Posted by: sweeneyblog | November 15, 2013

Friday Odds and Ends: Victory Laps, Sideshows and Celebrations

Hello Loyal Readers,

It is time for our Friday Odds and Ends. I use these weekly columns to gather up all the tidbits that are important, just not important enough to justify their own post.

Crabtree is on the right

Crabtree is on the right

First, Whatcom Republicans Chair Charlie Crabtree has put forth an interesting theory about the election results. He puts the blame on south Bellingham and makes the case that Ken Mann and Carl Weimer did not win the district they represent. In an email to supporters, Crabtree pines for district-only voting.

My response is simply that Tony Larson and Kathy Kershner both lost the districts they were from when they were elected to the council, yet Crabtree did not object then. My mother had a saying that stuck with me: “Only a bad dancer blames the floor.” Perhaps instead grumbling about the rules, Crabtree could try to discover why so many voters in Whatcom County didn’t like his candidates.

Local Conservative reactions to the election have been varied. Jeremy Lott, conservative writer for Real Clear Politics, published an article in the American Spectator crediting Democrats for doorbelling and faulting Republicans for poor organizing. Local activist and farmer John Kirk takes a different angle, he blames God.

“In other words, God has allowed the progressives their majority.  But, can progressives really work with conservatives after their poisonous GOTV campaign? How long will Bellinghamsters cheer for bullies? When will the progressives eat their own? It happens, you know.”

Really, you should read John Kirk’s whole article. All I can say is, after years smearing Democrats as socialists trying to destroy America, it is a little rich for Kirk to talk about a “poisonous” campaign.

Rep. Jason Overstreet

Rep. Jason Overstreet

In non-County Council based news, Rep. Jason Overstreet traveled down to Salt Lake City to stump for Sen. Mike Lee. You might remember Sen. Lee as Sen. Ted Cruz’s best buddy in shutting down the government recently. I can’t help but compare Overstreet with his seatmate Rep. Vincent Buys.

While Overstreet was making headlines by politically showboating with two other far right legislators, Buys was making phone calls from the Whatcom Republicans office trying to get out the vote. I just thought that contrast was very telling.

Ready for the next big fight? The Cascadia Weekly had a great article by local writer Stephan Michaels about the plans for the waterfront. For someone who does not follow the waterfront development as closely as I should, it was a great jumping off point. Pick up a copy or click here to read it online.

Finally, Hawaii and Illinois both legalized marriage equality this week. In honor of their step forward, I offer this music video. The Olympia-based band, The Righteous Mothers, features a friend of mine and honors the long history that Hawaii has had on the forefront of LGBT rights.

Thank you, as always, for reading. I should have some exciting news to announce on Monday so stay tuned!



  1. As always, you hit the nail on the head with the Republicans and their losses to the city/county council. A big thanks again to you for pulling all the information together and helping the Whatcom Co. Democratic Women’s Club understand why we won. It was a good celebration and we were glad you could attend our meeting and add so much.

    • Thank you so much for having me, it was my pleasure.

  2. Riley, as a regular visitor to the Whatcom Watch Facebook page, I wish you would acknowledge Wendy’s contribution to all our knowledge about current waterfront issues. Everything practically all of us know, we’re learning from her, and she doesn’t get the credit she deserves.

  3. Riley,
    You ask “Ready for the next big fight?”

    Well, respectfully, the port fight’s over. It’s been won. While nobody was looking.

    The waterfront development is going through, in toto and without significant amelioration. A sleepwalking Council (exception: Jack Weiss) has committed Bellingham taxpayers to literally decades of financial squeeze, so that we can transfer taxpayer wealth to a developer.

    All the neighborhoods of our city are currently under-served in terms of infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic controls, bike lanes, street maintenance…) as well as public-safety services. The standard rebuff from COB when neighborhoods request improvements is “We’d love to help, but the money’s not there. Get on the evolving list and maybe in several years we’ll consider it. Or maybe not.”

    In addition to public infrastructure, many residential areas have deteriorating upkeep and maintenance, and are looking deeply distressed, not just from an architectural but also from a social and family point of view. Think: Lower Samish Way. Think: Parts of Birchwood. Think: Parts of Roosevelt. Think: Parts of Sunnyland.

    We have a risibly small number of on-duty police for our population. Improving this takes money that the city does not currently have.

    Fixing decaying neighborhoods, and preventing decay in those that are in reasonable shape, takes ongoing investment and resources.

    So it really scares me to hear pabulum like “The future is in the Port”, ’cause if that’s true, it sure ain’t gonna be in the neighborhoods. This is a zero-sum game.

    COB is strapped for cash when it comes to supporting existing neighborhoods right now, before the Port’s maw opens and swallows major money. Those neighborhoods face a grim twenty hears during which $10-million is bled off to the Port subsidy every friggin’ year.

    Abe Jacobson

    • Abe – very good (albeit depressing) analysis. More spending of taxpayers money on Fictitious Future Folks (FFF’s). How did you like your 8% tax increase? ANd your Water/sewer rates doubling in 6 years? Well, if you are right, this is small potatoes compared to the raping to come to bribe developers to build condos for FFF’s. WHy should we pay? Let the Flipping FFF’s pay (that would be FFFF’s, right?).

      It’s just completely backward as an approach to planning. Except form the perspective of maintaining jobs at City Hall. On our dime, and to our detriment, as you point out. Other four letter F-words come to mind.

    • Well said Abe.

  4. […] all the flurry over curious Port results, Doug Ericksen for Congress and my all-male Odds and Ends last week, the recent activity on the jail almost went unnoticed. However, the County has taken two very big […]

  5. […] after the county council drubbing his party received in 2013, he complained that Ken Mann and Carl Weimer weren’t really elected to their positions because their districts didn’t vote for them nearly as much as the 1st district did – […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: