And Starting in Gate…...

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Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 1:44 am  //  Ham Hayes

The Whatcom County Executive race is very interesting.  Whatever opinion you may have about the past performance of Pete Kremen no longer matters.  It is a horse race and no one knows the outcome.  Good times for political junkies and commentators, right?

But voters are going to be challenged to sort through the offerings.  There appear to be two huge issues, the environmental impact of the Gateway Terminal operations (say coal train if you wish) and jobs.  Will maintaining our quality of life win, or will rebuilding our depleted economy win?  Underlying these issues is an ideological debate as well, conservative values versus liberal values.  And if that doesn't add to our present divisiveness, then let's add urban versus rural interests to the mix.  

I think ultimately we are going to have to come up with a well engineered solution, both politically and technically.  I don't know what that looks like myself, but I'm going to vote for the person who appears to have the balanced perspective, experience, and wisdom to offer that well engineered solution.  Ideological palaver needs to be set aside.  Unfortunately, I expect we will see a lot of that palaver, if not from the candidates, then from other sources.  And I'm not minimizing the severity or importance of the environmental issues or the economic ones.  It is just that no one group or special interest has enough clout to subdue the other, hence expect pitched emotional battles.  And I say this knowing that local elected officials and we citizens have no outright vote on the Terminal.  We are and will continue to be challenged to bring about the best solution without benefit of the ballot box.  As such, we need leaders who can lead based on their ability to articulate and influence ideas, policies, and decisions without their "normal" tools.   

We are very fortunate to have four quality thoroughbreds in this race.  I hope there are many opportunities to hear their ideas and for voters to ask them questions.  We need an active media, active volunteers to put on debates, and a willingness of the candidates to debate each other.  My hopes may be higher than my expectations at this point, but I will look askance at candidates who run from the challenge of exchanging ideas in public.

To be honest, I do have a favorite, Tom Anderson.  What I said about debates still goes, especially for the benefit of undecided voters.  But I like the cut of the man.  Tom has a wealth of experience managing complex government and business issues from his 16-year stint as a public utilities district director.  He is also way ahead on the future prospects and problems of energy supply for our region.  Most important to me, he is known for his integrity and willingness to work with people who are on different sides of issues.  I think Tom will stand tall and he's my man.

So the gates are open. They are off and running!  May the best one win.

g.h.kirsch  //  Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 12:51 pm

Thanks, Ham, for opening the discussion.  Allow me, for the purpose of discussion, to disagree with a couple of statements you’ve made; which I understand were proffered with your usual effort at diplomacy.

“Will maintaining our quality of life win, or will rebuilding our depleted economy win?” 

This is a false choice; and not the real question.  I’d prefer, “Will we understand that maintaining our quality of life means rebuilding our traditional economy.”

In the terminology of my greener friends, conversion of resource lands, and their associated rural zones, to new residence is not a “sustainable” solution.  Residential development, construction, and land speculation will never be an “industry” just a temporary phenomenon.

“We are very fortunate to have four quality thoroughbreds in this race.”

Really, Ham, sometimes diplomacy can be practiced to a fault.  We’ve go one thoroughbred, one decent draft horse, a potential Seabiscuit, and a nag.

I agree, Tom Anderson is a very fine fellow.  And I too would be completely satisfied, should he somehow prevail.  I’ve spent a number of hours debating water law, and its applicability with Tom, and am always impressed with his integrity and knowledge; whether we agree or disagree.

Jack Louws, though I have no illusions about the weakness of his commitment to the traditional economy that’s critical to our quality of life, could be a definite improvement in the executive office. 

The nag in the race is Ericksen.  A fatuous political ideologue, all he’s learned in his life here is how to get elected and stay in office.  He’s Kremen reincarnate.  A man who political advancement, and retirement, is his predominate motivation.  To call him a “thoroughbred” is even a disservice to horse’s asses.

The mystery horse, of course, is David Stalheim.  And like the legendary little horse, if he could find the right handlers he would become a legend in Whatcom county. 

