One Bellingham City Council member posited in a story (CDN, Aug. 30, 2022) within the Cascadia Daily that “Bikers have a mountain dedicated to them, pretty much.” All while debating whether to lean toward a preservation approach for the Hundred Acre Wood or allow more human activities.
Some board members of the Chuckanut Community Forest Park District have made it clear they don't think bicycles can be around if parkland preservation is a goal. Aside from the fact that a park area can allow bicycles and still be preservation-minded, it's clear to me that many involved in this discussion fail to understand that we cyclists are a diverse bunch. It astounds me that, in this city, some people think that Galbraith appeals to all cyclists and that we somehow might be content with our own colony up there.
Yes, Galbraith Mountain is popular among mountain bikers (hikers too). But the nature of the council member's statement reflects a belief all cyclists ride Galbraith — that all of us who enjoy motor-free locomotion wear flannel, ride $6,000 carbon bikes and drive a few miles to park and then ride. What needs to be pointed out is that Hundred Acre Wood will never see a typical Galbraith biker, at least not geared up for some shreddin’.
That same cyclist may ride with their young child on the Hundred Acre's mostly flat terrain on a nice sunny family outing. But more often, it'll be some friends just out for a slow cruise through the forest without any thought of speed. Or it could be an older couple on their comfort bikes for a bit of safe, easy exercise and a picnic.
Many local cyclists just enjoy riding standard bicycles and would actually prefer to not ride at Galbraith. The Hundred Acre Wood may need some water diversion and boardwalks but walkers in mud will cause damage just like cyclists — their imprints are just shaped differently. Cyclists are not out to cause damage.
Hikers, too, have a dedicated area for themselves — wilderness. But some hikers prefer urban adventures. Some don't want to drive to the wilderness, so they hike wherever they can more easily and with less impact. It's the same with cyclists even if their “wilderness” is Galbraith or Chuckanut or wherever (other than true wilderness).
Any city council person or park commissioner should be thinking of all Bellingham's humans when decisions are made. Making a smug comment that shows both ignorance and bias is not appropriate for such a serious discussion.
I’d like to express my disappointment with the final selection of the Citizens Agenda questions.
The original premise of the Citizens Agenda project was refreshing, and a great idea. No campaign talking points. It could be a chance for some of us who feel disenfranchised by our local single-party, heavy-handed rule to throw at least one 100 mph fastball from the press room to our far left 42nd District candidate.
Alas, reading the final five questions, it's clear that they follow the left-wing candidates' campaign talking points hand and glove. Oops. And any of us who have read the talking points could probably do the proposed CDN interview. So much for additional insight.
Thus, agreed that the questions do reflect the “community,” there is an admitted demographic bias that certainly, again as advertised, “puts election questions in (some) of the hands of readers.” No doubt the guy in the faded blue smoking Volvo with “Earth first” stickers would feel comfortable in that demographic.
Finally, I think that there was a great lost opportunity to include questions that could highlight the very great level of dissatisfaction created by policy decisions that single-party rule is bringing to the city and county.
The current decision makers in the city government have an enforcement philosophy that encourages growth of the lifestyle of unemployed lining Cornwall Avenue; certain areas of downtown are heavily marked with graffiti; the continued growth of unaffordable social welfare programs being funded by property tax increases; the city’s incompetence in providing a cost-focused Post Point upgrade project; worries over personal safety downtown; and an impractical plan to address climate change are some of the challenges not being met by our single-party elected officials.
Given the bunkered positions on both sides, I’m doubtful that the future CDN interviews will have much effect on the election anyway. But, I have to admit, it was a fun thing to participate in.
I encourage you to thoroughly report on the 42nd Legislative District Senate race and find the answer to this question: Where does Simon Sefzik stand on abortion?
At the recent City Club forum, he refused to answer a direct question on said topic. Instead, he changed the subject. The state Senate isn’t a high school debate club — being defensive and changing the subject isn’t how it works. In the Senate, you have to vote on issues that impact people's lives. Before people decide who they will vote for, I think we should know HOW he’d vote.
Will Simon vote with extremists to take away our right to choose?
Did you know the Upfront Theatre is looking for new board members? Yeah, the recently re-opened and newly formed nonprofit has been getting by in this weirdest of times, but is looking to re-tool its board of directors. It would be a great time to get the community support they need to keep improv, comedy and free expression not only alive but strong.
It looks like The Upfront has found a stable home to perform live improv comedy in its long and short form styles at 207 Prospect St., sharing the building space in the evenings with the Bellingham Cider Company starting in October 2022 — they are on hiatus in September to work on the space.
With all that being said, The Upfront is looking for people who have a background in fundraising, finance, or advertising and marketing — specifically for nonprofits, but they want all to apply who feel they have similar qualifications and have the want to be a good board member.
They have a survey where you can read about the description of a board member, see what they are looking for and tell them a little about yourself. They have a committee ready to sort through applicants so if interested, you should click the link and submit.
This letter is meant to provide some background information on the upgrade options for the City of Bellingham Post Point sewage plant.
Based on documents posted on the city's website, the options available for incinerator upgrades were reviewed in June 2010 by David L. Parry, and some preliminary cost estimates for the options were provided. At that time, the conversion of the incinerators to a state-of-the-art fluidized bed incinerator FBI was estimated at $32 million. When that estimate is corrected to 2022 dollars using the consumer price index, it can be inflated to a 2022 cost of $43.5 million, a far cry from the $1 billion value given by recent reports to Cascadia Daily for the anaerobic digestor option ($1 billion/$43.5 million = 23:1!). It is clear that either the estimates are wrong or that the option for anaerobic digestion would be a financial debacle.
The EPA has published regulations regarding the disposal of biosolids from municipal sewage treatment plants, and those regulations are contained in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 503. Although Washington state has not yet adopted those regulations, a prudent approach to upgrading the Post Point plant would be to ensure that any plant upgrades meet the requirements of 40 CFR 503. A review of the Environmental Protection Agency's publications reveals that the EPA considers the use of FBI fluidized bed incinerators to be a superior approach, as it has air emission results that are superior to the other incinerator options.
Considering that the need to upgrade the existing incinerators must include future growth of Bellingham as well as the need to meet EPA regulations, it appears to be obvious (from a technical and financial point of view) that the city seriously considers the use of fluidized bed incinerators.
F. David Fitzgerald
Editor's Note: The estimated cost of the anaerobic digestion project, which Bellingham’s mayor proposed to halt last week, was estimated to be between $220 and $430 million. The $1 billion price tag encompasses the entire Post Point construction project, which includes other updates to the system.
The Tax-Aide program, sponsored by the AARP Foundation, has been active in Whatcom County for more than 25 years. Before the COVID pandemic, it provided free tax preparation to almost 2,000 local families and individuals each year. All services are provided by volunteers. Current volunteers attest that providing their neighbors with this valuable service is one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. The program is now seeking friendly, motivated people to volunteer in Whatcom County.
While the service is open to most taxpayers, the focus is providing services to low-income and senior citizens for whom paying for tax preparation would be a particular burden. Volunteers do not need any tax experience but do need to be computer literate and enjoy working with numbers and people. Comprehensive training is provided through a self-directed program provided by the IRS and the AARP Foundation. Volunteers can learn at their own pace and mentors are available to assist.
Prospective volunteers should be ready to complete the training by early January and to volunteer for two, four- to five-hour sessions per week between February and April 15. Anyone interested in volunteering for this highly rewarding way to give back to the community, or just wanting more information, can send an email to email@example.com.
Carlton J. Nathon