Port of Bellingham
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has staked out a comparatively moderate position on illegal immigration, and that has made him a target for some of his rivals in a party where “amnesty” has become a dirty word for many.
In this account from the Los Angeles Times, Gingrich says a family values party should not advocate policies that would break up the families of immigrants who have violated immigration laws.
“I’m prepared to take the heat in saying: Let’s be humane in enforcing the law,” Gingrich said.
Michele Bachman and Mitt Romney wasted no time in making sure that everyone noticed what Gingrich was saying.
Has Gingrich doomed his candidacy by suggesting that he is NOT in favor of expelling every last illegal immigrant in the country?
BELLINGHAM—Kelli Linville’s lead over Mayor Dan Pike stood at 406 votes after the Thursday, Nov. 10 tally out of 19,332 cast, and both candidates are still sweating out upcoming vote counts.
“Two years in a row,” an exasperated Linville said. “This is hard.”
How hard will it be for Pike to close that gap? It depends on how many city ballots remain to be counted. Pike said he thinks there will be 7,000 to 9,000 more, and that the later ballots will tend to be more favorable to him than the early ones.
Next count won’t come until Saturday. Honor our veterans tomorrow. (and other days too of course.)
In an email message, Washington State Democrats chairman Dwight Pelz points out that the state organization has not endorsed the reelection of Bellingham Mayor Dan Pike, although the state organization’s name appeared on a pro-Pike flier sent out by Washington Conservation Voters.
Here is the email from Pelz:
Date: November 5, 2011
To: Interested Parties:
From: Dwight Pelz, Chair, Washington State Democrats
Re: Endorsements in the Bellingham Mayoral Race
“In light of recent confusion caused by a campaign mailer funded by the Washington Conservation Voters in support of Mayor Dan Pike, I would like to clarify that the Washington State Democratic Central Committee has not endorsed a candidate in the Bellingham mayoral race.
“Washington state law requires Washington Conservation Voters to disclose the top five donors to a PAC, in this case the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund, on such campaign mailers. The Washington State Democratic Central Committee (State Party) did donate to the WCV Action Fund, but not for the purpose of sponsoring any specific mailer. This should not be misinterpreted as support for or an endorsement of Mayor Pike.
“Comments by supporters of Mayor Pike on Facebook referencing that the Washington State Democrats funded this campaign mailer are misleading. The decision to send this mailer was that of WCV. Again, we have not supported any candidate in this race.
” We wish both candidates the best of luck as we enter the final weekend before Election Day.”
Dean Kahn called my attention to this lengthy essay in the New Yorker, by George Packer. It’s an ambitious piece of reporting and analysis that flies in the face of all the 10th anniversary happy talk about how the 2001 terror attacks brought Americans together.
I hate to assign so much homework, but I’m hoping many of you will read and discuss this essay. Extra credit.
Doug Ericksen, Republican state senator and nonpartisan candidate for Whatcom County Executive, has released a copy of a letter he sent to the Whatcom County Council on Feb. 21, 2011, endorsing the Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point.
SSA Marine of Seattle wants to build the pier to ship coal and other bulk cargoes to Asia. The idea has triggered a wave of opposition based on concerns about global warming, coal dust and increased rail traffic through Bellingham.
Ericksen said he still supports the project “as long as SSA lives up to the commitments they are making.”
Here is the press release from Ericksen:
State Senator Doug Ericksen made public today a letter of support for the Gateway Pacific Terminal project at Cherry Point that he sent to the Whatcom County Council.
The letter was sent to the Whatcom County Council on February 21, 2011. The letter stresses the need for jobs in Whatcom County and also highlights Ericksen’s commitment to environmental protection of the region.
“After meeting with proponents of the Gateway Pacific Terminal and discussing their commitment to an environmentally sensitive project that protects the residents of Whatcom County, I wrote a letter of support for the project,” Ericksen said.
“I stand by my support of this project as long as SSA lives up the commitments that they are making. Working together we can maximize the long-term benefit to our community.” Ericksen said.
