Posted by: sweeneyblog | January 23, 2015

Friday Odds and Ends: Black Out, Joy Jumps and Riley Recognized

Hello Loyal Readers,

It has been a lively week – with the State of the Union address capturing the national media and the football world rocked by the Ballghazi scandal. Locally however, the wheels of local politics continue their slow, meandering way forward.

On Wednesday, I sat down with outgoing Ferndale Mayor and candidate for Port Commission, Gary Jensen. That interview should go live tomorrow but as part of the interview, he said that Ralph Black has reconsidered running since Jensen jumped in. Perhaps having the sitting port commissioner and director disown his candidacy played a part but more likely, Jensen entering the race pushed him out.

Meanwhile, former legislative candidate and lively interview subject Joy Monjure is back – this time running in Whatcom County’s most obscure election ever. She is running for a supervisor position with the Whatcom Conservation District. In an email to supporters, she explains the importance of this role,

Joy Monjure

Joy Monjure

Whatcom County faces several natural resource challenges that threaten our health, culture, economy, and quality of life. We’ve made progress towards salmon recovery, but still have a long way to go to improve habitat conditions.  Shellfish harvest areas continue to close due to worsening water quality. The impacts of climate change, including warmer temperatures and more extreme weather events are expected to drive a significant migration of “climate refugees” to the Pacific Northwest. This growth has the potential to degrade our natural systems and change the very character of our community.

Conservation Districts are a unique form of non-regulatory government. They match local resource needs with technical and financial resources to help landowners with “on-the-ground” conservation projects. With a network of 45 conservation districts operating locally across the state, the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) and partner districts are well positioned to lead resource conservation efforts. Conservation district staff has both the technical expertise to ensure quality work and the local knowledge needed to build trusting relationships with landowners.

Whatcom Conservation District’s mission is to assist land managers with their conservation choices. Since 1946, they have worked with landowners and farmers to manage natural resources in Whatcom County.

 To vote in the conservation district election, you have to request a ballot by Feb. 9th. Go to and at the top of the page, click on the supervisor election notice. Then select request an absentee ballot using their online form.

Joy Monjure is simply one of the most talented and heartfelt candidates that I have ever known – that is why I was part of her campaign team in 2014 and am enthusiastically urging you to support her in this election.

Thoughts on Paul deArmond

Thoughts on Paul deArmond

Finally,  I am this year’s recipient of the Paul deArmond Citizen Journalism award. Paul deArmond did some incredible work, and I had the pleasure of listening to some his “war stories” on a few occasions before he passed. To receive this award is truly an honor.

Ralph Schwartz at the Herald did a fantastic write-up (check it out here), as did John Servais at NWCitizen (check it out here), and many people have been very kind on social media. Thank you all, I’m truly touched.

While it is my hands on the keyboard, this blog is in many ways a community effort. Thank you to everyone who donates, cheers me on, provides tips and leads, and so much more.

Back to the grind, Jensen’s interview is on tap for tomorrow and legislative coverage every week – starting with a closer look at Rep. Vincent Buys legislative efforts.



  1. Congratulations Riley on your award!!!! Well deserved. Keep up the great work. The Edward R Morrow next!!!

    • How about the Alfred E. Neuman instead?

  2. I read the announcement of the award on the Herald.
    Congratulations on a job well done!

  3. As much as I am skeptical of anything that will boost your ego, I must say congratulations Riley! You are doing great work, and it’s great to see you get some well-deserved recognition.

  4. I look forward to your posts. I was so pleased to see the announcement of your award. It is much deserved! Thank you for persevering!

  5. Congratulations Riley …well deserved..and many thanks for your great work.

  6. My question is, “Since Gary Jensen is running, will he at least answer the many criticisms that us Ferndalians have, or will he have his poodle, Sam Taylor, respond to criticisms?” Sam writes most of his responses now AND he does it on City time. There will be quite a conflict of interest – and I assume quite a bit of illegality – if Gary uses City of Ferndale resources for his candidacy. Since Gary used City of Ferndale resources to persecute (via the police and denying permits) the Rojsza’s because he didn’t like Norbert Rojsza running against him in the 2011 primary, he has already set the precedent.

    • Good question. Sam Taylor will probably respond to them, and I get the feeling that he might run for mayor in 2015.

      • Not a chance. Sam makes somewhere in the neighborhood of $80-100 K now (with benefits) and will be in line for City Administrator when Greg Young leaves sometime in the future. The Mayoralty only pays around $20 K.

      • Good point Walter, as usual.

  7. I am a recent transplant to Bellingham and I am grateful for your insights on the local political scene. Congratulations on what I believe is a well-deserved award for you writing.

  8. Congratulations, Riley !

  9. Congratulations, Riley, and thank you for your hard work.

  10. Congrats, Riley.

  11. […] Several local media people gathered at the Black Cat for the 2nd annual Paul deArmond Citizen Journalism award dinner. Last year, they gave it to Wendy Harris, a dedicated researcher and passionate public advocate. This year, they gave it to a goofy blogger with a fondness for bowties and mustache jokes. […]

  12. […] the Gateway Pacific Terminal advocates have decided to weigh in on the Conservation District election, where long-time farming advocate Joy Monjure is facing off against Whatcom Republican party […]

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