Congratulations to County Executive Jack Louws for moving ahead with our jail on a reduced budget and reduced bed capacity. Also to the four council members who voted to put the 0.2 percent sales tax increase on the November ballot. The small cities and unincorporated areas of Whatcom County should not be held hostage by the Bellingham City Council and its questionable minions.
Mayor Kelly Linville should be encouraged to move ahead with the jail to avoid some very uncomfortable consequences for our city. Being left out of the entire jail solution may be legally catastrophic for us and our council. Liability does not go away simply because you continue to bloviate on problems and stand in the way of solutions. The jail has been and continues to be a crisis. The voters of Whatcom County will now have a chance to put an end to this crisis by approving the sales tax increase. All of the other issues that have been brought forward these past six months were known and discussed by the jail planning task force. Programs to deal with these issues have been implemented, and efforts to improve and expand them are ongoing. Yes, criminal justice and mental health and social services need improvement. But delaying the solution of the jail crisis while studies are done to improve those two complicated systems is risky and wrong.