Wally Wonders Why No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

December 14, 2009

Between a rock and a hard place, or casino and ferry

Filed under: Local Issue — Tags: , , , — wally @ 5:12 am

Weeks ago as the Lummi Nation decided to flex their sovereignty by cutting off the most practical access to Lummi Island, I wondered how island residents would cope with and hour long ferry ride and I wondered if island schools would become part of Bellingham rather than Ferndale.   I also pondered the fate of the Haxton Way improvement projects with hopes that taxpayers would be saving millions of dollars in what should now be a defunct project.

If you remember, we taxpayers are funding improvements on Haxton between Slater Road and Chief Kwina Road, the mostly flat are between the Casino and the more residential areas of tribal land.  Everything I’ve read and even watched on BTV has identified the improvements as necessary pedestrian safety items due to increased traffic heading out to the ferry landing.  It was difficult to buy into that argument not because it couldn’t be valid, but because no one would address the casino elephant in the room.  The casino is a relatively recent addition and it would seem obvious to also look into it’s  impact on pedestrian safety.  I looked and I don’t recall seeing any such investigation so it’s pretty tough to buy into an assessment when your not sure whether one was actually done.

Realistically, why would the Lummi Nation bother with any research that might point a finger at a casino as a safety issue.  They’d be shooting themselves and other tribal ventures in the area (read that Northwood Casino) in the foot.   My suspicion is that the ferry traffic argument was made stronger than reality to divert attention away from the casino as an issue.

I’ve more than once wondered where allegience falls when people with strong tribal affiliations hold government office, but lets cast aside conspiracy theories for now and look at the issue at hand.  With the Lummi Nation not renewing the County’s lease for the ferry terminal, we should expect that the millions being allocated for the improvements would be cancelled poste haste:)   If you’ve read much about dealing with tribal related issues you may have noticed a big disconnect between what should be done and what actually is done.  I have little doubt that things will be different with this issue and until yesterday wasn’t thinking I ever would.

Apparently the Whatcom County Council has put part of the Haxton improvement project on hold while negotiations over the ferry landing continue, but the Whatcom County of Governments still has this  project on their list of items to lobby for in Olympia.  And it’s still on the list to the tune of $10 million dollars.  Thankfully, Councilman Sam Crawford caught this and is making various local officials aware, so I’m sure it will be in the news soon. He has suggested that “this item be removed from the state legislative lobbying agenda until more is understood and decided regarding the use of Gooseberry Point, and its direct impact to the traffic and overall use of Haxton Road.”

I think that Sam’s suggestion is a good one from both the taxpayer and negotiator perspective.  I’m also looking at his suggestion with a bit ammusement wondering what the tribes will come up with to keep us taxpayers paying for their road improvements around their casino.  They can’t say it needs to be done for the ferry traffic and they can’t say that the casino causes safety issues; seams they are between a rock and a hard place.

**updated** I noticed that Jared Paben had some of Sam Crawford’s comments up on his Herald blog Crawford suggests removing Haxton Way project from transportation lobbying list

August 24, 2006

Crime at new Casino?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — wally @ 5:18 am

Two headlines today: Sheriff not expecting crime at new casino

Statistics don’t support fear of crime at new casino

But those are the headlines only. the articles themselves write about:

Roads being a significant impact on public safety

Whatcom county has 1 deputy to patrol from casino area to Artist point. Tribal police will have one officer with no jurisdiction over non-tribal members who make up their customer base. Casino is open 24 hours with alcohol served for 20 of those.

The tribe is still negotiating an agreement with the district to pay for fire protection.

One of Elfo’s main concerns is intoxicated drivers

“We do have concerns about the propensity for (crime)” Elfo said

So why weren’t the articles titled “Sheriff and Firefighters have concern about the new casino?” I think it doesn’t fit the herald’s position of support for the casino.

August 9, 2006

Nooksack casino coverage is inadequate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — wally @ 5:57 am

After recieving an email from a member of the North County Community Alliance, I spent a bit of time at their site (www.agyes.org) I was a bit dumb founded that I had missed so much of what all their concerns are regarding the casino. I guess I stupidly assumed that reading the Herald’s special coverage would give me all the news.

Here is a letter I fired off the the Herald a minute ago.

Nooksack casino coverage is inadequate

With a special section devoted to casino coverage I would have expected to find most of the facts surrounding the casino issue. Guess what? I didn’t.

Your coverage mildly says,

“The alliance claims that the federal agencies have not determined if the off-reservation site is indeed tribal trust land and that the gaming commission has not ensured that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act has been followed properly.”

Here are a couple of quotes from North County Community Alliances letter to Secretary Kempthorne and Governor Gregoire.

“The FBI records confirm that a “Filipino Gang,” … has taken over the Nooksack Tribal Council, 18 of whom have been indicted for a “marijuana-import” business, conducted in concert with tribal members of the neighboring Canadian (Skway) tribe near Chilliwack, B.C.”

“In addition to drug-smuggling, the FBI confirmed a conspiracy warranting indictments under RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) of two Nooksack officials for embezzlement of federal moneys”

Doesn’t the Herald think its readers deserve to know who really is setting up shop in their neighborhood? And on our nation’s border?

I think every Whatcom resident should oppose the casino and all that goes with it. Start by visiting www.agyes.org

June 21, 2006

More Nooksack Casino stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — wally @ 6:11 am

A couple of weeks ago I wrote regarding one way to deal with the impending construction of the Nooksack casino and yesterday commented on the BS about the religous ceremony. And a day later that is what’s on the news, religous ceremony interupted by protestors.

And the Herald opinion editors even got in on the act with a lengthy essay regarding the hostile nature nature of the nail throwers and the inconsiderate nature of the now anti-religous protestors. They also went the victim route by explaining that we should respect the Nooksacks because of their long history in the region. Well they don’t have a long history of running casinos, but it is getting there.

Also yesterday I sent off an edited version of my fence in the casino post from two weeks ago. I’ll hold my breath until it is printed. And by the way, I don’t encourage hostile anything towards the Nooksacks.

Yesterdays letter to the Herald:

Will the casino be built?

We have gone too far in catering to foreign nations such as the Nooksacks. We have generously allowed them to exist as a sovereign nation within our borders. In return, they claim victim when it comes to social services and then sovereignty when it comes to building casinos.

The people of Washington outlawed these types of casinos decades ago. And yet some still ask why we are upset. There is little chance of truly solving this issue before the ground breaking, but there are things that we could do at the state, county and individual level.

We could:

Build a fence surrounding this “tribal trust land”
Cut off casino access by relocating US resident driveways and dead ending roads.
Relieve stress on our jails by deporting jailed Nooksacks to this “tribal trust land”
Ask our governor to allow our states National Guard to patrol this border.
Pile fresh steaming dairy manure, I mean fertilizer, around the site.

Yes, the Nooksacks will build their casino. But the real question is will elderly Canadians hobble down a dead end road, wade through manure and climb over a chain fence to go gambling?


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