Wally Wonders Why

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Local Issue

It’s the water, and a lot more

That’s what we got up in Ferndale during the last year, water and a whole lot more.  That is a lot of minerals, scale, bad taste, maybe some manganese, calcium…a lot like Olympia bear of old, but better tasting than that tin can beer of yesteryear for sure.   I live in Ferndale, though not Ferndale proper so I get the city water but can’t vote for or against those who make the decision about what water is delivered to my tap.

I’ve wished that I had the time to write a proper blog post, but as of mid last week I hadn’t yet found the time.  So when I read that Ralph Schwartz was in the midst of writing an article for the Herald I contacted him to make sure a couple of the point I wanted to make would be in the article.  From talking with Mr. Schwartz I got the impressions that he had done an investigation into the causes of our current situation and that the City of Ferndale had realized that they needed a different engineering firm due to the failings of the firm that had set up the system.   I read the article today and I was disappointed to read that I was apparently wrong on both impressions.  The article Ferndale officials never saw water problems coming was so fluffy that it may have well been written by the City of Ferndale.  And the way my part came off was that I was more worried about my coffee pot than the health and well being of my fellow citizens…ok well if you know me that isn’t that farfetched, but I do stand more worried about my fellow water drinking citizens than my sticky kitchen faucet.
The City of Ferndale did make a mess of the situation and I can see a lot of red flags that were overlooked or underplayed leading up to our mess.  I won’t delve into conspiracy theories like the good water going to wash down coal dust at the new terminal or the mayor with a plumbing firm creating this mess to increase business.   I don’t hold any person or firm up as a not wanting to do the right thing.  I do think that all of the red flags need to be looked at to make sure we don’t make the same mistake again.  What I want to do, since I don’t have time to do a proper post is to start this post as a listing of things that I find, or have found that pertain to our our current situation.  

I’ve got about 15 different points that range from why the water problem should have been expected, to how hardness effects cooking, to additional consumer costs from hard water and even to the dance that is being played with our health.   I will be updating the list with more and more points as I find the time to write the little bits.

Point 1 and I’ll start the bar pretty low.  There is more in the water than just bad taste and if you made your own pizza dough you would know that.  Even if you let your water stand to let any residual chlorine off gas, hard water will still toughen the dough and increase rising times.

Point 2 – Often when things don’t turn out as planned, people start pointing fingers.  Sometimes they point to blame and sometimes they point to avoid blame.   Such is the case with Ferndale’s new well water. 

The consultants have been pressed to explain why the water has been so much harder after the switch. It could have to do with the unusually dry summer and greater-than-usual water use by farmers, they said at a Sept. 17 council meeting.

Bellingham Herald: Ferndale officials never saw water problems coming

I was at that City Council meeting.  While the council and many others were murmuring their agreement with the RH2 representative pointing fingers at the dry summer I was Googling precipitation figures because even though we had had a few recent hot days, I had no recollection of an overall  long dry summer.  As it turned out, when I looked at the rainfall for the 6 month period leading up to the dry summer comment, I found that 2012 was one of the wettest periods in the last decade only to be bested by 2011.  Capture 6 month accumulated precipitation leading up to Sept meeting So why point fingers at the dry summer?   Because the dry summer, if it existed, was an easy target.  It couldn’t defend itself and it could point back at anyone leaving the finger pointers safe from blame.  However, if the dry summer had fingers, I’d guess they’d be pointing their middle ones at RH2 and the City of Ferndale. 

The people of Ferndale need the problem solved and the first step to finding a solution involves accurately assessing the problem and it’s causes, not finger pointing.  

Point 3 –  The Herald article I referenced above is titled Ferndale officials never saw water problems coming and I wonder why not?   In the article the City of Ferndale says they didn’t expect water this hard and their engineering firm RH2 says they weren’t looking for it.  So, why not look at water hardness when making a major change from river water to well water?  You don’t refinance a home and not have an expectation of what the new interest rate will be and you certainly expect your home loan specialist to look at the rate. Why not have the same type of expectations when you are restructuring your water supply?

