As a long-time subscriber to the Lynden Tribune and a concerned citizen, I continue to research the Tribune’s editorial/forum pages and “news” pages and the clear conclusion is that: Lynden “Tea Party” Tribune continues its long-standing policy of exclusively promoting Republican and Tea Party views. Calvin Bratt and Michael Lewis have no interest in publishing any Community Forum columns or letters to the editor that favor Democrats or progressives.
Note that while the weekly page is entitled “Community Forum” that in fact this page includes few letters to the editor from the Lynden Community and this “Forum” actually is a “Conservative Forum.”
For many months, Bratt and Lewis regularly use the weekly Community Forum page to promote Donald Trump for President. In this way, the Lynden Tribune will be aligned with the Trump brand and all that it represents. At the end of every article about Donald Trump, the international news media called Huffington Post publishes this note:
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.
Each and every election cycle, the Fox News Tribune publishes conservative columns and letters to the editor which are actually unpaid political advertisements for conservative or Republican candidates (such as its favorite—Donald Trump). I believe these consistent patterns are in violation of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp).
Consider the August 10, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor (Mitchell husband and wife rants):
1. “Supports Donald Trump” – J Mitchell, Bellingham
2. “Questions Hilary Clinton” (very inflammatory lies) – N Mitchell, Bellingham (Nicole Mitchell and her husband John are frequently published in the Tribune. The Tribune regularly publishes its “Our Letter Policy.” On June 8, 2016 and June 22, 2016, the Tribune published this excerpt: “Letters will not be accepted from the same household more than once every 31 days.” With those who write pro-Republican LTEs (such as Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell who share the same address) Calvin always makes an exception to the stated “Our Letter Policy.”
Consider the August 3, 2016 edition Guest Opinion and Letter to the Editor:
1. Guest Opinion by Fred Likkel writes on behalf of WFF. Likkel and Rader rant against the Washington State Department of Ecology
2. “Supports Republican Candidates” – S B K, Bellingham
Consider the July 27, 2016 edition Guest Opinion and Letter to the Editor:
1. “Sheriff speaks to jail population” (voices opinions of Republican Sheriff and Republican County Administrator while in tension with Democratic Mayor and Council Members representing Bellingham’s interests)
2. “Let’s keep….” (very negative towards Bill and Hillary Clinton) – Diane Lowry, Bellingham (her LTE published in June and another LTE in July 2016)
3. “DNC stole nomination” (vote for Trump) – G H, Bellingham
Consider the July 20, 2016 edition Free Marketing and Letter to the Editor:
1. “Vincent Buys running again” (free advertisement for Republican)
2. “Vote for new faces to get different results” (anti-Democrat elected officials) – S G, Lynden
Consider the July 13, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor:
1. “In response to the letter on Lynden” (anti-progressives) – Gary Hardaway, Lynden (Note that the Lynden Tribune LTE policy is “up to 300 words.” However, Calvin Bratt consistently allows Gary Hardaway to write longer LTE’s (this LTE is 415 words)
Consider the July 6, 2016 edition Guest Opinion and Letter to the Editor:
1. “Elections” (i.e., “endorsement”) free marketing of Libertarian candidate – Blaine
2. “State has important races on Aug. 2” (promoting Independent conservative Karlberg) – N M, Bellingham
Consider the June 29, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor:
1. “Make an educated vote” (Clinton is socialist or almost communist) – L Z, Everson
Consider the June 22, 2016 edition Community Forum “endorsements”:
1. “Independent conservative” free political advertising – Karlberg, Lynden
2. “Leans Republican” free political advertising – Walt, Blaine
Consider the June 15, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor:
1. “Clinton comes with scandal” – Diane Lowry, Bellingham (D Lowry LTE published in June and another D. Lowry LTE in July 2016)
Consider the June 8, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor:
1. “On Hillary” (sarcastic attack on Clinton) – S K, Bellingham
2. “Vision and Understanding…” (neutral) – D S, Blaine
Consider the June 1, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor:
1. “Supports Trump” – G F, Bellingham
1. “Supports Trump” – T M, Bellingham
2. “Supports Trump” – S D, Point Roberts
Consider the May 24, 2016 edition Letters to the Editor:
1. Sanders Supporter Voting for Trump – A W, Everson
2. Hillary Clinton the same as Obama – V V, Everson
3. Trump Refreshing – J B, Lynden
4. May Choose Trump (hard not to vote for Trump) – K C, Blaine
Consider the May 18, 2016 edition:
1. Guest Opinion is a long column promoting the Republican candidate for Governor while negatively describing Governor Inslee. This column and the accompanying photo of the Republican candidate for Governor were provided by a conservative organization that endorsed the Republican candidate for Governor while harshly criticizing Gov. Inslee. Note: The Lynden Tribune shamelessly regularly publishes these press releases from Republican or conservative sources as free marketing.
