Port’s Alternative Marina Analysis a ScamPermalink +
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 3:19 pm // Guest writer
Doug Karlberg is a local fisherman and has followed port activity for decades.
Dear Mr. Stoner,
Thank you for leaking your memo analyzing the port's alternative marina site. This document was released to the public in April of 2004, prior to the port's public meetings to solicit input from Whatcom County citizens concerning the possible purchase of the Georgia Pacific property.
The memo appears to analyze alternative marina sites in Bellingham Bay including the Georgia Pacific lagoon. This lagoon had long been the focus of the port’s attention as a potential marina site and, in 2004, the port's analysis determined it to be the least expensive site for a marina. This information added immeasurably to the port’s sales pitch to the public.
In your role as environmental director for the port, you analyzed all the available information, including internal port documents, and made a great case that your memo was accurate. But the document was only accurate for a few months, and unfortunately, the port neglected to correct the gross inaccuracies that came to light prior to the public meetings discussing the purchase of the GP property. In other words, you completely ignored the fact that the alternative marina analysis is terribly misleading.
In aerial photographs the GP lagoon looks like a marina. It looks like someone could just cut a hole in the rock wall and drive a yacht right into it. This is deceptive because that is not water inside the lagoon. It is a toxic soup of poisonous residue left over from millions of gallons of pollution that was discharged into that lagoon from GP over decades.
To simply empty this toxic pool will cost over $40,000,000 and will require removing an estimated 20,000 truckloads of toxic sediment out of Bellingham. The dust from this removal will be far more toxic than coal dust. Yet in your 2004 alternative marina study, the port placed the cost of emptying the lagoon at zero. This was misleading in 2004 and remains so today. Furthermore, once the lagoon is drained, the port will have to pay additional millions to have the top layer of the rock wall removed so moored yachts will have better view. Some of this cost may be born by grants from state taxpayers, but after ten years, with still no grant money available for lagoon clean up, it might be prudent to consider that these theoretical grants may not appear.
At the time, Glenn Taylor, G-P's local vice president and general manager, didn't see the port’s preferred marina in positive terms. In a letter from GP Senior Environmental Consultant Chip Hilarides that Taylor read aloud to the port commissioners, he said the port was disrupting years of cooperative effort on cleaning up the tainted sediments in the bay. (see below for attached pdf of GP letter) He also questioned whether a marina was the best use for the site, saying, "Many stakeholders would likely tell the port that a marina serves relatively few people and generates relatively little revenue compared with alternative public and private uses to which this property can be put after it has been filled." Taylor also questioned the wisdom of hauling contaminated sediments for disposal elsewhere. "The impacts of hauling 20,000 (or more) truckloads of soil or sediments from the site through Bellingham are substantial and have not yet passed through public scrutiny in the cleanup planning process," he wrote. (Bellingham Herald, May 19, 2004)
As the port’s environmental point person, you, Mr. Stoner, of all people should have understood the magnitude of cleaning up the lagoon. You of all people should have ensured that this report be corrected to reflect the best estimates of the costs of the GP lagoon/marina prior to asking for public opinion back in 2004. Does it actually need to be stated that the port, as a public agency, and you, as an integral part of the GP purchase, should know the public wants to be fully informed with accurate information prior to public comment? This is especially true when talking about significant public investment and risks we take as a community; because you are not taking these risks, Mr. Stoner, you are assigning them to the taxpayer.
So when the facts regarding the costs of the lagoon/marina changed, the port should have changed the report to the public. You should have changed this report ten years ago, but as recently as four months ago, you were still referencing this misleading memo in the local newspaper. “Turning to the port's long-cherished idea of a new marina inside the wastewater lagoon, Stoner contended that port officials did a thorough review of alternative uses for it in 2003, before deciding on the marina.”
In the time it took you to pen the memo defending this 2004 site review, you could just as easily have modified the report regarding alternate sites and their costs. There were simple spreadsheets which port staff should have had no trouble navigating. But instead, the port simply removed the accurate costs and forgot to add them back in when it became obvious the port was going to be on the hook for cleaning up the toxic soup in the GP lagoon.
I firmly believe the public has the ability to make reasoned decisions about waterfront redevelopment, but only if the port is honest with us. The new marina decision is one the most significant financial decisions in port history, and the public should be aware of the best, and the worst case scenarios. Providing one side of an issue is not an honest representation.
The Wall Street Journal succinctly described the issue we’re facing. “When a misleading message ultimately clashes with reality, the result is discontent and conflict. In a republic, deception is destructive. Without truth there can be no trust. Without trust there can be no consent. And without consent we invite paralysis, if not chaos.”
Providing accurate public documentation is critical to ensuring public trust. I wish you had simply taken the time to correct this misleading document. Instead, you generated a memo doubling down on something you knew was going to be found inaccurate. And you used this memo to provide cover and absolve the port from having to make amendments when the facts changed. We can only hope that a new commissioner has the ability and integrity to guarantee our port provides good data, including updates when necessary, so public trust in our port can be repaired.
On a final note, the local newspaper of 9/17/13 reported, “Stoner also said that developers have told port officials that a marina would help make commercial development more successful.” I have attended many Port Commission meetings where the public can sign up to speak for three minutes. Yet during all those meetings, I don’t recall any public testimony from any developer concerning the new proposed marina. Could you provide the names and comments of the developers you are basing this marina decision upon?
Attached Files:-> GP May 18, 2004, letter to Port regarding treatment lagoon
Related Links:-> Doug Karlberg article of Nov 18, 2013 exposing the doctored port documents
-> Wendy Harris article of Dec 20, 2013 on leaked port memo of reply to Karlberg.
-> Bellingham Herald article of September 17, 2013, Stoner defends decision.
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 3:19 pm // Guest writerDo we actually need to say that we, as citizens, want accurate information from government officials?
1 comments; last on Jan 14, 2014
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 4:56 pm // Wendy HarrisA Port of Bellingham internal memo tries, but fails, to justify changes in cost estimates for alternative marina sites.
5 comments; last on Dec 22, 2013
Sat, Dec 07, 2013, 1:33 pm // Wendy HarrisLocal activist calls on Bellingham City Council to table the unpopular waterfront plans and engage in meaningful public process
2 comments; last on Dec 08, 2013
Thu, Dec 05, 2013, 12:58 pm // John ServaisThe Political Junkie has posted a 3 minute video showing Bellingham City Council members explaining their idiocy for all of us to watch.
2 comments; last on Dec 06, 2013
Wed, Dec 04, 2013, 11:53 am // John ServaisBellingham City Council and Port of Bellingham finalize the waterfront plan. In his weekly Gristle, Tim Johnson blasts the corrupt public process.
4 comments; last on Dec 05, 2013
Fri, Nov 22, 2013, 10:01 pm // Wendy HarrisIf the port can not construct the airport safely, should it be entrusted with dangerous waterfront cleanup work?
Tue, Nov 12, 2013, 11:21 am // Riley SweeneyRiley crunches the numbers on Renata and McAuley's races to find answers
2 comments; last on Nov 13, 2013
Tue, Nov 05, 2013, 9:21 pm // John ServaisWith 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
Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 8:07 pm // John ServaisKen Bell has my vote over Mike McAuley for port commissioner. And Renata Kowalczyk has it over Dan Robbins.
8 comments; last on Oct 30, 2013
Wed, Oct 02, 2013, 6:40 am // Riley SweeneyRiley uncovers how the Coal Industry is funding conservative candidates in Whatcom County
11 comments; last on Oct 03, 2013
Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 6:05 pm // Wendy HarrisThe city and port have not addressed wildlife impacts from waterfront development and this should be done before a waterfront plan is enacted.
Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 7:08 am // Riley SweeneyRiley examines who is donating to which candidates
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 7:29 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney examines Sen. Ericksen's legislative methods
Fri, May 17, 2013, 5:44 pm // John ServaisTuesday 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
Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 9:59 pm // Wendy HarrisThe City Planning Department has included a technical document in the waterfront proposal without disclosing important impacts.
1 comments; last on Mar 30, 2013
Tue, Feb 19, 2013, 10:40 pm // Wendy HarrisAn "Updated Preferred Alternative" reduces the number of waterfront jobs and expands the boundary of the waterfront district.
Sun, Nov 04, 2012, 10:21 am // Paul deArmondThe Whatcom county Voters’ Pamphlet containing misleading and untrue statements by unregistered, unaccountable and anonymous front groups.
3 comments; last on Nov 06, 2012
Wed, Oct 31, 2012, 8:29 am // Riley SweeneyHere's your shot at fame and glory as a political pundit
4 comments; last on Nov 02, 2012
Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 12:07 am // Guest writerHarriet Spanel and Ken Hertz on why we should vote YES to increase the Port of Bellingham to 5 commissioners.
