Calling on Whatcom County officials to protect those exposed to extreme climate impacts/ Letter to Whatcom County Council and Executive Sidhu

Click the screenshot to access a Facebook post by Community to Community Development displaying a video of Skagit Farmworkers out in the pumpkin fields during smoky conditions in early September 2022

September 18, 2022 Dena Jensen

Many of our friends and neighbors are put in a position to feel they have to work, without critical protections under severely smokey or hot conditions. There are currently no sufficiently protective provisions from our local, state, and federal governments for farmworkers and certain groups of people whom we have left to live or work outside during dangerous weather conditions.

I am including below an email I sent to Whatcom County officials today to call on them to take action locally and use their influence to urge state and federal governments to take action, as well.

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Whatcom mayors press for new jail ahead of services / Noisy Waters Northwest

September 6, 2022 Dena Jensen

September 9, 2022 is the next meeting of the Justice Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee. They need to know the public wants to participate in decisions about mental and behavioral health services for our community and a potential new jail. This is their email address: sac@co.whatcom.wa.us. Here is a link to the Sept. 9 agenda: https://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/68996/Agenda—SAC-Group-Discussion—Sept-9-2022

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Transcription of remarks about barriers to homeless sheltering and housing for veterans in Whatcom County / Letter to Whatcom County Council

Click the screenshot of a summary of the HUD VASH program for supportive services for homeless Veterans to access it on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website

August 18, 2022 Dena Jensen

Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2022, 06:32:14 PM PDT

Subject: Transcription of remarks made about barriers to homeless sheltering and housing for veterans in Whatcom County at the August 4, 2022, Whatcom County Coalition To End Homelessness (WCCEH) meeting

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Whatcom County Council Members need more education related to homeless services / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the still frame of the recorded 8/02/22 virtual meeting of Whatcom County Council meeting as the Health Board to access that recording on the Whatcom County website

August 2, 2022 Dena Jensen

Our Whatcom County Council Members continue to need additional education and oversight on their positions regarding homeless services in Whatcom County. You can contact your Council Members with your input regarding the following information with contact information provided at the bottom of this post.

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Some relevant perspective regarding Whatcom County concerns related to 22 North / Noisy Waters Northwest

To access the full set of slides for the presentation “22 North Stabilization Progress Report,” click the image of a slide from a presentation to Whatcom County Council’s Finance and Administrative Services committee on June 21, 2022, provided by representatives of the Opportunity Council

July 13, 2022. Dena Jensen

I was not able to attend the Whatcom County Council meeting last night in order to give public comment, but I did manage to send off an email I’m including in this post, right before the meeting started.

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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. 

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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┬áNATION” 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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