Posts Tagged ‘whatcom county council’

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 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 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.

2011 Election Season

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Update: Instead of continuing to update this post, I’ve added a page for the 2011 Elections and will update that as my positions evolve.

As of Friday the candidate filings are closed, so they’re off and running.  The Herald has covered the filings both in the news and in their politics blog.   In turn, the Whatcom Democrats have also  covered the Herald politics blog with a layer of partisan comments from some of their officers.  On Saturday the Whatcom GOP had their first endorsement of the season, with their  endorsement of Sen. Doug Erickson’s for County Executive.

It may seem contrary to the somewhat political nature of this blog, but I really don’t find it much fun to speculate about who will file and why.  I don’t find fantasy football of any interest either.  But now that the dust has settled for the moment, I did go through a quick assessment of where I stand at this moment on some of the more important races.

UPDATE: I’ll just keep updating this post as things move along and I learn more about each candidate.

Whatcom County Executive

  • Jack Louws  – I’ve heard good things, but right now its difficult to think of a better candidate than Sen. Ericksen
  • Smile Doug Ericksen – Doug has represented us well for years in Olympia and I’m all for him now working at home to make this a better area to live.
  • Tom Anderson – Don’t know anything at this point.
  • Sad smile David Stalheim – So in the last 4-5 years he left a community development job for the city of Wenatchee, for a community development job for the city of Ashland, which he left for a job as Whatcom County Planning Director, which he left for a job with the City of Bellingham as Planning & Community Development director and shortly thereafter sues his former employer Whatcom County for problems with their planning.  Now he want’s to quit with Bellingham to become the executive of the county he is sued?  ROFLMAO, oh and no.

Whatcom County Council District 1, Position B

  1. Smile Tony Larson – I find Tony to be an independent, level headed guy who has given a lot to this community.  I see him asking all the right questions rather than just rubber stamping status quo.    I supported him before and especially after seeing him in action, I’ll do it again.
  2. Pete Kremen  – I’m not really sure why he’s running yet ????

Whatcom County Council District 2, Position B

  • Smile Sam Crawford – I like what I see of his values and he has thus far shown he is more than up to the challenges of the position he has had for more than a few years.  He’s a keeper.
  • Sad smile Christina Maginnis – Our county already throws way too much of our money towards stormwater issues and Lake Whatcom without much in the way of results.    Having a DOE water quality expert on the council seems a bit like voting to have someone beat your head against a wall.

Whatcom County Council District 3, Position B

  • Barbara Brenner – I like watching her on the council because like Tony Larson, she is always asking good questions.  I don’t get the impression from her that she has already made up her mind on things, like I do from a couple of the other council members
  • Alan Black – don’t know much yet.

Whatcom County Treasurer

  • Smile Brian Smith –  So I had a chance to meet Brian today and I can report that the good things I had heard were all true.   His qualifications to handle county finances were definitely there and he struck me as someone who would take his duty as a servant to the people of Whatcom County very seriously.
  • Sad smile Steven Oliver – Well, I haven’t met our current treasurer either, but I’ve suspected in the past, that he was playing politics while at work and I just can’t vote for someone to watch the bank accounts that I have a shady/slippery feeling about.

Whatcom County Auditor

  • J. Lynne Walker  – don’t know much about her yet.
  • Debbie Adelstein – don’t know much about her yet either

Whatcom County Sheriff

  • Steve Harris – perhaps someday he’ll have half the experience of Sherriff Elfo.
  • Bob Taylor – perhaps someday he’ll half the experience also.
  • Smile Bill Elfo – What can I say, we live in a county that borders another nation and there is a lot of potential for crimes due to our location.   He’s been the tough but fair Sheriff that we need.

Bellingham Mayor – I don’t live in Bellingham, but Bellingham is such a large part of Whatcom County that what happens there has significant effects on all of us.  If they raise taxes we pay when we shop.  The more unfriendly they make it for people to live and work in the city, the more sprawl is encouraged.

  • Sad smile Kelli Linville – She lost her 42nd district State Rep gig to Vince Buys primarily due to her over spending issues.  I haven’t heard that she has mended her ways, so I don’t see supporting her doing the same in Bellingham.  If Bellingham over spends like our state has for the last few decades, the money will be coming out or your pocket whether you live in Bellingham or not.
  • Sad smile Dan Pike – Too bad I couldn’t bold the frowny.   As I’ve brought up numerous times here in this blog, Dan Pike has such a gift for taking money away from others that he really had only two career paths, criminal or liberal leaning politician.  I’ve never heard of him passing on a chance to take from taxpayers, so there is no way in Hellingbam that I’d give him an ounce of support.
  • Clayton Petree – Ok, he rides a bike, but so does the current mayor, so no decision yet.  Much more to learn here.
  • Steve Moore – don’t know much yet.

I’ll add more when I have had more time to think on the mayor races and a couple of other positions.  I’ll also be  adding or adjusting the smileys and frownies as I learn more about the candidates.

Bill Knutzen earning his keep

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

I wanted to commend County Councilman Bill Knutzen, who when faced with the potential for county employee layoffs,  has suggested that layoffs, if needed, should be based on job performance rather than union seniority.  Here’s what he said in Bellingham Herald: Whatcom County Councilman Knutzen angers local unions with layoff discussion

"In the current economic climate I would expect a little flexibility from the unions while we try to preserve their jobs,"
"To hamstring these managers by giving them a staff that is less than their best people to do the same amount of work seems, I don’t know, shortsighted to me."

