Jail Facts Successfully Avoided

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On 9/30/2015 County Council member Rud Browne originated Agenda Bill 2015-295 (p.251-259), a resolution requesting that County Executive Jack Louws develop models to assist the County Council, the City of Bellingham and other “interested parties” to “understand the impact of the various proposals related to a new long term jail facility use agreement.” The purpose, in the preamble, was to “give due consideration to the various stakeholders in the community so as to objectively establish…the size and nature of the first phase of the new jail.”

On 10/13/2015, the resolution was withdrawn (p.2) from the agenda and left unassigned to committee.

In so doing, the council apparently decided NOT to:
- “jointly develop modelling (sic) tools such as spreadsheets…to collaboratively reach consensus on the critical key assumptions and the impact of various proposals”
- “identify all the County's current and proposed financial needs for jail construction and operating costs over the next 30 years”
- “identify current and expected future sources of funding for the next 30 years”
- “see the cumulative effect on County and individual cities”
- “use objective calculations rather than subjective assumptions to establish consensus about what the right size for phase one of the new jail”
- (model) “the possible future conversion of various frequent offences (sic) currently punishable by imprisonment to non-imprisonment offences” (sic)
- (model)”the expanded use of alternatives to incarceration”

This is more than a bit frightening because these are all items that should have been out in front long ago to prevent the Elfo/Louws giant jail juggernaut from careening ever faster toward the most massive misappropriation of public funds in Whatcom County’s history.

It’s time for a do-over, and time to put the horse in front of the cart: human decency and cost containment in front of Elfo/Louws runaway incarceration scheme. It’s the only way to save Whatcom County taxpayers from a crippling debt burden. I’m voting NO on Proposition 2015-1.

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