A couple months back I wrote the editor regarding a dog at large violation I received while walking my dog on Marine Drive.
As it pertains to the subsequent experience I had, I opted to dispute the charge. This was not about $74 but rather principal. The issuing officer’s attitude aside, as it was this that truly pushed me to push back so to speak, I felt this was one battle I refused to lay down on, and through the court system, I would be afforded the opportunity to simply have a voice.
Upon arriving at the Bellingham courts, the judge provided two alternatives to my decision to contest. I could mitigate, which meant admitting fault and then hoping for a lesser fine aka “monetary mercy” or I could defer which meant postponing judgment for up to a year after which should there be no further violations during that period, the charge would be dismissed less the administrative fees. Thanks, but no thanks. I came to win or lose, no half marks and no charity.
My argument was simple; I simply explained to the judge that the code as written lacks the use of prepositions and definite articles – English 101 – which would otherwise bring direction and understanding to what “under control” means.
As I stood before the court, I asked the judge if I appeared under control? He answered yes. I asked, under whose control? By what means? How am I under control? He appeared confused but before I could allow him to finish his thought, I pressed.
Further to the specific infraction I was charged under, subsequent infractions in the same section all adopt the use of definite articles or prepositions that leave no doubt as to what control implies. Interestingly, the section on applicability speaks of control being by means of a leash, so it begs the question, why aren’t the infractions better defined and inclusive or tied to and adoptive of other sections?
I should add that there is a definitions section to the code, but it wasn’t my job to teach the court system on where and how to find them. There are just too many inconsistencies and not enough uniformity in terms of the infractions as they are today.
The judge dismissed the citation.
In the aftermath of the Holiday Gift Faire, I have a lot of people I wish to thank for its success. We raised $700 each for the library building fund and the Point Roberts Historical Society.
Thank you to all the vendors who were there, friendly and enjoying the days. Thank you also to local vendors and residents for their donations to our raffle. Thanks go to the Historical Society for doing such a lovely job of running the raffle room.
Thanks to Kitty Doyle of Blue Heron Gallery for collecting registration forms and fees from the vendors. Her continuing support of local artists is greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Rita Worth and Jim Linde of the senior group for a great lunch both days. The combined earnings from the raffle and table fees, made it possible for a $600 donation to the Point Roberts Historical Society and Point Roberts Library Building Fund. Also, a very special thank you to Whidbey Telecom who gave an additional $125 to the two groups.
We would not have been able to raise as much funds without the support of Pat Grubb and Louise Mugar of the All Point Bulletin with advertising assistance, postings and updating articles from Meg Olson.
Thank you to our customers; we hope you had as much fun as we did.
Beverly Alder, a Tsawwassen stop the towers coalition member, sent a simple email to our group recently with the following quote from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Our small group of committed citizens from both sides of the border may not have changed the world but we surely changed the outcome of the proposed radio towers in Point Roberts.
Coming together in August 2013, this group organized a public street demonstration, many town hall meetings, door-to-door campaigning, several large-scale fundraising events featuring live music, food, auctions, a car rally, and countless hours meeting around the table in the back room of the community center. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our businesses and ordinary people in both countries who kept giving and giving when asked. There is no question about the generosity of others and hope that someone out there (who has not contributed) may step up and help retire our debt once and for all.
But this win could not have happened without the committed citizens from long ago who worked tirelessly with members of Whatcom County Council, planning and development services, the planning commission, a consulting firm and a community-wide public planning process that began in September 2000. Their work created the Point Roberts Sub-Area Plan and character plan. No other community in Whatcom County has a special district (chapter 20-72) in its land use zoning code. These documents impose additional protections and create opportunities not available in the underlying zone districts to fit the needs of Point Roberts.
Yes, we are special. Who knew that the work accomplished then would hold back the lion at the gate? Thank you to Syd Wallace and Irene Waters (who are longer with us) Jim Julius, Frank Ney, Shelley Damewood and Michael Rosser. We defeated the potential construction of five 150-foot towers at our border not only with the work of the Cross Border Coalition but more importantly, from the work done by others long ago.
The recent successful defeat of the towers proposal reaffirmed a basic truth long known to veteran residents. While we tend to squabble among ourselves and separate into cliques, when anyone or anything from “outside” threatens any portion of the Point Roberts family, they find themselves dealing with a monolith.
That unified entity has banded together many times over the years to teach interlopers how much they have underestimated this place. Perhaps we have the instincts of folks who can live on islands and that may be why so many locals have spent time in Hawaii. Whatever the reason, congratulations to all of us.