Monday, February 11, 2008

Action, More Action and Forever Action*

The following email arrived today as a comment on my blog entry regarding the article by Council At-large member Louise Bjornson which appeared in the Herald on January 27th, 2008. Click here to read my comments on that article.

Do you have any suggestions what we might do to support Louise Bjornson in her efforts to get our city government to pay attention to how important it is to preserve our single-family neighborhoods?

You bet! This email provides me with an excellent opportunity to remind my readers of some simple actions they can take to demonstrate support for those in our government who recognize the problems created in our neighborhoods by illegal rooming houses. There are some in the city government who claim that there are no problems because they say they receive few complaints. You have to prove them wrong. Consider the impact if everyone in your neighborhood does the following:

- Write to the Mayor at Tell him you want him to keep his campaign promise about enforcing the zoning codes. Click here to read his email promise.

- Write to the Council Members at and tell them you support enforcement of the codes and that you want them to approve the hiring of more enforcement officers.

- Write to the Neighborhood Services Coordinator, Linda Stewart, at and tell her that you are tired of seeing the deterioration in your neighborhood caused by illegal rooming houses.

- Write to the search committee for WWU president at Tell the search committee that the next president cannot ignore of the effect of the 8,000 off-campus students from the university on the community. Tell them it is time for the new president to build student housing (lots of it) and to sanction off-campus misbehavior of WWU students. Tell them that the new president has to do something for the community before WWU gets a seat at the table at the waterfront.

- Write letters to the editors of the Bellingham Herald at and the Whatcom Independent at Tell them you support efforts by the council and the mayor to enforce the laws on illegal rooming houses.

- Attend your neighborhood association meetings and voice your concerns.

- File a complaint with the Permit Office of the Planning Department on the illegal rooming houses in your neighborhood. Click here to retrieve the form. Tell your neighbors to do the same. Ten complaints on the same illegal rooming house will wake up the Planning Director. Send a copy of your complaint to the Mayor, the City Council and Linda Stewart at City Hall.

- Help clean up your neighborhood by reporting litter violations to the city's litter control officer, Darren Sandstrom at 676-6859. Eliminate those parking problems (it is against the law to park on the sidewalk or to park on the roadway facing the wrong direction) by calling 676-6911 and asking for a parking control official to ticket such violators. Call every day if you have to. If a car appears to be abandoned, call 676-6920 and ask for the vehicle to be tagged and towed (for additional info click here)

- And lastly, for those loud parties or disturbances from illegal rooming houses, continue to call 911 (ask your neighbors to call at the same time) and ask for a follow up call from a police officer.

Your letters do not have to be original. Borrow language from my blog if you wish. Plagiarize to beat the band! Tell your friends to read my blog and then ask them to take action. You are entitled to peaceful enjoyment of your home.

*With thanks to Georges Jacques Danton.


Anonymous said...

In light of the Evergreen State College riot, a few obvious things need to be noted. Western riots are in our neighborhoods not on campus because that's not where the students are. Those of us in the York Neighborhood have witnessed a number of student riots with the loss of property through vandalism and malicious mischief. Our illegal rooming houses are places where out of town visitors congregate around parties and downtown music venues. The naive attitude that students in illegal rooming houses are not dangerous is coming to an end among people with any brains.

zonemaven said...

One problem with WWU is that its student code, unlike that of Evergreen State, does not usually cover off-campus behavior. Oddly, the WWU code does reserve the right of the university to take action for off-campus behavior if that behavior threatens only the health, safety, property and persons of the university. Read portions of the two codes below.

Evergreen State:
WAC 174-120-015

The purpose of this chapter is to provide currently enrolled students, faculty and staff with a process to address grievances related to student conduct. If the person wishing to file a grievance against a student is not an enrolled student, staff or faculty, but is here at the invitation of the college, they may contact the campus grievance officer, who will decide whether or not to take on the case on behalf of the college. Students at The Evergreen State College enjoy the basic rights of all members of society. At the same time, students have an obligation to fulfill the responsibilities incumbent upon all citizens as well as the responsibilities of their particular roles within the academic community. Students may be accountable to civil and criminal authorities and to the college for acts occurring on or off campus which constitute violations of law. Students may be accountable to civil and criminal authorities and to the college for acts occurring on college premises and at college sponsored events

Western Washington:
WAC 516-23-220

Individual student alleged violations of this code are subject to disciplinary action. While the university does not act as a policing agent for students when they are off campus, the university reserves the right to take action if a student's behavior is determined to threaten the health, safety, and/or property of the university and its members. Sanctions against student organizations are decided by the procedures established by the university administrative unit governing the recognition of each organization. Disciplinary proceedings against individual member(s) of a student organization can be initiated under this code independent of action taken against the student organization.