Demand citizen oversight for BPD

UPDATE: Partial victory!

While Bellingham turned out to express outrage at the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, it’s disappointing that Bellingham Police still lacks a permanent citizen community-led oversight body with a lead role in police accountability.

Instead, the Bellingham Police Department displayed the “blue lives matter” insignia — both desecrating the US flag and implying an alliance with reactionary and white nationalist groups – until the morning of May 31st.

While we appreciate Chief Doll’s willingness to listen the community and find a more inclusive way to honor those who have died serving Bellingham, we still need an independent civilian review board for true accountability.

Take action and demand that Black Lives Matter in Bellingham: contact Mayor Seth Fleetwood MayorsOffice@cob.org and/or (360) 778-8100 and Police Chief David Doll at ddoll@cob.org and/or (360) 778-8600 to make your voice heard.

Feel free to use or modify the draft below.

 

Mayor Fleetwood and Chief Doll,

Recent weeks have been filled with devastating news: on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, police continue to kill black people. 

The most recent death to receive national attention is the police killing of George Floyd as an officer knelt on his neck as he lay handcuffed in a Minneapolis street saying “I can’t breathe.” Mr. Floyd’s last words echo the words of Eric Garner in 2014 when he was killed by the NYPD and understandably provoked a community that never saw justice in the 2016 Minnesota police killing of Philando Castile witnessed and recorded by his partner.

While I am heartened by Chief Doll’s facebook post joining the chorus of law enforcement leaders across the US recognizing the excessive and unnecessary force in the death of Mr. Floyd and his swift action in removing the “Thin Blue Line” insignia from police department signage when community members raised fears about its association with white supremacist groups, we are still concerned about accountability regarding Bellingham Police Department use of force occurrences.  

We appreciate the department’s de-escalation training as well as Chief Doll’s reassurances that the Bellingham Police Department reviews officer use of force at multiple levels, all the examples of review you cite are internal.  True transparency and accountability require citizen participation, not only internal review. Body cameras and sharing statistics monthly and a start but without external oversight, these depend entirely upon the honesty and commitment of leaders. As I think we all recognize, not every leader is honest or committed to justice. This is why Bellingham must have a permanent community-led oversight body that is independent of the police department and fully empowered to investigate complaints and serious injury at the hands of police. 

Many people find it difficult to report police misconduct to the police, especially for those of us who are visible minorities or who have witnessed or experienced less than professional conduct from law enforcement in the past. I hope we all recognize that visible minority members of our community – including but not limited to Black people, First Nations people and LGTQ people – have had [our/their] safety and freedom compromised by systems of oppression that discourage them from interacting with law enforcement.   

Moreover, a permanent community-led oversight body could benefit not only an individual reporting potential misconduct, but also the larger community, the police department, and even elected officials. Potential benefits include:

  1. Complainants are given a place to voice concerns outside of the law enforcement agency.
  2. Oversight can help hold the police or sheriff’s department accountable for officer’s actions. 
  3. Oversight agencies can help improve the quality of the department’s internal investigations of alleged misconduct. 
  4. The community at large can be reassured that discipline is being imposed when appropriate, while also increasing the transparency of the disciplinary process. 
  5. When the oversight agency confirms a complainant’s allegation(s), complainants may feel validated. Similarly, when the oversight agency exonerates the officer, the officer may feel vindicated. 
  6. Oversight agencies can help improve community relations by fostering communication between the community and police agency. 
  7. Oversight agencies can help reduce public concern about high profile incidents. 
  8. Oversight agencies can help increase the public’s understanding of law enforcement policies and procedures. 
  9. Oversight agencies can improve department policies and procedures. Policy recommendations can prevent issues by identifying areas of concern and subsequently offering options to improve policing. 
  10. Oversight agencies can assist a jurisdiction in liability management and reduce the likelihood of costly litigation by identifying problems and proposing corrective measures before a lawsuit is filed.  
  11. By establishing an oversight system, public officials are provided the opportunity to demonstrate their desire for increased police accountability and the need to eliminate misconduct. i

Respectfully, I ask that you both uphold the mission of the Bellingham Police Department, “Committed to Community.”  by establishing a permanent community-led oversight body for the Bellingham Police Department with a lead role in police accountability that includes communities who are disproportionally incarcerated.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

[signed] 

Bellingham resident

 

NOTES: 

i https://www.nacole.org/benefits

 

A photograph of the sign outside the downtown Bellingham Police station that says "Bellingham Police Department". To the left of the words on the sign is the BPD crest and to the right is a circle insignia with a black and white American flag with a blue stripe just below the field of stars.
Above picture taken May 24th, 2020.
A photograph of the downtown Bellingham Police Station sign, which has been removed. Only the blue frame of the sign remains.rem
Above photo taken May 31, 2020.

