Charter Commission Tricks

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Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 4:30 pm  //  John Servais

Whatcom County Charter Review Commission Meeting this evening, 6 p.m., Monday, July 6, 322 N. Commercial - the County Annex building, kitty corner from city hall

The conservative majority has shown their contempt for democracy and fair process with their tricky and clever moves.  

In two hours, the commission will hold their last meeting.  It may well be a very short one as the conservative majority has shown their comfort with dirty tricks.  On Thursday, July 2, Ben Elenbaas, the chair of the commission, suddenly scheduled a “special” meeting for this evening, Monday, July 6. Since Friday, July 3, was a legal holiday, he actually did it with the shortest possible legal notice. 

By doing this, Elenbaas tricked two liberal commission members into taking vacations this weekend, through today. Thus, they are out of town for this surprise meeting.

What has not been reported is that there will be no public comment time at this evening's meeting.  Check out the agenda here

The real losers in this are the more reasonable conservative swing votes.  By eliminating at least two of the liberal votes from tonight’s meeting, the swing votes are powerless.   Thus, the more conservative minority can push through the final ballot measures for submission to the County Council. 

There is still a July 13 meeting scheduled but it will be cancelled tonight.  This will be the final meeting.  Look over that agenda for clues to their plan.  The July 13 meeting would have had a full debate and the full commission voting on the final measures to present for the County Council meeting on July 21.  That is what Ben Elenbaas had tricked the liberals into believing.  You can bet he made sure his conservatives knew not to plan vacations over the long 4th of July weekend.

Tomorrow’s County Council meeting will be a circus. Many will be there to protest this violation of fair process. The County Council should take a very critical approach to the forwarded ballot measures. 

So - a surprise, short, one-legal-day notice and no public comment.  Two tricks aimed at minimizing open public process.  These commissioners say they are putting forth measures that will increase fairness in our democracy.  We should question both their motives and integrity.

Walter Haugen  //  Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 6:46 pm

The surprise here is that this caught people flat-footed. The so-called “progressives” still don’t give the rightwing whackos enough credibility for their ground game. However, the “progressives” and “liberals” will likely win anyway. Of course neither side learns anything from this tempest in a teapot.


Daniel Warner  //  Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 7:50 am

I don’t quite get why the conservatives dislike the present three-district system.  It is true that in the most recent elections conservatives came up short on the County Council, but before that they had a majority.  The Council seems to swing back and forth fairly regularly, which suggests the system is working okay.


Walter Haugen  //  Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 1:09 pm

It is a mobilizing tactic. Keeping a conservative majority on one commission, which is supposedly a “people’s commission,” gets the troops fired up. The charter is also a local “constitution-like” document, so the resonance is powerful. The billionaires need shock troops and the Tea Party wingnuts are happy to oblige.

Chiara Rose’s time on the anchor chain served the same purpose for the left-leaning progressives. However, the rightwing whackos are in it for the long haul. The progressives drift away after the charisma of the moment fades. The days of giving up your middle-class privilege to go work in a factory in order to unionize the workers is long past.

“In every American community you have varying shades of political opinion.
The shadiest of these is the liberal.
Ten degrees to the left of center in good times,
Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.”
- Phil Ochs, intro to Love Me, I’m a Liberal

When people are willing to put their money and their labor where their mouths are, we will get some progress. [Some of you are already doing this, of course, but you are in the tiny minority. And I don’t count those working in gubbmint or NGO’s.]


Charter Commission Tricks

Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 4:30 pm  //  John Servais

Two dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.

3 comments; last on Jul 07, 2015

County prosecutor plays cruel games

Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 6:00 pm  //  John Servais

Updated at 6 pm. Our county justice system has spent 6 years trying to teach Luba Pekisheva that she should not defend herself. Justice denied and miscarried.

5 comments; last on Jun 30, 2015

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Mon, May 18, 2015, 11:17 pm  //  John Servais

Joy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.

4 comments; last on May 20, 2015

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Sun, Apr 26, 2015, 2:05 pm  //  Guest writer

Tani Sutley writes a second article on the increasing number of vacation rentals - and the County Council bill to let them expand dramatically.

4 comments; last on May 02, 2015

Robyn du Pre` Has Passed On

Thu, Mar 12, 2015, 1:06 pm  //  John Servais

Add your thoughts and remembrances. Robyn du Pre` was a stalwart and true environmental advocate for Bellingham and Whatcom County. She died this week.

9 comments; last on Mar 23, 2015

The Hidden Election

Mon, Feb 02, 2015, 9:34 am  //  Guest writer

No ballot mailed to you. You must request a ballot for voting in the Whatcom Conservation District election. Deadline to apply is Feb 9. By Barbara Perry

0 comments

The Pickett House Museum

Sun, Jan 25, 2015, 12:32 pm  //  Guest writer

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5 comments; last on Jan 28, 2015

The Annexation Games

Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 3:07 am  //  Guest writer

Guest article by Sandra Alfers. Water and sewer connections drive unwanted annexation. Trickle Creek homeowners are muzzled by a "no protest zone."

