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Loss of trust in Washington Conservation Voters

By On

Sue Taylor contributes this perspective. She addresses it to the leadership of the Whatcom chapter of the Washington Conservation Voters (WCV).
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This is the first year in over a dozen years that I have found that I could not participate in the WCV's doorbelling. The endorsement of Pike over Linville is incredibly inappropriate. Did no one on the board investigate achievements? It seems like you fell for empty sound bites and grandstanding without substance.

Pike's record on the protection of our drinking water supply is dismal. His administration made decisions 3 years ago that for all practical purposes ended the land acquisition program (without conferring with the Lake Whatcom Advisory Board) and he stated at the recent Silver Beach Neighborhood forum that while land acquisition to preserve forests and prevent development MIGHT be a reasonable long-term strategy, he thinks that short-term actions are more important and questions the value of land preservation at this time. He fails to understand the role of native forests in storm water management, does not seem to value the preservation of native forests for habitat value, and is not acknowledging that it is all of the impacts from development that are degrading water quality - increased car trips, land disturbance, gardening practices, increase of impervious surfaces, alteration of natural hydrology, etc.

He has totally ignored our rich community history of having the expenditure of our Greenway's levy funds go through citizen oversight. Spent $8.5 million of our levy funds WITHOUT getting an appraisal. Indebted the citizens with repayment for a loan of between $3.5-5 million (depends on interests rates and length of loan) with no revenue stream identified. There was no discussion of the consequences of transferring funds from an important identified project (purchase of land between Lake Padden and I-5) which would have placed our community in the position to get a land bridge across I-5 in the future to connect the trail system for citizens and open up the Chuckanuts to the Cascades for wildlife. He did not even confer with the Greenway Advisory Committee or the Park Advisory Board. Conservation dollars are precious and should be spent to get the most value for now and into the future. An announcement will be made soon that the negotiations to purchase thousands of acres on Galbraith Mountain are falling through. Another lost opportunity.

What is the RESULT from Pike's shouting about the coal trains including the letter to the governor calling the county incompetent? Did it achieve something positive? No, his actions resulted in Bellingham not having a seat at the table to negotiate for Bellingham's best interests. Shouting feels good in the short term but it is not good representation. When someone calls you names and publicly insults you - are you more likely to listen to and act on their concerns? Your choice to participate in the recent distribution of Pike's newest campaign literature that purposefully distorts Linville's position on the SSA terminal is shocking. Past WCV boards had more integrity than take part in dirty politics. Couple that with your decision to actively join in with Pike's deceptive campaigning by not allowing anti-coal train signs in yards with Kelli Linville's signs is ample reason for you to step down before you completely ruin the reputation of this previously fine organization.

I could not be more disappointed. I hope that you demonstrate a sense of community responsibility and publicly acknowledge WCV's part in this shameful untrue, negative campaigning and apologize to Kelli Linville and your members for your role in deceiving the voters. Dirty politics depends on timing. Step up and show some integrity and provide one half of the anti-coal train signs to the Linville campaign before the end of the week or have every single sign removed from all yards immediately and pass them out after the election.

About Guest Writer

Citizen Journalist • Member since Jun 15, 2008

Guest Writer is for over 100 articles by individuals who are not writers or contributors. Their actual name and brief info is listed at the top or bottom of their articles.

Comments by Readers

Dick Conoboy

Oct 19, 2011

And let us not forget his total lack of support in ensuring the health and safety of the renters in the city’s more than 17,000 rental units through licensing and inspection.  The mayor has consistently opposed council efforts and has presented arguments to them and the public that obfuscate the issue.  We should be able to count on our mayor to provide facts and figures on important issues to the community. I have given him several opportunities through my Zonemaven blog to respond my pointed questions regarding his seemingly deliberate fuzzing over the facts and his introduction of totally irrelevant information.  He has not yet responded to these specific questions.

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Larry Horowitz

Oct 19, 2011

Sue,

I agree that WCV’s endorsement of Pike is a poor choice.  And, as I’ve written many times, I especially agree that spending $8 million on a land acquisition without critically evaluating the seller’s outdated appraisal or obtaining a current, independent appraisal amounts to negligence and fiduciary irresponsibility.

But the kicker in terms of an environmental endorsement, like the one from WCV, is Pike’s refusal to enforce the city’s six-year old Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), a public safety ordinance specifically designed to protect the environment and residents from ecological catastrophes.  How can an environmental organization can support an elected official who fails to enforce the city’s most important environmental regulations?

