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The Hammer, Vol. XLIV

No Carnal knowledge, just wishful thinking, of restaurant expansion

By Ron Judd Executive Editor

Just Putting This Out There: At the present rate of progress in moving into town and taking over vast chunks of Bellingham restaurant landscape, the ex-Brooklynite owners of Carnal and Accomplice on State Street, and now Estelle in ye olde Swim Club haunts in Fairhaven, owe it to the world to lead a hostile takeover of the last great Bellingham enigma: Sadighi’s on Lakeway Drive.

C’mon, Carnal: You know you want to.

Finally Putting a Bow on This: City of Ferndale Communications and Broken Promises Director Riley Sweeney was a good sport in our ongoing quest to get him to live up to his words last summer, when he told a CDN reporter that effluent from the city’s treatment plant exit pipe was clean enough to drink.

For Months: Sweeney prevaricated, creating a false-flag opportunity to tour the treatment plant that did not, in fact, include a pledge to actually do the deed.

And Now: He has gone where you go when you’ve got nothing else, posting a video to make light of the situation. Clever, Riley! And actually appreciated. Anything that enhances knowledge about public processes is worthy, in our book and his.

But for the Record, Folks: He never drank the water, which, he conceded in private communications, he had been warned against by treatment plant folks who cautioned him it was likely to taste like … well, you know.

So That’s That: It was a fun exercise, but also had a legit, point-making purpose: If you’re a government employee in charge of communications, words matter. Consider them carefully as there just might be someone out there keeping track, taking names and calling you on your own hype.

And Believe Us: This coming from someone called on their own hype on a daily basis, both at home and work, for good reasons. Makes us somehow … wiser, in the long run. Or not. But in any case: To some degree that’s our job, and while we have fun with it, don’t forget that much of what we do here does in fact serve a higher purpose. Or at least a mid-level one.

Sad to See: The Willows closing. We guess. Alternate take heard broadly on Lummi Island: It was time, given what the management there seems to have wrought.

Meanwhile, Down on Lottie Street: The City Council will get a hefty raise. Truth: The old rate was too low for the demands of the job, but: Will it result in a higher level of candidate? Watching and waiting.

Speaking of the City of Sub-Dudes: Sorry, but we must squelch some (not our) wishful thinking that a file photo of City Council member Michael Lilliquist backing up a police cruiser, which ran on the Opinion page with Hizonner Seth Fleetwood’s public cry for help to recruit city cops, might be construed as Lilliquist’s announcement that he wants to wear a badge. Although even with the raise, the police money is way better.

On Second Thought: As a veteran of many, many a public-comment session, Lilliquist and other council members are surely qualified to be city 911 operators in their ample spare time.

And Finally: Hearty Hammer congrats to the national-champion Western Washington University women’s soccer team, which took home the NCAA Division II title Saturday night. It’s just the latest major title for a WWU women’s sports program increasingly becoming a national force. That’s cause for celebration across the NW corner.

The Hammer is swung on Wednesdays, or as needed. 

Content Warning: Possible Satire Storm Approaches

It’s not nice to poke fun, your mama might say. But shoot, sometimes it sure feels good In that spirit, we hereby call for nominations for what might become an annual year-end, holiday tradition worthy of Seinfeld’s “Festivus”: Our own “airing of grievances” in the form of the inaugural CDN B. Hammer Awards for Distinguished Lack of Valor, for publication on this very page in CDN’s Big, Fat, Dec. 21 Year-Ending Holiday Edition (patent pending).

Since this is in prototype stage, details are still being strung together. But B. Hammer, a weekly lurker on this page, would like readers to suggest people or things that stood out in their own minds in 2022, for less-than-exemplary behavior or actions. Possible example: The “Don’t Call Me the Traffic Czar of Bellingham Award,” to: “Traffic Czar of Bellingham Chris Comeau, who was sitting alone in traffic next to an expansive, empty bike lane and not immediately available for comment.”

You get the spirit. Dubious achievement, in ways both fun and serious.

Send nominations by Dec. 16 to B. Hammer’s manager/spokesperson, Ron Judd, at

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