2015 Election Results Analysis

Very strange election year this time.  In 2013, liberal candidates generally won the elections.  In 2014, conservative candidates generally won.  This year, there are candidates of both parties, and a very odd combination of them.

Starting with the charter amendments.  All ten charter amendments but number eight passed.  This is very strange because amendment 8 seemed to be a very common sense proposal.  It was to allow more than two political parties on the redistricting committee.  There wasn’t even a statement against it in the Voter’s Pamphlet.

All five charter amendments that were very controversial and partisan passed.  These were amendments 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10.  Amendment 1 was to change the method of electing county council members from county-wide to district only.  Amendment 2 prohibited the county council from proposing charter amendments on matters approved by over two-thirds of voters.  Amendment 3 prohibited the county council from proposing charter amendments to the section of the charter regarding the county council.  Charter amendments 1, 2 and 3 were supported by Republicans, and opposed by Democrats.  Charter amendment 9 created five county council districts instead of the current system, where we have three.  Amendment 10 required a super majority vote on the Charter Review Commission to amend the charter.  Amendments 9 and 10 were supported by Democrats, and opposed by Republicans.

The reason for this is unclear.  District-only voting seems to be a widely accepted idea across the nation, and there is a better argument for than against it.  Five districts seemed to be more widely supported; in rural areas, it generally failed, but the elections were much closer to those of district-only voting.

Propositions 2, 3 and 10 passing is even stranger.  The ballot description for amendments 2 and 3 were misleading; they left out that a charter amendment must be sent to the voters before being approved.  However, amendment 10’s ballot description clearly stated that.  I guess the voters just don’t want to vote on as much…

I am also surprised that the election on charter amendment 5 was so close.  It passed by a less than two percent margin.  Amendment 5 would reduce the signature threshold needed to place a Whatcom County initiative on the ballot.  It seems like something that would be widely supported.  More of voters not wanting to vote on as much…

I find it strange that 70% of voters support term limits.

The jail tax failed, as I predicted.  However, I thought it would fail by more.  People from across the political aisle opposed the tax because there is already a jail tax, so that more mental health/substance abuse diversion programs could be created, or because they objected to the funding source.

Jack Louws winning came by no surprise; he definitely had name recognition that Joy Gilfilen didn’t have, and he is more centered in the political world than Joy Gilfilen, who is far left.

Todd Donovan won, as I predicted.  He always acted more professional, and Bruce Ayers may have been too Tea Party for a certain group of moderates.

Satpal Sidhu won in a very close race.  This comes to me at a little bit of a surprise because him and Todd Donovan didn’t win by nearly the same amount.  However, Kathy Kershner raised more money than Bruce Ayers, she has more name recognition, and she is more moderate.

Bobby Briscoe winning the port race came by no surprise; he was clearly more qualified, having been a commercial fisherman for over 40 years.  Gary Jensen’s support of the coal terminal probably hurt his chances as well.

Jon Mutchler won the Ferndale Mayor race, as I expected.  It was closer than I thought; from what I had heard, Mutchler had much more support than his opponent.

Election Predictions 2015

Here are my predictions for the 2015 election.  Last year, I got every race correct, but it will be more difficult this year because it is hard to tell what to make of the low turnout.  Be sure to vote by November 3- Tomorrow.  If you haven’t voted, check out my endorsements page, right here.

Initiative 1366 (Eyman Tax Initiative):  40.2% Yes, 59.8% No.

Initiative 1401 (Additional endangered species protection):  53.7% Yes, 46.3% No.

Charter Amendment 1 (District Only Voting):  46% Yes, 54% No.

Charter Amendment 2 (Limiting Council’s power to amend charter):  43.3% Yes, 56.7% No.

Charter Amendment 3 (Further limiting council’s power to amend charter):  43.5% Yes, 56.5% No.

Charter Amendment 4 (Increasing ballot clarity):  78.2% Yes, 21.8% No.

Charter Amendment 5 (Decreasing signature threshold for county initiatives):  61.5% Yes, 38.5% No.

Charter Amendment 6 (Decreasing signature threshold for charter amendments):  62.1% Yes, 37.9% No.

Charter Amendment 7 (Term limits for council members and county executive):  49.3% Yes, 50.7% No.

Charter Amendment 8 (Allowing more than two political parties on redistricting committee):  67.1% Yes, 32.9% No.