It’s seems almost inconceivable that the City didn’t really have expectations for water hardness, but it’s conceivable to me that an engineering firm, which is trying to make a profit, would try to do the minimum required in order to minimize costs and maximize profits.  So I wondered what the City really asked for and I wondered what RH2 really looked for?  That question led me to a pilot study that the City of Ferndale contracted with RH2 in October of 2009, just after RH2 presented the results of their feasibility projectRH2 deliverables Calcium and magnesium are the major players in water hardness so it appears the City, whether they knew it or not, was looking for hardness.   And if RH2 delivered on the deliverables then they were looking for hardness whether they admit it or not.   Obviously I wondered what the results were of the testing and comparison to previous reports, but I couldn’t locate them online.  I just sent off a public record request to the City of Ferndale for these deliverables so we will see shortly what the City of Ferndale and RH2 could have known about potential hardness issues.  Meanwhile Point 4 will certainly be written before the public records are available and it will point to a couple of red flags waving over the hardness issue from long  before the pilot study.

Point 4 – Red flags waving in the wind.  The introduction to the City of Ferndale Water Supply Feasibility Report contains this chart, so I would assume the Mayor, the City Council and all other decision makers would have studied it prior to their decision making.  capture feasability chart This chart show the state of the water coming out of the ground at both wells that we are now receiving water from.  This represents the water in it raw untreated state and would be used in decision making about what types of treatments would be needed. 

Red Flag One – Which numbers go with which well?  are they combined?  Oh, well maybe it’s the first two columns for Douglas and the second two…OK, that’s not really a red flag, but WTH why not label things.   BTW I found the same chart in the appendix and the first two measurement columns are from the Douglas Well and the other two are from the Shop Well.   The actual first red flag, in this chart depicting levels of contaminants of concern, was the absence of magnesium and calcium from the chart.  Were the major players in water hardness not tested or were they not presented and in either case, why not?

Red Flag Two – Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) There apparently was a lot more stuff in the water back in 94 and 99 then there was in 07 and oddly both wells were over the limit and now they are not.  In the case of the Shop Well the newer reading is about half of the older which should be a red flag all on it’s own.

High TDS may indicate hard water, which causes scale buildup in pipes and valves, inhibiting performance. Since TDS is related to water hardness, using a TDS meter can be your first step in determining the degree of hardness of the water. Generally speaking, the higher the level of TDS (ppm), the higher the degree of hardness.

Premier Water Test Instruments

Red Flag Three – TDS again.  TDS is related to water hardness, but because not all of the things in the water contribute to directly to hardness, there is no exact correlation, but the correlation is pretty darn close.   The following chart is from Xylem, a company that deals with water quality issues and it gives a pretty clear indication that the water supply was in the Hard to Very Hard range.  Oh, and those aren’t water temps in the 3rd column, they are French degrees which is a way of measuring hardness.

Capture hardness conductivity tds

Red Flag Four – Conductivity.  It’s the stuff in the water that conducts electricity, not the water itself and a couple of the biggest movers in this department are our hardness favorites, magnesium & calcium.  So looking back at the data we see numbers from 504 on up to 948 which clearly lands our raw well water in the upper end of the hardness range with our primary well, the Douglas Well, in the Hard/Very Hard category. 

Between TDS and conductivity, if City officials didn’t see the hard water issue coming down the pike then they weren’t paying attention.

Point 5  – Sodium – Sodium and Chloride go hand in hand.  What we normally call “salt” is actually sodium chloride (NaCl) and when dissolved in water its splits apart into sodium and chloride.   There are other contributors of chlorides in well water, but sodium chloride salt is the big contributor.  If you look back a couple of charts you will see that both sodium and chloride are present in higher levels.  The chlorides are also a bit of a red flag not because of the overall level being harmful, but because in the primary Douglas Well the 1994 level was 175 and in 2007 it was 56.  One reason why we should care about this was actually pointed out very nicely by RH2 in their report to the city. 

the level of chloride indicating saltwater intrusion is 100 mg/l.  The Douglas Well was measured to have Chloride levels of 175 mg/l in 1994 and 56 mg/l in March 2007.  The Shop Well has chlorides present as well, but they are lower than 100 mg/l.  However, the conductivity and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels are high enough to present some concern.  It is obvious that there is influence from a source of salts in both of these wells.
The DOH will most likely require frequent monitoring of chlorides if these wells are placed into service.  And if chlorides do rise over the threshold of 100 mg/l, there use may be reduced or curtailed seasonally so that seawater intrusion is reduced.

