February 29, 2020 Dena Jensen
Whatcom County Council Member Ben Elenbaas was a guest on Kris Halterman’s February 29, 2020, KGMI Saturday Morning Live Radio Show. His appearance on the show followed his inaccurate and inflammatory characterization of actions of the Bellingham-based environmental organization, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, at the February 11, 2020 Whatcom County Council Meeting.
Below is that allegation of Council Member Elenbaas’ that occurred during the Council’s discussion regarding funding for a contract agreement increasing the number of educational opportunities related to a waste reduction and recycling education program in local school districts:
“I agree with their stated goals. I have a hard time with their tactics. If you talk to businesses around the, around the county, you’ll hear about, you know, what I would consider ‘greenmail.’ If you look at the definition ‘domestic terrorism’ you might even, you might even identify with some of the stuff that they do as that.”
Council Member Elenbaas spoke about a number of topics on the show but his remarks about RE Sources at the February 11, Council meeting were an undercurrent for the discussion between himself and the show’s host. At around the 00:41:30 on the show podcast he spoke specifically to the remarks he had made:
“Let’s talk about my words real quick. I said domestic terrorism, if you look at the definition. The definition of terrorism, according to the Google: ‘the unlawful use of violence and intimidation especially against civilians in the pursuit of political aims.’ And if you look at the definition of domestic terrorism: ‘the committing of terrorist acts in the perpetrator’s own country against their fellow citizens.”
In quoting the definitions he was referencing when he made his statement in that public Council meeting earlier in the month, Council Member Elenbaas confirmed that he was conscious that if some of RE Sources actions were to constitute domestic terrorism, that would mean that those actions would be ones that unlawfully use violence in RE Source’s own country against their fellow citizens.
However, neither at the February 11, County Council meeting, nor on the radio show, when he would have had ample time to provide evidence of violent illegal actions RE Sources has taken, did he do so. Instead, he asserted that local businesses are afraid of RE Sources and made additional allegations, yet offered no evidence to back up those allegations either. He then admitted:
“People want to say ‘well, Ben it’s not violent,’ and including RE Sources’ press release said, they say, ‘we use mainstream tactics.’ But, well, yeah it’s legal.”
Council Member Elenbaas went on to surmise that people who believe that actions would actually have to meet the definition of domestic terrorism in order to be characterized as such means that those people don’t want to have an honest conversation.
The RE Source’s press release the Council Member Elenbaas referenced was actually a letter to the Whatcom County Council. Here is a link: https://www.re-sources.org/2020/02/re-sources-responds-to-false-claims-made-in-whatcom-county-council-meeting/?fbclid=IwAR1JVoGu-HkfYAiBrL7rr-B266A_SDLpvOkamTMzxnbA2hHKlaJnrI57LZI