Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coal: HamsterTalk Blogs from March 27 thru December 31, 2011

Here are 27 previous Blogs with a 'Coal' label written from March 27, 2011 through December 30, 2011 on HamsterTalk

1. Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear... Sunday, March 27, 2011

2. Coal Terminal: Mayor's Listening Session Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3. Good Mornin' America, How Are Ya? Wednesday, June 8, 2011

4. Climatology: Natural Science or Political Science? Saturday, July 9, 2011

5. Making Tracks To Where? Friday, July 15, 2011

6. Coal Terminal: A Pit & Pendulum Exercise? Thursday, July 21, 2011

7. Coal Terminal: Trains & Infrastructure Saturday, July 30, 2011

8. Coal Terminal: Bulk Carriers & Kayaks Sunday, July 31, 2011

9. Coal Terminal: Update on Developments Monday, August 1, 2011

10. Coal Terminal: Another Update Tuesday, August 2, 2011

11. Coal Terminal: Playing Defense Wednesday, August 3, 2011

12. Coal Terminal:Whatcom Watch Remembers Cherry Point Agreement Thursday, August 4, 2011

13. Coal: A Global Perspective Thursday, September 1, 2011

14. Coal: Floyd McKay's Latest Crosscut Article Wednesday, September 28, 2011

15. Coal: Green versus Gold? Wednesday, October 19, 2011

16. Coal: The Role of Politics Wednesday, October 19, 2011

17. Coal: National Geographic Article Friday, October 21, 2011

18. Coal: NPR Weighs In With Two Articles Thursday, October 27, 2011

19. Big Coal meets Cherry Point's tiny herring Friday, October 28, 2011

20. Coal: Where Does Bellingham Really Stand? Sunday, October 30, 2011

21. Coal: Location, Location, Location - For Whom? Monday, October 31, 2011

22. Coal: What Does Lake Whatcom, Waterfront Redevelopement & The Olympic Pipe Line Have to Do With It? Thursday, November 3, 2011

23. Coal: Possible Good News? Thursday, November 10, 2011

24. Energy: Update On Coal, Oil & Other Fossil Fuel Projects Wednesday, November 16, 2011

25. Impacts: Coal Versus Oil Sands Thursday, November 17, 2011

26. Trains: 'Here's Mud In Your Eye'Thursday, December 15, 2011

27. Coal: Why Can't We Citizens Have A Strong Voice? Friday, December 30, 2011

I Don't Give A Fig For This Newton

"My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world." - George Bernard Shaw

What is glibly advertised, gooey, prefers being wrapped - and baked - in dough, and could be confused with a toxic lizard?
Answer: A fig sandwich? No, wait, a Newt Gingrich!

The current traveling circus trying to disguise itself as the Republican Presidential Primary exhibits a number of truly freaky and sometimes scary characters, with 'Newt' being the latest flash-in-the-pan gladiator to be thrown into the big cat arena.
Good luck with that, Newt!

Think he'll survive?
Of course he will; but maybe not the way he'd prefer.
That would be just fine with me, too.

It is curious as hell that this Newt fellow is such a narcissist to even imagine he could win the support of American voters, unless most of them really do insist upon calling our Federal Guvmint a TV reality show.

Why, the prospect of Newt actually becoming '45' is more frightening than a loaded '45 that's being pointed at me!
So, let's get serious and settle down, let Romney -or whoever- run and lose; then get back to something like we have today, OK?

How does Newt do it, anyway?
He looks and acts like an over-grown Spanky (from Our Gang) and has enough baggage to make any airline profitable.

For 30 years he's hung around Washington, DC like a court jester, intent on collecting as much fame and fortune as that strange city will allow.

He could probably get a job with the Capitol Steps as a comedy act, if he were legitimately funny.
Maybe a character like a Government-Issue (GI) Grinch? (Count the letters in his name)

Or, better yet, the Big Fig! (check out the U-Tube)

I don't really dislike Newt, its what he's done to degrade my concept of an elected official that troubles me.
But, freedom -and free enterprise- being what it is, what Newt's does is certainly allowed, even though it may negatively impact what most of the world may think of us.
True to form, I have collected the URLs of a few articles written with NEWT as subject,
This one, from the NYTimes captures the essence of what many think about this fellow. It also includes the '8 Things Newt Likes'. Check it out.

