hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Could I Not Know?

Today, is Victoria Day, which fact, apparently, causes thousands of B.C. residents to drive down to Point Roberts, as if Victoria's birthday was a particular source of celebration here on our shores.  I neglected to remember that today was Victoria Day and as a result chose voluntarily, but while lacking adequate information, to drive to Tsawwassen to purchase a few items.  Going into B.C. was nothing, but coming back was formidable: 45 minutes waiting in line to get through the U.S. side.  While waiting, observing directly 3 separate cars lane jumping in order to minimize their time in line.  (One rode the Nexus lane until almost the end and then shoved himself into the regular lane blocking the Nexus lane for almost 10 minutes before he could effectively shove far enough; two others rode up the outside Nexus lane, turned right on 1st Ave., made a U-turn, and then turned right when the light changed putting them into the front of the Nexus lane.  In the U.S. of southern California, such behaviors could get you in serious trouble, but in the much more polite world of Canada, apparently it results in nothing more than a finger shaking.)

I remember hearing John LeSow, some months ago at a meeting of some sort here, arguing that the real problem of P.R. was not economic development or water access/cost, but border access.  Sitting there today, I could imagine a future in which those of us inside P.R. would be very unwilling to cross that border because it would be so time-consuming to get back.  Might happen; I'm pretty sure that the powers that could not care less about how inconvenient our border crossing experience is and thus it is not a problem on their agenda.  Why would they?  They don't have to deal with it.  Maybe the CBP could require that all the head honchos in the Northwestern CBP live in Point Roberts at least one month/year (if not all year) in order to share our experience; in order to feel our pain.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Last Day to File Was Today

Park and Recreation has three candidates for three seats, so unless somebody mounts a write-in campaign, that's a done deal.

Fire District has two candidates for one seat: Judson Meraw will challenge Stan Riffle for Riffle's previous seat.  My vote goes to Judson whom I've known for years.  Riffle has done, in my view, little more than give two votes to Meursing.

Water District: Madeleine Anderson goes unchallenged, but Arthur Reber and Wayne Knowles will be competing for the vacant seat.  Reber has my vote there.  Knowles' development work seems a little bit of conflict of interest for Water Board issues, I'd think.

Next, everyone who filed has a week to change his/her mind and withdraw.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

More Election Stuff

Updating as we go along.  Linda Hughes is running for relection to Parks and Rec., as is Stephen Falk.  Bennett Blaustein is running for Robbins' vacated seat.

Arthur Reber, Madeleine Anderson, and Adam Rozyskie  seem all to be running for three seats on the Water Board.  update: Mr. Rozyskie withdrew his candidacy on 14 May.

Stan Riffle is running for reelection to the Fire District.

Here is the link to the Auditor's Office List of Candidates who have filed.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Local Democracy.

(2nd update, see below).There are several government Districts here in Point Roberts, run by Commissioners who are elected.  To get elected, you have to file for the office in question (e.g., Point Roberts Park and Recreation District, Position 1), and then enough people have to vote for you to get elected.

The current Commissioners may or may not be running for re-election.  At the time of filing for a position, it is hard to know whether they are: are you thinking of running for a position that has a sure-fire winner already?  Or what?

Running doesn't seem to require much other than filing for the office: not even any charge for it. [Update: you have to be a resident and a registered voter.]  The Voters Association might sponsor a meeting in which you would get to stand up and talk about why you want to be elected.  And there are only some 600+ voters that are your target.  It ought to be organized more effectively, but of course that's the problem with government in Point Roberts: there is no overall organizer for effectiveness.  I suppose the County doesn't care much about how these positions get filled.  If we had stronger local associations, that might be the route.  But we don't.  There are a few people interested in this stuff, but not very many.

BUT IF YOU ARE SUCH A PERSON, consider filing for a position.  The Park and Rec District has at least one clear opening as Mark Robbins (after 8 years) is not running for reelection.  The Water District has one clear opening (presumably resulting from Bill Meursing's resignation).  On the other side of people who are running for reelection, we have Kandace Harper, who was just appointed to a vacant seat, at the Hospital District, and Stephen Falk who is running for reelection at Park and Rec.

