Update on Mediation & Other News

Editor’s Note:  The following is an email update sent by the PLIC Board to their membership and many others.  We are reprinting it here to be sure you see it.  The update on the mediation session is disappointing.  Maybe next time…

(Click here for the description of and application for the temporary ferry task force mentioned below.)

From: <info@plicferry.org>
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 8:36 PM
Subject: Mediation, Fares, Task Force, and Community Meeting

1. Councilman Ken Mann, one of the 5 Whatcom County officials at the table for ferry lease negotiations with Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) posted on Facebook late last night after a long, long 1st mediation session: “No agreement. 11 hours of negotiation. It is a work in progress. The existing arrangement will remain in effect.”

The existing agreement is, of course, a monthly payment of $16,667 to Lummi Nation for use of Gooseberry Point, from last February 14 (when the lease expired and was not renewed) until now.

2. By now you are most likely aware that County Council passed an amended ordinance last Tuesday, Nov. 23, to raise rates by a $3 surcharge for every round trip in every fare category (except those involving students and children and Lummi Nation members who ride free). The new surcharge is set to go into effect during late January. The ordinance (which was amended from an overall stiffer fare hike) passed by a 4-3 vote.

Crawford, Kershner, Knutzen, and Mann voted for; Brenner, Larson, and Weimer against.

3. County government has received several emails from islanders pointing to seeming irregularities in the process of passing major amendments to the introduced ordinance AFTER a public hearing, and ignoring one Council member’s attempt to move to postpone the vote and permit more public input (although not in another hearing).

After the public hearing and a lengthy Council discussion and passing of the ordinance, a unanimous 7-0 vote passed a resolution introduced by Councilwoman Kershner that will form a Lummi Island Ferry Task Force. Its charge will involve a thorough study of all facets of the ferry operation and its finances and making recommendations to the County by next August 1, 2011. County will select the Task Force of seven persons — including four residents and/or property owners from the island.

The Task Force is a short-term assignment, different from the long-term Ferry Advisory Board proposal by Jim Dickinson.

County Council will select task force members with skills and experiences “in governmental affairs, transportation, economics, finances, other business related areas, and community experience.” Council is accepting applications and expects to make its selection at the first biweekly meeting of 2001, Tuesday, January 11.

Check our Web site, www.plicferry.org, for a copy of the Task Force resolution and other more detailed information. (Please forgive our inadvertent error in a Web link made in haste last week on Brown Betty during preparations for a fundraiser for the Island Boys & Girls Club.) Here is a link to the resolution: http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/council/2010/res/res2010-046.pdf

4. Please plan to attend the PLIC community meeting this Thursday (12/2), 6:30 p.m. at The Grange. Discussion will center on the process for Task Force nominations and application, an update about fares and mediation, and groundwork for the annual PLIC meeting where a slate of officers will be voted on in January.

Thank you for your support.
PLIC Board of Directors

3 thoughts on “Update on Mediation & Other News

  1. Doesn’t the recent fare increase indicate tacit County acceptance of approximately two thirds of the Lummis demands? So the remaining mediation is really wrangling over the last hundred grand and perhaps the one-time payment? Seems like a weak way to start negotiations.

    I’m not sure if I hope they do or don’t have authority to negotiate with a sovereign government. It is odd that under this peculiar arrangement, there is very little chance that ferry payments to the Lummi Nation will conform to the federal policy that “…all revenues derived therefrom shall be applied to actual and necessary costs of operation…” Seems like under most any other conceivable arrangement, there would be better protection for the public regarding reasonable fares.

    • For the past year I have been hoping that the legal team assembled by PLIC would answer two very basic and very important questions:

      1. As Tip has been asking from the beginning, “Who has the legal right to charge whom how much for what?”


      2. Does the tribe have the right to declare all of the terms of the previous contract valid except the one regarding lease extension?

      It is extremely disappointing that a year later no progress whatsoever seems to have been made on answering these vital questions.

  2. And the true value of 5000 sq. ft of tidelands, for 16,667.00 a month?

    Shown in relation to one particular dock lease on Lummi Island, from the Department of Natural Resources for $1300.00 a year?

    Property Evaluations, you’d never want to bring up that discussion in this instance either.

    Lummi v. Whatcom, Oct. term 1993.
    The Act has not changed materially since its passage, in 1790, at the insistence of President Washington and Secretary of War Henry Knox. See Susan C. Antos, Comment, Indian Land Claims Under the Nonintercourse Act, 44 Alb. L. Rev. 110, 111, 120 (1979). President Washington and Secretary Knox thought that only the federal government could ensure Indian lands were settled peacefully and Indians treated fairly.

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