My wife and I have lived in Whatcom County for nearly 30 years. We chose to raise our family in the rural parts of the county because of the elbow room and beauty that afforded us. Yet, during the time we have lived here, more than 90,000 other people have moved here as well. Each new person brings opportunity, but also adds potential impacts that affect us all.
When our girls were small, we often took them to the beach at Cherry Point to explore what had washed ashore and watch the seals, sea lions, eagles, or if we were really lucky, Orca whales. We often were the only ones on that whole stretch of beach. Or we would head up to Mosquito Lake Road where it was easy to find an empty pull off and then wander along the Nooksack to collect edible mushrooms or watch the salmon spawn. Again, often we had the whole river to ourselves.
With the burgeoning populations to our north and south, Whatcom County is being squeezed. Science tells us that the huge population growth has put salmon and many marine creatures at risk. Those once-empty and quiet places are often filled with others who have come to admire the beauty, it is becoming difficult to even get out of town on increasingly congested roads, and my daughters are having a hard time competing for good jobs
I have worked hard to do my part to keep Whatcom County a wonderful place to live. I am most proud of the jobs I created here as the general manager of Vangard Northwest in Ferndale, by starting the RE Store in Bellingham, and as the president of ReUse Works. I have spent years working on our area's water issues. I started the Whatcom Watershed Pledge program and the North Sound Baykeeper program, and served as a member of the WRIA 1 Watershed Planning Unit, three county Shellfish Protection Districts, and the county's Marine Resource Committee. And in 1999, when the Olympic Pipeline failed, killing three of our youth and destroying Whatcom Creek, I stepped up and have spent 10 years as the executive director of the national Pipeline Safety Trust working to make sure such a tragedy never happens again. For the past eight years, I have served on the County Council, spending two of those years as chairman and serving on over 10 committees covering issues such as mental health, economic development and flood control.
I decided to run for one last term on the council because of the huge decisions that the candidates elected this year will make. Again, I want to do my part, so when my children look back 30 years from now, the great things that drew so many of us to this area will still exist.
The next council will make the decision on the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, so it is important that we elect people with the skills to analyze the studies that will be produced about rail traffic impacts, effects on the Cherry Point environment, jobs gained versus jobs lost, and the wisdom of providing one of our finite energy resources that impacts the global climate to a foreign trade competitor. I think I have those skills.
I would like to use my water resource knowledge to help solve two of the most important issues facing the county--the legal requirement to find an effective and equitable way to significantly reduce the amount of pollution flowing into Lake Whatcom, and a way to ensure that all water users -- farmers, residents, industry and salmon -- have a legal right to the water they need to thrive.
The next council will also make decisions that will determine how much the new jail will cost to build, and even more importantly, how much it will cost to operate and maintain for years to come.
I believe I have the knowledge, experience, and judgment to provide meaningful leadership on these big issues, along with the ongoing planning required to grow this county in a way that maintains our quality of life. I hope you agree, and I would be honored to have your vote in November.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carl Weimer is the incumbent Whatcom County Council member for District 3, position A. Vote-by-mail ballots will be mailed Oct. 19 and the general election is Nov. 5.