· The Tribune almost exclusively publishes letters to the editor favoring Republican candidates (in this May 18 (Fox News) Tribune edition there were two letters promoting Trump). These May 18 letters to the editor are from Bellingham conservatives—not from Lynden. While the Tribune falsely uses the page title “Community Forum,” it publishes conservative or Republican columns and LTE that are from other cities—mostly Bellingham.
a. “Takes the brash for telling like it is” (pro Trump) – M N, Bellingham
b. “Enjoy the ‘refreshing’ nature of Trump (pro Trump, of course) – J M, Bellingham
Consider the May 11, 2016 edition:
1. This edition was devoted, in verbiage and in numerous photographs to glorifying Trump as the Tribune’s candidate for President. For example, one entire page was devoted to photographs of Trump supporters. This page was entitled “Trump and Lynden”—as if you cannot have one without the other. Directly linking “Trump and Lynden,” will indelibly brand Lynden with the devilish Trump.
2. There was a separate article and related photo in which the Lynden mayor promotes Trump.
3. The Tribune staff conveniently overlooked the very significant number of “never Trump” protestors. And, of course, the Tribune failed to publish any of the views of the protestors. Nor will you find any photographs of the numerous protestors. No the Tribune is always one-sided—the Tea Party side.
4. A favorite contributor of the Tribune is State Sen. Doug Ericksen who regularly sends the Tribune press releases. These press releases are then published in the Tribune as “news.” For example, on May 11 the headline was “Ericksen wants Corps GPT decision appealed.” As you know from past Tribune opinion page columns, the Tribune is strongly opposed to the Lummi Nation and very much in support of the GPT coal terminal. Perhaps the Tribune editor is a climate change denier like other conservatives.
5. In addition to the “Glorification of Donald Trump” by the Lynden Tribune, there were US flags displayed throughout Lynden’s main streets as a welcome to Trump. This display of flags was unauthorized and shameful. Under no circumstances should have these public flags be display for simply a “candidate” for President (one of over 18 candidates for President during this primary season).
Consider the May 4, 2016 edition Letters to the editor:
1. “Don’t demonize the people you represent” (inflammatory against Whatcom County Council Members (progressives) – M A, Custer
2. “Supports Elizabeth Scott” (opposed incumbent Democrat) – J Dow, Whatcom County
3. “Museum thank you” letter praising 5 Republican officeholders – T L, Lynden
4. “Supports ‘Cruz” and Calviny’” (both Republicans, of course) – G. Hardaway, Lyden
Over many years, the Tribune regularly published conservative columns by Don C. Brunel and others who are very conservative and have no connections to Lynden.
Locally, a long-time favorite LTE writer regularly published in the Tribune is Gary Hardaway. Some of these conservative letters are very nasty toward Democrats. Usually, Calvin Bratt allows Gary Hardaway to write very long LTE’s that exceed the Tribune policy limit of 350 words that applies to everyone else.
There are no “journalists” employed by the Lynden Tribune. Rather there are only publicists for the very conservative views of the Tribune “editor.” The “editor” does not write any columns expressing these conservative views. Rather the Lynden Tribune readily publishes the columns promoting conservative views and conservative candidates. Calvin has an undergraduate history degree and so he is not a professional journalist.
I suggest cancelling your subscription to the Lynden Tribune and getting balanced news from the Bellingham Herald, the Seattle Times—in print or online. Also, you can access real news on the online Seattle Post Intelligencer http://www.seattlepi.com/ . Also helpful in sending a message is to NOT use the Tribune’s print business.
All the way up to the November elections, the Tribune will continue to do everything it can to use its “news” pages and “opinion” pages to promote Tea Party like candidates and conservative views. The Tribune newspaper’s best use is for covering your garbage or refuse. The Tribune gives real journalism as bad name as it strives to shamelessly promote conservative views and Republican candidates.
From: Dr. Bill Warner, PMP [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 2:08 PM To: email@example.com; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ Subject: “Fox News-Lynden” or the “Tea Party Tribune”
Dear Mr. Lewis and Mr. Bratt,
Please permit me to share with you concerns of readers, such as myself, about the Lynden Tribune’s consistent Republican bias on the Opinion pages. This is a subject of conversation among local residents who do not share Tea Party/Republican viewpoints.
Among Whatcom Democrats, the Lynden Tribune is referred to as “Fox News-Lynden” or the “Tea Party Tribune.” In closely following your newspaper since 2002, it is very clear that when it comes to politics, the Lynden Tribune tilts the playing field totally in favor of the conservatives. Here are just a few very recent examples of the ways the Lynden Tribune promotes local Republicans and conservative viewpoints on the weekly Opinion pages.
