At Whatcom County Council’s last Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, one of the items Council Members discussed was establishing a process for filling a Whatcom County District Court judicial vacancy. The Council will be filling the position that was left vacant when District Court Judge David Grant retired prior to the end of his term.
Subject: Pushing back on the push-back on tiny home villages
Dear Bellingham City Council, Mayor Fleetwood, Whatcom County Council, and County Executive Sidhu:
I recently listened to Bellingham City Council’s Monday, May 24, 2021 Community and Economic Development Committee meeting. I wanted to address comments made by a couple of the City Council Members after Whatcom County Health Department Human Services Manager Anne Deacon gave her presentation. The presentation was on the Health Department’s Recommendations for Consideration by the Homeless Strategies Workgroup that the now-disbanded workgroup had voted to recommend to Whatcom County Council for approval.
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.]
Below is my email, sent today, to Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup:
Subject: Regarding the presentation related to severe weather shelters at the April 16, 2021 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting
Dear Homeless Strategies Workgroup:
Near the end of the the April 16, 2021 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting discussion, a motion was approved by the workgroup to recommend to Whatcom County Council a recommendation from Health Department/County staff. This guidance was a short term action step to establish a data collection process to assist in ongoing analysis and planning.
Keep writing your elected officials and working on sheltering solutions.
There was another encampment sweep in Bellingham at Sunset Pond Park this morning. More people without shelter displaced. Meanwhile, it’s possible one of our Port of Bellingham Commissioners is working on hiring a security guard because they don’t think the police are moving unsheltered people on to shelter and services (which currently don’t exist for many).
For those who didn’t get to listen to the discussion of the resolution Affirming Racism is a Public Health Crisis at the October 27, 2020 Whatcom County Council meeting, here is a little information on that.
First, here are some details I am aware of because my partner, Sandy Robson, called Whatcom County staff to find out why notice of discussion of the resolution seemed to not be available on the County website.