Here’s Our Slate:
For County Council: Rud Brown, Barry Buchanan, Ken Mann & Carl Weimer.
For Port Commission: Mike McAuley & Renata Kowalczyk.
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.
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.