Electric School Buses #2

Bellingham Public Schools Learns Evasive Maneuvers from City Hall

Bellingham Public Schools Learns Evasive Maneuvers from City Hall

By

Hello valiant readers. After receiving a lot of great responses from experts, environmentalists, and many other concerned citizens, I’ve decided to write a second article on electric school buses. 

I start with a clarification. In my last article when I quoted $85,000 for a bus, I was considering an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) based bus. It’s true electric buses cost more, but their increased cost is easily covered by the reduced cost of maintenance, greatly reduced cost of fuel, and of course by helping avert an environmental catastrophe that already unnecessarily claims 5 million lives a year and causes over two trillion dollars in damage. For example, the average cost per gallon for charging a bus is about $1 per gallon, but diesel is currently around $4 per gallon. I would suggest that every gallon of diesel should have an additional 38 cents per gallon environmental damage tax attached to it. These costs will only go up as we can expect the cost of fossil fuels to continue to rise. 

So let’s start by recalculating the cost of diesel buses vs. electric buses. I have found the price range of electric school buses to be in the $230,000 to $400,000 range. For this discussion, let’s use an average of $300,000. So, with the new pricing, just replacing the 71 buses we have will cost $21,300,000 (About 1/5th the cost of the new high school). With the national school bus fleet nearing 500,000 vehicles, the cost to replace all of them with electric buses is about $150,000,000,000. So unfortunately, only about 0.35% of the infrastructure bill is slated for school bus replacement. 

Sadly, in the face of this enormous shortfall, Bellingham Public Schools missed a big opportunity to get FREE ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES. As part of the Volkswagen emissions scandal Washington state was awarded $141 million for clean transportation. In fact, 24 other Washington school districts applied for, and are receiving, about 40 electric buses for free. Even worse, as far as we can tell, Whatcom County Schools and BPS didn’t even apply because they were, both literally and figuratively, asleep at the wheel, even though Bellingham Public Schools Director of Facilities and Sustainability Mark Peterson is specifically employed to look out for these opportunities. 

I’ve been talking to Superintendent Greg Baker for years about environmental concerns ranging from using Linux to extend the lifespan of their computers, to getting laptops without sealed batteries that are designed to be repaired, to electric buses, to heat pumps and solar panels for new and remodel construction. Greg has ignored it all, or pushed it to Assistant Superintendent Jay Jordan who, although personally interested in the topics, is obviously not allowed to take any real action since he works for Greg. 

I have repeatedly requested that our administrators, including members of the new Facilities Advisory Board, make some real commitments. BPS should be targeting replacement of our diesel buses and upgrading all of its buildings to meet the LEED Gold Standard by 2025. But except for a few token improvements that will be in my buildings’ article, the truth is that no real environmental commitments have been made by BPS. 

Yet behind closed doors, Greg and the school board are still ignoring the environment and signing huge checks over to predatory developers to build new, unnecessary buildings that don’t even have heat pumps. It’s a significant oversight since many environmental upgrades, including heat pumps, are easiest and most cost effective to install as a building is built. 

But BPS has been learning…to follow in the well-worn footsteps of Bellingham City Hall. As such, we can anticipate BPS will respond to this article not with real answers, or responding to direct questions, or producing documents, or making any concrete commitments or policy changes, but by hiring an expensive PR firm and pumping out 50,000 glossy flyers about what a great job they’re doing, instead of actually improving anything. In fact, BPS is now doing the same things City Hall does when they want to hide something: not responding to requests for simple information and forcing the public to go through lengthy records requests processes to get even the most basic questions answered. If that doesn’t work, they ask you to take a phone call, where they will pretend to be working on the issue, but ultimately do nothing. After all, phone calls are a way for the administration to make sure nothing is put in writing, and no real commitments are made, while giving them plausible deniability. These phony calls also allow them to appear to be working on issues when ultimately, they’re not. 

By way of comparison, here is how the much more transparent, professional, Everett School District responded to virtually the same questions about their plans for electric buses. 

“Good morning, 
Everett Public Schools contracts with Durham for school bus service and at this time, there are no electric school busses (sic) in the fleet. 
And, there is a demo solar panel at Cedar Wood Elementary, but at this time, no other schools have solar panels.  
Have a great day.”