“curtailed seasonally” means that the well may be unusable to us at certain times of the year because it is being refilled with saltwater from Puget Sound rather than fresh water from our NW rains and mountain snow.  What this also means is that to maximize output from the wells the sodium levels in our water will always be an issue.  Couple that high sodium water with hard water and you have a potentially serious health issue for some Ferndale residents.

For normal, healthy persons, the amount of sodium in drinking water is a minor contribution to their total dietary intake of sodium. However, for those people who must restrict their salt intake to control certain medical conditions, sodium in drinking water can be a major concern. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a recommended concentration of 20 milligrams per liter (mg/1).

South Carolina Department of Health

RH2 appeared to be on top of this issue and even referenced the EPA 20 mg/l number as guideline level, but I’ve yet to see any commitment to hitting that number 20 mg/l versus riding the 100 mg/l well shutdown level.  

As a consumer we should all be worried about high sodium levels in our water, but we should be doubly or triply concerned if the City delivers high sodium water and chooses not to treat the hardness issue at the system level, leaving the individual consumer to deal with the hardness.   Typical home water softening systems work by swapping our hard water friends calcium and magnesium for….wait for it… wait for it…sodium.   Yes, if you treat your already sodium rich hard water at home you are probably adding even more sodium in the process and the harder your water, the more sodium you will be adding. 

If you’re on a diet that calls for very little sodium and you’re concerned about the amount of sodium in your softened water, talk with your doctor. He or she may suggest testing the sodium concentration of your water or switching to a type of water-purification system that doesn’t replace magnesium and calcium with sodium.

Mayo Clinic

It’s true that compared to a Big Mac the amount of sodium we might have in a glass of treated water might seem like very little, but stopping at a fast food joint is a bit more of conscious choice than turning on the kitchen sink.  And having high sodium water in your home means that you will be hit with a constant unending barrage of additional sodium.  Sodium water, sodium coffee, sodium Kool-aid, sodium water for cooking, sodium ice cubes, there will be no getting away from it, so even the small amount will continue to add up.

Research shows a dose-dependent relationship between consuming too much salt and elevated blood pressure. When salt intake is reduced, blood pressure begins decreasing for most people within a few days to weeks. Populations who consume diets low in salt do not experience the increase in blood pressure with age that is seen in most Western countries.

CDC – Center fro Disease Control and Prevention

We have already switched to the 3 gallon refillable water jugs at Haggen, but so far that is used mostly for drinking.  We may need to upgrade to 5 gallon jugs unless the City of Ferndale treats our hard sodium rich water at the system level.  Anything less than that is what I would consider a step backwards.

Point 6 – Is the solution really that simple? Wait and see.

Burwell and City Council member Jon Mutchler have both said the solution is simple. Owners of appliances should follow recommendations for how often to clean and maintain them, to avoid stains or potentially damaging mineral buildup.

"There are many municipalities across the country that have much harder water than we do, and they live with it," Mutchler said in a Dec. 20 interview.

Bellingham Herald: Ferndale officials never saw water problems coming

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!

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

Original Post Feb 20, 2012

“I have long been concerned by the ability of our nation’s runaway spending and debt to weaken our national security, and now we are starting to see the real consequences.  The President’s failure to tackle our debt is killing our economy, weakening our national security and threatening the very essence of America’s exceptionalism.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

And it is happening at the grassroots level here in Our Town, USA.   In Just Say No to the City of Ferndale – Part 1 , I explained why I was against a new road tax because the City had spent the current tax money on other projects and was looking toward the public to once again bail them out.   But the problem with their spending and other towns like them across the nation runs much deeper than a few tenths of a percent tax.  It’s their chronic overspending that is helping small towns like Ferndale contribute to the decline of our nation.

Currently the City of Ferndale is smack in the middle of improving Main Street between 3rd and Church Rd.  The project has no geographical challenges such as river crossings or challenges such as rail tracks.   The project isn’t adding more traffic capacity, no new intersections and the road as it is driven today would hardly be described by any Ferndale residents as a pressing transportation need.   Yet, the City of Ferndale is spending about $8.4 million dollars on the remodeling of just over 1 mile of roadway.

main 3rd to church

For perspective Everson is reconstructing just about 1/2 mile of Mission Road at the same time this spring that Ferndale is completing the second 1/2 mile stretch of our Main Street project, but while Everson will spend $575,000 for a widened road bed, shoulders and a sidewalk, Ferndale will spend about $4.4 million on a road that includes  two normal traffic lanes, a turn lane, two bike lanes, two side walks and a planter strip.

