Close this search box.
Get unlimited local news and information that matters to you.

The Hammer: September 2023 Pumpkin Spice Edition

As Burning Man fizzles, Whatcom Jail sizzles

By Ron Judd Executive Editor

If it Pleases the Gods, Send Sunshine: Thousands of … er, celebrants apparently are still “mudded in” at Burning Man down in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Toilets and showers were said to be failing for the 70,000 souls on hand, but the CEO says everything is completely under control.

What Happens Next? So far, the Burning Men in charge have rebuked offers of assistance from the Nevada National Guard. But let’s be honest: How long can that crowd really go without an emergency airdrop from the nation’s Strategic Ganja Command? You’re looking at a full-on stems-and-seeds emergency.

(Not) Smarter Than Your Average Bears: Lots of huffing and puffing on the socials this week about the trio of black bears roaming around north Whatcom, feeding on garbage and whatnot. Prevailing theme: Don’t kill them, relocate!

Problem Is: Relocations of wild animals habituated to human food rarely go well — for the animal or other humans they are bound to run across down the road. It is what it is: lamentable, but not some demonstration of heartlessness by the public servants we pay to deal with these problems. Hammer has known quite a few wildlife officials and not one qualifies as a soulless animal hater. The opposite is the norm.

Solution-Seems-Obvious Department: The Hammer’s lesser half, the Opinion page editor, received a missive this week complaining that op/ed coverage of the pending Whatcom jail tax ballot measure is slanted towards voting “no.” Fact: CDN has published just about every scrap of opinion on this issue offered up, by either side — perhaps not possible as the campaign heats up. Couldn’t help note the irony that the complainant letter was marked “not for publication.”

Jail Cont.: Since many new subscribers have come along since, allow us to re-up a suggestion here that a good way to get educated on the jail issue is via CDN’s extensive report on the matter, “Beyond Bars,” published in March. It’s free outside the paywall as a CDN public service, because we care about the community and actually live here.

More Inbox Fodder: It truly was likely coincidental. But it did not escape the watchful eye of the Hammer that later in the same day CDN published a probing piece about county public-notification response times to the recent south Lake Whatcom wildfire, the county sheriff’s office issued a release hailing September as National Preparedness Month.

We Kid the Sheriff’s Office, But: The message is legit: The news was that the county has a beefed-up central site for emergency preparedness: Do check it out, and do prepare. Trust the Hammer’s long experience on this: It’s only a matter of time before something bad happens. 

And Finally: This being Labor Day, we hand the closing mic to the late songmaster and labor force of nature Joe Hill, “The Man Who Never Died,” who left us with wise words still ringing true:

“What a blessed if painful thing, this business of being alive,” and “Don’t believe everything you hear today.”

The Hammer, a somewhat less studious alter ego of CDN’s executive editor and various other pointed-barb influencers, publishes online monthly and is updated somewhat regularly. Previous editions can be found online;; @roncjudd.

Latest stories

It's a minefield, but the manner of tiptoeing matters
April 15, 2024 4:00 p.m.
Readers share thoughts, in 250 words or less, to
April 9, 2024 10:00 p.m.
Tell Washington senators better solutions available for long-term care facilities
April 7, 2024 10:00 p.m.

Have a news tip?

Email or Call/Text 360-922-3092

Sign up for our free email newsletters