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 19, 2011

Actually, Larry, the real kicker is supporting Linville whose environmental record is even worse, and on a larger scale.

This is a choice for better or worse.  Only personal pique blinds you all at Northwest Cynicism.

I do not look forward to the next two years of apologias before you turn on Linville.

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Larry Horowitz

Oct 19, 2011

Greg,

Your habit of constantly twisting what others say is getting very old, very fast.

The issue is: Did Mayor Pike refuse to enforce the six-year old Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO)?

If he did, how can he receive endorsements from groups like WCV considering the CAO contains unique and essential safeguards for people, property, and the environment?

This has absolutely nothing to do with Linville regardless of how you might try to twist it.

For the record, I was one of Pike’s most ardent supporters before and after he was elected.  I never “turned” on Pike.  Pike dropped the ball and failed to enforce critical regulations he swore to uphold.  Have I criticized him for reneging on his commitments?  Hell yes!  Would I criticize Kelli Linville if she drops the ball, fails to enforce critical regulations, and reneges on her commitments?  Absolutely!

In the meantime, stop twisting what I say.  If you can’t explain Pike’s failures, then simply admit to them and back away.

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Hue Beattie

Oct 19, 2011

That’s ok Sue I am pleased with them this time and will pick up the slack.
I have known and worked on issues with both Dan and Kelli for many years and have no trouble relecting our mayor.

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 20, 2011

And here I thought the issue was the appropriateness of WCV’s endorsement of Dan Pike over Kelli Linville, Larry.

Well, I certainly must have misunderstood Sue’s post then.  Thanks for pointing out it, “...has absolutely nothing to do with Linville regardless of how you might try to twist it.”

You’re right.  Sue’s piece (and your comment) are obviously apolitical.

Sorry it has upset you so.  But after your lighthearted remarks recently about train loads of lollipops and dandelions, I thought it was safe.

Good luck with your meds!

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 20, 2011

For those loath to follow the Herald’s spectacle of anonymity, the Politics Blog, what follows was posted there yesterday, and is relevant to Sue Taylor’s comments above.

Rep Linville?s poor rating by environmental groups, both of late and over her career, is consistent with the reaction to her political efforts by state-wide groups I served. Perhaps the area in which she has most damaged the state is on water law; where she loopholed Supreme Court rulings protecting public water for private developers.

Her legislative work for the Building Industry Association of Washington is infamous with groups established to protect this public resource, such as the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, where, for a time, I served on the board.

It came as no surprise then (though a great frustration) when Rep Linville used her leadership position to stall the effort by Mayor Pike to initiate a petition to Ecology asking them to enforce the rulings of Washington courts that would have suspended construction and subdivision in the Lake Whatcom watershed until availability of water and protection of the rights of existing water users was assured.

Alleging she had her own plan that Bellingham?s would disaffect, the mayor waited almost two years before realizing she was insincere. And when the city sought protection from the known effects of development for the lake, though in a prime position to help, Linville offered nothing.

It was hardly unexpected, at the recent Building Industry Association forum in Whatcom county, that Linville would receive a great cheer from their membership.

So I?m truly amused when her supporters discount Pike?s effort, criticize him for doing nothing to protect the lake, and tout Linville?s great effort on behalf of Lake Whatcom for merely signing on to Harriet Spanel?s Forest Landscape Plan.

These are, largely, the same people who promote the transfer of thousands of acres of forest land in the watershed to those enlightened managers in county government; at the same time decrying the Landscape Plan for its insufficiency.

And that plan only regulated forest practices in a fraction of the watershed managed by the state; and excluded private forest lands around the reservoir. The mayor?s effort, supported unanimously by the city council, but with no support from Linville, would have protected the entire watershed.

So, let the games begin. There?s a reason Linville was passed over by conservation groups.

And there?s a very good reason she is supported by the developers, realtors, and BIAW.

If you care about protecting Whatcom county from the egregiously self interested, how do you feel supporting the candidate Bellingham’s answer to Rush Limbaugh, Joe Wilson (AFY) supports?

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Larry Horowitz

Oct 20, 2011

Sorry, Greg, but I have no need for meds.  On the other hand, I see you’ve swallowed Pike’s Kool Aid quite liberally.  Bon appetite!

PS - Why won’t you explain Pike’s refusal to enforce the CAO?  Are critical areas not really THAT critical?  Surely you understand that ignoring the issue will not make it magically disappear.  Good luck with that.

