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Define “Dragging One’s Feet”

• Topics: Bellingham, Business,

In my last article, I reviewed the applications for the Broadband Advisory Group and identified the ones from big telecom interests that are trying to make their way into the group. All of them are closely tied to upper echelon city staff, which creates negative credibility for the city in relation to broadband. My comments prompted a response from Mayor Fleetwood on Monday when he tried to reassure the public that the City of Bellingham is not dragging their feet on the issue. Unfortunately, the truth is that they are dragging their feet, as I will explain again.

First, I would like to remind everyone that it has been 219 days since the March 23rd lockdown; 358 days since Mayor Fleetwood was elected; and 301 days since he took office, after agreeing he would address public broadband concerns. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done that yet, even though throughout the pandemic we have needed broadband infrastructure more than ever.

Second, it has been almost five years since we approached the city about this issue. At that time, the COB tried to coerce us into not pursuing it because the former public works director, Ted Carlson, and the current director, Eric Johnston, wanted to “wait for wireless.” Although they both demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding as to how the technology worked, that did not deter them from protecting special interests, especially those of AT&T and Verizon. Four years ago, we set up a petition with

Since lockdown, the Public Works Commission and public works director have still refused to provide Open Access to our existing public resources during a pandemic, even though they recently met about the issue. Further, they have dragged their feet on creating even basic policies like Dig Once and Open Access, even though they have several excellent examples they could modify and adopt.

So yes, Seth, they are dragging their feet and have been for years, while in the background they negotiate deals with big telecom. Remember, it took them five years to nail down a CenturyLink (now Lumen) franchise agreement, which did not provide us with anything close to a city or county wide solution. The scheme behind CenturyLink’s pretend fiber is covered in the book “Fiber” by Susan Crawford. There is more detail in my article.

Yes, I acknowledge that city employees are working hard, but so is every other worker. Many people who are not working are on the cusp of losing their homes, not getting enough to eat, or worse. Yet places with public fiber are in consistently better shape than we are. Most City of Bellingham employees make more money than half our population does, they have excellent benefits, and work in safer environments than a lot of other workers that earn less than they do. Just think about how safe a COB employee working at home is compared to our heroes in healthcare. Maybe it’s time for those city employees to help the community that makes that possible. Please take the time to read my last article:

Secret Telecom Lovers Part 2: Been Caught Cheating

In Summary

It is NOT “inclusive” to stick a bunch of special interest representatives on a citizen advisory group. We all know exactly what they are going to do: protect the interests of their companies. I could write a program that would predict their responses; it’s not going to be a real conversation because corporations are NOT citizens.

Over two years ago, the city allowed a representative from Puget Sound Energy on the Climate Action Task Force. That was a mistake; and it was hardly “inclusive.” The COB edged out other energy providers to give PSE preferential treatment. It was wrong and did not serve the interest of our citizens.

Define “Dragging One’s Feet”

By Jon HumphreyOn Oct 29, 2020

In my last article, I reviewed the applications for the Broadband Advisory Group and identified the ones from big telecom interests that are trying to make their way into the [...]

Bellingham Transportation Fund: Time to Renew

By Stoney BirdOn Oct 23, 2020

The last item on your ballot may be one of the most important for our daily lives in Bellingham. It’s the renewal of the Bellingham Transportation Fund: Proposition 2020-14. [...]

4 comments, most recent 1 day ago

Obamacare on the Block - What will Trumpcare look like?

By David CampOn Nov 16, 2016

President Obama’s signature accomplishment, the corporatist version of universal healthcare, is going to be “repealed and replaced” under the Trump administration. Obamacare, aka Romneycare, is already a Neocon plan- [...]

Just So You Know…

By Deb GaberOn Aug 29, 2016

A recent experiment testing the effects of marijuana on lab rats at the University of British Columbia has revealed that rodents tend to become too lazy to bother with difficult [...]

Secret Telecom Lovers Part 2: Been Caught Cheating

By Jon HumphreyOn Oct 24, 2020

So the songs I have in mind as I write this time are Jane’s Addiction’s Been Caught Stealin, Long Black Veil by Johnny Cash, and Jolene by Dolly [...]

4 comments, most recent 1 day ago

Starlink is No Star

By Jon HumphreyOn Oct 22, 2020

The Why Over the years I have written over 30 articles, mostly here, on the issues of public broadband. I have given countless presentations, engaged hundreds of people individually and at [...]

4 comments, most recent 5 days ago

Voting: Thoughts on Some Election Choices

By John ServaisOn Oct 19, 2020

Some issues and candidate races can be difficult to decipher. Who is really progressive and who is pretending? I’ve compared notes with some political junkie friends for this article, [...]

4 comments, most recent 2 days ago

City Drags Feet On Creation Of Broadband Committee

By Jon HumphreyOn Oct 18, 2020

This is an update on the selection of the Broadband Advisory Group. A few days ago, I was informed by Public Works Director Eric Johnston that selection of this group, [...]

2 comments, most recent 1 week ago

The Last Stand

By David A. SwansonOn Oct 17, 2020

Beneath this mask is more than flesh. Beneath this mask is an idea, Mr Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof [This article has a co-author, Eric Tyberg, a retired IT executive [...]

15 comments, most recent 4 days ago

WWU Plans For Winter Quarter Beginning January 5th

By Dick ConoboyOn Oct 17, 2020

The president of Western Washington University (WWU), Dr. Sabah Randhawa, has announced in a Campus Advisory (see email below) that the winter quarter beginning on January 5th will be structured [...]

Letter: Supporting Ferndale School Levy

By Letter WriterOn Oct 13, 2020

I would like to share my support for the Ferndale School District request to voters to pass the operations levy on November 3. The District has already lowered the levy rate [...]

Letter: Christine Grant for PUD Commissioner

By Letter WriterOn Oct 12, 2020

To the Editor: I am writing to urge readers to support Christine Grant for Whatcom County Public Utility District Commissioner. Among all the races on the 2020 ballot, this is among [...]

The Pandemic and Our Erratic Leader

By Michael RiordanOn Oct 10, 2020

With regard to the ghastly coronavirus pandemic, President Donald J. Trump is a colossal failure who just cannot admit failure and therefore needs to create his own alternative reality to [...]

Changing Bellingham’s Definition Of “Family”

By Dick ConoboyOn Oct 09, 2020

The Bellingham Planning Commission has just taken up the issue of changing, modifying, or eliminating the definition of “family” under the city’s zoning codes. Their first work session was [...]

4 comments, most recent 2 weeks ago

Secret Telecom Lovers

By Jon HumphreyOn Oct 07, 2020

As I write this article I am reminded of two songs. The first being, “The Room Where It Happens,” from Hamilton. Which describes how meetings actually happen among our leaders, [...]

Damn It!  He Ain’t My Commander in Chief

By Dick ConoboyOn Oct 06, 2020

And he isn’t yours either, if you are among the 99% of the U.S. population who are not in the armed forces. But I see and hear the expression [...]

10 comments, most recent 2 weeks ago

A Doorway Home

By Guest WriterOn Oct 03, 2020

JC Mansfield guest writes. She has resided in Bellingham for 22 years as a mom and artist, working in childcare and bookkeeping. She is BTC alumna, AAS - Legal & Administrative [...]

1 comment, most recent 2 weeks ago

Musical Chairs At The Planning Commission

By Dick ConoboyOn Oct 02, 2020

[Update. 9:00am, October 4th: MacKenzie Graham will leave the Planning Commission at the end of 2020.] As I explained in my article on September 17th (Planning Commission To Have Four Vacancies), [...]

2 comments, most recent 3 weeks ago

Vote Pellicciotti For State Treasurer - Important

By Dick ConoboyOn Sep 28, 2020

“The Washington Treasurer is a state executive position in the Washington state government. As the state’s chief financial office, the treasurer manages the cash flow, investments, and debt of [...]

2 comments, most recent 1 month ago

The Pandemic and the Presidency

By Michael RiordanOn Sep 25, 2020

In early January 2018, Bill Clinton’s science adviser Neal F. Lane and I published a New York Times opinion column titled, “The President’s Disdain for Science,” which began, “Since [...]

11 comments, most recent 3 weeks ago