3 comments; last on Oct 05, 2012
Mon, Aug 20, 2012, 9:00 am // Riley SweeneyRiley sits down with Matt Petryni with Power Past Coal to get the latest scoop
Sat, Aug 04, 2012, 12:18 am // John ServaisGraphics projected on building each night in effort to bring attention to threatened building
3 comments; last on Aug 11, 2012
Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 1:46 pm // John ServaisA special - short notice - Port of Bellingham Commission meeting on Thursday, June 28 starting at 8:30 a.m.
6 comments; last on Jul 03, 2012
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 9:52 am // Paul deArmondPort Commissioner Scott Walker and attorney Frank Chmelik get caught ballot-rigging again
20 comments; last on Jun 21, 2012
Mon, Jun 04, 2012, 5:51 pm // John ServaisPort Commissioners plan to change their Port Expansion resolution on Tuesday - based on advice from port attorney Chmelik. No notice of this item on the agenda.
6 comments; last on Jun 05, 2012
Wed, May 16, 2012, 4:15 pm // John ServaisIn today's Cascadia Weekly, Tim Johnson analyses the Port Commissioner meeting and the shenanigans of Walker and Chmelik.
Mon, May 14, 2012, 6:07 pm // John ServaisPort Commissioners McAuley and Jorgensen voted to put on November ballot the question of expanding commission from 3 to 5 members.
5 comments; last on May 15, 2012
Wed, May 09, 2012, 6:11 am // John ServaisToday's Cascadia Weekly rips the Port staff on changed waterfront plans and sees 5 commissioners as possible solution to poor decision making.
2 comments; last on May 10, 2012
Thu, May 03, 2012, 9:23 pm // John ServaisThe Joe Show had John Servais on the air for a full hour on Thursday - and we link to the pod cast.
3 comments; last on May 05, 2012
Tue, May 01, 2012, 10:24 am // John ServaisBellingham Port Reform has a Facebook page, courtesy of Tip Johnson.
1 comments; last on May 02, 2012
Tue, May 01, 2012, 9:34 am // John ServaisPort of Bellingham signed lease a month ago to hoopla and now the boat builder is exiting for Anacortes.
11 comments; last on May 08, 2012
Mon, Apr 30, 2012, 10:54 pm // John ServaisSeveral people will be urging the Port of Bellingham commissioners to place the question of expanding to 5 commissioners on the ballot.
Sat, Apr 28, 2012, 10:09 am // John ServaisA county wide initiative will allow voters to decide whether to expand the Port of Bellingham commission from 3 to 5 commissioners.
1 comments; last on Apr 28, 2012
Tue, Apr 24, 2012, 9:25 am // John ServaisToday's Bellingham Herald carries an article from Sheldon, with facts, falsehoods and his perspective on his forced resignation as Executive Director of the Port of Bellingham.
Wed, Apr 18, 2012, 12:28 pm // John ServaisA 26 minute video of the port commissioners explaining their positions on the firing of executive director Charlie Sheldon is posted.
7 comments; last on Apr 19, 2012
Tue, Apr 17, 2012, 12:51 pm // John ServaisAt 3 p.m. today - Tuesday, April 17 - the Port of Bellingham meets. Let's attend and support rehiring Charlie Sheldon.
3 comments; last on Apr 18, 2012
Fri, Apr 13, 2012, 5:47 pm // John ServaisFriday update: Herald reports Jim Jorgensen could change his mind on firing of Port of Bellingham Executive Director Charlie Sheldon
3 comments; last on Apr 17, 2012
Tue, Apr 10, 2012, 8:52 pm // John ServaisAn illegal serial Port Commission meeting should be investigated by the State Auditor, and two commissioners should be made accountable for their actions.
5 comments; last on Apr 11, 2012
Thu, Apr 05, 2012, 4:00 pm // John ServaisAn Online petition has been posted where citizens can sign on to request the Port Commissioners revote on Charlie Sheldon's termination.
5 comments; last on Apr 06, 2012
Wed, Apr 04, 2012, 3:16 pm // John ServaisState law allows us to pass an initiative and increase the number of port commissioners from three to five. Thanks to Harriet Spanel.
4 comments; last on Apr 05, 2012
Tue, Apr 03, 2012, 6:25 pm // John ServaisPort Commissioner Mike McAuley did everything he could do to change Jim Jorgensen's mind. Jim and Scott Walker forced Charlie Sheldon out.
