NWCitizen recently published a letter to the editor that announced the then upcoming “forum” on “Public Safety” to be hosted by state Senate candidate, Simon Sefzik. Given that I had an earlier encounter with candidate Sefzik (An Open Letter To State Senator Simon Sefzik), I was interested to hear what he had to say with respect to the topic of public safety. Unfortunately, the list of “panelists” to appear at this “forum” were, with one exception, all police officers. For a candidate who publicly prides himself on reaching out to all, the choice of this one sided panel raises a serious question.
How does Sefzik define public safety? Here is his take on that from his campaign website:
"Restore Public Safety.
Supporting Law Enforcement
I will reverse extreme anti-police legislation and give our law enforcement the resources and training they need to keep our communities safe. I will advocate for comprehensive policies to give those experiencing addiction and mental health struggles tools to overcome these challenges."
Public safety, as most of us know, is magnitudes more than this generalized argle-bargle. Public safety encompasses our infrastructure (roads/bridges), our courts, our water, our air, our ability to respond to disasters (police/fire), our laws, our building codes, our jails, our medical system, our utilities…. The list goes on. Reducing public safety to an issue that a small panel of police officers (plus our county prosecutor) can speak to is utter nonsense. To call this a forum is risible, as the essence of a forum is discussion.
Although the panelists did point out some valid issues with recent legislation in Washington prohibiting or curtailing certain police practices, 80 minutes of the so-called forum was taken up with monologues from the police, while host Sefzik challenged nothing the panelists said. There was no push-back from non-police panelists because there were NONE. A miserable 10 minutes was left at the end of the forum for questions from the public. The one questioner, Markus Dee, who attempted to add to the discussion while asking a question (1.32.00 on the video counter), was essentially shut down by Sefzik and members of the audience. The one question Dee was eventually able to direct to the county prosecutor, Eric Richey, was ignored by both Richey and Sefzik.
Some additional push-back did come from comments received while the forum was being live-streamed on the Facebook page of Bellingham Metro News. Unfortunately, the comments are no longer on the Facebook page, so the challenges to statements by Host Sefzik or the panel are lost in the ether. One notable comment that I do remember was a question from a viewer regarding the appropriateness and legality of uniformed police officers participating in a forum that was essentially a campaign event.
You can watch the entire 90 minute video of this gathering on YouTube here.
Comments by Readers
Abe JacobsonOct 05, 2022
The “forum” was a de facto campaign event for young Mr. Sefzik. It was imprudent and improper for the public figures involved (Elfo, Richey, and Mertzig foremost among them) to participate in a de facto campaign event. Bellingham’s Mayor should have a Come-to-Jesus talk with his newly appointed police chief about this…demonstration of poor judgement. But given that Mayor’s extreme deference to staff, I doubt anything will happen.
Jon HumphreyOct 07, 2022
I have no party alliegance. I see the leadership of both as what they are, sociopathic, pampered, disconnected, elitists. For example, while the COB council says that “Black Lives Matter,” etc. the BPD just added it’s 2nd tank to its lineup of vehicles. Who gave them the money to help them more efficiently brutalize minorities, etc.? The COB council full of Corporate Democrats. Funny how they can find plenty of money to brutalize their citizens but not for fiber-optics, schools, the food bank, flood relief, etc.
With Biden talking about “supporting the police” in Wilkes-Barre, PA just like Sefzik and his pals did here, a little reading between the lines tells us that we’ll see little of the updated training the police actually need, but a lot more weapons, militarization and brutalization of citizens. Why? Because both parties refuse to address the issues that are leading to disparity and civil unrest like low wages, no next-generation jobs, a lack of education, starvation, lack of medical care, high housing costs, constantly rising taxes, etc.
You can’t say that “Black Lives Matter” and give another tank to a police force whose officers gun down people that they don’t need to as the BPD has. African-Americans, and other minorities, are still much more likely to be killed and brutalized by our, or any other, police force in America. So what did the COB council do? They gave them another tank with the blessings of the “Democrats.” What do Sefzik and the Republicans plan on doing? Even more of the same nonsense.
Remember that time that heavily armed BPD officer killed a guy even though he had a 5,000 pound SUV and backup without even trying to use non-lethal means? Ah, the memories of an overblown police budget while more important social issues go intentionally unaddressed.
Who is behind it, the candidates linked to developers like Fleetwood, Shewmake, and the others attached to them. They say in public that they care about you, but this is what they do in the background. Get ready for another push for a jail we don’t need again soon. Developer donors of candidates on both sides really want to build that thing. So they take the 3 times we have said NO as a mild suggestion.