I think there are a lot of people out here who agree with Councilman Knutzen’s thinking in this matter and his common sense approach is exactly why I voted for him.  

That should be the end of the story, but per usual, it is not.  The Bill Knutzen quote is from today’s Herald article.  It’s interesting that the titles for both the article and accompanying  Politics blog post  Whatcom County Councilman Knutzen makes no friends amongst largest bargaining unit, seem to indicate that Bill Knutzen said something that was out of line or inflammatory.  In fact it was the union official’s response that was out of line and inflammatory.

Teamsters spokesman Chuck Eggert was angered when he heard of Knutzen’s comments.

"Maybe what we ought to do is do the same thing with County Council members and elect someone who is responsible and doesn’t make such despicable comments," Eggert said. "Excuse me … but he really kind of pisses me off. For him to come in here and make comments like that, he doesn’t have a clue as to how we got where we are."

Oh, I think Bill is responsible and does know how we got in this position.  I voted for Councilman Knutzen to represent the people of our county, and in standing up to this type of union intimidation he’s showing me I didn’t waste my vote.     Way to go Bill.

Campaign Dogs

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

dog Even though Tony Larson is probably not nearly as conservative as I am, I have supported him because he seemed a bit more middle of the road and with a little broader focus than Jean Melious.  I didn’t give it much thought beyond that until it recently dawned on me, just how heated the race for the open Whatcom County Council position has become between Tony Larson and Jean Melious.  Well, now I’ve given it a bit more thought and a bit deeper dig.  

I didn’t think it’s heated because the candidates are so closely matched, rather I thought it was heated because the two candidates have two vastly different views.  The differences were made clear back in July, when in this Herald Article Election to decide new face on Whatcom County Council, Jared Paben asked this very telling question,

“How do you think the county should best balance its budget?”  

Melious: Council members must ensure we’re funding community priorities, including protecting natural resources, paying for health and safety and preventing flooding.

Larson: For revenue, we shouldn’t raise taxes and fees, but we should support businesses and help them thrive, which grows tax revenues,

And another question,

What is your priority as a council candidate?

Melious: Her main priority is ensuring the council is a place people can come together, and where landowners and their attorneys’ interests are balanced against those of everyone else in Whatcom County.

Larson: We need to look at protecting existing jobs and creating new ones. We need to work with other local governments and organizations to come up with a package of incentives to attract businesses

Let’s see…is the average person in Whatcom county concerned with a good job so they can pay bills or are they concerned with ensuring that landowners and their attorneys’ interests are balanced with everyone else?  Well I have a job…but I don’t have a land use attorney, so I must be who Jean Melious refers to as an “everyone else.”   I believe most of the people that I know are also everyone else’s and this everyone else can relate to Tony Larson and his county priorities.  Perhaps someday, if I have a land use attorney, I’ll relate to Jean Melious.  I hope not, though.

Most people(everyone else) recognize that the money government uses to protect our environment comes from thriving businesses who pay taxes and hire workers who also pay taxes.   So in my everyone else view, Jean Melious is really backwards, while Tony Larson has it straight; get people working so we can afford to spend money on public safety, the environment, or anything else we choose.  His message makes sense. 

The differences between the two candidates are vast, so there was the potential for heat.  But, but I didn’t understand why things were so heated when voters could just pick the candidate with the message that they felt best represented them.  So I dug some more and found the answer.

The heat is not over his message.  The heat directed towards Tony Larson is coming directly from the Melious Campaign who have a pack of rabid progressive dogs behind them.  That sounds nasty, but how else is there to refer to a group like Washington Conservation Voters who create negative radio ads aimed directly smearing Tony Larson’s image rather than explaining how Jean Melious’ view is better for the people of Whatcom County.  And how else would you refer to a group like The Progressive Majority who describe their relationship to the Melious campaign like this,

Jean is seeking to replace Bob Kelly… We helped elect Bob in 2007 and electing Jean will allow us to retain this progressive seat.  Jean has compiled a great team of Camp Wellstone-trained volunteers and staff. Jean will need to pull all the partners together to defeat the opposing ideological forces in this swing county.

Camp Wellstone is described as “an intensive and energizing training program that is open to anyone interested in gaining practical skills in progressive political action.”   Ok, so the dogs from the Progressive Majority are not so much rabid as they are well trained dogs who will attack on signal. 

Lately, and with the assistance of  the Bellingham Herald political reporter, the progressive dogs have launched an attack of semantics on Tony Larson over what he did or didn’t say about BP and Whatcom County during his campaign.   

The county should make permitting faster and easier for businesses wanting to expand, he said, noting that BP Cherry Point’s planned new construction will generate hundreds of jobs but is only expected to be possibly permitted in 2011. "Why not do it now instead of later, if we can?" he asked.

That’s what Tony said back in July during the same interview article mentioned above and I haven’t seen nor heard anything from him that would tell me his position has changed.  And I agree, if all the ducks are lined up, why not get a permit to a company like BP now rather than later?

I got my ballot yesterday and rabid dogs be damned, I’m voting for Tony Larson.