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Archive for the ‘PLIC History/Meetings’ Category

PLIC Plain Talk: Real Politics – What’s Next?”

Sunday, November 14, 2010 @ 12:11 PM
posted by mike

Our Plain Talk newsletter outlines a couple of short-term recommended alternatives to Whatcom County Council’s ordinance introduced to raise rates drastically for Lummi Island ferry service. A public hearing is scheduled on this ordinance (Option 6 – $2 surcharge, and just 10% discount on multi-ride cards) Tuesday, November 23 at 7 p. m.

[Plan to attend. Sign up here to either obtain or offer a ride.]

At the PLIC Community Meeting on 11/11, a full house at the Grange agreed that the process is moving too rapidly. To slow it for a more thorough study and more effective long-term solution to County’s drain on the ferry funds and overall budget, our neighborhood alliance recommends (a.) a temporary $2 surcharge that can be easily implemented with no administrative burden, and (b.) formation in cooperation with County Council an immediate and interim blue-ribbon Ferry Task Force.

This offers a means to apply a tourniquet to an increasing deficit, to allow for a mediated lease agreement, and to ease the Council’s overload on time and resources to undertake a complete, thorough review of all Lummi Island ferry costs, revenues,  accounting, and administrative procedures in search of permanent, long-term fixes to a broken system that is draining money.

Read PLIC’s PLAIN TALK on Ferry Fares, Task Force

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Community Meeting Summary 9-21-2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 10:09 PM
posted by mike

Highlights included legal update, gov’t relations, media initiative, & community call-to-action

Board Members in Attendance: Stuart Rich, Mark Sexton, Fred Kinney, Dale Kinsley, Mike McKenzie, Lisa Wochos (ex-officio)

County Councilman Ken Mann attended, carrying his 2-month-old son Atticus. The Board introduced Councilman Mann and thanked him for making the trip over. Later in the program he responded to questions from the audience.

Legal Update

Stuart Rich, president, explained the ferry dock lease negotiations status between Whatcom County and the Lummi Nation, stating that both parties have agreed to mediation. However, the mediator had yet to be chosen. PLIC’s position is that the mediator should be someone well-versed in both federal and tribal law.

Stuart reported that after extensive research, GTH concluded that the County has valuable legal rights regarding the Gooseberry ferry terminal on two issues:

  1. The consent degree (the old lease), and
  2. The Right of Way (“Road to Lummi”) established in 1928-1929.

The County has agreed to a briefing in executive session by GTH on these legal positions in the near future. Stuart said GTH advises the PLIC Board to hold the strategies confidential at this time, sharing them only in executive session with County officials so that it can be used productively as part of the lease mediation.

Stuart reported that County Executive Pete Kremen said at the last County Council meeting that he had spoken with legislative aides from Senator Patty Murray’s office and asked for federal financial assistance.

The County Council also passed a resolution supporting a joint request by the County and Lummi Nation for a $16 million appropriations bill for road improvements on Slater and Haxton roads, and at Gooseberry village.

Stuart also stated that we are at a very critical phase in the negotiations and it is important to get the Lummi Island story (our need for a positive resolution to this impasse) out to the government and the community at large. He asked the PLIC membership and community at large to help make this happen.

When asked what the mediation process would look like, Stuart answered that the mediation would be advisory-only and not binding like some arbitration is. Mediation is a process that takes time and most likely will continue well into next year.

Asked if the Lummi Nation’s October 15 deadline remained effective to shut down ferry service if an agreement isn’t in place, Stuart said it had not been withdrawn at this time.

Government Relations

Fred Kinney commented about an article on Crosscut.com in which the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Deputy Director in Seattle said they were not going to get involved because they had very little property held in trust. Fred said that it is true that the BIA holds very little in trust, but what is held in trust is the tidelands that are a focal point in these negotiations. To ignore the County’s request for involvement is “unconscionable,” Fred said, and PLIC will work on getting BIA’s involvement and urge government officials to do the same.

Fred reported that PLIC board members met recently with a number of County Council board members–Kathy Kershner,  Sam Crawford, Ken Mann, and Barbara Brenner. Rob Rich met with top legislative aides of our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.  Mark Sexton visited with Sen. Patty Murray in Bellingham.

PLIC will continue to develop a relationship with our delegation and request federal financial support for the County and Lummi Nation tied to a long-term lease for Lummi Island ferry service.

Communications

Mike McKenzie reported on a PLIC initiative to raise consciousness about the Lummi Island story – an island caught in the middle – that holds potential appeal for journalists. He mentioned local, regional, and national news outlets that have received a story outline, fact sheet about Lummi Island, and timeline of the ferry issue. The Associated Press in NY and The Seattle Times expressed immediate interest. The Bellingham Herald sought PLIC for comment on its last story about the ferry.

King5-TV News from Seattle video-taped a feature on Lummi Island in August, coordinated by islander Terry Terry, including an interview with PLIC VP Mark Sexton. KVOS-TV Channel 12 in Bellingham aired a 6 ½-minute feature three times recently, and we link to it on www.PLICferry.org. It included interviews with PLIC officers Stuart Rich and Mark Sexton, fire chief Duncan McLane, and reefnet fishing/former postmaster/longtime resident Jerry Anderson, and much outstanding footage of life on Lummi Island and the ferry.

(A few days after the community meeting The Bellingham Herald ran an op-ed article submitted by Stuart Rich.)

Mike urged islanders to use the info@plicferry.org email to share ideas and thoughts with PLIC board members. He said that the www.PLICferry.org website has been developed as a factual source of ferry negotiation information. He urged those in attendance to continue to use the Lummi Island Ferry Forum for healthy conversation and communication on ferry issues.

Community Call to Action

A. The PLIC board drafted a petition to be signed by Lummi Islanders and presented to County Executive Pete Kremen. Rhayma Blake presented this petition to the audience:

1) We urgently request Whatcom County and the Lummi Nation to immediately select a qualified impartial mediator and begin mediation to avoid the Lummi Nation’s ferry shutdown deadline of 10/15/10.

2) We also request the Whatcom County Executive to prepare a contingency plan for uninterrupted Lummi Island ferry service and to keep Lummi Island residents informed.

Discussion followed and a straw vote of the large group of attendees tabled the circulation of the petition as not necessary at this time.

Councilman Ken Mann offered to take up the October 15 issue with the county administration to see if this deadline could be officially rescinded as part of the agreement to mediation. He said that, after attending the most recent negotiation session, he does not anticipate a quick resolution to the negotiations.

B. Rhayma Blake asked the members to stay informed and represent the island by attending county Public Works meetings and County Council meetings. Volunteers were requested and will be mobilized.

C. Mike McKenzie announced the formation of a group of PLIC Goodwill Ambassadors, islanders who will voluntarily spread the word about the ferry issues and developments with neighbors and friends to increase public dialogue and awareness. Persons who signed up received informational to act as Ambassadors.

D. Also, a volunteer sign-up was solicited comprising persons who will write targeted-topic letters to government officials, using bullet-point topics provided by PLIC to compose letters in their own words. This method keeps mailings specifically centered on the actions necessary to keep the ferry issues forward moving.

E. Dave Wing, membership coordinator for PLIC, reported that PLIC membership stood at 465. He has developed a mailing of 216 new brochures to islanders who have not been contacted previously. (The mailing went out 9/27. He requested volunteers to help with this mailing.

From the audience, Jim Dickinson announced that he has submitted a proposal for the creation of a Ferry Advisory Board to represent islander needs as the ferry ages and negotiations continue. Details can be found at www.lummiislandferryforum.wordpress.com

Stuart announced the next PLIC General Meeting tentatively for Monday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Grange. The meeting adjourned.

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PLIC Meeting Minutes

Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 06:05 PM
posted by mike

May 19, 2010 Community Meeting

RESEARCH: Fred Kinney reported that efforts are underway to gather information relating to:

  • Ferry operating and capital costs,
  • Reasons for major cost increases,
  • Ferry ridership analysis,
  • Possible sources of funding,
  • Legal issues related to ferry operations.

The objective is to provide information to the Island and County Council members in a clear and concise manner, and to seek ways to obtain funding to ease the Island’s and County’s financial burden.

As an example, Fred pointed out that the State provides $500,000 annually that is shared by Whatcom, Skagit and Pierce County. This level of State assistance was established in 1991 as a stop-gap measure and has never been adjusted upward to compensate for rising costs since then.

He suggested that officials from these three counties could work together as a political team to get additional State support.

A number of attendees volunteered to assist in research efforts as information becomes available and specific tasks become better defined.

MEMBERSHIP/FUNDRAISING: Dave Wing brought everyone up to date on the efforts of the membership drive. Through one-on-one contacts with neighbors, various current members helped sign up 241 new members. (Note: at the time this report was submitted, PLIC was approaching 300 members, and now has surpassed that on the way to a stated goal of 500.)

During a small group breakout session several additional members agreed to do neighbor-to-neighbor contacts in the areas where they live.

Members also signed up to work an information/membership table at the Farmers Market on Saturdays from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The breakout group discussed other ways to increase membership. Methods will be implemented as soon as possible, such as a mailing to off-island property owners and to PLIC donors.

Any islanders who want to assist in the membership drive in their neighborhood, please contact Dave Wing, info@PLICferry.org.

GOVERNMENT RELATIONS: Mark Sexton reported that the county Council took action last week that may affect our future ferry service, and we should all try to be as informed as possible. To quote from the county update:

“The Whatcom County Council was updated on the status of the negotiations on Tuesday night, May 11, during an Executive Session. During the regular County Council meeting that evening, a motion was made and approved requesting that the County Administration work with the Port of Bellingham on alternative options for the ferry dock.

The Council took the action to assure that all options and financial considerations were pursued. Both the Lummi Nation and Whatcom County continue to negotiate and both groups believe that a solution is possible in the coming months.”

Dave and the Board encouraged a strong turnout at the next County Council meeting, May 25, because numbers count in getting the Council’s attention, and we need to demonstrate the consensus that exists on the Island regarding Gooseberry Point as the only reasonable option for our ferry terminal. Dave suggested that a few volunteers speak during open session, and stated that our attendance will be noticed.

PLIC will help organize similar attendance to all County Council meetings, every other Tuesday, until an agreement is in place for ferry service.

We broke out into small groups and brainstormed ideas, with great input from all the participants on how to engage more of our neighbors to write letters, attend PLIC community meetings, and generally to speak with a positive voice to our county representatives.

COMMUNICATIONS: Mike McKenzie revealed that a new, professionally produced PLIC official Web site, www.PLICferry.org, is in design phase and expected to go live very soon. It will contain numerous elements and links to enhance more rapid, frequent, and informational updates to PLIC membership and other Lummi Island stakeholders, and to the public at large.

A regular blog, current events and news will anchor the site. The PLIC mission statement and by-laws, plus community meeting minutes will be archived. It will contain a photo album, Ferry Tales feature, Lummi Island history, and other materials.

Additionally, the site eventually will have interactive features, and in the meantime several ways for site visitors to communicate with the PLIC Board of Directors and County Government officials.

Part of the master plan for the site includes use of audio and video, photos and other graphic images, newsletter sign-up, membership form, links to other vital information and related sites (such as contact info for county government officials), and more.

A task force chart was distributed detailing all the needs for volunteer assistance to grow the communications channels for the PLIC community alliance and movement. This included compiling an area media list for regular distribution.

In a break-out group following the general session, nine volunteers committed to task-specific areas of carrying out the vision for effective communications.

Mike emphasized how critical this is, in light of developing news in the negotiations and of the plethora of rumors, gaps in information, and the need for accurate information.

MANAGEMENT: Stuart Rich discussed how PLIC is moving from a committee structure to a Volunteer Task work model in order to promote efficiency and individual initiative.

PLIC defined five work areas with project managers who prioritized projects, created chunk-size tasks, and who will support and assist the volunteers assign to the tasks as follows:

  1. Membership/Fundraising – Dave Wing,
  2. Government Relations – Mark Sexton,
  3. Research – Fred Kinney,
  4. Communications – Mike Mckenzie,
  5. Management – Stuart Rich.

Given the new County/Lummi Nation developments, Stuart urged everyone to pitch in and help with at least one task in order to get the job done during this critical period.

A break-out into small groups filled the last half of the meeting. Attendees chose a work area, learned of the different projects, and selected a task to work on with the help of the project manager.

Stuart reported that there had been contact with PLIC’s law firm, GTH, who had been asked to review and possibly assist with the current County/Tribe developments.

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