Local Politics & News

Ever wonder what our Country would be if our political leaders showed as much understanding of governments role in society.  Well I asked permission to post this letter and response to give solid examples of real people who know the difference between controlled, command security and life, liberty for the pursuit of happiness. I've removed their names to maintain their privacy. I trust you'll enjoy this post.
Yours In Truth  ;-)  Shelly

To Whom It May Concern:
I was prompted to look at your website by a friend of mine after we had a discussion regarding what the Tea Party movement really stands for. I read through some of your content and wanted to ask a few questions out of a sincere sense of confusion. First, let me declare that I tend to not agree with the stance of the Tea Party in general, hence the discussion with my friend. But I refuse to be dismissive as I find such an attitude unproductive. I am not trying to be confrontational, but to genuinely understand a few things. I also want to say that my experience with the tea party is minimal. I have read a bit in the news (I do not obtain news via television) and seen the "protest" on April 15th on the Guide Meridian. 
I want to acknowledge some common ground: I agree that the deficit spending of the US government is a problem. I also agree that state's rights are important. I agree that the Declaration of Independence is one of the greatest pieces of political writing in the history of people, and that the Constitution is a brilliant document. 
I get lost when I read your statements about these documents and the conclusions drawn from them on your site. I consider myself a progressive (above any other label I admire the label progressive for several reasons: it stands for revision, improvement, and development--arguably one of the most amazing things about the US Constitution is that it has a built in system for just these things making it adaptable to the changing world--and progressive has positive historical connotations as progressives are historically responsible for ending slavery and earning women's rights among other things). This is not to say that everyone and everything done under the label of progressive is positive. But I do not understand the choice to vilify the term with quote marks. I find that odd and a strangely aggressive choice. Regardless, I want to ask about this text that appears under your brief explanation of the Dec. of Independence: 
"Progressives", most notably Woodrow Wilson, tend to dismiss the preamble as irrelevant posturing, claiming that the list of grievances is the real issue, whereas most constructionists believe that without the preamble as justification, the list of grievances would be nothing more than petulant whining about a government that is physically able to do whatever it wants -- much like today.
I am curious what sort of proof or support you have to claim that progressives dismiss the preamble? The opening lines of the preamble seem the very definition of progressivism. Thomas Jefferson seems like an ideal progressive (as defined by wikipedia: 
Progressivism in the United States is a broadly-based reform movement that reached its height early in the 20th century and is generally considered to be middle class and reformist in nature. It arose as a response to the vast changes brought by modernization, such as the growth of large corporations and railroads, and fears of corruption in American politics. In the 21st century self-styled progressives continue to embrace concepts such as environmentalism and social justice.[1] Social progressivism, the view that governmental practices ought to be adjusted as society evolves, forms the ideological basis for many American progressives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism_in_the_United_States)
The preamble starts off by saying that when the people of a nation are oppressed, they should speak up in the first paragraph. Then Jefferson moves on to those lovely lines: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." etc. 
You don't need me to quote this back to you. But don't these lines resonate with wikipedia's description of progressivism in the US?  Doesn't a reform movement interested in curbing corruption in politics, social justice (or insuring the rights of all people), and questioning the government dovetail perfectly into Jefferson's ideas of the need to reform an oppressive government and the ideal that we are all equal and deserve opportunity? 
I don't understand the disconnect. 
Also, I have seen elsewhere on the web an image that shows the Constitution and has text over the top: "Don't you miss it now?" Do you have something that presents claims of what exactly the Obama administration has done to alter or ignore or otherwise cause citizens to "miss" the Constitution? As far as I can see he has used the system of checks and balances that the document lays out in detail. I am interested in specifically what your organization questions. I also wonder why images like this were not around when President Bush was in office. He made more direct impact on curbing the Constitution and increasing our deficit spending than any president in the last thirty years. We balanced the budget under President Clinton. President Bush put us back in debt. He also curbed individual rights and when he altered the Constitution with the Military Act of 2006 which removed habus corpus and allowed government to detain citizens without having just cause to detain them. 
One final question. How do you propose the government, both Federal and State, raise money to keep programs like: Medicare, free education, and social security (all arguably successful programs though all in need of overhaul and reform) without raising taxes? 
Thank you for your time. 
Xxxxxx Xxxxxx
Bellingham, WA