Others, from Politico, The Nation (serial hypocrite?), BusinessWeek (is he really a G Washington crossing the Delaware?) and CBS News (shades of John Boehner!) also shed light on this character from different angles.

Then. of course the mandatory Wikipedia piece on Newts.

And, the salient witches chant from MacBeth to close the loop:

2nd Witch: (not a witch?)
"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and howlet's wing,--
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

That's it from me on this sorry subject.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Coal: Why Can't We Citizens Have A Strong Voice?

This article appeared in today’s paper and was forwarded to me:

Dec, 30, 2011

Activists plan initiative to outlaw coal trains in Bellingham


BELLINGHAM - Ever since the plans for SSA Marine's coal shipping terminal at Cherry Point became public, city officials have been saying that they would have no direct control over the coal trains that would pass through the city if Gateway Pacific Terminal is built.

A new citizens' group plans to change all that, but they seem to face overwhelming legal odds.

Rick Dubrow, owner of A1 Builders, is one of the key organizers of a new political action committee called No Coal! On Jan. 26, Dubrow said the group will make public its draft of a proposed new city ordinance that would prohibit any transport of coal through Bellingham by rail or any other means.

In conventional legal terms, that doesn't seem to make much sense. The federal government regulates the interstate rail system, and BNSF Railway Co. has a legal right of way through the city. BNSF spokeswoman Suann Lundsberg said federal law requires the railroad to ship coal and other legal cargoes that shippers want to move via rail.

But Dubrow and Stoney Bird, a former corporate attorney working with the Bellingham group, say they are setting out to establish some new legal groundwork that would put the rights of communities and ecosystems on equal or greater footing with the rights of railroads and other corporations.

They are taking their cue from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which was involved in a successful 2010 effort to get the Pittsburgh, Pa., City Council to ban fracking for natural gas within the city limits.

On its website, that group's activists argue that existing environmental regulations do little more than slow the pace of ongoing environmental destruction. They envision a legal system that would recognize something they call the Rights of Nature.

In Pittsburgh, the council adopted a proposed anti-fracking ordinance without a citizen vote. Dubrow said he and his group would be open to that approach in Bellingham, as long as the council would be willing to pass their proposed ordinance as is.

"We don't want to give them (council members) the freedom to edit it,' Dubrow said. "We hesitate to allow editing because of the complexity of the legal aspects of the ordinance."

The group is also prepared to launch a petition drive to get the measure on the ballot if it comes to that, Dubrow said.

If such a petition drive were successful, BNSF or SSA Marine could challenge the initiative in court before a public vote is held. In the recent anti-traffic-camera initiative case in Bellingham, American Traffic Solutions went to court to get the initiative off the ballot. The courts eventually allowed the initiative to stay on the ballot, but judges ruled that it was not legally enforceable. Camera opponents are appealing.

In 2000, citizens collected enough signatures to get a referendum challenging a cut in Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s industrial water rates onto the ballot. But then-Mayor Mark Asmundson and the City Council refused to act on the matter, on grounds that prior court cases had clearly established that water rates were not subject to a public vote. Backers of the referendum expressed outrage but did not take the city to court, and no vote was held.

In 2001, a pro-business group tried to use a city referendum to challenge hefty new city storm water fees, but Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Steve Mura accepted city attorneys' argument that city utility rates were not subject to public vote. Mura's ruling kept the matter off the ballot.

Craig Cole, an SSA Marine spokesman, had little to say about the No Coal! ordinance plan. In an email, he indicated that railroad operations are beyond the scope of city authority.

"Such matters are governed by federal and state constitutions and laws," Cole said.

Reach JOHN STARK at or call 715-2274.


Personally, I'm glad this is happening, legalities notwithstanding.

Our community needs to step up and make itself heard on this controversial issue; indeed if we don't, who will?

My perspective is that of someone who has confronted matters like this one from the side of a concerned citizen, as well as an elected official whose term of office encompassed the cases cited -namely the water rate referendum and the storm water complaints.

In both instances, I heard the arguments pro & con, then decided what decision ought to have been made.

The water and storm water rates were clearly necessary to make the respective utilities sustainable, and also clearly the City Council's responsibility to decide. But, we did listen to citizen complaints and also appreciated the dialogue that was generated, because that was important to understand before a final decision was made.