While I’m not thrilled that Everett SD isn’t taking climate change seriously either, I am much more impressed with their rapid, open, honest and transparent response to the same questions that BPS received. I guess Everett SD believes their taxpayers actually deserve a response when they ask a reasonable question. You know, since the taxpayers are paying for everything and technically own all of the equipment at the schools. 

So the schools, and City Hall, continue trying to make it hard to get information and refuse to commit to anything that will make a significant environmental difference, all while pretending to care. We are in the same situation, on a smaller scale, as the Climate Change Conference, COP26. Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist, referred to it as just another “greenwashing failure.”   

So here’s an idea:

Do we really need a separate BPS administration? Why not have a county-wide system? After all, Bellingham is part of the county, why have two sets of overpaid administrations that do nothing, when we could have one? And, by extension, why do we have a separate city government? Again, why have two sets of expensive, overpaid people intent on doing nothing and stopping progress during our species’ darkest hours? We could literally save the millions of dollars we need to upgrade our buildings to the LEED Gold standard and replace our diesel buses with electric ones if we just got rid of redundant, high-level administrators who are afraid to make decisions anyway. 

Coming Up 

I am amassing data on the many opportunities our schools have missed when addressing the environment in our school buildings. Thanks again to all of the amazing citizens who helped me gather the data I needed for these and many other articles. Tom and fellow writer Alex McLean especially, you are fantastic people. Alex, I really wish you were on the school board. I know you ran.

About Jon Humphrey

Citizen Journalist • Bellingham • Member since May 23, 2017

Jon Humphrey is currently a music educator in Bellingham and very active in the community. He also has decades of professional IT experience including everything from support to development. He [...]

Comments by Readers

Angelo Tsoukalas

Nov 14, 2021

Wow! I’m surprised they didn’t even take advantage of the free electric buses. That’s sad they’re not installing solar panels and heat pumps in new and remodel construction. What a savings it would be and also a cool educational opportunity to show the students real world application of solar technology right there in their schools: the panels, controllers, inverters and batteries and how they all work together. How cool would it be if every student took at least one class in green technology, especially solar panels since that’s something they’ll be putting in their future houses?

I recently got some I’ve got to finish setting up. But I got tired of charging the ring battery at my gate and bought the solar panel for it about 3 weeks ago. This dinky little panel about 6-8” x 4 or 5” that came from Amazon, I would have sent it back had I not read the raving reviews; so I installed it and my ring battery stays between 90 - 100% charged, even with all this rainy/cloudy weather. 

A friend of mine works in a school district operation section, not in this county; and he’s always telling me of all the goods they’re always tossing in the dumpsters - expensive stuff that is still good and useful.  What a bummer - they’ve got the money tree - ever increasing property taxes, and so they don’t care. Many students don’t even know history and basics, like math these days that’s how ineffective they are in even doing what they’re supposed to do. Just a sad state of affairs.

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Jon Humphrey

Nov 14, 2021

Thanks Angelo, the new Sehome building did finally receive a 100,00 watt solar array but as an after thought and it was installed by volunteers. I am waiting on the electric and natural gas bills from those buildings so I can see how much of the energy needs of Sehome are actually met by the array.

Still, there are simply no concrete policies to make this the norm as buildings are upgraded, built, etc. and no real commitments. OSPI tells me that schools that receive state funduing for building projects have to meet the LEED Silver standard, but I’d argue that that standard is not good enough. They need to be on at least LEED Gold.

Still, the real issue is that our institutions simply are not making concrete commitments to improving infrastructure, etc. This means that regardless of how much money they have, they will always try to make it seem like solar, etc. are unimportant, add-on, features that be installed at additional expense by volunteers later under the current leadership.

As far as gear goes, yes what’s going on with our institutions and computers should be a crime. I’ve partnered with TAGNW to distribute free Linux computers to those in need. All of the computers we use are computers that other institutions have thrown out long before the hardware has gone bad. Why? Because companies run less efficinet proprietary software like Windoze, have strange replacement policeis, etc. The idea of haning onto somehting as long as you can, and trying to fix it, is long gone.Well not with me, I just repaired my stove, but culturally and it needs to come back. We also need right to repair laws.

