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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Whatcom County Council District 2

Term: 4 yrSalary: $30,660The county council is the legislative branch of government, and it enacts ordinances, adopts the budget, and exercises oversight of the administration. The council can override a veto by the executive with a two-thirds majority vote or greater. Its role is similar to the role of a city council in a mayor-council city. Whatcom has a seven-member nonpartisan council.The County Council exercises its legislative power by adoption and enactment of ordinances and resolutions. The Council is elected to adopt plans for the present and future development of the county; conduct public hearings on matters of public concern; create county government policy; create land use rules; enact public safety laws; establish the compensation for all county officers and employees and provide for the reimbursement of expenses; establish, combine, and abolish non-elective administrative offices and executive departments and establish their powers and responsibilities, except as otherwise provided for in the Whatcom County Home Rule Charter; levy taxes, appropriate revenue, and adopt the county budget; set speed limits, no-shooting zones, and animal control regulations.
  • Candidate picture

    Todd Donovan (NP) Professor, WWU

  • Candidate picture

    Amy Glasser (NP) Social Worker/Mental Health Therapist

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Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for the council?

What are three major issues facing your county?

Of the three, which one is the most urgent?

What are the issues surrounding your county's infrastructure?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your county should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How do you think your county could best respond to homelessness?

Phone (360) 483-8474
Town where you live Bellingham
Experience (300 characters max) My career is dedicated to electoral reform. I teach state & local government at Western Washington Univ; Service on neighborhood and other Boards, including Washington Conservation Voters; Elected to Whatcom County Charter Review Commission in 2015; Elected to Whatcom County Council in 2015
I have spent years promoting responsible land use policies, protecting our drinking water, advocating for social justice, and opposing export of coal and crude oil from our County. I ran in 2015 on these issues, while advocating against a jail proposal that was too large, ill defined. I champion these issues. I'm working to make sure we don't put people in jail when there are alternatives. I want to rebuild the capacity of our County government so we can serve our people.
1) Our economy is thriving, but we need to promote Bellingham / Whatcom as a place for business to locate; we need to recruit firms & retain & enhance businesses that are here. 2) We need to protect & enhance our local environment. That's the right thing to do, it keeps this a great place for business to locate. This is key to our economic future. 3) We need to build the capacity of our government to provide services to people in need. We need to talk about new revenues needed to do this.
Urgent is the future of our planet. We must respond to the global threat of coal / crude oil exports from Whatcom County. This defines our future and our planet. We need to be the solution to climate change. We need to protect good jobs here in Whatcom County, like those at Cherry Point. We should not be an export depot, shipping crude to cheaper labor markets that have lax environmental standards. Rather, we need to build on what we have and retain and recruit new businesses.
We have hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure needs, on our basic buildings. Much of these costs are from deferred maintenance. County executives and majorities on many county councils have, for, decades, been afraid to take the simple 1% property tax (less than) inflation adjustment to fund infrastructure, or anything. Decades of this irresponsible policy mean that we have not funded our county infrastructure. And then there is the jail - we need a better facility but the current proposal is too large and too distant from downtown Bellingham where courts and services are located. We must invest in incarceration reduction and prevention to reduce the need for a jail of the size that is proposed.
My commitment is to maintain and expand our County dollars to our Senior Centers, and to cooperate with the City of Bellingham to fund housing opportunities and rental assistance for our elders. Beyond that, I am committed to countering the Trump Administration's assault of federal programs that benefit our elders.
People are not illegal. I have been working with advocates of our neighbors who are undocumented. Whatcom County needs an ordinance that gives our immigrant, undocumented neighbors confidence that our Sheriff will not work with ICE. Our neighbors need confidence that they will not be detained for immigration matters. Our County needs a conversation about this.
We need to be honest with taxpayers about services that are needed, and what those services cost. On one track there is rental assistance, public / private agreements for new affordable housing stock; including tax incentives for developers to make housing accessible. That only gets us so far; we also need money for rapid response to homelessness, and for mental health, behavioral health, and incarceration prevention programs. We need to find new revenues for this to work.
Phone (360) 820-0633
Town where you live Bellingham, WA
Experience (300 characters max) The only political experience I have is being elected to be Precinct Committee Officer for the Democrats after the past presidential campaign. This is my first run for office.
I have been a social worker for 39 years and after Bernie Sanders lost the primary and told us to get involved, I decided to run for office and try and change the laws so we take better care of our community. I have been an advocate and activist for my entire adult lifetime and I think that it is time for me to try and actually change some laws to better the people I have strived to help during career. The council needs a progressive woman social worker.
1. The new .2% jail tax that the county administration want to put on the ballot to build a Justice Center. We need housing/services and more diversion programs, not a big new jail. 2. The county has a water problem and going to court to fight it is not the answer. We must begin to measure and meter our county water and find out where the problem is and then fix it. 3. Industry: We would do a lot better if we give control of Cherry Point to the Lummi Tribe and focus on renewable energy jobs.
The jail issue. Passing this tax will harm us in many ways including financially, socially, morally and environmentally. We can do better. We keep learning that we can't jail people for behavior choices. We learned that we can save money by using alternatives to incarceration. We learned that jail just perpetuates poverty and marginalization. We can and must do better but building a big new jail is the wrong way to go.
Water is the main issue. We don’t have enough water to have proper in-stream flow for the fish, who have first rights to the water. If we do not begin to measure, allocate and limit our usage, none of us will have the water we need. The are many parts of the county that do not have reliable internet services. This can be dangerous in emergencies. Economically it inhibits businesses from moving to the county as internet is essential to most businesses. Public owned broadband service may be a good use of taxpayer money if we can quantify how much it will benefit the county.
I would like to see people on fixed incomes have the opportunity to have rent control with landlords getting a break on their property taxes to compensate. I want seniors to have proper medical care. I wonder if it would be cost effective for the county to insure ourselves for medical care. I also think we need to increase bus service as many seniors depend on buses and the limiting service adversely affected seniors. Very inexpensive programs such as meals on wheels should be increased
I would like the Sheriff to stop informing ICE of when a person is being released and leave it up to ICE to keep track. We should not make it easy to pick up people unless they are a danger to themselves or society. We could also use some additional training with law enforcement so they can do a better job of educating the community about their roles and what they will and will not do regarding immigration status. Lastly, a Citizen Oversight Board to be sure rights are respected is needed.
We can skip a new big jail and build Tiny Homes (6-8 per area) with a service building attached to provide the counseling, the medication monitoring and group services right where the people live. Housing people will save the county in medical costs, jail costs, environmental costs and will actually help the community to be safer. These programs should be throughout the county, not just in Bellingham. logo


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