Bellingham City Council held their November 15, 2021 Special Meeting – Public Comment session tonight. These sessions are not recorded. I have been trying to record each of them, myself, so I have a record of what our community members want their representatives to know. And I keep and submit a written copy of my comments via EngageBellingham, because over half of Council Members do not attend the public comment session each week that they occur, so they apparently never get to hear what has been said.
During the November 9, 2021 Whatcom County Council Committee of the Whole meeting, Whatcom County Health Department Director Erika Lautenbach made the following statements to committee members regarding sheltering members of our community who are homeless:
On October 20, I sent an email to Mayor Fleetwood, Bellingham City Council, the Whatcom County Executive, Whatcom County Council, and Bellingham Police Chief Flo Simon, providing links to the completed segments of the review I had written, “Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates.”
So here’s an email chain on which to reflect and see how we can break through this particular barrier to generate action.
I wrote to Whatcom County Health Department Human Services Supervisor Ann Beck back on October 18. She had mentioned to me, in an email from September 27, a conversation which her Environmental Health colleagues, City of Bellingham staff, and the Homeless Outreach Team Manager had had about “available access to restrooms and other ideas that can help address public health concerns.” (Restroom access and other sanitary provisions like hand washing stations are recommended by the CDC in the guidance for encampments they issued in March of 2020 and which still remains in place.) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/homeless-shelters/unsheltered-homelessness.html#facility-encampments
It’s been almost three months since I made a blog post about City of Ferndale permits being issued and/or processed for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office on the business property of Mahmoud Boulos in Ferndale. I have done some more research recently and have additional details to share about this office that is hiding in plain sight in Whatcom County, at 1380 and 1390 Commerce Place in Ferndale.
I read an article published recently by The Front that featured the two candidates running for the Port of Bellingham Commissioner District 1 race for this November 2, 2021 general election. John Huntley, who is Whatcom Republican Party’s recommended candidate, is challenging incumbent Port of Bellingham Commissioner candidate Michael Shepard, who is endorsed by the Whatcom Democrats.
POOR MAGAZINE, a collective of Poor, Homeless, Indigenous, Black and Brown writers and activists, hit the road to share an innovative model to solving homelessness called Homefulness. Members of POOR Magazine will share their innovative “Homefulness Handbook,” accompanied by a series of writing/poetry workshops in encampments, community centers, schools and jails with other homeless and formerly homeless communities. Leading a tour on stolen land and hoarded resources, they share the template of Homefulness via storytelling and spoken word performance with fellow houseless and housed residents of so-called Bellingham, WA., Bend and Eugene, OR.
Local proposals are rarely articulated in clear partisan terms; certainly they lack a Party label. It can sometimes be difficult to see the ideological influence behind them, they become obscured by promises to “revitalize” and “make more efficient,” “lower taxes,” etc., etc. But then, who’s not for that stuff? Fortunately, most of us see through the bumper-sticker slogans.