Jail Ballot Measure Votes: An Open Letter from the RC

Riveters Collective values a fair and compassionate justice system with decisions informed by data and community process. This is the community’s jail and should reflect our values. Acknowledging that Whatcom County’s existing jail requires upgrades at a minimum, we see an opportunity to implement a bold new vision. We expect and will support our elected officials in casting risky votes toward these ends.

 

We express our gratitude to county council members Todd Donovan, Barry Buchanan and Ken Mann for voting against sending an incomplete and costly jail proposal to the November ballot. The work of the Vera Institute of Justice and the Incarceration and Reduction Task Force is not complete, and while we don’t yet know what size our jail should be, in a recent email regarding the size of the proposed jail Vera wrote, “Using the correct population, one would arrive at a number more than 30 percent smaller.” That underscores a need to wait until the work is complete before developing a plan.

 

We are disappointed that county council member Rud Browne moved to put this costly jail on the ballot, and council members Carl Weimer, Barbara Brenner, and Satpal Sidhu voted in favor. The two council members who invested the most time into finding solutions, Donovan and Buchanan, argued forcefully for waiting and stated clearly that this proposal isn’t ready and will fail again in November. Their hard work was ignored in favor of haste.

 

We are disappointed that city councilmembers Michael Lilliquist, Pinky Vargas, Gene Knutson, Terry Bornemann and Roxanne Murphy voted for the Jail Funding Use Agreement (JFUA). This vote was premature; we expect a  thoughtful, data-driven solution for our justice system. As citizens we are certain you have more power than you believe and wish you would have used your positions to urge the county to find a better approach. Given a choice between joining a poorly-researched project which perpetuates the prison industrial complex or declining to join and pursuing our own solution, we are ready to stand alone. At it’s core, the JFUA is a regressive sales tax that takes up 100-percent of our public safety tax capacity for the next 30 years. We also acknowledge that you each struggled with this decision, and we heard your statements as you voted yes — that you believed this was the best deal you could get for Bellingham in order to put some – albeit limited – funds into diversion programs. We thank city councilmembers April Barker and Dan Hammill for clearly expressing our shared values.

 

This year, Riveters Collective will work to defeat the jail ballot measure and will take pride in our work to find a better, more equitable path for justice in our community. We see better solutions on the horizon:

  • Bail reform so that people are not held in jail simply because they cannot pay
  • Fully funding treatment first, before incarceration
  • Diversion from jail, with incarceration as the last resort for those who are a danger to themselves or others; and
  • A new look at less expensive options for a new or renovated jail.

 

We believe that if we agree to put $110 million into a large jail in Ferndale, plus another $30-million for a sheriff’s office, that there will be insufficient funds for treatment, robust and effective diversion, or for re-entry into the community. Those are the very programs that make us safer. The proposed jail size, potential for expansion, distance from the courthouse, and proximity to Border Patrol are concerns. We will push for a serious look at either a smaller, less expensive jail or renovating our downtown jail.

 

Simply put, we believe that spending 100-percent of our public safety tax capacity for the next 30 years on a jail is not an investment in hope, but instead builds a legacy of despair. We stand ready to work with all of our elected officials on an equitable and comprehensive justice system after this ballot measure fails in November. Our goal will be an equitable, fair and less-costly solution that we can all support with pride.

Signed,

The Riveters Collective Board of Directors

 

***Co-sign our letter below.***

Sign our letter:
Receive updates on the "No on the Jail Ballot Measure" campaign.

 

Roxann Kay

Sharon Shewmake

Lisa Van Doren

karen fisher

Maggie Wettergreen

Kathleen Hennessy

Stephen W. Jackson

Jennifer Gruenert

Susan Wood

Bette C Williams

Andronetta Douglass

Jenn Mason

Dena Jensen

Elizabeth Hartsoch

Eowyn Savela

Janet Hosokawa

Sandy Robson

Lisa Citron

Karlee Deatherage

Bert Monroe

Helen E. Moran

Brenda Bentley

Anna Wolff

Elma Burnham

Stephanie Allen

Wendy Courtemanche

Andrew Reding

2017 Endorsed Candidates

***Riveters Collective *** 2017 Endorsed Candidates***

Bellingham City Council

Ward 4: Pinky Vargas

Ward 6: Michael Lilliquist

At-large: Roxanne Murphy 

 

Bellingham School Board

Position 4: Jenn Mason

                Teri Hill-McIntyre

                (Dual Endorsement)

Position 5: Douglas W. Benjamin  

 

Port of Bellingham

District 1: Michael Alvarez Shepard

District 2: Barry Wenger

 

Whatcom County Council

District 1: Rud Browne

District 2: Todd Donovan

District 3: Rebecca Boonstra

At-large: Barry Buchanan

 

We have a cheat sheet for you! Click on the image below to download a shareable image for social media.

