Tag: Kelli Linville
In an unusual move, Mayor Kelli Linville has endorsed the candidacy of Pinky Vargas for the Fourth Ward City Council seat in the 2013 election.
Vargas is seeking the seat being vacated by Stan Snapp. The other announced candidate in that race is Clayton Petree.
Vargas announced the Linville endorsement in a press release.
“I am proud to endorse Pinky Vargas for the open City Council position in Ward Four,” Linville said in the press release. ” Pinky has the demonstrated ability to work with business owners to help them save energy with an attentive eye to their bottom line. We need more of that perspective building consensus and spurring action on City Council.”
I was trying to think of other examples of a sitting mayor endorsing City Council candidates in Bellingham. Searching my mental files and Herald archives, I could not come up with any. If you have examples, please note them in the comments section.
Snapp has already endorsed Vargas. She also has endorsements from council members Cathy Lehman and Gene Knutson and former Whatcom Democrats chair and 42nd Legislative District candidate Natalie McClendon.
Vargas said her campaign’s formal kickoff will be Tuesday, May 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention on Bay Street downtown. Everyone is invited.
Vargas is an efficiency outreach manager for Puget Sound Energy.
Additional information on Pinky Vargas and her campaign is available at www.votepinkyvargas, on Facebook, or by contacting the campaign directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360)224-4313
The new state budget proposed by the Republican-controlled Washington State Senate would eliminate funding for the Department of Ecology’s Bellingham field office. Lummi Nation has sent a letter to Senate leaders protesting the possible closure of that office.
The letter, signed by Lummi Natural Resources Director Merle Jefferson, says closure of the office “would have substantial negative impacts on the environment in Whatcom County.”
Jefferson’s letter states that the local office plays a vital role in many environmental issues that are vital to the tribe. Among those is the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal project proposed for Whatcom County’s Cherry Point.
“This proposed project will have regional impacts — removing an office of one of the regulatory agencies from the location most affected by the proposed projects sends a message to the affected parties,” Jefferson’s letter states.
The Ecology field office also plays an important role in dealing with tribal concerns about water quality, water rights and crude oil spills, Jefferson’s letter states.
Department of Ecology officials have warned that even if the office in Fairhaven is shut down, they have a lease that runs to 2017 that would require them to pay another $1.2 million between now and then even if they move out. Ecology also estimates moving expenses of $100,000, and monthly travel costs to this area from Bellevue headquarters that would exceed the current cost of operating the office.
I’ll be working on this story today, contacting local legislators for their views. I’ve also asked Mayor Kelli Linville and the Port of Bellingham’s Mike Stoner to weigh in.
Some of the people who still hope to save the waterfront Granary Building will be at this afternoon’s Port of Bellingham commission meeting, hoping to convince commissioners to give the 1928 waterfront structure one more chance at a new life.
The Granary Building was built in 1928 as the focal point of a once-booming egg and poultry business in Whatcom County. It has been vacant for decades, and was the property of Georgia-Pacific Corp. before that company shut down its waterfront pulp and paper operations and handed over its 137 acres of industrial land to the port in 2005.
Since that time, port officials have argued that the building is not salvageable. They say seawater seeps into its basement at high tide. In May 2012, Port Environmental Director Mike Stoner told Bellingham City Council that it would cost $14 million to make the building usable again, amounting to $533 per square foot.
Former Mayor Dan Pike and his staff favored preservation of the Granary and other old waterfront structures if possible, but current Mayor Kelli Linville and her staff now seem to agree that the Granary must go, partly because it would block the best route for street access to a redeveloped waterfront.
Developer John Blethen is not convinced.
Blethen, who has been involved in waterfront issues for years as a member of the Waterfront Futures Group, Waterfront Advisory Group, and unsuccessful port commission candidate, agrees that the $14 million price tag for a Granary rehab is a deal breaker if it is accurate. Blethen wants the port to give independent experts and would-be investors more access to the building to see if they agree that the cost would be that high.
Then, investors and developers could come to the port with their plans for reusing the building.
“The port needs to decide that they will at least explore saving this building,” Blethen said. “They could do a request for proposals before they knock the building down.”
Blethen said he and others expect to raise the issue during the public comment period at the start of the 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 commission meeting at Harbor Center, 1801 Roeder Ave. Commissioners are also scheduled to get an update on the building from port staff.
Blethen noted that earlier cost estimates for a Granary rehab were about $6 million, and he thinks the job would be feasible in that range. But he also said he’s not in a position to undertake the project himself.
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville has appointed Peter Ruffato as City Attorney, filling a vacancy created by the March 1, 2012 retirement of Joan Hoisington.
Ruffato has been interim city attorney since that time. He had been an assistant city attorney under Hoisington.
