Congratulations, Common Threads Northwest and partners, you are beginning to Wake Up Whatcom County! A big THANK YOU! to all who attended and assisted in the May 16th rally. We had well over 400 people, numerous business, farm, labor, student and community groups sent a message to the Whatcom County Council – Preserve our Jobs, Save Our Farms, Protect Our Property Rights! These are non-partisan, import issues for our community.

Unfortunately, that very night six County Council members ignored you, the voters. They passed restrictions limiting business opportunities at Cherry Point, shut down a 4th Pier to export your valuable products, and approved a taxpayer funded study to show them how to find more ways to restrict our best employers.

This Council is making decisions that hurt the rural community, our jobs and our property owners. Council members and their supporters deflect criticism by telling citizens they are misinformed by scare tactics, while they force declines in Whatcom rural property values in the $100s of millions, regulate local farms out of business, and find ways to shut down Cherry Point refineries. They believe you, the voters, are misinformed and ignorant of your own plight. Sadly, they are still not listening.

Make no mistake, they will hear us! This has just begun. We have much more to do. Common Threads and our many partners will keep the effort going to protect and improve our community. We will provide accurate information, education and outreach to get more of us involved. Look for another event coming soon!

Thank you again for a very successful rally! Remember we don’t hate, we vote! And we have just begun to WAKE UP WHATCOM COUNTY!
Go to our web page for more information http://www.commonthreadsnw.org/
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Wake Up Whatcom Rally
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WAKE UP WHATCOM COUNTY!!!!!
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Wake Up Whatcom County” Rally in Bellingham on May 16th

Local organizations team up to highlight the crippling regulatory environment

Bellingham, Washington – May 12, 2017 – The Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) Cherry Point Coalition, Common Threads NW, the Associated General Contractors of Washington, Whatcom Family Farmers and hundreds of supporters concerned about Whatcom County’s economic future will be holding a rally on Tuesday, May 16th. The rally supports family wage jobs, economic opportunity and collaborative public policy in Whatcom County.

WHEN:         May 16, 2017 at  5:15 p.m.

WHERE:       Bellingham Public Library grounds – across the street from Bellingham City Hall (210 Lottie Street, Bellingham, WA 98225)

WHO:            Confirmed speakers include representatives from Cherry Point, Whatcom Family Farmers and Common Threads NW.

 

Those interested in supporting Cherry Point jobs are invited to join the WBA Cherry Point Coalition at the Whatcom County Council Chambers – 311 Grand, Bellingham, WA 98225 – immediately following the rally for the public hearing on the Cherry Point Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan.

Numerous recent decisions by the Whatcom County Council will negatively impact all county residents by threatening high-paying, family wage jobs, increasing taxes, reductions in property values and the rise of anti-farm policies.

“If future development is restricted at Cherry Point, these companies will cease investing. Our business depends on that activity for our livelihood. Our County must support business and industry, especially those companies that have a long history as good employers and good community members. Mills has been providing family wage jobs in Whatcom County for 106 years. I believe these policies will bring this all to an end,” said John Huntley, Owner of Mills Electric.

“The County assessor is telling us that 3,500 families will lose a staggering $200 million in personal property value,” said Jim McKinney, Executive Director of Common Threads NW, “We love where we live, and we must protect it, but we must balance our environment with common sense.”

“Whatcom Family Farmers believes the majority of Whatcom County residents – especially those who are concerned about our environment – want to see our family farms continue. But they may not be fully aware of the anti-farm activism arising in our community and how damaging that can be to our family farms,” said Brad Rader, President of Whatcom Family Farmers. “We hope that all citizens will learn more about our farms and what our farmers are doing to protect and enhance our water, land and habitat.”

The rally will include voices from various organizations that are frustrated with the current approach of the Whatcom County Council. Together, these groups hope to showcase support for a more responsive Council that understands the need to balance economic and environmental interests. These are not mutually exclusive.

Contact Information:

Laura McKinney, Whatcom Business Alliance 360-746-0412

Ashley Butenschoen, Common Threads NW 360-224-4123

Wake Up Whatcom County!
The Whatcom County Council needs to hear from you!

Regulations, moratoriums and poor public policy will cripple our economy and ruin our ability to protect our cherished environment and quality of life.
Our farmers face unbearable environmental regulation – they can’t make a living.
Our property rights are diminishing while our property taxes are increasing.
Our best, highest paying employers face restrictions on their businesses – they may leave.
Our tax revenues that fund our schools, roads, and services and our quality of life are at risk.

Please join a family friendly, non-partisan rally in support of family wage jobs, economic opportunity and positive public policy for the citizens of Whatcom County – Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 5:15 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the Bellingham Public Library lawn. Arrive early, listen to speakers, and have your voice be heard!  The first step to make a difference is to show up!

Save our Farms!
• Regulators want to save farmland, but are destroying farm operations and farmers.
• Expanding arbitrary wetland buffers removes usable farmland, lowers yields and income.
• No access to water = No farmers = No farms = No food.
• Ever-increasing regulation stifles small farmers and local farm-to-table initiatives.
• If small, organic and family farms can’t compete – large corporations will dominate.
• Trust our farmers; they know the land best, they protect the land best – it’s their business, and our future.

Protect our Property Rights!
• The County Council failed to plan for water use, lost the Hirst decision, then:
o Immediately placed a building moratorium in October 2016.
o Had until May 2017 to find solutions or offer relief, but took no reasonable action.
o Ignored hundreds of citizens’ pleas for help, leaving some families bankrupt.
• Over 3,500 private lots are near valueless without wells or access to water service
o $200,000,000 to $270,000,000 in property value taken from innocent people!
o $200,000,000 to $270,000,000 taken from our tax base!
• We have increasing homelessness and an affordable housing crisis. Without rural development, affordable housing will be scarcer as urban density grows.

Preserve our Jobs!
• Cherry Point industries provide over 2,000 family wage jobs, 11% of total county jobs.
• The refineries are environmentally responsible, and economically vital to our local and state economy. The refineries:
o Contribute over $50M/yr to support state-wide environmental clean-up initiatives.
o Pay average wages over $110,000/yr, vs. the county average of under $45,000.
o Provide over $200M a year in taxes to our schools and our local services.
• They are the cornerstone of our local economy.  They provide for our basic necessities, plastics for our kayaks, fuel for our farms, and the pay taxes to fund our parks and trails.
If businesses can’t grow, they can’t compete. They will fail or leave. Our community will suffer.

On May 16th bring your family, friends and neighbors.
Bring some markers, poster-board and come join the sign-making party!
Saturday, May 13th, Rome Grange, 8221 Mt. Baker Highway, 1:30pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Whatcom County Grassroots Organizations Teaming Up For a

“Wake Up Whatcom County” Rally in Bellingham on May 16th

Bellingham, Washington – May 11, 2017 – The Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA) Cherry Point Coalition, Common Threads NW, Whatcom Family Farmers, the Association of General Contractors and other grassroots organizations concerned for Whatcom County’s economic future will be holding a rally in support of family wage jobs, economic opportunity and positive public policy for the citizens of Whatcom County.

The rally will take place on the Bellingham Public Library lawn at 5:15 pm on Tuesday, May 16th and will include voices from various organizations that are frustrated with County Council decisions and deliberations that have the potential to negatively impact the future of Whatcom County. The most pressing issues facing our community are the threat to the jobs and businesses at Cherry Point, the impact of the Hirst decision, and the assault on the farm industry.

Attending the rally will be people supporting Cherry Point jobs who will join the WBA Cherry Point Coalition at the public hearing on the Cherry Point Amendment in Whatcom County Council Chambers immediately following the rally. The proposed amendment places restrictions on Cherry Point businesses that threaten jobs and future development in the only area designated in the county plan as a heavy industrial zone.

“If we are restricted from pursuing business opportunities relative to our competitors, it will impact our businesses, our prospects for growth and ultimately jobs that would result from such business growth,” said Pam Brady, NW Director of Government and Public Affairs for BP.

Citizens are also concerned that the Whatcom County Council disregarded property rights when they instituted an immediate building moratorium as a response to the Hirst decision leaving thousands of property owners with near worthless land. Individual property owners have lost tens of thousands of dollars of value on property, while those who did not lose value will have their tax rates increased to cover the loss to the County budget.

“The County assessor is telling us that 3,500 families will lose a staggering $200 million in personal property value,” said Jim McKinney, Executive Director of Common Threads NW, “We love where we live, and we must protect it, but we must balance our environment with common sense.”

The farming community is also fighting newly proposed County regulations to address water quality under the Hirst decision. The new restrictions on impervious surfaces would add additional requirements on top of existing regulations for any new buildings on agricultural lands. This is the latest in a series of actions by the Council to target the farming community.

“Whatcom Family Farmers believes the majority of Whatcom County residents – especially those who are concerned about our environment – want to see our family farms continue. But they may not be fully aware of the anti-farm activism arising in our community and how damaging that can be to our family farms,” said Brad Rader, President of Whatcom Family Farmers. “We hope that all citizens will learn more about our farms and what our farmers are doing to protect and enhance our water, land and habitat.”

Rally organizers invite all Whatcom County residents who are concerned about these issues to the rally on May 16th at 5:15pm on the lawn of the Bellingham Library. Arrive early and support our community. Preserve our Jobs, Protect Our Property Rights and Save Our Farms.

www.whatcombusinessalliance.com

www.commonthreadsnw.org

Contact Information:

Laura McKinney, Whatcom Business Alliance 360-746-0412

Ashley Butenschoen, Common Threads NW 360-224-4123

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