Posted by: sweeneyblog | December 10, 2012

Monday Odds and Ends – Tides of Change

Hello Loyal Readers,

Sorry for the delayed Odds and Ends, it has been a busy week and this got pushed off. To make up for it, it is a double-stuffed Odds and Ends. As usual, it is all the news that is fit to print, but not enough to justify its own post.

Backed up by facts

Backed up by facts

On Tuesday last week, I spoke before the Whatcom County Council about the need for a jail that is the Right Size for our community. I shared with the council some comparisons to other counties (you can find the numbers I used here). Two members of the Public Safety Now group, the organization made up of many of Elfo’s campaign volunteers that has been cranking up the volume for a large jail, decided to speak after me. They said I was a “liar” and disputed my numbers. They promised to post a rebuttal on their website. Almost a week later, nothing but crickets. Sorry Ray Baribeau and Paul Harris, if you are going to call someone a liar, it helps to back up your assertions with facts. I cited my sources, it’s time to put yours on the table.

Marriage Equality Comes to Whatcom

Marriage Equality Comes to Whatcom

On Thursday of last week, marijuana possession became legal and so did same-sex marriage, as several deliriously happy couples packed into the county auditor’s office to get marriage licenses. On Sunday, the first same-sex marriages were performed across the state. Here is a picture, snapped by Doug Starcher, of one such couple getting married at the County Courthouse.

During this time of year, most political parties do some reshuffling of their leadership. For the Whatcom Republicans, this means the end of the era, as Luanne Van Werven lost her seat to Charlie Crabtree, their database guru and journalist-blamer. Congrats to Charlie, who definitely has his work cut out for him this year. You can find the ceremonial passing of the gavel between the former chair and the new chair here. Both look deeply thrilled to be part of this process.

A couple of weeks ago, I poked fun at the Federal House Republicans for their complete lack of diversity in appointing committee chairs. Since then, a few things have happened. First, as an afterthought, they appointed a woman chair (Rep Candice Miller, R-Mich) . . . to the House Administration Committee. You know, the one in charge of housekeeping, literally. It is the least influential committee available and frankly, does little to blunt the criticism. To compare, let’s look at who Nancy Pelosi announced to be the ranking members on those same committees.

Democratic Ranking Members

Democratic Ranking Members

Notice the difference? I’m not suggesting there is some magic quota of leadership positions that are supposed to go to women or minorities, but if you don’t have diverse views represented within your organization, you are only going to be looking at a narrow spectrum of potential answers. You need voices outside your own perspective, it leads to better decision-making.

Finally, I’ve been working on a piece for the Cascadia Weekly that will hopefully come out this week. Make sure to keep an eye out for it. I hope everyone is staying warm this holiday season, I’ll have some more material up tomorrow about this year’s upcoming initiatives and what we can learn from them.



  1. I’m curious for an update from you on Whatcom County law enforcement’s posture on marijuana. I understand Elfo’s outfit has adopted a “no policy policy” or something of sufficient ambiguity to allow any (or no) action. Also, any word on the Obama administration’s Dept. of Justice and the contemplated injunction? Finally, your perspectives on the Whatcom County Council’s decision to retain a Seattle law firm to challenge the State rural lands development regulations?

    • Those are all good questions and I have blog posts queued up to tackle them in the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

  2. -to-take-power-in-state-senate/

    From: The Political Junkie Reply-To: The Political Junkie Date: Monday, December 10, 2012 7:01 AM To: Kevin Ranker Subject: [New post] Monday Odds and Ends Tides of Change sweeneyblog posted: “Hello Loyal Readers, Sorry for the delayed Odds and Ends, it has been a busy week and this got pushed off. To make up for it, it is a double stuffed Odds and Ends. As usual, it is all the news that is fit to print, but not enough to justify its own pos”

    • That’s bad news. I thought they were going to wait until Probst seat was settled.

  3. The Elfo cronies were referring to the City of Olympia jail that has 28 beds (16 current inmates) and a jail ran by the Nisqually Indians that currently holds 78.

    Did you notice during the presentation that one of the things that the jail planner will be working on is the feasibility of co-locating a new Sheriff HQ with the new jail?

  4. Fiddy Thousand taxpayer bucks to fight the rules in favor of the few who stand to benefit. Now that’s Small Town Corporatocracy in action!
    How about we abide the rules and put that money towards something productive like potholes or bridge repairs.

  5. I was at the Tuesday meeting. I thought you were very well spoken and in your short allotment of time presented the council with excellent information and an informed perspective.
    The message I got from the Big Jail Now Group was we hates hates Riley.
    I will only say I have a very hard time trusting anything from that group.

    • Maybe Riley missed his calling and should have run for Sheriff!

  6. The 113th Democratic House Committee Leadership could make a great police lineup.

    • What makes you say that?

      • I hear crickets.

  7. […] key issue this year is the construction of a new jail. In light of plummeting crime rates and the recent legalization of marijuana, do we really need a giant 700 bed jail the Sheriff is proposing or a more reasonable 500 bed jail? […]

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