Sunday, October 27, 2013

Greenwashing the County Council Races

Halloween is a time for costumes, and County Council incumbents Kathy Kershner and Bill Knutzen are trying to cover themselves in green veils.  By greenwashing their anti-environment records, they’re hoping to trick progressives who don’t pay much attention to County Council races.

Council Chair Kathy Kershner wins this year’s Incredible Chutzpah award for a flyer that announces “Taking care of our environment is not only the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do!”

As someone who’s been at the receiving end of Council Chair Kershner’s sharp tongue when I’ve dared to make this suggestion, I may be in a unique position to appreciate the cynical opportunism behind this flyer.

But you don’t even have to take my word for it.  As the Bellingham Herald stated today, in endorsing Barry Buchanan, Kershner’s opponent:

Particularly troubling is Kershner’s dismissal of the state’s Growth Management Act.  A quest for local control of growth becomes inertia, rather than moving forward as the law decrees.  We’ve seen enough of that kind of politics played on the national stage this year. Whatcom County doesn’t exist in a bubble; our decisions must obey the law and take into account our impact on the greater world.

Well, exactly. 

Another incumbent running for reelection, Bill Knutzen, appears on my Facebook page whenever I log on, which is becoming less frequent because I want to avoid seeing Bill Knutzen on my Facebook page.  His ad says that he will “protect natural resources.”

Bill calls our efforts to implement the Growth Management Act in Whatcom County “criminal,” and Kathy Kershner has called us “domestic terrorists.”

Here’s the most interesting question.  During this election campaign, why won’t they own their ideologies?
 The answer has to be:  Because they want to win.  The people of Whatcom County want environmental stewards, not environmental despoilers

Over the past four years, Ms. Kershner and Mr. Knutzen have made numerous speeches claiming that they are working “for the people” with their pro-sprawl, pro-pollution votes on the County Council. 

Ironically, their campaign ads show that they don’t want “the people” to know what they’re up to. But when the election is over, they'll discard the green veil and will show their true colors again.

Vote for Barry Buchanan, Rud Browne, Carl Weimer and Ken Mann.


  1. If Kathy Kershner should win reelection (whack does not look likely as of today), I shall remind her of her pledge to be green and every land use vote by the council

    1. Precisely right. Thank you, Bob.

      Speaking of paying attention to the Council's record, former Planning Commissioner John Lesow recently published a letter to the editor in Point Roberts' All Point Bulletin about the environmental record of our current Council majority. Scroll down to find John's letter at

      John makes the point that "At a recent candidate’s forum, county council candidates were asked how much money the county has spent fighting Washington’s Growth Management Act.

      The answer of “$140,000” is technically correct for the current round of legal wrangling. However, when you factor in our ineligibility for state and federal grants, lost opportunity costs and the diversion of staff resources resulting from the county’s refusal to follow state law, the $140,000 figure is only the tip of the iceberg."

      Keep an eye out -- the County is going to have to ask for more money, because it has to pay its Seattle lawyers for multiple court appeals. And the County won't deign to talk to "domestic terrorists" to settle these cases through sensible planning. When the County has an unlimited source of money to spend -- our tax dollars -- it sees no reason to risk getting environmentalist cooties, I guess.

    2. Not having anyone of the farming community on the county council is not representative of our community. Bill Knutson and Ben Elenbaas would have been more representative of the county

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