Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Port: Mayday Or Pan-Pan?

The term 'mayday' is known as an international distress signal to be used only in dire emergencies.
The Port of Bellingham seems headed that direction, but hopefully hasn't yet hitched it's hawser to the bits on that miserable dock.
Instead, we ought to take the precaution of signaling 'pan-pan', which sounds the alarm that the Port is merely off-course enough to warrant concern that it's situation is steadily worsening.
So, that is what this blog attempts to do.

I am supporting a petition for the next public ballot that seeks to increase the number of elected commissioners from three to five, as is allowed by State law.
The two additional commissioners would be selected at-large, which wouldn't directly affect any of the commissioners now in office.
But, it would dilute their existing authority and require fresh eyes to steer a course truer to the public's interest in sustaining and improving not only its waterfront, but also it's airport and other assets meant to spur economic prosperity that benefits the entire community.

Not only has the current Port leadership failed to engender the public trust and confidence in its ability to manage its assets well by it's arrogance and unresponsiveness to significant public concerns, like hiring and supporting a competent Executive Director, Charlie Sheldon.

Two of the three Commissioners -Walker and Jorgenson -demonstrated exceptionally poor judgement, despite vocal public outcries that challenged their silly and remarkably unexplained actions.
That kind of arbitrary display is simply repugnant to citizens who expect much better accountability from their elected officials!

Don't get me wrong, because I don't believe in numerology; there is no intrinsic certainty in greater numbers.
Just look at our County Council as an example of why seven isn't a very magic number.
Or, worse, our combined Congressional circus of 535!

But, five is better than three at the Port for the simple reason that it's much harder to avoid having an illegal meeting out of the public view, something that has unquestionably happened with the current cast of Commissioners.
Is that enough reason to sign a petition so that voters can decide?
I think so!

Switching to a five member Commission would also allow additional concerned people to become responsibly involved in both knowing and deciding the Port's direction on the entire range of important public business the Port manages.

In addition to the critical redevelopment of our waterfront, that also includes future plans for the airport; something the Port has seriously neglected to share with the public, other than the after-the-fact course that we are just now beginning to hear about.

So, I'm calling 'pan-pan' and signing that petition, and hope you will too.