Charter Amendment 9 (Creating five county council districts):  55.6% Yes, 44.4% No.

Charter Amendment 10 (Limiting power of Charter Review Commission to amend Charter):  53.2% Yes, 46.8% No.

Jail Tax:  41.8% Yes, 59.2% No.

County Council District 1:  56.5% Todd Donovan, 43.5% Bruce Ayers.

County Council District 2:  54% Satpal Sidhu, 46% Kathy Kershner.

County Executive:  63.6% Jack Louws, 36.4% Joy Gilfilen.

Port Commissioner:  55.8% Bobby Briscoe, 44.2% Gary Jensen.

Ferndale Mayor:  55% Jon Mutchler, 45% Cathy Watson.

Ferndale City Council Position 3:  60% Keith Olson, 40% Glenn Stewart.

Ferndale City Council Position 4:  52.2% Teresa Taylor, 47.8% Paul Ingram.

Ferndale Parks Levy:  43% Yes, 57% No.

Of course, I don’t expect to get the percentages perfect, but the only election that I could see possibly going the other way is Charter Amendment 7, term limits.

Misleading Flyer Sent Out About Charter Amendments

RE Sources for Sustainable Communities put out a very misleading flyer about the Charter amendments on the November ballot.

The front side of the mailer read “With five districts, rural areas get their own County Council representatives, and communities of similar interest are divided.  It’s fair and equal for everyone.”  I agree with this; our current three districts are flawed.  However, the front side of the mailer contradicts what is said on the back.  The back reads “They’re* pushing Proposition 1, a scheme to ensure a pro-coal majority on the Whatcom County Council, changing election rules we’ve lived by for decades.”  Proposition 1 is district-only voting, or election of council members by the people of the district they represent.  Without district-only voting there would be no “communities of similar interest [that] are divided.”  If the “communities of similar interest” can’t even choose their own representatives on the county council, the whole point of having five districts would be defied.  Further, the quote I cited on the back side of the flyer is not true.  District-only voting would not ensure a pro-coal majority on the Whatcom County Council.  In fact, it would have no impact whatsoever on the coal terminal decision.  By the time the Charter Amendments have an impact in county elections, the coal terminal will already be decided on.

Something else I found strange on the flyer is that “district-only voting” or “representation by district” was never mentioned.  It was just referred to as “Proposition 1.”  This was clearly a strategic move to mislead voters so that they don’t even know what they are voting on.  The flyer never stated what “Proposition 1” is.

Vote for Proposition 9 (increasing the number of county council districts from three to five) as well as Proposition 1 (district-only voting).

2015 General Election: How to Vote

Now that the ballots are coming soon, I decided to make a rundown of who (and what) I believe would best serve Whatcom County.

CHARTER AMENDMENTS:

This year, we have 10 charter amendments placed on the ballot.  Eight were proposed by the Charter Review Commission, a commission elected every 10 years to propose amendments to our way of government in Whatcom County.  The remaining two were proposed by the Whatcom County Council, who is granted the power to propose charter amendments in the Washington State Constitution.  Anyway, here’s what I think of them:

Charter Amendment 1:  Provides for “district-only voting” for county council elections; council members would only be voted on by the people of the district they represent.  Vote APPROVED.

Originally, I was opposed to this ballot measure.  This is because our current three county council districts are very flawed, and don’t represent the communities of interest in Whatcom County, causing district-only voting to have a negative impact.  However, Charter Amendment 9 would create five county council districts, and I am very confident that Amendment 9 will pass.  With five county council districts, district-only voting would be the better option.  Communities of interest would be divided, and each of them would elect their own representative.  With at-large voting, the county council is more likely to be dominated by only one political party, whether Democratic or Republican.  With five districts, and district-only voting, this would be nearly impossible.  Different communities of interest have very different political views.

One argument against district-only voting is that voters will have power “taken away” from them because they would not be able to elect representatives from the entire county.  However, no power would be “taken away” from voters.  Each individual voter would have a higher percentage of the total number of votes cast.  This would cause each voter to have much more power in the elections that they do vote in.

I would also like to point out that if district-only voting passes, there will still be either one or two* at-large council seats where everyone in Whatcom County gets to elect their representatives.

*One council seat if amendment 9 fails, two if it passes.

Charter Amendment 2: Prohibiting the county council from proposing charter amendments on issues approved by two-thirds of voters.  Vote REJECTED.

