Here are my choices for some of the races within Whatcom County.
Bellingham Mayor: Seth Fleetwood is by far the superior candidate. Alan Rhodes got it right recently in the Cascadia Weekly when he wrote about a mayoral debate with April Barker. “April lectured. Seth Listened”. It is hard to beat Seth’s 16 years of combined service on both the county and city councils as preparation for this key office. From the candidate, “I am a self employed lawyer with an established reputation as a purpose-driven advocate for the public interest, with 25 years of service to the community, including two terms on the Bellingham City Council and two terms on the Whatcom County Council. I am committed to the ideal of continual progress and improvement through thoughtful, collaborative and compassionate leadership. I have a proven record of promoting numerous successful initiatives that address critical community issues. I have an ability to assimilate diverse viewpoints and build coalitions that make progress towards a forward-thinking, enlightened city. I am dedicated to achieving an inspired and hopeful vision for Bellingham.” Seth for our next mayor!
Bellingham City Council Ward 5: This one goes to Lisa Anderson whose long years of experience in the neighborhoods and on the planning commission will serve her well on the city council. Her achievements, such as the successful effort to transform the Aloha Motel site into multi-family and affordable housing, are many. She will have a running start while her opponent, inexperienced in city council or neighborhood affairs, will have a steep learning curve on city matters that cannot wait. From Lisa, “I currently serve on the City of Bellingham Planning and Development Commission. Previously, I served on the Bellingham Shoreline Committee, was a member of the Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission and the York Neighborhood Association Board from 2009 to 2015. As a York board member in 2014, I co-founded the Samish Way Task Force with the late Senator Harriett Spanel and other community leaders to improve the safety and vitality of the Samish Way corridor. We brought the public’s attention to the crime-ridden area and successfully pressured the City Council to condemn the Aloha Motel.” Vote Lisa Anderson!
Bellingham City Council Ward 1: Hannah Stone, serving for the past year on the unexpectedly vacated at-large council seat, has already demonstrated a willingness to work hard and a capacity to understand the issues. Her experience as an immigration attorney provides her with a special insight into the minority communities in Bellingham. She will continue to be a knowledgeable and up-to-date member of the council. In her own words, “As a City Council Member, I recognize that public service is a privilege and I feel fortunate for this opportunity to serve our community. The City Council establishes public policies, adopts long-range plans, approves the budget, and passes laws that benefit and protect our residents. One of my strengths is the poise with which I deliberate over contentious issues. I listen and show respect to everyone, and I speak with honesty and candor. My education, experience, and empathy make me an invaluable asset to both the community and the Council.” Stay the course -Hannah for Ward 1!
Bellingham City Council Ward 3: No recommendation. This will fall by default to Dan Hammill whose opponent is a virtual unknown. I have been disappointed in some of Dan’s calls over the past four years and therefore will abstain from voting for anyone for this seat.
Bellingham City Council at Large: I am opting for Hollie Huthman who will be an energetic new member and will bring her business perspective and acumen into play to ensure that a wider variety of views inform our legislation. From Hollie’s website, “Our city has changed rapidly due to conscious efforts to infuse our city core with life, but we still have so much potential to fulfill. I want to see a downtown that has no empty storefronts, unique and thriving businesses, a diverse mix of residents, encourages multimodal transportation, and provides living wage jobs. Small businesses provide jobs, attract visitors and enhance our unique character and our city government should play a part in providing a support network for these businesses to thrive.” Vote Hollie to be our at-large council member!
Whatcom County Executive: No doubt Satpal Sidhu is the best choice bar none. His years of conscientious service on the county council have prepared him well to take on the role of county executive. Satpal says, “During my tenure as a Council member, I have engaged in fruitful conversations with people of all walks of life and educated myself on the issues impacting their lives. Whether you come from a long line of farmers in Lynden or are a proud Bellingham native, I hear a common theme: we love this area and we want a better future for our children and grandchildren. County government is where we can look at pressing issues without the traditional partisan blinders and really focus on finding and implementing solutions. That is a big motivator for me!” Vote Satpal Sidhu!
Whatcom County Sheriff: Joy Gilfilen will bring a breath of fresh air to this elected office. There is a need for top law enforcement positions here and nationwide to be filled with those who understand and practice restorative justice and who do not push for the creation of yet more prisons that only tend to feed the prison industrial complex. Joy states in the introduction to her website, “Locally and nationally we are in the middle of a “taxpayers crisis”. It is time for new 21st century leadership! Ten years of local research into our justice and jail system issues shows that we are experiencing the aftermath of decades of failed mass incarceration policies, followed by 9-11 and the impacts of rapid technology revolutions. The cumulative effect hit like a tsunami and it threw our entire business world upside down for seniors, the working and middle class, our millennials and small business
entrepreneurs, our institutions. We see the fallout with political tumult, accelerating poverty, homelessness, addictions and mental illness. Our law enforcement officials and mental health professionals are reeling, and frankly we need relief and new solutions! Building a new jail won’t work. We already tried that. We cannot arrest our way out of this. Going in more tax debt will only compound the problem. It is time for fresh solutions and new management.” Hear! Hear! Gilfilen for shire reeve!
Bellingham School District 501 - Director Position 3: Alex McLean will be a passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated member of the school board. I have personally worked with Alex and can attest to his abilities to immediately get to the heart of any problem and begin to formulate solutions. Alex states, ”I plan to re-invigorate Bellingham Public Schools by advocating for new, innovative concepts to get the system in line with our principles and our shared vision.” I know that Alex will do exactly that. Vote Alex for our school board!
The time to vote is NOW!