1 comments; last on Jan 20, 2015

Lodging Goals for Whatcom County

Thu, Jan 08, 2015, 2:54 pm  //  Guest writer

Tani Sutley guest writes about the vacation rentals situation and presents goals for the county council to consider for improving our rural neighborhoods.

1 comments; last on Jan 10, 2015

Water is Valuable

Wed, Dec 31, 2014, 1:16 am  //  Guest writer

Duuhhh! Try doing without it. Marian Beddill provides an overview of our rural Whatcom County water situation and the efforts to find fair solutions.

3 comments; last on Jan 08, 2015

Riley’s Top 5 Whatcom Political Stories of 2014

Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 1:23 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The Herald gave us their top 10 stories, Riley gives you his top 5

0 comments

Coal Ship Collisions Study Is Released

Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 5:04 pm  //  John Servais

One part of the environmental study for the proposed Cherry Point mega coal terminal has been completed and released. It deals with ship collisions - they call it…

2 comments; last on Dec 22, 2014

Whatcom County and the New Sharing Economy

Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 2:25 am  //  Guest writer

Tani Sutley writes of how unregulated vacation rentals are invading the Lake Whatcom watershed. She urges action before the Planning Commission meeting on 11 December.

4 comments; last on Jan 03, 2015

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Sat, Nov 22, 2014, 3:48 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley dives into the data with precinct maps and historical perspectives

0 comments

Doug Ericksen’s Tax Lien

Tue, Nov 04, 2014, 12:28 pm  //  John Servais

While smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.

6 comments; last on Nov 11, 2014

Election Recommendations

Thu, Oct 30, 2014, 2:18 am  //  John Servais

A link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.

1 comments; last on Oct 30, 2014

Point Roberts vs. the FCC:  Modern David and Goliath

Wed, Oct 22, 2014, 2:44 pm  //  John Lesow

Update Oct 22: John Lesow has posted a comment with considerable more information on this issue.

1 comments; last on Oct 22, 2014

Tune in TONIGHT for Political Comedy

Tue, Oct 14, 2014, 6:36 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley does a local political comedy show

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Thu, Oct 02, 2014, 2:33 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley files a full report of the Tea Party debate for State Leg candidates

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Satpal Sidhu, Candidate for State Representative, 42nd District

Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 8:00 am  //  Guest writer

Wherein a Fulbright scholar, professional engineer and successful business owner files for public office

4 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014

Reliable Prosperity

Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 3:13 pm  //  Guest writer

Sandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.

5 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014

Fleetwood versus Ericksen: What Happened in Round One?

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 10:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Some Context for the Primary Results

0 comments

Northwest Citizen Releases Polling of Whatcom Voters

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 11:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Northwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!

9 comments; last on Jul 29, 2014

Manifest Clandestine-y

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:04 am  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Sandy Robson breaks the story of officials from Washington treated to a coal-promoting junket to Wyoming.

2 comments; last on Jul 13, 2014

A Question of Freedom

Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 5:00 am  //  Guest writer

Ferndale's most famous landmark is frequently commented on and is often in the news. Here is their side of the story.

4 comments; last on Jul 07, 2014

Herald and Weekly Withhold the News

Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 11:39 am  //  John Servais

Wyoming Senators and coal honchos were in Whatcom County June 10 - to hold a news conference with select reporters.

7 comments; last on Jun 20, 2014

Feint, Calumny, Solidarity

Wed, May 28, 2014, 3:15 pm  //  Guest writer

A perspective by guest writer Ellen Murphy reflects on the Whatcom Watch and the threatened law suit by Craig Cole.

22 comments; last on Jun 01, 2014

Montana & Wyoming to WA: Permit Coal Export Terminals… Or Else

Thu, May 22, 2014, 12:10 am  //  Guest writer

Wyoming is ready to try and legally force us to limit our environmental scoping for the Cherry Point coal terminal

4 comments; last on Jun 17, 2014

Who Filed for Charter Review Commission?

Sat, May 17, 2014, 2:34 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley takes a closer look at the Charter Review Commission candidates

2 comments; last on May 21, 2014

Stay the Frack Out of Our Forearc

Sun, May 11, 2014, 2:20 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Part 1: Introduction to the Bellingham Basin’s Potential for Fracking, Earthquakes, and Earthquakes Due to Fracking

3 comments; last on May 14, 2014

Riley scoops Herald - again

Fri, May 09, 2014, 10:02 am  //  John Servais

The Political Junkie for Whatcom County - that would be Riley Sweeney - has Overstreet not running for reelection in the 42nd.

1 comments; last on May 13, 2014

The Whatcom Republicans’ Huge PCO Advantage

Tue, May 06, 2014, 5:52 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .

1 comments; last on May 07, 2014

Move To Amend - Persons vs Corporations

Thu, May 01, 2014, 10:21 pm  //  Guest writer

Move to Amend is a national movement to amend the U.S. Constitution and define persons as people and speech as not money.

7 comments; last on Jun 02, 2014

SweenyPolitics:  Fleetwood files against Ericksen

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 8:20 am  //  John Servais

Riley posted this morning that Seth Fleetwood has decided to challenge Doug Ericksen for state senate in the 42nd District.