1. An October 7 “Letter to the Editor” (sic) by Jim Jorgensen promoting Jensen for Port of Bellingham is 493 words long.
· This is in fact a very lengthy “column” which is free political advertising for a Republican candidate.
· At 493 words long, this word count vastly exceeds the maximum allowed word count for a letter to the editor—according to stated Lynden Tribune published policy.
· Nevertheless, the Lynden Tribune continues its long-standing pattern of shamelessly promoting Republican candidates.
2. On October 7, “The race for Whatcom County Council Position” (1) was featured. There were two side-by-side Q & A articles with the notation that “answers may have been edited for length.”
· Republican Ayers had three columns totaling 623 words;
· Democrat Donovan had two columns totaling 454 words;
3. Regarding the race for Whatcom County Council Position 2, you recently featured on the Opinion Page an unpaid political advertisement by Kathy Kershner in the form of a “column.” Supposedly the publication of Kershner’s campaign column was rationalized because Satpal wrote a recent column. However, Satpal’s literary piece “Farming is not for the fainthearted” was simply a whimsical honoring of farming using a metaphor of “widgets.” Unlike Kershner’s column, Satpal did not promote his candidacy at all.
4. Over the years, the most frequent opinion columnist has been the very conservative Don C. Brunell. Instead of the title “Guest Opinion,” his frequent, very conservative columns should be entitled “Our Opinion.” Unfortunately, there is no political balance on the Opinion pages. The Lynden Tribune consistently exclusively features conservative commenters such as Brunell. If you would only “fact check” these conservatives you would not run their biased columns.
5. Your favorite letter writer is Gary Hardaway. He is a far-right extremist and prolific inflammatory writer. Here is an example of one of his letters to the editor.
“Political bully tactics” by Gary Hardaway is full of malicious lies and misrepresentations:
“Obama is the culprit, the bully who holds the American people hostage, vetoing what the people desire and demanding what the people can’t stand. America wants to stop Iran’s terrorist nuclear bomb program and murderous aid to Hezbollah. America wants to completely stop the invasion of illegal aliens. A large majority wants to repeal Obamacare with its gargantuan regulations. Another majority resents Obama’s constant support of unconstitutional persecution of people of faith. And finally, we are fed up with his many threats to shut down the federal government.”
6. The worst Opinion page travesty was on July 4, 2015. Gary Hardaway wrote this very distorted and hateful column that dishonored the Fourth of July National Holiday: “STAND AGAINST THE TYRANNY OF THE CROWD THIS FOURTH.”
“Let’s suppose for a moment you are one of those super-brainy contestants on TV’s “Jeopardy.” Let’s say that you are dealing with a category called “Character Assassins,” and your task is to identify certain public figures by statements they have made.
Alex Trebek reads the first quote: “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? … If that’s who they are … they have no place in the state of New York.”
You quickly ring in and answer, “Who is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo?” Congratulations. Alex moves on to the next quote. You don’t have time to comment that Cuomo’s rhetoric of January 2014 assaults and insults millions of Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Jews.
Question #2: This prominent presidential candidate recently said, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” Aha! You know that one as well. “Who is Hilary Clinton?” You wonder exactly how Ms. Clinton intends to force you to repudiate your religion.
Question #3: In September 2014, this prominent lawyer stated that those who deny climate change are guilty of “treason.” He especially charged that business tycoons Charles and David Koch “should be at the Hague with all the other war criminals.” By a split second you beat out the computer programmer from Roanoke, Virginia and correctly answer: “Who is Robert Kennedy Jr.?”
This game could go on for many more hours — and does in the pages of “The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech.” But it’s hardly a game. It’s a journey into venomous leftist propaganda against conservatives. The author is Kirsten Powers, a lifelong leftist herself but one who believes in tolerance, diversity of opinion, and civic courtesy — i.e., basic liberal values.
Some of her examples are not just disgusting but sickening. Conservative blacks get demonized as “self-haters,” “house Negros,” “Sambos,” “Uncle Tom,” “traitors to their race,” and “Oreos” (black on the outside, white on the inside).” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a dark American of East Indian descent, was described by a civil right lawyer as “trying to scrub some of the brown off his skin.” Minority persons who express a conservative viewpoint can expect to be tarred and trashed.
Not all leftists are character assassins. Some, like Powers, embody the higher values of classic liberalism. These gladly engage in respectful debate in the public square. However, the rabid illiberal detests debate.
As we celebrate the 239th anniversary of the founding of our republic, we must stand vigorously firm against the tyranny of the crowd that deliberately mislabels decent people as “racist, sexist, bigot and homophobe.” Our founders boldly refused to submit to blatant oppression and cruel despotism. Neither must we.