 

Want to know a little more about these candidates and why we chose them? Click here to read their questionnaire responses, along with the responses of several other candidates whom we interviewed.

Cover photo credit: Kjersten Hayes

2017 Candidate Endorsement Questionnaires

The RC sent endorsement questionnaires to candidates on 19 May 2017.  Our endorsement committee is still hard at work, building rubrics for evaluation of responses and scheduling interviews.  You can see the questions linked below.

Introduction

Candidate Information

Bellingham City Council

Whatcom County Council

Port of Bellingham

Bellingham Public Schools

 

Elections 2017

Candidate AMAs*

Dates will be added and linked as they are confirmed.

24 April 2017, 8:30pm – Amy Glasser, County Council District 2

8 May 2017, 8:00pm – Jean Layton, City Council

11 July 2017, 8:00pm – Rebecca Boonstra, County Council District 3

20 July 2017, 8:30pm – Michael Shepard, Port Commissioner District 1

16 October 2017, 8:00pm – Michael Lilliquist, City Council Ward 6

18 October 2017, 7:30pm – Jenn Mason, Bellingham School Board Position 4

26 October 2017, 8:30pm – Teri Hill-McIntyre, Bellingham School Board Position 4

1 November 2017, 8:30pm – Pinky Vargas, City Council Ward 4

 

*AMA stands for Ask Me Anything.  The candidate has agreed to take questions on the thread at the designated time.  This is an online chat.

Press Release: Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve – HB 1001 Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Contact:

Elizabeth Hartsoch, Riveters Collective, 1-360-305-5624

 

Statement: Pick a job, Senator Ericksen.

WHATCOM COUNTY, WASHINGTON — Today the Washington State Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee held a hearing on HB 1001 and Senator Ericksen was in attendance. HB 1001 is a technical  bill updating the payment schedule for utility easements on state owned aquatic lands.  It passed the House 97-0 and is now being considered in the Senate.  But Senator Erickson has introduced a major amendment which would overturn state protection of Cherry Point.

The amendment language mirrors that from one of his failed senate bills, a bill for which he was the sole sponsor, and missed the hearing because he was at his full-time job in Washington, D.C. – unsurprising since Senator Ericksen has missed more than three quarters of his committee hearings this year.

Citizens and elected Tribal leaders, however, showed up in force to the January 24th hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Park Committee. Citizens and Tribal leaders opposing the bill filled the hearing room and an overflow room. Tribal leaders spoke in opposition and not a single person signed in to support overturning protections of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve.1

In response to this renewed attempt to open the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve to industrial development, local activists with the Riveters Collective issued the following Statement:

“Our message was clear at the hearing in January – we want state protection for the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve,” said Elizabeth Hartsoch with the Riveters Collective and a resident of the 42nd Legislative District. “Unfortunately, our Senator was in D.C. at his other job. Nobody – not even Senator Ericksen – signed in to support his attempt to overturn protection of the Cherry Point Aquatic reserve, and it failed to advance out of committee.  Today Senator Ericksen flew back from DC to try again to open up the Salish Sea for coal export. This is a waste of everyone’s time and both state and federal taxpayer money. Once again we urge Senator Ericksen to pick one full-time job and stick with it.  Nobody – not his constituents back home nor his colleagues in Olympia – is well served by him trying to keep both jobs.”

 

1Summary Report Showing No One Signed in to support SB 5171. 

Event: Hope & Action with Senator Kevin Ranker and Chairman Timothy Ballew II

Join us for an inspirational and practical forum featuring state senator Kevin Ranker and Timothy Ballew II, chair of the Lummi Nation.

Senator Ranker will provide specific ideas for what each of us can do to stand up for our core values in the face of our current administration.  Ranker is clear:  there are core areas about which we cannot compromise:  women’s rights, minority rights, LGBTQ rights, access to quality education, reproductive health and choice, environmental protection.  Chairman Ballew will share opening words.

You’ll leave the presentation fired up, with a list of ideas for what you can do now to bring about positive change!  

This free event is co-sponsored by the Lummi Nation and Riveters Collective.