 

Editor’s note: This action was written by Lee Che Leong.  It origniated as a post in our Facebook group. Join us for more action and discussion facebook.com/groups/RivetersCollective.

Campaign Training for Everyone Resources

Whether or not you attended our Campaign Training for All event, here are some links to help you make your make your campaign inclusive and get started on the right track.

Inclusivity

ASL Voter Assistance Hotline:
https://www.nad.org/asl-voter-hotline/

Communicating with a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Person:
https://dhcc.org/dhcc-outreach/communication-info/

Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff:
https://www.ncil.org/campaign-guide/

Issues that matter to Disability Community:
https://www.aapd.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-REV-UP-Issues-Guide-Print.pdf

Getting started

WA Secretary of State guide for candidates https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/candidates/state-candidates-guide-2019.pdf

NGPVan How to Run for Local Office https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/661521/How%20to%20Run%20for%20Local%20Office.pdf

WA Democrats Rise and Run resources:
https://www.wa-democrats.org/riseandrun

Tell Whatcom County Council to support ALL immigrant families

Take Action: Write to Whatcom County Council Members to support the recommendations of the Public Health Advisory Board to the Whatcom County Health Board to support of immigrant families of all statuses.

Feel free to provide any expertise or experiences you have regarding the negative impacts on immigrants or our greater community resulting from the harassment, apprehension, detention, and/or deportation of immigrants.

The council will likely take up the PHAB request at their November 20th meeting, so write your emails before then.

Email addresses (use all email addresses below on your email, so that the email will be part of the public record, and will be sure to reach each individual Council Member in a timely manner):
council@co.whatcom.wa.us
bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us
bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us
rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us
ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us
tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us
tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us
tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us

Source: Whatcom County Public Health Advisory Board: http://www.whatcomcounty.us/572/Public-Health-Advisory-Board

Background: The Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) met in early October 2018 to review health and safety impacts which recent detentions of undocumented workers are having on immigrants of all statuses and on our community. They also talked about the potential impacts proposed changes to the “public charge” rule (in other words, the Department of Homeland Security seeking to reshape how the federal government defines “public charge”) would have on immigrants and our county.

On November 7, 2018 Public Health Director Regina Delahunt came before the Whatcom County Council Public Works and Health Committee meeting with a request for Council support for immigrant families in Whatcom County. An October 25, 2018 letter had been sent from the Public Health Advisory Board (PHAB) to the Whatcom County Health Board (WCHB) outlining recommendations for creating a resolution and task force focused on support systems and services for families of immigrants of all statuses affected by detention and deportation. The letter also recommended that the WCHB submit comments to the Department of Homeland Security and letters to U.S. Senators and Representatives opposing changes to the “public charge” rule.

Additional Information:
Community to Community Development blog post, “Community Organizing in Response to the August 29, 2018 ICE Raid”: http://www.foodjustice.org/blog/2018/10/26/community-organizing-in-response-to-the-august-29th-ice-raid?fbclid=IwAR2M51PQhAxh9b4cVIOn_fOPDg1BWKappL7kAyMkci2pq-IKlne_HXMerWA

Letter from the PHAB to the WCHB: https://noisywatersnw.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/letter-from-rachel-lucy-screen-shot-2018-11-08-at-6-52-07-pm.png
https://noisywatersnw.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/letter-from-rachel-lucy-screen-shot-2018-11-08-at-6-52-07-pm.png

Copy of the Agenda Bill and attached materials from the PHAB regarding the request for support from County Council for families of immigrants in Whatcom County: http://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/37858/ab2018-302?bidId=

Bellingham City Council At-Large Position

Earlier this summer, Councilmember Roxanne Murphy announced her resignation from the Bellingham City Council.  This initiated an appointment process to fill the vacancy.  The council will meet on Monday, October 1st to hear from the applicants and vote to appoint an interim council member who will serve out the remainder of the term, ending November 2019.

The Riveters Collective has, with input from a number of community groups, crafted a 10-question questionnaire as a way to collectively get to know the applicants. We are sharing the responses we received so that you can:

  • Learn more about the applicants and their positions.
  • Evaluate how well each applicant aligns with our platform.
  • Email the Bellingham City Council and urge them to vote for the candidate you think would best represent you.  You must do this before 6:00 pm Monday, Oct 1st.

Please note that we did not receive questionnaire responses from all applicants. It was difficult to share our questionnaire with all applicants because the city removed the contact info from their applications before posting them online. Click here to view the 12 responses we received.

You can view more information about all of the applicants, including those who did not complete our questionnaire, by going here and viewing the “special meeting packet”, linked in the Final Candidate Applications section.

