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.
Some Whatcom County voters may not be familiar with Bellingham School District director (position 4) candidate, Philip Stockton. He is running against incumbent Bellingham School District director candidate, Jenn Mason, who is running for re-election this year.
Materials that were responsive to a number of recent public records requests obtained from the City of Bellingham, and one request from Whatcom County, provide insights into notable communications strategies of existing City staff, the mayor’s office, and some City Council Members regarding many of the winter’s events related to homelessness. On some of these matters, communications were being coordinated between the City and County executive branches.
Based on information contained in those materials, an important question arises regarding future actions of folks newly stepping up to run, or those continuing on to serve their community in public office: will they take action to eliminate government approaches that view or portray individuals and community organizations serving people in crisis as adversaries?
With current Bellingham City Council Members fighting against putting People First, it’s more important than ever that we support people who have stepped up to run for those positions who are going to embrace giving communities in crisis a voice and providing solutions that keep them central in that process.