May 14, 2011: Headline story in the Bellingham Herald
Here is an update on the May 13, 2011 negotiations, by way of PLIC:
The good news: the ferry will continue to run on its normal schedule indefinitely.
The no-news: today’s negotiating session did not produce a lease agreement.
The bad news: none, because no news is good news. The talks didn’t fail, and Whatcom County Council has new information to consider next week. Here’s where we are as of 4 p.m. Friday the 13th:
Shortly after today’s negotiating session between Whatcom County officials and Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) officials, John Stark of the Bellingham Herald spoke to County Attorney Dan Gibson, and PLIC spoke to County Executive Pete Kremen, and here is a summary of what those County officials reported to Stark and confirmed with PLIC:
1. LIBC suspended the Sunday (May 15) deadline for obtaining a lease agreement to continue operating Lummi Island ferry service to Gooseberry Point, and did not impose another deadline date. This is good news because, although Kremen and Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo and others stated publicly that the ferry would continue to run to Gooseberry Point after the 15th, PLIC heard from several of you concerned about whether to make arrangements for accommodations in town Sunday night and/or alternative transportation Monday.
2. Stark, who will publish an expanded report on the Herald’s web site tonight and in print tomorrow, quoted Gibson saying that today’s session consisted of “intense discussion.” County’s negotiating team of six took a Council-supported counter-proposal into today’s session, and it did not fly. But with modifications, more possibilities were formulated by the two sides. This is good news, because the negotiations didn’t blow up; rather, both sides appear intent on reaching a resolution.
3. County Council will hold an executive session (closed to public) Tuesday, May 17, at a time yet to be announced. Gibson will present Council with proposals that came out of today’s bargaining session, and Council will consider the alternatives to the counter-proposal it approved for presentation today. This is good news, because the door is still open to a deal.
Kremen said he had nothing more to add immediately to Gibson’s characterization of today’s session. Kremen indicated he needed to attend to some business that required attention before the day and the week ended, and said he would talk later about today’s session.
* * *