Overbuilding a jail and emotional appeals / Facebook post, Joy Gilfilen

herald jail pamphletYesterday at 6:20am July 19, 2015  Joy Gilfilen

Wow. The largest regulatory government takeover in Whatcom County’s history is being trivialized and turned into a soap opera by our government administrators. To effectively steal taxpayer money right in front of our noses using emotional manipulation.

They are doing it using assumed authority, executive privilege, and the disguise of appearance of fairness as a con man tactic. It is not fair. It is an abuse of power.

I am so ashamed of the authorities behavior I can hardly swallow.

This is not funny. It is arrogant, uncivilized civic bullying on steroids.

If this kind of behavior continues to be allowed, and the sales tax passes based on emotional bullying, it will result in the further destruction of the taxpayers and small businesses of Whatcom County. This is local, specific and real taxpayer abuse.

Executive Jack Louws and your backers, I am calling it out. It is not o.k. to deceive taxpayers just because you can. I am a taxpayer and our taxpayers cannot afford to spend hundreds of millions, and then billions of dollars to overbuild a jail that will punish our children for life. We already have overcriminalization of citizens, and now you want us to pay more to do it more? No.

Where is the logic here? Why does the administration suddenly solicit random public opinion to publish in a trusted document, when all the concerned public opinion has been scuttled by the administration? Publish their concerns. Is it because Executive Jack Louws cannot justify the jail based on facts? So now he needs emotional appeals to influence innocent taxpayers? This is truly making a mockery of elections. And to hide the jail issue among 10 or more constitutional issues – what is that?

Fact: This jail plan has not been justified. There has been no full public hearing. The cost of the jail has not been cross examined. The financial plan has not been vetted by the biggest municipality – and when they tried you threatened isolation and exclusion. There has been No Complete Needs Assessment (it was dismissed on page FS7 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement dated Nov. 8, 2013). We certainly had the time to do all of these things before we had a manufactured crisis in the jail.

Fact: There has been no market analysis. No trends analysis. No fiscal impact on the taxpayers analysis. No discussion of any economic alternative to building a huge jail outside the County seat. No discussion of how to reduce incarceration – that was dismissed in the same FEIS plan as outside the scope of the jail planning process. There has been no plan to deal with the immediate jail crisis. No plan to review past business practices. No plan to confront the legal problems we have with how we treat mentally ill people – even though this is now a supreme court issue. There has been no plan to fix the fact that our County is operating an inhumane facility, because even if the tax is passed, the jail won’t be built for years…so the crisis used as the emotional tripwire is not solved.

It is my conclusion after studying on this problem for five years, that the Executive branch is overreaching their power. There is no rationally justified reason for taxpayers to put themselves in tax bondage for life, and to put their children in tax bondage for life. There is $18.5 Million at least immediately available to solve the crisis now.

What we need is a review of administrative practices on this matter. We need to cut back on regulatory authority, not give it superpowers.

Notice that on short notice to the public, the writers of the Voters Pamphlet (Executive Staff) can now stack the deck with the letters they choose, and use their jail industry lobby group to write dramatic appeals to emotionally intimidate the taxpayers into voting yes.

It is my observation that this whole thing has been driven by a politically manipulated crisis that was caused by mismanagement of taxpayer money in the first place. Isn’t this putting the wolf in charge of the henhouse? Is this really public safety? I don’t think so.

Please write, call and speak to your Whatcom County Council and ask them to stop the soap opera drama and the abuse and manipulation of taxpayers. Take the entire initiative off the ballot now…stop wasting taxpayers money, and get on with fixing the crisis, not passing a tax.

Read Joy’s post on her Facebook page here.

You can email the Whatcom County council at this address: council@co.whatcom.wa.us

Other contact info for the council:

311 Grand Avenue
Suite 105
Bellingham, WA 98225
Directions

Council Office Phone:
360-676-6690

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