Undeniably the long-shot, Stalheim has the heart to make it as an underdog.  His success will depend on who he trusts.  But he’s blessed with the friendship of one great ally, Jean Melious.  Notwithstanding her lack of success against the status quo in the race for county council, she and David have undertaken great things for Whatcom county.

Larry Horowitz  //  Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 2:11 pm

Greg, thanks for pointing out the false choice between ?maintaining our quality of life and rebuilding our depleted economy.?

As noted economist and author Herman Daly wrote in ?For the Common Good?:

?The real economic base of a community ? consists of all those things that make it an attractive place to live, work, or to do business.  That means the economic base includes the quality of the natural environment, the richness of the local culture, the security and stability of the community, the quality of the public services and the public works infrastructure, and the quality of the workforce.  None of these things are provided by the commercial economy or produced for export.?

Ham Hayes  //  Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 11:16 pm

Greg and Larry, thanks for joining in. My framing the issues as either/or was intentional.  The proponents and opponents have already drawn the battle lines through their actions and responses. The stated opposition by Mayor Pike, is one example. 

Greg, your framing of the question could well be informative, but I’m not certain what you mean by “traditional” economy. Lumber and pulp? Maritime manufacturing? More aluminum ingots? I think we agree that we are having a hard time replacing the lost industrial jobs we once had which is likely the reason for a high level of polarization. And I’ll wager that agriculture is being stressed as well. Without a healthy economy, it is difficult to afford the quality of life we want. 

Hart Hodges pointed out several years ago, that Whatcom County has a disproportionate deficit of 20 to 45 year old people.  Relative wages are low in this county, and many of those people who we would expect to provide a quality workforce (ie that age group) leave for better opportunities. We do have a wonderful environment, with lots to attract people.  But I don’t see us attracting an adequate amount of new businesses to sustain ourselves. In my opinion, that’s the reality and we need address it.

Riley Sweeney  //  Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 11:28 am

I couldn’t agree more about the deficit of 20-45 year olds. So many people leave this community to try and make a living and don’t return until much later when they are established. Whatcom County should be a place to live out your whole life, not just the bookends.

And I know it will only get worse under that nag, Doug Ericksen.

Larry Horowitz  //  Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 2:42 pm


It?s been my experience that unless the problem is clearly defined, it?s difficult to adopt appropriate solutions.  How would you clearly define Whatcom County?s economic problem(s)?

Also, your statement about the need to attract new business in order to sustain ourselves sounds like the old mantra of ?grow or die?.  What about a ?steady-state? economy?  Is that not feasible for Whatcom County?

Rob Stratton  //  Sat, Jun 25, 2011, 6:47 am

Looks like no one there for me to vote for. I am so tired of the false “left” “right” paradigm that they so called “leaders” (they are representatives not leaders) want us to believe are the solution to all our woes, while they both move our governments locally and nationally toward the cliff of financial and tyrannical ruin.

David MacLeod  //  Fri, Jul 22, 2011, 1:49 pm

Rob Stratton,

Based on your comment, I would think Tom Anderson should get your vote.  Check out the following two articles:

Dark Horse: Why You Should Consider Tom Anderson for County Executive

by Tim Johnson, Cascadia Weekly
“Tom Anderson is ...informed by a deep respect and understanding of science and engineering principles. Those principles forbid him as a conservative from ignoring the realities of global climate change, the decline of cheap energy resources, and the destruction of resource lands without benefit to the local economy.

Anderson has a pleasing manner that conceals a quick and creative intellect. He is a storehouse of knowledge on natural resources and who controls them. He has a knack for understanding the very, very Big Picture without sacrificing a nimbleness that allows him to see and seize opportunity locally. Working with energy systems in the public sector only sharpened these gifts.”

+ Link

Anderson Seeks to Build Consensus, Community
by Tom Anderson, The Bellingham Herald

“...Communities are diverse entities, and a prosperous thriving community requires leadership that honors and appreciates that diversity while highlighting the values we share. We cannot afford, either financially or emotionally, the level of acrimony that exists in government today. We need effective leadership to empower individuals and communities to come together, work out solutions to shared problems, and take responsible action. My five-year tenure with the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center board solidified my commitment to leadership through empowerment, and proved to me that engaging even contentious stakeholders in problem solving creates the most productive and resilient solutions. Through this type of process, we will find mutually agreed-upon, long term solutions regarding some of the most contentious issues we face: our water, our economy and our jail….”

