Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Growth Management Act? It's not what the Hearings Board "wants". It's not what Futurewise "wants." It's the law.

The Bellingham Herald just posted some coverage of the fact that Whatcom County's Rural Element still doesn't comply with the law.

Someone asked me today, "How can Whatcom County keep violating a law passed 15 years ago?"

Well, the article makes it pretty clear how and why the County has been an outlaw for so long.  The County simply pretends that the Growth Management Act isn't really the law.  It's just what "Seattle-funded" special interests "want."

The folks who have been working towards compliance with the Growth Management Act are (1) my clients and I, and (2) Futurewise.  

For myself, I say -- hot dang,  who is this "Seattle" and why won't he or she pay me?  My clients and I are local, and I'm doing this for free.  My clients pay expenses out of their pockets. 

And Futurewise Whatcom is a local body with a local director and a local steering committee.

There's also a state Futurewise, with legal expertise.  If that's bad, Council member Kershner -- quoted in the article -- must feel even greater disdain for the Building Industry Association (a national organization with state and local branches) and the Chamber of Commerce (ditto). 

The irony, of course, is that while my clients and I are falsely accused of "Seattle funding," the resources are actually flowing in the opposite direction.  You, my fellow taxpayers, are paying a Seattle law firm to defend the County's allegiance to sprawl. 

The Seattle lawyers won't do this for free, as I do.   They won't be spending 12-hour days standing at the photocopier or putting tabs on exhibits, as my clients do to help with filings, because you will be paying their clerks and paralegals to do that for them. 

It's an uneven fight.  But you won't see that in the Herald -- or hear it from the County.


  1. Go Jean!

    How can the sane folks that live here help?


    1. Thanks, Frank.

      What would help me the most is if everybody would support Futurewise Whatcom in any way possible --

      With the County beating its war drums, this will be a long haul. An even longer haul,that is. We need Futurewise more than ever.

    2. Ditto to supporting Futurewise financially. After all, they are funded locally here in Whatcom County.

      Second, we need a County Council that listens, learns and leads -- and follows the laws of the state. 2013 is critical for this reason.

  2. The forums on impacts of the coal terminals co-hosted by Re-Sources and Unitarian Fellowship have been drawing 100 people and up, and made me think: I'd like to see similar forums on issues I have little to no understanding of. This is high on the list. Since there's pending litigation, is that even possible? A panel discussion with Jean, David, Futurewise, to lay out the issues in a GMA/compliance/noncompliance 101 format?

    1. Sure. We should figure out how and where to do that.

  3. "It's an uneven fight. But you won't see that in the Herald"

    Well, that's because they are behind a pay wall now.

    1. True dat. But the Cascadia Weekly is free, and there's a great Gristle out today on the cost of the County's continuing noncompliance:

    2. When McClatchy acquired Knight Ridder - and the Herald - in 2006, McClatchy sold 12 Knight Ridder papers that are located in cities that "do not fit the company's longstanding acquisition criteria, chiefly involving growing markets."

      The reason you won't see anything in the Herald about an uneven fight has more to do with McClatchy's pro-growth bias than good journalism.

      If only we could simply ignore the laws of physics and pursue infinite growth on a planet with finite resources...