Why is Ferndale spending so much more money on their roads than other towns like Everson and more importantly, where are they getting the money?

Why Ferndale is spending so much is a tough question for a simple blogger, but I lean towards shopping addiction rather than the big truck little *&^_#  reason which may come to mind for some.

New research reveals while some super-shoppers spend to boost self-esteem and band-aid other perceived internal deficits, others’ carts are driven by plain-old materialism. Whatever the motivation, however, researchers mostly agree that buying behaviors can range from frivolous fun to serious addiction.

LiveScience: The Truth About Shopaholics

With a mayor and seven council members there probably are more reasons they overspend, but there is only one place they get the money for road projects; we the taxpayers.   We pay with local  taxes and fees on gas, property, sales, trash, water, sewer etc, but the problem with shopaholics is not that they spend money it is that they spend money on things they want rather than things they need and they often overspend on credit rather than living within their means.

That is the same problem I see with Ferndale and other small towns across our nation.  They are spending on things like landscape strips, bike lanes and roundabouts while other roads go without repair and maintenance.   And if other small towns are like Ferndale they are also racking up city debt as well as relying on State and Federal funds to feed their shopping addiction just like Ferndale.   In a recent Herald article, Mayor Jensen, when referring to several recently completed road projects, said,

State and federal funding have helped to make these projects successful.

Success is often a relative measure though. In this case Mayor Jensen seems to equate project completion with success.   Let me explain why I disagree by using a current example from Ferndale’s 6-Year Financial plan 2012.  Here’s a clip of financing for some of the current Main St. – 3rd to Church Road Project.

 

acct 308

As you read through all of the various loans and grants it takes to fund this project, remember that no matter what it is called or where it comes from, ultimately all of the funding comes from we the taxpayer.    So, in the case of Federal grant funds the project successfully added more debt onto an already unprecedented national debt.  In the case of State grants funds the project was successful at putting our landscape strips and bike lanes into budget competition with necessary things like schools, parks, law enforcement etc.  How dumb is that?  Then there is the way that cities like Ferndale play with finances so they can pry even more state and federal money away from us.

Reconstruction projects are costly, but funding from a TBD may allow the city to use some of that funding to further leverage additional state and federal grant revenue.

Transportation Benefit District Sales Tax Election

Wait a minute.  So some of that local tax that was touted as for road repair will actually be used to lever even more state and federal money out of our pockets?   Does that count as a success?  I guess that would depend on who has the lever and who has the pocket.

I like landscape strips and bike lanes as much as the next person, but more local debt, more state budget problems and an increased national deficit sounds like a nation in decline, not success.

 

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6/26/12 Update: A couple of articles hit the Bellingham Herald over the last week or so which just reaffirms that at least the City of Ferndale doesn’t get it when it comes to overspending.

FERNDALE – A once-rural road now inside the city limits will be upgraded to city standards, complete with sidewalks and bicycle lanes, even if it means taking strips of property from unwilling property owners.

…the city is counting on future grants to fund part of the $5 million project. But the amenities seemed extravagant to some of the residents who spoke at Monday’s council meeting.

“While this project is necessary and long overdue, it should not be a lavish undertaking,” said Janella McKay, a Church Road resident. “Making it an affordable street should be a top priority.”

Overspending and arrogance on the part of the City administrators doesn’t reflect well on the people who elected them.  I don’t think the average person in Ferndale is of the borrow from Peter to pay Paul variety, yet that is what the City is doing to support their spending.  I think it’s a bit scary to find such a close similarity between this description of  the new transportation tax in Ferndale and a description of a common internet scam.

Ferndale transportation tax:

Based on recent sales tax collections, the city expects to raise $300,000 a year for road improvements. That amount will be used each year as seed money to attract larger amounts in state or federal grants.
Source: Bellingham Herald

Internet scam:

Most of these scams involve you supplying seed money, or disclosing confidential data used to deplete your savings account. While these cons are usually recognizable and safely ignored, enough suckers are fooled to make the effort profitable for the criminals who have no fear of legal retribution.