This charter amendment would take power away from voters.  If the county council proposes a charter amendment, it has to be approved by voters no matter what.  If the voters decide to change their minds on issues they previously decided on by a large margin, they should be allowed to.

Charter Amendment 3:  Prohibiting the county council from amending the sections of the Whatcom County Charter regarding the county council.  Vote REJECTED.

This charter amendment has a similar intent to the previous one.  It would take power away from the voters.  If the county council proposes a charter amendment, it must be approved by voters.

Charter Amendment 4:  Increasing the word limit for ballot questions from 20 to 40 words.  Vote APPROVED.

All this would do is allow for more clarity on the ballot by allowing for longer ballot questions.  So far, I have heard no argument against this amendment.

Charter Amendment 5:  Decreasing the amount of signatures needed for ballot measures to be placed on the ballot.  Vote APPROVED.

Imagine having to collect signatures from 15 percent of voters in the last election.  It would be extremely difficult; it would be about 18,000 signatures.  This amendment decreases that number to eight percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.  It isn’t an extremely drastic decrease, but it is a significant portion.

This amendment would also cause more issues to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide on, therefore representing voters more.

Charter Amendment 6:  Decreasing the amount of signatures needed to place Charter Amendments on the ballot.  Vote APPROVED.

Currently, to place a charter amendment on the ballot, signatures from 20 percent of the voters in the last gubernatorial election.  This amendment would decrease that number to 15 percent.  Vote for this amendment for the same reasons I stated in my explanation of why to vote for Charter Amendment 5.

Charter Amendment 7:  Imposing a term limit on county council members and the county executive.  Vote REJECTED.

This amendment would limit the number of terms council members are allowed to serve to three terms.  I’m opposed to term limits in general.  If the people want to keep someone in office for more than twelve years, that means they served the county very well and should stay in their position.  The best term limit is the natural term limit where elected officials that the voters like are reelected, while the ones they dislike are defeated for reelection.  We need very experienced people on the county council.  If term limits were passed a number of years ago, Pete Kremen never would have won a fourth term as county executive (which he won by a very large margin).  He was popular for the whole time he was county executive, and served the people’s beliefs.  Barbara Brenner wouldn’t be on the county council right now.  She is the voice of no political party, no special interests, and she doesn’t accept campaign donations.  She simply represents all of the people of Whatcom County, and therefore is continuously is reelected even though she raises no money.   Council member Brenner challenges many opinions to serve Whatcom County, and she brings many new ideas to the county.  This often leaves her the only council member voting for or against something, but it is definitely a voice we need on the county council.

Charter Amendment 8:  Allowing for more than two political parties on the redistricting committee.  Vote APPROVED.

The current system is broken; only allowing the Democratic and Republican parties on the committee that draws political districts.  This often leads to very odd partisan district boundary lines that don’t represent people.  Further, the Libertarian and Green parties are growing rapidly in number, especially among younger people.  They deserve to have a voice.

Charter Amendment 9:  Changes the number of county council districts from three to five, and adding an additional at-large position.  Vote APPROVED.

The current three district system, adopted sometime around 1950, is very outdated.  It is left over from when Whatcom County didn’t even have a Charter, but a form of government with three commissioners instead of an executive and council.  In 1950, the system probably worked fine.  The county population was less than one third of what it is now.  Therefore, there was less people per district then than we would have per district even with five districts now.  Aside from that, there is no way to divide up communities of interest with only three districts.  Each district has a slice of Bellingham and a slice of rural Whatcom County.  Both of these areas have a very different way of life.  Five districts would divide up communities of interest; two districts in Bellingham, three elsewhere.  Rural Whatcom County voters would have their representatives, and Bellingham would have theirs.  This would provide for a council that is reasonably balanced between political views at all times.

Charter Amendment 10:  Requiring a super-majority vote of the Charter Review Commission to amend the county charter.  Vote REJECTED.

As with amendments two and three, this would take away voters’ power to decide on issues.  This amendment was put out on a highly partisan agenda in reaction to the 2015 Charter Review Commission.  I agree that the Charter Review process seemed like some kind of joke, and only a few commissioners (both liberals and conservatives, by the way) were interested in proposing reasonable proposals that would help Whatcom County, instead of very strange, vague, partisan proposals that would clearly be rejected on the ballot.  However, this will not happen every Charter Review process.  And no matter how ridiculous a Charter Amendment may be, it still has to be approved by voters.  If an amendment is too unreasonable, it would be rejected.

