Black Lives Matter, Occupy WS & Whatcom Jail

Permalink +

Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 7:55 pm  //  Whatcom Citizen

Whatcom Citizen is a pseudonym for a local writer whom we know and respect. The writer must remain anonymous.  We will explain in a separate post this evening why we are posting an article without a name.

- - - - 

For nearly a year, the Occupy Wall Street movement dominated headlines. Through direct and disruptive action, they forced the entire country into a discussion about income inequality. It almost looked as if we would take our country back from the moneyed interests. Sadly, we didn't.

Now, six years later, another social movement, Black Lives Matter, has seized the microphone. Black activists and white allies are putting a spotlight on the systematic physical and emotional abuse of black citizens by law enforcement officers.

Both Occupy and Black Lives Matter have touched very real and substantive nerves in our lives. Both movements used techniques of protest and non-violence to accomplish their goals. So, why did the Occupy movement fall apart?

When Dan Pike evicted the Occupy movement from Maritime Heritage Park he did not give an explanation, but the writing was already on the wall. Nationally, the movement was losing steam and locally, the group had splintered, with two separate websites and organizational structures, each claiming to be the “authentic” Occupy Bellingham. In the course of one year, the movement crumbled.

Part of the collapse was due to a lack of clear, actionable, policy goals. Occupy Wall Street had plenty of clear ideas: income disparity, prosecution of the bankers that ruined our economy, and regulation of Wall Street speculators so it wouldn't happen again. Yet when it came to putting concepts into specific policy, there was chaos. One Occupy Wall Street victory was the $15 minimum wage, but it needed a life and movement of its own to get passed in Seattle. Without clear and specific policy goals, and ways to motivate public action, Occupy was overwhelmed by confusion and inertia. The moneyed interests crushed them with vigor.

Black Lives Matter is facing similar challenges. When their organizers met with Hillary Clinton, the lack of actionable policy goals immediately became an issue. Black Lives Matter tried to push Clinton into leading a change in public opinion. Clinton said, “You change laws. You change allocation of resources. You change the way systems operate. I don’t believe you change hearts.” She was right; and she succinctly identified what separates a successful people-powered movement from one that will be diverted and destroyed.

As a white, middle-income resident of Whatcom County, I realize I have considerable privilege. I also realize it is not my place to tell activists who or what to be angry about. That said, my concern for the fledgling Black Lives Matter is that by focusing on changing minds instead of policy, they will simply fall victim to the same challenges that brought down Occupy Wall Street. What’s needed is a coherent plan with specific goals for changing policy. The good news for Black Lives Matter is that there are a variety of policies to be changed, starting here in Whatcom County.

On Monday night, Sheriff Bill Elfo appeared on a statewide television news program asserting there are over 500 gang members in Whatcom County. It seems an oddly specific number; a number contrived, perhaps, to justify building a 521-bed jail (if only Bellingham would participate!) as opposed to a 383-bed jail (without Bellingham’s help). Are these gang numbers simply fear tactics on the part of our Sheriff's department? Should we surrender to such cheap tactics or should we push back with an alternative? This is a discussion we need to have as a community, and it should extend to intrusive law enforcement like predictive policing software.

Construction of a new jail, ongoing abuse of people of color by law enforcement, and inordinate income disparity are all interconnected. For years, systemic violence on the part of law enforcement has been used to pump money out of communities of color and into the pockets of private industry. When the Justice Department examined the police practices in Ferguson, Missouri, they found the police used Black residents as a perverse sort of ATM, filling their coffers through punitive tickets. This money was then doled out to private contractors for new militarized equipment for law enforcement, completing a pipeline from an abused community through government departments to moneyed interests.

If we build a new jail of 521 beds or more, building it will take all our public safety taxing authority for the next 30 years, which is limited by state mandate. Add to that the increased costs to staff it and 30 years worth of maintenance, and rest assured, the idea of turning it over to a private prison company will begin to circulate. 

