Posted by: sweeneyblog | December 12, 2014

Friday Odds and Ends: SaveWhatcom Still Immune to Irony and Sakuma Pays

Hello Loyal Readers,

Yes, the Friday Odds and Ends makes its return, and this edition is action packed. For those of you just joining us, the Friday Odds and Ends are all the stories that good enough to print, but not enough to justify their own post.

First up, SaveWhatcom, the coal-PAC funded by Gateway Pacific Terminal that has been active in the last two elections, posted a blog post filled with fail. I realize that poking fun at SaveWhatcom is like whacking hipsters at a Death Cab for Cutie concert but bear with me.

SaveWhatcom is immune to Irony

SaveWhatcom is immune to Irony

In their blog post,Cherry Point Industry Economic Study Questioned by Enviro-Blog Whatcom Watch“, they take aim at an article written by local activist Terry Weschler that dissected a recent economic study paid for by GPT. Two problems with this: first, the Whatcom Watch is a monthly newspaper, not an “enviro-blog.”

I realize Whatcom Watch has only been printing for twenty-two years, so maybe the fact that their launch predates the invention of blogs may have been a clue.

Second, it is a huge ethical conflict writing about Cherry Point without disclosing that SaveWhatcom has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from proponents of the Gateway Pacific Terminal. I realize I’m reaching here, asking for ethics from an organization that was so deeply unethical with its finances that it got fined $4,500 by the PDC for illegally funnelling campaign donations through bogus accounts.

Moving right along, the Sakuma Berry Farm workers may get some justice thanks to a federal judge approving a payout for back pay for the workers to the tune of $1,221.30 each, however their battle continues as the State Supreme Court will take up the bigger issue of worker compensation next year.

Riley with the Whatcom Democrats

Riley with the Whatcom Democrats

Finally, I have completed my term as Vice-Chair of the Whatcom Democrats, and no longer have an official role with the party. Ever since 2010, I have served in one capacity or another on their executive board, but am now freeing up that time in my schedule for other projects. As such, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

The leadership of local political parties is not comprised of seasoned political hacks. The Whatcom Democrats (and from what I’ve gathered, the Whatcom Republicans) are 99% comprised of ambitious volunteers. Volunteers with no more specialized skills than what you already possess.

So please, if you are interested in local politics, consider getting involved with your party. I started my run with the Whatcom Democrats by doing their newsletter, and before long, I was writing press releases, vetting candidates and planning fundraisers. It was a phenomenal experience that I treasure.

Enough pleading, I will be interviewing Scott Barg today so look for that interview this weekend. Beyond that, stay warm out there.



  1. “First, the Whatcom Watch is a monthly newspaper, not an [enviro-blog]”.

    Wrong, check their website:

    Whatcom Watch, [a grassroots environmental] newspaper in Bellingham, is in its 22nd year of publication. It is the result of many hours of dedicated volunteer labor each month. A few thousand copies are printed and distributed to over 50 locations countywide. The estimated readership is 7,500.

    Whatcom Watch, both in its print and online editions is an expression of the freedom of speech guaranteed by our constitution over 200 years ago. Articles published in the paper typically cover local governmental and [environmental issues]. The opportunity to be published in Whatcom Watch is open to all citizens who are concerned about an issue and who want to write an article. Money to continue printing the paper each month comes from donations, subscriptions, and advertising”.

    As Julie Shirley says: “you are entitled to your opinions but NOT your facts.

    Better keep you DAY JOB!

    • Right there in the first sentence – it is a newspaper. Case closed. It is not by any stretch of the imagination, an enviro-blog.

      • I admit that it should have read “online newspaper” but that misses the essence of their complaint: The December 2014 edition of Whatcom Watch, written and published by Terry Wechsler, is focused on the economic study commissioned and paid for by the Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) to examine the economic benefits that the Cherry Point Industries have on Whatcom County and Whatcom County businesses. In her article Ms. Wechsler points out the obvious…the need to use rail to transport crude to our local refineries has risk. [What Ms. Wechsler failed to address is why the refineries have increasingly chosen to use rail over pipeline? The answer to that question is the environmental pressure put upon our local, state, and federal politicians to stop the construction of new pipelines. The construction of new oil pipeline’s would ease rail traffic and deliver fuel to the refineries in the safest way currently possible.]

        The point is that Whatcom Watch exists because of the Radical Enviro-fascist movement in Whatcom County, blog or NO blog.

      • The case is re-opened.

        The title should have read: “Cherry Point Industry economic study questioned by enviro-newspaper Whatcom Watch.

        Exhibit one: “Whatcom Watch, [a grassroots environmental] newspaper in Bellingham, is in its 22nd year of publication”.

        Exhibit two: “Articles published in the paper typically cover local governmental and [environmental issues]\”.

        You can’t argue with that unless you are taking Terry Weschler to task for misleading statements.

        Pass that on to your Anarchist pal Walter “Easy Rider” Haugen.

    • An online newspaper is not a blog. However, an online newspaper could have a blog. Think of it this way, Wayne. A newspaper is the fourth estate. A blog is the fifth estate. Ralph Schwartz is part of the fourth estate (and he uses this term all the time). You and I are part of the fifth estate, as is Riley.

      • Whatcom Watch is a newspaper that posts articles online, as do all other newspapers in this country today. We do not have a blog.
        Correction, Riley: GPT didn’t fund the Hodges study; the Whatcom County Business Alliance did. The link to my article is here:

        Every other argument in their article is false, beginning with the statement that I’m “the” writer and publisher. They attempt to counter my statement that no one is calling for de-industrialization, then quote the Whatcom Dems’ resolution stating their desire relative to future development. They also falsely claim RE Sources called for de-industrialization, and provide a link to their own FB page which has a link to a quote by Kate Blystone talking about …. future industrial development.

    • Wayne, go to this link: You should see pictures of lots of … newspapers. We print and distribute thousands each month, and then we post the articles onine. We don’t have a blog. At the moment, we don’t even have a way to post comments on the articles on the website. We have about the furthest thing from a blog one could have.
      Terry Wechsler
      President (NOT “the” writer and publisher, though I am the author of the article which Save Whatcom attacked yet did not provide a link to in the article)

      • The bellingham herald is really well suited for puppy training, but if whatcom watch had more pages it would do nicely in that capacity as well.

    • Wayne-
      You speak of an enviro-blog, and you may be correct, but what’s so bad about protecting the environment? And what about Save Whatcom’s anti-enviro-blog? That’s what the real problem is here.

      • There is NOTHING wrong with protecting the environment. There is SOMETHING wrong with trampling on our rights.

    • What about Whatcom Watch tramples our rights? They do have the right to their opinion.

      • Fine by me.

  2. Thanks, Riley, for your years of service in the community as our Commentator on issues important to us in Whatcom Co. I appreciate your comment about serving in the volunteer capacity with the Whatcom Co. Democrats. There is a change of “guards” taking place right now with some of the people serving on the board stepping down. (Such as yourself!) It is time for others to step up, now. It does take time and dedication but the experience is invaluable and the work important. The local Party has moved ahead over the years, especially since 2000, and continues to be a strong and viable organization. I urge those of you are “left-leaning” to get involved. Your energy and expertise is needed.

  3. Hey, Riley. Reading the Friday odds and ends, and obviously loving it. But wanted to give you a heads up that the economics study was paid for by the Whatcom business alliance not GPT. It’s the existing industries at Cherry point that paid for it primarily.Sent from Xfinity Connect Mobile App

  4. I’m glad to see the return of Friday Odds and Ends. I enjoy reading those at the end of the week.

    Not surprising that SaveWhatcom is trying to criticize anyone’s writing that would be considered not to be in support of future development of the remaining natural lands and waters on or adjacent to Cherry Point (such as a coal terminal), because SaveWhatcom is funded primarily by coal terminal interests. Those companies have financial interests in the proposed GPT at Cherry Point.

    On a related note, in case it’s of interest, I wrote an article about the WBA-commissioned Cherry Point Employment Report by Hodges and Byers. The article was published back on November 21 on the Coal Stop blog.

    Just to be clear, Coal Stop is indeed a blog. . .not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    The link to the article is:

  5. Save Whatcom has an anti-enviro-blog, so I don’t see what they are complaining about. And thanks for disclosing that they got money from the Gateway Pacific Terminal proponents; the public needs to know that.

    I’m glad about the Sakuma berry farm workers getting justice.

    Thanks for your service with the Democrats, Riley!

  6. Riley,
    Thanks for all you do; the progressive community needs a fact-supplier. It’s hard to be an investigative journalist and also an activist, on top of your day job. Too bad we don’t have the billion-dollar think tanks like the right-wingers, so we could make it our full-time work.

    • The Progs do have “Billion-Dollar Think Tanks”-the Brookings Institution.

    • Wayne, you really should be blogging on your own site instead of trolling Riley’s.

      • Wayne just got moved to my naughty list – I’m nuked a few comments till he starts behaving himself.

      • Good idea.

      • Good idea, it would be an upgrade. Thanks for your support.

      • Enjoy riding your bike in the winter. Get some snow tires for it. LOL!

      • I love riding my bike in the cold!

      • In the snow and ice too?

      • Snow, maybe not ice.

  7. Now what “naughty” things did I do besides disagree with you? Did I curse, did I use foul language?

    Are you denying my comment: “Thanks for your opinion Mary, but someone has to protect the public from Riley’s dis-information blog”.

    I seems like you have had to correct yourself on numerous occasions lately. You certainly correct me without a blink of the eye.

  8. Remember Wayne, it’s Riley’s blog. If he wants to delete some of our posts, that is certainly his right. I am always amused by those who trumpet “rights” at the drop of a hat, but when it comes to “responsibility” they get all huffy.

    • That is correct and maybe he delete more of yours than mine. 🙂

      “I am always amused by those who trumpet “rights” at the drop of a hat, but when it comes to “responsibility” they get all huffy”-Riley?
      Watch it Walter, you too may be added to the NAUGHTY LIST.

  9. One thing that really bugs me about Save Whatcom’s website is their picture with a caption “save industry” (with a picture of an oil refinery). The refineries have obviously do more bad than good. If they really want to “save Whatcom”, they should start trying to save Whatcom by removing the industries out at Cherry Point.

    • Enjoy riding your bike in the winter. Get some snow tires for it. LOL!

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