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Hobgoblins as ballots are sent out

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With ballots arriving at citizens' homes today, I have a few fun things to toss out for the digestion of the political junkies who check this site. As I haven't 10 hours to carefully research all these, what is posted here is my best effort at the truth, and I am open to corrections.

Washington Conservation Voters - seems Cathy Lehman (running for Bellingham City Council) has the exact same position on the coal trains as Kelli Linville (running for Mayor of Bellingham.) Yet the WCV strongly endorses Cathy but blasts Kelli, specifically citing Kelli's stance on the coal trains.

WCV is the group who would not let Kelli supporters have anti-coal train yard signs - until the Herald asked - and then they said, sorry, it was a mistake and they are now available. Well, it seems two known Kelli supporters promptly went to the WCV office - next to Pike's office, by the way - and were told sorry, but we have run out of the signs. And they want us to believe they are an environmental organization and not simplly a political one with an environmental mask?

A tip of the hat - dunce hat - to the Herald for the hatchet job on Larry Farr on the front page of Monday's Herald. Editors know well that a decreasing number of readers go beyond the first paragraphs, and the first ones are supposed to summarize the article. Lo - Stark uses that valuable space to praise Fleetwood - and includes one paragraph on the front page to Farr.

Stark opines - as if reporting - that "Fleetwood is no knee-jerk liberal." That's the first sentence of the second paragraph. Well, if Seth is not a knee-jerk liberal, then who in this town is? Now, I like Seth - just like we all do - but Seth is as liberal as they come in this liberal town. It is in his genes. Anyway, the article goes down from there. The whole piece is skewed toward Seth. Nice opinion piece. Not reporting.

That rock in the photo above is resting on the windshield wipers of County Treasurer Steve Oliver's car while it is parked in his driveway. He came out to that one morning recently. Our community should be ashamed. Someone, or several people, probably know who did this and they should do the right thing: turn the person in to the Ferndale police. And anyone who scoffs at this, saying it's no big deal, is out of touch with reality. This is a sad part of our Whatcom and Bellingham heritage and it's time it is stopped by those who know who's doing this sort of thing.

Pete Kremen, for all his powerful campaign committee's experience - County Prosecutor Dave McEachran is his committee chair - has not filed a single C-4 with the PDC. Not one. Well, when the county prosecutor is on your team, you can probably break the law and the Bellingham Herald won't report it. Tony Larson has filed several C-4s, per the law. Who do we expect to live up to the law once in office?

Well, this has taken a couple hours - I had to check the PDCs for myself - plus I've been waiting for the Sierra Club to respond. That also has taken hours while repeatedly asking them to respond. So check out the enlarged photo of the email flyer they sent yesterday - which falsely states Kelli Linville has outspent Dan Pike 3-1 - and so please contribute. A check of PDC reports shows Dan has raised considerably more money than Kelli. And spent considerably more. Can we assume the Sierra Club simply made a big mistake in trusting the information sent by Pike's campaign team? Or is there another explanation?

And finally, there is the sly half truth about Kelli taking donations from BNSF and other corporations. Facebook posts and one guy, a local gadfly who won't return a phone call to me, is telling everyone about it with the passion of religion. Turns out, the donations were from her run for the legislature last year, when BNSF was not a dirty word locally. Oh, the Facebook post did a correction, but it did not have the easy visibility of the original post and inflamed many people. And the gadfly is still going all over town trying to get people to believe the donations are for this year. Ask AW to return my call.

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About John Servais

Writer • 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

Tip Johnson

Oct 24, 2011

Simply hilarious, John.  Nice work!  Indeed, hobgoblins of consistency be damned.  Proof that politics is mostly a form of entertainment for folks bored with TV cop shows.  Warning:  It is serious business when it matters to corporate, capital interests.

F’ing Trinkhaus has suggested on his facebook page that I am a sell out for supporting Linville. I could go toe to toe with him on that one forever and ever but… hey! but I like the guy.


