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.

Saving The Orca And Salmon – Does Inslee Have The Political Will?

Photo Credit: Washington State Department of Ecology

In March 2018, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order that directed state agencies to take “immediate” action to help the critically-endangered Southern Resident orcas and formed a nearly 50-member Southern Resident Orca Task Force (the “Task Force”). The Executive Order recognized the inextricable link between the orca and its main prey—the endangered Chinook salmon. The Task Force released a 148-page report in November 2018, with prioritized recommendations for orca recovery (the “Report”). The recommendations and their order of importance was the result of compromise—a natural consequence of the diverse composition of the Task Force. About 20 percent of Task Force members are state agency employees.