Greenways Levy Money Used for AstroTurfPermalink +
Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 10:28 am // John Servais
Update July 2, 9 am: I will post more on Wednesday about the 6-1 approval to spend Greenways money. I have not yet listened to the council discussion, and Gene's angry speech, because the BTV10 sound was dead for online live council meeting. It was restored a while after I contacted the tech who did not realize there was no sound. I spoke during the comment time, then sat watching the council have a crazy confused argument about road safety that made no sense to me - and realized that other than 5 students who probably had to be there, I was the only citizen not out enjoying a fine evening. So I went home and intended to see what they said an hour later when they got to that item on their agenda. Reading lips and body language is not enough. Tomorrow. Thanks Wendy for updating the info. I suspect she was watching it on TV which I did not have access to.
Update 8:30 am July 1: Have added the graphic of the council using Greenways Levy funds for resurfacing the Arne Hanna swimming pool. City Hall seems comfortable using our special levy fund for most any sorts of maintenance. I will be looking for other projects that have used the funds this way. We can now expect a comment saying I'm against swimming pools.
Update 3:30 pm: To quote a comment below from council member Michael Lilliquist: "To answer your specific questions (from your blog and your email): now is certainly the time to raise any objections." A further reply to his comment will follow this evening. He nit picks but has no defense for this expenditure beyond the facts laid out in my article.
Update 1:00 pm: If someone tells you that this $500,000 is not being approved Monday evening because it was approved last fall, then you should know that this bill enables the spending of the money that was budgeted last fall. Same difference. The vote Monday evening will effectively spend the money. Confusing processes like this are what enable the city to spend money without our knowing about it. As a very high ranking city employee told me recently - in losing John Carter to Everett, we are losing the only person in city hall who understands the budget. Sad.
Posted 11:28 am
The Greenways Fund is again being dipped into by the Bellingham City Council to pay for AstroTurf at Civic Field. This is hardly the use we intended when we voted for this special fund. We intended the fund for acquisition of land for trails and to preserve special forests and maintain them.
"Greenways" is a direct reference to trails - and all the campaigning to pass the three multi-million dollar levies involved a promise that the funds would be carefully invested in our connecting trail system. Now, the Greenways Advisory Board is apparently just fine letting the City Council dip in to help pay for plastic grass on a football field.
Western pays a very small annual fee to use the field for soccer and other sports. User fees should be levied for the use of the field - to the school districts and anyone else who uses the field - so the plastic surface can be maintained.
The council said they did not have enough money left in the Greenways fund to pay more for the Chuckanut Ridge land purchase, so a levy has been passed in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city to pay $50 to $200 a year per household to pay off the balance. This council decision to spend $500,000 of the Greenways fund for plastic grass on Civic Field for Western means the poor households in Happy Valley are subsidizing the sports program for Western Washington University. Anyone who cares to take issue with that, feel free.
But this is not the first time. In 2000, the city used almost a million dollars of Greenways funds to install the original plastic playing field at the stadium, a total violation of the promise made to citizens during the campaign for the levy. In the years since, I have asked Greenways Committee members about it and all have said it should not have been done. Well, those same committee members appear to be quietly allowing it to happen again. Again, I raise the question - let them comment here and answer - or post somewhere else and I will link.
I'm as green and enviro as they come, but next time the city asks for another Greenways Levy, we may all want to question what we are voting for. We may think we are voting for trails, park land, preservation of sensitive woodland, maintenance of trails and such, but in reality, we may simply be subsidizing other city projects that have nothing to do with what we were promised.
Any Greenways Advisory Committee members who want to comment or explain or defend this spending of funds for plastic grass for football and soccer, please do so. And please also tell us why we should vote for the next Greenways levy if this is how past levies are being spent. Heck, I invite any council member to comment as well.
Don't like this expenditure? Let the council and mayor know. Phone, email or attend Monday's meeting and speak. With this post on NWCitizen, they will all have read it by Monday afternoon and will be waiting to see if anyone is concerned. My posts on this website are just shouting into the wind and easily ignored by city council if readers do not act on the information that bothers them. Posting your thoughts here will help. I assure you, they do read them.