A final thought. Machiavelli, in The Prince, outlined a diabolical way to control a recently seized territory. The Prince is advised to appoint a brutal general to oversee the new territory while the Prince travels elsewhere. In his absence, the general executes all political adversaries, dissidents and potential troublemakers – crushing any potential opposition. When the Prince returns, he feigns horror at the general's actions and promptly executes him. A grateful population adores the Prince, who now lives without fear of rebels organizing against him. 

While they may have had flawed tactics, Occupy Wall Street had the right villain, as does Black Lives Matter. We can and should reform our law enforcement community, but let's not forget who is the general and who is the Prince. Our law enforcement may need a serious culture change, but in the end, it answers to big business.

Doug Karlberg  //  Thu, Aug 20, 2015, 6:24 am

Interesting and thought provoking article.

One minor gripe.

The Prince in Machiavelli’s example does not represent “big business”.

In reality it represents the most powerful organization on earth—GOVERNMENT

Wynne Lee  //  Thu, Aug 20, 2015, 10:30 am

My understanding is that the 1% County safety sales tax goes to supporting EMS services. The County Exec and others plan to let it expire - maybe to re-allocate to more “criminal” control? I wonder… what will make Whatcom County citizens *truly* safer:  a bigger jail & more police, or continuing (even expanding!) our emergency medical services in the County. Would love to see the data, # of people annually who receive EMS services vs # of people harmed by/involved in illegal activity?

Dick Conoboy  //  Thu, Aug 20, 2015, 11:35 am

Doug - when government is bought by the big corporations there ceases to be much of a distinction between the two.  That is what has happened in the US where any semblance of democracy has been erased.  We live in an oligarchy, pure and simple.  One might also argue a constitutional monarchy with the Supreme Court reigning, ex cathedra.

Tip Johnson  //  Thu, Aug 20, 2015, 12:38 pm

It is well past time to unravel this cooked up jail crisis and to identify the roles of the players in this apparent fraud to seize the County budget for a police state.

Remember, most folks who land in jail are our neighbors, friends and family.  The present system leaves them broke, unemployed and bitter.  Shouldn’t we focus on ways to help rather than harm them? Of course there are the bad apples that can’t stay out of trouble and keep landing back in jail, but we need a better breakdown of the jail intake so we don’t waste vast sums incarcerating people unnecessarily.

I believe fully half of the incarcerated in Whatcom County have no need of prolonged high security detention and that neither they nor society will benefit from it. There are better ways to manage people that can’t make bail or pay fines, need to spend a mandatory night or have mental health issues. 

Letting the jail run down and artificially clogging it with folks that don’t need to be there is a poor justification for designing a budget eating lion that will eventually require all discretionary funds for its feeding.  The first place to start is to “just say no” until a bona fide needs assessment has been completed that compares the costs of diversionary services and assistance programs to incarceration.

Let’s help our neighbors, friends and families do better and stay in schools and jobs instead of making their lives impossible and driving them to desperation.

Dick Conoboy  //  Thu, Aug 20, 2015, 2:24 pm

There is literally no end to the possibilities to limit the number of incarcerated in our prison-industrial complex or to prevent their return.  I read the following in a recent article in The Nation regarding Pell Grants that Congress, in its characteristically infinite stupidity eliminated a while back.  “The plan to extend Pell Grant access in prisons is described as a “limited pilot program” authorized through a federal financial aid waiver program under the Higher Education Act. Incarcerated adults could apply for grants of up to $5,775 for tuition and related expenses, at college-level programs offered in prison facilities nationwide. Designed to allow for studying long-term effects of education on recidivism, the program moves toward restoring access to Pell Grants for incarcerated people, which Congress removed in the mid-1990s. Read more here: + Link

Riley Sweeney  //  Fri, Aug 21, 2015, 11:03 am

Adding some more information to this discussion, a group of Black Lives Matters activists have launched “Campaign Zero” that is working to provide actionable policy solutions to the law enforcement reform movement. You can find more information here: + Link

Carol Follett  //  Sat, Aug 22, 2015, 10:25 am

To Doug: Big Business is government- Why else would they go to the trouble of Citizens United (expanded by McCutcheon v. FEC), ALEC, and the noose around our neck trade acts- WTO, and soon, coming to a Machiavellian country near you, the TPP. The government is creating laws in favor of big business that will supersede any constitutional rights you may think you possess.

