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News update: Ferry Advisory Committee selections March 27

3/6/2012 Appointments for Ferry Advisory Committee on County agenda

Whatcom County Council announced that the deadline for applications to the new Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee (LIFAC) is Monday, March 19, 5 p.m., for inclusion in the packet for consideration. Final deadline for application is 4 p.m. on selection day. The Council will make appointments at its regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday, March 27. Application Form

2/14/2012 Council approves the formation of the Ferry Advisory Committee

The Whatcom County Council approved the formation of a 7 member ferry advisory committee.  At least 4 and no more than 5 members of which are to be island residents.  Application forms are available Vacancy List Application Form

9/11/11 Council sets public hearing for Sept. 13 on ferry lease; PLIC providing free bus to meeting

PLIC Board of Directors arranged bus transportation for any and all Islanders (membership not required) to ride Tuesday evening, Sept. 13, to the County Council’s public hearing on the ferry lease agreement that it introduced August 9 for service at Gooseberry Point. PLIC Bus and Car pool 9-13-11

Please read the Call to Action on the home page — to write to the Council, and to attend the public hearing — and the PLIC Blog (link in left column) for a Plain Talk explanation of the reasoning behind the actions.

8/9/2011 Council introduces proposed lease agreement

In its regular meeting County Council made the formal introduction of a proposed lease agreement with Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) for Lummi Island ferry service to continue to and from Gooseberry Point for 35 years at $200,000 a year (plus consumer price index adjustments) and $6 million in road-and-safety improvement funds. A public hearing will be scheduled during September  before a vote by Council to accept or reject the proposal.

8/4 and 8/9/2011 Public presentations of Task Force report

Co-chair Diane Harper gave an overview of recommendations and asked for community support at the PLIC all-community meeting on August 4,  and group member Chandler Johnson made a power-point presentation to County Council Meeting of the Whole on August 9.

8/1/2011 Ferry Task Force presents final report and recommendations

The group submitted its comprehensive report to the County Council and officially disbanded.

7/18/2011 Ferry Task Force working meeting July 18 finalizes recommendations

Proposed recommendations from the Ferry Task Force to the County Council were finalized after final public comment. Task Force recommendations July 18

7/12/2011 Intro of joint agreement postponed to July 26

For reasons of continued editing of the final contract language and of a death of a former Lummi Nation council member, Clayton Finkbonner, the Lummi Indian Business Council (LIBC) did not meet July 12, as scheduled, and the County Council removed the lease introduction from its agenda that night. It was rescheduled tentatively for July 26, and a public hearing will likely follow two weeks later.

7/6/2011 Lease Proposal Introduction July 12

County Council will introduce the proposed lease for Lummi Island ferry service at Gooseberry Point at the regularly-scheduled meeting July 12. (Details and link on home page) Council will schedule a public hearing on the proposal, probably July 26. In its entirey: Ferry Lease Agreement

5/13/2011 Deadline suspended, modified proposal back in County’s lap

After a negotiating session today described by County Atty Dan Gibson to the Bellingham Herald as “intense discussions,” the LIBC suspended the deadline of Sunday, May 15 for obtaining a lease agreement to continue operating Lummi Island ferry service to Gooseberry Point. No new deadline was imposed.

Meanwhile, the counter-proposal approved by County Council to present today was not accepted, but modified proposals arose from it and will be considered Tuesday, May 17 in a County Council closed session. See home page for more details and analysis.

5/9/2011 Negotiations produce proposal for Lummi Island ferry lease

The negotiating teams emerged from three hours of talks with a proposal for consideration by their whole governing  bodies. County Council set a closed session to discuss the proposal Tuesday (5/10) and report back to LIBC on Wednesday (5/11). If forward movement takes place, a tentative session was set for further negotiations Friday (5/13). See County Executive Kremen comments on home page story.

Read the Bellingham Herald report on Monday’s session HERE

5/2/2011 Task Force Open House

The 7-person Citizens Task Force for the Lummi Island Ferry (see all docs in link at left) made a multi-faceted presentation Monday night at The Grange, with 43 persons in the audience. One of the repeated power-point presentations was this document examining the structuring of ferry fares.

The audience, representing about 5% of the island population, participated in responding to direct questions about various aspects of the Task Force studies, such as cutting service in the middle of the day vs. late night; examining special-needs fare rates; dry dock in April instead of September; studying possibilities of a ferry taxing district, and more).

5/1/2011 Task Force Observations 4-25-11

4/25/2011 Task Force Observations 4-18

4/21/2011 The BELLINGHAM HERALD report on no-deal-yet negotiations

See home page for comments about LIBC plans for a marina.

4/11/2011 Task Force Observations 4-11

Discussion centered on operations efficiencies (a look at cutting early and late runs); future capitalization and boat options; electronic ticketing; dry dock.

4/1/2011 Summary on Ferry Forum of Community Dinner hosted by Lummi Nation on Monday, March 28.

“The Gristle” column in Cascadia Weekly, Tuesday, March 29
* * *
Letter from BIA
in response to Executive Kremen and Congressional Delegation
* * *

4/6/2011 LIBC extends deadline for obtaining lease agreement to May 15

Both sides felt good about progress in negotiations 4/6, and the deadline was lifted for shutting down the ferry 4/10. Documents on the day’s developments:
LIBC News Release
PLIC Email Blast of Kremen Interview 4-6-2011
Bellingham Herald report on negotiations

4/4/2011 Citizens Ferry Task Force presentation on ferry accounting

3/11/2011 Whatcom County differs on accounts of ferry time line

Whatcom County Atty Dan Gibson and Executive Pete Kremen issue counterpoints to LIBC chronology of ferry developments that was distributed widely to Congressional delegates and media. The County’s viewpoint differs on several of the items listed, especially 1962-’74-’88-’98-and 2010. Read the  County’s commentary: LIBC Ferry Chronology & County Commentary

3/11-12/2011 Executive Kremen speaks out!

In a series of interviews w/ a PLIC Board representative, he expressed disappointment in LIBC statements circulating in media and Congressional circles. He recapped a visit with LIBC Chair Cultee in Washington, D.C., and Kremen revealed two “what-if’s” in attempt to restart bargaining talks.  County Executive Kremen Summary of DC Trip

3/14 Kremen, Crawford address concerns about misleading information

In the Bellingham Herald, Kremen talks about the County’s role in traffic safety through the Lummi Nation reservation, relating to ferry traffic. County Council Chair Sam Crawford also contributed key points. Bellingham Herald article 3-14-2011

3/15/2011 Kremen invites LIBC back to the table

Requests stipulation of lifting the deadline for stopping the ferry run: Letter to LIBC Chair Cultee

3/17/2011 LIBC accepts, offers dates to host talks

Declines to lift deadline, asks for clarification on “clean slate” comment by Kremen: LIBC Accepts Resuming Negotiations 3-17-11

3/18/2011 County opts for March 24 sitdown

Reemphasizes importance of lifting deadline and desire to move forward: County Accepts Negotiation Date

3/21/2011 LIBC invites Lummi Island community to dinner discussion

Topics outlined as history of ferry, safety concerns, state of negotiations, and what to anticipate April 11. Lummi Nation Dinner Invitation

See links to several articles and videos on the Home Page.

* * *

Citizens Task Force for Lummi Island Ferry Meeting
Monday, April 25, 6 p.m., Ferndale WECU

* * *

2/16/2011 Task Force develops ‘Scope of Work’

In a spirited 2 1/2 hour meeting, the Peoples Task Force for the Lummi Island Ferry discussed a proposed outline for its “scope of work,” and involved several of the nearly 30 islanders who attended. The discussion centered on ferry history, costs, ridership data gathering, and revenue generation.

2/15/2011 County Executive Kremen: ‘We will keep the ferry running.’

In a meeting with three members of PLIC Board of Directors, County Executive Pete Kremen said that “we have informed Lummi Nation that it is our intention to continue operating the Lummi Island ferry to and from Gooseberry Point…(and) we will continue to attempt to reach an agreement with the LIBC for a long-term lease of 25 years. Any agreement will also include parking.”

2/10/2011 LIBC sends cease-and-desist to County, returns check

In a letter stamped received 2/11 and released to media 2/15, Lummi Indian Business Council informed Whatcom County that its final offer of $200,000 a year plus an annual consumer price index (CPI) adjustment was not acceptable. Therefore, LIBC returned February’s payment (an interim agreement in place since February 2010) and declared expectation that County will stop operating the ferry from Gooseberry Point by April 11.

2/7/2011 Task Force hears from County

County Treasurer Steve Oliver and Public Works Director Frank Abart presented detailed information about needs-based fares (Oliver) and all facets of Ferry Operations (Abart). Both answered questions from the group, and from some attendees at the gathering in Bellingham.
Mr. Oliver’s handout: Treasurer’s Presentation 2-7-11
A detailed report by Rhayma Blake (PLIC Board of Dir): FERRY TASK FORCE – Abart Report
Summaries compiled by PLIC Board members:  OVERVIEW OF MEETING 2-7-2011 and  NEEDS-BASED FARES REPORT

2/4/2011 Update on ferry lease negotiations

By way of an email from County Council Chair Sam Crawford, the county’s legal team updated the council on negotiations with Lummi Nation for ferry service at Gooseberry Point. While the county continues to pay $16,677/mo. and the Whatcom Chief continues to operate on a normal schedule, all offers are off the table and both sides are investigating next steps. No word on the status of mediation. Ferry Negotiations Update 2-4-2011

1/24/2011 Task Force meeting

Meeting Minutes Task Force 1-24-2011

1/23/2011 Fare increase in effect

The new $3 across-the-board surcharge now applies to all round-trip fares, except those that have been designated as no-cost. Old punch cards can be used up w/ either $3 in cash, check, or surcharge punch card. New-fare punch cards contain the official stamp and seal reflecting the surcharge, and cannot be cut into pieces for multiple users.