Many of our founders were men of Christian faith. Others, while not fully committed to biblical doctrine, admired the ethics and moral teachings of the Bible. The Declaration itself recognized “Nature’s God” as “Creator” and source of human rights, the “Supreme Judge of the world,” and “Divine Providence,” upon whom all professed to rely.
They risked everything to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. Let us never squander what they bequeathed. Never give in or give up those blessings.”
Gary Hardaway lives in Lynden.
7.. Unique to the Lynden Tribune, was the publishing of a very flattering and lengthy obituary of a local Republican on the Opinion page (within the past year).
Readers of the Lynden Tribune deserve unbiased editing and reporting. Instead it is obvious that your Opinion pages seek to promote Republican candidates and conservative viewpoints much like Fox News. This is very disappointing to me in that I am a “news junkie” who pays for daily digital subscriptions to the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, as well as daily reading cnn.com, huffingtonpost.com, politico.com, seattletimes.com, etc.
Footnote: Does the Lynden Tribune use a newspaper style guide for its website that specifies a date format of “ OCT 7TH, 2015”? This is the only digital newspaper I have ever read that uses the antiquated “TH” after the date of the month.
From: Dr. Bill Warner, PMP [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2015 5:19 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: need to return to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics Importance: High
Thank you for your email message. Please permit me to respond.
Since I started reading the Lynden Tribune in 2002, I have been increasingly disappointed in the conservative slant of the Opinion page, and sometimes of the “news” section. I have read through the archives of past Lynden Tribune opinion pages and observed that the authors of the conservative columns you publish are not from Lynden. These archives also substantiate that you publish LTE not only from those living/working in Lynden, but also from letter writers outside of Lynden (e.g., Bellingham). There has been a clear pattern where you selectively print conservative columnists and letters to the editor that promote Republican/Tea Party candidates and policies.
Regarding the “heart of the readership” “not the fringe”: You seem to presume that the audience you are pandering to are white, middle-class, Reformed Christians, and Republican/Tea Party backers, living within the City of Lynden—like yourself. However, the demographics of Lynden and the surrounding north Whatcom area have changed since you first moved into Lynden.
So the “fringe” that you are disenfranchising and offending are not conservative WASPs:
· they may be Roman Catholic, liberal Christians, Sikh, Jewish, etc.;
· they may be of a lower socio-economic strata;
· they may be Mexican-American, Central American, East Indian; other Asian, Western European, Eastern European, Russian, etc., etc.
· they may even by Democrats or Independents;
· they may be readers from outside the immediate Lynden area (perhaps having moved away and now reading the Lynden Tribune online; perhaps from other areas of the Northwest Washington; perhaps students attending college).
The 23 December Opinion page was another example of your publishing a column promoting conservative views. This unpaid advertising for SS Marine promoted their venture of a coal port at Cherry Point. While you claim to verify sources (e.g., Cal: “I printed one letter that I could verify…”), you failed to verify that the opening sentence of this SS Marine advertisement was a falsification: “The Northwest Jobs Alliance exists to foster the growth of family-wage jobs. Our membership includes over 100 labor organizations, businesses and individuals from across the political spectrum.”
1. These accusations against the Lummi Nation in the Lynden Tribune were libelous”
“The current leadership of the Lummi Nation has embarked upon a campaign against the working families of Whatcom County”; “This poke-in-the-eye strategy is just plain wrong-headed and is fostering unnecessary ill will. Respect is a reciprocal concept and we ask the Lummi political leaders to demonstrate concern and respect for all of the people of this region”; “Recent pronouncements of Lummi policies against existing and new industry at Cherry Point speak of a shift toward radicalism that couldn’t come at a worse time”; “So plans to kill the goose that laid the golden egg may need rethinking”; “divisive, win-lose propositions.”
2. This Lynden Tribune column went viral and the feedback and comments from those living in Lynden and other locations in Whatcom County were consistent: defamation of the Lummi leaders; slander; “pants-on-fire”; libelous; unethical; racist; yellow journalism….
Journalistic integrity and ethics require the publication of a retraction and an apology to the Lummi Nation leaders. Unfortunately, theLynden Tribune fails to adhere to the SPJ Code of Ethics with is four foundational principles (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp).
3. Your description of Sol Lewis does not embrace the “Sol Lewis legacy” that I respect so highly. Here are some attributes about the Sol Lewis legacy that I respect so highly.
· The pioneer spirit of a professional journalist with a big city background (San Francisco and Seattle) moving in 1914 to Lynden to start a newspaper. We now consider Whatcom County to be a fertile economy for entrepreneurs and for small businesses in general.