Email contacts for Bellingham City Council (use individual emails AND group email for best results).

ccmail@cob.org  (all 6 Council Members)

gknutson@cob.org (2nd ward) Gene Knutson

abarker@cob.org (1st ward) April Barker

mlilliquist@cob.org (6th ward) Michael Lilliquist

ptmvargas@cob.org (4th ward) Pinky Vargas

tbornemann@cob.org (5th ward) Terry Bornemann

dchammill@cob.org (3rd ward) Dan Hammill

Three Vs for Victory!

We know how to win on November 6th.

Volunteer

  • Knock doors for candidates and campaigns
  • Sign up for phonebanking or textbanking
  • Babysit for candidates or other volunteers
  • Work on a campaign

GiVe

  • Give $ to candidates and campaigns
  • Give $ to grassroots PACs (donate to Riveters PAC here)
  • Attend fundraisers
  • Co-host a fundraising houseparty with your friends
  • Donate your professional services to a campaign (photography, web skills, graphic design, etc.)

Vote

  • Vote the entire ballot in every election
  • Make sure all of your friends and family are registered to vote
  • Register voters in the community
  • Remind your friends and family to vote
  • Have a voting party at your house

We win when we all do our part. We ARE doing it!

Use these social media graphics to remind your friends to get involved. Right click to save images.

Social media profile pic

 

Facebook cover photo

 

Social media profile pic

 

Graphics by Olivia Hahnel.

Let’s Flip the 42nd in 2018!

The Riveters Collective is doing it! We have ONE goal for the 2018 campaign season: FLIP THE 42nd DISTRICT by increasing voter turnout with a proven strategy.

Pledge-to-Vote Campaign to Flip the 42nd LD

We will go door to door to ask low turnout voters to pledge to vote. They fill out a postcard promising to vote, we mail it back to them so it arrives with their ballot. The front of the postcard recommends voting for RC-endorsed candidates (Pinky Vargas, Sharon Shewmake, Justin Boneau, Eric Richey and Carol Frazey), initiatives (Yes On 1631, No on I-1634, and Yes on 1639) and the Bellingham Home Fund.  Research has shown that pledge to vote campaigns are more effective than traditional get out the vote strategies, and no other local campaign is targeting infrequent voters. Our goal is to turn out 2,000-3,000 votes that would not have otherwise been cast. Our postcard will include our voting recommendations so that these votes go to our candidates.

Riveters Collective is the only organization doing this work in the 42nd. These are votes that otherwise wouldn’t show up in this election and they could be the difference between winning or having Doug Ericksen (and Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven) back in Olympia. This will bring the turnout we need to win. We expect to spend $21k on printing, postage and staffing for this effort.

Want to volunteer?  Send us an email at riveterscollective@gmail.com, we’ll be in touch in September.

DONATE HERE: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/riveterspac

Thanks to Becky Kurle at Liet Unlimited for design work.  We now have tens of thousands of these beauties on hand.

***UPDATE: When we initially published this post, we had two goals, the second being to prompt the PDC to clarify that childcare is an allowable campaign expense.  Since we planned our campaign season activities, the PDC added this to their guidelines!  Given that this goal is now met, we will focus entirely on flipping the 42nd district.***

Letter to Doug Ericksen re: First Amendment Violations

****UPDATE 20 July 2018****

This campaign WORKED.  Doug Ericksen has un-blocked MANY BUT NOT ALL constituents.
{Are you still blocked?  Can you like or comment on posts on Doug’s public figure page? You are NOT blocked. Can you only share posts? You are blocked.}

If you are a constituent in the 42nd district and you are still blocked, please send us an email.

***Original Letter***

17 July 2018
Senator Doug Ericksen
PO Box 748
Ferndale, WA 98248

Dear Senator Ericksen,

You are violating the First Amendment rights of your constituents by blocking them from your social media pages.  As detailed in the letter you received from the ACLU in late 2017, deleting comments and blocking constituents on social media is a form of government censorship that violates the First Amendment.

We, your constituents named below, ask you to open your social media forums to all constituents and discontinue your practice of silencing those presenting opinions or facts that are inconvenient to your propaganda.  If any constituent is still blocked from your social media forums on August 1st or thereafter, you will elevate this matter to legal action.

Sincerely,

Riveters Collective, and your constituents named below.

Your legislative district:
Your name
E-mail:
Are you currently blocked from a Doug Ericksen "public figure" social media page?

