And Starting in Gate…...

Permalink +

Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 2:44 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, 1:51 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, 3:11 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  //  Tue, Jun 14, 2011, 12:16 am

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, 12:28 pm

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, 3:42 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, 7:47 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, 2:49 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…...

The Whatcom County Executive race

Ham Hayes
Mon, Jun 13, 2011, 2:44 am
7 comments; last on Jul 22, 2011


Clouds or not, the eclipse was there

Ham Hayes
Tue, Dec 21, 2010, 1:21 pm
1 comments; last on Dec 21, 2010

In Harm’s Way

A moment to be grateful.

Ham Hayes
Tue, Dec 07, 2010, 4:37 pm

Reader paid for ads. Click to see all choices.

When will it end?

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

Ham Hayes
Mon, Nov 15, 2010, 6:17 pm
2 comments; last on Nov 19, 2010

Ya Gotta Love This Place

A Hidden Bellingham Gem

Ham Hayes
Tue, Nov 09, 2010, 3:17 pm

The Way I See It - Predictions

Tsunami Alert - Election Predictions

Ham Hayes
Sun, Oct 17, 2010, 7:01 am

The Way I See It - Time to change

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Aug 11, 2010, 6:00 pm
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2010

And in the 40th we have…..

Candidates, o candidates - where art thou? Monday Updates

Ham Hayes
Mon, Aug 09, 2010, 3:49 pm
2 comments; last on Aug 04, 2010

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

Tom answers our questions

Ham Hayes
Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 6:54 am
1 comments; last on Aug 08, 2010

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

Jeff answers our questions

Ham Hayes
Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 6:50 am

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

Chuck answers our questions

Ham Hayes
Fri, Aug 06, 2010, 6:48 am

The Way I See It - Mud resurrected

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jul 28, 2010, 6:39 am

The Way I See It - En Garde

“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.

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 6:42 am

The Way I See It - From Russia with Love

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jul 14, 2010, 7:17 pm

The Way I See It - Heart and Gut

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jun 16, 2010, 6:56 am

The Way I See It - A long way to go

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,…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jun 09, 2010, 10:35 pm

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

The unfolding story through time and space in France

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jun 02, 2010, 6:22 am
3 comments; last on May 19, 2010

The Way I See It - Flights of Fancy

Ham is preparing for another fun filled trip by air.

Ham Hayes
Wed, May 05, 2010, 6:24 am
1 comments; last on May 06, 2010

The Way I See It - Mandatory Citizenship

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Apr 28, 2010, 6:54 am
3 comments; last on Jun 09, 2010

The Way I See It - Blame Game

Over-the-top cleric blames women for earthquakes.

Ham Hayes
Wed, Apr 21, 2010, 12:20 pm

The Way I See It - Self

Procrastination, thy name is Self

Ham Hayes
Wed, Apr 14, 2010, 6:58 am

The Way I See It - Tea Party on a roll

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Apr 07, 2010, 6:58 am
7 comments; last on Apr 14, 2010

The Way I See It - Cranes and cows

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Mar 31, 2010, 6:59 am

The Way I See It - Epic of Gilgamesh

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Mar 24, 2010, 6:48 am
2 comments; last on Mar 30, 2010

Eagles - 2, Herons - 0

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.

Ham Hayes
Sun, Mar 21, 2010, 6:45 am

The Way I See It - Healthcare Reprise

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 6:59 am

The Way I See It - Choose your poison

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Mar 10, 2010, 6:49 am
1 comments; last on Mar 11, 2010

The Way I See It - The Fall of Science

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Mar 03, 2010, 7:00 am
7 comments; last on Mar 08, 2010

The Way I See It - Beware AHD

Hockey night in Canada may be replaced.

Ham Hayes
Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 7:00 am
2 comments; last on Feb 26, 2010

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

Leaders in government need to rethink their approach.

Ham Hayes
Wed, Feb 17, 2010, 7:00 am

The Way I See It - Beauty or Beast?

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Feb 10, 2010, 6:59 am
1 comments; last on Feb 11, 2010

The Way I See It—Quetzal Talk

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Feb 03, 2010, 7:00 am

The Way I See It - Death by Secrecy

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jan 27, 2010, 6:59 am
1 comments; last on Jan 27, 2010

The Way I See It - Upheaval!

