Let's make "Let's do the Public's business in public" public!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ten under-discussed issues of this election - By TIp Johnson

These are mainly from a city perspective, and of course there are a lot more.
These are given to illustrate how defining and considering election issues is
our chief means of influencing the trajectory of our government. The problem
is that if we don't bother to try, or we punish and discourage those who do,
then the system is left to career along without countervailing force - a ship
with a locked rudder. So I hope infusing some ideas into the process will help
everyone think in terms of issues, instead of personalities.




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1) The systematic exclusion of neighborhoods from the comprehensive planning
process
- Before a crowd of about 600 citizens at Fairhaven Middle School,
former Mayor Mark Asmundson and then Planning Director Jorge Vega announced
that the City would no longer plan by neighborhoods. That was a direct violation
of Bellingham Municipal Code Title 20 (BMC 20.04.03(C)) and their oath to uphold
the law. Not one City official objected. The Asmundson administration's "Urban
Village" initiative was a direct threat to neighborhood stability. Without
adequate provision for public transit, public space and public facilities, the
so-called villages amounted to nothing more than potentially destructive infill
upzones. Neighbors rightly objected. Meanwhile, the critical issue remains:
Will neighborhoods be able to remain stable places for folks to put down roots
and build community, or will they be saddled with transitional forces that make
them a better place to conduct the business of real estate?


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2) Piecemeal instead of comprehensive planning - After
giving up on neighborhoods - the legal basis for planning under our municipal
code (see above) - the Council laid low and showed no inclination to oppose
the piecemeal approach the City administration preferred for planning. This
resulted in a number of unsavory community results. The City concocted illegal
development regulations through a Memorandum of Agreement with the University
that allowed for development outside the comprehensive planning process. They
approved a disastrous roadway revision at 32nd and Old Fairhaven Parkway months
before the State's planning process for interchange improvements began. They
ignored long-standing commitments for openspace in the Cordata area. They delayed
amendments to the critical areas ordinance until projects, like Chuckanut Ridge,
could be vested under old rules. They doubled densities that threaten sensitive
environmental areas and salmon streams. They chose to allow various roadway
capacities to fail rather than have developers make improvements prior to construction.
The list, too long to print here, goes on and on, neighborhood by neighborhood.


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3) The systematic abdication of the Council's authority
- During Mark Asmundson's mayoral tenure, the City Council incrementally approved
administrative initiatives abdicating their statutory authority to review and
condition projects. Some of this authority was transferred to the discretion
of the Planning Director and some was given to the new Hearing Examiner in the
new Municipal Court. Citizens would gradually discover that they no longer had
recourse to the council on controversial land use issues. Instead, they would
have to spend upwards of $750 to file a complaint and often post a bond to cover
any risk to the developer. They would be disappointed. They would then discover
that the Hearing Examiner always sides with the administration that appointed
her.


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4) The systematic usurpation of the Citizens' authority
- The City Charter is the instrument of, by and for the citizens through which
the terms for government representation is established. After years of malicious
interference with virtually every initiative or referendum qualified by petition
for the ballot, the City unilaterally imposed much stricter requirements on
direct legislation by citizens. Without fail, erstwhile citizen efforts have
been met with legal threats, actual lawsuits or sheer obstruction. The city
steadfastly continues to refuse a citizen-based charter review, instead taking
a piecemeal approach of allowing consideration only of amendments they support.


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5) Repression of political expression - Since the inception
of our new Municipal Court under the last administration, at least 55 citizens
have been arrested and vigorously prosecuted for expressing their political
opinions. These were not even protests but simple gatherings advocating such
radical ideas as alternative transportation, clean air, public space or peace.
Typically, someone involved in these gatherings will step into the street -
exactly as one must in order to get into their car. They are then violently
arrested for "obstructing traffic". If they react to the standard pain compliance
techniques employed by the police, the charge of "resisting arrest" is added.
If they object to the police behavior, the charge of "disorderly conduct" is
added. If anyone else objects, they are arrested, too. The police may smash
your camera for taking pictures. Each of these arrests has been for behavior
which traditionally has been merely supervised. Not only would these prosecutions
likely have been dismissed in District Court, it costs at least twice as much
to administer cases in Municipal Court - not counting the millions already spent
on land acquisition and remodeling. Building the Municipal Court's new empire
has been costly, indeed.