Dear xxx  xxxxxxx,
I think we differ in several areas, although there are some superficial commonalities. Most of the trouble comes in defining the terms, I think. What you consider progressive, and what you claim as progressive accomplishments are not necessarily those of the 'progressive' movement (in my personal opinion -- I cannot speak for anyone else in this tea party or any other tea party). I use quotes around the word 'progressive' because I do not feel the 'progressive' movement is particularly progressive, and I do not want to grant them that claim. Many of us feel that the 'progressive' agenda, if implemented, will have a decidedly regressive impact. The abolition of slavery, civil rights, women's rights are all covered in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and were well understood at the time. Some problems are easier to solve than others.
US Constitution was ratified and subsequently amended to set the terms and conditions of our federal government. The beauty of the Constitution is not that it is malleable, it is that it is negotiable through the amendment process. For nearly 100 years we have experienced a gradual migration away from the fundamental terms and conditions (limitations mainly) on the powers and responsibilities of the federal government at the expense of states' rights and individual rights.
One of the key principles of the Constitution is the enumerated powers, which say what rights and responsibilities We the People have agreed to grant to the federal government. Most of us in the tea parties, and most of the tea parties believe (although individual tea parties differ in character, as do individual participants) is that the federal government has been usurping our liberties for a very long time. Significant inflection points occurred in the Wilson era, during FDR's administration, the Johnson administration, and most recently, the Obama administration. I agree with you that G.W. Bush also did some usurpation (although the Patriot Act and going to war without a formal declaration of war by Congress are the only two I can think of right now). Under the Obama administration (with the help of both houses of congress), we are stuck with at least three three bail-outs, government take-over of two formerly private automobile manufacturers, private financial institutions, student loans, health care, with their sights set on energy (government controls the means of production -- sound familiar?).
At some point, these usurpations, and the associated expense and loss of liberty hit a critical mass, and the tea parties formed. Most of us do not share your enthusiasm for Medicare, "free" education or Social Security, none of which are authorized by the Constitution. If We the People decide we want to live in that sort society (more on that in a minute), then we need to amend the Constitution to authorize those roles, and to grant those rights and responsibilities to the federal government.
Most tea partiers find the concept of government entitlements and government redistribution of wealth repugnant. We also believe that the founders, and the original intent of the Constitution and the founding documents would agree. I can cite many instances in the Federalist Papers, and subsequent letters and documents in the early years of our government, while the founders were still active in various capacities, or you can find them yourself. There seems to be a growing confusion these days between rights and responsibilities. For example, health care is not a right, it is a responsibility. I do not feel that anybody owes me health care, nor do I owe anybody health care. When you take something that I have earned, and give it to someone who hasn't -- whether you think they deserve it or not -- without my consent -- that is theft. If I voluntarily give someone something that I have earned, that is charity. Use your liberty to form charities, your first amendment right to convince people to donate to them, or give them as much of your own money as you want. That is what liberty is all about -- and that is a great society!
The level of government regulation, taxation, intrusion and control over our lives is becoming oppressive, and it isn't authorized. Whether I agree with it, or you agree with it -- be it global warming, government health care, Social Security, Medicare -- it isn't in the enumerated powers. The founders gave us the first amendment to allow us to convince people to do the right thing, not to use government to compel them. If the money currently spent lobbying government to enact e.g., environmental regulations were instead spent on radio, television and internet campaigns to educate people, we would still have our liberty, and you might find that overall compliance and goodwill to be much better.
Here's another example from James Madison. It's a letter that he wrote to congress as president, vetoing a public works bill to build the equivalent of today's interstate highway system. In it, he said, basically, that although it might be a very valuable project, he simply did not see the authorization for it in the Constitution. Madison is considered to be the primary architect of the US Constitution, so he should know. He suggested that congress go back and make the necessary amendment, and try again. The amendment never happened, but we have an interstate highway system nevertheless. Something went terribly wrong.
So I think you know the answer to your question about how to fund the programs you mention, without raising taxes: the government is not authorized to be doing those programs in the first place. But ignoring that for now, raising taxes will not provide the revenue. If you keep burdening a vehicle, eventually you will kill the engine, and you'll have to drag the load yourself. That's what will happen to jobs and the economy by raising taxes. You will see that in the next year or two if Obama and congress isn't stopped and/or reversed, post haste. Or worse, the deficit spending will kill our children's future. Although frankly, we have to borrow from something -- wealth doesn't come out of thin air -- and the lenders will eventually cut us off. The wealth producers will have long since left the market.
If government were less intrusive, politics would be less divisive.
Xxxxx  Xxxxxxx

The US Constitution is still the official specification for our United States of America.
It protects liberty and justice for all, your individual liberty, and your prosperity.
Any regime that distorts or disregards its original intent is untrustworthy and dangerous.

I don’t want to “pile on” xxxx xxx – but there are other, rather critical, ideas that are important to raise that should give a ‘progressive’ pause.
First -- A serious downside to “progressive” collectivism is its inherent “mediocrity.”  I can’t describe this any better than DeTocqueville, who wrote (my bolds, for emphasis – you’ve seen this all before)
in his.. "What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have To Fear"
                "I wish to imagine under what new features despotism might appear in the world:  I see an innumerable crowd of men, all alike and equal, turned in upon themselves in a restless search for those petty, vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls.  Each of them, living apart, is almost unaware of the destiny of all the rest.  His children and personal friends are for him the whole of the human race; as for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he stands alongside them but does not see them; he touches them without feeling them; he exists only in himself and for himself; if he still retains his family circle, at any rate he may be said to have lost his country.
                Above these men stands an immense and protective power which alone is responsible for looking after their enjoyments and watching over their destiny.  It is absolute, meticulous, ordered, provident, and kindly disposed.  It would be like a fatherly authority, if, fatherlike, its aim were to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks only to keep them in perpetual childhood; it prefers its citizens to enjoy themselves provided they have only enjoyment in mind.  It works readily for their happiness but it wishes to be the only provider and judge of it.  It provides their security, anticipates and guarantees their needs, supplies their pleasures, directs their principal concerns, manages their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances.  Why can it not remove from them entirely the bother of thinking and the troubles of life?
                Thus, it reduces daily the value and frequency of the exercise of free choice; it restricts the activity of free will within a narrower range and gradually removes autonomy itself from each citizen.  Equality has prepared men for all this, inclining them to tolerate all these things and often to see them as a blessing.
                Thus, the ruling power, having taken each citizen one by one into its powerful grasp and having molded him to its own liking, spreads its arms over the whole of society, covering the surface of social life with a network of petty, complicated, detailed, and uniform rules through which even the most original minds and the most energetic of spirits cannot reach the light in order to rise above the crowd.  It does not break men's wills but it does soften, bend, and control them; rarely does it force men to act but it constantly opposes what actions they perform; it does not tyrannize but inhibits, represses, drains, snuffs out, dulls so much effort that finally it reduces each nation to nothing more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as shepherd.
                I have always believed that this type of organized, gentle, and peaceful enslavement just described could like up more easily than imagined with some of the external forms of freedom and that it would not be impossible for it to take hold in the very shadow of the sovereignty of the people.
                Our contemporaries are ceaselessly agitated by two conflicting passions:  they feel the need to be directed as well as the desire to remain free.  Since they are unable to blot out either of these hostile feelings, they strive to satisfy both of them together.  They conceive a single, protective, and all-powerful government but one elected by the citizens.  They combine centralization with the sovereignty of the people.  That gives them some respite.  They derive consolation from being supervised by thinking that they have chosen their supervisors.  Every individual tolerates being tied down because he sees that it is not another man nor a class of people holding the end of the chain but society itself.
                Under this system citizens leave their state of dependence just long enough to choose their masters and then they return to it.
                At the present time, many people very easily fall in with this type of compromise between a despotic administration and the sovereignty of the people and they think they have sufficiently safeguarded individual freedom when they surrendered it to a national authority.  That is not good enough for me.  The character of the master is much less important to me than the fact of obedience."
Many elements of “progressive collectivism” puts a cheerful face on self imposed slavery, on this mediocrity.   (You should read some parts of the Whatcom County comprehensive plan.   It’s loaded with chatter about individuals – the public -- making “trade-offs,” for progress.   Gives me chills.   The Foothills SAP, scheduled for approval in 2011 (if they don’t push it through this year, in haste) is loaded with the tripe.  I digress...)
Next - The current progressive “politic” desires social and economic justice -- “not letting” X, Y, or Z fail.   Student’s must not fail.   Car companies must not fail.   The “economy” must not fail.  “Sustainability” has been vogue and the norm in “planning” for more than ten years.  The system is busy selecting “winners and losers.”   I think it’s dangerously unprogressive to disassociate success from performance and merit.   While DeTocqueville only imagined the harm this could do, we have begun to see the harm that “entitlements” have visited upon us culturally, intellectually – as a civilization.
More -  I don’t understand why “progressives” seem to believe that [to save us from ourselves] bureaucrats and “government” are better placed and/or more competent to make decisions, policies, etc. for us.   What godlike quality might  qualify any Secretary of Health & Human Services to “make the right medical choice” for everyone?   There is little reason to believe that “the finest minds” are in “civil service.”  The degree of power being handed, willy-nilly, to bureaucrats and agencies – with or without checks and balances – is astounding!
Just a few points to raise, if this xxxxxx writes again...

Whatcom County Council Approves revisions of "Standards of Home Occupation" from 20.97.180 to 20.84.150...What Say You?
On July 27th the Whatcom County Council approved the revision to "Standards for Home Occupation".  By a vote of '7 to 0', they voted to revise these standards from from 20.97.180 to  to 20.84.150.  The official links to 20.84.150 have not been completed, but it essentially moves home occupation out of 20.97 to the umbrella of 20.84 and all of the conditions imposed by this section of Title 20.84.  In the Council's defense, they did revise the title to include 'Permitted Uses', but this is still a misleading definition of what is an understood right of use, to a permitted use if your home and occupation meets all of the standards set in 20.84.150.  If after reading the standards listed in 20.97.180 and comparing the revisions approved in 20.84.150 (not officially published yet with 'slight' changes) let me and the let your County Council know if you agree/disagree with this action.

Yours In Truth  ;-)  Shelly

My-Oh-My!  What could be happening at the Port of Bellingham?  The '3' candidates in the running drop out, or were they kicked out for consideration of the position?  Were they not 'Progressive' enough?  The only department in local politics that has in the past run in the black, is undergoing such a radical change in ideology, that we best keep track of whether they are still bringing productive business to the local tax base, or non-profits that will suck upon the teats of the tax payers.
Yours in Truth  ;-)  Shelly

All three Port of Bellingham director candidates drop out; Port commission wanted to interview others for position


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BELLINGHAM — The executive director post at the Port of Bellingham may go unfilled for another month or more, now that port commissioners have decided they want to interview more applicants for the post.
After they heard that news, announced Friday, July 16, all three of the finalists named earlier decided to drop out of the running.
The three are John Carter, city of Bellingham finance director; Jeffrey Bishop, executive director for the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay; and Dwight Rives, director of port construction services at the Port of Seattle.
All three spoke at a public gathering last week as part of a selection process that also included private interviews with port staff, commissioners and other community leaders. At that time, commissioners said that by the end of July, they expected to pick one of the three as the permanent replacement for Jim Darling, who resigned in June 2009. Port Facilities Director Fred Seeger has served as his interim replacement.
The commission had planned to bring five finalists to Bellingham, but two of those five withdrew from the process a few days before the local interviews were scheduled.
On Friday, commissioners announced that they had asked their Seattle-based search firm, Waldron and Associates, to take a second look at the 110 applications submitted earlier for the $125,000- to $135,000-a-year job.
The search firm was hired to assist in the executive search for a flat fee of $25,000 plus up to $10,000 in travel expenses.
Port commissioners said they expect to have additional candidates here for interviews by the end of August.
"We carefully and thoughtfully considered all of the input we received during the interview process," Commission President Jim Jorgensen said in a press release. "And we greatly appreciate all the time that members of the community and stakeholder groups took to share their thoughts with us. Based upon that feedback, we believe it is necessary to expand the pool of applicants for this key leadership position."
Reach John Stark at 715-2274 or john.stark@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Consumer Protection Blog at TheBellinghamHerald.com/blogs.
Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/07/16/1529024/all-three-port-of-bellingham-director.html#ixzz0txpn0zBQ

What a surprise, after endorsing Senator Patty Murray the Washington State Realtors are now giving their blessings to Congressman Rick Larsen.  My interpretation of this flip on their good senses is that they are so desperate to keep the $8000.00 home buyers credit in play that they are selling their souls to the devil.  Well I say shame on them.  If they truly want to do right by the constituency they should demand that politicians behave in a Constitutionally righteous way.  No more give aways with money that belongs to the people and must be repaid by the people.
Yours in Truth  ;-)  Shelly

Larsen endorsed by WA Realtors

Via U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen’s campaign:
Rep. Larsen
Rep. Larsen
Everett, WA – The Washington REALTORS endorsed U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) for a sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I am honored to have the support of the Washington REALTORS.” Larsen said “A healthy real estate industry is critical to getting our economy back on track and creating good private sector jobs in our communities. I am pleased that the Washington REALTORS support my work to grow our local economy and help hardworking families achieve the dream of home ownership.”

“Endorsing Rick Larsen was an easy choice for the Washington REALTORS,” said Ron Wortham, REALTOR Federal Political Coordinator from Skagit County “I have seen firsthand how dedicated Rick is to our local communities and turning the economy around.”
“Rick Larsen is a strong voice for the Washington REALTORS,” said Joe Mosolino, Whidbey Island REALTOR “He knows that as homes in Washington state are built and sold, good jobs are created. His work to support the home buyers tax credit shows his commitment to spurring economic growth and job creation in Washington state.”
Washington Realtors represents about 170,000 homebuyers and the interests of more than 2 million homeowners throughout the state.

Read more: http://blogs.bellinghamherald.com/politics/election/larsen-endorsed-by-wa-realtors/#more-7385#ixzz0rTHgqB9z

I actually am very heartened to see a local private business, who actually produce a product, get this type of a contract.  The only thing I greatly regret is that it is paid for with public funds that I know we do not have.  If this begins to happen locally in the private sector with private funds that contract for large purchases for private consumption, I will breathe much easier. 
Yours in Truth  ;-) Shelly

Posted: Wednesday, 19 May 2010 6:19AM

Bellingham Boat Maker Signs Contract With Coast Guard

KGMI News Reporting
kgmi@kgmi.com BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A Bellingham boat builder is announcing a big contract with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Aluminum Chambered Boats president and COO Jim Moore said the company has agreed to a $37.7-million deal for up to 80 port security boats over a 5-year period.
“We’ve been working with the Coast Guard for a number a years, and this is the transportable port security boat,” said Moore.
“These crews go all over the world.”
Moore said the 32-foot boats are capable of operating in water as shallow as two feet, and will be used for security, maritime law enforcement, and search and rescue operations in coastal areas.
He said ACB has already worked on other boats for the Coast Guard, as well as the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps.

And so it begins...the slow loss of jobs as we are forced, through regulation and increased costs to curtail our activities.  What Intalco is doing is 'good' from the perspective of using less of something to produce the same and thus increasing their revenues.  But, if Intalco is reducing their water consumption because of reduced demand and increased costs due to regulations, then we will be looking at a loss of production and thus jobs and revenues to the community in the future.
Yours in Truth  ;-)  Shelly
Posted: Wednesday, 19 May 2010 5:12AM

Alcoa Intalco Works Smelter Reducing Water Use

KGMI News Reporting
kgmi@kgmi.com FERNDALE, Wash. -- Alcoa Inc. says it's upgrading the cooling system at its Intalco Works smelter near Ferndale to reduce the use of water by 60 percent.
The plant will use 3.5-million fewer gallons of water per day.
That's about one-fifth of the water drawn from the Nooksack River by the Whatcom County Public Utility District.
PUD General Manager Steve Jilk said the savings will allow the utility to supply more water to other users as the need arises.
The utility also supplies water to the British Petroleum and Conoco-Phillips refineries at Cherry Point, and the City of Ferndale.

The fact that the Pickford Theatre touts itself as an Independent Film House that exists for the sole purpose of showing the lesser known, lesser shown movies from around the world, is with out saying a noble endeavor.  The fact that the Pickford is a non-profit and does not pay taxes to the County, City, State of Washington or the Federal government, while they act as direct competion against private, for profit businesses that do cannot be argued.  So, how is it that a non-profit, who doesn’t pay the taxes that the for profit private businesses do, so readily qualifies for tax payer money, from a city and state that are broke, that will work negatively against their private business competitors, who do pay the taxes that the city and state require to balance their budgets, make sense to anyone?Posted: Tuesday, 11 May 2010 4:43AM
Where in the world is John Galt?
Yours in Truth  ;-)  Shelly

Bellingham Approves Grant For Pickford Film Center
Dillon Honcoop Reporting
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Bellingham’s Pickford Film Center will get another chunk of cash to help wrap up construction of its new facility downtown, after a decision Monday night.
The Bellingham City Council unanimously approved giving the project $75,000 in local tax money earmarked for tourism.
The Pickford recently had an additional quarter-million-dollars approved from state coffers.
Together, the new city and state money brings the project just shy of the fundraising total needed to qualify for another $175,000 grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
The grants bring the Pickford within $100,000 of completing its new $3,250,000 film center on Bay Street.

Whatcom County to use E-Verify system to check worker status
As the nation debates a controversial Arizona immigration law, Whatcom County officials are preparing to use a federal service to verify the legal status of its workers and contractor employees.
After more than a year of pushing by a group of local residents, the county is working to implement the E-Verify system, a program managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that serves to check the backgrounds of workers.
The system is voluntary for both private businesses and governments. While the program is free, the county expects some costs in extra staff time for training and administration of it.
County Deputy Administrator Dewey Desler said that the county is working to "quickly" implement a one-year pilot project to test the system, which has been criticized at the federal level for inaccuracies. Some groups have raised concerns about privacy, too.
Homeland Security says the system is 94 percent accurate.
The E-Verify program isn't permanent and was given a three-year extension in late 2009 as Congress continues to debate it.
The county pushed back against criticisms of not using the system for some time, mostly because it already had a strong system of checks in place, including background checks through the Washington State Patrol.
Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2010/05/03/1410970/whatcom-county-to-use-e-verify.html#ixzz0mwPND2rz