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 20, 2011

Not really Pike’s keeper, Larry.  Let him explain his priorities.  Just don’t think replacing him with Linville will solve your problem.

On the other hand, understand Prozac has shown some benefit in dealing with the obsessive-compulsive disorder!! 

Cheers.

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Larry Horowitz

Oct 20, 2011

Thanks for the advice, Dr. Kirsch.  I didn’t know you cared so much.

BTW, what do they call the disease when someone can’t stop photoshopping people’s heads on various forms of anatomy?  I’m sure Freud had some diagnosis, perhaps ‘Oedipus-sy’?

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John Servais

Oct 20, 2011

Actually, Greg Kirsch is a close advisor of Dan Pike - and has been for years.  He likes to deny it at times, but the two stay in phone contact.  Greg especially advises Pike on Lake Whatcom issues and has a special cause in the North Shore areas where he has interests.  Indeed, he often speaks for Pike by arrangement on issues.  And he definitely advises him on campaign tactics.  His coyness on this is deceptive.  And his attacks on Kelli are with the permission if not the encouragement of Pike.

While we are pleased to have Greg comment here if he follows the rule of decency, he is the only writer I have dismissed from NWCitizen.  That was because his articles showed no decency in his personal attacks on politicians whom he disagreed with - both in writing and his almost libelous cartoons. 

I would wish Greg would stop the personal attacks of writers and commenters on this website.  He drags down the level of discussion.  Unless he goes to libel, he can remain.  By requiring real names on this site, any one person’s comments reflect on them and their causes.  But there is a limit.

While it is most appropriate to comment on the character and supposed motives of politicians, these should be curbed by the need for the public to know and their relevance to public service.  I will soon be commenting on two candidates character - but they are running for public office.  For us to suggest anyone is on meds or to use commenting privileges to try and draw other commenters into a knife fight is not what this site is about. 

I feel no obligation to suffer fools on this website.  This is not a place for a free for all.  It has cost me considerable money every year since its start in 1995 and my purpose here is to encourage good community discussion of political issues - while allowing for fun things on occasion.  The motive for starting it was to create a media channel to the public because of the Bellingham Herald’s ignoring or twisting of important local political issues.  That remains a primary reason for its existence.  An example is the total lack of Port of Bellingham coverage by the Herald two days after the attempted firing of the Executive Director by one commissioner.

I expect a personal attack from Greg for this comment.  This comment is probably red meat to him.  My remarks here are directed towards the subject and tenor of his comments and how they do not fit with what we expect on NWCitizen.  Not towards him as a person.  After being terminated as a writer here, Greg started his own blog and I provided a link to it.  He can do what he wants there - but I notice he has not posted since August - and before that in February.  Greg, please take your personal attacks to your own website.

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 20, 2011

First, to address a few inaccuracies in your comment, John:

” Indeed, he often speaks for Pike by arrangement on issues.”  I can not recall any occasion where the mayor has asked or arranged for me to speak for him.  On the other hand, there have been occasions where he has asked me not to speak!!

“...he is the only writer I have dismissed from NWCitizen.”

Come on, John, let’s be honest.  After months of harmonious collaboration, in which you reveled in the controversy those articles created, it was only after I started my own blog, which upset you greatly, that you terminated my access to post articles on NWCitizen.

And now for the personal attack: “I feel no obligation to suffer fools on this website.”

I can only wonder, John, if it’s true when they say it takes one to know one!

Of course, my remark here is only directed towards the subject and tenor of your comment.

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Riley Sweeney

Oct 20, 2011

“Come on, John, let?s be honest.  After months of harmonious collaboration, in which you reveled in the controversy those articles created, it was only after I started my own blog, which upset you greatly, that you terminated my access to post articles on NWCitizen.”

Greg, that does not sound like the John Servais we all know and love. When I started my own blog after being a writer here, John cheered me on because I brought thoughtful, interesting and not too slanderous pieces. He has been one of my biggest boosters for getting my own blog rolling and keeping at it. I highly doubt that he cut you off because you started blogging on your own.

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g.h.kirsch

Oct 20, 2011

Well good for you, Riley.  And thanks for sharing that with us.

“With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.”  Lichtenberg

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Tip Johnson

Oct 21, 2011

Indeed, words are just words, but their use is just measure of their author’s character, for all to see.

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Donald Duck

Oct 23, 2011

Personalizing issues renders otherwise informed and intelligent commentary useless.  Of course, the guest writer invited it.  In sum, a waste of my morning coffee.

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