Zero Public Process for New Jail

A stunning post by Riley over at the Political Junkie. He went through the considerable effort of requesting, getting and reading the emails related to siting and planning our new jail. He informs us of how there has been zero public process on both selecting where to build and what to build.

Riley understates the conclusion of what his research shows. To use an analogy, he tells us that our airplane is way too low and slow. He leaves it to us to conclude that our plane is about to crash. Our crash will be a jail that is way more expensive to build than we need and then way more expensive to maintain and manage than is necessary.

Elfo avoided any public or legal process for moving the jail way out to Ferndale when it should be built next to the county courthouse. Transporting jail inmates the miles between the courthouse and jail every day will be an expensive and unnecessary expense - and will be so every year for decades. We could list many other problems related to this remote jail. The important fact though, is the sheriff - with the tacit passive help from Louws and the council - has not followed public process.

The old adage that a frog in a pan of cold water will not jump out if the heat is slowly increased is false. The frog jumps out when it gets too warm. However, this does seem to work for humans - make the awful wrong changes slowly enough and people do not notice - until too late. Crash.

Read Riley's short expose. The powers that be - those anti-tax conservatives of sheriff, executive and council - are about to hit us for construction and yearly cost taxes that will boggle our minds. Which will set them up to privatize the jail in a couple years to relieve us of the cost. We act now or lose. Riley can inform. He has done his part.

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

Dick Conoboy

Jul 12, 2013

Just wait.  Some years down the line when the economy tanks even more and we will have built this jail, the county will discover that it can no longer afford to run it.  In step the prison privateers who will announce that they will save the county money by taking over and running the Whatcom prison facilities.  But this will be a false economy that will turn into a black hole not only for the prisoners but for the county coffers.  Health, safety, police, fire and finance are inherently governmental functions.  We must not lose sight of this.

“In the public sector, tax money tends to make more of itself, meaning that each public dollar paid through one social service will spend itself four to eight times more elsewhere within the public sector. Once public money goes into private hands however, that money stays there and is gone for good. This is especially true if we consider that privatization corporations are usually given handsome tax breaks and “incentives,” in the form of what some people call “corporate welfare,” which means we are even less likely to see that money again.”

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