Read about what happened to Bruce Radtke posted on this site just a few days ago (local-retired-librarian-injured-by-police), and you will understand why more and bigger jails are being built. With the gang fear tactics we may create our own political prisons of the near future.

Black lives matter. All of our lives matter. That is why we loved the idea of our democracy, our constitution, and our “representational” government. Well, lets get one.

The billionaire “candidate” quoted in this article will not be representing back lives or any citizens’ lives. She is first and foremost about her principality and those of the other princelings as are the other billionaire candidates. There is one exception to the billionaires, i.e. Bernie Sanders

Doug Karlberg  //  Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 11:23 am

Carol, you make some good points, but I think you may have missed mine.

Government is and will likely always be the most powerful organization on earth. For big business to flock to those with power is nothing new, but big business is like a fruit fly. Government is the fruit. Only government can make laws and enforce these law by force. Business cannot do these powerful things.

Because government has so much power, those who desire power graviate to influence government. Our Founding Fathers studied this at length and this is why they wisely created a Constitution that restrains what they thought to be an inevitable and insatiable human weakness that some people are never satified with a little power.

Dividing governmental power, in the end also restrains corporate power. Monopolistic power was well known historically to our Founding Fathers. Remember the Tea Party. A protest about monopolistic power. Kings and Queens regularlly awarded monopolies to favored businesses. particularly in essential goods or services. Reduce governments power, and one reduces the ability of government to award economic power to their friends, which enivitaly mistreated the common citizen.

I do not diagree that some corporations have too much power in the halls of government, but only that independant critial thinking can only lead to understand that the ultimate power resides with government.

The only way that corporations can manipulate the levers of government is because those that WE elect people who allow this to happen. There are no laws forcing government to give power to corporations. This power is given voluntarily by those we elect. Granted corporations dangle monumental amounts of cash and other valuable bribes in front of our politicians, but let’s not forget that our elected leaders are eagerly reaching for these corporate fruits, and WE ELECTED THEM.

Also, what we see and experiance at the hands of our government is a product of both parties. The two paries will blame eachother, but in my view they both share the blame for failing to adequately represent our interests effectively. Both parities have their hands out for cash. They may get it from different donors, but in the end when the take the cash, we have been sold out.

Ultimately we need to do a couple of things that I think our Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court missed. We need to take the vast sums of money out of the election process via Constitutional amendment, returning power to the voter.

This alone will not change much as an educated, independant, and critical thinking citizenry is essential.

If one is drinking the Kool-Aid from either party, this is the government you get.

If one gives their vote to the party, you have lost the power of your vote.

As the Presidential election season is upon us, I find it interesting that each candidate running from both parties has something good to add to this national debate.

What we are seeing though looks more like a democratic revolution, which is exactly as our Founding Father intended when disatisfaction of government runs high. The beats the heck out of a violent revolution.

I hope that we get real change in our government that includes excellence and cost effectiveness, otherwise I fear these frustrations with the political and donor class will only get more intense, the next election cycle.

Clear ineptness, favoritism to donors, union and corporate alike, along with a declining middle class is not a recipe for hapiness with government.

There is a reason why the highest per capita income in the United States in the land surrounding Washington DC, and the reason is not because they are harder working or make better products.

The products and services coming from Washington DC stinks. We are not babies and know this.

