pacific West ceased its Bellingham pulp, paper and integrated chemical operations. The Port of Bellingham bought G-P's waterfront land and environmental liabilities for $10, put almost $30 million dollars into an AIG environmental insurance account, agreed to adopt the lowest cost remedial alternative and promised not to prospect for further liabilities, even though approximately 500 tons of mercury remain unaccounted for and numerous unregulated G-P landfills remain unexplored.

What we know so far:

- The port intentionally managed the waterfront environmental review to prevent evaluating the benefits of using G-P's wastewater treatment facility for water treatment. They insist it become a yacht basin to complement upscale private waterfront condominiums. The port has 500 empty slips in its moorage inventory.

- Eliminating G-P's treatment capacity orphans a large city-owned stainless steel industrial water supply and inhibits our ability to support jobs. It forecloses treatment options for industrial effluent and urban run-off. Municipalities will soon be mandated to install stormwater treatment. The city is currently spending $200 million expanding it's wastewater treatment plant and is out of room. Future capacity will come at much higher costs.

- The port doctored public records, changing consultant estimates by over $21 million to make their preferred marina plan look falsely better than alternatives. Port staff admitted to this revision only after it was exposed in local publications.

- Fourteen public stakeholder agencies spent 10 years developing nine remedial alternatives for the removal of between 160,000 to 1,900,00 cubic yards of contaminated sediments. Within a month of buying the G-P site, the port unilaterally imposed a tenth plan - Alternative 'K' - a capping plan that leaves most toxic sediments in place.

- Despite more than a decade having passed, almost no clean-up has occurred. Some analysts suggest that while the insurance policy remains unspent, AIG can afford to provide 'encouragements' to those who help delay. They suggest a forensic financial analysis of key port staff is warranted.

- The port insists on selling new waterfront lands for private development. They propose six million square feet of mixed-use, commercial/retail/residential development on the waterfront immediately adjacent to downtown. Only one million square feet at a local mall put downtown into a disastrous economic tailspin for more than two decades. The port has avoided comparing the county-wide benefits of a generous, less developed public waterfront.

- The port continues to change project parameters and order ongoing studies in a blinding fog of confusing public participation deadlines that have overwhelmed most concerned citizens. The documents are extremely technical and circularly self-referential. Qualified, professional scientific review and analysis is needed.

- Port-produced exhibits for public decision-makers have systematically shifted over time to obfuscate, conceal and minimize environmental liabilities, to eliminate earlier public priorities and to encourage maximum development.

- The port and city sponsored a thorough public participation process, the Waterfront Futures Group, a citizen committee that produced well-framed public interest policies and principles. These were buried and ignored, replaced with a new "Framework and Assumptions," negotiated in private, radically expanding the project scope, but without affording the public opportunity to comment.

- The port hired the world's preeminent waterfront redevelopment consultants, whose recommendations for a generous public waterfront they also completely ignored.

- A new port director, Charlie Sheldon, who questioned the wisdom of selling the waterfront for maximum development, and tried to steer the agency back toward more traditional port services and activities, was summarily dismissed in a sudden, notoriously opaque and procedurally questionable move that prompted a significant public response.

- Citizens mounted an initiative to increase the number of members on the Bellingham Port Commission in hopes of broader representation and better public outcomes. The Commission offered to help by sponsoring the measure. They adopted it in an advertised meeting to much public acclaim but subsequently reversed it without notice, disingenuously subdividing it into an impossible two-stage, if-then measure. Indignant proponents refused support, but it still nearly passed.

- The port pretends to operate an international shipping terminal. They moor a derelict ship at a derelict pier and pretend it is a newly expanded shipping terminal even though they earlier petitioned Congress to abandon the federal waterway, rendering the facility utterly useless. Nevertheless, they have produced new professional marketing brochures and the facility supports good executive jobs - though no one bothers to respond to shipping inquiries.

- The city will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in street and utility infrastructure, usually provided by developers, at taxpayer expense to support property sales that will only benefit the port, and which could harm the city's tax base.

Preliminary Conclusion:

Overall, the public will bear remarkable costs but it is not clear what benefit they will receive. The port is operating like a private property development company, not a public agency. Gaming the environmental review, falsifying documents, hiding liabilities, subdividing projects, obstructing a citizen initiative, pretending to operate a port, burying details under clouds of reports and dragging the process out for over a decade - all suggest a process rife with fraud and deception, and possibly indictable criminal offenses.

It is in the public's best interest to leave no stone unturned in evaluating the hidden details of the port's unfolding plan and to educate themselves about the true costs. Bellingham will never have a public waterfront or a functional port if the port succeeds in selling it for upscale development unrelated to port activities. This is potentially a billion dollar boondoggle that only the power of daylight can bring to right.

If 1,000 people - less than 2% of Bellingham's population - donate $___ dollars, citizens could finally have the resources and information to become a force that can no longer be ignored in determining Bellingham's waterfront futures.

