Jail Tax Results Mapped by Precinct

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

Urgent Action to Stop the Mega-jail

Riveters!

This Monday the 19th at 7pm it is all hands on deck to ask the Bellingham City Council to vote NO on the Jail Facility Use Agreement*.

If the City Council says yes to funding the big jail, this will send a loud message that the City Council supports a mega-jail. We want them to represent our progressive values and say NO to the big jail because this is the wrong plan for our community.

Please attend the City Council meeting on Monday, June 19th at 7pm, sign in to speak during Open Session, and ask that they vote NO on the Agreement.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, scroll down for city email and phone info and contact them today.

*The Jail Funding Agreement states that the big jail (note: there’s been NO needs assessment to know how big it should be) will be funded with a regressive sales tax that will use 100% of the public safety sales tax capacity available to our community for the next 30 years. It details how the tax will be divided. 

You can view the funding agreement here: Interlocal Jail Facility Financing and Use Agreement. (Click on the “JFFUA” pdf on that page.)

 

What happens after the City Council votes NO?

This goes back to the County Council with a clear message that once again the City of Bellingham does NOT support a big jail in Ferndale. We then turn to the County Council and ask that they vote NO to putting this on the ballot. We can then step up to work with the councils on a solution that’s more fair, that isn’t a mega-jail in Ferndale and that prioritizes treatment over a huge building to lock people up.

 

Talking points

Please choose just one or two and add your own thoughts or story!

  • You are taking one of the last steps towards a mega-jail and it’s the wrong direction for Bellingham. This isn’t just about the funding or how the tax is divided, you’re taking a vote on the big jail. You have no other vote on the jail. This is it. Please vote no.
  • Are we really going to be the last community in America to build the mega-jail? Throughout the US incarceration is dropping and communities are rethinking this failed approach. While there are some who should be in jail, 73% of people in our jail haven’t been convicted. With work, such as the good work Bellingham has been doing, we can reduce incarceration.  
  • This jail proposal is $100-million. We can find a solution that doesn’t include a mega-jail and doesn’t take up all of our public safety tax capacity for the next 30 years. A new building won’t make our community safer.
  • Moving the jail to Ferndale removes a key part of Bellingham’s civic center and puts it in the Ferndale suburbs. This makes it harder for incarcerated individuals to meet with their attorneys, most of whom have offices near the current jail. It will increase the environmental impacts on our community when attorneys and inmates and staff drive back and forth.
  • The VERA Institute is completing a report to the Incarceration Task Force with recommendations to reduce how many people we jail in our community. Until that work is finished and implemented, we won’t know how big our jail should be. Please do not agree to fund the big jail without the data to know if we need it.
  • Our community should reconsider the Ferndale location and ask if the existing downtown Bellingham location might be better. That can only happen if you vote no on this funding agreement.
  • Bellingham has been moving in the right direction by aggressively reducing incarceration. I applaud that work! Please keep moving forward by voting NO on the big jail and this jail agreement.
  • We need to focus on services that will keep people out of jail such as treatment and other services. If we build a mega-jail our sheriff and judges will fill it and we will have less money for the treatment we know will both save money and make our community safer.
  • This proposal includes 36 ‘mental health beds’. But without a needs assessment we don’t know if that’s the right number or if the mentally ill should receive treatment inside the jail or outside, in a dedicated mental health facility.
  • We ask that you vote no on the Jail Funding Agreement and tell the County that this plan isn’t in the best interest of Bellingham.

Contact Information: If you are not able to attend and comment on Monday evening, contact the council today.

Email council at ccmail@cob.org, phone their office at (360) 778-8200, or give them a call:

  • April Barker, (360) 325-5128
  • Gene Knutson, (360) 734-4686
  • Dan Hammill, (360) 778-8213
  • Pinky Vargas, (360) 778-8210
  • Terry Bornemann, (360) 305-0606
  • Michael Lilliquist, (360) 778-8212
  • Roxanne Murphy, (360) 778-8211

Recommended Actions for the Week of 20170612

***CLICK ON THE TOPIC HEADER TO EXPAND THE DETAILS***

Local Level Actions

National Level Actions / Other

From the Calendar

Link to the Riveters Collective Calendar

Every Monday: Attend a vigil hosted by C2C and Keep Bellingham Families Working between 11:30a.m.-1:30p.m. or 5:00p.m. in front of City Hall. Show the powers that be that you stand by our undocumented workers and anyone else running afoul of ICE. Let the officials know it’s not alright to tear families apart!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 from 6:00-8:30p.m.: Attend the City of Bellingham Townhall regarding the housing crisis affecting cities throughout the I-5 corridor. The meeting will be held at the Bellingham High School, 2020 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225. The first half will consist of a panel, the second half will be an opportunity for members of the public to share their ideas and potential solutions. Click here for more information or visit Facebook.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 from 7:00-10:00p.m.: Attend the Whatcom County Council for an emergency public hearing on the proposed mega jail. People will be gathering outside the Whatcom County District Court, 311 Grand Ave., 1st Floor, Bellingham, WA 98825 at 6:00p.m. to learn more about the issues, and then the County Council will convene at 7:00p.m. Visit Facebook for more details.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 from 5:00-6:30p.m.: Join the ACLU People Power Postcard Party to tell our local representatives that the community wants an “independent oversight entity” to ensure the safety of undocumented residents and immigrants in Bellingham and Whatcom County. The event will be held at at Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro, 1107 Railroad Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225 and is open to all ages. A small donation is appreciated to help with printing costs. Visit Facebook for more information.

