Way to go, Sharlaine!

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Aug 042016

What a great showing in the early count of the primary election–40.59% is fantastic and we still have ballots to count!
Sharlaine LaClair

For many this high vote count for Sharlaine, running for the first time in any election, was a surprise. At a Flash Forum on Saturday in Birch Bay, Sharlaine clearly expressed enlightened views on all levels of education and traditional harvesting from land and sea. With the incumbent in the Legislative District Position 1 known for nonsensical and regressive proposals, Sharlaine can win if the many of those who didn’t vote in the primary cast ballots for her in November. Having just earned a master’s degree in Public Administration, she will be a valuable addition to the State Legislature.

Seasons Greetings 2015

 Famiy and Friends, Fun, Politics, Travel  Comments Off on Seasons Greetings 2015
Dec 172015

At a post-election party just after the November election Al was talking with Kelly Linville, the mayor of Bellingham. They were discussing the fate of our new jail after a funding plan to utilize sales tax was defeated by voters. At the end of the lively discussion the mayor said, “I don’t know you; what is your name?” Along with his name Al said he is married to Ruth Higgins. “I know about her,” said the mayor. This defines our 2015, a very political year.

Al, at 85, is slowing down; Ruth, only 77, is a dynamo. She is membership chair of the Whatcom County Democratic party who helped recruit precinct committee officers and organiz community teams to increase turnout. She made many phone calls (a computerized system makes possible as many as a hundred calls an hour). Al made a few phone calls, knocked on some doors and answered the phone for Ruth. Now she is part of a team organizing the presidential caucus for our area to early next March.

That post-electiSG '15 Winners' SignsSG'15 Mountain Cloudson party was at a “locker” in the Bellingham dock to celebrate the victory of Bobby Briscoe, a dark horse fishing boat captain who was elected port commissioner, an important office in coastal Whatcom County. Also at that party were two newly elected county council members. One is Todd Donovan, a political science teacher at Western Washington University who was quoted by Ruth Bader Ginsberg on voter district fairness in a recent Supreme County decision. The second is Satpal Sidu, the first Sikh to be elected to public office in the Washington State and he believes only the second in the U.S. We have known him since 2005 when we interviewed him for an article about Sikhs in Whatcom County. Then he was dean at Bellingham Technical College

When not politicking, we managed to escape twice this year. In the Spring we drove down the Oregon coast to California staying close to the water all the way. After a short stop in San Francisco we drove south to Big Sur and our beloved Deetjens. Then across the state to Reno where we stayed with Affordable Travel Club friends who we had yet to meet. In the Fall we made a shorter trip to the Olympic Peninsula, a remarkable place where we hiked through the mountains and river valleys. These trips refreshed us.
SG '15 Redheads on Feder

When we are at home we enjoy watching the wildlife that comes to our deck. And the tidal stream that flows past the deck is alive with migrating waterfowl. We continue to feel blessed to live in the Northwest, despite the fact that Birch Bay at this time of year is zinth. At the 49th parallel dark comes just after 4:00 p.m. Most of the neighboring houses are dark. A marvelous exception is the hoSG Neighbors Houseme across the road, where folks have beautiful lights. A lot of the residents go to Arizona and California for the winter. Those who usually come for weekends and summer vacations – mostly from Canada – stay home. But our cottage is warm and cozy – we very much enjoy being here all year.

Yes, we are making our annual pilgrimage to Ohio to be with Ruth’s son, Geord, and his wife Mary. They both have good jobs they like. She is a writer at Nationwide Insurance. He is the “Mac Man” on the computer help desk at Big Lots. Both companies are headquartered in Columbus. Mackenzie is at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington and just moved into a new apartment where she walks her dog past the neighbors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ryder is on an extended gap year from college in Chicago, working at Nordstrom, planning a return to higher education.

This has been more about our year than greeting you. We hope you have read this far and, like us, are looking forward to the New Year.

WOW! – it will be 2016.

With best wishes,



Five Reasons to Support Five Fair and Equal Districts Amendment

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Aug 222015

Currently, Whatcom County has only three districts, a relic of our old county commissioner system, with two representatives each and one at-large position. This current system is likely illegal and is unfair to rural and urban voters alike.