On top of this the schools don’t even try to get machines that are easy to repair. Many of their laptops, etc. have sealed cases with glued in batteries. We estimate that if the schools switched to Linux as a primary OS they cold at least double, or even triple, the life of their comptuers. More importantly, Open Source software is the dominant software out there now (if you look in the background) and the best educational opportunity for students. 95% of the world’s supercomputers run Linux, over 80% of Apple’s OSX and iOS are based on Open Source BSD and Linux, Android is Open Source and based on the same code. Even Microsoft has quietly started using Open Source in the background and repackaging it. So in short, everyone has gone to Open Source already. So isn’t that what we should be using to teach our kids? Extend the life of our machines? Etc.?

The heatpumps are the worst part since they’re harder to install later. Anyway, this and more will be in my buildings article. Lots of public records to read through to prepare for that one. The schools don’t like to answer specific environomental questions about the new buildings, so we have to go the long way around. 

In the meantime I’ve asked the schools to commit to 5 things by 2025.

1. 100% school bus replacement with electric buses.

2. Solar arrays on all buildings.

3. Meeting the LEED Gold standard on all buildings.

4. Switching to Linux.

5. Teaching students how to repair machines (8th grade and up level).

I have received no response to any of this.

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Michael Lilliquist

Nov 16, 2021

Just to add some numbers and perspective to this discussion, the Federal  infrastructure package has about $5 billion marked for school bus electrification acros the country.

Using John’s figure of $300k each, that just over 16,000 electric buses nationwide.  But this may be an over-estimate, becasue the cost to acquire and electric fleet also must include the infrastructure for charging, and new costs in acquiring the ability to service the buses.  You need to add that into the cost per bus.

I serve on the board of directors for Whatcom Transportation Authority, and we have been moving towards zero emission buses for a while. It’s an expensive and incremental proposition, which is why I am gald we have started already. WTA began testing e-buses for reliability several years go, and has numerous Hybrid buses in service. WTA finaly identified a reliable model of all-electric bus, and two are in active service, and we are seeking funds to acquire a few more.  As chair of the WTA board, I just signed another letter seeking grant funding for this.

As I mentioned, charging infratructure is a cost that must be factored in.  A couple years back, WTA spent considerable money to re-fit a new parking lot at the Maintenance and Operations Base with power panels and back-up generators, to accommodate a couple dozen charging stations.  Only a few charging stations are actually installed.  More investment will be needed in the future. 

Transit buses are much more expensive than school buses. A standard 40’ diesel transit bus is closer to $600k.  E-buses suited for public transit come in a close to $1 million, although the price should be coming down.  WTA already has funding mechanisms to replace like-for-like, diesel-for-diesel, in the coming years.  This is based on FTA “formula” money that is distributed on a regular basis based on a population-based formula and other considerations.  So the effort to add electric buses is really finding ways to cover the “delta,” the extra $400k per bus.  Even looking at just the “delta,” the cost will be considerable.  My hope would be to replace an end-of-life diesel bus with a zero-emission replacement.  I can’t promise that, however, since WTA does not yet have the funding for sure.

In closing, let me add I did send a letter to Dr. Baker suggesting that WTA could be a resource for experiences and lessons on how to begin transitioning to zero-emission buses.

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Jon Humphrey

Nov 16, 2021

Michael your numbers are inaccurate and high, as usual, and push a private company’s interests, as usual. You also totally ignore the fuel savings listed above that pay for the offset in costs between diesel and electric buses. However, some of the points are valid. When the $105 million was being spent on the new, unnecessary, Sehome high school we approached Dr. Baker about building green. Since OSPI requires any project receiving state funding to meet the “almost better than nothing” LEED Silver standard, or better, they would have had no objection to school buildings installing green tech by default and meeting a higher standard. Is the city going to LEED Gold? Will you ask RAM, Dawson, etc. (your big developer donors) how they feel about it at your next Yacht Club/Golf event? Perhaps at the millionaire WAVE mansion party all of the well-heeled anti-poor person politicians around here attend?