JAIL FACILITIES SALES AND USE TAX:  Vote REJECTED.

 

WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL

 

County Council District 1:  Vote Todd Donovan.

Todd Donovan has proven to be a great elected official, after serving on the Charter Review Commission.  He was one of the few commissioners who came up with any pragmatic, reasonable proposals or ideas.  If elected to the county council, Todd Donovan would help come up with more practical solutions to the problems facing Whatcom County, and bring up much more discussion than what is currently happening on the Whatcom County Council. He has extensive knowledge on almost all of the issues facing Whatcom County.

Bruce Ayers is Todd Donovan’s opponent.  He is clearly a very Tea Party Republican.  While on the Bellingham City Council, Bruce Ayers got little accomplished and was not known for representing the people of Bellingham.  His campaign is focused almost completely on building the new jail, and he seems to lack knowledge on just about all other issues.  When Bruce Ayers does talk about something besides the jail, it is usually about how he wants to have almost no development regulations to help developers take over all of the farmland in Whatcom County.

County Council District 2: Vote Kathy Kershner.

Kathy Kershner had non-partisan, pragmatic approaches to issues during her four years on the county council.  Large highly partisan special interest groups try to cover this up, so don’t get fooled by them; I have literally looked over every single vote Kathy Kershner took during her four years on the county council, and I didn’t find one time when she didn’t have the best interests for Whatcom County in mind.  These special interest groups also spread the myth that Kathy Kershner has no interest in protecting the environment.  This is also not true.  After looking over Kathy Kershner’s voting record, I have found numerous occasions when she voted in favor of protecting the environment, most notably her support of the Lake Whatcom Reconveyance, arguably the most controversial issue of her term from 2010 to 2014.  If you do think Kathy Kershner is a Tea Party Republican, that is exactly what large special interests want you to think, and you are falling into their trap of misleading the public on issues.  I don’t know where the myth about Kathy Kershner being a Tea Party Republican started, but if you check your actual facts, as I did, you will find this to not be true.  Aside from special interests misleading voters on Kathy Kershner, she is more likely to go above and beyond with the work it takes to be on the county council than her opponent, as she has proved during he four years previously on the county council.

Kathy Kershner’s opponent, Satpal Sidhu is a different story.   The same special interests that try to make people think that Kathy Kershner is a Tea Party Republican try to make Satpal Sidhu sound like an environmental hero with tons of political experience.  The fact of the matter is, Satpal Sidhu had never had any political office until he was appointed to the county council in March 2015 after out-going council member Sam Crawford resigned.  During Sidhu’s seven months on the county council, he hasn’t made any really large notable accomplishments.  Once at a candidate forum, Satpal Sidhu had no answer when asked about flood control issues.  Despite what special interest groups say, he has few environmental accomplishments.  He does own a solar firm, but the job of being on the county council would have no way to reflect that, so owning of a solar firm is, in reality, irrelevant to the election or county council government in general.  The main group of people Satpal Sidhu has promised to represent in Whatcom County on his campaign is large, commercial berry farmers who play a part in degrading environmental quality.  So, in reality, Kathy Kershner may be the better choice even for environmental reasons.

WHATCOM COUNTY EXECUTIVE:  Vote Joy Gilfilen.

Jack Louws (Joy Gilfilen’s opponent) has been a good county executive, but Joy Gilfilen would excel.  She isn’t highly partisan, like many other candidates in the 2015 election, and listens to everyone.  Joy Gilfilen has been in business all of her life, so she has a deep understanding of the economic issues in Whatcom County.   A combination of listening to people and an understanding of issues makes Joy Gilfilen similar to Barbara Brenner, just more liberal.  That is what we need for county executive.

PORT OF BELLINGHAM COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 3:  Vote Bobby Briscoe.

Bobby Briscoe has very extensive knowledge in the issues facing the port, being a commercial fisherman for forty years.  He supports businesses and the environment at the same time, and has specific ideas on how to do so.  At the Tea Party forum, Briscoe spoke of how the port should measure it’s success by the amount of jobs it creates, while opposing dredging, and being very hesitant about any idea that might harm the environment.

