Saturday, January 24, 2009

Greenways: Wishing Does Not 'Make It So'


Starship Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek had a signature phrase from the captain's chair; "Make it so".

How nice it would be to have the power of 'making something so' by just wishing or asking for it!

The Captain Picard character is depicted as a deeply moral, highly logical and cerebral man, who through Solomon-like wisdom resolves seemingly intractable complex issues between multiple parties. Though such resolutions are usually peaceful, Picard is also shown utilizing his remarkable tactical cunning in situations requiring it.

How nice it would be to have such a person in charge of resolving the so-called Chuckanut Ridge 'issue', in which some wild-eyed advocates on the south side seem bent upon a scorched earth policy to get their way - or else!

But even Picard might have difficulty in dealing with that issue, especially if he tried to use those same morals, logic, and facts combined as wisdom on it.

But, hey it's worth a try, isn't it?
Jack Weiss thinks so, and has put together some facts -summarized below-in yet another attempt to persuade those who seem resistant to such persuasion.

And, if those who choose to remain resistant to reason and reality again reject this information, there are many others who may benefit from it.

Notwithstanding that an ounce of emotion can sometimes trump an entire ton of rational thought, the truth of this new information is not likely to just go away!

From Weiss:
For public use as you so desire.
This is the second of an indeterminate series to assist the community in understanding other information regarding the Chuckanut Ridge issue.

The Southside Effect on the Greenways III Levy Vote
By Jack Weiss, January 24, 2009

Ever since the May 16, 2006 Greenways III election, from time-to-time some people proclaim in this paraphrase “if it wasn’t for the southside vote, the levy would not have passed.” Saying this does not make it so. Let’s look at the facts.

I took the official precinct election results from the following abstract ( and calculated the following summary:

The levy passed community-wide by 58.8% with an overall voter turnout of 46.5%.

If the three precincts directly adjacent to Chuckanut Ridge are pulled out, the levy passes by 58.4%. This includes Prec #244 (Edgemoor), 245 (South with bits of Fairhaven and Edgemoor), and 246 (east side of South). Note that 244 and 246 passed by a lower margin than community-wide (57.4% and 57.3% respectively versus the community-wide margin of 58.8%.

If all of Ward 6 was removed, the levy passes by a “yes” vote of 57.0%.

If all of Wards 5 and 6 were removed, the levy still passes 54.6%. That is over 9 percentage points victory by the rest of town.

Lastly, even if the every one of the 1156 “yes” votes in precincts 244, 245, and 246 switched their votes in protest, the levy still would pass 52.2%. In fact, a total of 1535 “yes” voters would have to switch their votes assuming they actually cast a ballot and simply did not sit out the election. It is very speculative that that would have ever occurred.

Sure, the southside provided support for the passage of the levy. But to think that the rest of the community was asleep to this election is not borne out by the facts. If the Greenways Legacy group and Responsible Development wanted to kill the passage of the levy in 2006, they may or may not have succeeded and their attempt would reflect highly on their motives with the rest of Bellingham.

The question is: if they did succeed as they frequently threatened in 2005 and 2006, what would have been accomplished? 1. We would either have no levy for anything, including some money for Chuckanut Ridge; or 2. A new levy with higher amounts for CR would have been put on the ballot attracting opponents from the rest of town and likely flaming to defeat as well.

What is also clear is that some people have claimed how much they worked for the passage of the levy. Of all of the people who have spoken up in the past few months claiming some sort of $8 million quid pro quo, only Jody Bergsma, Brad Rose, and Joe Yaver gave any money to the campaign. $410 out of $12,383. That’s it. (From the Council, Barbara and Michael Ryan and Joan Beardsley kicked in another $300.)

Of all of those same people, only 6 of 796 signed endorsements for the levy to be included in the only flyer during the campaign (Jody Bergsma, Michael Chiavario, Brad Rose, Gail Smedley, Bobbi Vollendorf and Joe Yaver). All 7 councilmembers at that time endorsed.

Jody and Bobbi volunteered substantially into the organization into the campaign. Gail and Cathy McKenzie helped out a little. Where were all of the others?

It is disingenuous, at best, to insinuate the vast assistance of southsiders into the passage of this levy. A whisper campaign does not count. And saying now how much you helped then does not make it so. If you are not one of these named above, then you either did not contribute, endorse, or volunteer for the passage of this levy. But thank you if you put up a yard sign.

In conclusion, statements of how much the southside vote swayed the outcome or how significant the southsiders were in campaigning ring hollow to me.

Side note:

For those number geeks who want more, I have included the following attached spreadsheet so you can see for yourself the source numbers. If the table does not come out, click on the attachment instead. It will probably be much easier to read.

Note: I have not included the tables of data that Jack used to reach his conclusions as stated above.
That is because I am not enough of a geek to know how to do that, plus the conclusions are the important part which most folks would be willing to read.
If folks want to see these tables of data, I'm sure they can be made available from other sources.

See y'all later now, y'hear?