Whatcom Conservation District ElectionsPermalink +
Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 11:52 am // Guest writer
Barbara Perry guest writes this article. She came across the district election process, was appalled, and has researched in an effort to fully understand.
- - - -
Are all 47 Washington Conservation District elections full of fraud?
These conservation districts, mostly bound by county lines, “help citizens protect renewable resources through the use of voluntary, incentive-based practices.” They are funded by federal, state, and grant money. In Washington, each district elects three citizens who act in supervisory positions and all registered county voters may vote for their election. The one rule is that board members must be landowners who manage a farm.
In Whatcom County there have been problems with these elections, starting with the fact that most voters don’t know about them. Conservation district election information is usually buried on a back page of one local newspaper. Also, when a voter requests a ballot, the request is never recorded and there has been a history of ballots not being sent even though prospective voters are assured they will be. Here are the facts.
On July 16, the Washington Conservation Commission finally certified the results of the March 10 election for the Whatcom Conservation District board. It took over four months to open and count 228 contested ballots. Due to the volume of citizen complaints to the commission, the state executive director, Mark Clark, oversaw our election results. He further assigned the commission’s lawyer, Bill Eller, to verify those results.
According to Mr. Eller, ballots were certified when voter intent was clear. Beyond that, it did not seem to matter that voter requests for ballots were not recorded, because according to him, it was not legally necessary. He dismissed the contention that some voters may not have received ballots, claiming it would only have been a tiny amount. Office workers complained they were tired of dealing with the election and did not have time for their usual work.
The final tally for 2015, as certified by the commission, was that Larry Helm, the Tea Party candidate, won with 2142 votes—46 more than Joy Monjure, the progressive, with 2,096. It was an unusually large number of ballots for any WCD election.
In the past, most WCD elections for the three-year terms were tiny, elected by a small group of voters. That is, until 2012.
2009 2010 2011 2012
37 votes 18 11 1,342 votes
What happened? In 2012, Whatcom Watch let their 6,000 readers [number corrected from earlier] know about the election between Tea Party candidate, Larry Helm, against Jayne Uerling, a progressive. Helm won by 84 votes: 713 to Uerling’s 629. No one questioned the close election or the 81 uncounted ballots.
Then in 2015, at least 5 alternative news outlets notified Whatcom voters of the election. It was no wonder so many voters requested ballots.
2013 2014 2015
no election 6 votes 4238
But problems with these elections aren’t unique to Whatcom County. Bill McCullum, of Whatcom Watch, waited three months after requesting information from the King County Conservation District. Their voting numbers are equally erratic. According to the League of Women Voters, the 2,295 votes in 2011 were on-line votes fraught with problems.
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
2,295 212 148 0 144
In an attempt to clean up this mess, the Washington State Conservation District group is requesting ideas to improve the voting system. Please consider weighing in and fill out the 2015 Election and Appointments Feedback Form here . Note the page says this suggestion form is for staff and supervisors only. Well, it is a public web page and we citizens - we taxpayers who fund the conservation districts - have a right to give our suggestions.
Hopefully citizens will send their recommendations and they will be heard. The Conservation District board positions, while not paid, wield power over the entire county’s land and water. The process should be cleaned up and all residents should be represented.
Here are some suggestions:
1. For improved turnout and representation, follow Oregon’s lead and hold these elections with the general elections.
2. Advertise Conservation District elections, including candidate descriptions, on all significant news outlets as well as the district’s web site.
3. Have the state Department of Agriculture appoint one representative to each of the 47 district boards, allowing the state to oversee activities.
4. Change the Conservation District name to Soil and Water Conservation Commission, so people can tell by the name what the commission does. Conservation District is vague, at best.
5. Farm workers are more likely to experience direct exposure to pesticides in the water and therefore should be represented on the boards.
6. Have all meeting notes available on-line.
September 4 is the deadline for submitting comments about possible changes. Feel free to use any ideas from this article. Also, consider sending a message to the governor - just to make sure your comments get tallied.
Related Links:-> More detailed article by Barbara at Noisy Waters
-> A 2011 League of Women Voters report on Conservation Districts
Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 11:52 am // Guest writerBarbara Perry has been researching the secretive election processes of the Whatcom Conservation District. Really secretive. Probably fraudulent.