At the Tea Party forum, Briscoe’s opponent, Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen, stated that the port should measure it’s success by the profit it makes.  At the same time, he supports dredging and has said nothing about environmental protection at the port.  In fact, he is the only candidate for a countywide election in Whatcom County that outspokenly supports the harmful and illegal Gateway Pacific Terminal.  Gary Jensen also has no port experience, compared to Bobby Briscoe’s forty years as commercial fisherman.  The port commission is already enough of a mess, but Gary Jensen would add to that; during his eight years as mayor of Ferndale, he spent his time defending himself from the public instead of listening to them.

FERNDALE ELECTIONS:

Ferndale Mayor:  Vote Jon Mutchler.

While I often disagree with Jon Mutchler, I maintain that he would be a great mayor of Ferndale.  During his six years on the city council, he was one of the few council members that no one was afraid of disagreeing with.  Despite often being farther to the right side of the aisle, he listened to both perspectives, and voted accordingly.  During his year on the Whatcom County Charter Review Commission, Jon Mutchler was one of the conservative commissioners, but he didn’t always vote with them.  In fact, his views were quite centered.  Never once did he argue with someone who came up to speak to the commission, as the Tea Party commissioners did.  Further, Mutchler has been endorsed by the Lummi Business Council, because they believe he would be the best candidate to work with in the many issues that impact Ferndale and the Lummi Business Council.  Numerous Ferndale residents have endorsed him for the same reason.

Ferndale City Council Position 3:  Vote Glenn Stewart.

Glenn Stewart does know about politics, having been the chair of the San Juan County Democrats.  Also, Stewart is a voice needed on the city council; the voice that would bring new ideas to the table, no matter how strange they may be.  He also seems to want more businesses in downtown Ferndale, something badly needed in Ferndale.

Incumbent Keith Olson is Glenn Stewart’s opponent.  During his time on the city council, he vigorously supported stopping the building of a large house near the Ferndale Library.  He also vigorously supported banning marijuana in Ferndale.  Those are his accomplishments… so vote for Glenn Stewart.

Ferndale City Council Position 4:  Vote Teresa Taylor

Teresa Taylor knows Ferndale, having lived there and raised kids who both went to Ferndale Schools.  This represents many people in Ferndale who are currently being underrepresented on the Ferndale City Council.  She is endorsed by many people with all different sorts of political views, including Ferndale City Council member Jon Mutchler, Democratic State Senator Kevin Ranker, former Ferndale City Council member Lloyd Zimmerman, well-known Bellingham liberal Bob Burr, Tea Party conservative Orphalee Smith, and the Lummi Business Council.

Vote for the Ferndale Metropolitan Parks District.

Parks are something Ferndale lacks and greatly needs.  The only large, well-known parks are Vander Yacht park and Pioneer Park.  Yes, there are more parks, but the other parks consist basically of only a playground and some lawn.  Ferndale also isn’t very pedestrian-friendly, and parks would also help with this issue.  A metropolitan parks district may also provide recreation in our parks.

STATEWIDE INITIATIVES:

Initiative 1366:  Vote No.

This initiative was proposed by Tim Eyman, who is currently under criminal investigation for misusing campaign funds.  Initiative 1366 is a very odd, possibly unconstitutional measure that bullies the legislature into passing a constitutional amendment that would require two-thirds vote of both houses for a tax increase.  Any sales tax increase would be prohibited by this initiative, until this happens, no matter how badly the revenue is needed.

Initiative 1401:  Vote Yes.

This initiative prohibits selling, purchasing, trading, or distributing products containing anything from a species threatened for extinction a gross misdemeanor or a Class C felony.  These are common sense regulations that should have been in place decades ago.  Trafficking of species threatened for extinction is a world wide problem that contributes to extinction of such animals.

ADVISORY VOTES:

Vote MAINTAINED on Advisory votes 10 and 13 (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1443 and Engrossed Senate Bill 6138).  Vote REPEALED on Advisory votes 11 and 12 (Engrossed Substitute Senate Bills 5052 and 5987).

Bellingham Herald Article Regarding Bikes… Interesting Comments

Since I don’t have Facebook account and therefore can’t comment on Bellingham Herald articles, I decided to make a blog post addressing some of the comments on one specific article, where I found many false and inflammatory comments as a bicyclist (the article is about bicycle projects/ safety).

How the post is organized:         Where I find something that I decide to comment on, I underline it, put it in brackets, and put a number directly after it in parentheses and italics.  Look below the post for that number, where I will make my statement.

