Where Does the COB Get These Crazy Ideas?

Several months ago the City of Bellingham (COB) approved a Troops Home Resolution. At that time it was being billed as a local grassroots effort. However, the resolution proposed by the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center to the COB was not a result of our local mothers loosing children as it was billed to the public. It was part of a toolkit and program sponsored by an international socialist/communist organization. I made a few posts about this, sent the information to radio, newspaper and sent letters to the COB. Nobody seemed to care, they were too puffed up with their hatred of President Bush to realize they were pawns. My point in bringing this up is that a well organized external agenda was being applied by the COB without the general public’s knowledge.

We have recently seen the COB make a few bold moves attributed to Bellingham’s local green consciousness and our unique vision for our future. Here are just a few to remind: Think Local, green power, neighborhood villages. And most recently we were all blindsided by the very unpopular big box store ban that I, even yesterday thought was targeted directly and solely at Wal-mart. I now wish to retract that. I don’t think that the ban was directed solely at Wal-mart. I believe the COB is acting as part of an overall community plan for Bellingham.

But the overall community plan is not uniquely Bellingham, and again, not a local grassroots effort. The COB seems to applying an external agenda again and if we want to understand some of the seemingly illogical moves the council is making, we need to go no further than the Institute for Local Self Reliance and their New Rules Project.  Apparently the COB has been involved with them for a few years, judging by the articles and information that has gone back and forth. Whatcom County Uses Savings Energy Efficiency and Purchases 100% Renewable Energy, Bellingham Washington Bans Big Boxes, Buy Local Campaign(BALLE, Sustainable Connections)

But after studying the issue further and consulting with the New Rules Project, both local activists and city officials ultimately concluded that the problem was not only Wal-Mart, but large-scale stores in general. On Feb. 5, 2007, the City Council voted to cap the size of all retail stores at 90,000 square feet.

I wonder which city official was consulting with the New Rules Project? I wonder who the local activist were? I wonder why the council didn’t tell everyone about this? I wonder if the council wrote the ban or just used the Big Box toolkit as New Rules calls it.  Perhaps they did; there is a lot of very similar content.

The external agenda in the Troops Home resolution was directed squarely at tearing down our laws and legislative procedures. It was a bad thing for us locally and nationally.

It looks like the City has been consulting with an outside group with a pretty specific agenda.  I think that the City should let people know.  I also think everyone who cares about where Bellingham is planning to go, should rea as much as they can from this little network.  Then we might not have to work so hard to figure what is goin on inside the City Council’s heads.


One Response to “Where Does the COB Get These Crazy Ideas?”

  1. Steve says:

    Make no mistake, the current City Council action is directed squarely at Wal-Mart.

    Yes, the misguided concept that folksy little “local” shops are the best providers of consumer goods is prevalent among decision-makers. The “grander strategy” of opposition to all large retailers fits in nicely with this “vision”.

    But the failure to acknowledge the demand for consumer choice will be the undoing of Bellingham in the long run. I have seen these same City Councilmen at various times, in many of these stores. The concept of unnecessarily driving to multiple small stores in one shopping trip defies logic for most consumers, including the “consumers” that currently hold office.

    Yes, Bellingham City Council has had prior “battles” with big-box retail. Lowes and Home Depot, to name two. But they were site-specific issues. This current ban is union-driven, in the way that unions almost always take a short-term, narrowly focused view that most frequently results in long-term downsides for its members. The salvation, in this case, will be a future reaction to citizen complaints and low sales-tax revenue by a future City Council, who will then change regulations to accommodate the latest wave of retail-marketing schemes.