+ Link

And Starting in Gate…...

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 1:44 am  //  Ham Hayes

The Whatcom County Executive race

7 comments; last on Jul 22, 2011


Tue, Dec 21, 2010, 12:21 pm  //  Ham Hayes

Clouds or not, the eclipse was there

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In Harm’s Way

Tue, Dec 07, 2010, 3:37 pm  //  Ham Hayes

A moment to be grateful.


When will it end?

Mon, Nov 15, 2010, 5:17 pm  //  Ham Hayes

The next round of invasive security procedures is not too far away.

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Ya Gotta Love This Place

Tue, Nov 09, 2010, 2:17 pm  //  Ham Hayes

A Hidden Bellingham Gem


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Tsunami Alert - Election Predictions


The Way I See It - Time to change

Wed, Aug 11, 2010, 5:00 pm  //  Ham Hayes

Fear and attack-rhetoric are leading us in the wrong direction.

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And in the 40th we have…..

Mon, Aug 09, 2010, 2:49 pm  //  Ham Hayes

Candidates, o candidates - where art thou? Monday Updates

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40th District State Representative Pos 1 Primary - Tom Pasma’s Responses

Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 5:54 am  //  Ham Hayes

Tom answers our questions

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40th District State Representative Pos 2 Primary - Rep. Jeff Morris’ Responses

Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 5:50 am  //  Ham Hayes

Jeff answers our questions


40th District State Representative Pos 1 Primary - Chuck Carrell’s Respones

Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 5:48 am  //  Ham Hayes

Chuck answers our questions


The Way I See It - Mud resurrected

Wed, Jul 28, 2010, 5:39 am  //  Ham Hayes

It is time we gave “mud” back its good name.


The Way I See It - En Garde

Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 5:42 am  //  Ham Hayes

“We have lots of robberies.” As I reported last week, that was the apocalyptic statement by the investigating officer to our recent plight in St. Petersburg.


The Way I See It - From Russia with Love

Wed, Jul 14, 2010, 6:17 pm  //  Ham Hayes

Ham's final post on his travel comments from Russia.


The Way I See It - Heart and Gut

Wed, Jun 16, 2010, 5:56 am  //  Ham Hayes

Our society is out of its mind. Well, maybe not quite completely, but it needs to be.


The Way I See It - A long way to go

Wed, Jun 09, 2010, 9:35 pm  //  Ham Hayes

Success often comes in small steps spread over time. A recent article from the local Seattle office of the FBI underscores one of those moments, “SEX TRAFFICKING CONVICTIONS,…


The Way I See It – The Return of the Grail: Seek Truth. Speak It.

Wed, Jun 02, 2010, 5:22 am  //  Ham Hayes

The unfolding story through time and space in France

3 comments; last on May 19, 2010

The Way I See It - Flights of Fancy

Wed, May 05, 2010, 5:24 am  //  Ham Hayes

Ham is preparing for another fun filled trip by air.

1 comments; last on May 05, 2010

The Way I See It - Mandatory Citizenship

Wed, Apr 28, 2010, 5:54 am  //  Ham Hayes

Mandatory voting - Worth it, or too high a price ?

3 comments; last on Jun 09, 2010

The Way I See It - Blame Game

Wed, Apr 21, 2010, 11:20 am  //  Ham Hayes

Over-the-top cleric blames women for earthquakes.


The Way I See It - Self

Wed, Apr 14, 2010, 5:58 am  //  Ham Hayes

Procrastination, thy name is Self


The Way I See It - Tea Party on a roll

Wed, Apr 07, 2010, 5:58 am  //  Ham Hayes

The Tea Party reflects a major shift in citizen political participation.

