A Discussion with Carl Weimer, County Council Chairman

 Birch Bay Issues, Community, Politics  Comments Off on A Discussion with Carl Weimer, County Council Chairman
Apr 112014

How to get BIG money out of politics

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on How to get BIG money out of politics
Mar 082014

Whatcom Progressive Forum

(formerly known as Tipple & Talk)

Get Big Money Out of Politics:

What you can do–Join us!

Bay Horizon Park Conference Room

7506 Gemini Road,

off Alderson Road, Birch Bay

Monday, March 10, 2014

7 to 9 pm

Facilitated by Ronna Loerch

Beverages and light snacks offered

To RSVP or for more information, call 371-5312

Genuine Sweep

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Genuine Sweep
Nov 102013

Election results for us this year were as satisfying as any we’ve experienced in Birch Bay, including those in 2008 and 2012 when we campaigned for Obama. In 2012 our work was recognized by having our photo taken with the President.

The big win fBroom for changeor Birch Bay was approval of the Park & Rec levy that failed by only a few votes twice before. This time the required 60 percent of voters was exceeded by more than eight percent. All but two of the 15 precincts in the Blaine School District (minus Point Roberts) voted yes.

The best performance was in Birch Bay Precinct 108 the approval count was 73.2 percent. Adjacent to Bay Horizon Park where the Activity Center is located, had 571 votes. Ruth Higgins, the PCO in 108, estimates that 90 percent of the houses were visited by dedicated canvassers, particularly in the Bay Crest developments. (Remarkable is the reality that some 50 percent of those registered failed to vote.)

Significantly, the Park & Rec campaign was led by Doralee Booth and Kathy Berg, remaining members of the dormant Steering/Implementation Committee. With Booth leading the way, they demonstrated skills in organization and execution that portends a different future for Birch Bay.

For us personally, an even more important sweep was the victory of the slate of four progressive candidates for Whatcom County Council. Rud Brown, Barry Buchanan, Ken Mann, and Carl Weimer all finished well ahead of the 50 percent required. But in the 15 local precincts the progressive slate gained no more than five.  During the campaign we got to know all four of these candidates, which motivated us to work diligently on their behalf.

If any reader can tell us why people would vote for Bill Knutzen over Rud Brown, we would welcome their explanation.




Five Tips to Get Your Voice Heard

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Oct 282013

“Recent polling indicates that 60% of Americans would like to fire everyone in Congress…”, says Heather Long in the Guardian newspaper, known around the world as a liberal voice. The article outlines five tips from “political insiders”:

  1. Don’t waste your time writing to a US [sic] senator. [But suggests that House members may be more responsive.]
  2. Do request a meeting or attend a town hall. [Show up in person.]
  3. DrunkDialCongress.org:unique campaigns still work. [Web site created by Revolution Messaging.]
  4. Form a PAC or join one. Strength in numbers. [Grassroots organizations at work.]
  5. Challenge politicians in the primaries (or threaten to). [“Nothing gets a politician’s attention like the threat of a challenge.”]

Bottom line: Don’t just get angry at Congress, get organized. See www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/27/how-to-contact-congress-tips for the full text.

Trail without end for web

Your Whatcom County Democratic party organized this year to support four County Council candidates, Rud Browne, Barry Buchanan, Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and two Port Commission candidates, Renata and Mike McAuley. Everything we have seen and heard from these candidates persuades us that they are the right people to move Whatcom County forward on a sane, stable path to environmental and economic health.

Vote This Week

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Vote This Week
Oct 212013

Here’s Our Slate:

For County Council: Rud Brown, Barry Buchanan, Ken Mann & Carl Weimer.

Four Amigos Signs.


For Port Commission: Mike McAuley & Renata Kowalczyk.

 Renata & Mike Signs



We have met and talked with all six of these progressive candidates and have been campaigning for them most of the summer and fall. Ruth makes a lot of phone calls to voters in her precinct 108 – she is the PCO – and from a phone bank at the combined campaign in the Herald Building in Bellingham. As part of the Dems Outreach Committee, she is participating in special events at the Lummi Nation and Sikh Temple.


Al has made phone calls in campaigns but he would rather knock on doors. He enjoys the here-and-now experience of standing in front of a door wondering who will appear. Most often he is challenged on “progressive.” He says his candidates are intelligent and open minded. (As opposed to the regressives who seem to blindly follow the whims of supporters who have particular objectives such as protecting personal land rights that are contrary to the state’s growth management act.)


The most questions are about COAL. The view that county council candidates should express neutrality because they are likely to be in a judicial role was shattered when the coal industry contributed to the regressives and conservation interests contributed to the progressives. I am sympathetic to the view of older men who see the coal port as generating the kind of jobs for which they are prepared. (Unhappily those are “20th Century Jobs; the future of Whatcom County is in the 21st Century.)


