Conservation District Election
Bellingham Folk Festival
Radio Free Fl!p: Peg And Awl
Very difficult news came out last night. After the riot on Friday, late that night at nearly 11 PM, there was more violence, this time involving a hatchet. No one was killed, but two people were injured. Police had no suspects as of last night. There was no demonstrable connection between the riot and the attack, except the decision to use violence. Those attacked were in a vehicle. The attackers were on foot. And it appears to have happened within a block of City Hall.
Just as kindness has been shown to be contagious, violence can spread. The riot was a bad situation, like a kegger that got way out of hand. Except at least some of the people who invited their out-of-town friends knew this was a very likely result. Young adults with great moral outrage.
I’m guessing the young adults who have been volunteering at the encampment for months could use a safe place to process what actually happened Friday, without being cornered into trying to defend their friends. It looks to me like the Collective folks are both highly principled, and rigid about it in ways that make it hard for them to work with others to find a viable path forward. Much like what has happened nationally.
I am deeply concerned that at least a few of them have been somehow sucked into believing that violence will be necessary to create change. That nothing will change without it. That violence is morally right. That is a very slippery slope. And they are inviting others to join them on it.
Our job is not to tear down the system but to build new ones that will stand as the old crumbles. Systems that are not based on greed. Where greed is not an acceptable basis for any decision at any level. We all carry greed, every one of us, so it doesn’t work to blame others for their greed as if we were morally above it – but we don’t have to let greed run things.
The riot did not help anyone. It terrified the homeless folks caught in the middle, and may have sucked some of them into joining in, based on their own frustration with the situation. It scared neighbors who have been cooking, donating and writing letters in support. It hardened everyone’s opinions without helping people take in new information. It damaged relationships that will be needed to do the work of creating new options.
I believe, because of this commitment to violence, that we need to offer assistance to campers who would like to move away from the City Hall encampment. The idealism of the collective may land some homeless campers in jail. We need to find safer places for people to camp, since other viable options are not yet available. And then figure out how to support them in other spaces. If we stop bringing food, that will hurt the homeless people who have been relying on us. I’ll be listening and thinking about what to do next, but don’t yet have suggestions.
Base Camp helps a lot of people find shelter. It’s good that it’s here and we should support it. But notice that it’s half full and has been all winter. How that could that be? The City tried to contract with just one organization to provide all homeless sheltering, because that is easier, and the City has a lot on its plate. But as near as I can tell they never asked any homeless people what they thought. I got an earful last year when I was doing direct face to face volunteer outreach during the big snow. The Lighthouse Mission organization cannot serve everyone and it is naive for our elected officials to think so and then blame those who won’t or often can’t use them.
From the Collective: Please bring meals to the entrance to Lottie Street on Grand Avenue, beside the courthouse. There are now signs to show you where. If you would like a volunteer to come grab donations at your car, honk! It may take a moment for someone to get over to you; we appreciate your patience. Please be as restrained as possible in your honking. Among the homeless folks are veterans with PTSD and other survivors of violence. Sudden loud noises are very hard on them.
Whew boy, do we have ingredients! Potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, cheese, pasta, rice, lentils, split peas, and yesterday someone dropped off a bunch of cans of tomato sauces and pieces. I have more restaurant pans, soup pots, various individual containers and bakery bags. Please come cook it up! Sign up on the MealTrain for now. And contact me before going down.
Great recipes! We assume a 2 cup serving for the Soup Brigade, since we generally have one-dish meals, so you may need to double up, aiming for 6.25 gallons of food. These recipes tell you how many of what size pans, and how many pounds of various ingredients will be needed.
And here’s a food quantity chart as well:
This morning I think it might be helpful to focus on encouraging elected officials to sign a contract and spend the money right now to get more tiny homes being built while the details of where to put them and who to run them get ironed out. Officials would be able to announce the contract as evidence of following through on good intentions. I am vastly relieved that Seth & Satpal have a good relationship and can work together.
I believe it would be possible for them to order the next round or two of tiny homes on Monday and get the company working to build the houses while officials work out the details of where to put them and who to have run them. Then at least there wouldn’t be a lag waiting for the houses to arrive as there was for SwiftHaven. Meanwhile, warming shelters must be opened.
In other cities, homeless citizens have moved out of parks and roadsides when offered tiny home encampments. It’s not a long-term solution but right now it’s a fast and humane stop-gap measure while we create permanent housing that is actually affordable on a minimum wage job or social security check.
I love that people are still sending me information on how people without an address might be able to access their stimulus payment.
CONSERVATION DISTRICT ELECTION
The Whatcom County Conservation District dispenses grant money. It’s an important support for both farmers and the environment. Elections to the board that decides how the funds are spent are county-wide but oddly are not included in general elections. The only way to vote in the Conservation District election in March is to request a ballot by February 8. There will not be an opportunity to vote in person this year because of Covid-19. So: if you were feeling complacent about requesting a ballot because there’s always the in-person voting option, that door is closed. Please request your ballot now from www.whatcomcd.org/board-elections
The ballots are due back by March 23.
Last summer I got some help from a nice gent who advertised his yard work and gardening experience on Nextdoor. His name is Paul and he’s a good worker and very nice guy. He has worked with Growing Veterans too! I’m amplifying his message here; he just became unemployed and needs work. Highly recommended. Phone: 360-224-0735 or in case the first one gets shut off 360-358-3315. Thanks! Margie Katz
BELLINGHAM FOLK FESTIVAL
Here’s Today (Last Day) 🤓 🎻
Sunday all day: It’s dress like a tune day! Nail That Catfish to a Tree? King of the Fairies? Flowers of Edinburgh? Red Haired Boy? That one you wrote that actually has a perfect name for this that nobody else knows yet?
9am PST – BFF Base Camp is open for business, coffee, questions, breakfast chat, additional staring time
9:45am… PST – Workshops and sessions start and then continue
10am PST – Kids’ Hour! Hang out with the cool cats at the Pickle Palace and learn a tune with other kids
1:15pm PST – Choose your own adventure… Trad Zoomba (sturdy shoes recommended) or songs of connection sing-along with Fl!p Breskin!
3pm PST – Who’s in Your House? and tea time. Let’s meet your pets, roommates and houseplants 🙂
5pm PST – Last Raffle/Happy Hour
5:30pm – 6:30pm PST – Bruce Molsky + the Cayley Schmid Duo featuring Aaron Guest perform over at the Concert Hall, it can also be streamed live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/quarantinehappyhourmusic/
RADIO FREE FL!P: PEG AND AWL
Bruce Molsky – This is who’s playing this evening at the folk fest! That’s just him on the recording, singing with his fiddle. It’s just beautiful!
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