First responders await training in ‘behavioral health 101,’ due late 2022 / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click screenshot of slide from during the May 17, 2022 Whatcom County Justice Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting to access a recording of the meeting on the County website

May 19, 2022 Dena Jensen

Ever think, here in the year 2022 in Bellingham and Whatcom County, folks have got to be off-base who are claiming that law enforcement officers, paramedics, EMT’s (emergency medical technicians) or firefighters don’t have sufficient knowledge of behavioral health concepts and approaches to properly serve the needs of community members? 

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How can we be confident we won’t just build another Whatcom County Jail? / Letter to the Justice Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee

May 11, 2022 Dena Jensen

Next week, on Monday, May 16, 2022, City of Bellingham is hosting their town hall meeting on Public Safety. Here is the link to attend that town hall: https://cob.org/event/cctownhall-05162022

In advance of that forum the Bellingham City Council received some presentations yesterday from the Whatcom County Prosecutor and from Bellingham Police Department’s Deputy Chief related to crime. 

Based on material I heard in those presentations I sent the email below to the Whatcom County Justice Project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee. This is the email address people can use to contact them: SAC@co.whatcom.wa.us

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Get involved in the Whatcom County Justice Project needs assessment / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the image of white text on a vibrant pink background to access a PDF version

May 2, 2022 Dena Jensen

As people are becoming more and more aware, Whatcom County is moving forward in various government meetings towards a needs assessment for what they are calling a  “public health, safety and justice facility.” In general, that facility is acknowledged to be a new jail in combination with mental and behavioral health services.

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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 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.

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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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Whatcom News gives The Center Square politics a place to spark / Noisy Waters Northwest

Image of a billboard illustration with a person papering over a dog logo and the wording “watchdog” with a new sign showing a logo of linking squares and the wording “The Center Square.” Click the image to access a linked PR Watch article “Franklin’s Right-Wing Watchdog.org Rebrands as The Center Square”

January 21, 2022 Dena Jensen

Earlier this week, Blaine’s weekly community newspaper, The Northern Light, reported that an unidentified Blaine business owner had funded the United States Postal Service delivery of hundreds of copies of a startup publication called The Flame to Blaine and Birch Bay residents.

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Bellingham plans for emergency winter shelters: a spring to spring timeline / Noisy Waters Northwest

January 16, 2022 Dena Jensen

March 3, 2021

In a communications document from early last year, with the header “Winter Into Spring Communications Strategy,” shared in an email by Bellingham Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Oliver, there was an outline point that stated, “Health Dept. recommends no government-run emergency winter shelters in future.”

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