Posts Tagged ‘City Council’

Bellingham council seeks court challenge on no-coal-train initiative

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Attention Bellingham residents!

Bellingham council seeks court challenge on no-coal-train initiative

BELLINGHAM – After Coal-Free Bellingham initiative backers turned in about 10,000 signatures for a ballot proposal that would outlaw coal trains in the city, the City Council voted to challenge the validity of the measure in court.

via Bellingham council seeks court challenge on no-coal-train initiative | Local News | The Bellingham Herald.

If you are a Bellingham resident you need to give this "Coal-Free Bellingham Initiative" your full attention before signing or supporting it because it is not really about coal.  It is really about using local anti-coal and anti-coal port sentiment to trick you into signing away your rights.

BALLOT TITLE FOR CITY OF BELLINGHAM INITIATIVE No. 2012-2
City of Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-2 concerns the people’s right of self-government. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents, the rights of natural communities, and rights to a sustainable energy future and a healthy climate; prohibit corporations from transporting coal in the City; deny legal personhood and constitutional rights to corporate violators; deny the use of federal and state preemptive law to corporate violators; deny the validity of contrary permits; authorize private party civil enforcement actions; and repeal all inconsistent provisions of existing City ordinances.
“Should this measure be enacted into law?” Yes?______ No?______

Did you find the word “coal” in the initiative?   Go ahead look again if you have to, it is buried right in the middle of a lot of things that are completely separate issues from either coal trains or coal ports.  I’m fairly certain that it is all these separate issues, that make up the bulk of the initiative, which give the City of Bellingham cause to challenge the initiative’s validity.  

I’d like to believe that this initiative will never actually appear on a ballot, but strange things happen in Bellingham. 

Just say no!

The DREAM act is Not The Issue

Monday, June 18th, 2012

What President Obama recently did by essentially authorizing the DREAM Act through an Executive order is not really the issue.  The issue is how he went about authorizing the Dream Act, not that he actually authorized it.  He usurped the authority of our Congressional representatives with his Executive order. 

Issuing Executive Orders is something President Obama has done on a regular basis since he was elected. These Executive Orders are issued by him unilaterally either because he cannot persuade Congress to agree to a particular course of action or because the Constitution of the United States prohibits him from doing whatever it is he wants to do and he feels it necessary to bypass, ignore or override it to implement his agenda.

Canada Free Press

We elect representatives to look at all sides of the immigration issue and work on legislation that best represents the will of US citizens and with a wave of his pen President Obama instructs the Justice Department to do his bidding rather than ours.

Imagine if you would, a city council in the midst of dealing with speeding issues along one of their busiest corridors.  Then imagine the mayor deciding, before council has reached a solution,  that the best way to deal with the speeding issue is to instruct the city police to not enforce any speed limits because, “after all people shouldn’t be slowed from getting where they obviously need to go.”  Our legislators are working through the complexities of our immigration issues just as the elected city council work through the complexities of roads and traffic loading and it is just as wrong for the mayor to bypass the council as it is in this case, for President Obama to bypass our legislators.  

Not enforcing speed limit laws is not much different than not enforcing immigration laws.  As I’ve said so many times in the past, a government that picks and chooses which laws they enforce, is just as guilty as a criminal who picks and chooses which laws they will follow.  In my opinion, President Obama is just as guilty of violating immigration laws as the parents who smuggled their kids into our nation in the first place.   And in cases such as this, where President Obama has bypassed Congress, I would say that his crimes are premeditated.

"We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will," Obama told students at the University of Colorado-Denver. "We’re going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress."

USAToday

But, because it’s for the children, I don’t think that President Obama will be called to the carpet for his transgression, even if it’s not right and it is most probably a campaign ploy to boost his popularity with the Hispanic demographic.   And I’ll have to admit that it was a well played political move on his part because now anyone who opposes how he went about enacting the Dream Act will be labeled as opposing the DREAM Act itself and therefore must be racist. 

The fact of the so called DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is that it has had varying support from both Democrats and Republicans over the the last decade, yet didn’t ever pass completely.  This lack of passage is because many Americans and their elected officials, unlike President Obama, think that we must control our borders in conjunction with offering legal status to those who have already crossed our border illegally.   That’s where I stand; enforce existing immigration laws to reduce or stem the flow of illegal aliens into our nation, then use the DREAM Act and other means to positively integrate the new comers to our society.

Water is in itself a good thing.  Water is much desired if comes out of a faucet or bottle, but when water falls from your living room ceiling, the same “good thing” water is a problem, not a blessing.   Most of us would opt to fix the roof and then decide how best to deal with a wet living room.  But what we have in the White House is a politician named Barack Obama who is using his Executive power to actually order Americans to not call a roofer, but rather he is asking us to go out and purchase more buckets.  

What we have in Barack Obama is a politician, not a leader.

COBPAC Resolving to Undermine Your Federal Vote

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

resolution approved There it is.  The City of Bellingham last night passed another resolution on a Federal  matter, thus continuing to assert themselves as one of our strong local Political Action Committees (PAC’s).   It’s one thing for a city council to pass resolutions regarding how they will and won’t conduct city affairs, but it is a PAC who resolves to oppose specific legislation or rulings on legislation such as the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC .  As I’ve said in the past, each person in this nation has elected representation in these Federal Issues and Bellingham City Council members are not them.   Even so, many people and groups know that the Bellingham City Council is ready, willing and able to be used as a tool for most any progressive cause.  In this case the progressive cause is beyond just the court decision and is both clearly pro-union and clearly anti-capitalism, which should read as socialism.