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jan 20, 2010, 7:00 am

The Way I See It - Don’t Eat That!

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jan 13, 2010, 6:59 am

The Way I See It - Flying Blind

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Jan 06, 2010, 6:59 am
2 comments; last on Jan 09, 2010

The Way I See It - Decade “Change”

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Dec 30, 2009, 9:00 am
1 comments; last on Dec 31, 2009

The Way I See It - Be Thankful

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,…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Dec 23, 2009, 9:00 am

The Way I See It - Season’s Greetings

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Dec 16, 2009, 9:00 am

The Way I See It - Sad days in Congress

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Dec 09, 2009, 9:00 am
10 comments; last on Dec 12, 2009

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

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Dec 02, 2009, 9:00 am
1 comments; last on Dec 02, 2009

The Way I See It - Los Angeles Resurrected

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 9:00 am

The Way I See It - Healthcare, A New Lesson

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Nov 11, 2009, 9:00 am
21 comments; last on Nov 14, 2009

The Way I See It - The State

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.…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Nov 04, 2009, 9:00 am
1 comments; last on Nov 04, 2009

The Way I See It - Protect the Net

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Oct 28, 2009, 9:00 am

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

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.

Ham Hayes
Wed, Oct 21, 2009, 9:00 am

The Way I See It - Port Reform

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Oct 14, 2009, 9:00 am
1 comments; last on Oct 16, 2009

The Way I See It - The Elephant in the Room

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

Ham Hayes
Wed, Oct 07, 2009, 9:00 am
3 comments; last on Oct 29, 2009

The Way I See It - Hoofing through France

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Sep 30, 2009, 9:00 am

The Way I See It - Lessons from Children

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Sep 09, 2009, 10:00 am

The Way I See It - The Tsunami Is Here

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Sep 02, 2009, 9:00 am
2 comments; last on Sep 07, 2009

The Way I See It

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…

Ham Hayes
Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 9:00 am
1 comments; last on Aug 26, 2009

Update on Port & Council Public Process

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…

Ham Hayes
Fri, Apr 24, 2009, 2:25 am
7 comments; last on Apr 25, 2009

An American Poem

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

Ham Hayes
Tue, Feb 03, 2009, 1:54 pm
4 comments; last on Feb 06, 2009

If Darwin Rode a Bike

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…

Ham Hayes
Sat, Jan 10, 2009, 12:08 pm

Politically Incorrect

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…

Ham Hayes
Fri, Dec 19, 2008, 1:22 pm
2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2008

Waterfront Triple Bottom Line - Lose, Lose, Lose

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…

Ham Hayes
Tue, Nov 11, 2008, 12:14 pm
2 comments; last on Nov 11, 2008

A Time to Choose?

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…

Ham Hayes
Tue, Aug 19, 2008, 12:03 pm
12 comments; last on Aug 31, 2008

Sue Me, Sue You, Soufle

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…

Ham Hayes
Thu, Jul 17, 2008, 7:11 pm
7 comments; last on Jul 19, 2008

20 times 1.5 is?

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,…

Ham Hayes
Mon, Jun 09, 2008, 11:52 am
3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2008


We Thank Our Sponsors

Click to See All Sponsors

About NWCitizen

Donations maintain site

Our writers
Thru the years

League of Women Voters

Calendar of Events

Home page

Local Online News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Cascadia Weekly
Coal Stop
Ferndale Record
KPLU fm radio
Latte Republic
Lynden Tribune
Noisy Waters
Northern Light
Seattle Times
Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut C. Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Community Wise Bham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Powder River Basin R. C.
RE Sources
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice

Our Governments

- Whatcom County

Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US House
US Senate
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State
Whatcom COG

NWCitizen 1995-2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
EPIC World Photos
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?

Local Leisure

Adventures NW

Bellingham Wins
Entertainment NNW
Recreation Northwest

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The
Change The Mascot
Common Dreams
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Drudge Report
Edge of Sports
Foreign Policy in Focus
Gulf News
Huffington Post
Innocence Project
Irish Times
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Sea Shepherd
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
War and Piece
Washington Votes

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Register

Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Jack Petree
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Protect Bellingham Parks
Sweeney Politics
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders