Alan Rhodes

Looking Backward

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

I had my usual riotous New Year’s Eve, dozing off in front of the fireplace around 9:30pm. Before journeying away to Slumberland I was able to jot down a few local highlights (lowlights?) from 2018.

Last January, newly elected Tyler Byrd took his seat on the Whatcom County Council. Byrd, who campaigned on a theme of bringing us all together, proceeded to cast the only vote against appointing Tim Ballew to a vacant council seat. Byrd suggested that Ballew, a Lummi tribal member, might put tribal interests above what was best for the county. This brought to mind Donald Trump’s racially loaded assertions that a Mexican-American judge might not deliberate fairly on immigration issues. Tyler, President Trump is not a good role model.

January was also the month in which Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed suit against several Motel 6 locations in our state, including the Motel 6 on Samish Way, for illegally supplying names and personal information about thousands of guests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. ICE would then comb through the lists looking for Hispanic names. I wondered at the time if Motel 6 should change its old slogan from “We’ll leave the light on for you,” to the more appropriate “We’ll shine a light on you.”

This spring a California developer bought the empty building in the Birchwood neighborhood that once housed an Albertsons supermarket. The sales contract contained a noncompete clause prohibiting another grocery store from opening on the site, successfully rendering the neighborhood a food desert. The California developer is mainly known for building fitness centers. If they should decide to put a gym on the property, maybe they can offer reduced membership fees to the area’s many low-income residents who can then get in shape for the long walk down the Guide to WinCo.

As summer boating season approached, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a plea to boaters to help stem the spread of invasive water species. Among the recommended actions were such novel suggestions as: Clean your boat. Jeez, who knew? All this leaves me shaking my head in dismay as I pose the same question I’ve been asking the city and county for the past two decades: Why are you still allowing boats in our drinking water reservoir?

“Practice makes perfect” appears to have been the guiding philosophy of the Bellingham Fire Department. The department was practicing a medical procedure called “tube-checking” on dead bodies before shipping them off to the morgue. When this came to light it was not greeted enthusiastically by relatives of the deceased. Apparently “lab rat” is not the way one likes to remember the departed. The department has since decided that maybe this wasn’t such a great idea.

Oh, what a heartbreaker. In November Pinky Vargas lost her run for state senate to the odious Doug Ericksen by 45 votes. Forty-five! Here’s my theory: It’s a fact that a lot of people hate the color pink. (You can Google this). This might have had a subconscious negative effect on some voters. The most popular color in the world is blue. If Pinky called herself Bluey Vargas, maybe she could have picked up enough additional votes to bounce Ericksen out of Olympia.

The City of Bellingham put a piece of coal in our Christmas stockings this December, announcing that they were considering a number of proposed parking changes, including such Draconian measures as raising meter rates and fines, ending free Saturday parking, and charging for Fairhaven parking. Sometimes I wonder if these folks are secretly working for Bellis Fair mall.

There were also lumps of coal in the Christmas stockings of 79 senior citizens living in the Leopold Retirement Residence when the building’s owners announced they would no longer be using the property for that purpose and everyone would have to go. The announcement arrived just a few days before Christmas, and the stunned elders were also told they had only three months in which to relocate. Man, talk about Grinchy.

Let’s conclude by noting an on-going offense of the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. The organization has persisted this past year in trying to change our town’s slogan from “The City of Subdued Excitement” to “The City of Renewed Excitement.” Listen, Downtown Partnership, this is unacceptable. This is sacrilege. This is an affront to everything we stand for. We are the City of Subdued Excitement and we wear that proudly. Come to your senses and cease this treasonous behavior.

I suppose that since we’re starting a new year I should make a resolution. OK, let’s see… for the rest of the year I resolve not to say anything critical or negative about Doug Ericksen. Just kidding!

Have a super 2019 everybody.

Past Columns
The Lilliputian Gazette

November 20, 2019

Election Elucidations

October 15, 2019

Buying Sedro-Woolley

September 4, 2019

Rescued by Rachmaninoff

July 17, 2019

Hurrahs and Harangues

May 8, 2019

Ranting and Raving

March 6, 2019

Bellingham 2050

February 13, 2019

Joy to the World

December 19, 2018

A Second Spring

October 3, 2018

Dog Days Deliberations

September 12, 2018

Mr. Cranky’s Files

July 11, 2018

Can We Talk?

June 20, 2018

Midnight Musings

May 16, 2018

April Fools

April 4, 2018

Rollo and Me

March 7, 2018

Egregious linguistic offenses

February 14, 2018

Events
Today
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Holiday Favorites

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Songs of Peace with Kulshan Youth Choir

5:30pm|First Congregational Church

Bellwether Premiere Wine Social

5:30pm|Lighthouse Grill

Holiday Party

6:00pm|Camber Coffee

DSA Movie Night

6:00pm|Academic West

Winter Pop-Up with Taylor Shellfish

6:00pm|Aslan Depot

Peaceful Poetry Reading

6:30pm|Village Books

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Storm Music Extravaganza

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Peace, Love, and Ukuleles

7:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Avalanche Awareness

7:00pm|Backcountry Essentials

History Holiday

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Tomorrow
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Connelly Creek Nature Area

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Holiday Craft Bazaar

3:30pm|Lynden Library

Drayton Harbor Shellebration

4:00pm|G Street Plaza

Gingerbread House Making

4:30pm|Ferndale Library

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Photos and Stories with James K. Papp

5:00pm|Gallery Pegasus

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Kids Night Out @ Western

6:00pm|Western Washington University

Lost Feast

7:00pm|Village Books

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Christmastime is Here with Skagit Symphony

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Saturday
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Sedro-Woolley Community Center

Winter Faire

10:00am|Whatcom Hills Waldorf School

Winter Arts & Crafts Festival

10:00am|Pioneer Park Pavilion

Old-Fashioned Christmas Market

10:00am|Friday Harbor Brickworks

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Fairhaven Winterfest

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Sumas Book Club

10:00am|Sumas Library

Mastering Wisteria

10:30am|Full Bloom Farm

Award-Winning Book Club

10:30am|Lynden Library

Snow Geese of Skagit

10:30am|Christianson's Nursery

Your Life is a Story Writers Group

10:30am| South Whatcom Library

Saltadena Celebration

11:00am|Saltadena Bakery

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

Holiday Craft Bazaars

11:30am

Holiday Maker's Market

12:00pm|Terramar Brewing and Distilling

Holiday Joy with Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Holiday Tea and Crafts

1:00pm|North Fork Library

Festive Feasting Reception

1:00pm|Good Earth Pottery

Teen Art Fair

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Big Holiday reds tasting

2:00pm|eifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Shrinking the Worry Monster

2:00pm|Village Books

Birding for Kids

2:30pm

Bowman Bay Holiday

3:00pm|Bowman Bay

Noel Ensemble

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

A Deep Dive Into Eve Deisher's Psyche

3:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

One Meditation

4:00pm| Boulevard Park

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Early Railroads of Whatcom County

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Center Into Solstice

7:00pm|Cafe Blue

Holiday History Hi-Jinks

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Winter Solstice Concert with SeaMuse

7:30pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

Cidertails with Alexine Langdon

7:30pm|housand Acre Cider House

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

The Kelley World Tour

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

see our complete calendar »