The basic Citizens United decision can be summarized as this:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC on Jan. 21, 2010, is having a profound effect on the laws governing corporate political activity in nearly half the states. The court ruled that the federal government may not prohibit direct corporate and union spending on advertising for candidates’ elections.  www.ncsl.org

My personal position on this matter would have me going against this ruling which most say is conservative.   In a purest sense, I’d get behind an effort to allow only limited personal donations to campaigns and campaign advertising.  I think that would be even, fair, encourage candidates to stand on their own merit and I don’t really mind so much if that position carries a conservative or progressive label.   The problem with my position is that it is not supported by either the progressive or conservative camps.

The conservative camps seem to be rallying in favor of this ruling which would allow more wide open high dollar candidate support while the progressive camp is rallying against the “evil” corporate financial influence and holding their breath hoping that nobody notices that the ruling was aimed at unions as much as corporations.  And the progressive camp is right where the City of Bellingham has pitched their tent and is unrolling their sleeping bag.

"WHEREAS, several proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States are being considered by the United States Congress that would allow the American people, by and through their democratically elected government, to limit the rights of corporations to unfairly influence elections.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON:

That the City Council of the City of Bellingham hereby supports amending the United States Constitution to declare that corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of natural persons, and further to ensure that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech and may be subject to justifiable regulation for the common good, and the City Council calls on Congress to begin the process of amending the United States Constitution"

Proposed Resolution, Bill Number 19593, City of Bellingham

I know!  Where is the progressive COBPAC’s resolve that unions not “unfairly influence elections” and where is their declaration against union expenditures or unions assuming the rights of natural persons?   If the Citizens United ruling was so amazingly wrong, why is the COBPAC resolving to be outraged against corporations, but not unions?   Well you won’t hear an anti-union argument from progressives, because the outrage against the Citizens United decision is not about the rights of groups vs. individuals it’s about progressives silencing capitalist corporations leaving only unions to unfairly influence elections.

As I said above, I’d get behind an effort to allow only personal donations to campaigns.  But I’d only get behind that effort if the effort attacked unions, especially government unions, with the same vigor that they attack corporations.  Unions don’t qualify as people anymore than corporations.

Oh, and by the way City of Bellingham, when the Citizens United ruling refers to corporations they are referring to both non-profit as well as for profit corporations and so…well since 1904 you’ve actually been a corporation.  So I think, you as a corporation,  by passing this resolution, you’ve actually violated the spirit of your own resolution against corporate influence in elections and right about now your head should be exploding from circular logic.

 

Take home points:

  1. If you are anything but a raging progressive you should be outraged at the City of Bellingham.
  2. City of Bellingham is again acting as a de facto Political Action Committee.
  3. The City of Bellingham is again acting as de facto idiots.

 

Winking smile

Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 1

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A recent Whatcom View article titled  Mayor says Ferndale tax increase needed to repair roads can be credited with offering sufficient irritation that I found the time to again write in this blog.

Recently the City of Ferndale has been emphasizing and funding extreme street makeovers like the Second Ave Extension, including the useless park next to a rail yard.  Now the Mayor says that funding is “woefully short” for basic road maintenance and repairs so the must ask the voters for a two-tenths of 1% sales tax increase.

Anyone who has driven on the hill in Ferndale knows that there are roads that need repairing.  That fact is not in doubt.  Even so, I can’t support this tax increase because a tax increase is not required to afford the repairs.   Rather, the City needs to get back to focusing already available funds on repair and scheduled maintenance of existing roads so that we get maximum life from them.  It was while attending a City Council meeting that I first heard mention of  a time in the last few years where funding for street repairs was cut.  The Mayor didn’t mention it in his letter, but it was briefly mentioned in another Herald Article.

Malpezzi said he voted against putting the increase request on the ballot because he didn’t believe the public would support it.

And he said the issue was one of priorities, noting that money that would have come from the solid waste tax to pay for street maintenance and repair has instead been shifted elsewhere, referring specifically to help pay for a new police station.

capture suspend maintenance fundingRight on both accounts!  I don’t think the public will support the increase and It looks like it could have been in 2009 that funding for road maintenance was  suspended, though I’m not a financial expert so I could be mistaken.   However, even an amateur review of Ferndale’s current budget and budgets for the last 4-5 years shows that overall revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and various utility taxes have steadily increased and are projected to keep steadily increasing.  Let me repeat that since that is not what you hear from the City officials or read in the news, overall revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and various utility taxes have steadily increased and are projected to keep steadily increasing.

What I also determined during my quick review,  was that what the City refers to as  a revenue shortfall in the road repair budget  is simply the negative effects of excessive spending, excessive borrowing, misguided priorities and what amounts to a financial account shell game where the council and mayor regularly “tap” funds from one account for use in another often unrelated account.  I was actually amazed at the the amount of  fund “tapping” going on in the City government.   Am I the only one who didn’t know that our Solid Waste Taxes have been systematically inflated, not for Solid Waste disposal, but for leveraging loans and/or state and federal grants for new streets or perhaps a police station. Don’t believe me?

SWT funding If you read the rest of this Request for Council Action don’t miss the list of annual 1% tax increases on the second page.  it’s quite a long list of increases that adds up to so much more revenue than this little two tenths of 1% business.

So really this boils down to the fact that the City of Ferndale does not need a tax increase to repair roads.  The have plenty of revenue to fund street repair without a sales tax increase.  Sadly, instead of taking care of business, they’ve gone the route of shuffling things around, using the money elsewhere, doing the extreme makeover thing and then coming back to the people with a sob story.  Call me cruel, but I say no to the tax increase the same way I say no to the hungry kid crying for more lunch money because he bought candy with his on the way to school.

Sorry, but No!

And I hope you make a better choice next time.

Coming up

Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 2: How small towns like Ferndale contribute to the financial decline of our nation.