Timothy Ballew, II, is one of three leading applicants for the vacant Whatcom County Council seat, along with Natalie McClendon and Seth Fleetwood. He is a leader of the Lummi Nation, a past chair of their business council, and a fisherman. He was one of 29 applicants for appointment to the 10 month term on the council, which is expected to be decided tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan 16 by the existing six council members. A 3-3 tie vote would move the decision to the county executive.
On Friday, Jan 13, the Fourth Corner website run by Charlie Crabtree, posted an article by Bruce Ayers. The article is a racist statement. Oh, it is carefully worded so as to deflect any such criticism of racism, such as this article. But it is racism in the finest Jim Crow tradition by implying it is not racism but just common sense and a concern for the community.
The article focuses on Timothy’s potential conflicts of interest as he is a Lummi and thus would have a conflict with issues that touch the Lummi Indians. The article trys to provide cover for its naked racism by cautioning that the council might be prudent and ask all the remaining applicants about their potential conflicts of interest. Yes, yes. Not targeted at Timothy at all - no no.
An attempt at further cover from being labeled racist is the use of the old gee whiz statement “Just asking the question,...”. Yes, just saying. Nothing more. Just asking… Racism never shows itself as overtly against a people. It always appeals to our common sense or emotional feelings to suggest that another folk - another people - are undeserving of being our equals. That they are not as fully human as we are, and do not have the same intelligence, abilities, morals, feelings, and qualifications as we have for full participation in our society.
The premise of the article is Lummi Indians are not really full citizens of our country and of our Whatcom County. They are outsiders and we should find reasons to keep them from being fully involved. We have seen this before by our local Republicans. A few years ago they attempted to smear our county treasurer, Steven Oliver, who is a Lummi. I certainly know that smear attempt as they contacted me with fabricated information, urging me to post it. I did some research and learned the info was false and also learned which local political operatives were behind it all.
The racist article is not about conflict of interest. That is simply a hook to hang a racist smear on. Conflicts of interest are common to every elected official and every government agency manager or director. This is America where we all are free to be involved without being excluded. Our planning commissions are packed with developers, realtors, commercial property owners, and development consultants. All our part time elected city and council representatives have favored interests - and they very often do not recuse themselves when these issues are discussed, debated and voted on.
Lummi Indians in our local governments can be normal. We are not a racist county as a whole. Teresa Taylor is a Lummi Indian and a Ferndale city council member who serves with the respect of all in Ferndale. She has recused herself on one or more issues that directly involved the Lummi Nation interests. Not an problem.
I do not link to the Fourth Corner website as I do to many news sites at the bottom of all pages on NWCitizen. It is not news, but rather an uber right Republican propaganda site. But to allow you, gentle reader, to read the article for yourself, click here. Judge for yourself. But be aware of how racism works.