1/18/2011 1st Task Force meeting

Meeting Minutes Task Force 1-18-2011

1/16/2011 Ferry Task Force initial meeting Tue, Jan. 18, 4:30 pm

Kathy Berg, one of the 7 newly-appointed members, sent this notice: The initial, organizational meeting of the Lummi Island Ferry Task Force will be held  on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 4:30pm at The Willows Inn, 2579 West Shore Drive, Lummi Island, WA 98262.  The public is invited because “ongoing and continuous public involvement” will be crucial to the success of the Task Force.

Please note that I’m sending this information to you as an individual – the task force has not met and no decisions have been made about how we communicate.  The Ferry Task Force will set future meetings at this first meeting at the Willows Inn and begin to organize ourselves.  Thank you for your interest and I encourage your participation in this process.

1/13/2011 Public Works selling $3 surcharge punch card

The supplemental card for use with existing punch cards can be purchased on the Lummi Island Ferry, or at the Public Works office in Bellingham. The card costs $30 for 10 round-trip rides. Fare Increase Punch Cards

1/11/2011 County selects Lummi Island Ferry Task Force

County Council met Tuesday, 1/11 voted 7 persons onto the Lummi Island Ferry Task Force:

Kathy Berg, Blaine; Jim Dickinson, L.I.; Patricia Dunn, L.I.; Diane Harper, L.I.; John Chandler Johnson, L.I.; Barbara Ryan, Bellingham, and Riley Starks, L.I. Link to the Lummi Island Ferry Forum to read their applications/credentials.

An executive session (closed) meeting of the Council beforehand dealt with a proposal from Lummi Nation for a long-term lease.

County  Council contacts

* * *

1/10/2011 Service outage postponed

Because of threatening weather this week, Whatcom County delayed the routine maintenance on the ferry dock approaches from Jan. 12 to January 19. That Wednesday, the last ferry runs of the morning leave at 10:10 from  Gooseberry Point and 10:20 from Lummi Island. Service resumes at approximately 3 p.m.

1/4/2011

Public Works released two announcements:

1. The Whatcom Chief will be out of service, late morning until mid-afternoon, on Wednesday, Jan. 12, for routine maintenance on docks. See link on home page for official document.

2. The fare increase of a $3 surcharge takes effect Sunday, Jan. 23. Drivers and passengers can either pay $3 cash for each round trip, or, for a designated period, purchase a 10-trip surcharge punch card to supplement existing punch cards. For all details, link from our home page to the official document.

12/19/2010 Support for Task Force

PLIC joins other Islanders and organizations in support of all applicants for the Lummi Island Ferry Task Force, and encourages all qualified candidates to apply before the deadline at the end of December. PLIC president Stuart Rich outlines the position in this Letter to Community on Lummi Island Ferry Task Force

12/13/2010 Task Force meeting site changed

The Island Congregational Church basement flooded, therefore the meeting to discuss Lummi Island Ferry Task Force applications has been moved to the home of Jerry Anderson,

12/7/2010 Second meeting to consider possible task force applicants

A group of six Islanders met to discuss possibilities for serving on the Lummi Island Ferry Task Force. A third meeting was set for 12/14.  APPLICATION FORM

12/2/2010 County Executive Approves $3 Surcharge

Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen signed into law Ordinance AB2010-354A, approved by County Council on 11/13 to impose an increase in fares by a $3 across-the-board surcharge to use Lummi Island ferry service. Fares that were free in the old fare structure were exempted from the surcharge. The fare increase will become effective somewhere around January 22, 2011. Round-trips remaining on discounted multi-ride punch cards will not expire but will require a $3 surcharge.

12/2/2010 Task Force Candidate Search

A meeting took place at the Lummi Island Library among five islanders who discussed the County Council’s resolution to form a Lummi Island Ferry Task Force. The resolution encouraged Island organizations to help identify qualified candidates. Another meeting was set for 12/7.

11/29/2010 Mediation runs 11 hours: no settlement

The ferry lease negotiations for Lummi Island ferry service  resumed in an 11-hour session with mediator J. Richard Manning, a Seattle attorney steeped in experience w/ Indian law, mediation and arbitration. Five County representatives — executive Pete Kremen, attorney Dan Gibson, and council members Sam Crawford, Bill Knutzen, and Ken Mann — with the mediator to move forward on negotiations with Lummi Indian Business Council representatives.

After the lengthy session Councilman Mann posted on Facebook: “No agreement. 11 hours of negotiation. It is a work in progress. The existing arrangement will remain in effect.”

11/23/2010 Council approves $3 surcharge, Ferry Task Force

At the bi-weekly meeting, by a 4-3 vote following a public hearing and lengthy discussion, County Council passed an amended ordinance that slapped a $3 surcharge across the board on ferry fares, effective in 60 days. Crawford, Kershner, Knutzen, and Mann (who moved to amend the fare structure) approved. Brenner, Larson, and Weimer opposed.

Afterward, by unanimous 7-0 vote, the Council adopted a resolution to form a Lummi Island Ferry Task Force and conduct a comprehensive review of all ferry finances and operations. Resolution to Create a Ferry Task Force

The fare raised car/driver rates to round-trip rates of $13 sgl/$9.40 on 25-round trip card; walk-on/passenger to $7 sgl/$4.60 multi, and senior/disabled/income based discount to $3.68 multi. Full-time college students and island resident schoolchildren during the summer will be $3.92. Bicycle/rider fare goes to $7, and motorcycle/rider to $8 sgl/$6.20 multi. Existing free fares for students, children, and Lummi Nation tribal members were exempted from the surcharge.

11/17-24/2010 Meetings with County gov’t officials

Representatives of PLIC met individually in face-to-face or telephone/email discussions over a one-week period with County officials, ranging from 1-to-5 board members in each session. In the exchange of info, ideas, and suggestions aimed at solutions-based progress on ferry operations, PLIC’s board met w/ Council members Kathy Kershner, Carl Weimer, Bill Knutzen, Sam Crawford, and Tony Larson, and spoke w/ Barbara Brenner and Ken Mann — all in a three-day span preceding the 11/23 County Council meeting. Then, a day after Council passed an ordinance raising fares by a $3 surcharge, a meeting took place w/ County Executive Pete Kremen.

11/11/10 PLIC makes alternative recommendations

With consensus approval at its November community meeting, PLIC’s board of directors issued recommendations to counter the County’s proposed ordinance for fare increases. With a three-point emphasis — immediate relief on deficits, waiting for mediated lease agreement, and assessing actual costs with a comprehensive review by a ferry task force — the County received PLIC’s PLAIN TALK on Ferry Fares, Task Force

Councilman Carl Weimer also came up with an alternative, calculating a ferry rate schedule with more relief built into multi-use fares. Weimer Fares

11/9/2010 Council introduces ordinance for increasing rates

After passing to introduce the fare rate increase option of $2 surcharges and 10% discounted multi-ride cards, County Council scheduled the proposed ordinance for public hearing at its next session in 2 weeks.

Four members of PLIC made comments and submitted copies for public record at the Council meeting, and other islanders voluntarily addressed the issues, too, in the open-comments portion of the meeting.

Going forward, Council could pass the ordinance on Nov. 23, or not accept it and send it back to Committee of the Whole for further discussion, review, and changes. That would require another ordinance introduction and public hearing. Council also could simply postpone the vote on it until its last meeting of the year, Dec. 7, or even later.

Historically, Council has taken a long time to reach consensus on increasing ferry fares. With a tough two-year budget crunch in front of them, and with ferry operations in the red and funds shrinking, the Council appears to be on a fast track to raise fares. The PLIC movement is geared to having a temporary stop-gap measure ($2 surcharge) and slow down the process for a more measured approach to equitable long-term solutions.

Key factors in that approach are (a.) negotiating a lease agreement through mediation, and (b.) undertaking comprehensive review of operations costs, revenue generation, and accounting/billing procedures to determine goals, needs, and projections on current data rather than negative, undocumented assumptions.

11-2-2010 Committee of Whole passes $2 surcharge & 10% multi-ride discount

The Public Works Option 6 — a $2 across the board surcharge on every ferry round-trip fare, and a discount reduced to 10% on the multiple-ride card resulting in very little savings per trip —  will be drafted into an ordinance for introduction at County Council meeting November 2.

If it passes that night, it will go to public hearing on November 23, with the possibility of adoption. The fare increases would put car/driver fares at $12/$11 and walk-on at $6/$5.60. Th multi-ride increases are $4.60 for cars, and a staggering $4 for walk-ons.

For more details, read the article on the Home page and the PLIC Blog link on the left side of the page.

Bellingham Herald article

11-1-2010 PLIC letter to County: adapt stop-gap surcharge

PLIC POSITION LETTER to COUNTY

The Board of Directors wrote to county executive Pete Kremen and the County Council requesting adoption of Option 1 ($2 surcharge on ferry fares) as a temporary source of revenue, with a 6-month “sunset” clause,  until a mediated lease agreement is settled. The letter addresses the need for “thorough review” of costs, revenues, accounting, and compliance with laws and accounting standards (citing four).

PLIC implored the County to target increased ridership, reduce fare differentials, seasonal and peak fares, parking fees, elimination of administrative costs, and identification of outside revenue sources. The position letter calls for a minimum of 50 years in the lease, and that a fair increase that includes the current interim lease payment is “premature and counterproductive.”

11-1-2010 Herald reports Lummi Nation chair out-voted

10-28-2010 Next session for discussion and action Nov. 2

County Council set Tuesday morning (11/2) for a Committee of the Whole to consider this ordinance it instructed Public Works to draft that would raise fares considerably for Lummi Island ferry service. Council also receive a report detailing administrative costs for managing the ferry operations. Here are links to PLIC reports on the continuing process: PLIC email blast 10-27 and Next Steps for Raising Fares

10-26-2010 Council moves rate increase motion forward

Detailed summary of County Council discussion on fare increases

BELLINGHAM HERALD REPORT 10/26

Whatcom County Council voted (4-2: Weimer proposed, and joined Mann, Crawford, and Brenner in favor; Nelson and Kershner opposed) to have executive branch draw up an ordinance to go before a public hearing on Option 11 (scroll down) among the Public Works proposed options to raising fares for Lummi Island ferry service. Council chair Sam Crawford said that the hearing would probably  be scheduled in four weeks.