Ruffato’s appointment to the $125,172 post is subject to City Council approval, and the matter is slated for a vote at tonight’s council meeting.
Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville has proposed a change in zoning for 88 Chuckanut Ridge acres now zoned residential to “public,” while leaving another 25 acres of city-owned property in the area zoned residential.
The city-owned parcels in the South neighborhood proposed for the rezone include some of the 82 acres that the city purchased from Washington Federal Savings last year, as well as some smaller parcels the city had purchased in 2001 and 2002.
A city press release states that the 25-acre parcel, originally part of the Washington Federal property, would be kept residential as a possible way for the city to recoup $3.3 million of the $8.2 million purchase price paid to Washington Federal. Bellingham City Council approved borrowing the $3.3 million from the Greenways Maintenance Endowment Fund, but the money has to be repaid to that fund eventually.
Council members have said that the city could sell a portion of the former Washington Federal property as a last resort, if no other means of paying back the loan can be found.
The rezoning process is a lengthy one. The first step is a preliminary review by the Planning Commission on the limited issue of whether to even put such a change on its docket for consideration. The Planning Commission makes a recommendation on the docketing question to the City Council, which then makes the final decision on whether to take up the rezone proposal.
Here is the press release:
Mayor Kelli Linville is proposing the first step in creating a new community park — the Chuckanut Community Forest — with a rezone proposal before the Planning Commission next month.
The Bellingham Planning and Development Commission will consider recommending to the City Council a request for a Comprehensive and Neighborhood Plan amendment to rezone various City-owned Chuckanut Ridge area properties. The rezone request is one of eight proposals being reviewed, beginning with the docketing process at a public hearing scheduled for (7 p.m.) Thursday, June 14 (in City Council chambers.) Those proposals that are recommended to, and approved by the City Council, will become part of the Planning Department’s work program for the coming year.
Linville proposes rezoning 88 acres in the South Neighborhood from “Residential Multi, Planned” to “Public, Open Space” in order to permanently preserve Chuckanut Ridge and create the Chuckanut Community Forest, which she envisions as forested public space with trails and other recreation opportunities.
Under this proposal, she said, the remainder of the City-owned property (25 acres) would remain zoned residential until options for paying back the loan to purchase Chuckanut Ridge — $3.3 million from the Greenways Maintenance Endowment Fund – are fully explored.
Options for paying back this loan are expected to be developed and considered by the Bellingham City Council early in 2013, Linville said.
“The Council approved the purchase of this property so we can protect Chuckanut Ridge, and this proposed rezone is one step in implementing that direction,” Linville said.
End press release
The Bellingham City Council has agreed to modify a low-income housing levy measure to address financial issues raised by Mayor Kelli Linville and City Finance Director John Carter.
At their Monday, May 21 evening session, the council voted 7-0 to take another step toward a property tax increase measure that would provide money for two different low income housing funds, if a majority of voters approve in November. The larger fund would get about $2 million of the annual levy proceeds, and that money would be directed toward programs that would benefit people making less than 50 percent of the city’s median income. The other fund would get $1 million a year from the levy, and would pay for programs that would benefit people making up to 80 percent of the median income.
The council directed city staff to draft legal language to that effect for additional council consideration at their June 4, 2012 meeting. If council gives the modified levy proposal final approval, the tax hike would face city voters during the Nov. 6, 2012 general election.
At a Monday afternoon committee session, Linville and Carter warned the council that the levy as originally proposed would take a significant bite out of the city’s taxing capacity during its seven-year term.
Under state law, the city now has a total levy limit of $3.60 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The city already collects about $2.35, leaving about $1.25 in remaining capacity. The housing levy as originally drafted would take another 36 cents out of its potential $1.25 in future taxing authority.
But state law also grants an exemption for housing levies aimed at the neediest people who make less than the median income. Levies for that purpose do not count against the limit.
Linville told the council that she preferred a levy that would be 100 percent for the neediest, and would therefore add no restrictions on the city’s ability to raise property tax revenues in future years. The mayor has repeatedly expressed concern about the future costs of environmental cleanup and street and utility projects on the waterfront. The city also faces eventual pension fund liabilities.
But the council chose a hybrid approach that would reduce, but not eliminate, the housing levy’s impact on city taxing capacity.
Linville said it’s up to the council and the voters to weigh the impacts and make those decisions. She added that she’s all for increased aid to the homeless. But she also wants to make sure that the council stays focused on the city’s overall financial situation.
“I would say that any decrease in the capacity for us to meet our unmet needs in the city is a concern,” Linville said.
She hopes the council will adopt a two-year budget process that would encourage more long-range thinking about revenues and expenses.
Breaking: the Bellingham City Council appears ready to shut down the Bloedel-Donovan Park boat launch until an inspection and decontamination system can be set up to prevent introduction of zebra and quagga mussels.