Stephen Trinkaus

Oct 25, 2011

Wow John - talk about someone taking things out of context, leaving out information and characterizing someone’s opinion!  I have my work cut out for me to set the record straight.  I thought that our private email exchange had resolved some of this, but apparently not.  So, let’s conduct this business in public, shall we?  Also, when one registers to comment on this site there is a request not to call people names.  “Gadfly”- really?  Definition - “a person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism.”  So if someone criticizes your candidate they’re a gadfly, but you can criticize Pike all you want here and you’re not a gadfly?  C’mon John.

But I’ll start with Tip’s comment just to get that out of the way.  I’ve pasted my exchange with him on Facebook so you can see how I’ve suggested he’s “selling out”:

Tip:  Absolutely makes no difference, especially to your issue. The SSA and BNSF contributions occurred before the coal port was even an issue. And then, everyone - everyone - makes a contribution to the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. That’s just the way it works. So if a legislator performs well enough to gain such position, they are to pilloried for their success? Her record will show an equal or greater number of donations from folks or organizations with whom you probably agree. You carefully fail to mention those. Finally, as Molly Ivans said, “...if you can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ‘em anyway, you don’t belong in office.” That. too, is just the way it works. You would do better with your argument to show some legislation where Kelli pandered to the interests you find objectionable, to the detriment of the community. I think you will have a much harder time with that.

Stephen:  I am blown away by the mental contortions people will do to defend corporate money in politics when it benefits the candidate they support. Just because “they all do it” or “that’s the way it works” doesn’t make it right. That’s what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about - reclaiming our power from corporate America. And the assertion that you have to show a direct cause and effect (contribution X resulted in decision Y) is an impossible standard because the system doesn’t work that way - it works on a much more subtle and insidious level. Kelli does not need to “pander to the interests” to be compliant in the corporate system - she just has to be a team player, not be too radical, and not cross the line where corporate power is threatened. Has Kelli ever threatened corporate power in a real way? Nope. So yeah, the system of contributions from corporations and special interests has worked well in this case. And although I pointed out the least ethical contributors, I believe this is the case with all contributions - even those from unions and environmental groups. Until we have public financing of campaigns, or at least eliminate any corporation or special interest group from making contributions to the political process, corporate power will not be challenged in any significant way. Until that time, I will continue to criticize candidates for accepting these bribes. It’s one reason I prefer local politics - because usually it is too small potatoes for these huge interests groups. But now we have a County Executive and Mayoral candidates coming from the bigger league in Olympia with all that baggage. I don’t want any part of it.

Tip:  Don’t like the way it works? Might need to change the 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th amendments as they relate to corporate personhood. That should only take about forty years.

Stephen: The interpretation that the Constitution considers corporations to be people is a travesty. There is a growing movement in this country to end corporate personhood and it is one of the many demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Again, just because something is legal under the current corrupt system does not make it right and nor does it obligate people to accept corporate campaign contributions, especially from the corporations that are primarily responsible for the murder of the planet. I would expect better from you Tip than accepting the current system as a given that we can do nothing about. Have you really become that cynical?

Tip:  So Dan has not taken any corporate money?

Tip:  Also, Steven, I have personally gone much, much farther out on many, many more limbs than you to achieve tangible community results - and consistently for over forty years. Want to stack them up, buddy? You are grasping at straws if you want to impugn my integrity. In fact. I’d be surprised if you weren’t spending most of your time running a corporation down there at the market, for the benefit of your family and friends. That right? Probably made a contribution to Dan Pike, right? That’s the way it works. I didn’t say I liked it.

