The preliminary results from the Auditor are now posted.
Whatcom County Auditor - Election Page
Wow. The big news is Whatcom County Council is going liberal - and against the coal port. All four liberal candidates are winning by 54% and higher - solid margins that should hold up as more ballots are counted during the next few days. Two conservative incumbents have been voted out of office - Bill Knutzen and Kathy Kershner. Rud Browne and Barry Buchanan have replaced them. Liberal incumbents Carl Weimer and Ken Mann have beaten their-uber conservative challengers - Michelle Luke and Ben Elenbaas.
This puts liberals in control of our County Council. Ken Mann has often shown an eclectic tendancy, but hopefully he will be encouraged by this election to ally with Carl, Rud and Barry. This election effectively takes power away from Sam Crawford who has been the intellectual leader of the conservatives for years. Pete Kremen and Barbara Brenner have also lost much of their ability to be swing votes or play to the audience. Carl Weimer will, in this writer's judgement, now take the leadership role for the council majority. He is the best person for the job.
This reminds me of the county election in 1991 - when liberals swept the election. Hopefully, this year's winners will take a look back at that council and learn a lesson. That liberal council had a god complex and ignored the concerns of rural landowners with onerous and excessive environmental and planning rules. In the 1993 election, the conservatives took back control of the council and have effectively held it until tonight. This council can make progressive decisions and protect our environment while also being sensitive to how these laws impact rural land owners.
There is every reason to now believe this council will vote to reject the coal port. This is the main message of this election given the huge amounts of money the coal interests poured into this campaign. We voters said NO to the coal port. Forget all the quasi-judicial crap - this is raw politics. We in Whatcom County do not want the coal port and we can expect our new council to reject this crazy and environmentally disastrous project. Lynden can thank this council because the coal trains were going to stream by, 24/7, next to the Badger Road if this coal port went in. The rail lines from the south cannot handle the extra trains.
I had to check with Tip Johnson for some technical facts about the absurd slaughterhouse code this council passed recently. The new council, in January, can start an amendment process to dramatically trim this ordinance down to something reasonable. Tip started a petition last week - it was printed in the Cascadia Weekly - to completely eliminate this ordinance. I have heard that the measure may be challenged to the Growth Management Hearings Board - which may be the most efficient way to remove this law. This present council, with Sam Crawford's guidance, treated the progressive and liberal members of our county community pretty much as the 1992 liberal council treated the conservatives. And I suspect this slaughter house law contributed to the defeat of all four conservatives. Along with the coal port.
Huge change in our local government. This change in the County Council dwarfs any possible changes in the Bellingham Council or the port commission. The County Council is the game changer for our local politics for the next four years. Yes, four. These four council members can dominate the council through the 3 person election in two years. And there is every chance that one or two of those incumbents will be voted out of office for a progressive in 2015 because local liberals and Ds can now focus on getting three good candidates prepared.
Well, that is it for tonight. Thanks for reading. I hope my candid and non partisan posts on NWCitizen provide you with information and perspective of value to you.