6 comments; last on Apr 06, 2012
Mon, Apr 02, 2012, 12:35 pm // John ServaisThis morning, Charlie Sheldon, unexpectedly resigned as Executive Director of the Port of Bellingham.
10 comments; last on Apr 03, 2012
Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 9:36 am // Paul deArmondPort Commissioner Scott Walker and attorney Frank Chmelik get caught ballot-rigging again
Wed, Nov 09, 2011, 10:31 am // John ServaisWill close races shift to the other candidate? Just how many ballots are left to count? When will we know for sure?
1 comments; last on Nov 09, 2011
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 9:16 pm // John ServaisCharlie Sheldon shifts Port staff to help economic development of private business and to support needed infrastructure.
4 comments; last on Oct 23, 2011
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 1:13 am // John ServaisBellingham Port Commissioner Scott Walker motioned for the port to ask Executive Director Charlie Sheldon to resign.
5 comments; last on Oct 20, 2011
Thu, Sep 08, 2011, 10:37 am // Riley SweeneyLook at the title, it spells it out.
6 comments; last on Sep 12, 2011
Thu, Jun 23, 2011, 8:30 am // Wendy HarrisTime is running out for public comment on the Port's proposal to use toxic waste as a cap at waterfront re-development site.
5 comments; last on Jul 02, 2011
Wed, Jun 01, 2011, 5:32 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Mark Flanders' call to action for June 1 flash mob at coal port meeting
7 comments; last on Jun 09, 2011
Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 5:00 am // John ServaisCoal trains will probably pass Lynden on their way from Sumas to Cherry Point, after coming across on the Canadian rail roads.
16 comments; last on Aug 14, 2011
Thu, Feb 17, 2011, 7:30 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Doug Karlberg follows up with report from Tuesday's Port Commission meeting
7 comments; last on Feb 20, 2011
Mon, Feb 14, 2011, 7:35 pm // Guest writerWhy the price of moorage matters to all Whatcom County. A guest article by Doug Karlberg.
5 comments; last on Jun 30, 2011
Fri, Jul 16, 2010, 3:30 pm // John ServaisIn a surprise development, the Port of Bellingham is starting over again in their search for an executive director. Position now vacant for over a year.
1 comments; last on Jul 18, 2010
Wed, Apr 21, 2010, 6:29 pm // John ServaisBellingham Herald reporting is skewed to foster desired opinions and hide facts
4 comments; last on Apr 23, 2010
Tue, Jan 05, 2010, 1:17 am // Tip JohnsonPort of Bellingham in the news
Wed, Nov 25, 2009, 1:25 pm // Tip Johnson
Paul de Armond's recent article about Leonard Zeskind's new book, "Blood and Poli
3 comments; last on Nov 29, 2009
Tue, Nov 24, 2009, 6:12 am // John ServaisSeems like the offices of Frank Chmelik, the attorney for the Port of Bellingham, are becoming our defacto Port offices. Instead of conferences and meetings at the Port,…
2 comments; last on Nov 25, 2009
Thu, Nov 05, 2009, 5:21 pm // John ServaisHow to make heads or tails of the election results. Bill Knutzen and Ken Mann with the highest margins of the County Council winners. Mike McAuley, a newcomer…
20 comments; last on Nov 12, 2009
Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 9:00 am // Ham HayesThe 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
Thu, Aug 20, 2009, 9:38 am // John ServaisThe big loser in Tuesday's election was the Bellingham Herald. Its influence took a tumble. It ignored the Port commissioner races in general and pointedly refused to even…
1 comments; last on Aug 20, 2009
Tue, Aug 18, 2009, 2:18 pm // John ServaisAnd you are invited. 8 pm - and it will be over by 9 pm. The four Port Commission challengers will start speaking at 8:15 in the rotunda…
2 comments; last on Aug 19, 2009
Election InfoCandidate Filings
Coal, Oil & TrainsCommunity Wise Bellingham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Herald Politics Blog
Bham Politics & Economics
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut Community Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Reduce Jet Noise
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary Building
WA Conservation Voters
Port of Bellingham
US - The White House
WA State Access
WA State Elections
WA State Legislature
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That? - climate
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Foreign Policy in Focus
Innocence Project, The
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Paul Krugman - economics
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
NwCitizen 1995 - 2007Early Northwest Citizen
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Police Activity
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph