A Human Element

The Washington State Ferry Hyak earned a gold stripe on its stack last year, symbolizing fifty years of service. As a vessel that still uses an engine room telegraph, where engine room workers alter speed and direction by hand–instead of automated machinery–the Hyak will continue as a relief vessel, in order to expedite maintenance on other ships in the 22-vessel WSF fleet.



Now that the Washington State Legislature and Governor overruled the Washington Supreme Court decision on Hirst v Whatcom, the fight to save salmon from extinction in the Salish Sea–once again–falls on the backs of Northwest Treaty Tribes. You can read the perspective of the Treaty Tribes on the water bill that sets the stage for a federal confrontation in which the Anti-Indian Washington Attorney General will lead the charge against tribal treaty rights.

Meet the McKinneys

As reported in this March 2017 expose by Sandy Robson, the Whatcom Tea Party changed its name to Common Threads Northwest. That marketing move mirrors the November 2017 deceptive campaign mailer sent out by Whatcom Republican candidates claiming to be non-partisan.

In the March story, Robson reveals two new players in Whatcom politics–the husband and wife team of James and Laura McKinney–who assumed key positions in the Anti-Indian, Tea Party network: James as Executive Director of Common Threads Northwest, and Laura as Director of Operations and Communications for the Whatcom Business Alliance–an advocacy organization in support of fossil fuel export at Cherry Point.

James McKinney is known for comparing environmentalists to communists. As the newest member of the Blaine School Board, Laura McKinney notes in her profile that she previously worked for the United States Chamber of Commerce–a lobbying organization that opposes unions, affordable health care, occupational safety, and public health measures that threaten the tobacco industry.

This is how the Tea Party became a powerhouse. They run candidates for school board, which makes their name familiar, then run them for state and county offices.
It’s an apprenticeship program, that trains Christian Right candidates to avoid exposure.
Allied with real estate developers–that spend a lot of advertising money in local media–they essentially get a free ride for their racism.

White Power

To illustrate the horizontal integration of the Anti-Indian Movement, Chet Dow, secretary/treasurer of the Whatcom chapter of Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, is also a board member of the Northwest Business Club–a Whatcom Republican Party affiliate–and is listed as an officer on the PDC registration for the Anti-Indian PACs, SaveWhatcom and WhatcomFirst. As noted in A Tea Party by Any Other Name, Dow is a director of Common Threads Northwest, the successor to the Whatcom Tea Party, which spawned these PACs.

Additionally, Dow was an executive board member of the Whatcom Republican party. As a Whatcom County Charter Review Commissioner in 2015, Dow demonized environmentalists for opposing the Gateway Pacific coal export proposal. As noted by Sandy Robson, in 2013, the Gateway Pacific coal export consortium contributed $149,000 to the Anti-Indian PACs.

The timeline White Power on the Salish Sea puts Dow’s abhorrent conduct in context.

The Struggle

The Friday Harbor Film Festival features Dolores, the award-winning documentary about Dolores Huerta–famed Chicana human rights activist and labor organizer. As co-founder of the United Farm Workers, Huerta–who will attend the festival–was the less-known partner of Cesar Chavez, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.