Harvest vs. safety; ag workers at risk in Chelan-Douglas counties / Facebook post, The Searchlight Review

Butler to Austin 043020

Click the graphic to enlarge a copy of a 4/30/20 email from Malcom Butler, a Chelan-Douglas Health Officer, sent to JT Austin of Governor Inslee’s office. The complete text of the email is contained in the blog post

July 7, 2019  Sandy Robson

From this recent Searchlight Review Facebook post, we can get some insights into the foundations of why agricultural workers continue to struggle against the imbalance of negative impacts suffered by them due to COVID-19.


 

In reviewing public records I recently obtained from the Chelan-Douglas Health District related to a COVID-19 outbreak at Stemilt Growers, a grower, packer and marketer of apples, pears, cherries and other tree fruits, I came across an email that I wanted to share. Continue reading

Drop-in Center shelter in pursuit of move; more sheltering solutions needed / Email to the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Fleetwood

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Click the screenshot of a headline, photo of the Public Market building on Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham, and small section of text to access the full June 10, 2020 Press Release on the City of Bellingham website.

June 12, 2020  Dena Jensen

Here’s a summary before I move on to the text of my email to the Bellingham City Council and Mayor Fleetwood.

A couple articles have come out recently – a commentary in Northwest Citizen, and a news story in The Bellingham Heraldabout the potential move of Lighthouse Mission Ministries’ Drop-In Center, from it’s temporary location at Bellingham High School while the school was off session due to COVID-19, to the vacant Public Market building in downtown Bellingham. The relocated Drop-In Center would conceivably remain in that building for a period of up to four years. Continue reading

No hasty green-lights during COVID-19 / Letter to the Whatcom County Council

Click the graphic to access a copy of Whatcom County Council Member Ben Elenbaas’s “Letter to Governor as amended on 5.19.2020” on the Whatcom County website

May 21, 2020  Dena Jensen

Subject: Please develop resources to help businesses and community members be resilient during the current health emergency

Dear Whatcom County Council:

So far, I have listened to the first two hours and the last hour of your 5 hour Whatcom County Council meeting from May 19, 2020. During that time a lot of attention was brought by Council Member Ben Elenbaas to the idea that the Coronavirus is going to stay with us for a long time, perhaps infinitely. Continue reading

Update on Emergency Rules in Housing in Agriculture / Facebook post, Community to Community Development

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Click the graphic of a Facebook post showing two workers in blue clothing holding signs at a strike for safe working conditions and hazard pay in Eastern Washington to access the post on Community to Community Development’s Facebook page

May 13, 2020 Community to Community Development

UPDATE ON EMERGENCY RULES IN HOUSING IN AGRICULTURE: The Dept of Labor and Industries has finally released the rules for housing. In spite of all the public comments, the position and arguments of C2C and familias Unidas por la Justicia, science and medical data on how this deadly virus is transmitted the State Agencies have chosen to risk farm workers lives in favor of the economic interests of the corporate agricultural producers, mostly tree fruit . We would like to thank all of our friends and allies for standing with farm workers during this difficult time. Much more will be required from all of us, to support farm worker families and communities, given this lack of protections from our State Government.

Continue reading

Whatcom County Council approves drafting email to Inslee toward opening businesses before Phase 2 of Safe Start plan / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Click the graphic of a man in dark pants and jacket on one side of ditch and a woman in hooded jacket and jeans on another side of ditch to access The Northern Light Article, “As re-opeing begins, local infections rise”

May 8, 2020  Dena Jensen

It’s time to contact your Whatcom County Council representatives for those who are concerned about our County promoting activities generating more in-person human interactions, potentially in close proximity, that without critical precautions (including proper timing) advised by health experts, can result in a significant surge in COVID-19 cases. The Council voted this week to send a letter to Governor Inslee urging him to open retail businesses not deemed to be essential ahead of the timeline the Governor has outlined that seeks to avoid a potentially unmanageable surge in COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
Continue reading

Submit comments ASAP to demand that emergency rules for ag worker housing truly protect and help save lives of farmworkers / Facebook post Community to Community Development

 

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Click the graphic of a Facebook post showing a photo of a farmworker’s open hands stretched forward full of fresh strawberries  to view this post on Community to Community Development’s Facebook page

April 25, 2020  C2C

Below is the full text of the Saturday 4/25/2020 Action Alert from Community to Community Development. People can send in a comment now to beat the Monday 4/27/20, 5:00 p.m. deadline!!

Continue reading

Elenbaas’ ‘illegal’ ordinance is still in the running; letter to the Whatcom County Council / Noisy Waters Northwest

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Screenshot of a portion of the emergency ordinance which Whatcom County Council Member Ben Elenbaas proposed at the 4/21/20 Whatcom County Council Meeting

April 24, 2020  Dena Jensen
Here is the email I sent tonight to the Whatcom County Council:
Dear Whatcom County Council:
I recently listened to your April 21, 2020 County Council and Health Board meeting and wanted to address your discussion of the emergency ordinance, “SUPPORTING A THOUGHTFUL APPROACH TO DOING BUSINESS IN WHATCOM COUNTY DURING THE COVID 19 PANDEMIC,” proposed by Council Member Elenbaas. https://whatcom.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8264036&GUID=09006792-35A3-43D4-AF30-ACD95D3197B2
This was brought forward as an emergency ordinance, which failed 5-2 with Council Members Elenbaas and Byrd in support, but with most Council Members, along with their legal counsel Karen Frakes, noting that the ordinance would have been illegal and in violation of Governor Inslee’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order. However after voting down the proposed emergency ordinance, County Council Members perplexingly went on to vote unanimously to have the same proposal introduced to be considered as a regular ordinance at the next Whatcom County Council meeting.

Continue reading

Tim Eyman: ‘We’re risking death right now.’ / Facebook post, Sj Robson

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April 20, 2020  Sandy Robson

At an April 19 protest at the state Capitol in Olympia, Washington, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tim Eyman fist-bumped a woman, posed with her for a photo and laughingly proclaimed something that is actually true in its most literal sense, “We’re risking death right now.” On April 19, Eyman, a 2020 candidate for Washington governor and serial initiative filer, posted a 3-hour Facebook live-streamed video of the protest against Washington state Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order that has been in effect since it was first issued on March 23, and extended for an additional month on April 2. Continue reading