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6) Slavish compliance with the Port's plan to privatize
our waterfront
- After intentionally letting G-P off the hook for their
local environmental disaster and committing millions of public dollars for a
pretend clean up, the Port and City have hatched a plan to spend millions more
of the public's dollars building infrastructure before selling the property
into the private sector. The entitlements envisioned would allow developers
to erect a wall of tall buildings between downtown and the waterfront, leaving
only a narrow fringe - and a couple areas too toxic to develop - for public
access. Spending millions to lose our best chance at a continuous public waterfront
is not our only cost. The Department of Ecology and the Port, both of which
were complicit in creating and supporting the disaster, are intent on leaving
most of the contaminated sediments in place. The chief toxin, mercury, is known
to actively degenerate brain neurons and is increasingly suspected of an ever
larger role in various cognitive dysfunction and chronic wasting illnesses -
many of which are inordinately prevalent in Whatcom County. The City administration
obstructed a citizen initiative that promoted a more thorough clean up. Finally,
the Port and City seem intent on achieving their predetermined goal of wrecking
the GP treatment lagoon to create a yacht basin for forty to sixty foot vessels.
This does not serve local area boating needs and will cost the public untold
millions more to replace the treatment capacity that will be needed to meet
future stormwater requirements or industrial treatment that can attract living-wage
jobs. Not one elected official will even discuss these hidden costs.


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7) Inept and cowardly delay on protecting the Lake Whatcom
Watershed
- Instead of responsibly serving their statutory obligations to
protect the public's health, safety and welfare, the City has pandered to a
few hundred owners of developable land in the watershed, doing too little, too
late, to prevent illegal service extensions, wasting huge amounts of money on
tracts of land that could be adequately regulated, standing idle while record
numbers of permits for development were approved, and actually increasing the
utility capacity for development. They have done nothing to prevent development,
instead dithering over land disturbance and fertilizer regulations, crowing
about the adoption of model provisions the state recommends for all watershed
- nothing designed to protect municipal water supplies. The City actively obstructed
an initiative that would have provided for the acquisition of lands for protection
of the watershed. Propaganda TV10 now even features a segment promoting "responsible"
motorboating on our drinking water reservoir.


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8) A steady move toward phony public process - Many
factors combine to create this undemocratic trend: The chilling treatment of
dissent by the police, more difficult access to relevant documents, decisionmaking
done at afternoon meetings that most working folk cannot attend, an obtuse city
budget from which only two people in the finance department can discern actual
expenditures, a tendency to appoint "stakeholders" to advisory committees and
the increasing lack of any meaningful venue to object to legislative issues.
The cumulative result is that the administration has become adept at listening
ad infinitum to community concerns and then doing whatever they already had
planned. The Growth Forums were one example of this trend. Despite assurances
to the contrary, they mysteriously became the "widely disseminated" "public
participation process" required under Growth Management for Comprehensive plan
updates. In reality, there has been no GMA compliant PPP for our CP update.
The Waterfront Futures Group was a similar sham. Good people did good work to
make good recommendations, only to see them twisted or ignored. The daylighting
of Padden Creek is a stellar example. Said to be an important improvement for
fish, the reality is that Happy Valley cannot receive massive infill densities
until the channel capacity if increased to reduce the risk of flooding. Sadly,
the development will eventually destroy the existing fishery.


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9) A sleepy Council and ambitious administration - Bellingham
has grown enormously in recent years and the issues have become more urgent
and complex, yet the Council - a lay board - still has no staff except a secretary
and no legal advice except the administration's. The Council is paid part-time,
insuring that only those with plenty of time on their hands or something to
gain from the process can afford to take a position and guide the city. Council
members routinely get hundreds of pages to read each week, full of administrative
recommendations buttressed by the advice of Department heads. It is small wonder
that they seem inept. They are. Please, please, please watch incumbents in action
on propaganda TV10 before you mark your ballot.