Stephen:  Tip, We sometimes disagree but I am sure we agree more than we disagree and I would not question your integrity - you’ve always been one to take a stand even when it was unpopular, even when you were one of the few, and even when you were the only one. Your opinions I’ll question, but not your integrity, your motivations, your contributions to our community, your honesty, or anything else that really matters. That’s why you are one of the best people around to debate. That said, your comment was surprisingly cynical to me but maybe I interpreted it differently than you intended that I take it. I actually haven’t made a financial contribution to the Pike campaign - at least yet. Things are pretty tight financially at home right now. The only donations I’ve made were to Maginnis and Stalheim - both two of the most stellar candidates to come along in a while in my opinion. I’ll address the corporation remark in a different comment.

Stephen:  (in response to Tip’s and another person’s question about contributions from the candidates I support)  I didn’t do a complete and thorough search of every candidate I’m supporting, but after looking for quite a while I did not find any source that concerns me. There were none from any large corporation. I am not at all concerned about donations from small local businesses, but in an ideal world those would be disallowed as well. Besides the Realtor’s donation to Pike’s campaign four years ago, an issue that has been well covered in the media, are there any others that concern you? BTW, I was no happier with the Realtor contribution than you were and have been equally critical of it. That said, the local Realtors are not even close to being in the same league as BNSF, BP, ConcoPhilips, Chevron, the NRA and the other organizations I listed. Here’s the link to Pike’s contributors: http://www.pdc.wa.gov/MvcQuerySystem/CandidateData/contributions?param=UElLRUQgIDIyNQ====&year=2011&type=local

Stephen:  OK - found one - Comcast. Not cool at all. Watch as I open a big ‘ole can of whoop ass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz7zX7_iZss (well, it wasn’t really me but you get the picture)


Stephen Trinkaus

Oct 25, 2011

Here are the original comments I made on Facebook that was the beginning of all this.  I also posted this comment on the Facebook walls of a few Pike supporters and Linville supporters.  The exchange I had with tip above was as a result of me pasting the comment on the wall of a friend who is a Linveille supporter.

Stephen Trinkaus
Is this true? According to the PDC, Kelli Linville has received donations from Burlington Northern Railroad (BNSF), SSA Marine (Pacific International Terminals), Brown & Cole (i.e. Craig Cole, SSA’s local spokesperson), plus big oil (Chevron, BP, Conoco Philips), pro-gun groups (the NRA, Gun Owners Action League of Wa) , big pharma (Galaxo-Smith-Kline, Pfizer), and the list goes on.
Advanced Search Detailed Contributions
Like ?  ? Share ? October 21 at 10:33pm

Stephen Trinkaus The donation from SSA Marine was just one year ago. Holy sh*t!
October 21 at 10:39pm

Stephen Trinkaus And the NRA? Really?
October 21 at 10:45p

Stephen Trinkaus I fell sick to my stomach. I mean, like everyone else I really like Kelli Linville. Yes, I have been supporting Pike, but I wasn’t really too worried about Kelli winning. Right now, I am really worried. Am I missing something? Is accepting donations from the mega-corporations that are murdering the planet just so normal that it wasn’t worth pointing out by the press? I don’t get it at all.
October 21 at 10:48pm ? Like ?  3 people


Stephen Trinkaus

Oct 25, 2011

Now, either you think that these contributions matter, or you don’t.  The whole reason the PDC exists is for transparency - so we can follow the money.  I DO think these contributions matter, even if they were made over a year ago.  And beyond that, I think that it is a conversation worth having.  What are the implications of receiving campaign donations from these mega-corporations?  Do elected officials feel indebted to them?  Does it affect their policy decisions down the road?  What kind of behind the scenes relationships exists between the contributor and the candidate?  I think it is relevant that Kelli Linville has received campaign contributions from SSA Marine, BNSF and Brown & Cole - especially when the coal train and coal port issues are so hotly debated now.  I know that a lot of people think that the coal issue should not even be a city issue, and I’m not going to get into that debate right here and now, but the reality is that it IS something that is getting a lot of press, that a lot of people are talking about, and nearly everyone has an opinion about it.  Several Linville supporters have gone ballistic over my comment, and they have all claimed that the contributions don’t matter.  Several, including John Servais, have implied that I did this maliciously.  I did not.  Did I think that it might help Pike, the candidate that I am supporting for Mayor?  Yes, I did.  I stand by my original comment 100%.


