Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Deadlines are for the Little People

Whatcom County's deadline for passing a Rural Element that complies with state law was March 29, 2011. Does that date ring a bell? Why yes, it's today.

Many people busted butt to take the County's massive and ever-changing proposal, try to figure out what it means, absorb the immense amount of documentation posted Friday evening, and submit comments by the deadline. That's how I spent my spring break. All of it. I wrapped up my comments last night at 11:00 (that's p.m.) and submitted them to the County. A day before the hearing. The record was open until the hearing.

What did the County do? It sent the matter back to committee. In short, the County Council decided not to meet its deadline.

And then, to add insult to injury, some members of the Council grandstanded about how the public had "plenty of time" to review this information. And got on their high horses about members of the public who can't get their comments in enough BEFORE the deadline to allow time for review.

Yes, this was the very SAME Council that had just decided to VIOLATE its own deadline.

These Council members, who are PAID to meet, but continuously miss, deadlines had the gall to imply that their constituents are lazy slackers. Let's not forget that the Council's failure to meet its deadline has monetary costs for the rest of us, in the form of grants and impact fees foregone.

I usually have a sense of humor about the Council's dysfunctional moments, and I rarely type in caps.

Tomorrow, maybe I'll think that the irony is funny.

Tonight? I just feel dissed.

If you want to comment on the Rural ELement, the record closes next Tuesday at 5:00. The Council wants a week to review comments. Don't be late. The Council can't be expected to review information at short notice. Citizens can -- a few days is "plenty of time" for the likes of us -- but the Council understands the importance of deadlines.

When they're applied to others, that is.


  1. Good, overall, they decided to take more time with a plan that clearly won't pass the GMHB smell test (and won't if "revised," given the council's harsh comments last night).

    But I really don't understand the vicious commentary against the public. They have to be aware—don't they?—of how the public has struggled to keep abreast of the last second alterations and insertions.

    We got another taste of that last night when Swanson smugly delivered some new documents to the council. He, being their philosophical leader and dog master, caused them to give that a good long look. The watching public was left in the dark. As usual.

  2. Jean and David, I appreciate all the efforts you do for our benefit. It is sickening to see what's happening to our county. There must be some legal avenue to stop this council from playing their dangerous games. Sam C. is totally out of control and the others either encourage him or let him get away with it.

  3. I'd like to thank both Jean Melious and David Stalheim for providing so much insight and data on the rezoning issues.

    Abe Jacobson

  4. Jean didn't mention that this work was based on State law passed in 1997. Whatcom County was required to do the work in 2004 -- but didn't. After fourteen years of allowing sprawl, what's another month? Right?

  5. Shannon, judging from the statements made Tuesday night, I don't think Sam C. is the out of control one. He's smart enough to keep his mouth shut, unlike the dimmer bulbs in the council's chandelier.

    Between Larson's comments and Knutson's wholehearted agreement and expansion on them, you'd think we were all living in Communist Alabania, when all that is really being requested from our general purpose leadership is a plan that doesn't IMMEDIATELY consign Whatcom County to a future a very few want.

    As we well know, open space is reversible; its opposite is not. It can and has been argued that all GMA does is delay inevitable sprawl. So, okay, let's delay it. Why hasten it?

    I wish our city leaders were smart enough to understand that every shack erected in the unincorporated county is money taken directly out of their coffers. If they fully understood the implications of this, they would execute an immediate class action lawsuit against the county's plan for rural growth. I'd love to see those arrogant SOBs up there choke when they're handed the bill.