Archive for December, 2010
An Open Letter To The Lummi Island Community:
The Lummi Island Ferry Task Force
Dear Fellow Islanders,
Despite the many challenges of the past year, we Islanders have persevered in making our voices heard and we now have a unique opportunity to help fix our fiscally vulnerable ferry with the upcoming appointments to the Lummi Island Ferry Task Force by the Whatcom County Council.
- Our community has responded positively to the stalled lease negotiations, to threatened ferry closures, to proposed dock relocation, and to the largest fare increase ever.
- We have created a community based organization – PLIC – with more than 500 members.
- Islanders have participated in community dialogue through on-line forums and websites and through a public media campaign.
- We have provided legal information to the County, and successfully urged for mediation and the formation of the Ferry Task Force.
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The language of the Ferry Task Force County Resolution is intended “…to promote a collaborative process and transparency in governance…,” by giving the Lummi Island residents “…an opportunity to participate….in decisions regarding Lummi Island ferry service and fares.”
The task force represents our community’s best opportunity to preserve our vital transportation link to the mainland and to protect the social fabric of Lummi Island.
The mission of the short-term Ferry Task Force is to examine the ferry’s finances in order to reduce costs and increase revenue. The group will provide the County with a written report by August 1, 2011 with recommendations on how to efficiently serve the transportation needs of ferry users.
The task force is not charged with addressing all of the ferry’s long-term problems, but rather to focus on the financial problems which have led to the latest fare increase and the threat of a drastic reduction in service.
The task force will consist of seven members (at least four residents of Lummi Island, and as many as three members from elsewhere in Whatcom County). The selected members will have the authority to decide how best to:
- Organize the task force,
- Delegate specific work,
- Consult with experts, and
- Receive input from Whatcom County citizens.
To successfully analyze the ferry’s finances and operations, the task force needs qualified applicants with, as defined by the resolution, “expertise in governmental affairs, transportation, economics, finances, other business areas, and community experience.”
The job of motivated and skilled task force members is challenging, but manageable, if they are supported both financially and with human resources. Already, commitments of support are forthcoming from County Council members, sources at Western Washington University, consulting firms, and several island organizations.
The Lummi Island community repeatedly has rallied to the cause during other crises. With this opportunity to impact the restructuring of our ferry operations, each of us can contribute in some way by:
- Applying or encouraging interested and qualified people (both islanders and mainlanders) to apply for Ferry Task Force membership. The deadline is December 30 for inclusion in the Council packet, or 4 p.m. on January 11, 2011 just before the selection at the County Council meeting that night.
The County application form appears here on the Whatcom County Council website.
- Encouraging others to contribute time, effort, and money, as needed and when feasible, to support Task Force efforts from January through July 2011 so that those who apply or get appointed to the Task Force know they will have strong islander support throughout the project.
- Contributions by those of us not appointed to the Task Force can be large or small, short- or long-term, time or money, skills or grunt work. The most important thing is that as many of us as possible contribute whatever we can to the effort.
- Fostering informed, open, and civil dialogue on ferry issues through the Task Force process.
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Opportunity for Lummi Islanders to help identify outstanding task force candidates
Lummi Island Organizations:
Citing the County Council Resolution to form a Lummi Island Ferry Task Force — “…The County encourages representatives of Lummi Island organizations to cooperatively provide the Council with recommendations for possible task force members….”
A search group meeting was held on 12/7/10 among persons both independent and representing island organizations. Present were David Thorn (UCC), Jerry Andersen (LICA), Bud Jewel (Grange) Angie Dixon (independent), Cathy Goohan (PTO), and Stuart Rich (PLIC). Additionally, Dan Johnson (Island business), Paul Davis (LICA) and Wynne Lee (Lummi Island Ferry Forum) attended an initial meeting 12/2 with Dave Thorn (independent) and Stuart Rich (PLIC).
The group at the first meeting concluded that more input was needed, and a second meeting was set up. During that second meeting, the attendees identified some island residents as possible applicants task force who should be contacted and encouraged to apply.
However, the group recognized that several people in the applicant pool have previous commitments that may preclude them from applying. Jerry Anderson suggested that we contact mainland civic organizations such as the Rotary Clubs, Whatcom County Boys & Girls Club Corporate Board, and Western Washington University for suggestions of persons on the mainland to serve on the task force.
The next and final meeting before Christmas of the search group will be Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 p.m. It will be in the home of Jerry Anderson, 4030 Legoe Bay Rd, because the church basement flooded. Your organizations are encouraged to send a representative to the meeting with the names of possible applicants, both on and off island.
Councilman Tony Larsen stated in a recent conversation that he sees the Task Force as needing to focus on two main objectives:
1. Revenue — fare levels and fare structure options; and
2. Costs — expenditures and efficiencies. COUNCILMAN LARSON on FERRY TASK FORCE
Please encourage people with the necessary skills and experience to address these issues to apply.