Terry Wechsler  //  Sun, Aug 23, 2015, 5:46 pm

“We will explain in a separate post this evening why we are posting an article without a name.”


Dick Conoboy  //  Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 2:52 pm

I posted these two items the other day over at the Whatcom Hawk.

Some nuanced thinking here. Reed, the author, is an associate professor at Illinois State U. An excerpt here: ‘The horizontal organization of Black Lives Matter ensures a diversity of perspectives among participants and even branches. Nevertheless, the now-commonplace claim at the heart of the recent Black Lives Matter protests against Sanders is that white liberals have long reduced racism to class inequality in order to deflect attention from racial disparities. This is not just wrong, but the formulation — which ultimately treats race as unchanging and permanent rather than a product of specific historical and political economic relations — undermines both the cause of racial equality in general and pursuit of equitable treatment in the criminal justice system in particular.’ + Link

And this: Surprise, surprise! Reed did not just fall off the turnip truck. This from Zaid Jilani at Alternet last week. “He [MLK] laid out his proposal of a “grand alliance” between blacks and whites aimed at “eradicating social evils which oppress both white and Negro.” He pointed to high youth unemployment among both groups, and said economic competition would become self-destructive if the two groups did not cooperate. Finally, he warned that if “a few Negro extremists and white extremists manage to divide their people, a tragic result will be the ascendancy of extreme reaction which exploits all people”:”  + Link

Carol Follett  //  Tue, Aug 25, 2015, 9:08 am

These are important points to discuss, but I wonder if we can afford to split hairs (and votes) at this time. Please read and the follow the money:

Corrected: Major Figures in Democratic and Republican Money Groups Go Into Business Together

“The founders of Rokk Solutions, a new political consulting firm that serves corporate trade associations and other lobbying ventures, offer their clients an unusual value proposition: whichever party triumphs, they’ll have had a hand in a big-money group that can claim victory.

While bipartisan political consulting firms are a dime a dozen in Washington, D.C., what makes Rokk noteworthy is that it is comprised of campaign operatives with major roles in two big-money groups — one Democratic, one Republican — expected to play major roles in the 2016 elections.

Rokk co-founder Rodell Mollineau was the first president of American Bridge 21st Century, one of the primary Super PACs supporting the bid of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Though he stepped down as president of American Bridge last year, Federal Election Commission reports show that Mollineau is still the treasurer of the group — and his LinkedIn profile describes him as being on the group’s board. Mollineau is also on the board of Working America Education Fund, an organized labor-backed campaign group that helps to elect Democrats.

Rokk co-founder Brian J. Walsh, meanwhile, is leading a nonprofit campaign group called Our Next America, which was formed to support the Republican policy agenda in the Senate. Politico described the group as following in the footsteps of GOP Super PACs that have worked in recent years to elect congressional Republicans. Rob Jesmer, a partner with FP1 Strategies, a consulting firm retained by Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, will also advise Our Next America. Walsh is the former communications director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The other Rokk co-founder is Ron Bonjean, a Republican consultant who has worked for Koch Industries to help develop political attacks against company critics.

Rokk, which formally launched in May of this year, says it has already signed clients across a diverse range of industries, including the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail sectors, according to a company press release. For clients, the Rokk team will use “campaign tactics to promote the interests of corporate clients,” according to a story about the firm in CQ Weekly.

Neither Bridge nor Mollineau responded to a request for comment.

The consultants, who fashion themselves professional spin artists, chose the name Rokk because it is Norwegian for “spinning wheel.”

My guess is, Bernie isn’t using these firms- anyone have information to the contrary?