Bellingham utilizes an ethically questionable two-tiered wage scale. Supervisory
and exempt personnel are paid on a regional scale. The justification is that
this is required to attract and retain qualified personnel. Rank and file personnel
are paid on a local scale, since there are always plenty of applicants. Council
is paid a half-time wage on a local wage scale. Perhaps we have grown to a point
where the Council deserves either some staff that can help them and their constituents,
and/or a wage scale that will allow them to focus their attention on the job
full time.


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10) Nonexistent intergovernmental affairs - Lake Whatcom
continues to be a problem at least in part because multiple jurisdictions at
cross purposes have no framework for unifying their priorities. The adequacy
of Emergency Services was threatened last year because jurisdictional squabbles
could not be resolved. The waterfront is also looming as a public interest disaster
because multiple jurisdictions are guarding their self-interests, whether it
is the State avoiding costs and liability, the Port wanting to stuff their coffers
with short term cash or the City unable to figure out what is important to the
community in the long term. The so-called Bellingham International Airport is
ideally situated to end up in the middle of our urbanizing area as Whatcom County
and the cities of Ferndale and Bellingham race to develop tax base to cover
the problems of development. That's not only a vicious cycle, but bad planning.
It is time for us to at least discuss some basis of regional government and
planning. Imagine the administrative cost savings we could accrue if, for instance,
fire and police were combined into a Public Safety service. Savings could leverage
additional service provision and all resident of Whatcom County could then enjoy
more equal protection. Likewise, protecting the water supply will yield immense
long term savings. Who will take responsibility when a jet crashes into some
new housing tract or the water supply needs to be replaced? It's totally unnecessary.
Regional government, at least in first baby steps, is an eventuality whose time
may have come. We need higher quality intergovernmental relations and better
public participation in those affairs is our best available means.


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26 comments:

Black Wind said...

Tip,

Some of these issues are good. And you know what? All they do is belabor the obvious: Vote for Dan McShane, not Dan Pike, if you want to see any of these ideas seriously considered—if you want any real change at the COB.

Dan McShane? Wants an ELECTED charter review commission. Dan Pike? Nope.

Dan McShane? Signed the Healthy Bay Initiative and the Cleanup, Not Coverup petition. Dan Pike? Nope and nope. [Note: Dan Pike was given a questionnaire recently from the BBF. He adamantly REFUSED TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. Why should he, he's no doubt thinking—he's got 'em all confused now.] Furthermore, Dan Pike is definitely in the pocket of the Port of Bellingham. (You should look at Mr. Pike's C3s, Tip. You're really and truly kidding yourself here.) Dan McShane is the Port of Bellingham's biggest threat right now. And that's a good thing.

Dan McShane? He WOULD plan by neighborhoods through the Office of Neighborhoods. Dan Pike? Nope.

"Propaganda TV10 now even features a segment promoting "responsible" motorboating on our drinking water reservoir."

Tip, are you serious? DAN PIKE IS FOR "RESPONSIBLE" MOTORBOATING ON LAKE WHATCOM! He started his campaign as a boat's off guy. But he flipped. He started getting money from Lake Whatcom developer interests, and the guy flipped! Pandering to boaters. Some backbone! Dan McShane, who actually is a man of principle, has never changed his position as a mayoral candidate: Boats off. For Mr. McShane, boats off is just one of a multi-tiered and ambitious approach to saving the lake. And it'll start with a REAL Lake Whatcom Department with real governing authority.

Tip, when it comes to Dan Pike, you are completely deluded. Wake up. We need you at the Port raising hell, and not wasting your time trying to elect a deeply dumb and mendacious Rove disciple named Dan Pike. Wake up, Tip.

curious said...

Interesting points, but they are not addressed by ANY candidate for office this election. They are not even on the map. How is discussing them an advancement of issues IN THIS ELECTION?
Another flight of fancy for Tip, or a diversion so we stop talking about the inadequacies of current candidates?

I agree with black wind that Tip's list seems incompatible with his ENTHUSIASTIC support for collaborator Dan "more study" Pike.

Black WInd said...