1–The five district proposal is the fairest way to ensure that all voters in Whatcom County have a voice in local government whether Conservative, Independent, or Progressive.

2–The proposal gives rural voters their own representation and removes Bellingham from rural communities’ districts.

3–Under the five district proposal, we would have two council members who could live anywhere and look out for the good of the whole county.

4–The five district proposal is fair under both district-only and county-wide voting, and prevents our county council from being gerrymandered.

5–Moving to five districts would update our county government to reflect population growth. It would not increase the size of the council but would provide one representative for each district and two at-large positions.

There is a glitzy, well funded campaign lobbying for district-only voting, slandering the representation of current council members. That kind of negative propaganda poisons the dialogue and blurs the truth.

Whatcom County Primary Election 2015

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Jul 292015

After a VERY long absence, we want our friends and neighbors to be aware of how important their vote is in this primary election. You have received your ballots, which MUST be dropped or post-marked by August 4.

The candidates endorsed by the Whatcom Democrats are listed on the palm card image. Please vote–because you can; and support the candidates with your interests at heart. Palm card July 2015

If you haven’t voted yet

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Oct 282014

Check out the qualifications of three amazing candidates for Legislative District 42, Washington State.

Campaign signs on Birch Bay Drive

Campaign signs on Birch Bay Drive






Visit sethfleetwood.com; votesatpalsidhu.com and votejoymonjure.com for the facts.

Only one week to election

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Oct 272014

Joy Monjure talks with Outreach volunteers October 25, 2014

If you haven’t been able to do anything else for this critically important election, you have one week to make a difference. The Coordinated Campaign, supporting Seth Fleetwood for State Senate and Satpal Sidhu and Joy Monjure for State House positions, is putting on a final phone-calling/canvassing blitz. Please contact:

Bre Weider, Manager Coordinated Campaign, bre.weider@g.mail.com; 383-6133 

Put in a shift or two or three to know you have participated in the effort to get these three deserving candidates elected. Remember, if you do nothing, you get the government you deserve.


Birch Bay-Blaine-Lummi Island Candidates Forum

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Birch Bay-Blaine-Lummi Island Candidates Forum
Oct 022014

You are Invited

Birch Bay-Blaine-Lummi Island Candidates Forum

Thursday, October 9, 2014 – 7 PM

at the

Birch Bay Bible Community Church

at 4460 Bay Road, the NE corner of Blaine (SR548) and Bay Roads.

Seth for Blog sm

Seth Fleetwood, State Senate Candidate (D)

All six candidates for State Senator, State Representative Pos. 1 and State Representative Pos. 2 have RSVP’d to attend.

Citizen-organized and sponsored by The Northern Light newspaper, Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce, Birch Bay Waterslides, the Friends of Birch Bay State Park and ….. to educate and inform the combined community populations of 14,000 Whatcom County citizens.


-Kathy Berg, Terry Terry, Pat Jerns and Louise Mugar

Engagement Guidelines

For the audience

Satpal Pic Seattle 3

Satpal Sidhu, Position 1, State Representative Candidate (D)

  • The public may submit questions for the candidates of the 42nd Legislative District of WA to ChairKathy@birchbayinfo.org or call 360-371-0171.  Cards and pens will be handed out at the auditorium door for writing questions of the candidates.  There will be no “open mike.”
  • 6:30 to 7 PM – Meet and greet opportunity for audience, candidates and sponsors in the lobby.
  • 7 PM – Forum will start promptly.

Joy Monjure, Position 2, State Representative Candidate (D)

For the candidates

  • Each candidate may have a table in the lobby from which to disseminate their message.  Arrive at the church by 6:30 PM to set up.  Please, NO Yard signs in the lobby, auditorium nor on the grounds of the church.
  • Each candidate may have a 2-minute opening statement.
  • Predetermined questions will have no more than 1 1/2-minutes to answer.
  • There will be 30-seconds for rebuttal from the opponent.
  • Questions submitted by the audience on note cards that have been sorted and organized by topic will have no more than 1 1/2-minutes to answer and 30-seconds for rebuttal.
  • Each candidate will have 2-minutes for a closing statement.


  • Each sponsor may have a table in the lobby from which to disseminate their message.  Contact Jeff Carrington jdc4177@msn.com, 360-220-3224 to make arrangements.

