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. 

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

No room at the inn: current homeless strategies in Whatcom County / Noisy Waters Northwest

February 13, 2022 Dena Jensen

What’s encouraging

Three years have passed since the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County governments held a joint discussion that broached the subject of advance planning for severe weather shelters without action being taken to do so. But on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Whatcom County Council finally authorized an interlocal agreement between the two government bodies to provide winter shelters during severe weather emergencies.

Continue reading

Notes: Whatcom County Council Committee of the Whole discussion of district court judge vacancy / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the image to access a copy of a letter on the Whatcom County website, sent by former Whatcom County District Court Judge David Grant to Whatcom County Council Chairman Barry Buchanan, providing additional information on Grant’s retirement

July 17, 2021 Dena Jensen

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.

Continue reading

Pushing back on the push-back on tiny home villages / Letter to Bellingham and Whatcom County officials

Click the still frame of a YouTube video of the Bellingham City Council Community and Economic Development Committee to access the recording of the May 24, 2021 meeting

March 26, 2021 Dena Jensen

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 09:54:49 PM PDT

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. 

Continue reading