Newest version (Aug. 8, 2011) of draft legal agreement

Update:  2011-08-09.  According to Dan Gibson (via Michael Schneider) this is the introduced version AB2011-238.

Nadeen Hanson, County Council clerk, sent the latest (August 8, 2011) version of the draft legal agreement between the County and Lummi Nation re: Gooseberry lease.  Section 5 (“free rides” issue) is now specific, at least, though I’m not sure how/if it differs practically from the problematic June 30 wording.  I’ve no clue whether the wording of the rest of the legal contract is complete – I  picked up the message at 8:40 PM, Monday Aug. 8, 2011.

For comparison purposes, earlier drafts of the proposal:  June 30, 2011; August 3, 2011.

Opinion & advocacy: I presume that the next steps for us all — county officials, citizens and taxpayers (including islanders) is to go over this draft (assuming that it’s introduced as planned tomorrow night at the August 9, 2011, 7 PM council meeting) with a fine tooth comb before the public hearing (maybe Sept 13? we’ll know more after tomorrow’s meeting).

We need to make sure that our representatives, county exec, candidates in the upcoming election and media hear loud and clear as to what we think of the provisions, and whether we think the Council should vote for or against the draft proposal as written, modify it before voting, or reject it.

Personally I do not think the Council should schedule their vote on the contract on the same night as the public hearing.  If the public hearing is to be meaningful, council members need to take time to consider everything they hear before voting. That can’t really be done if the vote is the same night as the hearing (unless, of course, no one shows up to speak at the hearing.)

Please understand that I do not assume that this draft agreement has problematic elements. I might decide, after reading it carefully, that it is just fine and I can support it. My point is that reviewing it will take some time, and that the length (35 yrs) and cost (millions) deserve careful scrutiny by the taxpayers and citizens (including ferry users) who will foot the bill for years ahead. For me, that review is simply part of Whatcom County citizens’ civic responsibility and due diligence.

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