The water rate 'issue' wasn't just about the GP process water rates, either; it was about two things -setting a less complicated formula for determining the GP rate [which was actually higher than the old one, not less] and responding to pressure from a public initiative to increase treated water rates in order to help protect Lake Whatcom, our drinking water RESERVOIR.

Neither the referendum or the initiative passed, but the latter raised public awareness enough for the Council to decide later to raise water rates by $5 per month [versus the $12 per month advocated by the initiative].

The storm water rate increase was necessary by State & Federal mandate, once the City decided to adopt new rules to cover not only flood and erosion damage, but treat pollution as well. Additionally, had the new storm water rates NOT been adopted, the impacts to the existing street funds was substantial, since the costs of storm water management were being simply deducted from those limited funds.


As far as Federal or State jurisdiction over local matters is concerned, the City of Bellingham, by taking the strong stand it did, was able to influence significant changes to safety regulations for Pipe Lines, both intra-state and inter-state, despite the claims of the Olympic Pipe Line Company, whose liquid petroleum products pipeline ruptured in its Right Of Way [through City property], and spilled toxic fuel into Whatcom Creek that resulted in the terrible explosion that killed three young people and caused much damage to property, the environment and social confidence.

So, don't tell me citizen outrage doesn't work!

It does work, but it shouldn't take a major catastrophe to prove it.

That is what much of the concern over coal trains & terminal is about; preventing terrible things from happening BEFORE THEY DO.

That is called simply the Precaution Principle, and it was early expressed by none other than our Founder, Ben Franklin, who put it this way; 'a stitch in time saves nine'.


I believe a strong expression of concerns -the more explicit the better- must be voiced by citizens so it can be heard and acted upon by our local elected leaders, namely the Mayor and City Council.

The earlier this happens, the better.

And the oftener it happens is also better.

The last thing we want to do as citizens with legitimate concerns is to keep quiet about them, leaving such 'external' decisions to a vague 'other' that prefers the comfort of status quo!

So, yes, I will support any well-conceived initiative that comes forth on this 'inconvenient' subject, and I will encourage our new Council and Mayor to do nothing less, notwithstanding any 'legal; arguments to the contrary.

If folks want to sue us or the City, let them sue!

This nasty subject needs to be dragged out into the arena for resolution in the sunshine, not in some dark place remote from us and our families.

And, if the judges should rule against it [us], we will then need to redouble our efforts to change these present 'legalities'.

If I am more than willing to suffer some 'inconvenience' over this matter; how about you?

So, answering the question in the title; 'we can if we will'!


This article on a related matter seems to chill the atmosphere regarding whether Federal or State rights & regulations prevail.

And, I'm sure that was the intent in seeking the judgement in question; to put 'corporate citizens' in charge of what can be done in the State of California.

California has huge and diverse problems, many of its own making, but fortunately it has also taken strong and progressive leadership in protecting its air, water and earth from continued poor stewardship from those who create these harms in the name of 'business'.

Thank goodness for California's lead in changing fuel economy and quality standards that have succeeded in changing the way corporations, institutions and people conduct their business! Without it's lead, do you think the Federal government would have done much on its own?

Air pollution got so bad in the LA Basin that it was affecting everyone's business -including their health- so much that something had to be done!

Now, years later, LA air is better; but it took strong action years ago to effect that change.


One last thought before this ends; if corporations have rights, do these include doing whatever they want, as much as they want, whenever they want and wherever they want?

What limits apply?

Do these claimed 'rights' extend beyond their own rights-of-way and property to the property, space and environment of those other citizens - people?

How about public property; like transportation systems and networks, waterways, airways and the like?

Where exactly do corporate rights end?

Aren't corporations supposed to provide public good? If so, how much? How much harm?

I'm only asking because something doesn't feel right about the arguments I'm hearing from the Coal proponents.

No, not right at all!

If I'm wondering, maybe others are experiencing the feeling, too.

And, maybe -just maybe- others will be willing to extend their wonderment into something more tangible; like action?

Citizens inherently do have strong voices; they just have to use them!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Going, Going, Almost Gone...Postal

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" - famous Pony Express motto
I was a little troubled by the recent announcement(s) of more major curtailments of the US Postal Service [USPS], formerly known as the US Post Office - an idea originated by Benjamin Franklin.
TIME Magazine in particular has printed detailed reports - here & here - of the problems being faced by the current USPS.

But, like many ideas, this one has unfortunately suffered from an accretion of baggage that is no longer deliverable.

