Face It

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Wed, May 20, 2009, 10:12 am  //  g.h.kirsch

"... blah, blah, blah, blah ..."

In the early days of the nation, back in 1789 at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, a woman approached Ben Franklin and asked, "So what will we have Doctor Frankiln, a monarchy or a republic?"

To which Franklin insightfully replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

The question remains today. Are we up to governing ourselves?

We needn't look at the terrible shape our national government has taken to be seized by despair.

Unheralded, now for several days, finally Dan McShane predictably announced he intends to sit on the county council again. Missing was the hoped for cry of "Draft!"

Apparently our local paper doesn't classify such information as newsworthy. And they are probably right.

Not too long ago the Herald's editorial board made a cogent plea for "new blood" in local government. But instead we will apparently be presented a bunch of old faces in some game of musical chairs.

We'll have Laurie Caskey-Schreiber (already 8yrs in office) seeking Seth Fleetwoods position. While Seth attempts to move into Louise (finally retiring after decades) Bjornson's city slot. And of course Dan (already 8yrs in office) back from the grave, attempting the Lazarus thing to restart his campaign for full time government employment.

What's wrong with this picture? It appears that in all the county races there's a likelihood that every candidate could run unopposed. Well you won't get "new blood" out of that turnip cart!

If we are to "keep it" and fulfill the democratic aspirations that came out of the Age of Reason, we need to do better than this.

Why are there no electable alternatives to these old faces? Has the system become so corrupted and taken under the control of a few partisans that their grip on local government can't be broken?

Surely there is nothing so outstanding about the performance of these incumbents to give them a lock on an election.

Aside from the fact they have given the community their time and service, few if any of our problems have been solved. And they have put forward few if any proposals that might.

So who will accept the call of duty and put a new face on county government?

Tip Johnson  //  Wed, May 20, 2009, 11:32 am

Go for it, Greg! Running for office is far and away the best way to get a piece of the community’s mind, insight into the nuts and bolts of the issues and a good sense of what it takes to be effective in a (democratic) republic. Think of the things you could accomplish on the County Council.  It’s not too late to put your money where your mouth is and file for office!

On a bright note, there are four challengers to the two Port Commission seats up for election this August.  The two top candidates for both seats will proceed to the general election in November.

I cannot imagine a more efficient way to take Whatcom County forward than to oust the two long-term incumbent commission curmudgeons in the August primary. I can’t think of a single better way to improve government or protect taxpayers of Whatcom County.

So there is not a wholesale deficit of candidates.  They will generally emerge when issues reach crisis proportions.  A lack of challengers for county seats just means that most folks aren’t as unhappy with their performance as you are.  That’s exactly why you should be considering filing, Greg.

The real problem is the difficulty challengers have unseating incumbents. The incredible shrinking Herald will be even less equipped to address the issues than they ever didn’t. Our local radio monopoly will, as with all corporate media, hew to the status quo. But perhaps Port issues have finally hit the front burner.  Lord knows they have been simmering on the back burner long enough.

For instance, the last batch of commissioners got so old they had to retire, having served for more than three decades!  That’s too long.  The commissioners up for election this August are already pushing half of that term. That’s too long, too.

So folks, lets get busy and repair the Port before they bury all the toxins, sell off our waterfront, wreck downtown, foreclose on opportunities for good paying jobs and saddle taxpayers with an interminable bill for their waterfront real estate pipe dream.  Un-elect two incumbent commissioners this August and save the waterfront from disaster. Voters will save a lot of campaign contribution money by doing it in the August primary.

Craig Mayberry  //  Thu, May 21, 2009, 1:12 am

This situation is one of the reasons I strongly advocate public campaign financing.  The task of running for office is daunting, especially when having to take on established candidates.  At least if it were a fair financial fight it would be worthwhile for more to attempt to run for office.  The worst part of campaigning is raising money, especially if you do not have the established networks that incumbents, and public campaign financing allows candidates to focus on voters and not special interests and fund raising.

Sharon Crozier  //  Thu, May 21, 2009, 11:40 am

What would make anyone think that many people haven’t approached Dan McShane? What does a “draft” have to look like for you?

And how does a cartoon of a presumed potential candidate going “blah blah blah” encourage new blood? It more likely warns that, should their hats be thrown into the ring, the bloodthirsty will jump all over them.

We should thank Dan for caring enough to go through all the crap that running for office presents. Dan—along with Laurie—did more for the environment than anyone before or since. Scary stuff, eh?

Tip Johnson  //  Thu, May 21, 2009, 3:35 pm

Sharon is absolutely correct.  Thanks, Dan!

Robert Ashworth  //  Sat, May 30, 2009, 3:46 am

Ken Mann would be a new face on county council even though his face has been seen before on (I think) county planning commission. 

I remember meeting Ken, only once a few years back.  It was at an event called “Bike With Your Politician” sponsored by (I think) Mount Baker Bicycle Club. 

It’s an event held in May each year where local politicians, those running for office and the general public are invited to attend a bike ride through Bellingham.  A good way to see the street system from a bicyclist’s perspective.  Something very useful for politicians.  Barbara Brenner, currently on County Council, and a few other politicians have come along on that ride in years past.

It’s something more politicians could benefit from.

Face It

Wed, May 20, 2009, 10:12 am  //  g.h.kirsch

In the early days of the nation, back in 1789 at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, a woman approached Ben Franklin and asked, "So what will we…

5 comments; last on May 30, 2009

Shocking Revelation: President Impotent

Thu, May 14, 2009, 7:28 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, asks, “What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find…

4 comments; last on May 16, 2009

Paper Dreams in Fairhaven

Next door to Village Books

Coming Up - The Weather

Thu, May 14, 2009, 1:08 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Events have forced those who earlier warned of global warming to modulate their hysteria and instead ring the alarm for catastrophic “climate change” instead.

Why the nuance? If

2 comments; last on May 14, 2009

Bait and Switch

Wed, May 06, 2009, 12:01 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

While after a hundred days the Obama administration may be spinnin' and grinnin', the rising chorus of criticism on the left evidences the disillusionment and disenchantment growing among…

4 comments; last on May 07, 2009

Then and Now, Now and Then

Mon, May 04, 2009, 1:25 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

For those who still remember the idealism of their youth, this link will take you back to Kent State Univ

3 comments; last on May 06, 2009

Doug vs Doug

Sat, May 02, 2009, 2:04 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Clearly, Doug Karlberg's announcement, he'd be a candidate for Doug Smith's position at the Port of Bellingham, was the highlight of the week for local political junkies.


6 comments; last on May 04, 2009

Some Piggies More Equal Than Others

Mon, Apr 27, 2009, 9:21 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio reports passing cap & trade legislation is business as usual in Washington, not always pretty to watch.

"In exchange for votes to pass a controversia


Osgood Wonders

Wed, Apr 22, 2009, 12:38 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Evidencing the emerging understanding that not all is right with the theories of global warming doomsayers, the completely mainstream Charles Osgood offers this in support of skeptics backing…

4 comments; last on Apr 22, 2009

Global Warming Warnings

Sun, Apr 19, 2009, 4:54 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

As we race towards a future fraught with economic and environmental uncertainty; and as global forces pull at our cherished freedoms and political institutions, at the risk of…

5 comments; last on Apr 20, 2009

Nader Counterpunches

Fri, Apr 17, 2009, 6:52 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

The eternally committed Ralph Nader continues to follow and speak frankly about the affairs important to average Americans.

In an article today at Counterpunch, The Greedsters

2 comments; last on Apr 18, 2009

She Said He Said

Tue, Apr 14, 2009, 3:58 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Mark Russell used to joke, “If you call your opponent a politician, it's grounds for libel.”

But I must admit I was amazed as the minions of the McShane…

7 comments; last on May 21, 2009

Draft McShane ???

Sat, Apr 04, 2009, 7:58 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Remember when Tricky Dick told reporters in California, “You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore.”

