Original Post from July 31, 2012
It’s got to be something that keeps the Bellingham Herald referring to the City of Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-2 concerning the people’s right of self-government as “coal train initiative” or the “No Coal! initiative” as they just did in their article BNSF joins legal case against Bellingham coal train initiative.
John Stark wrote that article and another article last month where he also referred to the initiative as the “no-coal-train initiative” and “Coal-Free Bellingham initiative” so perhaps the money or what could be a John Stark bias? Maybe? Maybe the Herald stands to lose a little advertising revenue from irate hamsters if they actually call the initiative for what it is; a proposal to radically depart from our normal way of governing.
So is it money or what? I don’t really know, but as long as the local media keeps failing in their duty to the public and keeps playing into the hands of the Bellingham Bill of Rights folks, the dollars to sort out the mess is going to keep adding up for we the taxpayers. On the other hand, if the Herald actually served their readers with untainted information, this initiative would likely die a sudden death from lack of public support. Instead, this initiative drive enjoys continued wide public support because the Herald and the Bellingham Bill of Rights people continue to widely market this as a no coal initiative.
What? You still believe this is about coal trains running through Bellingham? Sorry, but you’re among those who have been mislead. If this were just about coal trains running through Bellingham then the initiative might read something like this,
BALLOT TITLE FOR CITY OF BELLINGHAM INITIATIVE No. 2012-2
City of Bellingham Initiative No. 2012-2 prohibits railroads from transporting coal in the City.
“Should this measure be enacted into law?” Yes?______ No?______
Instead the initiative actually reads like this,
That’s right a true anti-coal train initiative would have one point, banning coal trains, but this initiative has about 10 points with only one of them being the transport of coal.
- concerns the people’s right of self-government
- This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents
- the rights of natural communities
- 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
- repeal all inconsistent provisions of existing City ordinances
So if transporting coal is only one of ten points, then why doesn’t the Herald refer to this initiative by one of the other nine points like the Bellingham Sovereignty Initiative, Right to Sustainable Energy Future Initiative, or the People’s Right to Self-Government Initiative? Again, I don’t know if it is it money or what?
What? Even after reading the initiative, you still don’t believe that this isn’t about coal trains? Would you believe it if you heard it straight from the horses mouth? You can if you want. In fact Stoney Bird, a retired corporate lawyer on the steering committee for Coal Free Bellingham, who is proposing the initiative, was just on The Joe Show earlier in the week. Among much legal ramblings and rantings he had these telling words.
And I’m really optomistic about its getting on the ballot, the cities claims against this initiative really focus on one part of the initiative which is the ban on coal trains, there’s much more in it, the whole Bill of Rights, is is goes beyond that.
if you look at it, what, the core of this initiative is the bill of rights
So if both the initiative and it’s authors say this isn’t about coal, then why does the Bellingham Herald? Is it Money or What? Who are they beholding to?
Update for August 4th
And they”re still at it. Judge Snyder reinforced that the initiative is about restructuring government, rather than about banning coal transport, when he ruled that the initiative cannot be put on the ballot because the "initiative exceeded the scope of city government’s power and would have, among other things, attempted to nullify state and federal laws." Yet the Bellingham Herald still headlined this as an "Anti-coal initiative" and described it as an "initiative that would have blocked the transport of coal through Bellingham will not be on the November ballot in Whatcom County."
Update for August 6th,
Which Bellingham Herald poll results will they go with? Will they use the set of results you see after you take the poll? Or will they use the set of results you see when you click “See how you Compare” link? The first shows more city residents supporting the initiative while the second shows an opposite result with more city residents opposing.
Updated again for August 6th,
Listened to Natalie McClendon on the 8/6/12Joe Show podcast this afternoon and when Joe asked her what she thought of the Initiative/Bellingham Bill of Rights, she responded that her first impression had been that she was reading a declaration of independence. As Joe chuckled he threw in a secessionist comment that went along the line of if Texas can secede the why not Bellingham. The point of this is that the initiative and the Bellingham Bill of Rights are also recognized by former chair of Whatcom Democrats and local progress talk show host as not really about Coal, so why doesn’t the Bellingham Herald? Is it Money or What?
Updated one more time on August 16th
The Herald Politics Blog titles a post Rally planned for August 31 in favor of public vote on anti-coal-train initiative giving us yet one more example of misrepresenting the initiative to the people as a Coal issue. Don’t bother to think about this being put on by the local Socialist Alternative group, the Bellingham Bill of Rights people still calling themselves Coal Free Bellingham in spite themselves saying this is not about coal, and Decolonize Whatcom who are really the ReOccupy crowd which I believe gave us the guy who disrupted the County council meeting with a mic check.
And yet another update on August 17th. Wow has it been only one day?
It took just one more day/article for the Herald to refer to the Bellingham Bill of Rights initiative as the “no-coal measure” and the “no-coal-train initiative.” The article State appeals court to hear Bellingham no-coal measure continues the push to get the measure on the ballot as some kind of popularity poll. Although the results of the poll would be inaccurate because with the efforts of the group and the Herald, people believe they are voting against coal trains when they are in fact voting against our proven system of government.
"The point is to get (the no-coal initiative) on the ballot, and then the powers that be begin to understand where the wind’s blowing," Bird said.
The “powers that be” (and I hate that lame cop out phrase) are all the voters in our state and nation. That includes the people of Bellingham, but they are a small minority of the people of Washington and the people of the US. who actually are in control of transport of goods (coal and otherwise). It’s in our US Constitution. it’s Article1, Section 8, Clause 3. It’s called the Commerce Clause because it reserves for the federal government, exclusive power over trade between states, foreign nations and Indian tribes. We the people of the United States are the “powers that be” to which Stoney Bird refers. The people of Bellingham have the same rights, the same representation, and the same power as anyone else in out nation to control the flow of coal trains. I don’t know what the Bellingham Herald hopes to gain by conspiring with Stoney Bird’s separatists to take rights, representation and power from US citizens, but making enemies is no way to sell papers.
It’s Official! One more headline on August 28th claiming this initiative to be about coal trains.
I won’t deny that in another portion of the article they did refer to this as also about the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights, but the headline and opening sentence are what they are, which is deceptive regarding the true nature of the initiative.
Place Holder for next Update about the Herald referring to this as a Coal thing