The regressives have latched on to this issue and are advertising they are “job creators.” But at the Candidates Forum held in Birch Bay last week they presented little evidence they have experience in creating jobs.  Kathy Kershner was a Naval officer and a consultant. Ben Elenbaas has worked at BP since he finished college. As a farmer who raises beef and pork, his wife is his main employee. Michelle Luke operated a beauty salon. Bill Knutzen runs a small business that repairs computers and cellular phones.


In contrast, Rud Brown founded and operated a computer recycling business that created 360 jobs in five countries, 140 in Whatcom County. Carl Weimer made ReSources what it is today, employing more than 60 people. Ken Mann renovates commercial and residential buildings generating opportunities for employment in the renovated businesses as well as construction jobs. Barry Buchanan operates a firm that trains people for technology jobs.

Park & Rec Sign

Finally, a very important cause is the levy to support the Park & Rec District. This ballot measure that needs 60 percent of the vote and lost twice by only 150 votes asks for only 10 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. For a home appraised at $250,000 that would be only $25 dollars per year. You’d think people would see what a bargain that is. But you’d be surprised. One woman snarled at Al, “Nobody wants higher taxes.”


Walking home from that experience, he found a bumper strip “Why do people with closed minds always open their mouths?”


Nonetheless, campaigning is worth the effort – the days after Nov. 5 will be exciting

Addendum October 27: Our picks for NWPRD2 Commissioner are Katy Montfort, for re-election to Position 4, who has worked tirelessly for the park activities and Sheli Moore, a candidate for Position 2, who has turned out for almost every event since filing for the position.  

Northwest Park & Recreation District 2: Vote YES!

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Sep 242013

BB P&R Doralee with signDoralee Booth (shown) and Kathy Berg kicked off a work-party at the Activity Center on Gemini Street on Monday, September 23, 2013. They represent the Northwest Park & Recreation District 2’s ballot issue requesting approval of a levy for the support of the District’s many programs and activities. The modest 10 cents per $1000 property evaluation (that’s $1.66 a month for a $200,00 home) over the next four years will enable the existing board and staff to continue serving the residents within their boundaries. District 2’s boundaries parallel the Blaine School District, except for Point Roberts that has its own Park & Recreation District.

See more details on the District’s Web site www.nwparkandrec.org and their Facebook page Northwest Park & Recreation District 2.

This critical issue in on the ballot this Fall–and those ballots will be mailed to your home on October 15. Please open your ballot upon receipt, vote Yes for Parks & Recreation, complete your other choices of candidates and issues, and return your ballot immediately, by mail or drop-off box. Drop-off boxes are available at Blaine library and the County Courthouse in Bellingham.

Voting Yes! on this issue is in your best interest.


We Trust our Representative

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Sep 092013

Dear Congresswoman Suzan DelBene,

DelBeneHaving applauded your talk at the August Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner in Bellingham explaining your vote to the Amash-Conyers amendment that would have limited the NSA budget and your thoughtful essay in the Northern Light on the importance of transparency in government agencies, we want you to know that we trust your judgment in voting on the Syria issue. We recognize that you have numerous factors to consider that are beyond our awareness.

ak & rah

Flash Forums

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Flash Forums
Sep 022013

County council candidates inaugurated  a new way to meet with voters.


Rud Browne, left, and Barry Buchanan at first Flash Forum

On August 19 and 21, Rud Browne and Barry Buchanan informally chatted with residents at the Birch Bay Public Market and in a homeowner’s driveway.

For upcoming events, see the calendar at www.whatcomdemocrats.com.

Tipple & Talk: Being Rhetoric

 Politics  Comments Off on Tipple & Talk: Being Rhetoric
Aug 142013

Our meeting on August 20 is all about Being Rhetoric. Language is important; words matter; rhetoric counts.

T&T graphic

[ed. note 8/19/13: Ms Brown is unable to present; Mr. Sweeney will.] Nicole Brown grows words, produce and a daughter at Moondance Farm in Acme, WA. An advocate for organic agriculture, food security, and healthy air, soil, and water, she teaches rhetoric, systems thinking, and technical writing at WWU. She will offer us insight into rhetoric.

Riley Sweeney, a Vice-President of the Whatcom Dems, and creator of ThePoliticalJunkie.com, will bring the theory home with his hands-on application of rhetoric through blogging.

Join us at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20 at Via Birch Bay Café and Bistro, 7829 Birch Bay Drive, Birch Bay, WA. Light snacks and no-host bar. Call 371-5312 for more information.

Dear Mr. President

 Birch Bay Issues, Politics  Comments Off on Dear Mr. President
Aug 052013

Dear Mr. President:

We were surprised and disappointed with your choice of venue when we heard your speech from Amazon. Chuck and Dee Robinson of Village Books, genuine job creators and strong community supporters, expressed our concerns very well in a message advising readers, excerpted below.

Obama at Amazon

1. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place.

2. Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

3. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy:..  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

Please do something to counteract the impression that you care more for predatory large corporations than you do the real job creators–small business.

You may remember us as volunteers with the neighborhood team from the most northwestern county of the most northwestern state when we had our photo taken with you in Bellevue, February 2012. We cherish that experience and photo.

Ruth Higgins and Al Krause