The proposal calls for a 35% increase in revenue from base fares including rates of $5 for pedestrian and $14 for car and driver, with a 15% multi-ride discount. That reflects a 25% hike for walk-ons, and 40% increase from car and driver.

With the multi-ride discounts, the basic fares for most passengers rises from $1.60 to $4.60per round trip for walk-ons, and from $2.60 to $11.48 for car/driver.

10-26-2010 PLIC members make COMMENTS TO WHATCOM COUNTY COUNCIL

10-22-2010 Special Council fare discussion scheduled

Whatcom County Council will hold a special Committee of the Whole discussion Tuesday morning, Oct. 26, at 9 a.m. Council will assess the proposals put forth by Public Works. View them at the bottom of this document (1-to-6) and in this memo (7-to-12).

10-20-2010 Analysis of Ferry Fares & Ridership

Fred Kinney of the PLIC board of directors researched impacts of rising ferry rates, specifically addressing the 12 Whatcom County  Public Works proposals. PLIC sent Fred’s power-point presentation from the Community Meeting 10/19 to Public Works Director Frank Abart and to each member of County Council.

The analysis concludes that Lummi Island ferry service most likely will cost at least 50% more than the current rates. County Council will continue discussion of the rates in a meeting open to the public at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26.

10-20-2010 County reveals mediator

In a phone conversation with Lummi Island Ferry Forum, County Executive Pete Kremen revealed several key points about negotiations for Lummi Island ferry service:

  1. The mediator will be Seattle attorney J. Richard Manning, whose practice comprises about 65% mediation/arbitration for which he has earned national recognition. Read Background of mediator Manning
  2. The first session will probably take place in early November after Mr. Manning recuperates from illness.
  3. County Council will hear legal findings from GTH, the PLIC-contracted Tacoma law firm, in executive session Tuesday, October 26. A summary of Mr. Kremen’s remarks included, “….Any crucial information that would help resolve any piece of the current negotiation process or issues… the County would definitely not ignore that information.”
  4. He believes that parking at the Gooseberry Point ferry dock must be included in a new lease agreement, though it is not yet part of the negotiations.
  5. He believes that ferry service could be shut down only by federal officials, which seems unlikely.
  6. The County negotiating team comprises Kremen, county attorney Dan Gibson, Council chair Sam Crawford (all past negotiators), and newcomers from Council in Ken Mann and Bill Knutzen.

10-19-2010 LIBC Chairman Cagey sets December deadline

Lummi Island ferry service faces its third deadline this year for discontinuation, based on a letter dated 10-12 and made public a week later by County Council chair Sam Crawford. Read more in the Letter from LIBC Chair Henry Cagey.

10-12-2010 County Council votes on raising ferry rates

Bellingham Herald BEFORE County Council meeting and AFTER.

PLIC RESEARCH Ferry_Cost_History

COUNTY RESEARCH & OPTIONS

Ferry Rate Economic Analysis by a professional economist and island resident

10-8-2010 Lummi Nation extended deadline for shutdown

In an email Friday afternoon, Councilman Sam Crawford told the other members of the Council and the county executive about a conversation with Chairman Henry Cagey of the Lummi Nation Business Council during which he called off the October 15 shutdown date indefinitely.

One week earlier, PLIC wrote to Chairman Cagey requesting a goodwill gesture of calling off the deadline. Earlier Friday (10-8), the Ferry Division of Public Works revealed a plan to Continue Whatcom Chief operating schedule until changes were imminent (with notification of any changes “well in advance”).

PLIC wrote a letter THANKING CHAIRMAN CAGEY

Mr. Crawford’s email to Executive Kremen and Council Members:

Lummi Tribal Chair Henry Cagey and I had a good telephone discussion this afternoon. He wanted me to convey to you that the Lummi Nation is extending the October 15 deadline – to finalize lease negotiations or remove the ferry operation – to a future date not yet determined, pending the outcome of our mediated negotiation.

He expressed a sincere desire to see a positive outcome to the mediated negotiations. I wholeheartedly agreed.

We may need to schedule some ‘executive session’ committee of the whole time on Tuesday to receive an update on the selection of a mediator.

10-5-2010 Public Works requests Council action, public discussion for higher ferry rates

In a 28-page memo seen here, Whatcom County Director of Public Works Frank Abart requested 9/29 that County government establish public discussion of rate increases for Lummi Island ferry service. No dates are set. Public Works provided options for evaluation based on the need for 55%  of operating costs and for replenishment of the Ferry Fund to come from fares.

Only the County Council can establish rates, and Public Works would need about 60 days to implement any change in fares. The initial target for future fares is $1.53 million, not including any payment to Lummi Nation beyond the current $200,000 annual temporary lease. In ’09 fares brought $1.146 million, and ’10 projections round off at $1 million.