Related Links:-> City Council bill 20036 - $500,000 Greenways for civic stadium plastic grass
-> Greenways Levy presentation to city council Jan 23, 2006 - civic field mentioned but not in budget
Sun, Jun 30, 2013, 10:28 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
Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 8:42 pm // John ServaisWendy Harris writes about the proposed $8 million concrete bridge along the Bellingham waterfront - using Greenways funds to build.
3 comments; last on Mar 20, 2013
Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 2:47 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
Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 3:42 pm // John ServaisThe Park District vote is close and we will not know final results until late ballots are counted.
6 comments; last on Feb 19, 2013
Sat, Feb 09, 2013, 12:14 am // John ServaisThe proponents have avoided the issues on the Park District as the close of voting nears this weekend.
2 comments; last on Feb 12, 2013
Wed, Feb 06, 2013, 10:42 pm // John ServaisWhen is a vote No the most positive and common sense action? Check the park district opponents website to learn why.
15 comments; last on Feb 10, 2013
Tue, Feb 05, 2013, 12:59 pm // John ServaisThis Park District proposal has several ironic twists and facets - some involving the advocates.
10 comments; last on Feb 07, 2013
Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 3:05 pm // Guest writerNicholas Zaferatos explains why he is concerned about the park district and looks at the long and short term views if the issue.
11 comments; last on Feb 06, 2013
Sat, Feb 02, 2013, 11:18 am // John ServaisThe 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
Fri, Feb 01, 2013, 3:16 pm // Guest writerDr. Gibb explains some history to the issue in a brief article.
8 comments; last on Feb 03, 2013
Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 12:36 pm // Guest writerPaul Leuthold and Byron Elmendorf explain why to vote NO on the Chuckanut Park District ballot measure.
19 comments; last on Feb 12, 2013
Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 12:26 am // Guest writerGuest post by long time south side resident Marci (Hanson) Haskell on why to vote no on the Park District
5 comments; last on Feb 01, 2013
Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 9:40 am // John ServaisThe Park District is a panic action that over taxes a small group. A city wide solution is by far the better way to proceed.
13 comments; last on Feb 01, 2013
Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 5:25 pm // Guest writerBill Geyer explains Transfer Development Rights and how they can be applied to the Chuckanut Ridge.
17 comments; last on Feb 06, 2013
Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 8:18 pm // Guest writerPhyllis McKee on why to oppose and the importance of voting no if you are against the Park District.
13 comments; last on Jan 29, 2013
Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 11:49 am // Guest writerDan Remsen speaks to the beauty of the Chuckanut Park and why to vote for the Park District.
6 comments; last on Feb 05, 2013
Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 4:09 pm // John ServaisUpdated Sat, Jan 26. A primer on the special Parks District election - and where to find more info.
15 comments; last on Jan 31, 2013
Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 9:49 am // Guest writerBy Bill Geyer. South Bellingham citizens vote over the next couple weeks on a self tax to form a park district and pay the Chuckanut Ridge debt.
30 comments; last on Jan 31, 2013
Sun, Oct 02, 2011, 8:29 am // Larry HorowitzHow spending $1,000 could save millions on the acquisition of Chuckanut Ridge
11 comments; last on Oct 03, 2011
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 11:59 pm // Tip JohnsonEeny, meeny, miny, moe
15 comments; last on Sep 29, 2011
Thu, Sep 01, 2011, 10:21 pm // John ServaisThey celebrated the purchase of Chuckanut Ridge this evening. It was a fun event, even if a bit revisionist history snuck in.
7 comments; last on Sep 09, 2011
Tue, Aug 16, 2011, 8:26 am // John ServaisLast night the Bellingham City Council approved the purchase of Chuckanut Ridge for $8.2 million
3 comments; last on Aug 16, 2011
Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 10:49 pm // Tip JohnsonShould we accept or dig into Chuckanut Ridge?
21 comments; last on Aug 30, 2011
Fri, Jul 22, 2011, 3:52 pm // John ServaisWashington Federal has bought out Greenbriar's interest in Chuckanut Ridge.
3 comments; last on Jul 25, 2011
Wed, Mar 09, 2011, 1:38 pm // John ServaisBank opens way to sell Chuckanut 100 Acre Woods to city.
