Today’s Cascadia Weekly Gristle is Spot On: Mayor Called Out for Dismissive Attack

Mayor Fleetwood spent 10 minutes verbally attacking Tip Johnson’s petition to stop illegal city street vacations.

Mayor Fleetwood spent 10 minutes verbally attacking Tip Johnson’s petition to stop illegal city street vacations.

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• Topics: Bellingham, Elections, Planning,

Every voter in Bellingham should sign the petition that Tip Johnson - a past two-term Bellingham City Council member - is trying desperately to circulate. He has only one week left because of the crafty and nasty political maneuvering by our mayor, Seth Fleetwood; but that's another story. 

Tim Johnson' s Gristle in today's Cascadia Weekly (yep, a Tim and a Tip - keep them separate), points out the new policy Bellingham City Hall has embarked on to sell our valuable community rights-of-way to developers for high-end projects. This morning's Gristle makes hash of City Hall's ten-year charade of being concerned about low-cost housing. Mayor Fleetwood is merely escalating former Mayor Linville's planning and construction policies of destroying family housing and allowing developers to buy up our neighborhoods.

As Tim Johnson notes in today's Cascadia Weekly:  

"How has this construction influenced affordability?  Not one jot."

You can read today's Gristle online at “Missing Middle Still Missing”, or pick up a copy of the Cascadia Weekly.

Whether you live in the Edgemore Neighborhood or the Columbia, Sehome or South Hill neighborhoods - there is no neighborhood that is safe from this new, stealth, and illegal process the city is testing on Douglas Avenue. In brief, City Hall specifically violated its own codes in order to sell the right-of-way, for a fraction of its value, to allow high end, expensive development. In doing so, they wiped out a city trail and greenspace that has been on the Parks Department Trail Guide for 25 years. Tip's petition is an attempt to stop this precedent-setting case and allow Bellingham voters to be the judges of the mayor's scheme.

Want to watch the mayor trash Tip without naming him? Click here for video and slide to hour 2:03:00 for Fleetwood's almost 10 minute harangue. As Tim Johnson noted in The Gristle, he is “dismissive” of the referendum effort. Yet Fleetwood closes his monologue by virtually admitting they screwed up on Douglas Avenue and spends the last two minutes promising to do things differently in the future. He notes that “ … a lot of good things are going to be coming forward - that have grown out of the experience we've had on the Douglas Street (sic) vacation…”

We contend there can never be enough “good things coming forward” to allow exchanging this illegal Douglas Avenue vacation for some future legal process. We need to stop the Douglas Avenue fire sale as this is the only way to see that legal processes will be followed, ever. In 40 years of civic involvement, I have repeatedly seen our elected officials play the role of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick - the public being cast as Charlie Brown. Over these 40 years, I have seen uncountable promises vaporize later - just like Charlie's football.

Please find and sign the petition. Tip's article of a few days ago, found here, has all the needed information. Twice in past years Tip has run successful petition drives.  One resulted in the council reversing themselves because their illegal processes were about to go to the voters. In the other, the city obstructed it in court, making it impossibly expensive for Tip to appeal.  The mayor and council need to be reminded again to obey the law.

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 [...]

Comments by Readers

Drue Robinson

Oct 12, 2021

“In 40 years of civic involvement, I have repeatedly seen our elected officials play the role of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown to kick - the public being cast as Charlie Brown. Over these 40 years, I have seen uncountable promises vaporize later - just like Charlie’s football.”

Couldn’t have said it better! Seth is pathetic. He’s a pawn for developers just like the rest of ‘em.

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Alex McLean

Oct 13, 2021

Thank you John for highlighting Tim Johnson’s excellent “gristle” observations. Many others noticed the salient wisdom in what Johnson wrote, the article was shared widely on social media platforms, and it was indeed “spot-on.”

The way Johnson chose to pen the seemingly universal grievances residents around here are having was pretty daring—he stitched together a potpourri of disparate gripes to reveal the larger stench of systemic corruption and ineptitude that ultimately, in every scenario, has the developer Lordship winning everything while the plebiscite public gets nothing in return. 

This felt especially obvious in the Douglas Debacle since, in trade for selling off a public trail, the developers are given millions of dollars worth of fresh density—not an inch of it devoted to affordable housing—for no greater purpose than that the (former) public Right of Way become a parking ramp for vehicles. The public gets fuck-all in this equation. And, frustratingly, iterations of the same vile grift are happening allover the City.

When I read Johnson’s article I saw even the title itself as loaded innuendo: The “missing middle” is not so much about providing a certain economic type of housing as it is the public, repeatedly and always, looking at the empty void between what the developers get from the City and what the citizens get in return.

 

 

 

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