PDC - The Missing Documents

Wherof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent?

Wherof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent?

• Topics: Bellingham,

In all of the materials produced by the County pursuant to a public disclosure request on jail mailers, there is no evidence of Mailer #1.  County documents clearly discuss two mailers and at least one citizen reports county voters may have received a distinctly separate ‘newsletter’.  Mailer #1 was supposed to have been mailed out on September 18 according to an online action schedule the County shared with their consultant.  The County produced no documents indicating Mailer #1 had been scrapped.

Mailer #2 was the large format, glossy mailer sent out on October 9 with the ballots, and has been the subject of complaints to the Public Disclosure Commission. 

Counties are allowed only one jurisdiction-wide fact sheet per ballot issue.  Evidence is clear that Mailer #2 was delivered to a targeted voter list, not property addresses.  The County has yet to disclose any evidence of Mailer #1 despite records that it was discussed and scheduled.  Did the County mail two non-jurisdiction-wide mailers?  Documents clearly indicate two distinct mailers were discussed.

Regardless of what was mailed, the evidence is irrefutable that public officials used public resources to actively and strategically run a "campaign" to win the jail tax.  They themselves used those very words.

Nevertheless, the Public Disclosure Commission staff has recommended the Commission take no action on complaints against Whatcom County and further forward the same advice to the State Attorney General.

The County already seems to be setting a new standard in transparency, here and here.  So it goes - on and on.

No documents, no action, I guess.  Someone is supposedly getting paid to do this, and it isn’t us.

About Tip Johnson

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Member since Jan 11, 2008

Tip Johnson is a longtime citizen interest advocate with a record of public achievement projects for good government and the environment. A lifelong student of government, Tip served two terms [...]

Comments by Readers

Barbara Perry

Dec 03, 2015

Tip,  I assume you are requesting and not receiving who the “targeted audience” was for the mailer. and who the three public officials were.”  I am curious what the the other “questionable information” is.  I guess I am inpatient because I have always voted and I own property.  I want to know why I wasn’t on the mailing list.  Thanks for your work.  Barbara


Dianne Foster

Dec 03, 2015

I’d just like to know if we can get our $28,000. back.  (?)


richard jehn

Dec 05, 2015

Since no one has posted here about it yet, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission decided to reject the recommendation in the final report and send the case #1122 back for additional investigation.  New evidence was presented to the commissioners on Thursday morning at their regular monthly meeting and they recognized that additional work on the case was required.  We should expect a new report to be released prior to the January 28, 2016 meeting of the PDC.  To watch the proceedings from Thursday morning, the discussion of case #1122 begins at about minute 17 and goes until minute 40.


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