Posts Tagged ‘city of Bellingham’

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

Updated: Cold War Has Come Home to Roost

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

And it looks like the socialist fowl will be roosting in Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park. The group Occupy Bellingham has announced its plan for a permanent occupation encampment beginning tomorrow.?? You might ask as I did if this is legal?? The answer is well sort of legal maybe.

City of Bellingham Municipal Code

Title 8 PARKS, CEMETERIES, AND PUBLIC PLACES
Chapter 04 GENERAL REGULATIONS

8.04.080 – OVERNIGHT CAMPING

A. Overnight camping is prohibited on park property except by written permission of the Director of Parks and Recreation.
B. A violation of this section is a civil infraction.
[Ord. 10612 ?2, 1995]

 

So if they did received written permission, then yes it is legal to camp overnight.?? But did they get permission to take up permanent residency at the park?? And is that even possible or is there a time limit on events?

list

<Click Image for Complete list>

Image & information from http://occupy-bellingham.org.

I did check another section of the City of Bellingham code and found that most of what is planned, including fires, could be legal, but again only with proper permission obtained “by?submitting a written application to the office of the Director of Parks and Recreation at least 10 days in advance of the date of intended use.”

I still didn?t find anything that allows permanent residency in the park by groups so their plan may have some legal kinks.? However legal kinks may not be a problem because Kelli Linville, who seems a shoe in as Bellingham?s next mayor, and City Council member Terry Bornemann were both smiling for the camera as they marched with the Occupy Bellingham a few weeks ago.

 

So?I?m kind of doubting there will be legal issues with the city, but the Occupy Group was also looking for ?VOLUNTEERS!! (Especially first aid & Legal!)? Your guess is as good as mine about what they have planned that might require first aid and a lawyer.? I do wonder though, when push comes to shove, which side Kelli Linville & Terry Bornemann will be on??? And as it?s been almost a tradition for the City of Bellingham to swoon over anyone involved with our local socialist groups, will this have to change if things turn south, the way they have in other occupied cities?? Will the City of Bellingham have to grow up?

Updated 10/29/11

From a Bellingham Herald article today,

Though Bellingham Parks and Recreation Interim Director Leslie Bryson did not give approval for the overnight camping, the city said it is being flexible with the campers in hopes of keeping costs down and ensuring safety. City officials have given the campers guidelines to follow about noise, sanitation, fires and food service.

I guess this clears up any question regarding the legality of the encampment in a Bellingham park; They are in violation of a Bellingham Municipal code, but the city has chosen not to enforce this rule in this case. ?Comments on their UStream confirms that police had avoided the area during the first night and that park officials came by, but didn’t ask them to leave ?Their UStream also showed two other admirable, yet I think illegal, things going on: ?they have landscaped the part with bark to cut down on mud and they are processing grey water and dumping watering plants in park. ? Food does not appear to be in issue with much apparently being donated, but on the less than admirable front one forum poster said “some of us also have foodstamps available if it gets that bad”

Oh, and they need ear plugs because trains are loud.

If you’d like to keep a tabs on the goings on down there while you occupy your office or living room in solidarity with the 53%, check out their Occupy website, Occupy Forum, Facebook page, or go hi-tech and visit their Upstream.

And one more thought and then really I’ll quit. ?Mayor Dan Pike said in a press release referenced in the above Herald article.

“Organizers have expressed and, so far, followed through with their commitment to protest against wealth inequity in our country in a non-confrontational manner that is respectful of public safety and respectful of city property,”

Really soon to be former Mayor Pike? ?Politely flipping their noses at the rules of the city and people you represent then illegally taking up residence in a public park is being non-confrontational? ?Would it still be non-confrontational?if you had said, No? ?Ronald Reagan once said,

?Let?s set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace?and you can have it in the next second?surrender.”

Mayor Pike… Ronald Reagan was joking, not giving leadership advice!

 

See Also:

 

 

 

Vote YES on Bellingham Initiative No. 2011-01

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Some say that traffic cameras are about safety and other say they are about money.  Well at least for the Guide/Telegraph Road intersection near Bellis Fair Mall it is pretty clear now that it is all about the money.   A recent study by Gibson Traffic Consultants concluded the following:

Based on the 5-years of collision data obtained from WSDOT and the City of Bellingham; the collision data does not support the introduction of red-light cameras. Per the ITE collected statistics it only has the potential to reduce at angle red-light running collisions by a less than 1 per year but increase rear ends by an average of nearly 5 per year for this particular intersection.

With no fatalities or injuries related to the at angle collisions but 30 injuries related to rear end collisions it is anticipated that the proposed red-light camera would not reduce the collision/injury potential of the intersection and potentially increase the collision/injury potential at this particular location.

In this well traveled intersection, Red-Light Cameras are expected to increase the potential for injury, yet in an effort to raise revenue for the City of Bellingham, they are installing cameras in spite of making the intersection more dangerous.    You’d think that the City of Bellingham would have done this type of  study before they contracted to install red-light cameras, but they didn’t at this intersection, nor in any of the other areas slated for automated ticketing.

Indeed, the City of Bellingham has sold the safety of those who drive in and around their city in hopes of raising money to fill a budget shortfall.   The people of Bellingham have spoken in the form of petition, yet the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Pike ignored them and entered into a financial contract with ATS.

If you live in Bellingham then I urge you to vote YES on Initiative 2011-01.

Link to more information on the study and the problems with automated ticketing in Bellingham

 

Force and Require

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

I just read in the Herald today that Haggen Food & Pharmacy is supporting a proposed ban on single use plastic bags in Bellingham and I have got to say how disappointed I am in their lack of leadership in this issue.

The ordinance would force retailers to stop offering plastic shopping bags to their customers within city limits, with a few possible exceptions. It also would require retailers to collect a 5-cent fee for every paper bag used by a customer.

I think it is pretty self evident that these single use bags are a nuisance, a blight on the countryside, and in their growing volume are an environmental problem, so the issue here is not the bags, but how we go about ridding or reducing their use.   The worst way I can imagine is to force and require consumers and retailer to follow a complicated, difficult to enforce, ordinance that is riddled with exceptions, yet that is exactly what is being proposed.

The seven-page ordinance proposed for Bellingham contains many wrinkles, among them:

  • a provision exempting low-income people from the nickel paper bag fee;
  • a provision allowing a store to get a temporary exemption from the law that would be granted by the mayor, if that store can demonstrate a special hardship;
  • a provision allowing retailers at the Bellingham Farmers Market to distribute paper bags to their customers without charging the nickel fee;
  • a provision authorizing the city to inspect retail establishments to check for compliance, and to seek court orders against violators;
  • paper bags provided to shoppers must be made from 40 percent recycled materials.

Read more: Bellingham Herald Politics

If this type of plastic bag is so bad that we need to address their use with any type of ban, why not make it a better ban and just ban their use without exception?   That’d be a simple, fair, more limited government solution, without “many wrinkles” that would leave the rest of the decision making in the hands of consumers and retailers.

But what I think is by far the best way to rid of us this type of plastic bag is for large outfits like Haggen Food & Pharmacy, who apparently oppose the use of these bags,  to provide leadership through example.  Haggen could drop these single use bags at anytime without City Ordinance, and probably boost their business in Bellingham.  This could potentially create a peer pressure situation that would have other retailers curtailing or reducing their own use to keep up with the Haggens.   I would certainly support Haggen if they went this route over the route of more government.

We don’t need more ordinances, we need leadership.