Ryan M. Ferris  //  Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 11:41 am

I have found a number of scholars useful in understanding this issue:

Todd Clear
Sara Wakefield
Michelle Alexander
Ruth Wilson Gilmore

All of them have public personas and books on Kindle. I recommend reading “The New Jim Crow” (Michelle Alexander) most. I have been blogging on this extensively. Here is what I know to date: We have booked about 17k unique individuals about 30k times for about 47k charges in the last 4.5 years. We book about 6500 unique individuals in any given year or about the equivalent of 2% (1 out of 50) of our 210k county populace. The big drivers are “bound” criminogenic cycles: DUI/DWLS, ASSAULT 4/NCO viol, controlled substance/theft +.  None of.these cycles are decreasing. FTA charges tied to these and other charges are numerically the highest. African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics are ‘over represented’ in our jail populace and many others in WA states. This is my conclusion:  Our law, justice, and associated agencies are destroying the families of people of color and poverty, seeting up a pool of desperate and lost young men who will join narcotics trafficking organizations for employment and protection.  I believe the development of narcotic’s trafficking will be facilitated in the future by increased rail and shipping traffic such that our ports and transportation infrastructure will complement existing narcotics trafficking and infrastructure in Long Beach, Oakland and Tacoma.

Dianne Foster  //  Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 9:53 pm

Benito Mussolini once said that fascism is the unity of corporations and government.  Well said from an expert.  Add racism and you have Nazism.  The TPP puts corporations over the power of local govenrnments; I can’t even think of a name for that…. watch for a “Citizen Summons to a Citizen Town Hall” coming October 12th, sponsored by Occupy Bellingham and partners.  We will invite Reps Del Bene and Larsen to explain their vote on Fast Track, and have a conversation with us about their future vote on TPP this November.  This town hall will be run by us, not them, and have a panel of experts on the topic.  Stay tuned.

Junga Subedar  //  Tue, Sep 01, 2015, 9:16 am

In this article the writer misinterpreted, at best, that the activists from ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter do not have an agenda/demands‬. At a forum on substance abuse, Hillary Clinton had an impromptu meeting with the activists from BLM. She had the last word about her ‘superior’ theory about changing policy to address the racial divide, “not just hearts”, before their meeting ended. (Full video on Democracy Now: + Link)
The activists never discounted the importance of specific plans and policies in their movement. In the latest critique of Daunasia Yancey and Julius Jones, the unsightly heads of bias and racial stereotypes rear up, again: they don’t have a “plan”, a leader, or specific “demands”. The demands of BLM have been articulated, posted and proclaimed by multiple BLM leaders and groups: see specific demands, in the link to BLACKLIVESMATTTER. Why the constant, biased refrain that discounts the intelligence and incredible, forward thinking minds in their movement, by saying that they need a plan or specific demands?

Black Lives Matter, Occupy WS & Whatcom Jail

Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 7:55 pm  //  Whatcom Citizen

A Whatcom Citizen writes of protest movements and how our proposed county mega jail is related to them.

14 comments; last on Sep 01, 2015

Local retired librarian injured by police

Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 12:17 am  //  Guest writer

Bruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, reported to be assaulted by police for handing out leaflets

5 comments; last on Aug 27, 2015

Predictive Policing Comes to Bellingham

Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 3:39 pm  //  Guest writer

Is the tail wagging the dog? Edward Alexander guest writes on why predictive software for our police needs basic questions answered before purchase.

1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2015

Gunfight at Cornwall Park on Wednesday

Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 11:29 am  //  John Servais

Nothing in the Herald this morning, so NWCitizen is informing citizens of shootout at Cornwall Park.

1 comments; last on Aug 13, 2015

Kudos to Our Police

Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 5:38 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Bellingham police are obviously trained to de-escalate armed confrontations. This is the way it should be.

6 comments; last on Jul 14, 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.

8 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015

A Walk With Hope

Sun, Jan 18, 2015, 10:14 pm  //  Guest writer

Ellen Murphy gives us a poem for this Martin Luther King day of remembrance.

2 comments; last on Jan 21, 2015

Samish Way Experience - Drug Dealing Dangers?

Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 10:26 am  //  John Servais

We post a disturbing report of a personal encounter along Samish Way, with the permission of John Stark, who experienced it.

