Dick’s Pick - Jean Layton for City Council At-large

By On
• In Bellingham,

Jean Layton should be our next at-large council member.

One need go no further than looking at the web sites of Layton and her opponent, Roxanne Murphy.

Layton provides the voters with a clear choice as demonstrated by her lucid, detailed and cohesive commentary and positions taken on various
issues faced by Bellingham citizens. Dozens of links to blog entries by Jean appear on her website, and it contains full texts of commentaries by and/or interviews with the candidate.

For example, Layton offers the following on various issues, however these are by no means an exhaustive list:

Urban Villages: “… the City council went through a long, citizen involved, process to establish the six Urban Villages, back in 2009. Quite frankly, I don’t understand the desire to upzone housing in single family areas when these Urban villages have yet to be created.”

Housing – “I’d like to see a program where unsheltered people build their own tiny homes (with guidance) and then have them sited in neighborhoods similar to [a] program from Portland. Not all who are unsheltered need mental health treatment. Many simply need a safe, lockable place to put their belongings while they work or attempt to find work.”

City Council Roles – “I would bring the voice of a renter to the council. Currently 54% of the City housing is rentals and yet not one of the Council is a renter.”

Wages – “Our minimum wage must increase to at least $15 per hour.”

Candidate Layton also has real world experience with neighborhood issues from her service on the York Neighborhood board of directors and as precinct captain for the local Democratic Party. She also volunteers in several other venues, all of which is mentioned on her web page. And by the way, she rents her home, putting her among the 54% of Bellingham residents who also rent. She will bring that experience to the council.

Although there is much more on Candidate Layton’s website, making comparisons to the incumbent Democrat - with a questionable party endorsement* - are difficult as Roxanne Murphy provides little in the way of proposals for the future, and her record as council member at-large over the past four years is unremarkable if not dismal. For someone who touts her degrees in communications and public administration, Murphy’s website communicates little and provides no substantive presentation of ideas other than “support” for various issues. There are no details, no plans, no discussions. The issues page of her re-election web page consists solely of a list of topics she is “preserving and supporting,” whatever that means since she offers absolutely no clarifications. This is not the stuff of a serious candidate but one of an incumbent who floated to a second term merely due to lack of opposition. Murphy does have a list of about a dozen endorsements. However, as I have said in other venues: endorsements are not positions, endorsements are not ideas, endorsements are not records of accomplishments. Endorsements are primarily lists of groups or individuals to whom one has obligations. Murphy’s Facebook page is equally bereft of any information on which to judge her candidacy. Dreary.

I’ll say it again. Vote Layton.

*As NWCitizen commenter Steve M. James added in a comment to Ralph Schwartz’s earlier article on the primary election, “Let’s remember that Murphy got the Democratic endorsement through a slight of hand at the endorsement meeting. An email went out prior to the meeting that among other things said the in races where there are two Democrats running, there would be no endorsement vote. Then, at the meeting, on a motion from the floor, that position was changed by vote of those present and a vote was held to endorse. So, how many Layton supporters did not come to the meeting believing there would be no endorsement vote for that position. And, not every Democrat is pleased with all her action as Council Person. She has made statements regarding ADU’s and rental regulations that I find troubling.

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About Dick Conoboy

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 26, 2008

Dick Conoboy is a recovering civilian federal worker and military officer who was offered and accepted an all-expense paid, one year trip to Vietnam in 1968. He is a former Army [...]

Comments by Readers

Dr. Jean Layton

Jul 17, 2017

So grateful for your aticle. 
If readers would like to meet me in person, I maintain a schedule of public events on this calendar.  
Feel free to reach out and chat, or email me to set up another time. 


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jim peterson

Jul 21, 2017

I just want to say I think Jean Layton is just the person we need. I have had the honor of working with her on the HomesNOW Not Later project and can say she is the breath of fresh air this city needs. She walks the talk instead of just talking the walk.


Mike Rostron

Jul 24, 2017

As a past resident of the Sunnyland neighborhood and long-time member of the Sunnyland Neighborhood Association I most heartily concur! Jean is just the sort of councilperson Bellingham needs. R.oxanne has been unconcerned and ill-informed about the major Sunnyland issues (to put it kindly). Jean will be a breath of fresh air, and a welcome change from the psuedo-progressive and pro-development mentality that otherwise seem to hold sway in Bellingham. I find her positions on the issues of urban villages and protecting neighborhood character to be especially compelling. Let’s put infill into those urban villages before we star trashing our precioous old residential neighborhoods. Good luck Jean, and if I still lived in Bellingham, you would have my vote! 

Mike Rostron, Birch Bay



Dick Conoboy

Jul 24, 2017


It is good to hear from you and to acknowledge your support for Jean.   Thank you.

Now all you have to do is move back to Bellingham and vote here.  We miss your voice on zoning and infill.