· Given Sol Lewis robust journalism credentials it is even more amazing that he lived a dream of a small town newspaper publisher/editor. (“graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington, was an associate professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, was a reporter for the New York World in New York City and taught journalism for a summer at Cal-Berkeley”: source: “Lewis 100….” By Michael Lewis)
· In choosing to move to Lynden in 1914 Sol Lewis entered a different milieu. I visualize families of Swedish and Dutch backgrounds. Here was a Jewish scholar and entrepreneur from the big city moving into a very conservative and close-knit Protestant, agrarian community. Amazing that in such a milieu, Sol Lewis accomplished a distinguished career (1914 to 1953) as a newspaper publisher/editor and highly respected civic leader.
· My impression/recollection is that of three generations of family ownership (Sol Lewis, Bill Lewis, Julian Lewis, and Michael Lewis)—most graduated from distinguished journalism departments (e.g., University of Washington, Washington State University). While these days a journalism degree should be a minimum requirement of a newspaper editor, in the generations of Sol/Bill and Julian, earning a professional journalism degree was a rare accomplishment.
· Unlike the situation today with the Lynden Tribune’s tarnished reputation (“slander; “pants-on-fire”; libelous; unethical; racist; yellow journalism….”), I would expect that Sol/Bill Lewis and Julian Lewis were perceived as having the highest ethical standards and integrity.
· The December 23 article libeling the Lummi Nation has brought widespread shame to the Lynden Tribune. To paraphrase Yogi Berra: “If Sol Lewis was live today, he’d roll over in his grave.”
4. This shameful article will continue to bring scrutiny on the Lynden Tribune from sources near and far.
From: Dr. Bill Warner, PMP [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 29, 2015 1:05 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: stop tarnishing the Sol Lewis legacy by turning the Lynden Tribune into a propaganda platform for Tea Party views such as supporting the coal terminal
Dear Mr. Lewis and Mrs. Lewis, Publishers,
Please stop tarnishing the Sol Lewis legacy by turning the Lynden Tribune into a propaganda platform for Tea Party views. Since the Christmas Eve edition, the article attacking Lummi Nation leaders has gone totally viral through email blasts, Facebook postings, Twitter, etc. Hard to even keep up with my email Inbox of comments on your article.
The Lynden Tea Party Tribune went too far this time in advancing conservative policies and candidates. Readers have become used to Republican legislators’ press releases being converted directly into “news” articles without full attribution of copying a press release and pasting into a “news” article. There is a long standing practice of the Tribune opinion pages regularly including guest columns from conservatives and slanted “news” articles. However, generations of the Sol Lewis legacy for civic leadership and quality newspapers is fast disappearing as readers perceive the Tribune as a Fox News type publication. The Lynden Tribune should publish an apology to the Lummi Nation and print a counter-point article.
From: Dr. Bill Warner, PMP [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2015 9:27 AM To:
Subject: are we mere bystanders or do we stand up to the SS Marine and say you have crossed the line of fairness by attacking the Lummi Nation with these harsh accusations
This attack on the Lummi nation was never about jobs. That was the politically correct cover for very negative allegations directed toward the Lummi Nation leaders. The SS Marine strategy is to divide and conquer those opposed to the coal terminal. Why the loss of jobs at Intalco, CH2M Hill, etc.? There is plunging demand for coal, oil, and aluminum. However, the Lummi Nation is NOT “job killers.” Of course, the coal terminal supporters have significantly inflated the possible jobs to be created with the proposed coal terminal.
At the same time, should we stand by and not doing anything when our Lummi Nation neighbors are unfairly attacked in the Lynden Tribune? If we do nothing, then the bullying by SS Marine will only continue. Some of the coal proponent’s political actions have questionable legality that will continue to be challenged in the courts.
Will we stand together on behalf of the environment and, more specifically, the Lummi Nation—which is taking a beating for opposing the coal terminal? This article is NOT really about jobs but instead it’s about neutralizing and marginalizing the Lummi Nation’s influence.
Speaking just for myself, I think this article criticizing the Lummi Nation attacks their 1st amendment right to free speech (and the right to defend their treaty rights) in advocacy to the Whatcom Planning Department. Are there undertones in this article of racism toward the Lummi Nation? Rather than be passive bystanders to this bullying behavior, when will someone stand up to the SS Marine and say you have crossed the line of fairness by attacking the Lummi Nation with these harsh accusations? Solidarity is the answer.
From: Dr. Bill Warner, PMP [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Saturday, December 26, 2015 11:41 AM To: Cc: Subject: harsh recrimination by NWJA for a letter sent on behalf of the Lummi Nation to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services Importance: High
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
Thanks for the email messages responding to this unfair attack on the Lummi Nation by SS Marine (aka NWJA). So many of us are hoping to see an end to SS Marine never ceasing attacks on those who oppose their GPT coal terminal.