This is an ongoing issue that is never going to go away. It is clear that Bellingham favors bicyclists [(take a look at what they are doing to Alabama St. What a friggen mess.)](1) I encounter bikes on the road ALL the time. There are some that DO follow the rules, but the ones that don’t far outweigh those who do. These cyclists (and I am sure I will be hit with a bunch of comments for this) are wreckless and do not follow the rules of the road. I have had my car swiped by these wreckless cyclists who find it necessary to be first to the light when there is clearly no room for them. They commonly pass or cut in front of cars to get to where they need to be and it causes road rage problems. [I have have been given the finger when I wont allow a cyclist, who has passes me on the right where there is NO BIKE LANE OR VERY LITTLE ROOM because I would not let them get over to the left so they could cut someone else off.] (2) I could go on and on, but the bottom line is Bellingham is a “save the earth” kind of place and this problem is not going away anytime soon.” -Terry McWilliams.

  1. Take a look at what cars are doing to the quality of our environment and health.  What a mess.
  2. Not allowing someone (even bikes) to pass you is illegal.

[Bellingham has already done this all over downtown where city government has ‘bulbed’ most intersections. This has effectively ended free right turn lanes, many left turn lanes, and very effectively makes car traffic slower and more aggravating.] (1)

[Now, if I understand this correctly, cars are supposed to start moving at the speed of the bicycle blocking the intersection in front of them?] (2) Even slower! Yee ha.

Come on Bellingham. Just ban the car. You know you want to!” -Craig Thomas

  1. What about bike traffic?  I guess ONLY car traffic matters.  Maybe it ended certain turn lanes, but before riding a bike was very difficult.  Now, car traffic is merely a little slower.
  2. Why is it this big problem when cars need to go a little slower?  Imagine how bicyclists feel!  They go that speed all the time, and they need to pedal!  Besides, traffic will ALWAYS be slow downtown, because of the heavy traffic.  That is not the fault of bikes.

[Biking in the rain is dumb.](1) -Eli Andrews.

  1. First of all, making statements like that is irrelevant.  Second, biking in the rain is good for a person’s health.  Third, biking in the rain indicates willingness to withstand the rain, which is a good thing.

[I have never, never, never, ever seen a bicylcist stop at a red light or a stop sign, ever!] (1) [Of course I must add that the stop sign at Donoven and 30th is one of the most dangerous intersections in Bellingham as cars do not stop either, some do slow down though, so we got that going for us.] (2) Cyclists don’t even slow down. GO HAWKS!” -Troy Talbot

  1. It is extremely rare that I ever see a bicyclist run a red light or not stop at a stop sign, and I pay attention.  As a bicyclist, I never do so myself.
  2. Cars, not bikes, are the reason why the intersection of Donovan Avenue and 30th Street is dangerous.

“[I find it hilariously ironic that drivers are complaining about cyclists breaking the law. If you’re one of the complainers, then perhaps glance at your speedometer next time you’re on I-5 in Bellingham. Are you going over 60mph? Thought so!] (1)” -Jason X. Harris

  1. Thanks.  Rarely do I see bicyclists breaking the law, but I’m sure that in the vast, vast majority of car trips, laws are broken multiple times.


“[how come we spend so much money on mostly selfish people on bikes? they should have to pay for using the roads and have insurance to cover damages to cars and people.] (1)” -Tamar Truesdell

  1. Bikes DO have to pay for using the roads, just as much as cars.  The money used for road purposes is money at state, local, and federal levels, mostly from sales tax.  Gas tax is a very small amount of the money used to maintain/ build roads.  Further, MUCH more money is spent on roads due to cars than money spent because of bikes; cars simply cause more wear and tear on the roads, and bikes have a very minimal impact.  Bikes do VERY LITTLE damage to cars and people compared to cars.  I have never heard of a bike damaging a car, and I cannot think of a way that would be possible.  It is EXTREMELY rare that a bike causes damage to a person.  Cars, on the other hand, cause an extremely large amount of damage to bikes, people, and other cars.  Just a few days ago in the Bellingham Herald, there was an article about a bicyclist being hit by a car.  Bikes are hit by cars all the time; it happens so much that it rarely is even reported.  Motor vehicles are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  No one is ever killed by a bikes.

A reply to that comment read:

“[Oil-mongering death statement (…) Let me re-phrase what you just said ‘How come my big gas-guzzling fuel-injected exhaust-causing death-mobile has to watch out for a hippie who cares about the environment and/or can’t afford a car?] (1)‘”

  1. Exactly.

“[Glad to see the city investing in safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Public right-of-ways should be usable and safe for everyone.