10-5-2010 PLIC appeals to Bureau of Indian Affairs

NEW PLIC Blog — BIA’s responsibility and role, and Letter to BIA: Move off  “unconscionable” position, explain yourself, and exercise authority over previously-granted rights.

Meanwhile, Lummi Islanders await word on an October shutdown deadline, and on specifics of the agreements to (a.) select a qualified mediator agreed upon by Lummi Nation and Whatcom County for continuing negotiations; and (b.) set a date for an executive session for County Council to hear PLIC legal representative GTH research on rights to ferry service at Gooseberry Point.

10-1-2010 PLIC requests deadline removal by LIBC

A PLIC Letter to LIBC asks for a goodwill gesture from Henry Cagey, Chairman of the Lummi Nation Business Council (LIBC) to end Islanders’ anxiety over an October 15 deadline to shut down ferry service. Mr. Cagey announced in July that the service would be terminated if LIBC and Whatcom County had not reached a negotiated lease for continuation.

9-28-2010 Ferry out Oct. 6 for inspection and maintenance

The last run from Gooseberry Point to the island will be 10:10 a.m., and the last run off the island 10:20 a.m. until service resumes by about 3 p.m. This all depends on weather, too, so date and times can change accordingly.

9-23-2010 “Experience Northwest” airs Lummi Island ferry story; Herald runs op-ed piece

You can view “The Future of the Lummi Ferry” on-line through KVOS-TV Channel 12’s Web site. It is a 6 minutes, 37 seconds feature as part of the weekly ‘magazine’ format feature with Deb Slater.

Also, the print edition of the Bellingham Herald today features an op-ed article prepared by Stuart Rich, president of the Board of Directors of PLIC.

9-22-2010 Summary of PLIC community meeting

Go to the link on the left side of the home page: PLIC History/Meetings.

Highlights: Update of positive legal findings by GTH; report on government relations (in-person meetings in Congress, and w/ County Council members and comment on BIA non-involvement; communications report and media initiative results; membership drive; and community call-to-action on attending County government sessions, target-topic letters, good will ambassadors.

9-20-3010 “Experience Northwest” TV magazine tells story of threat to ferry service

Channel 12 in Bellingham, KVOS-TV, will air a 7-minute segment in “Experience Northwest” at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday (9/22). It will appear on the multi-faceted program with other features (Ferndale Farmer’s Market, St. Sophia’s Greek Festival, Celebrate the Horse!, Go North with Village Books, and “Gimme a Minute…with Marla” (DIET). See PLIC BLOG for more information.

9-18-2010 PLIC: A summary of summer on Lummi Island ferry service

PLIC remained very active on several fronts:

  • Expanded governmental relations nationally, regionally, and locally
  • Public relations and media interviews and distribution of materials regionally and nationally
  • Membership growth and community outreach
  • Extensive historical research into ferry operations costs and legal documents
  • And citizen participation in the county government processes

All activity was  guided by community-wide input and by legal counsel, geared to raising the voice of Lummi Island as it faced a ferry shutdown deadline (Oct. 15) for the second time in 6 months.  READ ENTIRE STORY

9-16-2010 Councilwoman Barbara Brenner message:

“The County Council will be meeting for outside legal information regarding the ferry issue. This was supported by many Islanders. I don’t know when this will occur yet, but we received confirmation of this from our attorney. I expect it to be fairly soon.”

PLIC requested on June 21 in a letter to the county’s attorney, Dan Gibson (copied to the county executive and county council), to have the island organization’s attorneys present legal research to the County Council in executive session. The request was denied, but conditionally on whether new information was available.  Soon thereafter, Mr. Gibson and the county executive, Pete Kremen, met with PLIC board  members and said that the County was open to listening to findings.

Eleven weeks after that door was opened, PLIC had not been contacted about its desired session. So last week, three PLIC  board members met with or talked to by phone each member of County Council to again ask for an audience in which to review PLIC’s contracted research. A joint request came from  Councilwomen Brenner and Kathy Kershner (scroll down for News of 9-10-2010), and Ms. Brenner’s announcement indicates that the Council supported the request.

9-15/2010 PLIC sets Community Meeting: Tue, 9/21, 7 p.m. @ The Grange

Open to everyone. Come hear a summary of Gordon Thomas Honeywell (GTH) legal research for which a request is under consideration by County Council to examine; an update on PLIC activity in government relations, public relations, and media campaign and appearances; and to develop a call to action for Lummi Island community involvement.

9-14-2010 PLIC represented at County Council meeting
(See PLIC BLOG for board president summary and comments)

Representatives of PLIC  attended the regular meeting of Whatcom County Council. PLIC President Stuart Rich spoke to the Council in open-comments session. Stuart expressed gratitude for the County and Lummi Nation agreeing to arbitration in negotiations for Lummi Island ferry service. Stuart told the Council:

“A skilled, neutral mediator with expertise in federal, Indian, and real estate law working within a structured negotiation environment is the crucial next step for all parties.” He reiterated PLIC’s position, stated at the last County Council meeting (August 24 on Lummi Island), that federal assistance is necessary to bridge the financial gap between the County and Lummi Nation.

