The Port Commissioner campaign is getting hot

Ginny Benton, seeking her third term as commissioner, stated this evening at the Rome Grange that she will not respond to the “mud slinging” being done against her. She will “not stoop” to dignify this sort of campaigning.

Four candidates are challenging Ginny. Word is the winner of the primary will get the full support of the others to oust Ginny. There is a strong move to replace her as commissioner. Indeed, some political junkies are betting that Ginny will lose out in the primary. Much of the motivation is her several conflict-of-interest escapades and personal financial troubles.

Ginny owes the voters answers to the muddy questions. Her actions are enough to elect someone else. For her to now say she will not respond and give explanations for her actions is all the more reason to throw her out of office. As an elected commissioner she is accountable to the voters. Of course, there may not be satisfactory explanations for her actions, and that may be why she wants to avoid the issues.

We need explanations to the following:

- A $200,000 lawsuit in 2001 against her for embezzling funds from apartments she was managing in Canada. It quietly went away. What is the story?

- Her hiring the official Port attorney Frank Chmelik to represent her in this suit. For five months he responded for her. As the Port’s attorney, his firm gets paid by the Port.

- Her declaring personal bankruptcy two years ago. Did she run up $50,000 in credit card debt before declaring?

- Her taking a high-paying job with a Port tenant, STS, just after they got a lease from the Port. She later lost the job and sued them.

Indeed, Ginny, as an elected official, should provide us voters with full disclosure of all her finances for the past 8 years she has been Port Commissioner. What else do we not know about? Mud slinging? Well, perhaps that is what you call it when you don’t have a decent explanation.

By the way, the Port is flush with cash these days. While Port executive director Jim Darling is trying to screw all county taxpayers by overcharging for use of a Port building for a temporary jail, the Port is swimming in money but won’t tell us.

The Port has received $17 million dollars in an insurance settlement for polluted Port properties. By the time some fees are paid, the benefit will be reduced to about $15 million. Jim Darling and the Port staff claimed the Port didn’t know it was polluting all these years and got the money in a settlement with their insurance company.

The Port has always been less than honest and forthright with citizens. The four new candidates all want to change the culture at the Port to make it more accountable to us taxpayers and voters. Ginny Benton is part of the problem at the Port. She thinks she can do anything and not tell us. No problem. Vote for any of the other four candidates.

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • 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 [...]

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