Remember when Dan McShane told us, after a brutally negative campaign for…

2 comments; last on Apr 10, 2009

A Convenient Half-Truth

Sun, Mar 29, 2009, 11:14 am  //  g.h.kirsch

What do you know, and what do you take on faith? Who do you trust, and should you trust them? Do you believe that failing to reduce CO2…

11 comments; last on Mar 31, 2009

Outa Sight & Outa Their Minds

Tue, Mar 24, 2009, 12:35 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

The good news for ordinary American taxpayers just keeps coming. Monday's formal announcement of Treasury Secretary Geithner's oft floated It-Ain't-Really-a-Bailout Plan thrilled Wall Street.
7 comments; last on Mar 27, 2009

Still Moron Money

Sun, Mar 22, 2009, 10:03 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would buy $300 billion of long-term Treasurys over the next six months. The Fed also announced plans to buy an additional $750…


Moron Money

Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 6:25 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

"I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers…

6 comments; last on Mar 17, 2009

Blind, Deaf and Dumb

Sun, Mar 08, 2009, 1:28 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Kremen County has re-issued and revised its earlier Determination of Non-significance for the road to Vineyard Development. And as predicted (surprise, surprise) again determ


Cap or Trade

Tue, Mar 03, 2009, 11:49 am  //  g.h.kirsch

There's a disturbing pattern emerging in the current administration's approach to national problems.

Last week they proposed to saddle the citizenry with the costs of salvaging a priva

1 comments; last on Mar 04, 2009

Banking and Revolution

Sat, Feb 21, 2009, 6:24 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

It is difficult to appreciate the momentousness of the moment at hand as the struggle to resolve matters swirling in the banking sector come to the critical pass.…

6 comments; last on Feb 24, 2009

Self Fulfilling Profits

Thu, Feb 19, 2009, 11:07 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Our friend over at The Syre Times continues with great circularity to confound the growth debate. And what better way to begin than misstating the position of those…

3 comments; last on Feb 20, 2009

Give a Damn for the Greenback Dollar

Mon, Feb 16, 2009, 8:19 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Lest you think our current financial crisis is unprecedented, it's not. These crises have been occurring since the Dark Ages; probably earlier. They always are tied to the…

6 comments; last on Feb 17, 2009

The Numbers Gamesmanship

Sat, Feb 14, 2009, 1:35 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Over at what some call The Syre Times, this week the editor offered up some gristle that is pretty hard to swallow.

Discussing the competing visions for population…

6 comments; last on Feb 19, 2009

Not Too Big to Fail

Tue, Feb 10, 2009, 11:25 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

The President's dynamic duo, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, tell us, “governments make poor bank managers.” Geithner, our brand spankin' new Secretary of the Treasury, goes on. “W


From the Pollyanna News Service

Fri, Feb 06, 2009, 7:24 am  //  g.h.kirsch

The good news in Washington this week is the emerging bipartisan antipathy for taxation.

Our investigative team has discovered a new Democratic program that was being quietly led…


Just An Insignificant Little Road

Mon, Feb 02, 2009, 8:57 am  //  g.h.kirsch

While it went almost unheralded Friday, Kremen & Co temporarily backed away from their earlier position that driving a road into the forest on Squalicum Mountain, to…

4 comments; last on Feb 03, 2009

From the Pollyanna News Service

Fri, Jan 30, 2009, 9:28 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Parts of the economy are staging a turnaround. While housing and employment numbers tank, the good news is a leading indicator of future economic well being has turned…

1 comments; last on Jan 30, 2009

From the Pollyanna News Service

Tue, Jan 27, 2009, 7:28 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

The stock market rallied today after the President, in the role of Commander in Chief, announced the military services will be hiring six hundred thousand to one million…

1 comments; last on Jan 29, 2009

Spanky Runs for Mayor

Sat, Jan 24, 2009, 9:35 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

In this episode, Spanky's about to create some mischief and mayhem for Mr. Mayor. The City Council made Spanky their official leader and no sooner done than it…

6 comments; last on Jan 31, 2009

Fleetwood Back ?

Mon, Jan 19, 2009, 8:37 am  //  g.h.kirsch

At large member Seth Fleetwood is contemplating running for reelection to the the county council. Which may mean deciding, running for what.