Stuart also implored the County to follow up on Mr. Kremen’s unanswered letter dated Aug. 18 to Stanley Speaks, the director of the Northwest Region of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  Stuart commented: “The BIA, as the trustee of the tidelands at issue, has a responsibility to the public to address the legal issues affecting Lummi Island ferry service.”

Afterward, County Executive Pete Kremen revealed that he had talked to Sen. Patty Murray’s aides in Congress. Mr. Kremen expressed confidence that her office is “working very hard” on transportation funding for road improvements on the Lummi reservation that would alleviate financial constraints impacting the lease for Lummi Island ferry service.

Earlier in the day, the Public Works Committee approved a resolution on a 2-1 vote, and then County Council passed the resolution (County Resolution 328) on a 6-0-1 vote supporting a request by Whatcom County and Lummi Nation for a $16 million appropriation in the 2010-’11 federal budget targeting traffic improvements on Haxton and Slater roads.

The resolution states, in part, that both parties have limited resources to address the Lummi Nation’s traffic concerns, and that the federal aid would “…facilitate the parties’ successful negotiations for the lease of the area essential for the Lummi Island ferry operation….”

9-10-2010 Council Members request to hear PLIC attorneys

Memo: Dan Gibson, Deputy Civil Prosecuting Attorney
From: Kathy Kershner and Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County Council members

Subj: Ferry Negotiations

We would like the council to reconsider the offer made by the PLIC group of Lummi Island to receive legal information from their attorneys regarding the ferry issue. We will be asking the council to vote on this reconsideration on Tuesday during the ferry update.

If the council approves our request, we would like your involvement in the meeting/discussion with their attorneys.

We appreciate the time and energy that you have put into the ferry negotiations and think that additional information can only help us in reaching a fair and reasonable solution.

Thank you,
Kathy Kershner and Barbara Brenner

9-8-2010 Lummi Nation agrees to mediation

Representing Whatcom County, a group comprising County Executive Pete Kremen, County Attorney Dan Gibson, and County Council members Sam Crawford (chair) and Ken Mann met with an aggregate from Lummi Nation to resume negotiations for Lummi Island ferry service.

Near the end of a long session, according to publicly reported sources on both sides, the Lummi Nation group asked for a brief recess to discuss matters in private. When they returned, they agreed on mediation for future negotiating. Each entity is compiling a list of possible mediators they find acceptable.

The deadline set July 30 by Lummi Indian Business Council Chair Henry Cagey, setting Oct. 15 as a date to halt Lummi Island ferry service to and from Gooseberry Point, remained in place. The groups did not set a date for the next negotiating session.

8-18-2010 County Executive Pete Kremen reaches out to BIA

In a letter to regional director Speaks, Kremen sought the BIA’s assistance in furthering talks about our ferry service through a mediator. Read the entire letter HERE. (Mr. Kremen said during the week of Sept. 6 in interviews that he had not received a reply.)

8-18-2010 PLIC Community Meeting Draws about 100

In response to some summer residents and on-island stakeholders, PLIC held an all-island meeting in August. This session at The Grange provided an opportunity for review and update of all that has happened since PLIC formed in a forum that part-time residents could participate in. About 100 persons attended, and several offered suggestions and ideas in an open forum. See the PLIC Blog (link at left) for the PLIC Board of Directors updated position statement.

8-12-2010 County Council reveals counter-offer

Whatcom County Council Chair Sam Crawford revealed publicly that the County negotiating team had counter-offered $200,000 a year in negotiations for continuance of Lummi Island ferry service to Gooseberry Point. The Council wrote  to Lummi Island Business Council Chair Henry Cagey in response to Cagey’s letter July 30 that imposed deadlines on a “final” offer of $300,000 a year, plus other escalating considerations.

The Council’s response  pointed out that the $200k (which is the $16,667/mo. current rate under a temporary agreement) exceeds by 300% the “annual fair market rental value” of the Gooseberry dock area, determined by a professional appraiser contracted by Lummi Nation.

1. The counter-offer would provide about $5 million over a 25-year period (about 12 times more than the appraised value).

2.The Lummi Nation offer for 35 years, including the extra considerations, would escalate to more than $1.06 million a year by the last year, and total almost $23.9 million for the entire 35 years — more than 58 times above “fair market value.”

3. Whatcom County already owns some of the property involved in ferry docking that has been appraised at $410,000 (tidelands and uplands included).

The County Council asked for the solution that PLIC favors and had recommended a week earlier — an impartial mediator — and County Council asked for (preferably) an open public meeting for a negotiating session, but would settle for another closed session if necessary.

Read the entire content of the County Council letter HERE.

8-10-2010 Sen. Cantwell seeks $16M appropriation for Lummi Nation

Project Title: Transportation Safety Improvements
Recipient: Lummi Nation and Whatcom County
Amount: $16,000,000
Location: Whatcom County, Washington

Edited summary of Project Description: Whatcom County provides Lummi Island ferry service that lands on the Lummi Reservation. The ferry service lease expired (2/14) and both parties agree that mitigation of the ferry impacts is essential to a new lease. Whatcom County and the Lummi Nation participated in a traffic safety study….based on the findings.., this funding would (help) construct pedestrian improvements…within the immediate vicinity of the ferry….(and) provide continuous sidewalks on both sides of the ferry landing. Finally, funding would go towards the Slater Road Elevation Project (flood risk management affecting several County areas).

