Friday, September 28, 2007

Sounds of Silence - Your Government Speaks

On Monday morning, 24 September, I invited the Mayor and the Director of Planning and Community Development to speak to this issue. I sent them an email alerting them to the blog posting which requested their comments on several complaints I had received from Bellingham residents. I have heard nothing from these city officials. Here are a few more emails that I received during the week. Again, I ask the Mayor and the Director of Planning to speak to the issue. Why the silence?

JW, now of Ferndale, wrote:

“I'm a 'drunken student' refugee now living in Ferndale. I used to live in Happy Valley. Now a complete college slum. Used to be a nice place…

He also said:

“The city told neighbors at [a] get together that they (the city) will not enforce the municipal code concerning how many people live in a house. They told us to get lawyers if we wanted to fight it! All of this crap went on for six went from a quiet neighborhood to a total 'war zone'. I had lived in Quiet Bellingham since 1975 and the real change happened in the late 90's. A city "planner" told me that "I should move because it will get worse!" … Landlords (big problem) owning the properties told neighbors to 'get f----ed'. Literally. Nobody controls them. They are almost as bad as the students. All of this was four years ago in "Happy" valley. Happy Valley went from a peaceful very quiet area to one of the worst crime neighborhoods in a matter of a few years! All of this is exactly what the city and college want and they have always gotten what they want. The college wants to expand, expand, expand. And the college turns a blind eye to it all. Not their problem. … It’s quiet and serene out here in Ferndale!"

And this from JM in the Whatcom Falls Neighborhood:

"Hi …, Sad to see that we have to rely on a "new comer" to highlight one of our city problems. I liked your article [Bellingham Herald, 23 September] very much and fully agree that something needs to be done. Like yourself we have a neighborhood problem, one house rented to college students or non-relatives, the other a housing authority house. Both of these have presented repeated neighborhood problems but only those living close seem to care that much. I am guilty of ignoring things for many years as I worked so many hours and my wife is mostly housebound with health problems, [so] that neither of us really noticed. After retiring I was exposed more often to the problems so naturally more concerned… I did speak with Dan McShane when he was door knocking in our neighborhood [and] he made notes of my concerns. ...he lives in the York neighborhood, not a rich new development so he too should be concerned. I would like very much to help in an effort to get things changed and protect our neighborhoods and the quality of life we should be able to expect. Regards, JM"

And last but certainly not least from CB:

"I live right next door to one of these houses, located at XXX 20th. I have complained in writing to the City regarding what goes on at this address and have had absolutely no resolution. I'd like to offer my support to your efforts and would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with you. Later . . . CB"

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