The text of the letter follows:
February 21, 2011
Whatcom County Council Members
Whatcom County Courthouse
311 Grand Avenue, Suite 105
Bellingham, WA 98225
To Whatcom County Council Members,
Sustainable long-term industrial development is important to the economic stability of Whatcom County.
The portions of Cherry Point in Whatcom County zoned for heavy industry can provide needed long-term jobs in our region, increase our industrial tax base, and improve the lives of the people living in the region.
It is important that we move forward with the current SSA proposal for responsible development of the Gateway Pacific Terminal Project.
I look forward to working with all interested parties to insure that this long-term economic engine for our region is balanced with our strong commitment to environmental protection and our need for infrastructure development that will increase local mobility.
My office and my staff are ready to provide assistance to participating entities.
Senator Doug Ericksen
42nd Legislative District
(End press release)
Warren Buffett, the legendary mega-investor, recently loaned Bank of America $5 billion, a vote of confidence that helped to buoy the stock market’s confidence in a financial institution weighed down by legal and financial fallout from the bursting of the real estate bubble and the mortgage loans that made that bubble possible.
Calculated Risk has a post on the 2010 U.S. Census data, noting that the number of births declined in 2010, the third consecutive year of decline.
The blog notes that families just naturally postpone additions to the family during times of economic distress and uncertainty.
During the Great Depression, blogger Bill McBride notes, the number of births declined 23 percent from the peak in the 1920s. At this point we’re only seven percent off the peak from the bubble years.
A group of 160 Whatcom County doctors and health professionals has issued a statement calling for a comprehensive review of the health impacts from a proposed coal and bulk cargo terminal at Cherry Point.
The group, calling itself Whatcom Docs, contends that the health impacts from both coal dust and diesel emissions from trains and ships have been documented. They want those impacts studied, along with the health impacts from the added railroad noise and disruption of emergency traffic at rail crossings.
Read the Whatcom Docs press release here, on a page that includes a link to the full report.
The information from Whatcom Docs is being offered on a new website, Coal Train Facts, that attempts to assemble lots of news accounts and other information about coal trains and coal exports.
Communitywise Bellingham has been in the same business for months now.
Obligatory background paragraph: This is all about SSA Marine’s proposed coal and bulk cargo project, Gateway Pacific Terminal, that would ship coal and other stuff to China and other Asian markets from a pier envisioned for a site just south of the BP Cherry Point refinery. The Gateway Pacific Terminal project is in the preliminary stages of a multi-year permitting process that involves extensive study of the project’s impacts. Trains that carry the cargo would pass through Bellingham on their way to Cherry Point.
In an emailed response to Whatcom Docs, SSA Marine spokesman Don Stark (no relation) says the particulate pollution from ships and trains is a very small percentage of the whole, far exceeded by the output from wood stoves and industries.
The Bellingham City Council’s waterfront committee has scheduled a 90-minute session Tuesday , Aug. 9 to review the waterfront planning and development regulations now being hammered out by city and Port of Bellingham staffers. The meeting will be in the Mayor’s board room at 11 a.m.
I apologize for my original post announcing the date of this meeting as today. City Council always meets on Mondays, except when it meets on some other day.
Mayor Dan Pike and Port Executive Director Charlie Sheldon have said that major disagreements have been resolved and a draft set of plans should be ready for public review this fall.
Also on todayTuesday’s committee agenda is an overview of millions of dollars in new street connections to the water that are a prerequisite for meaningful redevelopment. At this point, nobody is sure where those millions will be found.
I’ll have an update here after the meeting, and a report for Wednesday’s tomorrow‘s print and online editions.
The Washington Department of Ecology announces that the agency will keep the public comment period open awhile longer on changes to the Whatcom Waterway cleanup plan.
Among other things, the change involves deposit of some contaminated sediments in the old Georgia-Pacific Corp. wastewater lagoon, once the more highly-contaminated sediment inside that lagoon has been dug out for disposal in special landfills.
Those sediments would be covered with clean material while still leaving the water deep enough for eventual construction of the Port of Bellingham’s marina inside the lagoon, although the date for completion of the marina is receding deeper into the future. Under the current plan, the lagoon cleanup is not schedule to begin until 2017.
Here is the press release from Ecology:
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is extending the public comment period on proposed changes to cleanup plans for some areas of the Whatcom Waterway site on the Bellingham waterfront.
The changes are described in a proposed amendment to a 2007 legal settlement, called a consent decree, among Ecology, the Port of Bellingham and other parties. Ecology extended the end of the public comment period on the proposed changes from April 11, 2011, to April 27, 2011, because of a procedural error in publishing notice of the comment period.
Most of the Whatcom Waterway cleanup plan will remain unchanged from the 2007 consent decree, but changes are necessary to the cleanup action in a portion of the outer waterway. Ecology received new information that indicates that dioxin and furan levels in buried marine sediment in the outer waterway are likely too high to qualify for open-water disposal as originally planned.
In response to this new information, the Port of Bellingham and its consultants developed an alternative approach for managing these materials. This alternative approach also can be applied to some other areas of the site.
Ecology and port representatives held a public meeting on the proposal on March 15 at Bellingham Technical College.
Proposed changes involve moving material from portions of the outer waterway and other areas of the site into an old waterfront industrial waste treatment lagoon after the lagoon is cleaned up according to 2007 plans. Dredged material would be contained in the lagoon under a layer of clean sediment.
The clean layer would be designed to meet state cleanup standards based on the port’s plan to open the lagoon to Bellingham Bay and convert it into a marina.
Ecology evaluated the proposed changes and confirmed that the approach would meet state cleanup requirements.
Proposed changes also include adjusting the project sequencing.
Under the proposed amendment, the site would be cleaned up in two construction phases. The first phase would include cleanup of the inner waterway, consistent with the 2007 plan. Construction of the first phase of cleanup would begin in 2012. The second phase would include cleanup of the outer waterway and the treatment lagoon with construction beginning in 2017.
The Whatcom Waterway site is more than 200 acres. It includes underwater sediment and an industrial wastewater treatment lagoon.
Contamination at the site is the result of operations dating back to the 1960s at the former Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper plant. The port acquired property within the site in 2005.
Studies conducted as part of the cleanup process showed mercury and other contaminants at the site in concentrations that exceed requirements of the state’s cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act, and must be addressed.
The Whatcom Waterway cleanup is expected to cost about $90 million. Ecology will reimburse up to half the port’s costs through the state’s remedial action grant program, which helps pay to clean up publicly owned sites. The state Legislature funds the grant program with revenues from a tax on hazardous substances.
The site is one of 12 cleanup sites in the Bellingham Bay Demonstration Pilot, a multi-agency collaborative effort to combine cleanup, control of pollution sources, habitat restoration and land use.
The pilot program is a major step toward restoring Puget Sound, and it is a model for other large-scale cleanup initiatives.
Submit public comments to:
Lucy McInerney, site manager
Washington Department of Ecology
3190 160th Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98008-5452
Google has spurned Bellingham–difficult as that is to believe.
Kansas City, Kansas–the lesser known, much smaller Kansas City across the river from the one in Missouri, is in the spotlight today.
Google chose that city in the nationwide competition for rollout and testing of a new ultra-high-speed Internet service.
We’ll be getting comment from local officials and private-sector activists later today.
If this is ruining your day, you could console yourself with this little musical tribute to Kansas City–altho the song does not specify which Kansas City. This is not the well-known and admittedly excellent Wilbert Harrison hit–it’s an earlier recorded version by Little Willie Littlefield. I discovered it and him just a few minutes ago. See if you like it.
UPDATE: The song makes reference to “12th Street and Vine, with my Kansas City baby and my jug of Kansas City wine.” According to Google Maps, 12th St. and Vine would be in Kansas City, MO. There is no such intersection today, but it looks like the streets around there have been reengineered since Little Willy and Wilbert’s day. Apparently traffic engineers with no sense of musical history did some realignment and urban renewal that eliminated this intersection.
They did create streets named Ella Fitzgerald Lane and Basie Place, among others in the area, so we can’t be too hard on them.
Kansas City Kansas has a 12th Street, but no Vine.
Clayton Petree has announced he will run for mayor of Bellingham, setting up a three-way race with incumbent Mayor Dan Pike and former state legislator Kelli Linville, who was anointed as the front-runner in the race even before she confirmed her candidacy.
Petree, 36, portrayed himself as an alternative to two other candidates who tend to share similar views.
“The only core difference between the two candidates who have offered themselves so far is gender,” Petree wrote in his announcement.
In a race featuring an incumbent mayor and a prominent former legislator, Petree might look like a longshot at best. But he said he isn’t running just to raise issues.
“I think I have a shot,” he said. “I’m running because I want to be mayor and I think I can do a good job.”
Among other things, he pledged to reexamine the city policy of spending millions on land in the Lake Whatcom Watershed.
He thinks that programs to transfer or purchase watershed development rights could be more productive.
He also indicated that he wants to make Bellingham more receptive to new and existing businesses.
He also pledged not to use yard signs, calling them “visual and environmental pollution.” He plans to distribute window signs to supporters instead.
More details will be available in print and online Saturday, March 19.
This report from Bloomberg notes that two key features of President Barack Obama’s proposed new energy policy have been rather badly jinxed: First, increased offshore oil drilling, and now, the ongoing struggle to regain control of Japanese nuclear reactors in the wake of last week’s quake and tsunami.
As of a few minutes ago, that struggle was not going well.
Close to 30 years ago, back when the late Tom Glenn was port director, the Port of Bellingham was in preliminary talks to build a coal export terminal at Cherry Point, in cooperation with Burlington Northern and Mitsui Corp. In those days, the potential market was Japan. (Those talks ultimately went nowhere.)
Even if the threat of serious radiation bursts from the Japanese reactors can be contained, it appears that at least some of these reactors will never generate power again. One wonders if Japan would, or could, make up its power deficit with coal imports. Coal is a local issue once again, as you probably recall.
BELLINGHAM—Proposed changes to the pollution cleanup plan for Whatcom Waterway are ready for public comment, the Washington Department of Ecology announced Thursday, March 10.
The underwater sediments in the waterway are tainted with mercury discharged during the operation of the Georgia-pacific Corp. pulp mill that shut down in 2001. The original 2007 cleanup plan envisioned depositing some dredged material from the less-contaminated outer waterway in deep-water disposal sites, but dioxin and furan contamination that has been discovered in those sediments will require a different approach.
The new plan envisions disposing of those sediments inside G-P’s old wastewater treatment lagoon, once the more highly-contaminated material inside the lagoon has been removed.
The waterway sediments would then be covered with clean material to enable the port to proceed with its long-range plan to convert the lagoon into a marina.
The Whatcom Waterway cleanup is expected to cost about $90 million. Ecology will reimburse up to half the port’s costs through the state’s remedial action grant program, which helps pay to clean up publicly owned sites. The state legislature funds the grant program with revenues from a tax on hazardous substances, such as petroleum, that enter the state.
The first phase of the project would include cleanup of the inner waterway, as envisioned in the 2007 plan, beginning in 2012. The second phase would include cleanup of the outer waterway and the treatment lagoon with construction beginning in 2017.
Information on the proposed changes will be available during a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. March 15 at Bellingham Technical College, 3028 Lindbergh Ave., Building G., Room 102A.
The documentation can be read online (click here)
Comments may be submitted to, Lucy McInerney, site manager, Washington Department of Ecology, 3190 160th Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98008-5452 or by email: email@example.com
The public comment period ends April 11, 2011.