2 thoughts on “Letter to Community re: Task Force

  1. I am wondering what some of the other members of the community they think the focus should be for the task force. In Stuart Rich’s “Letter to Community re: Task Force” he said, “The task force is not charged with addressing all of the ferry’s long-term problems but instead to focus on the financial problems which have lead to the latest fare increase and the threat of a drastic service reduction.” In my view, it is precisely because there has never been any long term planning for ferry service that we are in the mess we are in now. PLIC has suggested a 50 year lease, but to me the best time for long term planning is before a 50 year lease is signed.

    Mike Skehan’s comments about the wording in the task force resolution made me curious about what the intent of the council really is for the force, so I asked them. Below is my email and two responses;

    From Klayton:
    Dear Council Members,
    During discussions between some Lummi Island residents that are interested in the ferry issue it has come up that the resolution on the ferry task force states:

    “BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the task force shall present a written report to the County Council, the County Executive, and to the general public after the completion of the lease agreement with the Lummi Nation, but in any event, no later than August 1st, 2011,”…

    This is a concern to some of us because it seems to imply that the county is not open to any other options besides signing a lease agreement for Gooseberry Point. Many of us were under the assumption that the task force was created to explore all options of transportation to the island and some of us believe that Gooseberry Point is not the best or cheapest option available. At least not with the amounts that the Lummi Nation is asking. If it is true that the county does not want to hear any other options, and is only willing to receive a report after the lease has been signed, then the major role of the task force would be to try and figure out how to pay for the lease that was has already been signed.

    Was the intent of the resolution to exclude the task force from presenting any off-reservation options?

    Thank you,
    Klayton Curtis

    Your response will be copied to the Lummi Island Ferry Forum.

    From Barbara Brenner:

    I am not sure I completely understand your comments but will respond as best I can.

    There are other, hugely expensive costs necessitated by a move to another location if there is a plan to use a ferry able to transport vehicles as well as people.

    I would prefer a lease at this point but will not support a lease that is unfairly expensive. I also believe there are other issues that need to be explored, including some for which we would need the assistance of our federal representatives. None of them have responded to the county as of today.

    It was not my intent to exclude any options, including off-reservation. However, off-reservation options are numerous and you did not specify anything.

    Please send all correspondence to my county address, bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us for retention of complete public records.

    Thank you.

    Barbara Brenner

    From Kathy Kershner:
    Dear Klayton,

    The Task Force was created to help the Council set appropriate fares.

    “Many of us were under the assumption that the task force was created to
    explore all options of transportation to the island and some of us
    believe that Gooseberry Point is not the best or cheapest option
    available.” This assumption is incorrect. The Task Force will be
    studying and recommending a fare structure that meets the income goal of
    55% of ferry operations.

  2. As I’ve noted before, the Task Force is in a horrible position.
    Secret negotiations preclude any reasonable estimate of what the costs will be.
    Fact finding on allocation of operating and capital costs will be subject to the whimsy of the council to put them wherever they choose, and even then, it’s a very small fraction of the total budget.
    Finally, the Task Force is left with how to pay for 55% of what certainly will be a huge increase in costs over the current lease. That’s higher fares, probably a $200+ per year property tax on everyone, and reductions in service.
    They are not going to be very popular no matter what they recommend.
    We got our citizens group, and the Council got their political cover. A nice neat package deal!

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