Youth has its day and its say in 42nd District Senate vacancy vote
In a special meeting Jan. 11, the Whatcom County Council appointed Simon Sefzik as the newest — and youngest on record — member to serve in the Washington State Senate, filling the vacant 42nd District seat of the late Sen. Doug Ericksen.
For the people: what local legislators plan for the 2022 session
Dealing with climate change, providing economic relief post-COVID-19 and ensuring sustainability for the Washington State Ferries system made the priority lists of elected officials returning to take care of the people’s business when the 2022 session opens Jan. 10.
Vigil calls for more urgency to save endangered salmon, orcas
A vigil in support of endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest drew environmental advocates and members of the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe to the Bellingham waterfront on Nov. 20. The event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the original declaration of Snake River sockeye salmon as endangered, and was held in conjunction with several similar events around the region.
Not taking it: the hows and whys of religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement
With some employees seeking religious or medical exemption from the state’s COVID-19 mandate, employers and workers both have continued to adapt over the past month to how that plays out in the workplace. Receiving a medical exemption is often relatively straightforward, but religious exemptions are less so, in the application and the approval processes.
Housing and growth issues surround Skagit County consideration of ‘fully contained community’ proposal
Mostly rural Skagit County — with a population density about half of Whatcom County to the north and one-sixth of Snohomish County to the south — has a big-county problem: housing. Planners are looking at solutions including a comp plan amendment to allow “fully contained communities,” or FCCs, to create urban villages in currently rural zones.
On the street and in the forum: tackling homelessness with meaningful solutions
The complex and urgent problem of homelessness has been the focus of academics and policy makers as well as people with a firsthand knowledge of the experience, in two separate gatherings recently in Bellingham — and activists say that those most affected should be involved in creating solutions.
Community Voices / The loudest jets in the quietest park: How Growlers invaded the Olympics
It’s good to take a rational look at how we came to have an electronic warfare training range for the loudest jets on the planet over the quietest national park in the lower 48, writes a Community Voices commentator.
Whatcom County to consider climate change goals in delay of natural gas franchise renewal
The Whatcom County Council voted to reschedule until early January a decision renewing a franchise agreement with Cascade Natural Gas, following testimony by climate activists regarding the franchise’s effect on climate change goals — and after spirited discussion among council members.
Voters to have their say — amid controversy — on San Juan County charter amendments
San Juan County voters will have had their say by Nov. 2 on hotly debated amendments to their charter proposed by the Charter Review Commission. The amendments have raised controversy, with one group launching a campaign encouraging voters to reject all the proposals.
Election 2021: Addressing homelessness is priority for city, county candidates — and there’s agreement on how to do so
Candidates for Bellingham city and Whatcom County councils share concern that there are not enough options for people living unhoused in the area, and incumbents and challengers both say they want to do more to address the housing crisis.
Election 2021: Parties aim to influence Port elections; candidates embrace nonpartisanship
Port of Bellingham commission seats are nonpartisan, but that doesn’t mean the political parties aren’t trying to sway the outcomes of this year’s elections with endorsements and campaign funding support.
‘Where’s the ferry?’ islanders ask as crew shortages stymie scheduled sailings
In San Juan County, where ferry service is an integral part of the state highway system, recent cancellations of ferry sailings related to crew shortages have resulted in some residents unable to get home, to work or to doctor appointments, and have delayed arrival of groceries and other vital supplies.
Election 2021: Candidates vie to drive the engine of Whatcom County’s economic development
Two of three commissioner positions for the Port of Bellingham — the county’s economic engine — are up for election on the Nov. 2 ballot. Along with speaking to the issues, candidates have found they need to explain the job’s impact whenever they knock on voters’ doors.
Election 2021: Grassroots effort puts four People First Bellingham initiatives before voters
Bellingham voters will determine in the November election whether they want to live in a city with expanded protection for renters’ rights, where police can’t use invasive technology, where the right to unionize is protected and where hourly workers’ compensation is protected when they vote on four initiatives promoted by People First Bellingham.
Election 2021: City, county candidates vary on police reform needs, approaches
Urgency around police reform and public safety has not brought people to the streets this year, but voters in Bellingham and Whatcom County have the opportunity to weigh in on what approach their local officials should take when it comes to local policing and public safety.
Community Voices / Voting is what constructs a democracy: be a voter
Voting is what constructs a democracy, and elections have consequences, with decisions made at the local level having direct effects around planning, housing, police, fire, parks, transportation and public works. People vote to make changes they think are necessary by putting people in office or by voting for or against issues.