Anyway, OSPI would have no objection to schools making being green a priority to any other building priority other than fire safety and similar safety concerns. Dr. Baker tried to blow this off by saying, “he was very restricted in how he could spend the bond money” but this simply isn’t true. OSPI and everyone else would have patted him on the back for thinking ahead. This goes for the lack of external wireless APs at the COB and Schools during the pandemic too on the EXISTING PUBLIC FIBER-OPTIC NETWORK THAT WE ALL OWN. All inexpensive tech that would have helped thousands. We’re in our second winter of the pandemic and you guys still haven’t done much. Because you don’t care. The one solar array at Sehome was installed as an afterthought by volunteers who are all obviously much higher quality individuals than any of our “leaders.”

As far as the cost of infrastructure goes, not only have we shown that it pays for itself many times over, but the Whatcom County Sheriff’s reports lists 500 displaced people and that hardly accounts for the 2 deaths and millions in damage this last storm caused. This is only going to get worse if we don’t do something to reverse emissions, and you know that. You just always want to line a pocket of “someone who can already afford to help themselves,” before doing what needs to be done. It’s obvious that both city and county councils will let this entire county rot and burn before pissing off a well-monied interest. My God Michael, you write fake conduit ordinances to protect big telecom and have done NOTHING SIGNIFICANT ON CLIMATE CHANGE. 

Time to put your money where your mouth is or make room for someone who will. This is why the Democrats got their asses handed to them this last election cycle. Why? Well, most Americans agree that something large scale needs to be done about broadband and climate change and they understand it will cost a lot. And thye don’t want to die, so they’re really hoping you’ll fire Eric Johnston and get to work sometime soon. They just don’t believe that you won’t actually do it once getting elected. The Republicans, once the party of infrastructure (ex. Lincoln with the Transcontinental Railroad, Eisenhower with the Interstate System, etc.) are still pretendign that Climate Change is a myth and poor infrastructure can somehow lead to economic success. The truth is that neither party works, you all act like spoiled children, and it’s killing people. But you all must just think that this is a joke because you’re acting like it is.   

So, how much is the entire planet worth to you? Because you can’t make money on a dead planet even using your totally made up economic system. The Man Who Sold the World 

 

 

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Michael Lilliquist

Nov 16, 2021

I just don’t understand you, John.  You seem to find argument and disgreement where it does not exist.  You seem to be reacting as if I am trying to undermine your article, when that is not at all the case. Quite the opposite.  I support transition to zero emission buses, and I think that should have been pretty obvious. 

Which of my numbers are high and inaccurate?  The transit bus numbers are based on actual figures for WTA puchases. We also have actual costs for the installation of charging infrastructure at WTA’s MOAB facility.  I was not inflating the costs, just reporting them.  Yes of course there are costs savings, too. I never said or implied otherwise. WTA has looked at life-cycle costs, in order to have a fuller and better comparison.

I have little idea what the School District spent on this or that. The District and Dr. Baker can speak for themselves.

And what private company’s interests are you even talking about?    What does that have to do with converting to zero emission buses?   You talk about general contractors as big donors. To whom?  I have certainly not received big (or small) donations from business interests, let alone corporations or contractors.  My “next Yacht Club/Golf event”?  Are you joking?? Millionaire parties?? What are you even talking about?

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Jon Humphrey

Nov 16, 2021

Michael, the fact that you don’t see that there is a legit argument here is the problem. The people are sick of do-nothings, hypocrisy and a government that put corporations first. As Greta would say, “blah, blah, blah.” It’s all we hear from you but we never see significant action. 

In the backdrop of all of this the IPCC report tells us that we have about 8.5 years left to reverse our trends or we’re going to die, most of us slowly from starvation, starting with the poor. Especailly the elderly and children. Yet environmentalists have been telling our politicians that for decades. In fact 62% of Americans think the government should do more about addressing climate change. They’re not even resisting you! They want you to do the work, because they don’t want to die, or worse watch their children die. Yet you do nothing or next to nothing. Or even make the problems worse. https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2020/06/23/two-thirds-of-americans-think-government-should-do-more-on-climate/

So you quote some work with WTA. Great, but that pales in comparison to the fact that the Port and schools don’t even have climate action plans and have made no real commitments. We give the schools hundreds of millions for tech and they spend it on laptops that aren’t even designed to be serviced with short lifespans. Guess we’ll just throw piles of those in the trash every year. Or on virtually worthless broadband solutions with big telecom. The list goes on. But worst of all, they don’t even put it into renewable energy when they can. Volunteers have to step in and do that. Because $305 million just isn’t enough to put in some heat pumps, more than 1 solar array, enough insulation, and more according to them. Cause ya know, ultra cheap insulation, that must just be too expensive when you have hundreds of millions of dollars to work with. Hell, you can’t even get the schools to take FREE ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES.  

The COB made your “Climate and Energy Manager” an employee of a public works director that was fired for desecrating native American remains in Oak Harbor to line the pockets of a developer, and is keeping him from working on climate. What did the mayor and council do? NOTHING. You didn’t even ask if it was appropriate when it clearly isn’t. Eric has many special interests that don’t want a pesky environmentalist mucking up their development plans, so Eric makes sure that they don’t. Turns a blind eye to the Padden Creek development project. More desecrated remains, more stream pollution, more violations. All ok with Eric and by extension you, the mayor and the rest of the council.

In the meantime, you have approved many plans to mow down trees and other vegetation instead of reuse the many empty buildings we have to appease developers. Why? To build unaffordable housing that makes the homelessness crisis worse.

Fiber is a huge part of addressing climate change, but you didn’t just refuse to Open Access the existing network during a pandemic, you helped Eric Johnston write a fake Conduit Ordinance to protect big telecom. During a pandemic. The overall performance of the COB on climate is abysmal.

On top of that the company you keep in the Riveters, lied flat out to get candidates elected. For example, Christine Grant who promised us all she would get a county wide PUD owned and operated fiber network installed, then participated in taking advantage of the Nooksack people to line the pockets of Starlink along with Satpal and now who even knows if they’ll do it. They also have hundreds of million of dollars, millions in specialized equipment, and more but…

The truth is that the Riveters are probably advising her not to so she can get big corporate donations so she can use her current position as a springboard to state government even though she hasn’t done a damned thing for 95% of the population. To paraphrase Christine though, “I’m like totally friends with Eric Johnston, even though he desecrates Native American remains to appease developers. Cause I do it too with broadband. And I like haven’t friended you on Facebook cause you hold officials like me accountable, so yah. I’m like totally still at that phase in my life, and now you all get to suffer through it with me. Anyway, I have a meeting with BP. But don’t let my close ties with big oil make you think I don’t care about the environment. Or lack of action on water, broadband, etc. Just cause all of my actions make it look like I don’t care, just trust that I must.” And isn’t that the standard corporate democrat line. “I like totally care, even though my actions show otherwise and I vote exactly the same way that Republicans, most of the time, do even though I talk trash about them. Because the truth is there aren’t really two parties. We both just represent the wealthy.”  

At the state level she can join the company of anti-women women like Sharon Shewmake who doesn’t believe in a minimum wage. Or anti-environment “environmentalists” like Liz Lovelett who only plans on 1 electric ferry in the next 4 years. Even though at the height of WWII the Liberty boat company produced 100 ships a year. We could solve our problem in a year easily, but that’s not what’s Liz is talking about cause that would piss off wealthy donors. Especially the fossil fuel industry in Anacortes. Or Susan delBene who sold the entire town of Sumas out to Comcast even though fiber would have cost less and been a better solution and she had a grant for it. I’ll bet Comcast has a big fat check waiting for DelBene who will assure us all that she cares, and then do next to nothing while in office, as you all always do, once elected.  

The point is we’re sick of the hypocrisy and speeches. It’s time for our elected officials and the staff they direct to actually do something significant or make room for people who will. We are out of time and need action.

Commit to:

  1. Upgrading to the LEED Gold standard on all COB buildings by 2025 (Start with low hanging fruit like those outdated 900 gallon urinals at city hall.)
  2. Solar arrays on all COB buildings by 2025. (25% by 2022)
  3. Releasing a letter to the schools and Port publicly shaming them for their lack of action on the environment including the fact that they don’t even have a basic plan.
  4. Providing Open Access to the existing fiber network, funding gigabit community networks, and putting in place a real Dig Once policy. Like the one I wrote and sent you.
  5. Reusing old buildings and refusing to allow the building of new buildings while there are vacant old buildings.
  6. Get your water policy straight. Listen to people who care like Atul and Edy. Not people who abuse our community like Eric Johnston.
  7. Lean on PSE to go to thorium reactors and phase out natural gas by 2025. Renewables should be part of this plan. Let them know that we will phase them out as an energy provide by 2030 if we don’t see them upgrade to 50% renewables by then. They have a Green Energy plan. That means they have the money to upgrade. Also, let them know that at the $50K per pole replacement cost they quoted to the Port that we want underground infrastructure instead. So the power doesn’t go out every time there is a breeze.
  8. Publicly state that saying Net-Zero by 2050 is like saying, “I’ll stop heavily drinking everyday by 2050.” It’s too late.
  9. Refuse to fund other institutions that don’t commit to these standards with our tax payer dollars.
  10. Refuse to do business with any developer that insists in building in a highly sensitive area or has in the last 100 years.
  11. DIY reimbursements for energy efficient upgrades. Not plans with PSE and CNG that require “professional installers” at 5 times the cost. Let people that know how to do their own upgrades put insulation, low-flow toilets, etc. in and pay them back for it directly. I know, God Forbid the citizens get some of their own tax money back for doing the right thing. That money was slated to Dawson, RAM, etc. to build a $50 million homeless shelter even though old hotels are literally for sale, in great shape, and can be reused.

I can go on, but that should get you started.

So in closing what I’m really saying is, why doesn’t our whole government trying shutting up and doing some work for a change? You know, like workers like I have to do everyday. We’ve already heard all of the excuses and need a different tune.

Before you hit me on civility, I’ll say that it’s hardly civil to let children starve to death, citizens die, etc. from preventable causes when you have the means to stop it and we need to address the issues anyway. Tell me what’s less “civil” calling you out or that?

 

 

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Liz Marshall

Nov 17, 2021

Awesome work, Jon. 

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Jon Humphrey

Nov 17, 2021

Thanks Liz. I want to talk about how fiber will help save the environment for a minute since so many of our candidates run on that platform and then get into office and don’t do much, or give corporate welfare to big telecom instead.

Fiber is such a win for the environment that many states, including California and Washington, have stated that it is essential to fighting global warming because, “no trip is as efficient as one you don’t take.” It is also the most ecologically made material and lasts the longest. Fiber lasts 100 years and can often be repaired in place. Wireless stuff, about 7. Satellites, which are awful for the environment when launched, maybe 20. Fiber is also the most energy efficient and needed to back all of the other much less reliable tech up. 5G has been shown to be about 10,000 times slower than fiber. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/why-fiber-vastly-superior-cable-and-5g

Our officials know all of this because I trained vidrtually all of them. Their reward, to try to cancel me to protect big telecom so they can get big checks for their state level runs. Essentially, they will do nothing for us, then run for higher level positions using big telecom and big oil funding. Ya know, the usge.

No one has been guiltier of this than Lilliquist, Fleetwood and Grant. All of which I spent many hours training, I even put up signs for Grant. Because she lied to me and I allowed myself to think we had an honest candidate, LOL. As soon as she got into the PUD she sat on her hands for years on fiber. Recently they did hire some new staff, but not a single foot of fiber or conduit has been laid. Commissioner Murphy always follows Grant’s lead. So will they? Well Commissioner Deshmane remains the only politician really fighting for anything progressive. Grant is probably hoping for a big check from Starlink for her next run like delBene will get from Comcast as noted above.

Lilliquist and Fleetwood are literally sitting on an existing fiber network, during a pandemic. My God, they wrote a fake conduit ordinance with Eric Johnston so they could lie to you about progress if you call and protect big telecom.

Still, no one has done more damage to public broadband than Shewmake who yelled at me for 9 minutes, and when I asked her to stop, she reacted by spreading rumors around about me on behalf of Verizon.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because, while the Republicans will give corporate welfare to big telecom, big oil, etc. the Democrats continue to do nothing, or worse. Pretend to care and then do the same thing. Essentially there are no parties. Just one big unified party that is going to get us all killed.

One of my friends put it best, “they all still think this is a game, and all they care about it power because as the power elite they believe that this (climate change) will affect them last. Still the Democrats are totally corrupt, and the Republicans are crazy. We need something totally different and new, and we need it now!”

My God, we have less than 8.5 years left and the Port and schools have no environmental plan. The Biden administration is opening up new natural gas lines instead of doing Thorium and renewables… I can go on and on. The point is they’re not taking it seriously and they will be happy to watch millions die while they play their games. So what can we do? Well, we need to vote outside of the major parties. They will react by rumor spreading and trying to use cancel culture. We need to assume that and vote on accomplishments and ignore the shitshow that always comes with each election. All of our elected officials have failed with the exception of Atul Deshmane. And they don’t care, and they plan on doing it again. We need to admit our system is broken and demand change. We need to admit there are no parties, just the power elite taking advantage of everyone else, as they always have. Because they will watch us die and make excuses up for it, and play games, the entire time. My God, the city is sitting on an existing public fiber network. The Port has $50 million in grant money to spend. The schools missed a $141 million dollar grant for electric school buses. I can go on, but these are not the actions of leaders we should trust. They’re not looking out for us, that much is clear.  

 

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Jim Kyle

Nov 18, 2021

Jon, you claim the Port does not have a climate action plan.  Wrong, you can check it out: here.

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Jon Humphrey

Nov 18, 2021

I should have been more specific Jim. I was talking about a plan that isn’t a total greenwashing joke.

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Jim Kyle

Nov 18, 2021

Thank you for that admission, Jon.  You certainly have the right to be critical of any plan once you admit it exists, and I share your concern about the extreme nature of the threat of human-induced climate change.  But I fear that when you disdainfully dismiss almost all leaders who are potential allies in this struggle, you may be harming the movement.  

Back to the Port of Bellingham’s Climate Action Plan:  Anyone interested can judge for themselves how serious the Port is about a meaningful response to climate change.  At the Nov. 16 Commission meeting, an informal discussion among the Commissioners took place near the end, 1:17:30 - 121:00.  The  link to that meeting is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaMR9ngIBUc

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Jon Humphrey

Nov 18, 2021

Jim, there are no allies for the environment, and therefore 90% of the population, at the Port. We lost any chance of having a real climate action plan when we got Ken Bell again instead of Kelly Krieger. I base this on a track record of the Port dropping the ball or sitting on other critical action items. Michael Sheppard, Gina Stark, Ken Bell (even) and I talked a lot about the need for public fiber-optics. I even donated the Port a copy of “Fiber.” Well ok, I tried to lend it to them and they never returned it. I hope someone other than Gina read it. To my knowledge she is the only one.

Fiber-optics have 10,000 times the bandwidth of 5G. In fact, using the body model, everything other than fiber can only be considered an extension of it. Fiber being the veins and arteries and everything else the capillaries. Gina did a fantastic job outlining a plan for the Port, hopefully along with the PUD, to move forward on this no-brainer county-wide solution. They even received tens of millions in rural broadband grants, but internal pressure, and corruption, have pushed them towards giving corporate welfare to big telecom, and other special interests, instead of serving the people. The result; virtually worthless solutions that everyone, even the County Executive, pissed millions away on during a pandemic.

Why would the Ports’ approach to climate be any different? The answer is that it’s not. Just like the idea of Net-Zero by 2050 is equivalent to “stop drinking heavily on a daily basis by 2050” so is the Port’s “response” to the environment and climate change. Are you going to stop large recreational fossil fuel boat usage for a few years? No. In fact you’ll encourage more. More daed seals, more dead orcas, more, more, more.

Fiber is also a huge part of saving the environment. So much so that many states, including California and Washington have put it as a top item in their environmental action plans. Why? Because nothing saves more fuel than not having to take a trip at all. Fiber is the longest lasting, most durable, most ecologically sourced, highest performance, lowest cost per Mbit solution but even Michael Sheppard sat on tens of millions to appease corrupt officials and staff.

So I see our “leaders” as what they are. Barriers in the way of doing what needs to be done to save our species. We have about 8.5 years left to reverse our emissions. We definitely don’t have until 2050. The environmental plan you highlight here is like the Lilliquist/Johnston fake conduit ordinance. A policy in name only that accomplishes nothing and protects special interests. Pretending it’s a plan is laughable. What can I say, I want my kids to survive and we don’t have time for fake plans, bullshit and business as usual. Our systems and culture has failed us. It’s time to admit that and move forward. You know, before we ruin the only planet we know of that we can get to that can support our species. 

 Here’s an “honest government ad” that gets the point across. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FqXTCvDLeo

 

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