Hi Curious,

Respectfully, that's not entirely true. While these topics have mostly not come up at the General Election forums or on the candidates' websites, some of them did come up at the Primary Election forums, which is the basis for some of my answers. The charter review question came up at the Silver Beach forum this summer, for example. Boats Off/On has come up occasionally and came up recently on KGMI. The Port has been a hot topic, but not hot enough. The thumb-sucking vagueness of the questions have belied the candidates' real positions. The BBF questionnaire, which has been circulating 'round town and landed in my inbox yesterday, had great questions on it. It clearly scared the deeply duplicitous Pike.
Regards,
Black Wind

Anonymous said...

Hey, Tip,

Great list. Wish we could get both candidates to respond on record--now and, say, in one year. FYI, your favorite Commissioners (and their favorite newspaper) both urge us to vote for "the right Dan." This terrifes me.

Your Secret Agent,

Anonymous said...

Tip raises very thoughtful points. Number one is Lake Whatcom, in my opinion. No water, no city.

Pike has made it a key foundation block of his "elect me at any cost" strategy to attempt to destroy, derail or kill the 8,400 Lake Whatcom Park.

He has no prior comment or position on the lake and has instructed his bitter, old, white male, campaign team to attack this huge leap forward in land protection, developed IN public over 8 years with hundreds of comments and despite multiple attempts by DNR and DOE to subvert it.

Pike sees this Park as a plus for McShane ergo, it must be attacked to destroy that minute edge that Dan's 8 long years of work on this one issue might generate. All for his own selfish promotion.

Does pike have an alternative to this Park? No. Just kill it for his ambition.

Would you stoop to this level Tip if you were running for office? I doubt it.

This one issue is a test of Character that Pike shows his quality and falls flat on his face.

Add the blatant Motor Boats off flop and lack of any history on lake issues and he is still a big ZERO.

Tip Johnson said...

OK, Black WInd, you win the prize. Almost some real work on the issues. Almost. Come on, you'all, think! Speak!

Anne-Marie said...

Dan McShane addresses many of the issues that Tip posts about with his "Office of Neighborhoods" plan and the "Lake Whatcom Office" proposal.

The concerns that Tip brings to light are are valid - and those are the same issues that McShane has publicly vowed to improve on.

As his campaign materials state, a vote for McShane is vote for "change that you can trust."

Anonymous said...

Up is down.
Black is white.
Motor Boats Off.
Me Likey the Lake Czar!
Free Open Bars happen.
I have a real Harvard Masters degree!
I managed $500 million projects.
Me buy Chuckanut Ridge at any cost.
Waterfront clean up no, I mean maybe?
Foster Rose did NOT approach me!
Hello.
Frankly.

At what point do Pike lovers see a troubling trend?

Ask yourself, what kind of person would deliberately lie, repeatedly, with malice, to all the good voters of Bellingham to get himself into office?



New buttons:
I Lie Like Pike!

Mitch Friedman said...

I love Tip's list, and am in pretty deep agreement. Rather than argue over Dans though, I'm going to use the opportunity to bolster my endorsements for nonincumbents for city council. I've caught a lot of flack for endorsing Geyer, but I stand on Tip's explanation.

Anonymous said...

What are Mr. Pike's current positions on the last two Citizen Initiative issues:

A. Clean up all toxins at the various waterfront sites.

B. Motor Boats off.

Just asking.

Richard Head said...

What are Tip "of my" Johnson's position on intergovernmental affairs?
City County Intergovernmental Affairs: politically correct term for incumbant circle jerk.

My Friends Call Me Dick

Vain Joshers said...

Whoa, somebody needs to put a comment feature on John Watts' blog. Check out his hyperventilation today at
http://bellinghamstertalk.blogspot.com/

Mitch Friedman said...

I think the message of Watts' tirade is: "McShane lacks the vision to understand why it's best to leave 12 tons of mercury in Bellingham Bay. Must have something to do with Syre."

Hey look John, I just rewrote your whole verbose post in 25 words and without a single exclamation point! (Woops.) But it still makes no sense.

Here's the untold history of the Healthy Bay Initiative: We at the B'ham Bay Foundation had counted on City Council to be a public-interest counterbalance to the Port. When council members, including John, showed no ability to grasp to shortcomings of the proposed cleanup (coverup is a more acurate term), and got steamrolled in negotiating the interlocals, the only option left was initiative. We had (and still have) public support for a better cleanup, but the city sued us to keep the initiative off the ballot.

John certainly has a right to believe that the Port's cleanup plan is sufficient or perhaps a necessary cost of Big Vision. But respect broke down when he (and others on council) discounted our views (and the wealth of science and public opinion behind it) to an ulterior motive of somehow benefiting David Syre's business interests.

So now that John (and others) have tarred the Bay Foundation with conspiracy theories about Syre's interests, he's trying to rub that stink on Dan McShane. (And this is the guy who called me to task in his blog for a column I wrote about reconeyance and Pike. Big Vision and Big Ethics.)

Well here's a bold statement to John Watts: The BBF vision is superior to yours and doesn't require accepting that 12 tons of mercury be left in the Bay.

I can't speak for McShane, but I think he gets that. Does Pike? Don't know, as he's hiding behind the transparent red herring of a peer review process that's too little, too late.

Anonymous said...

As this Anonymouse already said, Tip's list of Ten is great. But there is a number Eleven that should be near number One: The Shoreline Master Plan. It has loopholes (effectively, the EXCLUSION of most of the "Waterfront District" from the jurisdiction of the SMP) big enough to drive many, many trucks through. This is a major issue which has been under public review and heated discussion by both Council and Planning Commission for much of the past year. Any candidate for Mayor with a real concern for the future of Bellingham should have detailed knowledge (and a clear opinion) on this. See:

http://www.thebellinghambusinessjournal.com/july_07/candidates/pike.html

BBJ: Do you support the Shoreline Master Plan currently being proposed by City Staff? Please explain.

PIKE: I support the process of creating a systematic approach for examining big-picture issues within the community, rather than addressing them on an ad hoc basis. I have not read the SMP closely enough at this point to address specific criticisms—positive or negative — regarding its result or efficacy.

No wonder there is one Dan who is "the right Dan" for the Port.

Anonymouse

Tip said...

We shouldn't keep talking about 12 tons of mercury. That's the biggest part of the sham.

G-P replaced 15 tons of mercury annually in their process for almost 40 years. That amounts to roughly 600 tons. We know they buried about 15 tons on the site in the "Chemfix Sludge Solidification Project". What did they do with the rest?

They claim to have dumped 15 to 20 tons in the bay. Environment Canada studied a similar facility in Dalhousie, New Brunswick, and determined it released 15 to 20 times as much mercury to the atmosphere as to the receiving water body. Atmospheric deposition is only recently understood as an important factor in the mercury flux in contaminated areas. Where is the missing mercury?

They dumped contaminated sludge around Star Rock and along Whatcom Creek. G-P used an EPA grant funded "Mercury Recovery Unit" to roast sludge for years before the DOE asked for a report. G-P replied that while the unit was very effective at removing mercury, none of it had as yet been recovered. In other words, G-P was egregiously vaporizing tons of mercury into the atmosphere downtown. Why does Whatcom County exhibit a higher than ordinary incidence of chronic conditions increasingly associated with mercury exposure?

All this was done at least a decade after the disaster in Minimata had proven that mercury in the environment was a threat to human health, food and water supplies. They knew. The World Health Organization and North Sea Convention had issued warnings. In the mid-seventies elevated mercury levels were discovered in fish of the Great Lakes. It was traced to chlor-alkali facilities. As a result, more than thirty of them were shut down to protect the fisheries. G-P was allowed to operate for two more decades.

Bill Moyers later exposed the secret papers of the Chemical Industry Association's conspiracy to avoid hazardous waste regulation by recasting wastes as products. We know G-P sat at that table. They produced "drilling mud" out of their black liquor waste for sale to the oil industry. Now mercury hot spots are common around offshore drilling rigs, impeding fish reproduction. G-P also made a "dust-suppressant" for sale to their own forestry divisions and which was used on their logging roads throughout the Nooksack and Lake Whatcom watersheds. Why are fish tissues in Lake Whatcom contaminated with mercury?