7 comments; last on Apr 14, 2010

The Way I See It - Cranes and cows

Wed, Mar 31, 2010, 5:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

Sandhill Cranes: the Columbia River Basin's swallows of Capistrano


The Way I See It - Epic of Gilgamesh

Wed, Mar 24, 2010, 5:48 am  //  Ham Hayes

From the earliest known writings of humanity, we hear the voices of distressed peoples.

2 comments; last on Mar 29, 2010

Eagles - 2, Herons - 0

Sun, Mar 21, 2010, 5:45 am  //  Ham Hayes

If you are going to visit the heron nesting area at Post Point Lagoon in the near future, you are in for a pleasant surprise.


The Way I See It - Healthcare Reprise

Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 5:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

Public approval of Congress continues to slide and for good reason.


The Way I See It - Choose your poison

Wed, Mar 10, 2010, 5:49 am  //  Ham Hayes

How we, the public, choose to respond to growing polarization in our society is crucial.

1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2010

The Way I See It - The Fall of Science

Wed, Mar 03, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Enough has been revealed, written and said about “Climate-gate” for me to be alarmed.

7 comments; last on Mar 07, 2010

The Way I See It - Beware AHD

Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Hockey night in Canada may be replaced.

2 comments; last on Feb 25, 2010

The Way I See It - “I’ve got your back.”

Wed, Feb 17, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Leaders in government need to rethink their approach.


The Way I See It - Beauty or Beast?

Wed, Feb 10, 2010, 5:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

Unlike other species, we need more than basic survival strategies.

1 comments; last on Feb 11, 2010

The Way I See It—Quetzal Talk

Wed, Feb 03, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Ham is vacationing in Costa Rica. He sends us his observations.


The Way I See It - Death by Secrecy

Wed, Jan 27, 2010, 5:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

Issues are no longer relevant when secrecy is the name of the game.

1 comments; last on Jan 27, 2010

The Way I See It - Upheaval!

Wed, Jan 20, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

The earthquake in Haiti is a new reminder that we must also be prepared.


The Way I See It - Don’t Eat That!

Wed, Jan 13, 2010, 5:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

What will New York's proposed salt reduction laws do for us?


The Way I See It - Flying Blind

Wed, Jan 06, 2010, 5:59 am  //  Ham Hayes

The screening of several million airline passengers a day is a huge task--and not being very well done.

2 comments; last on Jan 09, 2010

The Way I See It - Decade “Change”

Wed, Dec 30, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Paul Krugman of the New York Times calls the now departing decade, “Decade Zero.” My wife and I are traveling this week to visit three of our six…

1 comments; last on Dec 30, 2009

The Way I See It - Be Thankful

Wed, Dec 23, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

I recently heard Nicholas Kristof speak on the oppression of women and girls around the world. He and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, have just published a brilliant book,…


The Way I See It - Season’s Greetings

Wed, Dec 16, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

It’s the Season. As a country and a society we come from many diverse cultures and belief systems. And few other countries in the world protect the right…


The Way I See It - Sad days in Congress

Wed, Dec 09, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Most companies depend on customer satisfaction to stay in business. If our U.S. Congress were a company, it would be in deep trouble on that count. Few would…

10 comments; last on Dec 12, 2009

The Way I See It - The gift that keeps on giving

Wed, Dec 02, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

A news article appeared just before Thanksgiving on banning land mines. The Obama administration has decided not to sign the Mine Ban Treaty after recently completing a policy…

1 comments; last on Dec 02, 2009

The Way I See It - Los Angeles Resurrected

Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

I’ve been to Los Angeles many times. I even remember the Red and Yellow electric street cars that served the city from after World War II until…


The Way I See It - Healthcare, A New Lesson

Wed, Nov 11, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

We certainly do need healthcare reform. The “debate” in the House has been a fascinating and conflicting mix of ideology, political power, idealism, facts, pragmatism and occasiona

21 comments; last on Nov 14, 2009

The Way I See It - The State

Wed, Nov 04, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Few of us advocate for the suppression of the human spirit. In fact we would be shocked if others characterized us as miserly, mean spirited or oppressive.…

1 comments; last on Nov 04, 2009

The Way I See It - Protect the Net

Wed, Oct 28, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

We are looking at the all but certain demise of printed newspapers, and the conversion of TV and cable news into entertainment. Our last, best hope for getting…


The Way I See It - Compassion, Dead or Alive?

