Thursday, September 22, 2011

Greenways: Pooh Bear Cares

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it. -- Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Today is a rare two post day.
This is the second one, which along with the earlier one were both e-mailed & hand delivered to the City Council and Mayor.

The occasion for the hard copy delivery was the Council Finance Committee meeting to discuss 'funding options' that the Council failed to identify -with certainty- before it made it's very questionable decision to purchase the so-called 'Chuckanut Ridge' property for $8.23 Million, of which only about $5 Million was actually available.

So, now its the public's 'mission impossible' assignment to cover the Council's collective ass.
Fair enough, that's what this post tries to help do.
Several 'publics' like me were present to listen to the proceedings, take notes and -please the court- make a few comments, for which the Council extended 15 minutes -until 12:30 PM.

Four Councilors attended, supported by the Council Legislative Coordinator [who audio-taped the meeting] and David Webster, City Deputy Administrator.
Mssrs. Lilliquist, Fleetwood, Buchanan and Weiss participated and each had comments and ideas to share, with Lilliquist, often as not, expressing what seemed like contrary opinions.

It will require more time to make sense from this session, but my initial impression was that
more was discussed than we'll likely see in writing. Jawboning? Doublespeak? Maybe.
Councilors did seem mostly agreeable to the twin ideas of not committing any more Greenways funds toward this acquisition, both the current GW3 or any future Greenways levy that might be brought to ballot 6 years hence.

They also seemed inclined to 'clarify' language in the acquisition ordinance before it reaches its 3rd & final vote, currently scheduled for Council's September 29 meeting.
Actual closing with the Bank is set for October 11. So, theoretically, a meeting to record a 3rd & final vote and discussion could be scheduled for Oct 10 -the day before.

I did detect some odd reluctance to even add an addendum to the Council Agenda which is required to allow further discussion and/or amendments prior to the 3rd & final vote, since no Agenda Bill had been previously been anticipated for inclusion.
[A 24-hour notice is legally required to add agenda items]
Language for both the suggested ordinance clarification, plus any agenda addendum is likely to be drafted by David Webster for Council consideration.

More later on this, including a list of public visitors and summaries of their comments.

But, here is what I submitted -on Pooh's behalf- as an idea to raise private donations to help pay for this extravagance:

This message adds to the public record comments submitted earlier regarding the City's options for raising sufficient, unencumbered funds to pay the significant, unfunded debt incurred in the unwise purchase of the property known as Chuckanut Ridge, aka Fairhaven Highlands.

These words were entirely inspired by the memory of the true Pooh Bear, a lovable character created for children by A A Milne years ago.
I know my son was particularly fond of Pooh, being gifted early with his own stuffed version, with which he played and slept with for s few years, until poor Pooh was well & truly worn out!

Several years ago, I was gifted my own Pooh Bear, a bright orangey-yellow version, by a generous owner of the property now owned by the City and named Woodstock Farm, home of Inspiration Point.
I was touched at the time, because of the fond memories Pooh had for me from my son's early childhood.
So, this smiling version of Pooh has graced my home for a time as a nice reminder of happy times. [See above]

But, more recently, Pooh has begun to remind me of some things that are not so pleasant, too.
So, being the inherently benign, happy & generous creature that he is, my Pooh wants to help make things right in the 'Hundred Acre Woods'.
Therefore, he has volunteered to became the property of the highest bidder in a public auction to raise funds to pay down the debt incurred on his former, local 'home'.

By copy of this e-mail, I hereby give custody of orangey-yellow Pooh to J Lynne Walker, Legislative Coordinator to the Bellingham City Council, to safely hold until such time arises that it is time to leave with another kind person who will care for him and his memory.
Should this kind person be so inclined, they may donate money to help pay for the large stone egg that Piglet wanted so badly.
That would be very nice, and I'm sure Pooh & his many admirers would like that very much!

Kind regards,

PS - I started the bidding for Pooh Bear at $100 to initiate this funding idea.
PPS - Here's Pooh's story.

The hardest part is what to leave behind, ... It's time to let go! -- Winnie the Pooh