Date: Sunday, 19 March 2017
Time: 1:00 p.m.  Lobby doors open at 12:00, theater doors at 12:30
Location: Mount Baker Theatre
Tickets: This is not a ticketed event.  Attendance is free, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
R.S.V.P. To receive updates, r.s.v.p. to our Facebook event or check this page.
Accommodations: We plan to have an ASL interpreter.  Guests can also request assistive hearing devices from theatre ushers or staff.  The theatre has eight permanent wheelchair spots.
DONATE HERE: We met our fundraising goal, no more donations!

Senator Ericksen Recall Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2017

42nd District Citizens Undaunted by Recall Decision

Bellingham, WA.

The citizen-led recall of Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen, D-42, was dismissed in court this morning with a finding of “insufficient grounds”.  In her decision, Whatcom Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis confirmed that there is no standard expectation of service against which Washington State senators can be judged.  Senators are not required to do anything, and therefore cannot fail to meet the standard.  

“The performance of Sen. Ericksen in his duties as senator has to mean something,” Montoya-Lewis said. “But there’s no standard that’s laid out in the statutes. There’s no description. There’s no case law that indicates what ‘discharge of his duties under his oath of office’ means.”

Petitioners were disappointed to learn that the remedy of recall is not available when a senator so clearly and intentionally neglects the business of the senate and the work of representing the people of his district.

“It is astonishing to learn that our state senator can just decide not to do his job and there is literally no remedy available to us until he is up for re-election.  In my mind, showing up to work is a bi-partisan value”. Said Elizabeth Hartsoch of Riveters Collective.  “Finding sponsors for legislation to close this loophole is a clear path forward for us.  As is identifying a responsive and collaborative leader willing to take Senator Ericksen’s seat in the next election”.

Stephen Gockley, counsel for the petitioners, introduced evidence showing that in addition to his extensive record of meeting absences, Senator Ericksen has inappropriately claimed per diem payments of $120/day on days when he was demonstrably not working on senate business in any way.  He also argued that while occasional absences from meetings or votes are normal for senators, it is unprecedented for a senator to acknowledge a complete disengagement from senate business by declining per diem on so many days.  A timeline of Senator Ericksen’s 2017 legislative session attendance and per diem claims is available on the Riveters Collective website.

“I’m proud of this citizen led effort and the amazing response we’ve had by constituents”.  Said petitioner Michael Shepard.  “Nearly 3000 people have signed petitions, provided evidence, made calls and participated in this recall effort. We will continue to be engaged, seeking accountability and effective representation for the 42nd district.”

Petitioners intend to continue holding Senator Ericksen accountable, beginning with attendance at his town hall meeting on Saturday.

xxx

Recommended Local Actions for the Week of 20170227

Recommended Local Actions for the Week of 20170227

ACT TODAY: Support SB5501/HB1663 (Funding for Toxic Pollution Prevention and Cleanup)

Call or submit comment online to express your support for these important bills which will stabilize funding for preventing and controlling pollution and cleaning up toxic sites, including the Bellingham waterfront.

Funding to support toxics cleanup, as well as pollution prevention, in Washington state comes from a tax on hazardous substances – mostly petroleum products. With the drop in oil prices in recent years, there has been a significant shortfall in revenue to support cleanup. These bills will help stabilize funding by applying a modest surtax on hazardous substances when annual revenues fall below $160M.

  • Contact information
  • Suggested comment:

The voter-approved Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) has proven to be an effective means to clean up toxic waste sites, prevent toxic chemical pollution, and support communities to address toxics pollution threats. However, the state has lost an estimated $375 million in MTCA funding over the last three years, and the tax must be stabilized to keep Washington on track in reducing harmful pollution.

Thankfully, the legislature is considering HB 1663/SB 5501, which would:

  • Stabilize funding for cleaning up toxic sites, preventing and controlling pollution, and ensuring communities have a voice in reducing threats from toxic pollution.
  • Apply a modest and temporary surcharge on the state hazardous substance tax, which would generate an estimated $50 million over the next two years and help address a $70 million budget shortfall.
  • Allow for more predictability in the state budget process and provides reliability for local communities that depend on these dollars to improve public health and the environment.
  • Help maintain funding for critical state environmental programs that benefit all corners of the state.

I urge you to support HB 1663/SB 5501 so we can protect our communities from risks we face today and keep us safe for years to come. Thank you for considering my comments, and I look forward to your response.

Comment in Support of Extending Solar Incentives

Seen all the solar panels popping up on local roofs lately?  This phenomena is due largely to a three-pronged state/federal incentive program which provides tax credit, banking of excess production, and production payments which are much higher if you buy Washington-made equipment.  The state incentives that began several years ago will expire in June of 2020.  All along, the idea has been that legislators would revise the program based on experiences and then introduce new legislation to extend it with improvements.  Unfortunately, they have failed in at least a couple of attempts to do so, and now we are staring down the expiration of incentives in 3 years.  In my amateur reading, the new legislation steps down production payments, changes the requirements around community solar installations, removes the requirement of owning the building and land, changes the funding cap, and a few more administrative details.  

Contact information

Attend the Recall Hearing for Senator Doug Ericksen

Thursday, March 2nd at 8:30am, Whatcom County Superior Court.  We will provide further guidance later this week.  Please refer to our post on this for updates.

Thank Jay Inslee for Executive Order on Immigration

It’s that time of the week again, time to call Jay Inslee and say thanks.  Washington will not participate in civil immigration raids. Read about it in the Seattle Times and the Stranger.

https://www.facebook.com/WaStateGov/
https://twitter.com/GovInslee
360-902-4111

From the Calendar

Monday 27 Feb, 6pm, Candlelight vigil – Immigration enforcement

Monday 27 Feb, 7pm (but come at 6:15 for trading cards), Family Council Night at Bellingham City Council meeting

Saturday 4 March, 3-5pm, Riveters Collective Meeting and Social

SAVE THE DATE: 3/7/17, 6pm.  Whatcom County Council Special Presentation on the Hirst Decision.

In the Hirst decision, the Court ruled that Whatcom County, in issuing building permits with permit-exempt wells as water source, failed to comply with GMA requirements in protecting water resources.  Whatcom County Council has scheduled a special presentation on the issue at their 3/7 meeting, where they will show a 20-minute video, ask questions of state and local water experts, and hold a public hearing on a proposed interim ordinance.  More information here.

 

Senator Ericksen’s Attendance Record

Senator Ericksen Accountability Project Update

RECALL

By law, the recall happens in several steps, we have completed step 1 and are awaiting step 2. 

  1. File charges (done, full text at the end of this post)
  2. Charges are heard in the Whatcom County Superior Court on March 2nd at 8:30 am with Judge Montoya-Lewis.  Here is a map.  You can attend, though the space is limited to about 50 people.  The hearing will be recorded and we can request a copy of the video from the clerk.
  3. If the recall clears the Superior Court hurdle (a very high bar), we collect 25k signatures from registered 42nd district voters.
  4. If we collect all the signatures the recall will be on the ballot in November of 2017.
  5. If Senator Ericksen is recalled, the 42nd district Republican Precinct Committee Officers nominate three choices for replacement.  Whatcom County Council selects one of the three choices to serve as our senator for the remainder of the term.

TOWN HALL MEETING

  1. Our town hall meeting invitation was hand-delivered to Senator Ericksen’s staff on Monday, February 20th.  Whether or not he accepts our invitation, we will hold a town hall meeting to discuss issues and our efforts to hold Senator Ericksen accountable.  You can help with this effort.
    Sign the RC town hall invitation.
  2. Use Twitter to encourage Senator Ericksen to schedule a meeting with his constituents.  Sample tweet:  Dear @Doug_Ericksen 42nd constituents kindly request a town hall meeting with you in March before the session ends, please respond here http://tinyurl.com/joh3afv #waleg
  3. Message Senator Ericksen on Facebook to encourage him to set up a town hall meeting with his constituents. His Facebook page no longer accepts posts, so message is the best option.

Earlier updates and actions in this post.
Press coverage of 42nd district efforts.

Charges Filed:
“To whom it may concern,
Pursuant to The Washington State Constitution and RCW 29A.56.110, citizens of the 42nd Legislative District (hereafter “petitioners”) respectfully request recall of Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen. The attached brief supports these charges.
The Petitioners allege that Senator Ericksen is subject to recall due to misfeasance and a failure to faithfully perform a duty imposed by law. Senator Ericksen committed misfeasance by failing to attend over 75-percent of his committee meetings, failing to attend meetings for bills he’s submitted, and failing to be present for constituent feedback. Moreover, Senator Ericksen failed to faithfully perform a duty imposed by the law by violating the Washington State Constitution. Specifically, Senator Ericksen is prohibited under the constitution from accepting a managerial position in the federal Executive Branch while maintaining an elected position in the state Legislative Branch.
Clearly, Senator Ericksen is not able to provide the time and attention to the important matters of Washington State or the 42nd District while working on a significant administrative transfer at the EPA. Senator Ericksen’s inability to perform the basic duties of a state senator demonstrates that holding two offices on two sides of the country is incompatible with his duties. Therefore, we are petitioning his recall”.