The two most important rules in…

3 comments; last on Jan 20, 2009

The Squalicum Stimulus

Sun, Jan 11, 2009, 12:03 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

I'm skeptical of the federal stimulus program. This isn't to say we don't need to rescue the economy and take dramatic action. I'm just a pessimist when it…

7 comments; last on Jan 13, 2009

Confidence or Contempt?

Sun, Jan 04, 2009, 7:07 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Yes, that's them. Our poster boys for term limits; surely prima facie evidence that length in office should never be considered a measure of public service.

If you were…

2 comments; last on Jan 06, 2009

Remember Lake Whatcom?

Mon, Dec 29, 2008, 1:13 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

At the risk of displeasing friend and foe alike, may I ask what has been accomplished this past year to fix Lake Whatcom and protect Bellingham's water supply?…

12 comments; last on Jan 02, 2009

Of Princes and Prostitutes

Sun, Dec 14, 2008, 3:45 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Forty years ago, during the convention in Chicago, someone explained to me, success in politics often requires rising above your principles. In the face of the Daley machine,…

5 comments; last on Dec 16, 2008

Survival of the Fattest

Sun, Dec 07, 2008, 7:54 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

For a guy who promised change, pledged a definite end to the mess in Iraq , and lambasted his opponents for not stating a timetable to withdraw our…

9 comments; last on Dec 10, 2008

Our Savior Who Art in Washington

Sat, Nov 29, 2008, 3:33 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Again, I'm reminded, the more they talk of change, the more things remain the same. For all the hope and hype that was mixed together to bring forth…

12 comments; last on Dec 02, 2008

...And Four To Go

Fri, Nov 21, 2008, 1:08 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Many, many years ago, when I was much, much younger, Bellingham's port commissioners were a powerful act. Little took place in the local business world that escaped these…

2 comments; last on Nov 22, 2008


Fri, Nov 14, 2008, 4:59 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Following a number of current issues in our community of late, I've come to see a common thread running through them. In each instance there is an actor…

5 comments; last on Nov 15, 2008

Nelson and Crawford Push Re-conveyance Through

Wed, Oct 22, 2008, 8:47 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Kudos to the little man behind the curtain - our Wizard of Ooze. It was masterful how he outmaneuvered Weimer, Fleetwood and Brenner with a clever misdirection play…

1 comments; last on Oct 22, 2008


Mon, Oct 20, 2008, 12:59 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

One last thing before the County Council caves to political expediency and the lawyers take over. Let's talk about who will be paying for Pete Kremen and Mich…

9 comments; last on Oct 27, 2008

Is It or Isn’t It; Are They or Aren’t They?

Sun, Oct 12, 2008, 2:40 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Apparently Whatcom County is adopting a new policy regarding the use of its forestlands. The county is about to reverse itself and no longer prohibit activities incompatible with…

4 comments; last on Oct 17, 2008

Still the Big Hurdle for Reconveyance

Tue, Sep 30, 2008, 5:19 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

From the outset of discussion of the proposal to reconvey forest lands to the county for a new park I have written that it is necessary to first…

1 comments; last on Oct 01, 2008

Is Global Warning a Myth ?

Tue, Sep 30, 2008, 3:04 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

As we race towards a future fraught with economic and environmental uncertainty; and as global forces pull at our cherished freedoms and political institutions, at the risk of…


Outa Sight & Outa Their Minds

Tue, Sep 30, 2008, 11:27 am  //  g.h.kirsch

The good news for ordinary American taxpayers just keeps coming. Monday's formal announcement of Treasury Secretary Geithner's oft floated It-ain't-really-a-Bailout Plan thrilled Wall Street. Why wo


Outa Sight & Outa Their Minds

Tue, Sep 30, 2008, 11:27 am  //  g.h.kirsch

The good news for ordinary American taxpayers just keeps coming. Monday's formal announcement of Treasury Secretary Geithner's oft floated It-ain't-really-a-Bailout Plan thrilled Wall Street. Why wo


And now for something completely different

Thu, Sep 25, 2008, 8:34 am  //  g.h.kirsch

As I listened to The Great Leader explain our national predicament last night I heard two things.

First, we the people are in tremendous jeopardy, and face a…

4 comments; last on Sep 27, 2008


Sat, Sep 06, 2008, 11:10 am  //  g.h.kirsch

While hyping a claim to be the agent of change and reform, it appears the maverick's minions missed the message. In another example of the rising price of…

4 comments; last on Sep 08, 2008

Homeward Bound - Outward Bound

Wed, Aug 27, 2008, 8:15 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

The City Club discussion of Bellingham's deteriorating water supply today wasn't much, but it was a start. Perhaps the most to be taken away from the gathering was…

5 comments; last on Sep 03, 2008

High Noon At The Not So OK Coral

Sat, Aug 23, 2008, 7:24 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

This Wednesday at the City Club Bellingham's mayor and the County Executive may begin to address the failing condition of Lake Whatcom. But again, they may not. Joining…

3 comments; last on Aug 25, 2008


Thu, Aug 14, 2008, 3:23 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

What's a county council to make of it? One year its largest city asks for thousands of acres to accommodate its growth, hardly a year later it's declining…


The Park in Reality

Wed, Jul 30, 2008, 4:23 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Rand Jack, long associated with the Whatcom Land Trust and its organizers, has published what he feels are compelling reasons for the County Council to approve and fund…

5 comments; last on Jul 31, 2008

Posting & Pandering

Sat, Jul 26, 2008, 11:31 am  //  g.h.kirsch

The turnout and turnaround that took place Tuesday at the County Council was interesting from another perspective. After days and weeks of apparently strong public opposition on the…

6 comments; last on Jul 27, 2008

How Crime Pays: The Neo Con

Sat, Jul 19, 2008, 1:29 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

For several decades now we have dismantled the system of restrictions on wealth thought necessary to prevent economic catastrophe like the one that befell us in the early…

2 comments; last on Jul 19, 2008

Deja vu All Over Again

Mon, Jun 30, 2008, 3:33 am  //  g.h.kirsch

No matter how one hopes things will change, things remain the same. Bellingham wants the county to curb development in the watershed, but can't seem to stop allowing…

2 comments; last on Jul 05, 2008

Who’ll Stop the Raid

Mon, Jun 16, 2008, 11:33 am  //  g.h.kirsch

While the Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District races to expand its infrastructure to serve sprawling development on the north shore of the lake, the King County Superior…

2 comments; last on Jun 19, 2008

THE LAKE & ECOLOGY; Can’t Have One Without The Other

Mon, May 26, 2008, 9:51 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Why all the hubbub about building moratoria in the Lake Whatcom watershed? You can't build or subdivide without adequate water, and the entire watershed is closed to new…

1 comments; last on Jun 01, 2008

Saving the Lake

Tue, May 20, 2008, 1:08 am  //  g.h.kirsch

Another important step towards dealing with the pollution of Lake Whatcom was taken tonight. The mayor and city council have thrown down the gauntlet to Pete Kremen and…

14 comments; last on Jun 01, 2008

A Park for Pete’s Sake

Fri, May 02, 2008, 5:37 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

To now, the discussion about creating a park in the watershed has focused on the benefit for water quality in Lake Whatcom that will come from eliminating forestry…

13 comments; last on May 10, 2008

The Merger; Second Thoughts Anyone?

Mon, Apr 28, 2008, 9:08 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

Listening to the discussion of a possible merger between Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District and Bellingham at City Council this afternoon was like returning to those wild…

3 comments; last on May 12, 2008

Parks and More Important Things

Sat, Apr 26, 2008, 2:41 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

It's been an interesting week for watershed watchers. The growing Squalicum community chose to continue the fight to stop Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District's expansion plans. And…

2 comments; last on Apr 29, 2008

You don’t know what you got till it’s gone

Sat, Mar 29, 2008, 8:37 pm  //  g.h.kirsch

It's time for straight answers to critical questions relative to converting a large portion of the watershed from forestry to a park. If you're on the fence, mull…

15 comments; last on Apr 07, 2008


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