Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are you Active?

10/2/2014:  October 6th is the last day to register or update your address online. Republishing this post with  updated data because of the timely importance.  - RMF

If you have not registered to vote for the general election, do so now at  I talked extensively with the Whatcom County election desk and others about 1,927 'undeliverable' (returned) primary ballots, some of which came from the 200 series precincts centered around WWU. Here is some information on reactivation of your voting status if you leave Bellingham for the summer.

If you are a registered active voter (e.g. student) and you move home for the summer, your registration status becomes inactive if your mail-in ballot is 'undeliverable' for the (August) Primary election. When you return in the fall, simply log in to MyVote WA ( with your name and birthdate, *UPDATE* your registration with your new Whatcom County/Bellingham address, and *presto* you will become an active voter here again. It is probable that many of you changed your voter registration address when you moved home (e.g. out of Whatcom County) so you could vote in your home county WA primary. Most probably, you would have not been mailed a Whatcom County ballot here. If you were a registered voter in Whatcom County, and if 'home' for you was not a county in WA State, you most probably were mailed a Primary ballot to your school year address. Simply change your voter registration to a Whatcom County address when you return to your new residence in Whatcom County in the fall. You will be activated.

Student or not, if you move, you *MUST* change your address every time you change residence. You can do this  either on-line (*preferable method*) at or by calling the elections desk for Whatcom County. Do this as soon as you find your new place here in Whatcom County.  There is no automation or reminder for you to change your voting address. This does not happen 'automagically' when you forward your mail via the USPS.  Unless you set up it, your smart phone or tablet or email will not remind you to change your voter registration address. It's all up to you. 

Below are some summary voter data base statistics as of 10/02/2014 for Whatcom County (Code here):

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Millennial Effect

Left: Inactive Voters By Age as of 09/23/2014  Y Axis = c(0,500)
Right: Active Voters as of 09/23/1014, Y Axis = c(0,1800)
Blue = Whatcom County 40th LD; Red = 42nd LD ; X Axis = c(0,110)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reactivate yourself!

Updated with recent data and comment about mobile urban millenials and voter registration -RMF

Make sure to reactivate your status as a voter if you have moved!   In fact, it is just a good idea to log on to  and check your voting status now. WA state and your county are actively paring  (or making inactive) voters who have moved, passed on, not submitted change of address forms in preparation for the October/November general election period.  When I perform the PostgreSQL query below on the September 5 vs. the September 19 active voter databases in Whatcom County, I have a possibility of 3589  to 3693 voters that are no longer part of the current active voter database. If you have any doubts that the current registration process isn't a disaster for urban millennials, check out the stats below. Code for this post is here.

"What does it Mean?"

But what does it mean?
It means they have the ability see every website you visit, every text message you send, every call you make, every ticket you purchase, every donation you make, and every book you order online. From “I’m headed to church” to “I hate my boss” to “She’s in the hospital,” the GCSB is there. Your words are intercepted, stored, and analyzed by algorithms long before they’re ever read by your intended recipient.

Faced with reasonable doubts, ask yourself just what it is that stands between these most deeply personal communications and the governments of not just in New Zealand, but also the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia?
The answer is that solitary checkbox, the Five Eyes Defeat. One checkbox is what separates our most sacred rights from the graveyard of lost liberty. When an officer of the government wants to know everything about everyone in their society, they don’t even have to make a technical change. They simply uncheck the box. The question before us is no longer “why was this done without the consent and debate of the people of this country,” but “what are we going to do about it?"

Edward Snowden on  Five Eyes Surveillance on The Intercept

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fwd: Comprehensive Plan Survey

I filled out the Comprehensive plan  survey for the City of Bellingham whose notice  I received in my mailbox. I found the entire document limited in scope to planning and growth discussions I know little if anything about.  Nor did I feel qualified to discuss them. It might have been nice to have first introduced the reader to the all those planned urban village discussions in some type of forum where others have contributed their opinions and knowledge.  Here is what I wrote in the only text box that allowed for my "comprehensive plan" opinion:
"I would like to see *grand city projects* in the urban core and surrounding city like light electric rail to BC, a bridge over the rail to the waterfront from Broadway, downtown skyscrapers, high tech business parks off Hannegan, a brilliant, utilitarian but classic new library with meeting rooms and skybending architecture, a world class concert hall on the Waterfront, a wealthy enriched population engaged in mathematical and scientific research."
I think this survey is probably a misuse of sampling technique that will add little that is important to discussions about growth in Bellingham.  The internet could be used so much more thoroughly than a limited, handpicked sample of multi-choice opinion questions.  What cities should host are forums and mail lists about growth in a specific area to encourage communities to have lively discussions with frequent moderation and contributions by COB planners and Council members. Cities could develop online simulations of growth areas and development, allowing users to construct and design buildings and city amenities in their cloud space for competition or display of the most interesting designs.

Providing software that simulated the effect of growth on co-factors like traffic, accidents, air quality, park space,wildlife, child care, bicycle and pedestrian safety, crime, jobs would allow citizens to think about the impacts of their design decisions as our city grows increasingly complicated. A survey monkey is a cute idea, but what is really needed is something like a "Second Life meets Sim City meets Urban Big Data" with real live politicians, planners,economists, environmentalists of note invited/mandated to play the game with community members who can contribute their own visions of urban development. Like corporate world policy and shareholder meetings, web conferencing and q and a could be provided by city planners in the late evening hours via services like "Live Meeting" so that citizens could listen in live and send in opinions without leaving the comfort of their homes.

I don't think urban centers have figured out a way to engage their populations with all the communication tools available to them on the internet.  Maybe if they did, they could use these tools to their advantage to encourage lots of participation from many different users.   My guess is the first city to do this will find a way to increase civic pride and decrease civic resistance.

To top it all off, nothing seemed to prevent me from taking the survey over again which doesn't make this a very reliable poll. Any way I found the survey at this link.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fwd: NWCAA draft permit focuses on potential air releases from proposed Shell crude-oil rail terminal

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Northwest Clean Air Agency <>
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Subject: NWCAA draft permit focuses on potential air releases from proposed Shell crude-oil rail terminal

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The 'swing vote' in WA 42 LD

GIS : City of Bellingham Precincts (2012)  and  Whatcom County Precincts (2011)
The columns in the long table below the break represent active voters as of 09/10/2014 for the 119 precincts in WA LD 42nd. They represent the queries for (successful) BallotCounted = 1 for  the 2014 primary, ge2013, ge2013  and (not successful) BallotCounted = 0 as nprimary, nge2013, nge2012. The last three columns are synthetic:
  • pdiff (ge2013 - primary) # Voted in GE2013 but not the primary
  • gediff (ge2013 - ge2012) # Voted in GE2013 but not GE2012
  • ngediff (nge2013 - nge2012) # Not Voted in GE2013 vs Not Voted GE2012

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Campaign Financing War Part III:42 WA LD 09/01/2014 PDC data

Editor's Note: Two minor corrections as noted below.  -RMF

Above is a quantile plot of Republican (red) vs. Democrat (blue) campaign donations for the six candidates in the 2014 WA LD 42 races as of 09/01/2014. Quantile plot for all donation levels are in gray.  The extensive difference between the 60th to 90th percentiles corresponds roughly to the $200 - $850 donation levels; a difference which has allowed the Republicans to raise more funds than the Democrats by $96K ($324K - $228K),  despite the fact that the Democrats  have 368 more unique contributors (1157 -789).  A total count of  contributions favor the Democrats as well 1512 to 1160, revealing a large number contributors who have donated to multiple campaigns.