I am so disappointed in the Lynden Tribune—which again makes me ashamed to say I am from Lynden—home of the Tea Party. Is there a racist undertone to this terrible NWJA (aka SS Marine) attack on the Lummi Nation? I have sent an email message to several Lummi Nation leaders and the Northwest Indian College leaders in which I apologize on behalf of most Whatcom residents for this terrible article. Certainly, none of us can tolerate such a horrible attack in the Lummi Nation for seeking to exercise their freedom of expression and their treaty rights by offering a proposal to the Whatcom County Planning and Development Services..
Knowing the actual facts, how do we respond to this despicable article? Is there a newspaper association (such as http://www.wnpa.com/ or Washington Newspaper Association) to investigate the Lynden Tribune’s “yellow journalism”? Would the Lynden Tea Party Tribune publish a counter point article in rebuttal to the attack on the Lummi Nation? As a Fox News type publication, I doubt the Lynden Tea Party Tribune would publish such a letter to the editor. I have also written to those members of the Whatcom County Council informing them of the “recrimination by NWJA for a letter sent on behalf of the Lummi Nation to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services.”
Most importantly, I have contacted three investigative reporters from the Seattle Times newspaper with this message
Please consider investigating the “take no prisoners” approach of the Northwest Jobs Alliance (NWJA is powered and driven by SSA Marine) in aggressively fighting for the Gateway Pacific Coal Terminal. This is becoming a battle royal in Whatcom County.
On December 24 the Lynden Tribune published a guest editorial defaming the Lummi Nation. Based on careful fact-checking of this editorial, the contents of this Christmas message rates “pants-on-fire” due to its falsehoods, misrepresentations, etc. As a retired pastor, I find the Lynden Tribune’s message very disturbing. The truth is that the Lummi Nation has proven to be good neighbors. This unfounded attack on the Lummi Nation is solely due to the Lummi Nation opposing the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal’s coal port. However, there are many constituencies throughout Whatcom County that also oppose the proposed coal terminal for a variety of compelling reasons.
Here are direct quotations from this Lynden Tribune article: “the current leadership of the Lummi Nation has embarked upon a campaign against the working families of Whatcom County”; “This poke-in-the-eye strategy is just plain wrong-headed and is fostering unnecessary ill will. Respect is a reciprocal concept and we ask the Lummi political leaders to demonstrate concern and respect for all of the people of this region”; “Recent pronouncements of Lummi policies against existing and new industry at Cherry Point speak of a shift toward radicalism that couldn’t come at a worse time”; “So plans to kill the goose that laid the golden egg may need rethinking”; “divisive, win-lose propositions.”
1. Below is one of the responses I just received:
HELLO Dr. Bill,
I just read your most recent post regarding “yesterday’s Lynden Tribune guest editorial defaming the Lummi Nation.” As you may be aware, this is not the first time the Tea Party or the Northwest Jobs Alliance has set out to defame anyone (this time aiming directly at the Lummi Nation) who is against the proposed Cherry Point Coal Terminal. The last I heard their claim that “It is also well-documented that Lummi leaders seek to take over privately owned industrial land at Cherry Point for annexation to the reservation.” was published once before and was discredited as being untrue. The closer we get to the possibility that the coal terminal will not go through, the more lies GPT, the Tea Party and NWJA push forward to the public. I suspect strongly that they will stop at nothing to get what they want. And, the reality of all this is that there is BIG money and power behind all of it – the Koch Brothers, Peabody Coal Mining, and others who are less in the public eye; and going even further those who wish to redesign and rule the world from a strictly money making business stand point with no regard to Nature or any living creature. Our very lives and the life of the Planet are at stake in this issue – and Bellingham and Cherry Point are one of the areas on the front lines of this “war.”
The powers behind all of this have a pretty strong strangle hold on anyone who is afraid and or uneducated – afraid of losing jobs, not having enough money to buy more stuff, and who gets most of their information from TV and advertising……..our public as a whole has been pretty brainwashed and dumbed down for a very long time and the promise of jobs that pay well seems very enticing to them, even though the reality of the Cherry Point Terminal will not produce nearly as many jobs as is promised. They are grasping at straws in a crumbling world.
2. One example of the online, viral reaction across social media, etc.
Sj Robson I encourage people to submit letters to the editor about the NWJA op-Ed and to contact the Lynden Tribune, as I believe it is important to let the publisher and editor know that the NWJA’s opinion piece the publisher and/or editor decided to run was unethical as it contained unsubstantiated allegations about the Lummi Nation leadership, and sometimes about the Lummi Nation in general. We should let the Lynden Tribune know this is unacceptable. That op-ed can be perceived as attacking a culture or race and that is unacceptable, and is a form of racism.
The piece by NWJA contained numerous accusatory statements without substantiation which by most standards is viewed as defamation, and in this case, could be viewed as defamation of an Indian Nation.
