Recent Stories

Interim Public Works Director Forbids New Climate and Energy Manager from Discussing Telecom and Dig Once

At first, I was excited to speak with the city’s new climate and energy manager Seth Vidana in an attempt to help him make the obvious connections between technology and the impact it has on the environment. Specifically, I wanted to talk to him about the benefits of a local Dig Once Policy and the amount of energy wireless communications use. He told me that while he was personally interested in wireless energy usage, its impact on the environment, and Dig Once, etc., he has been forbidden by his boss, Interim Public Works Director Eric Johnston, from discussing these issues or their effects on the environment with me or anyone else. He also said that all communications related to these issues have to go through Eric Johnston. Since Mayor Seth Fleetwood has literally been to my house for a Dig Once presentation and seemed to agree that it makes sense, I’ve put a call in to him.

Wireless Uses Too Much Power and Is a Security Threat

A lot of the questions surrounding wireless, especially with the roll out of 5G, have to do with legitimate health concerns surrounding a virtually untested technology from a health standpoint. While those concerns should be investigated further, this article is about one specific point about technology that is often overlooked. A point that our global high-tech culture has largely refused to hold the tech industry accountable for. The amount of power unnecessarily used by the industry in the first place. Not only is wireless less reliable but it is also much less efficient at moving data than wired connections, especially fiber-optic connections.

Comcast Lies About Bridging The Digital Divide

The City of Bellingham, like many cities in the US, is controlled by a Comcast monopoly facilitated by our politicians despite widespread consumer objections to Comcast. Other private providers have likewise failed to produce value for most. For example, CenturyLink, as highlighted in the book “Fiber”, brought in a very small amount of fiber to spur interest in their other lower-quality services and provide spotty access at best. The idea of choice, without public fiber, is no choice at all. In the neighboring City of Anacortes, Chatanooga, TN, Wilson, NC, and other places with public fiber-optic networks, individuals are going to have Gigabit (1,000 Mbps/1,000 Mbps) Fiber to the Home access for about $70 a month. Here, $110 a month will get you a high fade, low-performance, connection from Comcast instead. They will claim the connection is 100 Mbps down and only 10 Mbps up, but it will often perform much lower than that and unlike fiber, the time it takes for signals to get back and forth is much longer.

The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning If….

Have you ever considered what tremendous potential we have as humans if we were to think about the world in larger terms and with more open minds? This is not a pipe dream. We have made more advances in the last 100 years than the last thousand, and in the last 10 than the 100 before that. Still, not all these advancements have been beneficial. We have often used our knowledge to create better weapons instead of better conditions for people.

Voices from the inside: It’s time to Decriminalize Mental Illness

The “criminalization” of mental illness is the end result of decades of failed mental health policy. Jails and prisons are the new asylums. Law enforcement is now on the front line of mental illness crisis response. Mental illness is one of the drivers of incarceration in the Whatcom County Jail. See the Vera Institute of Justice, Report to Whatcom County Stakeholders on Jail Reduction Strategies (November 2017). The county’s incarceration of the mentally ill is not unique. It is part of a national shame.

A Tale of Two Cities: Chattanooga Tennessee’s Community Owned and Operated Fiber Network: A Successful Blueprint for Bellingham

The internet was created to be—and has become—our public  commons. It is the central medium for communication and business, for public discussion and engagement, and democratic discourse and debate. Given its importance to the public, community networks should have been financed, constructed and managed as public infrastructure like municipal water systems, sewers, streets or libraries. High-speed optical fiber-based internet access networks should have been installed in every community with direct hard-wired connections to every household and workplace. Just as with electricity in the early days, internet access should now be for all, and in a form that is fast, affordable, neutral, sustainable and safe.

The Green New Deal and Publicly Owned Fiber-Optic Networks

Authors: Atul Deshmane and Jon Humphrey
There is no doubt that America needs real infrastructure improvements, and that they should come in the form of large scale updates that help improve the environment as well. This is a large part of what the Green New Deal proposes, but as with most ideas in our culture the lack of understanding, and proper education, regarding technology is polluting this idea as well and keeping it from reaching its true potential. The Green New Deal (GND) aims to address climate change and economic inequality, just like publicly-owned fiber-optic networks will as outlined in this Bellingham Public Fiber petition, but the need for broadband to be part of the Green New Deal doesn’t just end there. Recently the Green New Deal was discussed at an event held by Indivisible Bellingham, a fantastic organization that I am proud to have been allowed to address on the topic of public-fiber, but sadly the issue of broadband and the way it related to the GND did not come up. 
Most are aware that Renewable Energy begs the most important question in the Green New Deal. If we are going to be more mindful of how we get our SUPPLY of energy we must start with how we DEMAND our energy.