[ed. The event is non-partisan; this blog is partisan.]

Why are the LD 42 Democratic Candidates Hiding Their Signs?

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Aug 312014

In response to a comment from a reader of this blog regarding the lack of yard signs and the small size of the few he had seen, two of the candidates told us:

“We need more one to one forums on real issues that affect our daily lives. Voters are smart and can judge the best candidates. This also allows scrutiny of the past performance or lack thereof of incumbents.”

Satpal Pic Seattle 3Satpal Sidhu

Candidate [Position 1] – State Representative




“We can’t afford big signs because we don’t have the tobacco, real estate, health insurance, GPT, Union 76, funding our campaigns.”

Joy Monjure10325144_1480012805567424_3274419915696869770_n

Candidate [Position 2] – State Representative




More grass roots support (dollars) could help them display more signs. Better yet, attend rallies and forums where you can hear all the candidates and judge for yourselves; these candidates, along with Seth Fleetwood, candidate for State Senate, want to see government working for Whatcom County.  Best of all, exercise your hard-fought right: cast your vote in November.   rah

Joy Monjure for LD 42 Representative

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Jun 122014

Joy Monjure is running for Legislative District 42 Representative, Position 2 and she is a real Joy! Her focus is on Farms, Families, Future, with concern for water supply and quality, opportunity equality, education, transportation and all the things that will support that triad of values.

Meeting with some members of her “Kitchen Cabinet” this morning, we learned what a basically good person she is, solidly established in her community, working her sustainable farm-“Field of Greens”, serving the public on the Everson City Council, and enjoying the role of grandmother.

Upon her election, along with Seth Fleetwood for State Senate and Satpal Sidhu for Position 1, the residents of  LD 42 (roughly north of Alabama Street in Bellingham to the Canadian border) will finally be represented by a thoughtful, active, reasonable delegation. They need the support, financial/volunteer/active voter, of all thinking constituents in the 42nd.

Joy and some members of her "Kitchen Cabinet", from left, Jaleen Pratt, Joy Monjure, Pinky Vargas, Marge Laidlaw

Joy and some members of her “Kitchen Cabinet”, from left, Jaleen Pratt, Joy Monjure, Pinky Vargas, Marge Laidlaw


Energized Candidates

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Jun 082014

 Seth for Blog3Seth Fleetwood and Satpal Sidhu, two of the three Democrat candidates in Legislative District 42 positions in the November election introduced themselves to the party’s Outreach Committee last Thursday evening, 6/6. (Joy Monjure, the third candidate was not able to attend because of commitment to her business in Everson.)

Fleetwood is no stranger to Whatcom Democrats. He won two terms in the County Council, then served in the Bellingham City Council. A lawyer, well established as a progressive he will be an easy choice over one of the most conservative in the State Senate for independents as well as liberals.Satpal for Blog

Satpal Sidhu, a surprise candidate to many, came off as a very pleasant surprise, looking nifty and speaking enthusiastly. Although he does not wear a turban, Mr. Sidhu is an active member of the Sikh temple and a leader in the community as an ambassador to outsiders.

Ruth and I came to know Satpal in 2005 when we wrote an article for the Weekly. Sikhs, who are a reformed religion in India, have produced many leaders in that country. But their temple, near Lynden, was harassed as Muslim by hooligans who knew no better in the post 9/11 period. To change opinion they organized an outreach event on Martin Luther King Day that we attended. When we proposed an article Satpal was assigned to help us.

Then he was Dean at Whatcom Technical College. Previously he had worked in the oil refining industry in Canada as well as the U.S. At the Technical College he recognized that many skilled workers in local refineries would soon be retiring. He went to Texas and brought back a curriculum that schools were using to train workers. He hired refinery supervisors as part-time adjunct professors and got management on board to guarantee interviews to graduates of the program. When Satpal left the school some 300 graduates had good jobs.

(That speaks well to leaders of District 42 who hold their meetings in the Machinist Union office in Ferndale and argue loudly for jobs versus environmentalist who oppose coal and oil trains.)

Most recently Satpal has been a leader in establishing solar systems and importing Whatcom blueberries to India – score two more with the environmentalists!