Monday, November 18, 2013

Did we let the "Old Boys" win again?

"You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians, who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational."  Response of the Melians to the Athenian Empire from  History of the Peloponnesian War 417 B.C.
"It is “really complex” and, surely, we citizens are not grown up enough to understand it. But, nonetheless, rest assured that it is yet another thing that we little people will end up paying for, and not the developers."  Alex McLean  //  Mon, Nov 18, 201 in response to Wendy Harris latest article in the Northwest Citizen
I feel like such a complacent idiot for not getting involved more in the Waterfront Planning Process. I suppose it was just one more thing that I didn't think I could handle. Better leave it to the people who actually know the difference between a VOC and an SVOC. Besides, it always seemed like competent activists were on it: The Waterfront Futures Group, The Healthy Bay Initiative, Frances Badgett,  Tim Johnson, Wendy Harris, Dan McShane. Now it looks to me like the "Old Boys" have won again. Through wearing good people down? Through ignoring our best citizen activists? Through distracting us by blaming some other "Old Boy" or "Old Girl" whose main objective was simply to run enough interference so the "Old Boys" could use tax payer dollars to:

  • subsidize a rich man's marina?
  • a dangerously shoddy clean-up alternative?
  • some half-assed efforts at habit restoration and a waterfront trail?
So I guess we are now left with some desperate choices:
  • We can attend the this week's three City Council meetings (see below) and try to inject at least a show public strength into the process.
  • We can gather together in outrage; pass a big hat; maybe hire someone like David Brinklin to help us sue the City or Port or otherwise legally 'monkey wrench' the process.
How did we come to such a desperate place? After all, this is the city that broke "Horizon Bank". This is the city that sent "Big Coal" a big slap in the face. We have among us dozens if not hundreds of Hoplite activists. Here in Bellingham, ideological Triremes are always set to launch against the opposing fleet that practices government of the lowest common denominator for the people and the most profit for the "Old Boys". How did we lose control of our Waterfront Planning Process?  I am at a loss for how we stop the process and return citizen control. All I can do is recommend you join The Whatcom Watch Facebook Group to bring yourself up to speed. Wendy Harris and Tim Johnson seem to know the most. Dan McShane has great (older) articles on the clean-up options.

One thing seems certain. While you and I were chasing toddlers, cleaning house, and making it to work every morning, no one was successfully injecting public input into the Waterfront Planning Process. And everyone, good soldiers all who fought in our stead, has been turned back, in one way or another defeated.  Arise ye citizens of Bellingham!! Arise!! The waterfront future may  still yet be yours to claim!! Don your bronze breastplates and Corinthian helmets! Grasp your 15 ft doru! Perhaps the Lacedaemonians will not come to save us. But we can still fight nonetheless.

Tim Johnson "Catch 22, Power of Ten"
Wendy Harris "City Council Misled on Waterfront Planning"
Doug Karlberg "Smoking Gun: Fraud and Deception"
Whatcom Watch Facebook Page
Wikipedia on Bellingham Waterfront
City of Bellingham Waterfront Planning page
Port of Bellingham Waterfront Planning page

Link to City of Bellingham meetings this week; Possible Waterfront Planning in Red

9:00 AM
City Council Committees Meetings
1:00 PM
City Council Committees Meeting
7:00 PM
City Council Regular Meeting
12:00 PM
Bellingham Public Development Authority
3:00 PM
Design Review Board Meeting
3:30 PM
Library Board of Trustees Meeting
5:30 PM
Bellingham Sister Cities Advisory Board Meeting
6:00 PM
Fairhaven Parking Taskforce Meeting
7:00 PM
WWU Lecture: “How Can Publishing Suit Your Purpose?”
6:30 PM
Mayor's Neighborhood Advisory Commission Meeting
7:00 PM
Cornwall Beach Park Master Plan Public Input Meeting
12:00 PM
Whatcom Museum Foundation Board Meeting
4:00 PM
Sehome Hill Arboretum Board Meeting
7:00 PM
Travelogue - Yukon: Tombstone Range
Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board Meeting
Planning Commission Meeting

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