2 comments; last on Sep 17, 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

Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:20 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.

3 comments; last on Jun 11, 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

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

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


The Bellingham “Riot” - Let’s Expand the Conversation

Thu, Dec 05, 2013, 6:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The post "riot" conversation is terribly lacking in several areas. We must expand the discussion or risk learning little from the experience.

3 comments; last on Dec 15, 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


Government is Good

Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 3:20 pm  //  John Servais

As 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

Privacy Story of Feds Stripping All

Wed, Aug 14, 2013, 12:24 pm  //  John Servais

The Feds gag an Email service owner - so he cannot even tell us why he is gagged.

2 comments; last on Aug 15, 2013

Council Chooses Reasonable Regulation on Retail Marijuana

Tue, Aug 13, 2013, 10:26 am  //  Riley Sweeney

After attending the public hearing on the marijuana ban, Riley breaks down the good, the bad and the ugly

4 comments; last on Aug 20, 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

NWCitizen Stands With Edward Snowden

Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 1:53 pm  //  John Servais

Edward Snowden is a very courageous patriot, in the opinion of the publisher of NWCitizen.

3 comments; last on Jun 14, 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

Doug Ericksen’s Opening Moves

Tue, Jan 15, 2013, 5:53 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley looks into Ericksen's legislative efforts this session

1 comments; last on Jan 22, 2013

The Public Locked out of Jail Selection Process

Sat, Nov 10, 2012, 10:53 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley examines why the new jail site was selected without public input

1 comments; last on Nov 12, 2012

Feds Should Delete Anti-Islam Video

Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 10:45 am  //  John Servais

Precedent is plentiful of the Feds censoring free speech and videos - but double standard is protecting anti-Islam film.

6 comments; last on Sep 20, 2012

Coal Free Bellingham: Point Proven?

Thu, Aug 09, 2012, 9:30 pm  //  Larry Horowitz

Questions 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

The Political Junkie covers the Tea Party forum

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 5:44 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley gathers quotes, video footage and pictures from the recent tea party forum

1 comments; last on Jul 20, 2012

From the Political Junkie: Judges, Jails, and Local Politics

Wed, Jul 04, 2012, 11:42 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley interviews judicial candidates, reviews campaign tactics, and discusses fireworks


Two Port Commissioners Held Illegal Meeting

Tue, Apr 10, 2012, 8:52 pm  //  John Servais

An 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

Useful Police Activity Visualization Now Online

Sun, Mar 18, 2012, 11:58 pm  //  John Servais

A new private website displays crimes by dates, on a Bellingham map, or by graphs for all citizens to use.

5 comments; last on Mar 21, 2012

UPDATE: City of Bham Moonlighting Issue - More Documents

Tue, Jan 31, 2012, 12:58 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley updates us on the latest facts coming to light about City of Bellingham employee moonlighting

2 comments; last on Feb 01, 2012

SOPA - A Step in Destroying Democracy

Thu, Jan 19, 2012, 2:17 am  //  John Servais went black for Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012, as a protest against proposed legislation, SOPA and PIPA. Here is what was posted.

1 comments; last on Jan 19, 2012

Why SOPA is so terrible

Tue, Jan 17, 2012, 8:28 pm  //  John Servais

On Wednesday, thousands of websites will go dark to show opposition to SOPA. I will be posting a single article explaining who SOPA is so bad.


Bellingham Herald removes comments

Fri, Dec 30, 2011, 1:59 pm  //  Wendy Harris

Decide for yourself if this blog comment, posted under my own name, should have been flagged and removed from the Bellingham Herald Online Edition.