_______________________________________

9/16/12 Update: Just a bit of follow up as the Church Road project approaches..

The City has also applied for grant funding on that project, Radder noted.Councilmember Goodrich wondered if there are any specific strings attached like a specific timeframe to spend the funding or matching funds.

Radder said that there will be required matching funds, and the City intends to use Transportation Benefit District funding as that match.

Ferndale City Council meeting September 4, 2012

As they said  new tax revenue from the newly formed Transportation Benefit District will be used as seed/matching funds, not to just repair Church road, but rather give it an extreme makeover and put the taxpayers in extreme debt.   And again, not saying that anyone in the City of Ferndale is doing anything illegal, just wrong and a little bit on the underhanded side.   I sincerely mean that and here is just another example.  This is the first sentence you read at the City’s Transportation Benefit District page

The Ferndale Transportation Benefit District is designed to preserve and maintain the City’s transportation infrastructure.

I challenge anyone to look at what is going on on Main and Church Streets and call that “preservation and maintenance.  Voters hear “preserve and maintain” while the City hears the sound of seed money.

 

 

 

 

2010 Election: History making or not?

Nope, not a misprint, rather a reprint.  I was listening to the Morning Show on KGMI with Patti Brooks this morning and heard one of the Whatcom Democrats officers call in and aside from a little partisan bashing I was hearing him bring up the same tired old points about how we aren’t taxing enough or taxing the right people and how the Iraq war spending is to blame, yada yada yada.  It made me think of this post I wrote almost two years ago about the then upcoming 2010 election.  Upon rereading it, I have found that nothing has changed in the last two years and my advice for the 2010 election will suffice for the 2012 election.

2010 Election: History making or not?

We are fast approaching our next election and like so many other elections before, I am hearing how this one is special, critically important and history making. Ok, I can buy into this election being special and even critically important, but as for history making??   I think history making will be determined by which direction we vote, but we need history making.

Our nation is so deep in financial trouble that we may not be able to recover.  As Americans we are living and breathing this fact day in and day out.   Some say that we are in our financial mess because big corporations and the “rich” aren’t paying their share.  Some say that Reagan and Bush tax cuts created revenue shortfalls.  And then there are those myriad of other excuses about how our tax system is regressive, archaic and or ineffective.  Well guess what?  Lack of revenue, tax or otherwise, did not create our mess.

We spent our way into this mess.  Since roughly 1960 everyone we elected to office seems to have made it their personal goal to out spend everyone before them and not just out spend them a little, but out spend them in a big way.  Check the chart.  Revenues are not the problem and they haven’t been.  Spending is the problem.  And contrary to what we hear from some, defense spending is not what is breaking our nation.  In fact, even the ramped up war spending since 9/11 pales in comparison to the increases in spending as a whole.  I’m at the point now where I just laugh when I read debate points about how best to tax our nation.  Get this, it don’t make no difference to me if a tax is progressive, regressive, digressive, whether the rich, the poor, the income or the sales are taxed.  We don’t have a tax problem!  We have a spend twice as much as we bring in problem!

What will make this election historical is if the people we elect quit spending so damn much and start changing the direction that we have been going for the whole of my lifetime.

Here’s part of my voting process:

  • cut or eliminate a program – Vote YES
  • new or restructured program – Vote NO
  • Candidate with a history of spending – Vote NO
  • If the candidate won’t commit to cut spending – Vote NO

I hope everyone will do their part in making this an historical election.

Data for chart is from http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/ and http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/

Is it Money or What?

bnsfCheck Below for recent Updates

 

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,

exact language

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.

  1. concerns the people’s right of self-government
  2. This measure would establish the sovereignty of Bellingham residents
  3. the rights of natural communities
  4. rights to a sustainable energy future and a healthy climate;
  5. prohibit corporations from transporting coal in the City;
  6. deny legal personhood and constitutional rights to corporate violators
  7. deny the use of federal and state preemptive law to corporate violators;
  8. deny the validity of contrary permits;
  9. authorize private party civil enforcement actions
  10. 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

Stoney Bird  – KGMI Podcasts – The Joe Show 7/30/12

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?

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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.

Compare

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

and one more time

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?

down to the wire 

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.

Capture it is official 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

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