In its February 2, 2016 ad, Northwest Jobs Alliance (NWJA), led by SSA Marine’s Gateway Pacific Terminal consultant Craig Cole, along with John Huntley and Brad Owens, continues to misrepresent Lummi Nation’s comments submitted on the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan Update.
In its ad, NWJA stated: “The Lummi position against Cherry Point industry was echoed by the RE Sources For Sustainable Communities organization that operates the RE Store in Bellingham.”
That statement quoted above, made by NWJA, promotes the false idea that the Lummi Nation and RE Sources are against Cherry Point industry when neither the Lummi Nation nor RE Sources have stated that. NWJA also uses the RE Sources’ logo and its RE Store retail store logo when putting forth that false message. Doing so, could be viewed by some as an attempt to drive public opinion against RE Sources and its RE Store. And, those logos appear to have been used in that advertisement without permission.
NWJA’s February 2 ad also misrepresented what Lummi Nation had stated in its December 10, 2015 comment letter to Whatcom County regarding the County Comp Plan Update. NWJA claimed that “the current leadership of the Lummi Nation” and “extreme environmentalists” are trying to “‘deindustrialize’ the Cherry Point heavy industry zone.”
NWJA did this knowingly in its organization’s Feb. 2 ad, even after Kirk Vinish, Lummi Nation’s Planning Department Interim Director, testified at the January 26, 2016 County Council hearing, clarifying his December 10, 2015 comment letter sent to the County relating to the Cherry Point UGA Proposal in the County Comp Plan Update.
Kirk Vinish told the County Council and hearing attendees that it appears that his December letter has been misconstrued, so Lummi leadership asked him to draft another comment letter to clarify that Dec. letter. Vinish said:
“The existing facilities operating at Cherry Point are important to the local, regional and national economy. Therefore, my earlier comments were directed at future uses outside of the current activities of the area.
“As you may know, the Lummi Nation has consistently expressed serious concern over uses such as the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. The adverse impact of this development to the Lummi community and all of Whatcom County would be significant and could easily be avoided by thoughtfully implementing language that preserves the current uses in the area while precluding harmful new uses.”
So, even after the Jan. 26 public testimony by Lummi Nation’s Kirk Vinish, and after Lummi Nation’s Jan. 15 letter that was posted publicly on January 27 on the County website for the Comp Plan Update, NWJA continues to mislead the public about Lummi Nation’s comment letter on the Comp Plan Update.
Some may remember that in NWJA’s December 23, 2015 Lynden Tribune op-ed, the organization referenced Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino when NWJA alleged, without substantiation, that the leadership of the Lummi Nation had embarked upon a campaign against the working families of Whatcom County. NWJA’s op-ed read:
“And it saddens us to observe that the current leadership of the Lummi Nation has embarked upon a campaign against the working families of Whatcom County. These are some of the very families that patronize the Silver Reef Casino and other Lummi enterprises. Some thanks.”
Subsequently, NWJA featured its op-ed in a January 12, 2016 advertisement promoting the same message.
In previous ads and letters, NWJA has drawn attention to the Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef Casino and enterprises, while at the same time denigrating Lummi Nation’s leadership with groundless claims. Doing so, could be viewed as an attempt to drive public opinion against the Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef enterprises—trying to change the minds of the Silver Reef’s loyal patrons who enjoy the hotel, spa, casino, entertainment/shows, multiple restaurants, convention and event venue, and more.
The Silver Reef employs almost 700 people in Whatcom County. RE Sources and its RE Store employ approx. 45 employees. NWJA professes to be concerned about jobs and how those jobs are of benefit to the local economy. NWJA’s letters and ads do not seem supportive of the Lummi Nation’s Silver Reef’s jobs, and of RE Sources’ and its RE Stores’ jobs. Aren’t those jobs of value to the NWJA which is led by Cole, Huntley, and Owens? After all, SSA Marine and its GPT marketing mechanism NWJA’s catch phrase is “Good Jobs Now.”
Besides Lummi leadership and RE Sources, NWJA decided to interject me into their February 2 ad. Their ad includes a photo of me and a paragraph discussing me. Their description of me is incorrect. They described me as “an outspoken opponent of Cherry Point industry,” which is inaccurate, as I have not made such a statement.
What I have stated is that I am opposed to future, additional (or more) heavy industrial development at Cherry Point. If NWJA is going to include me in an ad, they can at least be accurate. Their decision to use me in their ad, could be viewed by some as an attempt to drive public opinion against me.
I hope that in seeing the lengths that NWJA is going to in order to try to influence our County Comp Plan, that people will be motivated to submit comments on the Comp Plan.
Below, is a link to the County’s page showing the public comments that have been submitted thus far. There is a tab for 2015-2016 Comp Plan comments submitted to the county Planning Commission through January 8, 2016, and there is a tab for 2016 comments that have been submitted so far to the County Council. It may be helpful to read others’ comments for ideas.