Beyond that, I don't know.  Is Linda Hughes running for re-election at Park and Rec?  Is Stan Riffle running for re-election at the Fire District?  Is Madeleine Anderson running for reelection at the Water District?  Ernie Loreen at the Cemetery District?  Don't know.  Ask them.  Because they're incumbents, they generally have the edge in an election such as this.

Consider whether you care enough about the community to commit some time to it; consider whether you're actually available to commit some time to what needs to be attended to; consider whether you have some actual skills or expertise that might be helpful.  E.g., Park and Rec is engaged in considerable maintenance of the Community Center and we expect them to be moving on to the new library soon.  Those projects don't just get managed from the sky.  The Commissioners have to have an overall view of how they are to proceed once funded, how to keep the projects on track, etc.  It's real work with real importance.  You up for it?

If you are, here's the link to the Whatcom County Auditor's office which has a further link to a candidate's guide.  It looks more overwhelming than it is because it's intended to describe the process for big positions as well as small ones, such as local special districts, which is all we have here.  People are always flapping about freedom and democracy and the splendid government of the U.S.  But, all those things work for us only if good people are willing to step up to the task of making those governmental institutions work.  And the first job is to file for office.  The filing deadline is May 11-15.  And if you change your mind, you can withdraw your name over the week following.

This is a discouraging post to write.  I don't think there are many people in point roberts up for this kind of challenge, and that in itself is discouraging.  Obviously, there are people who are not able to do this for legitimate reasons: illness, family obligations, away-ness much of the time.  But there are so many others....We need people thinking about the water situation in Point Roberts, about how to apportion the resources of the Fire District between medical and fire, about how to provide medical services at a time when cost issues are so difficult for healthcare.  The cemetery, on the other hand, seems to be well in hand.

Update: Bennett Blaustein finds, where I failed, the Auditor's site where it tells who has actually filed for the offices:  HERE.  So far, I see, Arthur Reber has filed for the Water District, Kandace Harper for the Hospital District, and Stephen Falk for the Park and Recreation District.  Bennett tells me that he has filed for the Park and Rec seat being vacated by Mark Robbins, and that it should show up on the list tomorrow.  This is all good news and we need more of it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fire District, Again, but Not My Writing

The All Point Bulletin is out today with a detailed report and critique on the Special Meeting at which the Fire District agreed to the 15-year contract for the fire chief.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

CORRECTION

FYI: there is a correction on the details of the Fire Chief's newcontract.  The correction is made in the original post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

And There's a Winner



[Correction below.]  But it's not you.  The Fire District Commissioners gave Chief Carleton his 15-year protection contract at its special meeting this afternoon.  As Chief Carleton repeatedly said, it is vital that he be protected in case a new Commissioner(s) were elected, "idealistic, selfish Commissioners" (and I quote exactly) who didn't like him and wanted to fire him without cause.  And if he is fired for cause, fired without cause, the 'severance' price will be in the $100,000 range range from $150,000 to $200,000, depending upon the year of the contract.  This would be a liability the district would have difficulty managing.  So, Point Roberts now is in the long-term relationship that the Chief so desires.  And his part?  Well, he'll buy a house here to live in and and marry his girlfriend and spend his nights or something on the Point.

NO PUBLIC COMMENT WAS PERMITTED BY CHAIRMAN MEURSING.

This has got to be one of the worst policy decisions I've seen made in a long time.  Well, actually, there's a lot of bad policy decisions around nowadays so maybe we are only now just joining the parade.

The good news for me (and perhaps for the Fire District people) is that I'm removing them from the list of people whose doings are worth my knowing about.  I don't think they are.  Pat Grubb was in attendance for the paper, so he'll give you a neutral account.  And you can watch the actual video of the meeting here in a week, or so.

The elephant in the room: Nick Kiniski, the last Fire Chief who was, in fact, fired without cause about 4 years ago, even though the public was very much behind him.  Never knew what the Commissioners had against him.  Maybe a little severance is due to him, as well.

Two corrections here:
1.  termination of employment without cause, not with cause.
2.  $150,000-$200,000 'severance' payment, depending upon the year of the 15 year contract.

The text of the contract is now available here:  http://www.wcfd5.com/images/pdf/firechiefemploymentagreement2015.pdf