{Unsure of your legislative district?  Search your address here}.
{Unsure if you are blocked?  Can you like or comment on posts on Doug’s public figure page? You are NOT blocked. Can you only share posts? You are blocked.}

Eowyn Savela – constituent – blocked
Elizabeth Hartsoch – constituent – blocked
Michael Peñuelas – constituent
Dena Jensen / Dena Louise FB – constituent – blocked
Brenda Bentley
Treasure Samuel
Cory Blackwood – constituent – blocked
Maria DeMars – constituent
Rebecca
Judy Pratt – constituent
Susan Mulligan – constituent
Leigh woody – constituent
Margie Overhauser – constituent
Jillian Naccache – constituent
Tina McKim – constituent
Loretta Sheldon – constituent – blocked
Jennifer Hampton – constituent – blocked
Ann Mulvey – constituent
Jessica Tupper – constituent
Paula Rotondi – constituent
Christine Smith – constituent
Bob Burr – constituent
Carrie bullock – constituent
Ashley DeLatour – constituent
Greg Verbarendse – constituent
Frances Badgett – constituent
Kathleen Rielly – constituent
Candice Lankhaar – constituent – blocked
Sarah Watts – constituent
Maggie Barry – constituent
Mary Marshall
Juli Evangelista – constituent
Stephanie A Trasoff – constituent
Eve Smason-Marcus – constituent
Krista Rome – constituent
Lois Holub – constituent
Jaime Arnett – constituent – blocked
Gina Fagan Kley – constituent
Jennifer LeSchander – constituent
Beccy Bayne – constituent
Dale Johnson – constituent
Stephanie Oppelaar – constituent – blocked
Cat Carnell – constituent
Darcy Allen – constituent
Sarah Kirkish – constituent
Dave Bishop – constituent – blocked
Teizeen Mohamedali
Kristina Van Ness – constituent – blocked
Jennifer Hoover – constituent
Wendy Fanello – constituent
Dan Murphy
Stephanie Allen – constituent
Suzanne Gray – constituent
David Butenschoen
Stephen Jackson – constituent – blocked
Kathleen Pate – constituent
Megen Porter – constituent
Shannon Parsons
Ameina – blocked
Sarah Kellogg – constituent
Jamie Chambers – constituent
Diane Smith – constituent
Julie Hunter – constituent
Barbara TROSKE – constituent
Amber Hixson – constituent
Lisa Van Doren – constituent – blocked
Liz Isaly
Alisa Sachs – constituent
Rowena Donelson – constituent – blocked
Amy Glasser

 

June Immigration Actions

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

Local Level Actions

Regional Level Actions

National Level Actions

 

 

 

Let’s Talk: Book Club

Let's Talk: Stretching Our Edges on Race and Privilege

Book Club

Keep the conversation going by reading So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.   Local connection- Oluo is a WWU grad!

Two ways to participate

  • Online discussions LIVE NOW.  We decided to host these in a Facebook event within the Riveters Collective group.  If you’re not a member, you can join the group here.  We are intentionally setting this up in a very controlled environment to protect the participation of people of color, and people who lack other kinds of privilege. As we learned at the Let’s Talk event, we all have privilege, some of us have more than others, and we become better accomplices through deep listening to stories. As Gerry said, through Aloha.
  • Traditional, in-person book club group.  This group will be capped at 12 participants and is being facilitated by an RC volunteer.  Email us for more info.

Get the book

Get 15% off when you buy the book at Village Books and tell them you are a part of the “Let’s Talk” book group. Or, check out a copy from the Bellingham Public Library.

Timeline

We haven’t finalized the timeline yet, but we intend to begin reading soon.  For now just get yourself a copy of the book.

Whatcom Conservation District 2018 Supervisor Election

The Whatcom Conservation District holds an election for one supervisor each year.  Unlike all other elections, WCD supervisor elections are not held by the Whatcom County Auditors office, and you will not automatically receive a ballot.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. DEADLINE PASSED: Before February 7th at 4 p.m.: request a ballot.  Fill out this online form before February 7th at 4pm.
  2. Mid-February: receive your ballot in the mail (we’re not sure when they will be mailed, but you can bet there will be chatter about this in our Facebook group).
  3. Also Mid-February: Read about the candidates.  Our recruiting committee sent these questions to the candidates and received responses from Alan Chapman and David Kroontje.
  4. Ballot return deadline is Tuesday, March 13th at 6p.m. (as far as I can tell from the WCD page).  If you are worried your ballot will be delayed in the mail, you can vote in-person at the WCD on Tuesday March 13th between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Candidate Information

Riveters Collective has officially endorsed Alan B. Chapman.

  1. Alan B. Chapman
    Responses to RC Questions
  2. Larry Helm
  3. David M. Kroontje
    Responses to RC Questions

Candidate statements to the WCD

Still have questions?  Send us an email!