Guess next time a BPD officer feels a bit concerned they can have another office block the suspect with one of the tanks while running the suspect over with the other. See now we know why they need 2 tanks in one of the most peaceful cities in America. Cause they’re insane and their priorities are all wrong.
Still, try to see it from their point of view. With 2 tanks they can make sure that only one of the tanks will get scratched when they’re running someone that they unnecessiliary shot over with the other one. The tanks have NEVER been necessary in any situation to this date. It’s just the kind of thing psychopaths give to poorly trained cops.
Oh, and remember the time that the COB council approved the purchase of a 2nd tank after the Food Bank indicated they were millions in the red? I remember the mostly likely drunk reply I got from pampered elitist Todd Donovan when I brought that up. “How dare I suggest something that would bring next-geneartion jobs to our area and help address virtually all of our social and economic issues like Dig Once,” says pampered elitist Todd Donovan. He prefers tanks and machine guns to having to listen to people he doesn’t like make sense. I guess, just like Trump and Sefzik. Huh, but wait, we’re supposed to pretend the parties are different remember?
The one good thing we get from this staged event is that we can see that both the Democrats and Republicans are just as bat shit crazy when it comes to dealing with our social justice issues. They want to arm the cops to the teeth instead of letting cooler heads prevail because they’re cowards.
At least Sefzik lets us know up front. The Dems. just buy machine guns and tanks for the cops in the background and pretend to care about social justice on the campaign trail.
katharine gringNov 02, 2022
No one should imagine that Sefzik is a moderate. He is a Trump supporting right-wing extremist and a danger to our democracy.
Jon HumphreyNov 02, 2022
Katherine, let’s establish a few things.
1. We have not had a democracy, in the true sense, ever. We definitely didn’t have one post WWII with the establishment of the military industrial complex. A complex Larsen (funded by Lockheed Martin who produces the Submarine Based Triton D5 Nuclear Missile), Shewmake, and those connected to them support.
2. I am a Bernie supporter. So don’t accuse me of being a right winger (the standard Corporate Democrat lie). I’m disgusted with both major parties.
3. As I’ve explored in my articles, Sharon is funded by 95% of the same special interests as Sefzik. Sharon lies about it and pretends not to take corporate money, but she launders it though her campaign and other channels.
So here we are again with two awful choices. And why? Well the real blame goes to the Whatcom Democrats and those linked to Shewmake like their chair Andrew Redding, etc. They simply refuse to run real progressive candidates and they also refuse to hold their current candidates accountable. Even falsely accusing anyone they don’t like of anything they feel like. (aka pathologically lying about their opponents) Why? The usual reasons, to protect Corporate Democrat warmongers, who block real forward progress, like Shewmake.
So what is your argument here? Not to vote for Sefzik? Well ok, who then? Shewmake? Shewmake has a long track record of causing homelessness by supporting rising housing costs and taxes, blocking the public fiber-optic networks we need to produce next-generation jobs especially for young women in STEM fields and to reduce emissions, taking lots of corporate money from the same companies Sefzik does, and more. She is also a sexist, pathological liar and bully. Also, the economic system is entirely made up, so her Doctorate in Economic might was well be a Doctorate is Bullshit-Artistry. At least if she got a Doctorate in basket weaving she might be able to do something useful with it. Oh, and every real progressive supports public infrastructure. Does Sharon, HELL NO! See this story about how she reacted to public infrastructure to protect big telecom and local 5G investors. https://www.change.org/p/mayorsoffice-cob-org-bellingham-whatcom-county-public-fiber-optic-network/u/31017266
What we really needed was for the Democrats to produce a candidate like Bernie instead of one like Clinton. Guess what happened when they tried to? When one of our PUD commissioners was interested in running against Sharon, the Democrats made it clear to them that if they did they would ruin their life and not support them in anything else. I can go on and on.
So, the problem isn’t Sefzik. He’s a symptom of the corruption in the Democratic party. The Democrats refuse to produce good, progressive, candidates even with the climate bordering on full collapse. Because the truth is that Shewmake, at best, is 95% as bad as you say Sefzik is and so are the people attached to her. As usual, there is no real change or choice on the ballot.
South Park described this false choice that we usually have as the “Giant Douche vs. Turd Sandwich” choice. Here’s the clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7pfsneLSSM
Personally, I don’t want to vote for either. So I’m writing someone in. Maybe someday the Democrats will produce a good candidate instead of telling us to shut up and vote for someone that’s awful, because that’s what the power elite want. Choice is an illusion in Whatcom County, thanks to the Corporate Democrats.