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.
Laura McKinney, Whatcom Business Alliance 360-746-0412
Ashley Butenschoen, Common Threads NW 360-224-4123
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