We've added a new link in the right column. www.skookum.us Tip Johnson has posted a downloadable PDF file of a petition asking the federal government to reaffirm the right of way across the tidelands for the ferry. Any citizen can sign the petition. Signers are not limited to Lummi Island residents. Indeed, all of us taxpayers in Whatcom County are affected by how this issue is resolved or not.
Tip has researched and written extensively about this issue here on NwCitizen. Now, at his own Skookum website, he is taking the next step and is working to make this a public issue. Our elected federal representatives - Rick Larsen, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell - have ignored and stonewalled this issue. With two of them up for reelection, Tip is making this political.
I'm probably like most readers in that most of what I know about this issue is from Tip's writing. I also know that Tip is a first rate researcher, has a penchant for the truth (over just spouting facts) and is dedicated to the best good for the public community.
In any case, no one will address, much less counter, his findings
The base issue seems simple. Ninety years ago, the Feds secured the county a right of way across the reservation for the ferry. This was done in accordance with the treaty and departmental procedure. Second, the Feds maintain control of tidelands on every inch of U.S. shorelines. Others may have more or fewer rights, but the Supreme Court has always given the Feds jurisdiction when others quarrel. And the Feds have always used that authority to enable navigation. As such, the Feds can easily step in and allow the county to maintain the ferry dock without paying the Lummis any more than a fair rent, or compensate with purchase instead of ongoing leases that have proved to be problematic.
But - this is an election year and neither Rick nor Patty wants to go near this issue. They are afraid that their liberal supporters will misconstrue a legitimate effort to resolve this issue as being anti-Indian. And so they remain silent. And we in Whatcom County continue our approach to chaos on October 15 when the Lummis threaten to close down access to the ferry dock.
I will be signing the petition. The Lummi leadership is overreaching here. Only the Feds can solve this issue. Our county government is powerless and should have asked for federal help a long time ago. I urge you to download a copy and get nine other signatures.