Wed, Oct 21, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Compassion: We get it, and then we don’t get it. Merriam-Webster defines compassion as the “sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.


The Way I See It - Port Reform

Wed, Oct 14, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

It is time to change the guard at the Port Commission. Our two incumbents running for re-election just don’t get it. Commissioners Walker and Smith have been in…

1 comments; last on Oct 16, 2009

The Way I See It - The Elephant in the Room

Wed, Oct 07, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

Healthcare and other socio-political dueling monologues are beginning to wear thin. Not because the topics aren’t worthy of our consideration. Far from it. What is discouraging is how

3 comments; last on Oct 29, 2009

The Way I See It - Hoofing through France

Wed, Sep 30, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

One good way to better understand our society and culture is to visit another country. Many questions and a little bit of trepidation can arise before and during…


The Way I See It - Lessons from Children

Wed, Sep 09, 2009, 9:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

You know you’ve failed when your action of last resort is to attack. Attacking is, in fact, a defensive response to the inability to persuade others to a…


The Way I See It - The Tsunami Is Here

Wed, Sep 02, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

There is a sense that in recent years our political and social discourses have become meaner. Our political system is increasingly seen as being more about gaining or…

2 comments; last on Sep 07, 2009

The Way I See It

Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Ham Hayes

The challenger for the Port Commissioner District 1 seat, John Blethen, has an uphill race ahead of him.
John is certainly to be congratulated for an excellent…

1 comments; last on Aug 26, 2009

Update on Port & Council Public Process

Fri, Apr 24, 2009, 1:25 am  //  Ham Hayes

Posted Thursday, April 23, 11:25 pm

This last Wednesday I reported my observations of the Monday, April 20 joint Port-City Council meeting. I expressed my concern that some council…

7 comments; last on Apr 24, 2009

An American Poem

Tue, Feb 03, 2009, 12:54 pm  //  Ham Hayes

Tax cheats, lobbyists and crooks
Lined up at your door.
Struggle, struggle, cook the books
How ya gonna get off the floor

Come on Prez
Toss the bums out
Clean up this mess

4 comments; last on Feb 05, 2009

If Darwin Rode a Bike

Sat, Jan 10, 2009, 11:08 am  //  Ham Hayes

There is a lot of grit and fortitude on Bellingham's streets this winter. Not the grit deposited by COB sanders, but the dedicated bicyclists who ride in rain…


Politically Incorrect

Fri, Dec 19, 2008, 12:22 pm  //  Ham Hayes

You probably can't be anymore politically incorrect than this. I would like to thank ALL of our elected officials for their efforts this year. I know, I…

2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2008

Waterfront Triple Bottom Line - Lose, Lose, Lose

Tue, Nov 11, 2008, 11:14 am  //  Ham Hayes

OK, citizen readers...what's going on here? Are we witnessing a new war, right here in our backyard? It would appear so, and of course, we citizens are funding…

2 comments; last on Nov 11, 2008

A Time to Choose?

Tue, Aug 19, 2008, 11:03 am  //  Ham Hayes

Obama's campaign may have reached its zenith. The emerging story about his position on partial and live-birth abortion could be the unraveling of his reach for history. A…

12 comments; last on Aug 31, 2008

Sue Me, Sue You, Soufle

Thu, Jul 17, 2008, 6:11 pm  //  Ham Hayes

At the Port of Bellingham meeting this week, the Commissioners voted to sue the City over failure to resolve a water connection issue at the airport. It would…

7 comments; last on Jul 18, 2008

20 times 1.5 is?

Mon, Jun 09, 2008, 10:52 am  //  Ham Hayes

I had to travel a long way to become mindful of the importance of math. Not calculus nor trig nor geometry….just math. With grandkids in tow this week,…

3 comments; last on Jun 10, 2008


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