Topic: Open Government (240)

Attempted extortion by the Mayor

The City Council yesterday evening showed their disdain for public process and for state laws against using city facilities for promoting campaign issues. And in their afternoon session they bowed to the mayor and his attorney over Lake Whatcom.

In the afternoon closed executive session, Mayor Mark and his city attorney Joan Hoisington put a gag order

on all council members regarding the litigation against the county on Lake Whatcom. She has no basis in law to do this - but Mark is performing a squeeze play and needs silence until the election. To his liberal supporters he is pretending to be for cleaning up the lake, while he secretly sabotages all efforts to do so.

Last evening, in what was obviously a carefully planned process by the council, Terry Bornemann as council president changed the agenda and moved the EMS resolution to the first spot on the agenda. He then opened the meeting for public comment - to an almost empty council chamber. One person spoke for the levy. Then each council member made a lengthy speech for the levy - all of this focused to run repeatedly on Channel 10 this week. No public hearing was on the agenda. The resolution was way back in the agenda.

This liberal council again showed its disdain and contempt for public process and open government. My liberal friends have told me it is OK when it is their agenda. They just get upset when conservatives use dirty tricks for their agenda.

John Watts tried to belittle those against the levy by quoting Oscar Wilde, that they “...know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Well, Mr. Watts, the rejoinder to that in the play was “...a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn’t know the market price of any single thing.”

7:00 am
The city of Bellingham website is promoting the passage of the Levy for EMS services - in blatant violation of state laws. RCW 42.17.130 is very specific. Here we have the home page of the website controlled by the city - by the mayor - pushing passage of the levy. It warns that emergency services will not be able to meet our needs if the levy fails - a claim that is strongly argued against by those against the levy. This city home page is being used as an online campaign brochure.

State law forbids use of public office or agency facilities in campaigns. It forbids the use of public facilities to promote a ballot proposition. The city website is certainly public facilities and the home page promotes the ballot proposition for the levy. Very cut and dried. Well, don’t expect the city to comply with the law willingly, and don’t expect the PDC to enforce the law. The PDC has been wimping out of late to enforcing its own laws.

But we citizens can vote ‘NO’ on this levy - this extra tax - this attempted extortion by the mayor. The only dedicated, stable funding for emergency services is from our general fund - our normal taxes. We should not trust levies to fund vital services. Levies are for extras like Greenways. Would not the idea of funding fire protection by levy be absurd on its face? We pay taxes for vital services. We have supported the EMS for over 25 years from our regular taxes. If the mayor got out of the business of subsidizing builders and trying to buy and sell land then we would have the money for EMS. I’ll be voting no.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

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