For almost two weeks now, advocates for unhoused people have been asking Whatcom County and City of Bellingham officials to open up additional shelter during the severe winter conditions our county has been enduring.
First, and most importantly, the deadline for requesting mail-in ballots for the WCD election is February 8, 2019, by 4:00 PM. Here is a link to request a mail-in ballot. https://www.whatcomcd.org/board-elections
What follows is my rabbit hole report: This afternoon, February 6, I called the Whatcom County Auditor’s office to confirm exactly how my name is listed on my voter registration for Washington state. The reason I did that was because I had seen a friend’s Facebook post today reminding people to request a mail-in ballot from the Whatcom Conservation District (WCD) for its upcoming March 26 district supervisor board election.
Accuweather said that it got down to 18 degrees last night in Bellingham and tonight the low forecast is for 16 degrees. Below freezing nighttime temperatures are expected for the next few days. In such extreme conditions, people who don’t have houses or other shelter which provide warmth and protection are in extreme peril. It just takes some sudden bad fortune, like slipping on ice unexpectedly, or having your car/sleeping quarters window smashed, to bring on deathly outcomes.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the members of the City of Bellingham’s Climate Action Plan Task Force let me know that there was a place online where people could make comments/give input to the Task Force regarding related issues and the work that they are doing.
I transcribed a portion of the presentation at the 1/15/18 Whatcom County Council Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee meeting given by Jeff Parks, Undersheriff, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. The presentation was regarding an agenda item for the committee that I have discussed in a previous blog post.
When I received a response email from Bellingham City Council Member Michael Lilliquist today, I had to think hard about whether or not I should publicly remark on it. It’s not like it was, in many ways, remarkable in comparison to the few other email responses I have received from him. In fact, some Bellingham City Council Members do not respond to me – ever – regarding my emails asking them to reach out and develop relationships with frontline and marginalized community members. Most of the time, I don’t even expect them to email me back. I just want them to take action.
This week, now that the Whatcom County Council agenda for next week has been released, I have more questions about jail matters that I am uneducated on!
On the agenda for the Whatcom County Council Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is a “Proposed Ordinance for Action January 15, 2019.” This proposal was introduced, (according to a reference on the copy of the proposed ordinance) by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office on December 4, 2018. I don’t know to what body or how that ordinance was introduced. There’s also a memo written by Sheriff Elfo explaining reasons for “repealing and replacing Whatcom County Code 1.28, Standards for Correctional Facilities.”