One of the first divisions of the US Government, the Post Office was often used for political patronage purposes, rewarding supporters of a series of Presidents with desirable paid positions.

Remind you of anything? Like maybe certain trouble over time?
For about a year, I worked for the US Post Office in my home town; back in the early 1960's, to help pay my way through college.
But, it wasn't easy getting that relatively desirable job, mainly because the practice of local patronage by the Postmaster to relatives, friends and cronies.
I ended up taking a competitive Civil Service exam and scored high enough that I was selected, although for a duty that had relentlessly brutal hours and no 'seniority'; a concept I learned about very quickly!

It seems the desirable jobs with regular hours were reserved for those having more time in service, and these folks weren't about to relinquish any of their special rights and privileges!
Can't say that I blame them for that, either, although some were quite slow in performing their jobs and carried an 'attitude' approximating lazy arrogance.

Remember that point, because it will return.

My job paid $2.16 an hour, which wasn't bad when the going wage for unskilled labor was about $1 per hour. I was glad to get that job and busted my butt doing it well and efficiently; although some longer time employees actually seemed to resent my industry!
Guess they had their own reasons for that, but it didn't make much sense to me at the time.

My 'routine' -if it could be called that- went something like this: up @ 3:30 AM to pick up parcel post sacks at the train station and deliver them to the Parcel Post Annex; At P.O. at about 7:00 AM to sort incoming mail into carrier routes, clerk stations and mail boxes, then to collect the 8:00 AM mail, cancel it and sort it into outgoing pigeon holes; At P.O. @ 12 Noon to collect outgoing mail, cancel it and sort it into outgoing pigeon holes; At P.O. @ 5:00 PM to collect outgoing mail, cancel it and sort it into outgoing pigeon holes; then, same cycle 6 days per week.
During the time I worked a new Post Office building went into service, so after learning the old layout, I then was the first to learn the new one.

While the pay was good, my social life was pretty minimal due to the erratic work schedule, plus I missed a lot of meals at home with my family; but -hey- it was good for me anyway.

Now, years later, my situation has changed, as has my perception of a personal -selfish- need for the Post Office.

I am no longer employed by a business that regularly depends upon mail service;
I pay most of my bills via online banking and/or credit cards;
I've grown accustomed to e-mail and the almost instantaneous delivery it provides;
I abhor junk mail and throw it away without reading it;
I sometimes use delivery options that suit me, even if they are often much more expensive;
I dislike going to a -often poorly located- Post Office and standing in line for the most trivial of reasons;
I dislike keeping track of postage costs, stamps, envelopes and labels;
I dislike vehicles blocking my mail box and preventing deliveries;
I worry about mail theft and fraud, damaged or lost mail and packages left at the door.

If you haven't guessed, I am increasingly concerned that the USPS, as presently constituted, is a prototype of an inherently unsustainable institution - one that has intentionally - or unintentionally - developed practices that are not particularly satisfying for many of the purposes for which it was created and subsequently modified.

It is unfortunate that a similar fate accompanies other institutions as well that are often also associated with 'government'.

How we love to criticize and complain about our government(s) at any level!
But, is it untrue that government does play a big role in the creation and administration of agencies like the Post Office that were created out of national need and popular demand?
After all, we, the public are the ones that create that demand and communicate our needs to our elected government officials.
Then, we sometimes change our minds.

Government is often put at a severe disadvantage in correcting such situations that are either basically flawed or have otherwise outgrown their useful charter over time.

Other governmental created organizations like the military have similar problems, like excessive costs and bureaucracy, that require corrective action from time to time.
But, 'national security' seems to have a stronger hand in attracting ever-increasing Pentagon budgets, and more importantly, scaring people into supporting often questionable 'wars'.

And, just think of all the jobs that are actually created by government in the military-industrial complex, the several military services themselves, ensuing foreign aid requirements and, of course, essential medical services!

But, back to the USPS problem and its several probable causes; what could these be?
• A steady accretion of union work rules, wage & benefit demands?

• Unforeseen advances in technology, particularly the Internet?

• Private competition from FedEx, UPS and other more expensive/profitable services that 'cherry-pick' priority & so-called 'rush' parcels? [Note, the sender determines 'priority']

• The proliferation of Post Offices in often remote and sparsely populated areas?

• The decision to handle huge volumes of largely unwanted 'junk' mail?