G-P also contracted with private haulers to come to the plant and haul away about ten truckloads of gunk per day. The didn't really care where it went. Gravel pits and ravines were de riguer, since anything "bad" would naturally go away in a pretty short time. There are reports of spontaneous combustion, disgustingly colorful leachates, sickened animals and people. When the State asked G-P to "cease and desist", they "respectfully refused". DOE capitulated. Why has the state steadfastly refused to ask for an accounting of G-P's mercury or to sponsor a health survey of the area.

So when we talk about 12 or 20 tons, we are still NOT talking about the other 500 or more tons. So what if twenty times that amount were volatilized into the atmosphere? What about the remaining 100 tons?

Hundreds of municipal water purveyors in California are wondering what they are supposed to do as mercury from hundred year old mining operations hundreds of miles away gradually makes its way downstream to increasingly pollute their municipal water supplies.

I agree that the waterfront and the bay cover-up are important issues. But this one ought to go beyond the measley 12 tons they admit to leaving in our bay sediments. It ought to extend to the fraudulent and collusive activities of our Port Authority, and the City and State agencies that permitted the activity.

The Port turned the world upside down, fabricating a mind-boggling deal that allows "The Law is the Law" to take effect only as a last resort in a complex arrangement that left the public guaranteeing that we would accept the lowest cost remediation, pay for anything extra and defend G-P from any and all claims. That is supposedly legal because the Port is a legal, elected authority, because they signed a purchase and sales agreement with G-P, entered into a tortuous contract with AIG insurance and manufactured a consent decree with the DOE?

They are all guilty of fraud. That's our case.

Anonymous said...

The only reason someone gets a "Mid Career" MPA from Harvard?

They are hoping to find good people too lazy not to actually check out the program. People like Brett, Tip, John, Sam, Sheri, and the entire Herald Editorial Board.

When Pike looks at you with those sincere, consensus building eyes, he has a consensus about how gullible you are.

Imagine the contempt you must have for your fellow Bellinghamsters to try to fool them with his pathetic degree Harvard crap.

But who's the worse, the seller or the buyer?

Mitch Friedman said...

For the record: While I have huge concerns about Pike, including his lack of public engagement in the community and playing both sides of major issues, I don't agree with criticizing his MPA.

It's a good thing that harvard has a program for non-elites. And it's certainly not a bad thing that Pike isn't an elite or that he completed that program.

What I'd like to hear (and Watts) respond to the real toxity issues (whether the 12 tons in the Bay or the larger issue Tip describes) associated with the Port's plan.

Ann Landers said...

Hi Girls,
You sound like a bunch of cats at the saucer dish. Never seen so much chatter about nothing.

Anonymous said...

Issue: Initiatives

What was Pike's involvement in any recent initiative or referendum in town?

I predict he has not ever signed an initiative or referendum in the City of Bellingham, or participated in any signature drive.

Initiatives show great consenesus building leading to the real summation of public consensus: an electoral issue to be decided by citizens.

No history of any Pike involvement on EITHER side of any initiative.

So what does that say about D. V. Pike's commitment or care in this community?

Anonymous said...

Bor. Ing.

Tip, can you help us & name Mr. Pike's top ten local issues or ordinances he has recently led to successful completion in Bellingham?

Standing by.....

Anonymous said...

News Flash! Cascadia Weekly calls
Pike a "lying sack of crap". (paraphrased) Tim Johnson, editor.

Todd Donovan's long guest article details how Pike broke the PDC law (allegedly) by hosting multiple expensive OPEN BAR fund raisers with developers. Pike to this day, refuses to disclose who put up the $5000 deposits to host these expensive events.

He will disclose that Banjo Player in-kind contribution of the $2 Pike Deliverance Song, but not his developer backers.

Snarling, like a trapped rat, Pike attacks respected WWU Prof. Todd Donovan for revealing this blatant law breaking. He declines to tell his trusting voters who owns his pink Pike ass.

"Suckers! You will find out -after the election!"