I drive and cycle about equally and from my observations automobile drivers break the laws far more frequently than cyclists. In order of frequency: speeding, rolling through stop signs, running red lights, not signaling, unsafe passing, talking on the phone, and texting. Statistically automobile drivers are at fault for the majority of collisions with cyclists. Because of WA low insurance requirements ($25K per person) motoristsfrequently cannot take financial responsibility for injuries that they cause to others.

That being said, I find that the vast majority of drivers in Bellingham are exceptionally courteous to both cyclists and pedestrians.] (1)” -Chris Sandvig

  1. Thanks!!  Exactly what I am saying.  Good summary.

Bellingham, The city run by idiots.
First step would be to have some sort of registation and education. You are missing a tax opportunity. Not like this city to do that. [While doing this you can teach the offensive 25% of the cyclists the rules the rest of us obey already.] (1) Instead you give a free right to them to piss off more people who drive along side them. Like I said there are about 25% of the cyclists that ruin it for the rest. Fix the problem, but I already know that it is not a police priority.
” -Kelly Rasset

  1. What about the cars that do just what you said??  Shouldn’t that problem be solved??

“Another thing to realize here is that over the years Bellingham has spent millions of dollars to narrow “our” roads and make them harder to traverse, in a variety of ways. Yes, our city spends money to make the roads harder to use.

[This reminds me of the $18,000,000 or so that’s been spent buying land in the hills above Lake Whatcom to prevent possible future development and it’s possible future contribution to maybe sort of degrading the condition of the lake.] (1)

Keep it in mind when we’re asked to vote ourselves future tax increases for really really important stuff. There IS a lot of money spent here.” -Craig Thomas

  1. If it is the Reconveyance that is being spoken of, nowhere near 18 million dollars were spent.  The county bought the land for $40 per acre, and there were 8,847 acres.  40×8,847=$353,880.  Also, the Reconveyance could not in any way whatsoever degrade the condition of Lake Whatcom.  Development and logging, however, would degrade hugely degrade the condition of Lake Whatcom.

“[Why are we catering to a group of people who think they are entitled to different rules of the road,No signaling of intensions,running stop signs and stop lights,cutting drivers off by riding five abreast,ETC; Half of these riders don’t follow any rules,Just saying…..] (1)” -Dave Cullup

  1. Again, I rarely ever see bicyclists breaking the rules of the road.  (Nothing compared to what cars do).

I encourage everyone of all ages to ride bikes.  It is a far healthier and more environmentally friendly way of transportation than driving a car.  When oil runs out, it could easily be the chief form of transportation.  Biking also causes less wear and tear on the roads, therefore saving taxpayers’ money.  Bikes also congest roads much less than cars.  Riding bikes is enjoyable, whereas driving cars is found by most people not to be enjoyable.

Primary Election Results Analysis

I haven’t made a post in about three months.  I recently moved to a new house in Bellingham, and it took a while for the internet to be hooked up.  That being said, I have an analysis of the primary election results.

County Council District One Election

Even for the liberal District One, this election went even more liberal than usual.  The two “left-wing” candidates, former county councilmember Emily Weaver and Charter Review Comissioner Todd Donovan collectively received over 72 percent of the vote.  The two “right-wing” candidates were former Bellingham City Councilmember and jail activist Bruce Ayers, and conservative activist and 2010 county council candidate Theresa Sygitowicz.  Last year, there was a primary election that took place in only district one, and that was the PUD Commissioner election.  Conservative incumbent Jeff McClure was challenged by known conservative Matthew Goggins, and Bob Burr, who can be identified as “multi-partisan”- a member of the Libertarian, Green, and Democratic parties.  It is, however, safe to say that he was the only left-wing candidate running for PUD Commissioner that year.  Bob Burr received 45.16% of the vote in that primary election, and Jeff McClure trailed close behind with 42.5%, and Matthew Goggins was far behind with 12.34% of the vote.  This makes it so the progressive candidate(s) received only 45.16% collectively in the 2014 election.  Comparing that to the 72.24% of the vote collectively received by the progressive candidate(s) this year, there is a VERY large difference, as you may have already noticed.  This comes across strange to me because there was a much lower voter turnout this year compared to last year- this year’s voter turnout was just over 25%, while last year’s was 33.66%, and in general, the lower the voter turnout, the more conservative candidates have a chance of winning.  So, I can think of a few possible explanations for this:

  1. There was a very low voter turnout among conservatives this year because they have lost interest in voting due to the current county council having no conservatives.
  2. The  vast majority of people in district one (and Whatcom County as a whole, for that matter), are opposed to the coal terminal (even if they are conservative), which sways their votes liberal only in county council elections.  The Port Commission race also went much more liberal than I expected, but the votes in that race may have been swayed liberal because many voters may have thought that the [Port] Commission has something to do with the coal [port].

