Right Size Jail

What is the right size jail for Whatcom County?

We need bigger prisons in general, not because we are going to lock up more people for petty crimes, but because about 20 years ago we as a society decided that on your 3rd strike you were out for at least 25 years to life. And in the couple of decades since that time our prison populations have doubled and not surprisingly violent crimes across the country have dropped nearly 50%. This all makes sense, keep the repeat offenders off the streets and the streets are free from the crimes committed by repeat offenders.

The price for this 3 strike policy is building and running prisons to house these 3 strikers for 25 years to life from the date of their 3rd strike conviction. I’ve read that the average age of 3 strikers is in their mid-30’s so even those locked up at the start of the program back in the early 90’s haven’t reached the 25 year mark, let alone our average life expectancy which if I remember correctly is about 75-plus. Prison population will not plateau until the inmates start being released or dying at the same rate they are being handed their 3 strikes sentence. Doing the math says that this plateau will be somewhere around 2025, which is the average between 2018 if everyone received minimum sentence and 2033 if everyone received life.

For the safety of the rest of us, we need to plan for this continued growth in prison population so that we have the means to house violent criminals for the duration of their sentence without overloading the prisons and forcing judges to release people who should be locked up. Too many times lately I have seen that the authorities are hunting for someone who is known to be violent and dangerous, only to find out that they were in jail and just recently released. We are currently right in the middle of one of those cases here in Whatcom County.

A few years ago he was booked on multiple accounts including assault, last week he was picked up and jailed on a Dept of Correction violation, then yesterday he kidnaps someone at gun point, and today police are looking for him. How safe are we? How is law enforcement supposed to protect and serve when violent criminals are on a catch and release program?

What is the right size jail for Whatcom County? I say take the high estimate and add 25% capacity to it for good measure. That’s the kind of jail that I think is the right size jail. In order to maximize safety, we need to keep criminals off the street to the full legal extent of the law and to do that we need a big a*s right size jail, right now!

Dingling Brothers

Yes, we have circus clowns right here in Whatcom County, but instead of the Ringling Bros. we have these dingling bothers as a lame substitute.  The dinglings are progressive talk show host Joe Teehan and his caller Riley, who I presume is Riley Sweeney 2nd Vice chair of the Whatcom Democrats.  Are there any progressive Democrats out there that are proud of this performance?   Are the Whatcom Democrats proud of this?


Sound Clip from The Joe Show for 8/16/12

Cut our Losses; Abandon the Gateway Pacific Terminal

It is about time we just cut our losses and abandon the fight for a Coal Port at Cherry Point.  In my opinion we have reached a point where there are so many reasons not to have the Gateway Pacific Terminal/SSA Marine Port, that continuing the fight, which is really fight between coal fired conglomerates and the Sierra Club, will only create a big lose lose situation regardless of who wins the fight.

Reasons not to have the Gateway Pacific Terminal/SSA Marine Port.

  • Our coal reserve is of strategic importance.
  • Coal is a raw material that we should be using to create value added items for export so the import/export balance shifts in the right direction for US companies
  • Exporting coal helps China to produce goods for us to import which shifts the import/export balance in the wrong direction.
  • Additional shipping terminal, whether coal or not coal will have an additional negative impact on the environment.  How much or how little will be mitigated doesn’t change the fact that there will be some negative impact.
  • Health risks due to the transport and storage of coal in Whatcom County and beyond.
  • Coal trains are a visually ugly blight on the look and feel of Bellingham.
  • Coal trains will add to much noise to the local environment
  • Taxpayers will be stuck with the financial impact of transportation upgrades due all aspects of the port.
  • Cancer rates in Whatcom will go up.
  • Long wait times at rail crossings will adversely effect business.
  • Continued advancement of corporate greed and rule over the American people
  • Wetlands destroyed/not fully mitigated
  • Wildlife suffering
  • Global warming/Global climate change due to coal burning
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.

Whether you agree with the reasons or not,  they are still positions that are held by some in the community so even if they might not be legal or real to you or I, they are fit for the argument because they are real to those who believe them.  This is especially so in the court of public opinion, which is currently where the coal port battle is being waged.  This is not to say that there aren’t good arguments for the Coal Port such as jobs, tax revenue, and just plain standing up for property rights.  After all, in America if someone owns property and they are using it in a legal manner, then they have the right to do so.  However in America you also have the legal right to step off a curb into the crosswalk  when the Walk signal appears, but doing so in front of a red-light running MAC truck is still stupid.  You can make a stand for what is right, but the game always ends the same way, MAC truck 1 – Pedestrian 0

The Sierra Club is that red-light running MAC truck with a no coal goal and they don’t seem to care what laws are broken and who is run over as long as the coal is left in the ground.  And like the MAC truck, it seems the Sierra club doesn’t lose.

Sierra Club: Coal Victories Across the Nation!

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 U.S. 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 am firmly opposed to this Coal Port 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.

I’m not opposed though to burning fossil fuels of all types, however I’d be stupid, as would anyone, to turn a blind eye to the Sierra Club’s record in opposition to coal and other fossil fuels.   Given their record who would bet against them?  Perhaps someone with a lot of money?  Maybe, but even money won’t guarantee a Coal Port when Sierra Club, with plenty of financial and government support, has been placing even more emphasis on coal over the last few years.Sierra Club annual notes

But what if the unimaginable happens and Coal Port proponents do manage to squeak out a victory?  Well it would have come at a large financial cost to Whatcom County and Bellingham.   The battles would have also created a much stronger, more motivated, more cohesive green socialist group in the Bellingham area and in spite of the Coal Port being built, the anti-coal groups will likely have used anti-coal sentiments to help pass things like the Bellingham Community Bill of Rights and more stringent land use regulations.  We’d have a coal port, but also a much more greatly divide social climate and a much more unfriendly business environment.

There isn’t a win anywhere in the future so it is time to take a hard pragmatic look at the lose-lose situation and cut our losses.   Time to have the County Council just say no to the port and all the expenses involved with the battle.


You know how the saying goes, “With Friends Like this, Who Needs Enemies” and that also happens to be the name of a very enlightening post over a the Whacom Excavator.   They talk about a very scary situation that is being created all over our nation.  The situation is that our taxes are being used to fund Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs’)  that are essentially unregulated civilian eco-police who roam the countryside filing real complaints on anyone they see fit to complain about.

You know we’ve got a long list of control obsessed friends here in Whatcom County, like ReSources “Baykeeper,” those city-livin’ “Farm Friends,” east county’s “Kendall Watch” with a busy-body blight squad, and our positively unhinged self-appointed planning police who are devoted to stopping as much rural land use as possible with boots firmly planted on County Council’s neck.

I linked to their post and to a follow up post at the Freedom Foundation because people need to know that this is a very critical situation.  Check these two videos which shed light on the power that NGOs’ can have to make peoples lives miserable and also the kind of arrogance and attitude that is evident  in their typical leadership.  

And if you think this won’t happen here, think again.  It took Google and I about 5 seconds to find out that the Stephanie Buffum, who is gaining infamy in this case, was also a presenter at a Shoreline Protection workshop attended by at least two people from Whatcom County.    I don’t know that this makes the Whatcom County guys as bad as she is bad, but it certainly doesn’t make them look good either.

Original Story
Follow up public meeting