Tip and Servais were probably there at the Belwether sucking down the tainted booze and laughing about their fellow Bellinghamsters who are being punked by their new developer buddy. Contempt for their fellow Bellingham residents dripped from their greasy nacho stained chins as they swilled Pike's free developer beer and booze.

Gentle reader, its OK, don't worry about breaking laws. Tip and John support Pike no matter what laws get broken.

Its a matter of principle.

Tip Johnson said...

Wow. Nice prose. Good fiction. However, the truth is that I wasn't at the Bellwether "sucking down the tainted booze", "laughing about...fellow Bellinghamsters who are being punked" or dripping contempt from my "greasy nacho stained chin" as I "swilled Pike's free developer beer and booze". Nope, the only fundraiser I attended was Gene's and he dropped out of the race.

However, it does fairly characterize the losing strategy your campaign has adopted and why even McShane's best friends are bolting for the Pike camp. Maybe fantasy writing like this is perversely poetic, but in the end it is merely distasteful and nobody wants to get it on them.

It's easy to throw rocks, but name one that I've thrown. For that matter, quote some outlandish statement of support I have expressed for Pike. Go ahead, prove your point. It's easy to make a point even if it is false as long as you don't care a whit about the truth. Check it out. Almost all of the substantive issues appearing on this site have been provided by me - and none of them have stirred even the least dialog. You'd simply rather throw rocks. That's easy.

And as far as breaking laws or upholding principles go, what about this site? It is an act of theft, an unmitigated copyright violation for the express purpose of mocking others. Do you support theft? Are you a thief?

Pike knows nothing about the operation of this site and agrees it is an egregious copyright violation. It's high time that Dan and Lisa, Mitch and Tim Paxton state for the record whether they feel it is acceptable to rip off other people's stuff and whether they are involved in the site or know who is. I dare them. Because laughing about crime and covering up criminals is a lot more serious offense than having a beer at a political event.

I find it bizarre that you don't understand everyone is entitled to an opinion and that abusing people for expressing theirs has a chilling effect on the most important aspect of our democracy. That's exactly why I wouldn't want you guys to get in power. I'd be afraid of getting a free ride in a boxcar.

Mitch Friedman said...

Tip,
It's a big jump for you to assume that Jive Ass Horn is associated with McShane. Servais has gored a lot of oxes.
My personal view is that this site is a complete waste of bandwidth, as comments should be on John's actual site. He could even moderate them to screen out anon's and such. Civil discourse involves the opportunity for response, and there's no longer any excuse for John's unilateral approach.
I don't know copyright law, but it sure looked like John invited reposting (with due credit). He got what he asked for.
You do raise a good point about the substantive quality of posts here. My (disappointing) observation is that this criticism applies to blogs generally. Still, like the lte function of a newspaper, they provides a place for response to misstatements and provocation. That's worth something, and both Servais and Watts would do well to open themselves to it.

Tip Johnson said...

Mitch,

Answer the questions. Do you condone the rip-off? Do you know who is responsible, and are they affiliated with the McShane campaign?

Not that I don't share some of your feelings, generally, but I think it is time to get specific on these answers.

Mitch Friedman said...

Wow. This is almost as tense as my morning interogation at KGMI.

I don't know Santa, the Easter Bunny, or Jimmy Hoffa's ghost. But I have met Jive Ass Horn. This person is not associated with the McShane campaign.

I'm happy to say that that appreciate what Mr. Horn did to open up Servais' site to dialogue (though I sure don't endorse all the dialogue that's occurred). And while I'm no lawyer, it seems to be consistent with John's invitation (in his original copyright statement) to repost content (with due credit).

However, I am not my brother's (or sister's) keeper. It's Jive Ass' decision on whether to come out of the closet.

George Dyson said...

Hey, Tip (assuming it is really Tip)! I assume (until proven otherwise) that John Servais is behind this website... after all, it seems to be quite successfully (if at times a bit too obviously) promoting NWC and fanning favor for his preferred candidate, Dan Pike. Me, I tend to go with the underdog. Careful scrutiny is in order for any candidate who is strongly supported by the Herald *and* the Port.

Your ardent supporter for Port Commission,

George Dyson (or a close pretender)