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 9:27 am // John ServaisLast minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.
1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015
Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 4:30 pm // John ServaisTwo 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
Sat, Apr 04, 2015, 1:15 pm // John ServaisThe port's latest bone-headed deal calls for the good citizens of Whatcom County to consider the options...unless we're enjoying our Groundhog Day.
3 comments; last on Apr 07, 2015
Wed, Apr 01, 2015, 12:20 am // John ServaisPort of Bellingham today sold out our public waterfront to a foreign shell company formed 6 days ago. Sold it cheap and with a screwy arrangement.
32 comments; last on Apr 05, 2015
Mon, Feb 02, 2015, 9:34 am // Guest writerNo 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
Wed, Oct 08, 2014, 6:24 pm // John ServaisThree final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.
6 comments; last on Oct 11, 2014
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 2:06 pm // Guest writerPatrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.
2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014
Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 3:48 pm // Guest writerJudith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.
1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2014
Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 11:31 pm // John ServaisBellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.
7 comments; last on Aug 14, 2014
Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am // John ServaisBellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.
3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014
Tue, May 06, 2014, 5:52 pm // Riley SweeneyThe value of a Precinct Committee Officer . . .
1 comments; last on May 07, 2014
Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 10:40 am // Riley SweeneyA simple explanation of the Charter Review and analysis of District only voting
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 10:32 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into the county's plan to buy the county morgue
3 comments; last on Mar 24, 2014
Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 11:24 am // Riley SweeneyRiley catches State Rep. Vincent Buys for soliciting funds during session
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 10:51 am // Riley SweeneyRiley digs into an unusual hiring decision at the County Planning Dept
1 comments; last on Mar 10, 2014
Sat, Feb 01, 2014, 1:35 am // Wendy HarrisFiling a public record request could land a citizen in jail under a proposal reflected in a Herald opinion article.
2 comments; last on Feb 03, 2014
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
Tue, Oct 08, 2013, 3:22 pm // Wendy HarrisThe city staff considers the overwater walkway a done deal before official approval or resolution of treaty right conflicts
4 comments; last on Oct 16, 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, 3:20 pm // John ServaisAs the right wing radicals seek to shut down our national government this week, we need to push back with common sense.
8 comments; last on Oct 01, 2013
Thu, Sep 19, 2013, 7:08 am // Riley SweeneyRiley examines who is donating to which candidates
Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 12:24 pm // John ServaisThe Feds gag an Email service owner - so he cannot even tell us why he is gagged.
2 comments; last on Aug 15, 2013
Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 12:31 am // Wendy HarrisThe City of Bellingham memorandum of agreement with Lynden does not make sense. What is going on?
4 comments; last on Sep 11, 2013
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 9:29 am // John ServaisRiley Sweeney has a short but important expose over at the Political Junkie today.
1 comments; last on Jul 12, 2013
Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 11:28 am // John ServaisBellingham City Council ready to approve $500,000 of trails money for resurfacing plastic grass on Civic Field.
15 comments; last on Jul 02, 2013
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 7:29 am // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney examines Sen. Ericksen's legislative methods
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 1:53 pm // John ServaisEdward Snowden is a very courageous patriot, in the opinion of the publisher of NWCitizen.
3 comments; last on Jun 14, 2013
Fri, May 31, 2013, 5:43 pm // John ServaisLuba 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
Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 6:52 am // Riley SweeneyRiley attends Tea Party training and runs afoul of Rep. Overstreet
1 comments; last on Apr 22, 2013
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 4:01 pm // John ServaisRiley Sweeney has posted a great video clip of Sen. Doug Ericksen flouting rules and legal procedures at a Senate hearing in Olympia.
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 3:47 pm // John ServaisThe election created a new park district with taxing power - but with NO control over Chuckanut Ridge - the 100 acre woods.
1 comments; last on Feb 23, 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.
Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 1:09 am // Wendy HarrisThe planning commission no longer serves its purpose due to Council's poor appointment choices
2 comments; last on Feb 10, 2013
Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 5:53 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley looks into Ericksen's legislative efforts this session
1 comments; last on Jan 22, 2013
Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 10:53 am // Riley SweeneyRiley examines why the new jail site was selected without public input
1 comments; last on Nov 12, 2012
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
Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 9:35 am // Riley SweeneyRiley pores through Rep. Jason Overstreet's legislative record
7 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012
Tue, Oct 02, 2012, 9:22 am // Riley SweeneyRiley examines Rep. Vincent Buys' legislative record
1 comments; last on Dec 02, 2012
Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 12:50 am // Wendy HarrisThe Mayor's Negotiations With Costco Undercuts City Permit Procedures And Public Process
4 comments; last on Aug 17, 2012
Thu, Aug 09, 2012, 9:30 pm // Larry HorowitzQuestions raised by the Superior Court's barring of the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights initiative from being placed on the ballot.
21 comments; last on Aug 17, 2012
Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 8:18 am // Larry Horowitz... the person who recently had this to say about the Sunnyland Neighborhood rezone application
9 comments; last on Aug 01, 2012
Fri, May 18, 2012, 11:27 am // Riley SweeneyA short plea for public involvement from Riley
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
Sun, Feb 19, 2012, 6:37 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley at The Political Junkie attends a forum of Congressional Candidates, and a town hall meeting in Lynden
Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 12:58 am // Riley SweeneyRiley updates us on the latest facts coming to light about City of Bellingham employee moonlighting
2 comments; last on Feb 01, 2012
Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 2:44 pm // Riley SweeneyLocal blogger Shane Roth files ethical complaint over Crawford's sweetheart deals
3 comments; last on Dec 16, 2011
Wed, Nov 30, 2011, 7:51 pm // Riley SweeneyMore on the city employee moonlighting issue
Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 6:29 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Political Junkie breaks a story of employee moonlighting within city of Bellingham
7 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011
Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 2:00 am // Guest writerWith budget woes, Bellingham passes on safety in favor of cash. Starting in 2008, Bellingham officials were coached by ATS on how to get Red Light cameras through…
26 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011
Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 11:43 am // Dick ConoboyThe Padden Trails rezone effort is a misuse of the Infill Tool Kit on the outskirts of Bellingham.
8 comments; last on Nov 16, 2011
Tue, Apr 26, 2011, 4:39 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney does a public records request on Sam Crawford
5 comments; last on May 05, 2011
Mon, Mar 14, 2011, 2:34 pm // Riley SweeneyAt the mid-session townhall meeting, Doug Ericksen would rather threaten the press than have his words recorded
17 comments; last on Mar 29, 2011
Fri, Feb 04, 2011, 5:29 pm // Riley SweeneyRiley Sweeney talks about the Jail Meeting
5 comments; last on Feb 09, 2011
Wed, Dec 08, 2010, 3:21 am // John ServaisWikiLeaks' Julian Assange faces rape charges. The facts are revealed only by foreign news media.
14 comments; last on Dec 15, 2010
Wed, Dec 01, 2010, 9:59 pm // John ServaisUpdated Dec 3. I support WikiLeaks and their release of government documents so citizens can vote intelligently.
12 comments; last on Dec 07, 2010
Tue, Nov 23, 2010, 10:06 am // John ServaisSeth Fleetwood was one vote against, saying this is an Orwellian notion.
4 comments; last on Nov 25, 2010
Fri, Nov 19, 2010, 12:32 pm // John ServaisRevenue, not safety, is the reason for red light cameras.
6 comments; last on Nov 26, 2010
Open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline
Sun, Oct 31, 2010, 7:20 pm // Larry HorowitzUpdated Sun, Oct 31. An open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline
12 comments; last on Oct 28, 2010
Wed, Sep 01, 2010, 3:40 pm // John ServaisA petition to the federal government online at skookum.us. It asks they step in to resolve the impasse between the Lummi and Whatcom County.
2 comments; last on Sep 06, 2010
New LinksBellingham Wins
Election InfoElection Results
WA State Elections
Whatcom County Elections
Coal, Oil & TrainsCoal Stop
Community Wise Bham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut C. Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Governments- Whatcom County
Port of Bellingham
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State Elections
NWCitizen 1995-2007Early Northwest Citizen
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Change The Mascot
Foreign Policy in Focus
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Register
Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
Intrnational Herald Tribune
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph