By Ralph Schwartz
There’s a buzz in the crowd of Whatcom County Council watchers, who eagerly and masochistically anticipate tonight’s public hearing and likely vote on that important land-use decision with the unfortunate name: the “reconveyance.”
I try to spell out what it means here, but in short reconveyance is the state returning the deed on timber land to the county, so the county can open a public park.
This particular reconveyance involves 8,844 acres, some on Lake Whatcom’s western flank, some on the east side of the lake.
Six years in the making, it all comes down to tonight. That makes it bigger than the Super Bowl (only five months of buildup there), bigger even than the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup (four years).
The Las Vegas that’s always playing in my mind has set some odds for some of the outcomes tonight.
- Over-under on length of public hearing: 4 hours.
- Yes/No vote — off the table. The council has more or less tipped its hand, so savvy bettors would have flocked to “Yes.” However …
- Odds the vote is delayed until a future date: 2-1.
- Odds that new information is presented in the public hearing: 15-1.
- Odds that someone at the public hearing will hear something they agree with, then get inspired to go to the mic and say the same thing: 2-5.
- Odds Barbara Brenner will say something designed to throw off fellow council members, in an attempt to put off the vote: 1-2.
- Odds Carl Weimer will say nothing and just vote “Yes”: 1-6.