Until Whatcom County and the city of Bellingham are on the same page regarding the proposed new jail, it seems to me imprudent for voters to approve its funding in the November election. As I understand it, the current plan is for the city to have its own separate jail for misdemeanor offenders — its own laundry, kitchen, janitorial services, medical service providers, public defenders and so on. That really does not make much sense to me.
Moreover, I believe the proposed location of the new jail is very problematic and needs to be re-examined; the transportation of prisoners to and from Ferndale to the courthouse will be expensive and time-consuming, at least. There is space very near the courthouse that’s now being used for parking lots that might do for the jail. Yes, the county bought the Ferndale real estate. So flip and sell it.
The county executive wants a yes vote on Nov. 9, but I believe a no vote won’t be fatal. A proper plan could be on the ballot again in six months, one that the public can have confidence in.
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