No such shutdown proposal appeared on the council’s Monday, April 24 agenda, but after getting another report on the nasty side effects that could result from introduction of the Eurasian mussels, the council voted 6-1 to move to shut down the boat launch to prevent infestations. a majority of council members seemed ready to vote for the boat launch shutdown, at least temporarily.
But at that point, according to an email from council member Cathy Lehman, Mayor Kelli Linville weighed in, and council members backed off a bit. Instead of calling for an immediate shutdown of the popular launch, they directed city staffers to report back to them on the ramifications of such a move, as well as recommended strategies for getting public input first.
I’m contacting Linville this morning for more information.
Update: Linville said she wants to consult with both Whatcom County and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District before making any dramatic moves. She said she is committed to treating the county and the district as partners in efforts to protect the lake. During her mayoral campaign, she criticized incumbent Dan Pike for taking a more adversarial approach.
Linville also argued for more public input before taking such a decision, even if the council has the legal authority to take swift action.
“We already know that (a boat launch shutdown) will probably be very controversial,” Linville said. “That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it, but it does mean we should have a public process.”
She said she also wants to make sure the council has good information on whether a boat launch shutdown would be enforceable, as well as on other places that boaters could use for a launch if the city were to act.
If you are a Lake Whatcom boater, I would be interested in hearing your input on this situation. Give me a call at 715-2274 or use email@example.com
After the discovery of a different species–the Asian clam–in both Whatcom and Lake Padden, officials with the city, Whatcom County and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District have been scrambling to head off any more trouble.
There have been several reported incidents of infected boats from Lake Mead being intercepted either in Washington state or on their way here. On the Columbia River, researchers are testing chemical solutions to see if they could be used to prevent the bivalved invaders from encrusting hydropower facilities, although they have yet to show up on the Columbia or anywhere else in the state.
At an afternoon committee discussion of the issue, council member Stan Snapp spoke up to ask how any inspection system could be foolproof.
“I don’t see how this can possibly be succesful,” Snapp said, suggesting that a moratorium on boat launches ought to be considered.
But there was no indication that a vote might be taken on such a measure. Instead, the members of the council’s Lake Whatcom committee agreed to move ahead with an inspection program and boat launch warning signs. They also agreed to direct staff to draft an ordinance making it illegal to launch an infected boat into the lake.
Here is a report that reviews what city officials know about an already-established population of Asian clams in Lake Whatcom. While the clams have far less potential for clogging water intakes and fouling boats, they have their own drawbacks. Among them: They can increase the amount of phosphorus and decrease the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. Lake Whatcom already suffers from too much phosphorus and not enough oxygen. Also, it is believed that they add calcium to the environment and help make lakes more receptive to mussel infestations.
Joan Hoisington, Bellingham City Attorney since 2000, says she expects to retire at the end of February.
Hoisington has worked in the city’s legal department since 1986, and served in other public legal posts before that. She’ll turn 60 on Feb. 1 and will be eligible for retirement at that point.
Hoisington said her decision has nothing to do with the arrival of a new mayor, Kelli Linville. She has been contemplating retirement for months.
“It was my choice,” H0isington said.
She’s keeping her mind open on future employment opportunities, but for now, her plans involve travel. She has daughters living in Nevada and Massachusetts. She’s an avid skiier, but also enjoys visits to Mexico. And she plans to celebrate her birthday in Costa Rica.
Hoisington said it is her understanding that Linville plans a search process to find a successor. I have a call in to the mayor for comment.
A public reception to mark the start in office of Kelli Linville as Bellingham mayor and Jack Louws as Whatcom County executive has been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9.
The reception will be from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Squalicum Boathouse, 2600 Harbor Loop at Bellingham’s Zuanich Point Park. Appetizers and nonalcoholic beverages will be served. The expenses are being covered by the leftover campaign funds of both officeholders. No public funds will be used.
(fyi: Jared checked with the Public Disclosure Commission, and a staffer there told him that this use of campaign funds is perfectly legit under state law.)
Both Linville and Louws won four-year terms in the Nov. 8 general election. Linville’s term began Jan. 1 and she will have her swearing-in ceremony during the Bellingham City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 9. Louws begins his term when he takes his oath of office at 12:15 p.m. Jan. 9 in the County Council chambers at the County Courthouse.
Louws is a former Lynden mayor. Linville formerly served as 42nd District state representative, and that district includes Lynden.
The two leaders said the joint reception symbolizes a new chapter in the relationship between Bellingham and Whatcom County.
“I’ve enjoyed collaborating with Mayor Linville on various issues and believe we can find common ground on the challenges and opportunities awaiting both governments,” Louws said in a press release.
