Today, I submitted the comment (copied and pasted below) to the Whatcom County Council. My comment related to Council member Carl Weimer’s proposed amendments to Chapter 2 Land Use Cherry Point, in the Comprehensive Plan Update, and the July 8, 2016 Northwest Jobs Alliance email blast promotional piece about Mr. Weimer’s amendments.
July 14, 2016
Dear Whatcom County Council members,
As you read through public comments recently submitted on the Comprehensive Plan Update, I would like to provide you with the following information to keep in mind about some particular comments I see you’ve received, according to what I see in the online record of Comp Plan comments submitted to County Council, posted on the County website.
In looking at the County Council online record of the Comp Plan comments, according to my count today, there are 41 submitted comments with the subject line:
“It’s hard enough to afford living here. Please reject the Weimer proposals to end high-paying jobs at Cherry Point!”
The comments you all received with that specific subject line were generated by the Northwest Jobs Alliance (NWJA) by a July 8, 2016 email blast promotional piece, “Action Alert” it sent out to its email list subscribers. I have included a screenshot photo of that NWJA July 8 email blast Action Alert at the bottom of this comment (page 3). The web link for that NWJA July 8, 2016 email blast promotional piece is:
First, I want to say I do not find anything wrong with various advocacy groups sending out communications to their supporters in an effort to encourage and even make it easier for those supporters to submit public comments on the Comp Plan Update.
That being said, I do find it very wrong when a group or groups spread false information in a communication about the very issue for which they are soliciting comments, which in this case is Council member Carl Weimer’s amendments to Chapter 2 Land Use Cherry Point, in the Comp Plan. The comments you Council members received with the subject line I referenced above resulted from misinformation and/or false information being circulated with that July 8 NWJA email blast. That information included:
—The headline on the July 8 piece is: “Whatcom Councilmember Carl Weimer Seeks to End Industry at Cherry Point.”
—The first paragraph in the July 8 piece reads: “For many months we have been alerting you to efforts by environmental extremists to use the local land use process to do away with heavy industry at Cherry Point. The culmination of well-financed lobbying efforts by the Bellingham environmental group ReSources surfaced in proposals by Whatcom County Councilmember Carl Weimer to effectively shut down the region’s major employers over time.”
—The 4th paragraph in the July 8 piece prompts people to send a comment to the County Council and provides a link when, if clicked, takes people to an email screen addressed to Council with the subject line referenced above. That paragraph reads:
“Tell the County Council and County Executive to reject Weimer’s radical proposals to do away with industry jobs at Cherry Point.”
I am submitting this comment to you to remind you all of what I believe most, or all of you, already know has been happening since January 2016 with misinformation and/or false information being spread by NWJA in its email blasts to its supporters about the suggested language to Chapter 2 Land Use Cherry Point recommended/requested first, by the Lummi Nation in its December 10, 2015 comment letter to Whatcom County Planning (which was cc’d to County Council), and also about the recently proposed amendments by Mr. Weimer for Chapter 2 Land Use Cherry Point.
The email recipients who chose to click on the links in that July 8, 2016, NWJA email blast Action Alert, to send an email comment on Carl Weimer’s Comp Plan amendments Chapter 2 Land Use Cherry Point, were essentially incited to do so based on the misinformation and/or false information in that NWJA email.
I felt it was important for me to take the time today here in my public comment, to provide you Council members with the documented evidence of the NWJA July 8 email blast in case some, or all of you, are unaware of exactly what information was disseminated to the people who sent you the particular email Comp Plan comments with the subject line: “It’s hard enough to afford living here. Please reject the Weimer proposals to end high-paying jobs at Cherry Point!”
I urge you to consider this very important context I have provided you as you review those specific 41 comments I referenced above. It upsets me that some people are being misled and I believe this specific context of what is being presented to those people needs to be on the record for you all, and for the general public reading the Comp Plan public comments posted by Whatcom County on its website.
Thank you for your consideration.
Birch Bay, WA