On May 6th the Western Front published an article by Harte Onewein entitled “Forums address 'rule of 3' issue.” You can read the article by clicking here. The article began by promoting the next Let's Talk forum at WWU on May 15th in Viking Union Room 565 from 4-5:30 and from 7-8:30. I sent the following letter to the editor of the Western Front to bring some balance to an article which I thought was one-sided.
"[...] First of all, I am gratified to see that the Western Front is giving more visibility to the Let’s Talk Forums. I have attended most of these gatherings and, at times, have been dismayed at the poor turnout. I will be at the sessions on the 15th of May and encourage WWU students to attend.
I also am a firm believer in keeping a balanced approach to the subject as described in the article. The title refers to a Bellingham Municipal Code 20.08.020 which defines a single family for purposed of zoning, i.e., controlling density. I disagree with City Council Member Weiss and Attorney Lukoff’s statements as provided to the article’s author.
Mr. Weiss is looking to change a law which has been on the books for decades but has not been enforced in spite of many complaints about illegal rooming houses, which are the result of having more than three unrelated persons living in the same single family home. It seems aberrant to me that one would want to change a law that has not been tested in court. If a court has not ruled on the statute, what is the basis for changing the code? Mayor Dan Pike said that he would enforce the law, if elected mayor but, after dozens of years of inaction, the city council becomes interested in fiddling with the statute thus confounding the issue. This is called pushing the rope up the hill.
Mr. Lukoff, on the other hand, has declared that the law is illegal because of a Revised Code of Washington portion that one cannot discriminate in real estate transactions on the basis of sex, religion, etc. He proffers an example of gay couples not being able to share a home, however, his reasoning is specious. Gay couples in
Mr. Lukoff has presented himself as an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant relations. I have asked Mr. Lukoff on many occasions, through [this] blog ..., whether he represents the tenants or the landlords, as it makes a difference in judging his opinion on the zoning regulations and in placing his remarks in context. He has, to date, not responded."