The November 24th Meeting at Nooksack High School following the flooding event in North County brings several responses
Whatcom County Government Version:A long 3 hour and 20 minute (The Fourth Corner watched the recorded version for this report) meeting on November 24th brought together Government officials and the community.
Amidst high emotion the Government officials both elected and those holding various levels of government management; including department heads and other officials addressed the community for nearly all of the first hour and half with little actual community input.
Toward the end of the 3:20 Meeting here is an Outtake by We Will.
One person can be heard telling their story in the background without the microphone. Her specifics are hard to know but Representative Shewmake did stand up and say she “just wanted to come down there and hug you”.
The program actually started with Congresswoman DelBene making a statement from a Zoom connection.
The citizen input was often shouted from the audience as it seemed that there was not any management of the microphone by the host of the events. This caused some confusion and limited input from the public that could be heard. Many of the public speakers were not asked to give their names for the record and sometimes it was difficult to know who they were and where they were from.
The following is a summary of what was heard (by Fourth Corner):
- Those that spoke from the public were very supportive of the Mayor’s of Everson, John Perry, and Kyle Christiansen for taking part in minute by minute leadership in their town.
- There was general confusion and frustration on the “red tape” it took to get anything done in the emergency. Including questions about the declaration of emergency by the Governor and the Governor’s Visit.
- The Whatcom County Public Works Director reported that he had control over County roads and that this flood event had many roads damaged in the Sumas, Nooksack epicenter of this flood but also many local streams and storm systems away from the area were affected and caused damage to many other County Roads. As far as State Roads, the Dept of Transportation was in charge of setting priorities and getting that work done.
- There was a report on the 1455 septic systems in the flood zone and the County was finding that in most cases, little if any damage was found so far.
- There was frustration and disappointment at any of the officials that suggested that a piece of the problem was not enough “public” being involved in the numerous committees and boards involved in making something called “Flood Control Policy”.
- Ron Groen (Spelling?) stated he had lived in the area a long while and was involved in the removal of gravel from the Nooksack riverbed. He stated “that around 1995 the permits to get gravel out of the river were harder and harder to get.” And his company stopped the practice. His conclusion: about 100,000 yards a year for 25 years has accumulated in the river. He also stated that 25 years ago he could stand on sandbar in the river in summer and “look up at the levee” and now “he looks down at the farmhouses”.
- A.J. Hoekema a volunteer from Whatcom Strong spoke about the response of the County and the State calling out the National Guard. He spoke about the early volunteers with their boats and tractors had to come from the local area and beyond. The National Guard was not on site at this time. NOTE: it was obvious that some kind of miscommunication situation arose to keep them from assembling.
- Others questioned the Governors “Climate Control” policies.
- Comments on why new construction was allowed in flood zones in the City of Sumas by County government.
- And finally the frustration. The 19 minute outtake at the beginning of this article is an example of that and worth the look.
The full meeting is viewable below…
The full Meeting Video on YouTube