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Archive for October, 2010

County sets next date to discuss rate increases

Thursday, October 28, 2010 @ 11:10 PM
posted by mike

Whatcom County Council will convene a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, November 2 to review and discuss this ordinance proposal it instructed Public Works to draft on ferry fare increases. PLIC sent two emails to constituents outlining the process that will continue into 2011.

PLIC email blast 10-27

Here, you can read the Next Steps for Raising Fares and some insight from Public Works director Frank Abart about a report on administrative costs relating to ferry operations.


Whatcom Chief to continue on regular schedule

Friday, October 8, 2010 @ 03:10 PM
posted by mike

10-7-2010 County announces intent to keep the ferry running

The Ferry Division of Whatcom County Public works revealed the County plans to Continue Whatcom Chief operating schedule until further notice. Any changes, the announcement said, would come with notice “well in advance.”


PLIC challenges the BIA

Monday, October 4, 2010 @ 11:10 PM
posted by mike

Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (BIA) Responsibility in the Ferry Dispute

The County has operated Lummi Island ferry since the 1920s. That’s when the BIA/Department of Interior approved the right-of-way for the road to Lummi Island through the Lummi Nation reservation and across the tidelands at Gooseberry Point as matter of public necessity.

The BIA holds the tidelands in trust for the Lummi Nation. As trustee of the tidelands, only the BIA has authority to make decisions regarding tidelands held in trust by the United States Government.

There is no basis for the Lummi Indian Business Council to claim that the right-of-way is no longer valid or to attempt to exercise absolute control over the tidelands.

The BIA’s failure to respond to Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen’s request for help to resolve the ferry dispute (in a letter addressed to Stanley Speaks, the BIA regional director 8/18/10) is totally unacceptable. As noted by Mr. Kremen, the BIA bears responsibility “for making certain that appropriate agreements are in place … for [public] right-of-way purposes.”

BIA Deputy Regional Director Gerald Ben’s recent statement that the Lummi Nation “… can do what they want….” with the ferry lease because the BIA only holds a “small portion” of the ferry property shows a lack of understanding of the issues and previous BIA right-of-way approvals. The tidelands held in trust by the BIA are at the very heart of the conflict between Whatcom County and the Lummi Nation.

For BIA to ignore this matter is unconscionable and tantamount to denying the existence of the right-of-way for the public highway to Lummi Island which was previously granted by the BIA.

PLIC sent a letter to Mr. Speaks, Northwest Regional BIA Director, dated 9/28/10, strongly requesting Director Speaks to meet with Whatcom County officials and explain why his agency apparently believes the right-of-way for a public highway to Lummi Island is no longer valid.

Read PLIC Letter to BIA.


LIBC: Please lift deadline

Friday, October 1, 2010 @ 10:10 PM
posted by mike

October 1, 2010
Henry Cagey, Chairman
Lummi Indian Business Council
2616 Kwina Road
Bellingham, WA 98226

Dear Chairman Cagey:

We write to you as your neighbors. Lummi Island residents and members of Protect Lummi Island Community remain concerned about the potential closure of the Lummi Island ferry service from Gooseberry Point.

We understand your frustrations with the failure to achieve a negotiated agreement with Whatcom County. We were thankful when you announced the LIBC’s intent to seek a mediated agreement that will assure long term ferry service to the Island. As your neighbors, we ask you to affirm that ferry service will continue as the Lummi Nation works with Whatcom County toward a mediated solution.

We want to express our frustration to you about being in the difficult position between Lummi Nation and Whatcom County over an issue that was not of our choosing and where we have very limited opportunity to be heard. We can assure you that an announcement of continued ferry service will be received as a goodwill gesture much appreciated by our members and island residents.

PLIC requests that you announce that the Lummi Nation will not close ferry service to Lummi Island, but will continue Gooseberry service under the interim ferry lease agreement.

Our hope is that mediation and federal financial assistance will help bridge the differences and provide Lummi Nation and Whatcom County with the tools to find a positive solution for everyone.

Thank you.
Stuart Rich
President, Protect Lummi Island Community