Stephen Trinkaus

Oct 25, 2011

Another thought that occurs to me about this - the main criticism I have received for bringing this up in the way I did was that Linville accepted these donations while she was in Olympia and so it was a different context than the local race she is involved in now.  By that logic, she should not be able to campaign on her record in Olympia because that was the same context. 

And yet another thought: If Dan Pike had received contributions from SSA Marine, Craig Cole and BNSF, would the Linville campaign have brought it up?  Hard to imagine that they wouldn’t have. They still bring up his donation four years ago from the Realtors, something that has been public knowledge and discussed for the past four years, yet a donation that was made a year ago is not relevant?  (And, by the way, Linville did receive the Realtor’s endorsement this time.)

John also states that the donation isn’t important because the coal terminal was not an issue a year ago when she received the donation.  The way the system works is that corporations and other special interest groups make donations prophylactically so that they have the influence if and when they need it. 

I really don’t like the idea of the mayor of Bellingham having these kinds of relationships and this kind of baggage.


Stephen Trinkaus

Oct 25, 2011

John ? I did not return your phone call because I did not know you were trying to contact me.  I have not ignored any messages.  But for the time being, please don?t call me.  I want our communications to be out in the open where you can?t twist our conversation to fit your agenda.

And speaking of agendas, imagine if Linville had won against Buys.  We would now have a representative of the very district where SSA wants to put the coal terminal who had received donations from SSA Marine, BNSF and Brown & Cole.  That would have raised some red flags for sure.

John ? you are off base in so many ways.


John Servais

Oct 25, 2011

Very simple.  Your criticism was of donations that were in the past and you implied them to be for this campaign.  A half truth suggests a writer is either malicious or not real smart or just sloppy.  Take your choice.  And gadfly was not towards you as I never mentioned you and your initials are not AW.  It seems you learned about this from him and he prefers to continue spreading the half truth.  Sorry, but thought that was clear.  I’ve been called gadfly many times over the years and so was Socrates.  The moniker is more descriptive than pejorative.

I’ll leave it to Tip if he wants to comment, but a simple reference to your Facebook page could have saved a lot of space here.  You barely comment on the candidates.  Stephen, your comments on me center on the last paragraph of my post - and I think that it is clearly written and some of your anger is about what you think I wrote, not what is written.  Sorry it got you so distraught.  Again, I never mentioned you and have not commented on your FB page.



Oct 25, 2011

I, for one, have been unconvinced, notwithstanding obfuscation, by the Linville campaign’s assertions their candidate opposes development of a major coal export facility at Cherry Point.

From the outset, Linville has cautioned us to allow the “process” to work, and criticized Pike for rushing to judgment. This always seemed to me a subterfuge for some other agenda.

That agenda became more obvious when it came out that Linville, while chair of Ways & Means just last year, was using her position on behalf of campaign contributors (SSA, BNSF et al) to influence “the process” with state agencies.

Recently disclosed e-mails from Ecology director, Ted Sturdevant, refer to Linville’s support of a more cordial reception for SSA’s plans.

Certainly, if the chair of Ways and Means thinks, “the key parties should get around the table to get clear on what the obstacles are and what the path forward is ...” because they suspect, “... the agencies are impediments” the path forward is unlikely to present any overwhelming obstacles.

But now Linville tells voters she has never supported the export of coal at Cherry Point.

No, just supported a clearer path.


Stephen Trinkaus

Oct 25, 2011

John, I did a PDC search as a result of reading a Facebook comment where someone claimed that Linville had received multiple donations from Craig Cole.  I did not “learn about this” from anyone - I discovered it on my own and was very surprised that nobody had brought it up before, at least that I was aware of.  Maybe this AW person found out about it from me?  I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out who AW is but I can’t figure it out. 

Also, I think you should take some responsibility for the mistaken identity of who you were referring to.  You made a vague reference to someone, and many people (including Tip it appears) assumed it was me.  I sure assumed it was me, and anyone who has seen my posts about this subject and then read your comment would have assumed it was me.  If you reread your post I think will will agree that it seems you were referring to me.  I was perplexed by the AW part, but still thought it was some weird way of referring to me.  Your clarity in this paragraph leaves a lot to be desired. 

But in any case, I’m glad I’m not the gadfly who won’t return your calls and thank you for correcting it because you are correct that I was distraught about it (although the whole reaction to my Facebook post has me distraught and this is just a small part of that whole thing).

According to you if I’m not malicious then I’m just not real smart or just sloppy.  Are there any other options?  I don’t agree with any of these.  From my perspective I was pointing some information that I thought would be important.  As I explained to you our email exchange, my hope was that people would click on my link and check out the PDC report for themselves where it lists all her contributors (not just the select dirty dozen that I keep referring to) plus the dates and amounts of the contributions.  It’s hard for me to imagine that voters who distrust the relationship between corporations and politicians would look at the complete list and not be concerned. 

I take back my comment about not accepting your phone call - call anytime.

I am perplexed by your comment that I “barely comment on the candidates.”  Was there some aspect of them you think I should have commented on?  If so, I would be happy to do so if I have an opinion.

The reason that I did not refer people to my Facebook page is that many people are not on Facebook and even if you are you usually have to be a Facebook friend of the person whose wall it appears on to read the comment and I have no idea how this person’s privacy settings are set.  In fact, I wish that all this could have stayed on Facebook and not spilled over to emails and this site.  On Facebook it remains in context; here it loses that context.  (BTW, I requested you as a Facebook friend John so you can read the things I write and have a better context when something like this comes up in the future.)

Finally, I don’t think anyone will like being called a gadfly.  I remember when you referred to Michael Lilliquist with that word when he was running and I was surprised by your language.  You very explicitly ask people who comment here not to call people names, and in spite of your intention and reference to Socrates, I still find it insulting. But I’m over that now and writing is therapeutic to me (as you may be able to tell by my volume) so I’m not feeling angry about this anymore.  Maybe we can have a coffee or tea after the election and get back to the more constructive relationship we had before this disagreement.


Doug Starcher

Oct 25, 2011

Just to check in, I just asked Vanessa Blackburn (Kelli’s Campaign manager) who wrote to the local Sierra club last night. She has not heard back. John I know you tried contacting them, Anything?


Todd Granger

Oct 27, 2011

“Who do we expect to live up to the law once in office?”

Don’t ever ask McEachran this question, shown best last year in that “usual and accoustome” United States District Court for the Criminal Employment Division at 311 Grand Illusion Avenue.

They work in the basement, the 1st Floor, 2nd Floor, 3rd and 4th Floor too!

They are taken down to the United States District Court on such a regular occasion, why does the Ku Klux Act of 1871, (42 USC 1983) confuse every local racist voter?

Vote Klansmen, Vote McEachran, and his bargain basement sheriiff, imported from Dixie, and explained to perfection, in Weiderspohn v. Whatcom County…

But this is what happens when Dave fall’s off those “Rickety Old Steps” of that New United States District Court, for the same old issue

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who’s the greatest racist of All?

Dave McEachran, a prosecutorial misconduct specialist, along with his dream team of malicious lies on display for decades.

Of course the ultimate case of “accessory to murder” from Dave Classics, in Whatcom County v. State, the only County Courthouse in America wher accessory to murder is standard operating procedure, from the class clowns of any law school in America!


Devlin Sweeney

Nov 01, 2011

I know the PDC responsibilities for the PDC on Kremen’s campaign has changed hands a few times. His C4 are up to date now though.

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