A note from the publisher

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Sat, Feb 02, 2013, 11:18 am  //  John Servais

If you live in the selected area of south Bellingham where the new park district will be formed, then you received your ballot in the mail this past week.  If you did not receive a ballot already then you are not in the proposed park district.   Also, if you are in the park district and the proposal passes, you will be taxed even if you vote no.  This has been a question from some. 

I urge you to scan the comments as well as the articles.  Some comments are from very knowledgeable people who provide perspective and facts that are sometimes more valuable than the article they are commenting under.  At some point, we will hopefully each learn enough to make a decision and fill out our ballot.  This site is trying to provide you with enough opinions so you can easily pick and choose what you want to read. 

I particularly want to thank commenters for providing us with their views.  Some have either never commented here before or have rarely done so.  NWCitizen requires every person to use their real name and we verify every person's identity before enabling them to comment.  There are now over 200 verified commenters.  Not allowing anonymous comments leads to far fewer comments, but a higher level of dialogue.  The whole point of this website is to help us learn of public processes and have a community discussion of issues.

Over the past week, there have been the highest levels of readers checking this website in the 17 years it has existed.  As I write this Saturday noon, almost 3,000 have checked it since midnight, and 18,000 visits were made in the past 7 days - of course many making multiple visits.  It kicks me back to realizing my role is to try and present a fair forum. 

I will continue to post articles and comments on this issue right up to Feb 12.  If you want to delay voting and learn more, this park district discussion will continue for another 10 days.

Dan Pike  //  Sat, Feb 02, 2013, 11:46 am


While we disagree on many issues—and agree on many others—I really appreciate your providing this forum, and moderating it fairly.  There are too few places where a give-and-take of ideas can occur in our community, yet that is necessary for better informed decision-making. NW Citizen provide a key role in filling that need ofr productive dialog.


Christopher Grannis  //  Sat, Feb 02, 2013, 6:07 pm

The essence of democracy is that the better informed the citizens are, the better the choices they will make with their votes. Thank you for providing this forum and for the way you manage it.

Jack Petree  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 8:55 am

Impressive readership numbers and you do address important topics.  Any chance the Indy will ever get going again?

Delaine Clizbe  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 2:00 pm

Thanks for posting!  I really had not spent time reading your blog before this MPD issue.  Looking over past posts I see that for the most part you do present a variety of information and I will continue to read this blog for important information.  If you could please contact me at my email delaine918@gmail.com   I would eventually like to post an article about another topic.

Alex McLean  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 2:13 pm

I disagree with Mr. Servais’ prior contention that Greenways is a secretive institution. I further disagree with Mr. Servais’ general animosity toward committees and commissions in this town—yes, there are too many and, yes, they can clutter and gum up the works occasionally; I still see having citizen volunteers as watchdogs over our tax dollars as an overall good thing. I probably don’t like the same flavor of ice-cream that Mr. Servais’ does. I hear he is a “cat person,” but dogs clearly are better.

Ultimately, however, I’m really glad to have (re) discovered this forum that Mr. Servais’ provides for our community. It takes a lot of work massaging blogs into shape and, unlike this MPD ballot measure, he has so far failed to try to dip into my wallet to support his pet cause.

Thanks, John, for gutting it out all these years.
(Dogs Rule!)

Frank James  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 9:29 pm


I wish I could be as positive as other commenters. There is an obvious interest that you have in creating as much controversy as possible as your above readership numbers demonstrates.

It is very unfortunate that you headline an article with

“Nicholas Zaferatos explains why he is against the park district “

When in the first paragraph of the article Mr Zaferatos says

“For the record, I have not come out publicly opposing the measure.”

Seems like your personal interest and you editorial bias are showing more than a little.


David Marshak  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 9:29 pm

The Greenway Advisory Committee’s Strategic Plan is here:

+ Link

While this document was published toward the end of 2011, it is still largely accurate.

The plan is a public document. There are no secrets in it.

John Servais  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 10:30 pm

Frank, fair enough.  I had missed that sentence - or failed to note how my lead was not justified.  And the lead is now changed, dropping “against” and in its place using “concerned”.  Thanks.

Riley Sweeney  //  Mon, Feb 04, 2013, 12:34 pm

I just wanted to echo what everyone else said. There is literally no other place of this caliber for discussing local news. When I’m writing for my blog, I often say to myself, “Is this high enough quality for NWCitizen?” if not, I often scratch it or re-write it. Thank you John for all the hard work you do keeping this ship afloat.