Recommended Actions for the Week of 20170529

***CLICK ON THE TOPIC HEADER TO EXPAND THE DETAILS***

Local Level Actions

National Level Actions / Other

From the Calendar

Every Monday: Attend a vigil hosted by C2C between 11:30a.m.-1:30p.m. This week will be a bit different because City Hall will be closed for Memorial Day. We will meet at City Hall like normal and then march over to the Police Station. Show the powers that be that you stand by our undocumented workers and anyone else running afoul of ICE. Let the officials know it’s not alright to tear families apart!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 from 5:30-8:30p.m.: Meet the candidates for Whatcom County Council and Bellingham City Council and provide feedback to the political committee for the Sierra Club Mt. Baker Group. The event is being held at YWCA, 1026 N Forest St, Bellingham, WA 98225. Social hour will start at 5:30p.m. (bring an appetizer to share if you wish) and the program starts at 6:15p.m. Please visit the Riveters Collective calendar or Facebook to learn more.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017, from 6:30-8:00p.m.: Come and learn how you can help Riveters Collective Earth Team plan and promote environment-related action.  We shall meet at Bellingham Public Market, 1530 Cornwall Ave., in the conference room (near Film is Truth).

Saturday, June 3, 2017 from 9:00-11:00a.m.: Come join the UterRun Fun Walk or Run. All proceeds go to benefit the Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood. Please visit Facebook for tickets.

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!

Immigration Ban

By Abhinaba Basu from Redmond, United States (Peace arch Canada-US border Uploaded by X-Weinzar) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

How to support our community

Pantsuit Bellingham members are seeking effective means of supporting members of our community affected by the immigration ban.  We are using this page as a clearinghouse for information on organizations and events supporting members of our community who are affected by the ban.  Submit constructive feedback or ideas in this Facebook thread.

Events

29 January 2017 Emergency Rally Against Muslim Ban
Peace Arch Park

12 February 2017 Worker and Immigrant Solidarity March

 

Organizations

ACLU of Washington 

CAIR Seattle

IRC Seattle

KIND

NWIRP

OneAmerica

ReWA

Step Three to Taking Action

Now you are informed and ready- time to act! Your best two tactics are your money and your time. Let’s talk $$.

Photo by Newton Free Library on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

First, donations.

There are a bajillion organizations working to do good. Many run on donations. It can be hard to figure out who to donate to. What do you care about? Which organizations are legit? How much money? How often? What about local groups vs. national organizations?

Narrow it down
This might be difficult. Many of us care about all of it- the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, LGBTQ rights, etc. Try picking your top three issues and start with those. Maybe even make a calendar where you focus on different issues each month or quarter.
This is a good list of ideas (check the comments, too): http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-wo…

Find legitimate organizations
Charity Navigator is a great tool to help you decide who will use your donation effectively.

Every bit helps
If you only have a few bucks to spare and are wondering if it’s even worth donating that much, know that it DOES HELP. We are working on a scale of millions of people making donations. A buck or two adds up.

If you can swing an automatic monthly donation, go for it.

Think globally, act locally (and nationally and globally)
Don’t forget about your hometown organizations. You can often have the most impact with these small fish. Use our Civic Tithing tool to help find local organizations and set up monthly donations. Also, Charity Navigator has a rich search function, including a way to look for local charities: https://www.charitynavigator.org/in…

 

It’s also time to boycott

You can also make a difference with your everyday spending habits.

Anti-Trump
You can choose to spend your money at places that do not support Trump or his family’s businesses. Shannon Coulter started the #grabyourwallet boycott in late October. Here is the current list of business to boycott, scripts to use to tell them why you’re boycotting, and alternative businesses to use instead: https://grabyourwallet.org/

Pro-justice
You can also sign up to participate in the Injustice Boycott, which began last December. This boycott is about preventing police brutality and racial injustice.
Do you know of any other current boycotts?

That’s your first action: donate and spend wisely. Next up, how to use your time to make a difference.

Missed step two? Read it here.

Ready for step four? Read it here.

Take action:

Alternative Inauguration Day Events

By Jnn13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Take back Inauguration Day by participating in one of these alternative events on Friday, January 20th.

Because you can love this country AND skip the inauguration.

Local

Our Inauguration Day: The Bellingham People’s Movement Assembly

WWU Student Walkout to #ResistTrump on Inauguration Day

WCC Resists Trump: Student Walkout on Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day Cabaret, at Sylvia Center

Bring Your Light to the Library

Don’t Mourn – Organize!

Unite Turtle Island: Inauguration Protest at the Border

Rest up and prepare for the Women’s Marches the next day.

National

Women Strike

Love-a-thon

Step Two to Taking Action

 

Alright, so you’ve got your non-biased news sources and you’re keeping up with things- nice! Now it’s time for step two: homework.

I know, you already have a busy life, and you’ve just upped your news intake on top of that. The thing is, you won’t be able to make effective or meaningful actions until you fully understand the situation.

First, the basics.

  • Here’s a nice civics brush up.
  • These gamified civics lessons are aimed at students, but look like fun for any age. Bonus- they’re an initiative of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • And here’s a handy post of our own about how the local Democratic party works.

Next, you might be wondering how this happened.

While we’re at it, we need to understand how to be better allies, too. Don’t forget the kids.

Putting a few of these books on reserve at the library is a great way to go. Get reading!

Missed step one? Read it here.

Ready for step three? Read it here.

Take action: