Contacting the County Council

The following is an email from Lummi Island elders, Jerry Anderson and Sue Watson, to the Whatcom County Council, and a response from Ken Mann, Councilmember.   I thought this exchange would be of interest to many of us.   

Dear Councilmembers,

Sue and I wish to thank you again for all of the time and effort you have devoted to the negotiations with LIBC.

Having followed all that has happened since the announcement by LIBC on Oct 2, 2009, we know the negotiations have occupied much of your time. As citizens we can not thank you, the County Executive and county assistant attorney Dan Gibson, enough.   Thank you.

We know there is a small handful of activists on the island who continue to complain about wording etc. They do not speak for a majority of the islanders. A large, rather silent majority of the islanders appreciate and support all you have done. We encourage you to hold the scheduled hearing on September 13, and vote to support the agreement with LIBC on the lease agreement.

We also encourage you to support the recommendations of the Ferry Task Force. We really appreciate all of the time and effort they put in coming up with recommendations. These recommendations are in our opinion very valid and worthwhile.

We thank you again for all you do for the citizens of Whatcom County. You are all sincerely appreciated.

Jerry Anderson and Susan Watson
4030 Legoe Bay Rd. Lummi Island

A response from Ken Mann, Councilmember:

Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2011 13:44:23 -0700
Subject: Re: Ferry negotiations

Jerry –

Your email is by far the best one I have received. You are right, there is a very loud and vocal and relentless group that complains about everything, from wording to public process to costs.

If you are right that there is a silent majority that shares your opinion, I urge you to motivate them to write all of us. This lease faces a tough vote right now – if you want it passed, the silent majority needs to speak up – otherwise the critical and the complainers among you will win.

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


2 thoughts on “Contacting the County Council

  1. Boy, do I resent minimizing and discounting those who have a differing point of view than yours. My view is not loud nor critical, just inquiring and different than PLIC’s or the “silent majority” island group think. Please consider RESPECTING, listening and considering ALL points of view here. And does anyone remember it was Ken Mann’s motion that the Council adopted to increase the Whatcom Chief box fare rate a flat $3/ride instead of the propose $2/ ride recommended? Ouch. that really hurt my transportation budget, Thank you very much.

  2. The edge here for me is the distinction between putting in lots of hours on this (or other) public interest issues, and assessment of the outcomes of those efforts. To be sure we all owe gratitude to those who enter public service as elected officials and public employees at all levels. Without a healthy and viable public sector to support and balance the narrower interests of the private sector, modern community life is impossible. So we can all join in with Jerry and Susan to say, “thank you for your efforts.”

    At the same time, we have to have clear criteria to measure the effectiveness of public policy. The reality is that for the past two years we on Lummi Island have been shut out of a process that acutely affects every aspect of our daily lives, experienced 500% fare increases in five years, lived in uncertainty about the viability of our future economic lives on Lummi Island, and watched in consternation as our County negotiators made our lives here more and more difficult.

    The current fiasco of the present drydock period is a case in point. First, the sensibility of allowing a week between Labor Day weekend and drydock was thrown out the window, imposing a confluence of the post-Labor Day exodus with the annual, complicated drydock car shuffling. On top of that, apparently no one thought to include in negotiations with the Tribe an ongoing drydock parking arrangement, prompting enormous uncertainty about exactly HOW to organize our lives for drydock. This is hard to understand given the history of relatively seamless transition in years past.

    So at the performance level their is very little data to support a heartfelt sense of “well done.” Islanders I know are mostly rolling their eyes and gritting their teeth in preparation for the next ratcheting up of expense and inconvenience.

    Setting a date for the expiration of the surcharge and straightening out the drydock parking are two immediate areas that would improve County performance ratings. Following up on task force recommendations would also help, along with a philosophical change that accepts that the ferry is the Whatcom County Ferry, not the “Lummi Island Ferry.”

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