2011 Election Season

Update: Instead of continuing to update this post, I’ve added a page for the 2011 Elections and will update that as my positions evolve.

As of Friday the candidate filings are closed, so they’re off and running.  The Herald has covered the filings both in the news and in their politics blog.   In turn, the Whatcom Democrats have also  covered the Herald politics blog with a layer of partisan comments from some of their officers.  On Saturday the Whatcom GOP had their first endorsement of the season, with their  endorsement of Sen. Doug Erickson’s for County Executive.

It may seem contrary to the somewhat political nature of this blog, but I really don’t find it much fun to speculate about who will file and why.  I don’t find fantasy football of any interest either.  But now that the dust has settled for the moment, I did go through a quick assessment of where I stand at this moment on some of the more important races.

UPDATE: I’ll just keep updating this post as things move along and I learn more about each candidate.

Whatcom County Executive

  • Jack Louws  – I’ve heard good things, but right now its difficult to think of a better candidate than Sen. Ericksen
  • Smile Doug Ericksen – Doug has represented us well for years in Olympia and I’m all for him now working at home to make this a better area to live.
  • Tom Anderson – Don’t know anything at this point.
  • Sad smile David Stalheim – So in the last 4-5 years he left a community development job for the city of Wenatchee, for a community development job for the city of Ashland, which he left for a job as Whatcom County Planning Director, which he left for a job with the City of Bellingham as Planning & Community Development director and shortly thereafter sues his former employer Whatcom County for problems with their planning.  Now he want’s to quit with Bellingham to become the executive of the county he is sued?  ROFLMAO, oh and no.

Whatcom County Council District 1, Position B

  1. Smile Tony Larson – I find Tony to be an independent, level headed guy who has given a lot to this community.  I see him asking all the right questions rather than just rubber stamping status quo.    I supported him before and especially after seeing him in action, I’ll do it again.
  2. Pete Kremen  – I’m not really sure why he’s running yet ????

Whatcom County Council District 2, Position B

  • Smile Sam Crawford – I like what I see of his values and he has thus far shown he is more than up to the challenges of the position he has had for more than a few years.  He’s a keeper.
  • Sad smile Christina Maginnis – Our county already throws way too much of our money towards stormwater issues and Lake Whatcom without much in the way of results.    Having a DOE water quality expert on the council seems a bit like voting to have someone beat your head against a wall.

Whatcom County Council District 3, Position B

  • Barbara Brenner – I like watching her on the council because like Tony Larson, she is always asking good questions.  I don’t get the impression from her that she has already made up her mind on things, like I do from a couple of the other council members
  • Alan Black – don’t know much yet.

Whatcom County Treasurer

  • Smile Brian Smith –  So I had a chance to meet Brian today and I can report that the good things I had heard were all true.   His qualifications to handle county finances were definitely there and he struck me as someone who would take his duty as a servant to the people of Whatcom County very seriously.
  • Sad smile Steven Oliver – Well, I haven’t met our current treasurer either, but I’ve suspected in the past, that he was playing politics while at work and I just can’t vote for someone to watch the bank accounts that I have a shady/slippery feeling about.

Whatcom County Auditor

  • J. Lynne Walker  – don’t know much about her yet.
  • Debbie Adelstein – don’t know much about her yet either

Whatcom County Sheriff

  • Steve Harris – perhaps someday he’ll have half the experience of Sherriff Elfo.
  • Bob Taylor – perhaps someday he’ll half the experience also.
  • Smile Bill Elfo – What can I say, we live in a county that borders another nation and there is a lot of potential for crimes due to our location.   He’s been the tough but fair Sheriff that we need.

Bellingham Mayor – I don’t live in Bellingham, but Bellingham is such a large part of Whatcom County that what happens there has significant effects on all of us.  If they raise taxes we pay when we shop.  The more unfriendly they make it for people to live and work in the city, the more sprawl is encouraged.

  • Sad smile Kelli Linville – She lost her 42nd district State Rep gig to Vince Buys primarily due to her over spending issues.  I haven’t heard that she has mended her ways, so I don’t see supporting her doing the same in Bellingham.  If Bellingham over spends like our state has for the last few decades, the money will be coming out or your pocket whether you live in Bellingham or not.
  • Sad smile Dan Pike – Too bad I couldn’t bold the frowny.   As I’ve brought up numerous times here in this blog, Dan Pike has such a gift for taking money away from others that he really had only two career paths, criminal or liberal leaning politician.  I’ve never heard of him passing on a chance to take from taxpayers, so there is no way in Hellingbam that I’d give him an ounce of support.
  • Clayton Petree – Ok, he rides a bike, but so does the current mayor, so no decision yet.  Much more to learn here.
  • Steve Moore – don’t know much yet.

I’ll add more when I have had more time to think on the mayor races and a couple of other positions.  I’ll also be  adding or adjusting the smileys and frownies as I learn more about the candidates.

Officer Camera

An article caught the other day brought to my attention once again, what a big mistake Bellingham made when it recently signed a contract to farm out a portion of local law enforcement to a private out of state company

When a Bellingham officer tried to pull a car over for a traffic violation on East Laurel Street about 8 p.m., the car took off. The officer turned on lights and sirens and began a chase…  www.bellinghamherald.com

After a couple of minutes the officer broke off the pursuit because of the increasing danger as the suspects sped through residential areas.   But while they broke off the pursuit, they didn’t stop the search for the suspects and eventually found them near their abandon car, where they also found bags of meth, crack cocaine and heroin.

Alan J. Nord, 24, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to elude police, drug possession with intent to deliver and driving with a suspended license.  www.bellinghamherald.com

feel lucky
I know what you're thinking. "Did he take six photos or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself, so you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

What a great example of why it is so valuable to have real police officers doing real police work.  I can’t help but wonder, if the original traffic violation had been observed by an Automated Ticket Machine, would Alan J. Nord be in custody at this moment and would the drugs be off the streets of Bellingham?  The obvious answer is No!

Officer Camera, no mater how sophisticated, isn’t going to hop off the light post and pursue the suspects across town until they eventually get their man.  Officer Camera is in fact going to remain seated on his light post, call ATS in Arizona and have them mail a fine out to the owner of the vehicle.  Which means that the would be captive suspect will remain free to deal his drugs and endanger the people of Bellingham.

Mayor Pike together with the Bellingham City Council made a very stupid move for a quick buck by off loading police work and your safety to automated cameras and out of state collection agencies.   There are only a couple of more weeks for Bellingham voters to sign a petition that will force the City of Bellingham to bring this situation in front of voters.  Check out the Transportation Safety Coalition’s website or visit them on Facebook for information about where to sign petitions.

For or Agin’ Coal Trains

Do I have to admire RE-Sources dedication to the envirionment even if I feel like they are lyin’ through their teeth?

According to BNSF we already have 6 coal trains per day coming through our county on their way to Point Roberts and RE-Sources says that when the SSA Gateway Terminal is opened then the coal pollution from the predicted 18 trains per day will be intolerable.

…these 15,000-ton trains will lose three percent of their load in transit or 1,780,000 short tons of coal dust spread annually from the Powder River Basin to the terminal.  RE-Sources

If the number of trains we see running through here triples then we will be seeing triple the pollution also right?  And that’s got to be really bad, right?

Well, no not exactly.  I just checked along the tracks and see no evidence of coal pollution, nothing dead or blackened.  Things were mostly green and spring like from all that I could see.  So three times no pollution to speak of  is still no pollution to speak of.  So I’m left with no alternative but to believe that it is RE-Sources and not the trains that are blowing coal dust.

However, regardless of how much I feel RE-Sources is blowing coal dust to the public regarding coal pollution, I find myself somewhat on the same side of the SSA terminal proposal.  I’m in favor of a cargo terminal at Cherry Point and I’m not opposed to it’s primary cargo being coal.  But I am opposed to this proposal because the primary customer for the coal is not within our nation, it is China.  Run a coal train right out to Cherry Point on their  way to Alaska, Oregon, California and I’ll happy wave to them as they rumble by,  but don’t ship US coal to a foreign nation.

…a lumbering BNSF coal train for you viewing

Because we live in a world currently powered primarily by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, and because a good portion of the suppliers of crude oil are unstable and openly hostile towards our nation, I consider all US fossil fuels to be strategic reserves.  If and/or when the Middle East becomes too unstable or radioactive to supply us with oil, I for one, would like to still be sitting on a large pile of coal. Our national leaders haven’t come to this realization yet, and started addressing it with legislation, but they will. 

I’m not in favor of a coal port to China, but neither am I in favor of the RE Sources environmental political speak. 

Know when to walk away, know when to run

Disturbing WTA related article in the Herald today, WTA plans to launch online trip-planning software this spring.   Seems that a few years ago WTA purchased software for over $90,000 and signed on to an annual maintenance fee of over $15,000.   Now WTA is on the brink of launching the software package that according to the article will allow “people to type in their location and destination, and it’ll show them where to catch the bus, which ones to catch, and when.” 

routing informationI’m disturbed because what WTA says they are paying for is already available through Google.  And even though they say their new software will also feed the Google database, I wonder why they feel justified spending our taxes on a duplicate and after 3 years perhaps antiquated software?  And check out this nonsense:

After launch, the trip-planning software won’t immediately be accessible with smart phones, he said. The IT staff can write software to allow use by those phones, but the department has had staffing cuts.

"It’s on our to-do list," he said.

How much is this going to cost?  Another $90,000 and 3 years?  I just took that image on my smartphone.  Google is already to do your trip planning by foot, bike, car or transit and on PC, Mac, Android, Windows Mobile, or IPhone.  Google doesn’t need us to pay an IT staff to write software, they just need WTA to provide them routing information.

The way I see it, WTA needs to spend money uploading it’s database and that’s it.  Nothing else!  Know when to walk away and know when to run.

Wasting taxpayer money is one service I’d like to see WTA cut.