Council Members Request Vote on PLIC Info

Note:  The following is an email from Councilmembers Kathy Kershner and Barbara Brenner requesting the involvement of PLIC attorneys as an additional information resource for the County in ferry negotiations:

Memo:  Dan Gibson, Deputy Civil Prosecuting Attorney
From:    Kathy Kershner and Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County Councilmembers
Subj:     Ferry Negotiations

We would like the council to reconsider the offer made by the PLIC group of Lummi Island to receive legal information from their attorneys regarding the ferry issue.  We will be asking the council to vote on this reconsideration on Tuesday during the ferry update.

If the council approves our request, we would like your involvement in the meeting/discussion with their attorneys.

We appreciate the time and energy that you have put into the ferry negotiations and think that additional information can only help us in reaching a fair and reasonable solution.

Thank you,

Kathy Kershner and Barbara Brenner

7 thoughts on “Council Members Request Vote on PLIC Info

  1. I completely agree with Councilmembers Brenner and Kershner on this matter. I don’t think the County should be ignoring any credible information available. If the PLIC attorneys tell them nothing new, it helps build confidence in the County’s legal representation. If it’s new, useful information, it helps everyone. What’s there to lose either way?

    Barbara Brenner has been trying to convince the rest of the Council to get a second legal opinion practically since day one of this situation. Council originally agreed, but later apparently rescinded that vote in one of their executive (secret) sessions.

    I encourage everyone to email or call the County Council urging them to support Councilmembers Brenner and Kershner in insisting on a second legal opinion. The PLIC attorneys have already done the work (and been paid for it by Islanders). The Council has heard the details of the County attorney’s work, so are in a position to know if what the PLIC attorneys can offer is new and different or not.

    Why on earth wouldn’t they want to hear anything which might be relevant, especially given the current stalemate in negotiations?

    • Hi all,

      I have said for months I would be more than happy to meet with the PLIC attorneys to learn what they have uncovered. I have no idea why such a meeting has taken so long to arrange. Good for Barbara and Kathy for pushing the idea again!


  2. Bill told me that at a Council committee meeting yesterday, this issue came up but was not resolved.

    I think that what we need is for PLIC and its lawyers (funded by many islanders) to submit, ASAP, any and all legal information they have that might benefit the County and us in this negotiation process to our County and any other relevant officials.

    What the County negotiating team and whole council need is documentation that clearly and forcefully states whatever argument PLIC’s lawyers have that would help in the negotiations, including citation of local, state or federal code, cases etc (even if couched in lots of maybes-perhaps-possibility).

    I don’t see the value of the PLIC lawyers simply meeting with the County Council, Executive, Gibson etc. until PLIC submits a legal brief, in writing. A meeting *after* submitting their written analysis, to answer questions and discussion options — that *might* be useful if there is substantively new information from GHT.

    Perhaps the Council, Executive, and deputy prosecuting attorney share my perspective. If so, it would explain why repeated requests by PLIC for meetings have gone nowhere.

    As to the notion that a written brief would “threaten the (infamously) delicate negotiations” — well, even the ‘delicate condition’ of pregnancy ends after about 9 months. At some point, it’s time to move on.

    • Wynne,

      I can’t speak for other council members but I don’t want to be held to some arbitrary list of topics before having the meeting. I want to be able to ask whatever I need upon receiving any legal information attorneys give us at the meeting.

      We receive this type of legal information in executive session. I don’t remember in the past of having the council create a list of what we will discuss in executive session ahead of time for it to be productive. Seems to me our executive sessions regarding receipt of outside legal information have always been productive. I was, however, very upset by some specific legal comments made early on by some county staff. I felt they were incorrect and not helpful to our situation so I am more concerned about that.

      If you mean a list of general topics, you and the other islanders are already very aware of the general types of information about which I am interested. Whether or not the meeting will be productive, in my opinion, has nothing to do with creating some arbitrary list, then wasting more time deciding whether council members’ wish lists match up, and then waiting for a written general information list from an attorney that some of us have already very clearly and publicly stated we want.

      All I can see that would happen from your scenario would be to delay the council getting more information, and possibly negatively restrict the topics about which we can discuss which I believe would be very counterproductive.

      Thank you for posting my comments.

      Barbara Brenner

    • Wynne –

      There is no reason the PLIC attorneys can’t send us a memo or two or three. I have asked them for just that exact thing recently, but have not received any response. We have met in person, without their attorney, and I was shown bulleted documents that I was not allowed to
      keep. It is difficult to do further research under those conditions.

      I am CC’ing the PLIC folks so that they hear, again, my request for a written memo of their legal interpretations that they believe could be valuable to our negotiations.


      Ken Mann

      Whatcom County Councilmember
      (360) 676-6690 (office)
      (360) 483-6020 (mobile)

  3. via email from Brenner, 9/16/2010

    The County Council will be meeting for outside legal information regarding the ferry issue. This was supported by many islanders. I don’t know when this will occur yet but we received confirmation of this from our attorney. I expect it to be fairly soon.

    Barbara Brenner

  4. About last May, I suggested to Ken Mann that the County FOIA the DOI/BIA for a complete set of records on the Lummi Island Ferry. My review of documents available at the County strongly suggested that the County collection was incomplete.

    I am curious whether that was ever done, or if the County is still trying to play with a partial deck. The correspondence between the Tribe and the BIA could be very revealing, but there is not a shred of it in the files. Has PLIC done such a request?

    Though I am eager to see GHT’s work, these public records could be a lot more informative than a couple of memos to the Council.

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