Council elects Barry Buchanan its President

By On

Barry Buchanan was elected President of the Bellingham City Council yesterday. You would not know that from the Herald report by Sam Taylor. He missed the most important decision the council made. And we citizens were denied important news about how our council is changing as indicated by how that election of Barry occurred. KGMI reported that Barry was elected president. The Herald article in this morning’s paper reported committee assignments - but not the most important post - the council president.

Sam posted on his blog earlier Monday “Word on the street is that Gene Knutson will take up the council president position, …”. But that did not happen and as this is posted Tuesday afternoon, nothing on Sam’s blog informs us of the results. And that means the Herald has not informed us. Also nothing on the city website. So, to fill in the gap, here is our report based on a very reliable source.

What has happened is the three new city council members took control of the council with the help of Louise Bjornson. And it was a surprise to the other three veteran long serving members.

First, Jack Weiss nominated Gene Knutson for President of the council - and Gene declined the nomination. Then Gene nominated Terry Bornemann and Stan Snapp nominated Barry Buchanan.

The council then voted on Terry and it was 4 to 3 against with new council members Jack Weiss, Barry Buchanan and Stan Snapp joined by veteran Louise Bjornson voting against Terry.

Then the council voted on Barry and it was the same 4 to 3 members voting for Barry - Jack, Barry, Stan and Louise for Barry and Gene, Barbara Ryan and Terry voting against Barry.

This is a dramatic assumption of leadership of the council by the new members. And Louise has again sensed the direction the leaves are blowing and switched from the old group to the new - much to the surprise of the three other veterans. Stan, Jack and Barry all joined the council only a year ago. All ran on platforms of more action and less pondering.

What is interesting is the apparent acceptance of Gene Knutson by the three new members as suggested by Jack Weiss’ nomination of Gene.

Sam was excited with his “scoop” that Barbara Ryan will not seek re-election next November. He has even called it a “scoop” on his blog. What we actually needed was plain good old fashioned reporting on the important news. Many political junkies already knew Barbara was not running. I asked one council member and they chuckled and said many knew before yesterday.

This city council shakeup points to a more active council during 2009. Good news. Important news. And now you know it.

About John Servais

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

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

g.h. kirsch

Jan 06, 2009

Barbara Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election was a scoop - a year ago.

It will be a fine turn of events if the new formation shakes things up a bit; particularly if they get the city moving on real protection of the reservoir by putting a halt to residential development in the watershed.

The hangovers from the past, and not just those on the council, but also policy makers in numerous departments, are long overdue for a little kick in the rear.

A little new blood in city administration would be a great thing.

Good luck to Barry, Stan and Jack.  And, as always, respects to Gene for again seeing the way forward.