Chapter Two: City Staff and the Mayor – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates / Noisy Waters Northwest

July 29, 2021 Dena Jensen

From Introduction – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates : 

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?

Chapter One: The County Executive – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Two: City Staff and the Mayor

By the time the December 7, 2020 Bellingham City Council meeting arrived last year, the protest calling for more homeless services known as 210 Camp or Camp 210, had been occupying the lawn at Bellingham City Hall for almost a month.

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Part One / Anatomy of a shutdown: How Whatcom officials pursued silencing one member of the Homeless Strategies Workgroup

May 15, 2021 by Dena Jensen, with significant contributions from Sandy Robson

[Author’s note: In regard to the headline, officials might have hoped to silence a few more voices, as well, but I will stick to the public records that Sandy Robson recently received from Whatcom County to let readers decide. For context, I want folks to know that I have been following Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup meetings since the summer of 2019 and that I am familiar with the person who was the target of County officials’ silencing efforts.

I have interacted through Facebook with Markis Stidham – Markis Dee is his profile name – over the past few years regarding civil rights and social justice issues. Additionally, Stidham met with Riveters Collective Justice System Committee, of which I am a member, on a couple of occasions. I remember seeing him twice in public, in years past, at Dignity Vigils in front of Bellingham City Hall, and shook his hand once, although I don’t think he knew who I was at the time. Stidham read a public comment of mine at a Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting on August 23, 2019.]

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Letter to the Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup RE the scarcity of access to severe weather shelters / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click the graphic to access the Homeless Strategies Workgroup Meeting Information page on the Whatcom County website

January 8, 2020  Dena Jensen

To: Barry Buchanan <bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Michael W. Lilliquist <mlilliquist@cob.org>; Daniel C. Hammill <dchammill@cob.org>; Ann Beck <abeck@co.whatcom.wa.us>; michael_parker@whatcomhsc.org <michael_parker@whatcomhsc.org>; Carol Frazey <cfrazey@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Michael Shepard <michaels@portofbellingham.com>; Mike Hilley <mhilley@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Cathy Halka <chalka@co.whatcom.wa.us>; Tyler Schroeder <tschroed@co.whatcom.wa.us>; rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org <rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org>

Cc: mayorsoffice@cob.org <mayorsoffice@cob.org>; Satpal Sidhu <ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us>; hahuthman@cob.org <hahuthman@cob.org>; laanderson@cob.org <laanderson@cob.org>; hestone@cob.org <hestone@cob.org>; Pinky T. Vargas <ptmvargas@cob.org>; Gene R. Knutson <gknutson@cob.org>

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Regarding the 9/23/19 Whatcom County Justice Updates event and addressing issues related to trust / Email to the IPRTF, Dena Jensen

Screen shot of a slide with black and gray lettering on a white background and the Whatcom County, Washington seal carrying an image of sky, snowy mountains, and snowy foreground, included in the Whatcom County Justice Updates slideshow, presented at the 9/23/19 event by the same name

September 25, 2019 Dena Jensen

Here is a link at which you can access the video of the September 23, 2019 Whatcom County Justice Updates event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLQVQef10mo

Below is the email I sent to members of the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force today regarding that event:

To: jnixon@co.whatcom.wa.us <jnixon@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Cc: Barry Buchanan <bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us>
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 01:57:18 PM PDT
Subject: Regarding the 9/23/19 Whatcom County Justice Updates event and addressing issues related to trust

Dear Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force Members:

I recently watched the video of the Whatcom County Justice Updates event that was held on Monday, September 23, 2019.  I wanted to address the issue of trust that was one of the focuses of the meeting. 

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Needs for behavioral health services overtaken by talk of new jail at committee meeting / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the graphic of an announcement of the 9/23/19 Whatcom County Justice Updates event to access the text information on the Whatcom County website

September 19, 2019 Dena Jensen

On Monday night, September 23, 2019, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Whatcom County will be holding the Whatcom County Justice Updates event in the Whatcom County Council Chambers, at 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225. Attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions and talk with the presenters regarding the County’s recently released Public Health and Public Safety Initiative on which The Bellingham Herald reported in an August 11, 2019 article by Denver Pratt.

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Please seek a presentation from the Public Health Advisory Board on the needs of immigrant families in our community / Letter to the Whatcom County Council, Dena Jensen

letter from Rachel Lucy Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 6.52.07 PM

Screen shot of the 10/25/18 letter from the Public Health Advisory Board to the Whatcom County Health Board proposing the resolution for which PHAB was seeking support from the Whatcom County Council on 11/07/18

November 9, 2018  Dena Jensen
[Note: I wrote a blog post yesterday on November 8, 2018, entitled, “‘I just wanna make sure it’s people who are legal’ – 3 minutes of the Whatcom County Council 11/07/18 Public Works and Health Committee meeting” on which this letter to the Whatcom County Council is based.]

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‘I just wanna make sure it’s people who are legal’ – 3 minutes of the Whatcom County Council 11/07/18 Public Works and Health Committee meeting / Noisy Waters Northwest

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November 8, 2018  Dena Jensen

[Correction, November 10, 2018: There is a corrected sentence in the second to the last paragraph of this blog post with a footnote to describe the correction to the information that was made.]

It unfortunately became true that my heart actually could be heavier than from hearing the news that it’s very likely we will be stuck with Senator Doug Ericksen again for awhile longer (until he predictably does something that will be worthy of a successful recall.) Continue reading

Overseeing the fight for civilian oversight to protect immigrants and people of color in Bellingham / Noisy Waters Northwest

you don't have my vote postcard front cropped

postcards to mayor redacted aqua

Graphics show one postcard front side (top), and multiple reverse/message sides of postcards sent to Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville by community members in June of 2017

May 23, 2018  Dena Jensen

The following report offers information gained through a public records request I made of the City of Bellingham on January 18, 2018.

Protecting vulnerable members of our community is a shared responsibility that none of us should take lightly. As much as government agencies may strive for and purport transparency, it is generally human nature to not be able to recognize our own flaws and, if others point them out, to do our best to excuse them or deny that this flaw, which another person sees, is really there.

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