6 comments; last on Mar 16, 2011
Tue, Nov 09, 2010, 5:04 pm // Guest writerEric explains his resignation from the Greenways Advisory Committee and lists his concerns.
1 comments; last on Nov 10, 2010
Sat, Nov 06, 2010, 10:22 am // Larry HorowitzWhy Washington Federal's best option is to accept Bellingham's offer to take Fairhaven Highlands off its hands
6 comments; last on Nov 14, 2010
Open letter to Bellingham Planning Director Jeff Thomas re: Fairhaven Highlands application deadline
Sun, Oct 31, 2010, 6:20 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
Thu, Aug 05, 2010, 9:28 am // John ServaisWe ask why the EIS extension was given to the Chuckanut Ridge developers when the city is negotiating to buy the property.
Wed, Aug 04, 2010, 9:12 am // John ServaisBellingham Planning Department is giving quiet extensions to the Chuckanut Ridge developer - propping up the property value.
1 comments; last on Aug 04, 2010
Mon, Aug 02, 2010, 2:30 pm // John ServaisBellingham Planning Department gave a three month extension, till Oct 29, to Greenbriar
2 comments; last on Aug 02, 2010
Mon, Jan 11, 2010, 5:21 pm // John ServaisBellingham council and mayor are working to buy the 80 acres of Chuckanut Ridge development for a bargain price. Washington Federal does not want the land.
1 comments; last on Jan 12, 2010
Fri, Jan 08, 2010, 8:02 pm // John ServaisFate of proposed Chuckanut Ridge development continues to be a concern.
2 comments; last on Jan 09, 2010
Tue, Dec 08, 2009, 1:29 pm // Larry HorowitzBREAKING:
On Dec 3, the FDIC issued a Supervisory Prompt Corrective Action Directive to Horizon Bank due to the bank’s critically undercapitalized status as of Sep
8 comments; last on Dec 09, 2009
Sat, Dec 05, 2009, 8:00 am // Tip JohnsonI always hate public issues that involve decades of history and require integration of multiple points. I refer to it as 'the indignity of explanation.' Public interest advocates…
9 comments; last on Dec 09, 2009
Fri, Dec 04, 2009, 10:50 am // Larry HorowitzDateline: Nov 11, 2011
A series of recent landslides around the perimeter of Chuckanut Ridge, which caused substantial property damage, several injuries a
9 comments; last on Dec 08, 2009
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 12:20 pm // Tip JohnsonThis is probably old news to Responsible Development advocates, but just in case, here's a little heads up on TIm Stewart. He appears to have experience with developments…
3 comments; last on Oct 28, 2009
Mon, Oct 26, 2009, 11:02 am // Larry HorowitzProfessional journalist and local resident, Bob Simmons, has published an article entitled Horizon Bank and the fate of Fairhaven Highlands on the Seattle-based Crosscut.com3 comments; last on Oct 29, 2009
Fri, Oct 23, 2009, 3:11 pm // Larry HorowitzA public hearing on the Fairhaven Highlands Draft EIS was held on Tuesday, October 20 at the County Council Chambers. Approximately 250 to 300 were in attendance.
1 comments; last on Oct 30, 2009
Tue, Oct 20, 2009, 3:39 pm // John ServaisPublic comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Fairhaven Highlands is tonight, Tuesday, October 20 at 6 pm at the Whatcom County Courthouse.
1 comments; last on Oct 20, 2009
Sun, Oct 18, 2009, 9:58 am // Larry HorowitzNo confidence. That’s right. NO CONFIDENCE! I have no confidence in the Fairhaven Highlands EIS… and neither should you.
And it’s not for the obvious reasons. Sure,
4 comments; last on Oct 19, 2009
Thu, Oct 01, 2009, 4:20 pm // Larry HorowitzIf you are interested in saving Chuckanut Ridge, there is some glimmer of hope for preserving this ecologically-rich and environmentally-sensitive property. If you are willing to make a…
3 comments; last on Oct 04, 2009
Fri, Apr 10, 2009, 8:41 am // Larry HorowitzDear Director Stewart:
As I write this letter, I am reminded of a comment by a former planning department staffer who claimed he knew he had done his job…
2 comments; last on Apr 11, 2009
Sat, Apr 04, 2009, 11:30 am // Larry HorowitzOn February 20th, I wrote a column about the Chuckanut Ridge / Fairhaven Highlands mature forested wetlands and the failure of Horizon Bank’s wetland consultant to properly rate…
4 comments; last on Apr 06, 2009
Sun, Mar 01, 2009, 11:33 pm // Guest writerJack Weiss, a member of the Bellingham City Council, has submitted this response to the Feb 27 post.
