Charter amendments approved

The Charter Review Commission made Monday evening’s meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council

The Charter Review Commission made Monday evening’s meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council

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A quick short post here for the basic facts.  

The Charter Review Commission met last night, Monday evening, and passed all eight of their proposed amendments and have sent them on to the County Council for consideration.  That may well happen this Tuesday evening at the regular council meeting.  

It was a confused and rather dysfunctional meeting - mostly because it was called at the last possible moment, hours before the July 4th legal holiday began.  It was pretty much devoid of the progressive minority members - some of whom were on vacation because of the supposed break between meetings.  

And one new wrinkle I need to learn more about that drove the conservatives to call this meeting. It involves a possible sneaky trick by our liberal majority on the County Council.  More later.

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 07, 2015

Thanks for the report, John.  I gotta give you credit for sticking it out during this goat f*ck.  I left at 7 pm since I could hardly hear what was going on with the commission’s attorney on a bad quality speaker phone without his documents (it seems he was in a car somewhere) and trying to advise the 9 commissioners who showed up.  It amazing to me that these commissioners have absolutely no sense of embarrassment with regard to their antics.  Perhaps the county council will have more common sense and presence of mind with the 8 proposed amendments birthed by this commission like so many Rosemary’s Babies.


Dena Jensen

Jul 07, 2015

My complaints with the commission all along have centered around how they have not put adequate effort into public involvement in their process.  The last-minute rallying of the July 6 meeting was not just something that made it harder for all commissioners to be able to attend or to be able to feel confident that this timing was ethically sound. Also, the handling of these last-minute plans on the Whatcom County Charter Review Commission website was very poor to the degree of appearing obfuscating.  The July 6 meeting was never posted on the front page of the CRC website, where there was a link to the July 13 meeting.  The meeting was also never placed on the online calendar (until sometime between 2:50 p.m. yesterday when I last checked on Monday and 10:30 this morning when I first checked today. The July 6 meeting does now show on the calendar view). The only place evidence of the meeting was to be found was on the Agenda, Minutes, and Audio page which has no notation on the Home page link that this is where you can find information about when meetings are scheduled.

Meanwhile here is part of my response to Delaine Clizbe’s tip in the Herald comment section of the “Charter commissioner angry about meeting date change” article about automatic email notifications about meetings: “After Delaine Clizbe mentioned the sign up for notices on the County website, I did go on there and sign up. I appreciate the advice. But the following is my experience (as a member of the public just learning about how to become involved in local government meetings). When I click on the link for “View Previous Messages” on the sign up page for the Charter Review Commission Calendar (or Agendas) the only message displayed is one called County Launches New Website. When I opened it it just displays a picture of a flower with a copyright notice. So I don’t think I can have access to notices that have already been sent out.”

And here is the latest update on meeting notifications on the CRC website.  This morning at 10:30 when I checked, the Home page link to the July 13 meeting cancellation has been quite promptly posted there and on the calendar view as well. 


Sandy Robson

Jul 08, 2015

I sent this email letter on Monday afternoon at 3:26pm to the County Council and Charter Review Commission about there not being proper notice given to the public for the charter commission’s July 6 “special meeting” called for by commission chair Ben Elenbaas. I did not hear back from anyone who I sent the letter. Now after reading Dena’s comment, I learn that the meeting appears on the charter website either after the fact, or sometime after I last looked, which was around 3:30pm on the day of the meeting, Monday. Below is my letter:

Subject: Insufficient public notice of the recently scheduled special meeting of the Charter Review Commission

Dear Charter Review Commission:

I am writing regarding the recently called-for special meeting for today, July 6 of the Charter Review Commission, by Commission chair Ben Elenbaas.

There has been no proper notice given to the public of this meeting. I looked on the County Charter Review Commission website a short while ago and it still shows the next scheduled meeting of the commission to be July 13. Then on the Commission calendar on the website, this “special meeting” is not shown there. It only shows the July 13 meeting on the Commission calendar.

I have included screenshot photos taken a few minutes ago to show that this special meeting is not shown on the front page or on the calendar on the Commission website.

I don’t think it is fair to the public to hold this meeting with insufficient and improper notice.

Therefore, I ask that this special meeting be cancelled and rescheduled so that that proper notice can be given to the public.


Sandy Robson



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