What we've got more than a decade later

A more recent Port illusion

Because Little Hong Kong on the Bay is approved for up to 200 foot heights

John Blethen  //  Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 9:05 am

Good summary. There is a major institutional problem with the Port Until the Port Commission is changed either to two Port Commissioners interested in change or better five members ,additional money spent talking about the waterfront is a waste of time in my estimation.  We have been over and over this topic with some really great ideas and the Port has been able to manipulate the results . Most often the outcome was controlled bymaking the process dis-coherent the WFF group was not included in the Water Front Advisory Group and no members of the Council or the Planning Commission were included in the on going “evolution” of the Plan after visioning.  The City paid employees appeared powerless to affect outcome.  Somewhere along the line the City needs to say “pay your own infrastructure cost”.  As it stands we citizens are on the hook for several hundred million dollars of costs which will never be re-coped through property taxes. At this point, in terms of investment, City money would be better spent on Samish way, downtown or in the Fountain District.  Thanks for the effort!  I look forward to change on the waterfront but I am not holding my breath!


Terry Wechsler  //  Sun, Feb 01, 2015, 3:46 pm

The notion of crowd funding and stopping action the community doesn’t want is not theoretical. Residents of Point Roberts and Tsawwassen did it. There were only about 6 people at the heart of that movement, and they raised enough to hire two law firms, one here and one in DC. Their fight continues, but so far, they’re winning.  + Link


Dick Conoboy  //  Tue, Feb 03, 2015, 10:25 am

My check for $100 to start your fund is sitting on my desk.  To whom do I make it payable and to what address?


Little Hong Kong by the Bay

Thu, Jan 29, 2015, 9:56 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein Bellingham's billion dollar boondoggle is revisited

3 comments; last on Feb 03, 2015

Dead or Alive: How do you like your herring?

Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 8:15 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the ridiculous is ridiculed

5 comments; last on Jan 21, 2015

Silvery Moon In Historic Fairhaven

Fine Jewelry from Northwest Artists

Prosecutor McEachran Calls Racism Charge “Preposterous”

Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 3:27 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein Whatcom's Klan heritage may be oozing from some cracks

8 comments; last on Dec 06, 2014

Fergusonham

Sat, Nov 01, 2014, 11:29 am  //  Tip Johnson

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

4 comments; last on Nov 03, 2014

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

Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 10:01 am  //  Tip Johnson

It's just how things roll in Whatcom County

5 comments; last on Oct 26, 2014

The Business of Government

Sat, Oct 04, 2014, 11:23 am  //  Tip Johnson

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

9 comments; last on Oct 07, 2014

Widespread Slaughter Won’t Work

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 9:18 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, 2:34 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, 12:11 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, 8:23 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, 1:39 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, 10:19 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, 12:41 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, 8:19 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, 2:47 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, 11:56 am  //  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, 3:01 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, 10:53 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, 3:20 pm  //  Tip Johnson

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

0 comments

Marine Sanctuary Standards

Sat, Mar 02, 2013, 8:03 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, 5:51 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein artists have to eat, too!

0 comments

Slaughtering the County Tax Base

Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 12:20 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, 3:26 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, 1:21 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, 2:53 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, 12:54 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, 7:37 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, 9:32 am  //  Tip Johnson

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

0 comments

DRONES!

Thu, May 17, 2012, 9:43 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, 6:28 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, 10:33 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, 9:27 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, 5:53 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, 4:30 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, 4:11 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Daydreams of a recovering politician

2 comments; last on Nov 12, 2011

Hold The Presses!

Thu, Sep 29, 2011, 8:00 pm  //  Tip Johnson

I think we've got a winner!

3 comments; last on Sep 30, 2011

Chuckanut Ridge: Good Deal, Bad Deal?

Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 11:59 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

15 comments; last on Sep 29, 2011

The Hills Are Alive!

Sun, Sep 18, 2011, 5:16 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, 12:38 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, 1:44 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, 9:36 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, 10:49 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, 10:42 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, 10:40 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein blackened hearts and minds are initially examined

6 comments; last on Jun 02, 2011

They Exist!

Thu, Mar 03, 2011, 1:16 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, 2:09 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, 1:09 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, 3:01 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Legal or Political Football?

4 comments; last on Aug 27, 2010

Lummi Island Softball

Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 4:26 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Islanders need a new game

1 comments; last on Aug 24, 2010

Cantwell Confused

Wed, Aug 18, 2010, 5:07 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Ignoring the real problem

3 comments; last on Aug 19, 2010

Lummi Football

Sat, Aug 14, 2010, 1:20 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Time for hardball?

0 comments

Act of War or Act of Congress?

Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 2:50 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, 12:53 pm  //  Tip Johnson

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

0 comments

The Forsaken Constituents of Lummi Island

Mon, Jul 19, 2010, 12:20 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Taxation without representation

4 comments; last on Apr 16, 2011

Never Enough? Enough is Enough!

Mon, Jun 21, 2010, 5:40 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, 10:31 pm  //  Tip Johnson

I mean, come on!

3 comments; last on Jun 09, 2010

Five Minutes

Tue, Jun 01, 2010, 8:33 am  //  Tip Johnson

Oil Addiction: All Day Every Day

0 comments

Secret Deals - Stinkier and Stinkier

Sun, May 02, 2010, 5:31 pm  //  Tip Johnson

More problems with secret government

1 comments; last on May 03, 2010

Welcome to Bellingham, Arizona

Sat, May 01, 2010, 8:53 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, 1:23 am  //  Tip Johnson

Lummi officials and Lummi Island residents meet -Village to Village

2 comments; last on Feb 07, 2010

 

Election Info

County election results

State election results

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
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Governments

Bellingham

Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
State election results
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