• The lack of Congressional 'backbone' to dare do anything that could be construed as unpopular?

• Incompetence in administration?

• Simple inertia?

• Aging and lack of motivation in the workforce?

• Institutional complacency due to having a near monopoly in mail delivery?

• All of the above in some proportion?

It does seem symptomatic of our times to require a major dislocation to achieve any significant change, doesn't it?
But, such changes are not as simple to undertake as they may seem, are they?

What would you do?

How would this help maintain a valuable service that has come to be taken for granted?

What impact would a major curtailment of USPS service entail, particularly to ordinary people without the means to afford paying its full costs, or traveling long distances for routine matters?
Would this be equitable, particularly to those in need?

Could some portion of the USPS be managed as part of a program of mandatory or voluntary National Service?

Could rank and file USPS employees be organized and administered similarly to the military, where seniority and advancement is largely earned by merit?

Who is likely to be the agent of change benefiting the USPS and its many subscribers?

Think about it, because change is definitely in the wind - and overdue.
And, it's not an option just to cancel the USPS, or to accept continuous increases in the costs of delivery.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Trains: 'Here's Mud In Your Eye'

The actual origins and meaning of the title quotation are debatable, but these three options seem to be favored; a reference to Jesus' healing of the blind man in the Bible; a common toast in a pub, perhaps reminding of the awful trench warfare in WW I; a reference to winning - as in a horse race on a muddy track ['mudders' were more surefooted in wet conditions].

Regardless of actual intent, nowadays the phrase is usually used lightly, to celebrate something, whether a win, enlightenment or simple pleasure.

Since we live in a relatively wet region we may be more used to mud than others.
And so it is with trains.
All kinds of trains; freight, passenger, heavy, light, fast & slow.

Trains and mud are the subjects of Floyd Mckay's Crosscut article that appeared today.
In it he addresses the frequent mudslides that occur every year along the coastline BNSF Railroad corridor between Seattle & Vancouver, BC; something that is a concern even during normal times of routine traffic.

The implications of greatly increased frequency, weight and length of 1.5 mile long unit trains hauling coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana to the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point are pretty clear if recent history is to be trusted.

Also, guess what rail service would be impacted the most?
If you guessed AMTRAK and passenger service in general, you'd be correct.

I can remember being fascinated with trains as a youth, and one Christmas received a toy Lionel electric train complete with cars, track, signals and switches.
How I loved playing with that train, but that antique has long since disappeared - much to my chagrin.

Sixty years ago trains seemed more of a reality than they do today, probably because we've gotten used to them and take them for granted.
But, maybe also because things moved slower then and we were more connected to where stuff came from how that stuff was somehow considered essential, not only to us, but the economy as a whole.

Now, things move much more frenetically, are pre-processed, packaged and made somewhere else - frequently not even in our country, thanks to the global trade that is today's reality.

I also remember going to the train station to actually travel somewhere on a train!
Or meet someone who came to visit, or pick up parcel post shipments for distribution at the Post Office, or just watch the trains come and go.
Yes, that was considered fun, then.
Now, its not so much, although the idea of taking a scenic, leisurely, long distance trip by train still carries great appeal.
That's probably the hitch; specifically the words leisurely and long.

I used to take trains into New York City to work most days during a 3-year period.
Was that fun? No, but is was convenient and quick, especially as compared to driving a car.
Once in NYC, I had a choice between mass transit systems that were equally convenient and quick; subway, bus, shuttles, etc.
Nothing about leisurely and long there, except in relative terms.

On my trips to Europe, I found trains and mass transit systems to very convenient and efficient means of transportation. Europeans rely on these, not only to get around, but to help eliminate sprawl by helping to define reliable boundaries between urban areas and farmlands.
Also, the balance between freight and passengers seems more equitable. But, maybe that's because those societies have long since learned lessons we are still struggling with?

Back to AMTRAK for a moment.
That it is heavily subsidized is known and necessary if we are to preserve any semblance of balance between freight and human passengers.
That will likely become even more important as gas prices rise along with the costs of owning and operating private vehicles.
And, already the costs of air travel are approaching prohibitive levels for many people.
Think about it.
Then, think about how you are going to get around when things really get tough.
Think maybe that might happen in your lifetime?

Someday soon, we'll need to use trains and other shared transportation methods to physically get to where we want -and need- to be.
At that time, we'll appreciate maintaining at least what we have now.
The problem is, by the time that kind of problem happens, it's too late to mitigate it.
After all, infrastructure projects do require large amounts of public funding, plus years to construct.

But aside from those rather dire prospects, what about the continued role of AMTRAK to bring visitors to and from our area?
This region's natural beauty makes it a treasure that people want to see, experience and live in. All of those bring benefits to our local economy that are lasting unless we allow our natural assets and rail links to be degraded.

From the Crosscut article, WSDOT plans to expand our regional AMTRAK service to three round trips per day from the current two - which are already impacted by mudslides and BNSF's policies, which favor freight.
And, remember future plans by WSDOT foresee the need for further expansion of AMTRAK to 4 round-trips per day.

Now, we have more reason for concern about AMTRAK; greatly increased freight traffic to ship coal to China.
Does that really make sense?

The Fifteen Century Spanish traded silver from the Americas to China for porcelain and silk.
Precious metal [to be used for currency by the Ming Dynasty] for value-added goods to be used by wealthy Europeans.
Six hundred years later, wealthy Americans want more wealth by shipping an non-precious natural resource fossil mineral [coal] to China to enable that country to ship cheap, value-added goods here.
What has changed?
Wealthy people are still trading with wealthy people, but by-passing working people here in the US, and in favor of those in China.

If that uneven exchange weren't bad enough, the proposed constant stream of heavy coal trains risks not only decent AMTRAK service, but any reliable passenger service at all, all potentially due to the unhealthy mix of mud and greed.
So, whose eye gets this mud?
Why yours and mine will, if the huge coal export scheme somehow happens.
And, remember, at least in racing parlance, the winner kicks mud in the loser's eye.

But, maybe the other definitions will apply instead.
Maybe there will be a legitimate cause for celebration, and possibly even healing.
Those would be infinitely better outcomes, although the issue remains in serious doubt and uncertainty.

Some of that uncertainty might be reduced if our community makes its preference strongly known, in timely and specific terms so that the Environmental Impact Study [EIS] now planned will include these preferences in its scope.
The scope itself must reflect the concept of full cost accounting, where Triple Bottom Line [TPL] principles are inherent.
Just as a three-legged stool balances better if the legs are of equal length, this analysis must include economics, ecology and social equity.

That brings me to a final point; how we communicate this community's concerns and desired outcomes to those who will eventually make this decision.

The Chinese warrior Sun Tsu would recommend achieving victory without war, by communicating our strengths and goals so clearly that the enemy loses his will to fight.
We can help do this by asking -or demanding- our local officials and elected leaders actually
act on our behalf, early and often, regardless of what power or influence they may believe
they have in this matter.

To this end, this week's Gristle in the Cascadia Weekly has a few suggestions that likely reflect the community's will.

Earlier this year, the City Council unanimously passed a Resolution that expressed its views about the Coal Terminal EIS. I had forgotten about that, as have many others, I'm sure.
Somehow, since then, little more has been officially expressed despite the fact that significant new information has been regularly discovered and dispensed.

Some apparently feel that the elections prevented a more candid discussion due to a concern that the issue might be unduly politicized.
Huh? Guess what? It was anyway!

That's history now; too late to fret over lost opportunities to express the City's concerns.

But, its not too late -or early- to do something more now!

Now is the time to round up the new gang at City Hall and get them to reaffirm the City's position on the proposed Coal Terminal again, for the record.
You can't really argue with regular persistence, can you?

So, if the prior Resolution - passed 6 months ago - was unanimous then, it should be again with the new Council.
And, if the current -soon to be former- Mayor still argues against the GPTerminal, likely he still will.
Same goes for the the new Mayor-elect, who rightfully chose not to make this issue the main one during the elections.

Think another unanimous and maybe stronger Resolution might reaffirm the City's will in this matter?
Like chicken soup, it won't hurt and might help.
After all, we're building a record on the City's position, whether we choose to speak out strongly again - or remain comfortably silent.
So, which will it be folks?

Just do the right thing, listen to citizens and then speak up again, and again, and again as necessary.
Until the 'decision makers' hear us loud and clear!

For a community like Bellingham, a request like this ought not to even be necessary, but I'm making it anyway.
And, I'm very sure many others feel the same.

Let's welcome the New Year properly with a display of such bright and unmistakable community intensity that people elsewhere can't help but notice!

"Git er done!"