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New Facebook Page for Port Reform

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Bellingham Port Reform is a new Facebook page, started just this week by Tip Johnson, who served two terms on the Bellingham city council. Tip has provided revealing graphics of some of the fantasy planning ideas the port has pursued under the domination of Scott Walker. I'll add a permanent link in the right side column.

Click here for: Bellingham Port Reform on Facebook

About John Servais

Posting Citizen Journalist • 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

Doug Karlberg

May 02, 2012

This is long over due.

If every one who cares grabs a single petition and get 20 family and friends to sign, this will go quick. The event surrounding Sea to Ski is a unique opportunity to gather the full number of signatures in one fell swoop.

10% of all the jobs in our county are dependent in some way or another to the Port of Bellingham.

A dysfunctional Port can make or break our county economy.

Commissioner Walker believes that condos and Mega-yachts is Bellingham’s future, with nothing but a few low paying service jobs, but huge rents to the Port of Bellingham the process destroying the treatment lagoon to turn into a yacht harbor for yachts 100 feet long, but Bellingham is facing a enormous $100 million dollar bill for a new sewage treatment plant, but could forgo this huge bill for quite a while if they used the lagoon for storm water treatment, instead of building a new sewer treatment plant.

Spend $40,000,000 to build a new marina, and chase away the dirty , but high paying jobs that luxury condo and yacht owners detest, and cause the City of Bellingham to have to spend another $100,000,000 on a new sewer treatment plant.

The Port gets high rents creating money for them to play with, while billing the taxpayers for $7,000,000 a year. Where is the return on the public’s investment of tens of millions in tax dollars.

Others believe that the Port should be promoting good paying manufacturing jobs, like the North Slope oil module currently being built on Bellingham’s waterfront with the resulting $35 an hour family wage paying jobs, that trickle through our county economy quite nicely.

Ultimately the Port will decide if the residents of the City of Bellingham will have to spend $100,000,000 on a new sewage treatment plant. If the Port decides to turn the GP storm-water treatment pond into a marina for mega-yachts then the City will be forced to spend the $100,000,000 soon. Placing a tremendous financial burden upon the taxpayers of Bellingham, all of which also own the Port of Bellingham.

Recently resigned Executive Director of the Port, Charley Sheldon took a more balanced approach for the County, understanding that good paying jobs on the waterfront pay dividends to the whole Whatcom County economy which we desperately need today.

This made Port Commissioner Walker angry, and he forced the Executive Director to resign. Anybody who disagrees with Walkers vision of yachts and luxury condos, Walker sets out to destroy. This forced resignation certainly violated the spirit of our Open Meeting Laws, if not the actual law itself, with the Port attorney standing by.

Clearly Walkers long term relationship with the Port’s attorney and the biggest real estate developer on the waterfront also being the Port’s attorney’‘s client is a gigantic conflict of interest. Attorney service for the Port of Bellingham can run into as much as $250,00 annually and the Port refuses to bid out these services, giving the Port’s attorney a lifetime monopoly. This is horrible public policy, and a waste of taxpayers monies.

Last week a major boat-building company that designs and creates world class vessels fuel efficient vessels was going to locate on Port property. Bringing many needed jobs to Bellingham and Whatcom County. Probably a 100 or so once they got up and running.

They decided to relocate to Anacortes, because Anacortes had a way to launch them!!!!!!

When a Port cannot figure out how to cost effectively launch a new ship, they have failed at their legal responsibilities of being a PORT.

Walker is a one man dictator, and often in the minority and out of touch with the owners of the Port (ie. taxpayers).

He needs to neutered by a vote for a 5 person Port Commission, for the sake of our Whatcom County economy.

Be aware that the Port will argue that 3 Commissioner if better than 5, but many Ports have 5 and function fine .... but this is a false argument designed to deflect from the real argument.

The real issue is whether the owners of the Port of Bellingham will be allowed to have a say via the ballot box, or ....

.....will Commissioner Walker be allowed to make any decision that he wants with ...

...any process that he wants, including secret weekend meetings.

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