Barbara, as the author of this piece, tries to state a…
4 comments; last on Mar 17, 2009
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 6:11 pm // Guest writerBarbara Ryan, Terry Bornemann and Gene Knutson, all members of the Bellingham City Council, have submitted this guest article.
Until now, we have chosen to let our record…
4 comments; last on Mar 01, 2009
Fri, Feb 20, 2009, 8:57 am // Larry HorowitzPulitzer Prize-winning author of The Jungle, Upton Sinclair observed, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”
4 comments; last on Feb 23, 2009
Sat, Feb 07, 2009, 10:17 am // Larry HorowitzIf you happen to find yourself in the market for an 82-acre hilly swamp wholly encumbered by critical areas like steep slopes and mature-forested Category 1 wetlands in…
Wed, Feb 04, 2009, 11:54 am // Larry HorowitzPlease don’t misunderstand. I’m not claiming that the Fairhaven Highlands environmental impact statement (EIS) does not have the potential to be meaningful. However, in its present form,
9 comments; last on Feb 05, 2009
Tue, Feb 03, 2009, 12:05 am // Larry HorowitzI really pity Horizon Bank’s CEO Rich Jacobson. His predecessor, Laury Evans, sure left him a bad hand to play. Not only is Mr. Jacobson faced with the…
2 comments; last on Mar 02, 2009
Sun, Jan 25, 2009, 8:59 pm // Larry HorowitzIn recent weeks, the Chuckanut Ridge / Greenways 3 mêlée has been blown way out of proportion and has become nothing more than an irritating sideshow. Personally, I…
Wed, Jan 14, 2009, 7:28 pm // John ServaisA back room attempt by city staff to sneak the Greenways Plan through city council failed Monday evening. Tuesday evening the mayor got grilled strongly by south side…
23 comments; last on Jan 17, 2009
Sat, Aug 09, 2008, 6:10 pm // Larry HorowitzOn his personal blog, former City Councilman John Watts has written a column entitled, “Chuckanut Ridge: Land Supply Implications” in which he concludes, “without a reasonable level
12 comments; last on Aug 11, 2008
Sun, Apr 13, 2008, 5:18 pm // Tip JohnsonThe dialog over the proposed Fairhaven Highlands development has deteriorated into a childish "neiner-neiner" squabble. Opponents continuously propose a host of rational objections while a few propon
2 comments; last on Apr 16, 2008
Sat, Mar 01, 2008, 11:28 am // Larry HorowitzYou don’t need to be Nostradamus to make this prediction: Bellingham city officials are about to waste precious staff time and taxpayer resources preparing an environmental impact statem
6 comments; last on Mar 04, 2008
Fri, Feb 15, 2008, 9:13 pm // Larry HorowitzAfter an extended hiatus, the battle over Chuckanut Ridge has begun to heat up again. In one corner: landowners Horizon Bank and David Edelstein. In the other corner:…
2 comments; last on Feb 20, 2008
Wed, Jan 16, 2008, 2:33 pm // Tip JohnsonOr how to mitigate the illegitimacies of Fairhaven Highlands, AKA Chuckanut Ridge and the Hundred Acre Woods.
Sorry, I didn't have time to write something short!
Tonight (1/16/2008) a
2 comments; last on Jan 16, 2008
Wed, Oct 17, 2007, 8:40 pm // John ServaisPodcasts of last night's forum will be posted online by KGMI about noon tomorrow. I will post links here when they go up. Meanwhile, you might check Sam…
Sun, Jun 12, 2005, 4:35 pm // Site ManagementChuckanut Ridge is a controversy now - and it is deja vu of 1996. On October '96, NwCitizen broke new information and posted three reports that helped to…
Sun, Oct 20, 1996, 11:00 am // John ServaisWith Facts Wrong, Discussion Is Skewed
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