1 comments; last on Apr 30, 2014

“Friends and Neighbors”?

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 1:59 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

A closer look at Whatcom County's industrial "stewards of the environment."

4 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014

Water, Water Everywhere, but ...

Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 2:57 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

or How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs

12 comments; last on Jun 30, 2014

Charter Review and District Only Voting

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

A simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting

0 comments

County Considers Purchasing Toxic Property

Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue

3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014

Fukushima Radiation Found In Canada

Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 10:47 am  //  John Servais

Fukushima radiation has been found 20 miles from Whatcom County farmland along the Fraser River in British Columbia.

1 comments; last on Mar 17, 2014

County Hires GPT Permit Lead as Senior Planner

Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 10:51 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs into an unusual hiring decision at the County Planning Dept

1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2014

Relevant Documents to Libel Threat

Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 9:29 pm  //  John Servais

The full text of Craig Cole's threatening letter of libel against the Whatcom Watch. And the emptiness of the threat.

16 comments; last on Mar 20, 2014

Craig Cole Threatens Libel Suit

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 5:48 pm  //  John Servais

Craig Cole, the local contact for the proposed Cherry Point coal port has threatened the Whatcom Watch with a libel lawsuit.

6 comments; last on Mar 20, 2014

Do Changing Liquor and Marijuana Laws Affect DUIs

Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 8:26 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley digs through court data and discovers the real impact of privatization and legalization

0 comments

Lecture on County Water Issues Draws Crowd

Sat, Dec 07, 2013, 12:03 am  //  Wendy Harris

The county will be required to consider water quality and water quantity when planning rural growth.

3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2013

County Releases EIS, Prepares to Purchase Jail Site

Mon, Nov 18, 2013, 11:59 am  //  Riley Sweeney

The county takes two big steps forward on the new jail, while still missing the point

0 comments

Election Results - November 2013

Tue, Nov 05, 2013, 9:21 pm  //  John Servais

With lots of outside county money flowing in to our local races, this election is weird. But real - and we county residents have spoken.

11 comments; last on Nov 09, 2013

How the Coal Industry Funneled $40,000 into Whatcom

Wed, Oct 02, 2013, 6:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley uncovers how the Coal Industry is funding conservative candidates in Whatcom County

11 comments; last on Oct 03, 2013

Over $330,000 raised and spent on elections in Whatcom County

Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 7:08 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines who is donating to which candidates

0 comments

Can We Talk? Doug Ericksen for Congress!

Mon, Aug 19, 2013, 8:08 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley whole-heartedly urges Doug Ericksen to run for Congress in 2014

2 comments; last on Aug 19, 2013

Water Agreement Fails Scrutiny

Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 12:31 am  //  Wendy Harris

The City of Bellingham memorandum of agreement with Lynden does not make sense. What is going on?

4 comments; last on Sep 11, 2013

Celebrations More Racist than Verdict

Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 11:25 am  //  John Servais

The explosion of hate and racist rhetoric is the saddest aspect of the verdict. The evidence was complicated and the verdict difficult to make.

2 comments; last on Jul 16, 2013

Zero Public Process for New Jail

Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 9:29 am  //  John Servais

Riley Sweeney has a short but important expose over at the Political Junkie today.

1 comments; last on Jul 12, 2013

Caught In The Whatcom Court System

Fri, May 31, 2013, 5:43 pm  //  John Servais

Luba Pekisheva has been given a confusing run around in our Whatcom County courts for over three years. Judges, prosecutors and clerks have all participated.

1 comments; last on May 10, 2015

Safeguard the Southfork

Fri, May 31, 2013, 12:01 am  //  Guest writer

Jeffrey Margolis urges us to request the Nooksack South Fork Valley be included in the Coal Port environmental study.

3 comments; last on Jun 02, 2013

Our Water - War or Pieces?

Fri, May 24, 2013, 1:18 am  //  Guest writer

Marian Beddill provides a general guide for the public, with a look at the history of water rights in Washington state.

4 comments; last on May 26, 2013

Demonically Possessed Slaughter Crazed Ideologues Wrecking Rural Whatcom

Wed, May 22, 2013, 11:12 am  //  Guest writer

By Guest Writer Nicole Brown. This is a call to action for county citizens as the county tries to ram through the slaughterhouse rezones.

7 comments; last on May 26, 2013

Who is filing for elective offices???

Fri, May 17, 2013, 5:44 pm  //  John Servais

Tuesday morning and nothing in today's Bellingham Herald. Nor online. We provide the basics to fill in this latest omission by our "daily" newspaper.

9 comments; last on May 23, 2013

Freedom Academy Comes to Whatcom County

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 6:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley attends Tea Party training and runs afoul of Rep. Overstreet

1 comments; last on Apr 22, 2013

Closing Arguments in Defense of the Reconveyance

Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 7:37 am  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Shane Roth writes in favor of the reconveyance of Lake Whatcom land back to the county.

1 comments; last on Mar 11, 2013

PeaceHealth Merger Threatens Women’s Health in Whatcom County

Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 7:39 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley details upcoming merger between PeaceHealth and a much more conservative entity

1 comments; last on Feb 26, 2013

 

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