1 comments; last on Dec 31, 2011

Dan Pike Issues Order to Evict Occupy Bellingham

Tue, Dec 27, 2011, 1:55 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley questions Pike's timing, and Occupy's choice of tactics

2 comments; last on Dec 28, 2011

Sam Crawford Faces Ethical Concerns . . . AGAIN

Thu, Dec 15, 2011, 2:44 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Local blogger Shane Roth files ethical complaint over Crawford's sweetheart deals

3 comments; last on Dec 16, 2011

UPDATE: City’s response focused on favoritism, not lost revenue

Wed, Nov 30, 2011, 7:51 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

More on the city employee moonlighting issue


TPJ Exclusive: Little Documented Oversight for City Employee Moonlighting

Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 6:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

The Political Junkie breaks a story of employee moonlighting within city of Bellingham

7 comments; last on Nov 30, 2011

CameraGate:  Red-light safety or city revenue?

Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 2:00 am  //  Guest writer

With 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

The Case for Detective Steve Harris

Thu, Oct 20, 2011, 7:57 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley makes a pitch for Steve Harris as your next sheriff

3 comments; last on Oct 26, 2011

The Political Junkie Occupies Bellingham

Sat, Oct 08, 2011, 3:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley reports on the Occupy Bellingham Rally

11 comments; last on Oct 13, 2011

Wall Street protests ignored by news media

Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 12:11 pm  //  John Servais

Wall Street protests have been ongoing for over a week - but U.S. corporate news media have been covering them up.

1 comments; last on Sep 26, 2011

Appeals Court ruling mixed on Red Light Camera Initiative

Tue, Sep 06, 2011, 6:54 pm  //  John Servais

City voters can "advise" through the ballot measure this fall. Up to city council if it stays on ballot.

1 comments; last on Sep 07, 2011

Learning about law at the Farmer’s Market

Wed, Jun 22, 2011, 2:07 am  //  Ellen Murphy

Where are the police when aggression and naked greed take us all for a ride?

8 comments; last on Jun 28, 2011

From a Political Junkie: Thousands Gather for International Labor Rally

Mon, Apr 04, 2011, 5:00 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney reports on April 2nd Labor Rally

9 comments; last on Apr 09, 2011

From The Political Junkie: Legalization? It is time.

Mon, Feb 21, 2011, 6:17 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney talks about why it is time for legalization of hemp

1 comments; last on Mar 29, 2011

From The Political Junkie: Order of Invalidity Summary

Wed, Feb 09, 2011, 3:00 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney compiles several local writings about the County Council breaking the law

1 comments; last on Feb 12, 2011

The New Jail: Pete? Let’s have a talk

Fri, Feb 04, 2011, 5:29 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney talks about the Jail Meeting

5 comments; last on Feb 09, 2011

From a Political Junkie: Jail Meeting

Mon, Jan 31, 2011, 12:06 pm  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney urges you to go to jail . . . meeting

12 comments; last on Feb 04, 2011

Violence was legitimized by Sarah Palin

Sun, Jan 09, 2011, 12:56 pm  //  John Servais

Sarah Palin's violence-laced rhetoric shares the blame for the Arizona massacre.

18 comments; last on Jan 12, 2011

Yellow Light Timing

Fri, Dec 31, 2010, 7:39 pm  //  Paul deArmond

Yellow lights in Bellingham are observed and commented on, as Bellingham prepares for red light cameras.

4 comments; last on Jan 03, 2011

Wikileaks is serving Democracy

Wed, Dec 01, 2010, 9:59 pm  //  John Servais

Updated Dec 3. I support WikiLeaks and their release of government documents so citizens can vote intelligently.

12 comments; last on Dec 07, 2010

TSA protecting us from terrorists

Sat, Nov 27, 2010, 8:19 pm  //  John Servais

TSA puts young mother with a bag of breast milk through an illegal and unbelievable process.

5 comments; last on Nov 29, 2010

Council passes Red Light Cameras 6 - 1

Tue, Nov 23, 2010, 10:06 am  //  John Servais

Seth Fleetwood was one vote against, saying this is an Orwellian notion.