Also, by letting the Lynden Tribune know that it was not okay for them to have afforded the NWJA a platform for their continued attack against the Lummi Nation and its opposition to GPT, that is standing in support of the Lummi Nation.
If people need to review the op-ed they can find it on Bill Warner’s post to the Bellingham Racial Justice Coalition Facebook page he made yesterday.
3. Here is another response:
Honestly, Can it get much worse? This is a deplorable message and seems to me to rate a “pants-on-fire” lie. Who is the non –cooperative one here? Pointing fingers, blaming, telling falsehoods, and name calling could hardly be called “cooperation”.
It’s hard to think of a way to respond without resorting to same tactics. These people DO NOT HEAR. Boycott the Lynden Tribune? Street protest in front of their office? Sit-in at the office? Demand a retraction? Maybe they are paving the way for Erickson to run for bigger office or at least a shoo-in for the 2016 election of Buys and VanWerven. EGADS!
4. What should we do next? Below is feedback from a staff member of R E Source.
We’ve been encouraging folks to push back against this, as you have, by writing directly to Council. It’s time for them to start hearing the whole story — while there are reactionaries with business interests driving the conversation, much of Whatcom County stands with the Lummi Nation and is highly supportive of their request.
It’s important to note that Brad Owens, while described as a “local labor official” here, is no longer affiliated with local labor organizations. He works primarily for SSA Marine at this point. And as far as I know, the “Northwest Jobs Alliance” has no real membership outside of these two individuals. Others have either left or were never actually part of it to begin with. It exists exclusively as a front for SSA Marine, and despite several years of working in our community, has served no purpose other than to push their absurd project.
5. A digital letter to the editor of the Lynden Tribune
While I understand I may not be able to change the mind of Tribune, I certainly want to let you know that I think it is highly unethical to publish such unsubstantiated claims and tell you I expect an apology to the public and to all Lummi leaders from your paper and from John Huntley and Brad Owens.
From: Dr. Bill Warner, PMP [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Friday, December 25, 2015 5:53 PM To: Subject: recrimination by NWJA for a letter sent on behalf of the Lummi Nation to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services Importance: High
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
Please consider two very different Christmas messages. First, is the Christmas Eve Lynden Tribune guest editorial attacking the Lummi Nation. Quoting NWJA: “A letter sent on behalf of the Lummi Nation to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services on Dec. 10: led to a wrathful Lynden Tribune article by NWJA (aka SS Marine) which attacks the Lummi Nation. Based on careful fact-checking of this editorial, the contents of this Christmas message rates “pants-on-fire” due to its falsehoods, misrepresentations, etc. Second, is a Christmas message (below) from President Obama.
Here are direct quotations from this 24 December 2015 Lynden Tribune article by NWJA: ”the current leadership of the Lummi Nation has embarked upon a campaign against the working families of Whatcom County”; “This poke-in-the-eye strategy is just plain wrong-headed and is fostering unnecessary ill will. Respect is a reciprocal concept and we ask the Lummi political leaders to demonstrate concern and respect for all of the people of this region”; “Recent pronouncements of Lummi policies against existing and new industry at Cherry Point speak of a shift toward radicalism that couldn’t come at a worse time”; “So plans to kill the goose that laid the golden egg may need rethinking”; “divisive, win-lose propositions.”
WE NEED CHERRY POINT’S WORKING-CLASS JOBS
LYNDEN TRIBUNE: Published on December 24, 2015
The Northwest Jobs Alliance exists to foster the growth of family-wage jobs. Our membership includes over 100 labor organizations, businesses and individuals from across the political spectrum. 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.
This poke-in-the-eye strategy is just plain wrong-headed and is fostering unnecessary ill will. Respect is a reciprocal concept and we ask the Lummi political leaders to demonstrate concern and respect for all of the people of this region, just as they deserve with regard to Lummi culture and rights.
Recent pronouncements of Lummi policies against existing and new industry at Cherry Point speak of a shift toward radicalism that couldn’t come at a worse time, just as hundreds of Intalco families are facing layoffs. The last thing that the community needs is a diminishment of opportunity and hope. Specifically, we are troubled by a letter sent on behalf of the Lummi Nation to Whatcom County Planning and Development Services on Dec. 10 asking that the following language be included in county land-use policies:
“The shipment of coal, or crude oil, from any new shipping terminal or pier, or from any existing terminal or pier, is prohibited.”
This echoes previous requests that the Lummi have made to Whatcom County to begin phasing out the Cherry Point heavy industrial zone. It is also well-documented that Lummi leaders seek to take over privately owned industrial land at Cherry Point for annexation to the reservation. (Months ago, as a courtesy, we presented documents evidencing this Lummi plan to tribal leaders for their authentication or denial, but have received no response.)
