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.