“This is the beginning of a new working relationship between the city and the county,” Linville said. “We may not always agree on issues, but we will work together for the best interests of our community.”
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.)
After the counting of less than 3,000 additional city ballots, former state legislator Kelli Linville increased her lead over Mayor Dan Pike by 35 votes, for a total of 423, although Pike’s percentage of the vote total did increase by about one-tenth of one percent.
While Pike sounded less optimistic than he did on Tuesday, he wasn’t ready to concede. Nor was Linville readyto start preparing her State of the City speech for next January.
We’re going to have to do this again tomorrow.
At his Election Night bash at the Bayou on Bay Restaurant, Mayor Dan Pike sounded calm and confident after the first vote count showed him trailing Kelli Linville 51-49 percent.
Pike noted that on primary night, he also trailed Linville, but had a narrow lead once the final votes were tallied. He said he was “reasonably confident” that was going to happen again.
A few blocks away at The Copper Hog, former Mayor Mark Asmundson gave Kelli Linville a hug and told listeners that Linville’s lead will grow, not shrink, as the remaining votes are counted. He predicted she will finish with 54 percent.
The next count will be released late tomorrow afternoon. The outcome may become clear at that point. Or not.
Kelli Linville and her campaign manager, Vanessa Blackburn, are calling my attention to something that I overlooked yesterday in compiling my report on campaign fundraising by Linville and her opponent, incumbent Mayor Dan Pike.
Besides raising $81,763, as I reported in today’s newspaper, the Pike campaign also reports $19,705.60 in debts. These debts are unpaid bills, and they are itemized on the Pike campaign’s most recent C4 financial report.
Most of it–$13,514.60–is owed to Winpower Strategies, the political consulting firm that we mentioned in a blog post yesterday. Other creditors include campaign manager Isabel VanDerslice and some local firms involved in various aspects of campaign advertising: Shew Design, Bellingham Screen Printing, Vid-Smith, and Copy Source, plus $252 owed to Pike himself after he apparently paid that sum for an ad in The Bellingham Herald.
Perhaps those of you who have experience in campaign finance management can comment on whether this is a big deal. Please don’t let your opinions of Pike or Linville influence your analysis.
A group of 13 Republican precinct committee officers issued a press release today announcing that they support Kelli Linville for mayor.
The 13 are Gabe Martin, Jill Brown, David Ladiges, Barb Del Wraa, Bruce Ayers, John Busch, Jan Brown, Bill Geyer, Terry Montonye, Jon Soine, Kathy Kershner, Lurene Gisee and Dusty Gulleson.
“As Republicans, we value efficient local government, clear budget priorities, and leadership to deliver quality services to the public,” the press release said. “The mayor sets the tone for embracing fee enterprise and individual initiative, economic growth and equality under the law. At this time, for the next four years, we believe the best candidate to be the next mayor of the city of Bellingham is Kelli Linville.”
Linville is seeking to unseat incumbent Mayor Dan Pike.
I’m working today on a campaign finance story that will examine the campaign treasuries of the Bellingham mayoral and Whatcom County Executive candidates. Nothing terribly surprising to report, but I found it interesting to note that Winpower Strategies of Seattle is playing a significant role in Mayor Dan Pike’s reelection campaign.
Public Disclosure Commission records show that Pike’s campaign put the firm on a $500 retainer in April 2011, and has paid a total of $19,235.54 to the firm this campaign season, out of a total campaign war chest of $81,763.28.
Update: Isabel VanDerslice, Pike’s campaign manager, said most of the money that has gone to Winpower covered the cost of designing, printing and mailing campaign literature. About $2,500 of the money was for other consulting services.
Aside from the $2,500, the money paid to Winpower is what the campaign would have paid to a graphic designer and a mail house here, if the Pike campaign had done those chores in-house, VanDerslice said. (This paragaph has been updated after VanDerslice told me I had quoted her incorrectly.)
She said Winpower’s principal, John Wyble, “is helping us out, but on a really small scale.”
(Pike’s opponent, Kelli Linville, has raised $72,363.16, according to the PDC reports online. On Oct. 27, the Washington state chapter of the Sierra Club sent out an email to members, correcting an earlier report from the Sierra Club that claimed Linville was outspending Pike 3-1)
Here’s how Winpower describes its service, on the website linked above:
“Campaigns are about telling a story. Your story. It’s not some fabricated story created by somebody in a high rise across the river from the White House. It’s a story about why you live in the northwest and what you want to do make it a better place.
With thirty five years of combined experience in northwest politics, we can help you figure out how to tell your story, when to tell it, which broadcast medium to use and who needs to hear it so you can win.
We believe there are a lot of thoughtful citizens out there who should be dedicated public servants. We do this work because we want to help those citizens become our next generation of leaders.”