8-10-2010 PLIC Board & Others monitored County gov’t sessions

Representatives from PLIC Board of Directors and membership and other Islanders attended the open public meetings Tuesday (8/10) of Whatcom County Government — Public Works, Finance, and the County Council’s regular session. The only session with Lummi Island ferry service on the agenda was closed, an executive session to discuss the recent letter and deadline sent by Lummi Indian Business Council. Emerging from the closed session, Chair Sam Crawford said the Council will draft a letter of response to LIBC Chair Henry Cagey and make it public, which it did 8-12.

In light of ever-changing dynamics, PLIC encourages everyone to support the negotiation process and avoid conflict….to exercise restraint and avoid public statements that could adversely affect negotiations for a favorable resolution.

PLIC recommends carefully measured public statements in solutions-based communication. We maintain an unwavering commitment to a mediated settlement for long-term ferry service to Gooseberry Point. After months of research and of meetings with membership, with community and with County government officials, PLIC is confident that the negotiating parties can reach that settlement through mediation.

8-6-2010 PLIC Board position: impartial 3rd party needed

Protect Lummi Island Community (PLIC) Board of Directors is concerned with the lack of progress on the outstanding issues regarding long-term ferry service to Lummi Island.  We recognize that both Lummi Nation and Whatcom County have important financial interests at stake in these negotiations, as do the residents of Lummi Island. The PLIC  Board asks that both parties recognize the limitations on available financial resources. We urge Lummi Nation and Whatcom County to work cooperatively and select a qualified, independent mediator to assist the parties in reaching a fair and equitable resolution of the issues in a timely manner.

7-30-2010 Lummi Indian Business Council imposes deadlines

In a letter from LIBC to the Whatcom County Council, the LIBC stated that the County has until August 23 to meet and either accept or reject a firm, final offer for a new, long-term contract for Lummi Island ferry service to Gooseberry Point.  If the County does not comply, then it has a deadline of Sept. 1 to present an outline of a plan to end the ferry runs to Gooseberry permanently by Oct. 15.

The Lummi Nation offer for a new 35-year lease calls for payment of $310,000 a year, plus other considerations. Read the entire letter here.

June 2010 ‘PLAIN TALK’ BLOG: After rejecting offer conditionally, County officials reconsider look at legal findings

At our last community meeting, board president Stuart Rich read a letter that PLIC wrote to the Whatcom County Council June 21. (You can read that letter HERE.) It invited them into closed executive session with PLIC’s law firm. The offer was declined, conditionally.

County Executive Pete Kremen and the County’s legal rep Dan Gibson met with PLIC subsequently to discuss the offer. Results were positive, and Stuart Rich talks about it in the Blog link on the left side of this home page.

Please send any comments, questions, or other feedback to [email protected] We welcome hearing from you.

6-9-2010 CITIZEN (RAISIN’) CAIN:

Jim Dickinson spoke at County Council (6-8) and then wrote a strong email to a council member about taking action on ferry repairs. Read it at The Ferry Forum.

6-3-2010 BBQ PARTY FOR MEMBERSHIP

As a PLIC member, circle your calendar for food and fun this Saturday (June 12), weather permitting, at the home of Stuart Rich and Lisa Wochos. Stuart promised the BBQ outing if the membership drive reached 300.

Please know that this is strictly a neighborly social outing thrown compliments of Stuart and Lisa in appreciation for the Lummi Island community effort in bonding for a common cause, using no PLIC funds.

5-31-2010 PLIC’s SEA-TO-SKI REPORT

Stuart Rich reported that the PLIC relay of seven participants put in 88.5 miles of teamwork with “no mishaps, good weather, and good fun for all.” Representing the Lummi Island Community under the PLIC banner, the team labored for just over 10 hours.

The Lummi Island community team effort consisted of

  • Naomi Keiper, 4.5 mi cross country skiing
  • Mike Rich, 3 mi downhill skiing
  • Randy Duncan, 8 mi running
  • Kim Herrenkohl, 36 mi road bicycling
  • Lisa Wochos and Barbara Alten, 18 mi canoeing
  • Rob Rich, 14 mi mountain biking
  • Stuart Rich, 5 mi kayaking

EXISTING FERRY SERVICE AGREEMENT

During February 2010, just before the contract was to expire Feb. 14, Whatcom County and Lummi Nation entered into an interim month-to-month agreement to continue ferry service to Gooseberry Point. The monthly rental rate is $16,667.

Ferry rates remain the same, and the number of runs on two shifts remain the same until a new contract is secured.

The PLIC initiative (Protect Lummi Island Community) is dedicated to insuring that the County and Lummi Nation will continue to negotiate and finalize the terms of a long-term lease for Gooseberry Point, and avoid any further stalemates.