Bruce Ayers (second highest vote-getter with 16.96% of the vote), and Todd Donovan will be continuing on to the general election.

Note: I don’t compare the results of the primary elections to the results of general elections.  This is because general elections have a higher voter turnout, often making the results of them more liberal.

Port Commission District Three Election

Like the county council election that took place, the Port Commission election went much more liberal than I had originally anticipated.  The two liberal candidates (commercial fisherman Bobby Briscoe, and former Ferndale City Councilmember Lloyd Zimmerman) collectively received over 61 percent of the vote.  Conservative* candidate Gary Jensen received just over 38.46 percent of the vote.  District Three is known to be conservative, but this election clearly wasn’t, despite the low voter turnout in this primary election relative to the results in other primary elections.  My theories about why this may be the case are stated above, in the section titled “County Council District One Election.”

Bobby Briscoe and Gary Jensen will be moving on the the general election in November.

* Gary Jensen considers himself a Democrat.  However, he was endorsed my Republicans this year, and he supports the coal terminal.

Other Elections-

Starting out in Ferndale, city councilmembers Cathy Watson and Jon Mutchler are moving on to the general election in November.  Other candidates included former city council candidate J. Manuel Reta, city councilmember Carol Bersch, and marijuana supporter Vicca Thompson.  This election went how I predicted- Mutchler and Watson moving on to the general election by wide margins.

Incumbent Keith Olson received a surprisingly high percentage of the votes in the election for Ferndale City Council Position 3- 62.01% of the vote.  The other two candidates were Glenn Stewart and Christopher Lee.  Keith Olson and Glenn Stewart will be moving on to the general election as I expected.

Incumbent Paul Ingram and Teresa Taylor will be moving on to the general election for Ferndale City Council Position 4.  The other candidate was Matthew Durkee.  This is the outcome I expected.

For Bellingham School Board, Quenby Peterson was the clear front runner with 62.22% of the vote.  Jono Manion received 18.93%, and Anthony Wallace received 18.84%.  There is still another ballot count on August 17, and currently the result between Jono Manion and Anthony Wallace is too close to call.  Anthony Wallace ran for Charter Review Commission in 2014.  He didn’t run much of a campaign for Charter Review Commission, putting nothing in the Voter’s Pamphlet and had no yard signs- no anything.  This time he ran a campaign, but I’m still surprised he was able to receive as many votes as he did.

Note: The results aren’t finalized until August 18th.  Numbers may change slightly, but probably not significantly.

Click here for the election results on the Whatcom County Auditor’s website.

Charter Review Commission Update as of Early May

There are now seventeen proposed amendments to the Whatcom County Charter.  So far, six have passed and five have failed.

Since my last post about the Charter Review Commission, much has happened in the Charter Amendment world.

On March 23, 2015, an amendment to the preamble proposed by commissioner Mutchler failed 5-9.  Strangely, it was a large topic of interest to the public as well as to the Commission.

That same night, the safeguard to district-only voting was put on the ballot, in a 9-2 vote, with 3 commissioners abstaining.  It prohibits the County Council from proposing amendments to sections 2.12 and/or 2.13 of the Charter.  These sections specify the make-up of the County Council.  Therefore, if district-only voting were approved by the voters, the County Council couldn’t change it back to at-large voting.

On April 13, an amendment requiring the ballot title of the Auditor and Assessor be changed to “Auditor and Elections Officer” and “Property Assessor” failed 9-6.  The Auditor and Assessor came and spoke against this at the meeting.

On April 27, a proposal to create five districts, and two councilmembers at-large failed 4-11.  Commissioner Joe Elenbaas proposed eliminating the at-large positions, and making there be only five councilmembers; his motion failed.

There was a proposed amendment that was voted on April 27, that required Whatcom County to comply with the Open Public Meetings Act.  It failed 5-8.