4 comments; last on Nov 25, 2010

Red Light Cameras = Revenue

Fri, Nov 19, 2010, 12:32 pm  //  John Servais

Revenue, not safety, is the reason for red light cameras.

6 comments; last on Nov 26, 2010

From a Political Junkie: R-71: Citizen votes or citizen legislation?

Mon, May 03, 2010, 6:36 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Is the referendum/initiative process about being a citizen legislator, or more like voting to put something on the ballot?


From a Political Junkie: Justice Stevens’ Retirement

Mon, Apr 12, 2010, 6:55 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Riley Sweeney talks about his favorite justice and who the President should appoint


Hope for Chuckanut Ridge

Thu, Oct 01, 2009, 5:20 pm  //  Larry Horowitz

If 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

Salute to the 4th and our flag

Sat, Jul 04, 2009, 4:06 pm  //  John Servais

Salute to the 4th of July and our celebration of Independence from foreign governance, invasion or control. May we some day have the wisdom to grant the same…

2 comments; last on Jul 05, 2009

The Fall of the West(ern): Perry Mills gets a new roll in the barrel

Wed, May 27, 2009, 4:58 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Paud de Armond has followed this issue closely.

Tuesday, May 26, Division One of the Washington Appeals Court handed down a ruling in the case of Perry…

7 comments; last on Jun 03, 2009

Infill, Sinfill & Sprawl

Thu, Feb 12, 2009, 8:36 pm  //  Larry Horowitz

Have you ever wondered how truly livable cities become undesirable hell holes? Do the people who run these highly attractive areas into the ground merely fail to comprehend…

2 comments; last on Feb 16, 2009


New Links

Bellingham Wins

Noisy Waters

Election Info

Election Results

WA State Elections
Whatcom County Elections

Coal, Oil & Trains

Coal Stop

Community Wise Bham
Powder River Basin R. C.

Local Blogs & News

Bellingham Herald

Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Cascadia Weekly
Ferndale Record
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
Latte Republic
League of Women Voters
Lynden Tribune
Noisy Waters
Northern Light
Twilight Zoning
Western Front - WWU
Whatcom Watch

Local Causes

Chuckanut C. Forest

City Club of Bellingham
Conservation NW
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lake Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
RE Sources
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
Transition Whatcom
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice


- Whatcom County

Port of Bellingham
Skagit County
US House
US Senate
US Supreme Court
US The White House
WA State
WA State Elections
Whatcom COG

NWCitizen 1995-2007

Early Northwest Citizen

Weather & Climate

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Climate Audit
Nat Hurricane Center
NW Radar
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?


Adventures NW

Bellingham Wins
Edge of Sports
Entertainment NNW
Famous Internet Skiers
Recreation Northwest
Sailing Anarchy

Good Web Sites

Al-Jazeera online

Alaska Dispatch
Arab News
Asia Times
Atlantic, The
Change The Mascot
Common Dreams
Crosscut Seattle
Daily Kos
Daily Mirror
Drudge Report
Foreign Policy in Focus
Guardian Unlimited
Gulf News
Huffington Post
Innocence Project
Irish Times
James Fallows
Jerusalem Post
Joel Connelly
Juan Cole
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Le Diplo
Media Matters
Michael Moore
Middle East Times
Nation, The
New American Century
News Trust
Online Journal
Palestine Daily
Palestine News
Paul Krugman
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Progressive Review
Project Vote Smart
Sea Shepherd
Stand for the Troops
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
The Intercept
the Oatmeal
War and Piece
Washington Votes

Quiet, Offline or Dead

Bellingham Register

Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Bob Sanders
Carl Weimer
Chuckanut Mountains
Citizen Ted
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
David Hackworth
Facebook Port Reform
Intrnational Herald Tribune
Jack Petree
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Northwest Review
Protect Bellingham Parks
Sweeney Politics
The American Telegraph
Wally Wonders