Dudley Evenson  //  Tue, Feb 05, 2013, 1:05 pm

John, I remember you said you were opposed to saving this forest but when you saw the videos we made, you changed your mind and understood what an important ecological treasure this Chuckanut Community Forest is.  Here are the video links of the short excerpts of the video to remind you and also to let your readers get some more historical background on the forest that so many in our community have worked tirelessly for over 20 years to save.  Thank you.
To view all parts of the Chuckanut Community Forest Video click these links:
Part 1 + Link
Part 2 + Link
Part 3 + Link
Part 4 + Link

John Servais  //  Tue, Feb 05, 2013, 2:24 pm

Dudley,  I never said such.  Perhaps I said it did not all need to be saved. And we have not spoken in a long long time - years?  Please do not put words in my mouth that end up with a he says she says. 

Thanks for the links to your videos.  The videos focus on the wetlands and those are securely saved and will never be built on and not part of this Park District issue.  To use the wetlands as a motivator to vote for the Park District is misleading.

A note from the publisher

Sat, Feb 02, 2013, 11:18 am  //  John Servais

The Chuckanut Park District ballot issue has another 10 days to run. A few notes about NWCitizen and this issue.

11 comments; last on Feb 05, 2013

Correction of Error

Wed, Jan 02, 2013, 11:31 am  //  John Servais

A needed correction and apology for an error in a story that has been pulled.

3 comments; last on Jan 03, 2013

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Fine Jewelry from Northwest Artists

NWCitizen upgrade is completed

Mon, Mar 12, 2012, 10:33 am  //  John Servais

Just a short note about nwcitizen past few weeks effort

1 comments; last on Apr 10, 2012

Commenting experience is improved

Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 6:15 pm  //  John Servais

Commenting on NWCitizen has been improved with a floating window.

4 comments; last on Aug 04, 2011

Commenting on Northwest Citizen

Tue, May 04, 2010, 1:25 am  //  John Servais

Some Q&As about password security, using actual names and length of comments.


Northwest Citizen has a Front Page

Fri, Jan 29, 2010, 2:42 am  //  John Servais

NwCitizen adds new design elements to its home page. The publisher explains what and why.

1 comments; last on Jan 30, 2010

A note to readers of NwCitizen

Mon, May 18, 2009, 11:30 am  //  John Servais

Just a short bit about NwCitizen this morning. A few thoughts. Nothing heavy. But some things I'd like the regular readers to know.

The idea of this 'blog',…

3 comments; last on May 20, 2009

NwCitizen down - info

Tue, Mar 10, 2009, 1:04 pm  //  Site Management

To Readers, Commenters and Writers,

NwCitizen was down from Friday evening, March 6 till late Monday night. Our web hosting service had serious router problems that defied repeated attempts…


Commenting Policy

Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 12:48 am  //  Site Management

Last week I removed commenting ability for a person. This is the first time since this site opened for commenting 11 months ago that someone has been removed…

3 comments; last on Nov 11, 2008

the New Northwest Citizen Experience

Tue, Jan 15, 2008, 11:54 pm  //  John Servais

Welcome. At 8:45 pm this evening, this website went live with its transformed design. You are looking at it. Yes, this is the Northwest Citizen that has been…

4 comments; last on Jan 16, 2008

Copyright Notice

Tue, Jan 15, 2008, 2:35 pm  //  John Servais

Read this short post for copyright information on this NorthwestCitizen website.


New website and Green Bay Packers

Mon, Jan 14, 2008, 1:18 pm  //  John Servais

Just a couple days more and we should be able to turn on the new NwCitizen website. Programming continues and what free time I have is going into…


New Server is Online

Tue, Jan 08, 2008, 6:52 am  //  John Servais

OK, we are running on the new server. And the design and programming are going well. I have cautious hope the transformed site will be running by early…


My name is Tip Johnson.

Fri, Nov 03, 2006, 4:02 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Gentle readers,

My name is Tip Johnson. The usual editor of this publication has asked me to fill in for a bit while he is busy with other matters.…


Website restructuring

Thu, Nov 02, 2006, 4:06 pm  //  John Servais

After today, a friend will take over writing to this space for a few weeks. I'll let him introduce himself to you. I've some personal things that need…


This “blog” now approaching its 10th anniversary

Sun, May 15, 2005, 4:56 pm  //  Site Management

Well, when my sainted aunt writes asking if I'm feeling OK because nothing has been posted here, then it is time to pay attention to this blog. With…


Posted mid January at bottom of home page

Wed, Jan 14, 2004, 9:12 pm  //  John Servais

About 240 citizens check NwCitizen each day and regular readers check about once a week. Over 4,000 unique - different - citizens check this site every month. Examining…



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