Posts Tagged ‘cherry point’

Ethics of Trespassing

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Reading the local blogosphere today, after a nice little Oregon vacation sans computer, it appears to me that Whatcom County Council Member Carl Weimer has made a clear lapse in judgment first by trespassing on private property and then a second lapse by publishing his lapse for all of the world to read.  I find it a little unclear as to whether his blog called carl votes, is an official or personal endeavor.  He lists his official CWeimer@co.whatcom.wa.us address for the contact, but delves into matters from a more personal angle, but lists another site as My County Council Website, yet it is actually a www.voteweimer.com address and reads more like an Elect Carl Weimer website.   It’s confusing.

Official or not, on the carl votes site, Councilman Wiemer has recently written two posts outlining some goings on out at the proposed SSA GateWay terminal site on Cherry Point.  The first post  Cherry Point – Full Disclosure describes how he, presumably while innocentlywalking his dogs, ran across what he felt was improper work being done at the SSA site and the second post Cherry Point Clearing Questions Asked describe his subsequent questioning of Sam Ryan, Director of Whatcom County Planning and Development Service regarding what Councilman Weimer felt were code violations.

Here are a few things that Wally wonders:

  1. What is SSA doing on the site and is it legal?
  2. What is Carl Weimer doing on the site and is it legal?
  3. Does anyone besides myself question the ethics of a sitting council member trespassing to obtain information regarding a current issue on the Whatcom County Councils agenda?

First, I think it is a valid question to ask if what SSA is doing on their land is legal and oddly enough the county has a procedure and a form to legally get the process started for anyone with concerns.  Also oddly enough the form bears the name of one Sam Ryan, the same person Carl Weimer addressed his inquiry.   Did Councilman Weimer skip the form?  And was his report processed in the same manner as other reports?

Second, can anyone walk around the SSA site or any other piece of private property snapping pictures, measuring, and documenting without the owners permission or is it just County Councilman Wiemer who feels he is above privacy rules?  And if you read his blog and bought into his story about him just happening upon this while walking his dog on a county road, then you are either blind or gullible.  Really, how many people take measuring tapes along when they walk their dog?  Or believe he didn’t leave county roads even though he is pictured on what is obviously not a county road?

And lastly I think Carl Weimer has unethically  used his position on the council, what I see as blatant trespassing, and his maybe official or maybe not blog to attempt to influence the outcome of an issue that is of concern to everyone in Whatcom County.  Here’s a link to the Whatcom County Ethics Commission.  Tell them Wally sent you.

For or Agin’ Coal Trains

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

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. 

Town Hall Meeting with 42nd District Legislators

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

IMAG0116I along with few hundred others attended a Town Hall meeting in Lynden yesterday afternoon.  The meet was put on by Vince Buys, Doug Ericksen, and Jason Overstreet, our freshly elected representation for the northern half of Whatcom County. 

After a brief introduction by our well known Sen. Ericksen, Rep. Buys and Rep. Overstreet spent a little time familiarizing us with how the 42nd District Legislators are approaching things down in Olympia.  Their goals, and I think they are good ones, are to balance our states budget without raising taxes, to strengthen the economy and to allow businesses to create more jobs.  They described the principles they would employ as they approached our already very out of whack state budget.

  • No new taxes
  • No fund transfers
  • No Federal Bailouts
  • No tricks, gimmicks or shell game tricks

They also referenced some thoughts that Microsoft’s Bill Gates had on state budgeting.  He said that state budgets have received a puzzling lack of scrutiny and have been "riddled with gimmicks"  and “when you get down to it, the guys at Enron never would have done this.”

The next two hours were spent in Q&A.  The lines of questioners were long within seconds and even though they proceeded quickly, their sheer volume had the program running over by 30 minutes.    Questions, and comments, ran the gamut, but most seemed to be centered on protecting funding for educators of one variety or another.  Their were also a couple of comments regarding Pregnancy Center regulation and the proposed coal export terminal being planned for Cherry Point.  The other thing that was brought up several times was the notion that our legislators were somehow union busters.  One questioner asked if they were operating from the same playbook as Wisconsin, to which Doug Ericksen replied, we live in Washington, I don’t even know what Wisconsin’s playbook is.  On that subject, I find it interesting that so many unions, union members and media refer to the new Wisconsin legislation as a stripping away of collective bargaining rights, when once the facts are read, we find that the employees of Wisconsin will have more collective bargaining rights than Federal employees have had since President Carter signed into law the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

With the 42nd District covering northern Bellingham and much of rural Whatcom County, the wide variety of views did make for a lively meeting.  Perhaps the most entertaining comment I heard came out in the hallway near the end, when a young man collecting business cards asked one of the legislators assistants if Jason Overstreet was a liberal.  I guess he missed the question where stepped center stage and made it extremely clear that he was unequivocally pro-life and that he would never measure the life in economic terms. 

Overall the Town Hall was great event and I look forward to the next.

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