Let’s be clear what is being proposed here. Out of 7,000 employers in Whatcom County, the 11 employers at Cherry Point generate 15 percent of the county’s wage base, according to a study by experts at Western Washington University and the University of Washington. These are some of the best jobs around and the tribe’s leaders are proposing their elimination, despite these facts:
• Whatcom County ranks 30th out of 39 counties for personal income growth [Bellingham Herald 11/19/15].
• Whatcom County is rated as one of the least affordable housing markets in the state when looking at income in relation to housing costs [Washington State Department of Commerce].
• Major county employers like Intalco, CH2M Hill, Haggen and the Nooksack Casino are shedding jobs like crazy.
• Less than a majority of Washingtonians are now in the middle class [Pew Research].
It should also be noted that the three largest Cherry Point industries alone carry 5 percent of the county’s property tax load and are the source of approximately one-third of annual donations to United Way. And Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery just announced a stunning $700,000 donation to upgrade county soccer fields. So plans to kill the goose that laid the golden egg may need rethinking.
“Beggaring thy neighbor” is never a recipe for goodwill. On the other hand, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Let’s get on the same page as neighbors and work for the common good, rather than divisive, win-lose propositions. We would like to be partners with the Lummi leaders in promoting the welfare of all Whatcom County residents.
John Huntley, a Whatcom County business owner, is chair of the Northwest Jobs Alliance. Brad Owens, a retired labor leader in Whatcom County, AFL-CIO, is president of the NWJA.
In contrast to the Lynden Tribune’s Christmas editorial, here is a Christmas message from President Obama that was published on The Hill.
“Obama urged Americans to follow Jesus Christ’s example of charity and compassion in his annual Christmas greeting.
“Today, like millions of Americans and Christians around the world, our family celebrates the birth of Jesus and the values He lived in his own life,” Obama said. “Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society’s margins: the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter — or simply an act of kindness.”
Obama’s holiday message appeared to be aimed at a public on edge after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.
The president has tried to counter inflammatory rhetoric from Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, pleading with Americans not to give into Islamophobia and remain open to welcoming refugees fleeing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“That’s the spirit that binds us together — not just as Christians, but as Americans of all faiths,” the president said. “It’s what the holidays are about: coming together as one American family to celebrate our blessings and the values we hold dear.”
Published on December 25, 2015 on the http://thehill.com/
From Cascadia Weekly “Gristle,” entitled:
“Coal in Your Stocking” published on December 23, 2015
“Lummi Nation has also pitched in, last week hosting a job fair for employees of Intalco, CH2M Hill, Haggen, and Nooksack River Casino—all businesses with robust payrolls that’ve announced closures and layoffs. All offered excellent job opportunities that are scarce in the local economy. The closure of Intalco is bitter in particular to Lummi—over the years, Alcoa quietly and without fanfare took extraordinary, praiseworthy steps to reach out to and employ many tribal members.
“The Lummi Nation thanks all the local employers and service providers that came together to support those facing layoffs,” Chairman Tim Ballew II said at the conclusion of the job fair. “The character of a community can be measured by how it responds to adversity. Today’s event demonstrates we are all part of a community that supports our fellow citizens. Let today’s job fair be the first of many efforts toward ensuring each and every one of our friends and neighbors get back on their feet.”
THE GRISTLE – CASCADIAWEEKLY
Coal in Your Stocking
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Published on http://noisywatersnw.com/:
“The NWJA stated in its July 24, 2015 letter to the Whatcom County Planning Commission that the group’s mission is to “Promote the growth of family-wage jobs in the context of sound environmental practice.”
Since its inception in 2011, and until the fall of 2014, the Northwest Jobs Alliance’s mission had also included this sentence that had originally published on its Facebook page in the “About” section:
“The Alliance focuses their efforts on supporting the Gateway Pacific Terminal—one of the largest industries to ever enter Whatcom County.”
In September 2014, the NWJA had removed the sentence which had stated that their efforts focused on supporting GPT. While they no longer advertise that sentence in their mission, their efforts clearly are still focused on supporting and promoting the GPT project.
Also, up until September 2014, the phone number listed on NWJA’s Facebook page had been a non-working phone number, and the website listed on its Facebook page had beenwww.gatewaypacificterminal.com, which is the official website for the GPT project. Only in the last 10 months or so did NWJA start to have a website presence other than the website for GPT.
I think it is misrepresentative for John Huntley and Brad Owens who are the current “faces” of the NWJA, to write this letter when the reality is that the NWJA is powered and driven by SSA Marine/Gateway Pacific Terminal.
If such a letter is to be submitted by the Northwest Jobs Alliance, then SSA Marine should be signing such a letter.” Published on http://noisywatersnw.com/
Thank you. Bill