LIFAC to Vote on Feb. 3, 2015 to Send, or Not, Ferry Replacement Report to County

Below are Mike McKenzie’s statement (on Facebook, i.e., public domain) that the 7-member Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC) plans to vote to either to send its ferry replacement subcommittees’ report (ACQUISITION OF HIYU REPORT FINAL 5 Jan 14,) forward to the County, or kill it, at their February 3, 2015 meeting / work session.  (italics added)

LIFAC doesn’t stage public hearings. We have public meetings with open comment periods — even at work meetings. I expressly stated at the outset of our meeting Jan. 6 that we welcomed public comment on the presentation, and even allowed questions, but that it was not a time or place for debating or arguing the merits of the proposal; that will happen if and when a public hearing takes place. County Council, will hold one, by law,when and if the proposal gets introduced. The vote will either move the proposal forward to Council PW Committee for presentation, or kill the proposal.

In a later FB comment, Mike clarifies that the votes is scheduled for LIFAC’s Feb. 3 meeting.

“… Ferry Replacement Subcommittee made up of community volunteers, but also including (by ordinance requirement) two members of LIFAC — Greg Brown, and Stu Clark. These items on the agenda have been prematurely released publicly, and have not been voted on by LIFAC. They will be the centerpiece of discussion at a community-wide PLIC annual meeting later this month, and presented for a vote at LIFAC work meeting (open to public) Feb. 3.

My takeAll citizens who want LIFAC to have time to fully consider their input on the report before LIFAC votes, should submit comments before the Feb. 3 meeting, the sooner the better. That can be done by individuals or as part of some collective effort (e.g., PLIC Board input to LIFAC).

It puzzles me how citizens could provide any reasoned or informed (or other) input to LIFAC had the draft report been kept secret from  non-LIFAC members.  Yes, public input to an advisory committee like LIFAC can be messy and ‘trouble’. Democracy, as the cliche goes, is a messy business.

But isn’t it preferable to get, before any decision-making or vote, citizens’ potentially informed responses to an important report (even a draft) rather than their totally uniformed comments or sentiments?

PS  I’ve heard rumored that the draft report has been/will be revised with ‘lots more data’ but Mike’s statement makes it pretty clear that ‘non LIFAC’ citizens will get to see that version only after LIFAC’s February 3 meeting and vote.

One thought on “LIFAC to Vote on Feb. 3, 2015 to Send, or Not, Ferry Replacement Report to County

  1. The idea of replacing the Whatcom Chief with a larger ferry does not set well with me. A larger ferry is bound to be more costly to operate and maintain. So fares go up, ridership goes down, and fares need to go up again.

    With a larger ferry fewer trips would be required, so we would not get the frequent service we now enjoy.

    Lets keep the Chief and recognize that we are lucky to have a ferry that serves us so well. She is an appropriate size to fill our needs.

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