How can we be confident we won’t just build another Whatcom County Jail? / Letter to the Justice Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee

May 11, 2022 Dena Jensen

Next week, on Monday, May 16, 2022, City of Bellingham is hosting their town hall meeting on Public Safety. Here is the link to attend that town hall: https://cob.org/event/cctownhall-05162022

In advance of that forum the Bellingham City Council received some presentations yesterday from the Whatcom County Prosecutor and from Bellingham Police Department’s Deputy Chief related to crime. 

Based on material I heard in those presentations I sent the email below to the Whatcom County Justice Project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee. This is the email address people can use to contact them: SAC@co.whatcom.wa.us

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Policies within Whatcom County that contribute to homelessness / Letter to County Executive Satpal Sidhu and Mayor Seth Fleetwood

Screen shot of an info-graphic of pathways into homelessness that is displayed on the Whatcom County and City of Bellingham website, Whatcom Pathways Home. Click the image to access it on the website.

May 9, 2022 Dena Jensen

At a recent Bellingham City Club event, Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu asserted that our local county and city policies do not cause homelessness. Last night I wrote to highlight some of the local policies that came to my mind that seem to be obvious contributors to homelessness and to continue to prompt the Executive and Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood, who also appeared at the event, to take action to address those policies.

Dear County Executive Sidhu and Mayor Fleetwood:

I recently was able to watch Bellingham City Club’s event, “April 27, 2022: The Midpoint with Satpal Sidhu and Seth Fleetwood.”

I wanted to point out a few things regarding some of your comments about homelessness in Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham.

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Get involved in the Whatcom County Justice Project needs assessment / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the image of white text on a vibrant pink background to access a PDF version

May 2, 2022 Dena Jensen

As people are becoming more and more aware, Whatcom County is moving forward in various government meetings towards a needs assessment for what they are calling a  “public health, safety and justice facility.” In general, that facility is acknowledged to be a new jail in combination with mental and behavioral health services.

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Part One – The race to displace: reviewing parking enforcement videos for obstacles to services for those in crisis

Edited body cam still frame in black and white of a car with rear door open showing the car interior and a person in jeans and socks laying under a long sweatshirt on the back seat. There is some graffiti on the door and seat-backs and one white athletic shoe next to the person on the seat. Some identifying material in the original image is removed.

April 22, 2022 Dena Jensen

Preface

On March 14, 2022, a presentation was given on RV parking code enforcement by Bellingham Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Claudia Murphy to Bellingham City Council’s Committee of the Whole. This presentation was given about three and a half months after City of Bellingham had initiated rigorous parking code enforcement following the lifting of the statewide ban on evictions.

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Weeks, and weeks, and weeks of parking and sheltering predicaments / Letter to Bellingham and Whatcom County officials

Screenshot of Bellingham Police Department Lt. Claudia Murphy’s 12-30-21 body cam still frame showing a road and parked vehicles covered with snow, blue sky overhead, sun low toward the horizon, and the silhouettes of a person in a hat with their dog

April 10, 2022 Dena Jensen

Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2022, 06:06:37 PM PDT

Dear Bellingham City Council, Mayor Fleetwood, Whatcom County Council, and County Executive Sidhu:

Over the last week or two, I have been reviewing body worn camera recordings of Bellingham Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Lt. Claudia Murphy related to City of Bellingham’s increase in parking enforcement during the current pandemic. 

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Or they could just give the land back: so-called Pacific International Holdings’ property at Xwe’chi’eXen

Click the image of a 2016 multi-color collage of photos and text honoring elements of Lummi Nation’s efforts to protect their treaty rights in the face of the Gateway Pacific coal terminal project to access “A LETTER OF GRATITUDE TO THE LUMMI NATION” written in 2016 on the occasion of the United States Army Corps of Engineers upholding Lummi Nation’s treat rights

April 2, 2022 Dena Jensen

At Whatcom County Council’s March 22, 2022 public hearing regarding the Ordinance that Council Members Donovan and Galloway proposed for repealing Ordinance 2022-005, temporary closure of Gulf Road, many people turned out to voice their desire to retain vehicular access to a beach area that they testified was a very important element to the well-being in their lives.

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A matter of public records: challenges in the quest for transparency

Click the Los Angeles Times image of farmworkers silhouetted in front of an indigo sky and the headline of the publication’s 12/9/19 article, “Berry farm company fined $3.5 million over worker abuses” to access the article on their website

March 31, 2022 Dena Jensen

From some of my experiences and observations over the course of the last year, I would say that we are in a period where the tools for community members in Whatcom County to hold their elected and appointed officials accountable are more challenging to employ in some ways. There are at least some public records requests that are being filled more slowly than they were in years past, and rules around providing open public comment at local government meetings have fluctuated, with some opportunities to do so in the City of Bellingham having been eliminated. It remains to be seen if this pans out to be a temporary phenomenon or one that we continue to increasingly struggle with.

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Support of farmworkers draws fire from Save Family Farming / Noisy Waters Northwest

Image of two screenshots of some of the information included in Save Family Farming’s 5/17/21 corporate Annual Report on the Washington State Secretary of State website, plus one screenshot of an Amazon link to access Gerald Baron’s 2018 book for review or purchase.

March 24, 2022 Dena Jensen

PR specialist, Gerald Baron is at it again, continuing to carry out the agenda he described in a 2018 book promoting the defeat of activists, and specifically of Rosalinda Guillen of Community to Community Development (C2C). You can read all about their leadership and ecofeminist efforts at https://www.foodjustice.org/team.

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Regarding RV parking enforcement and equity in Bellingham / Letter to Bellingham City Council

March 15, 2022 Dena Jensen

Click the screenshot of text describing the IChange Justice podcast, “One Crisis Away from Homelessness” to access the description and podcast on Google Podcasts

Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2022, 06:25:35 PM PDT

Subject: Regarding RV parking enforcement and equity in our community

Dear Bellingham City Council:

Yesterday I was able to listen to most of your March 14, 2022 Committee of the Whole meeting, and your entire discussion related to the “Update on RV’s and the 72 hour Rule.”  

First, I would like to mention the part of the committee discussion on enforcing parking code for RVs where Bellingham Police Department Lieutenant Claudia Murphy responded to Bellingham City Council Chair Hannah Stone talking about the challenge of packing up camping gear increasing in relation to how often people might have to do that. It was apparent in the discussion that most of the community members undergoing code enforcement were living in their RVs as their primary shelter. 

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A resource to learn about Whatcom County Council business rules, policies and procedures

Click the image of the Whatcom County Council 3/1/22 Special Meeting agenda to access it on the Whatcom County website

March 13, 2022 Dena Jensen

For community members who regularly follow or who periodically become interested in the activities of the Whatcom County Council, the Council’s March 1, 2022 Special Meeting and informational retreat is a good resource when we have questions about standards, rules, and laws the Council should be following.

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