Photo showing marchers in support of Black lives and their signs at the July 5, 2020, Lynden March for Black Lives held in Lynden, Washington. Photo credit: Seaghan Ventura

By Sandy Robson

August, 21, 2020

CW: This report contains some content that documents racial threats and violence which may be disturbing or upsetting.

This is a companion piece to The Searchlight Review’s report on the July 5th Lynden March for Black Lives, published on August 14, 2020. It focuses on the events leading up to the march held in Lynden, Washington, and the pro-police/pro-USA counter protest which was organized in response to the march, both of which were held on July 5, 2020. 

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Photo showing Black lives marchers gathered in grassy area near City Hall during the July 5, 2020, Lynden March For Black Lives held in Lynden, Washington. Photo credit: Seaghan Ventura

By Sandy Robson

August 14, 2020

This report provides a detailed accounting of what occurred during the Lynden March for Black Lives held in Lynden, Washington, and the pro-police/pro-USA counter-protest which was organized in response to the march, both of which were held on July 5, 2020. 

A second report  will be published soon , focusing on the events leading up to the “Lynden March for Black Lives” held in Lynden, Washington, and the pro-police/pro-USA counter-protest which was organized in response to the march, both of which were held on July 5, 2020. 

[Editor’s note: The second report,  “Demonstrated support for Black lives met by organized opposition in Lynden,” was published on August 21, 2020 and can be found at this link: https://searchlightreview.com/2020/08/21/demonstrated-support-for-black-lives-met-by-organized-opposition-in-lynden/]

Photo of striking workers at Columbia Reach in Yakima, Washington. According to Yakima Health District records, as of May 21, 2020, there were at least 30 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in terms of Columbia Reach employees. Photo credit: Edgar Franks

by Sandy Robson

May 30, 2020

On May 28, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference, during which he discussed a proclamation that he asserted would, “improve our health and safety guidelines for the hard-working people of the agricultural industry.”

Workers listening to speaker during Allan Bros. strike

    Photo taken on May 11, 2020, showing Familias Unidas por la Justicia president, Ramon Torres meeting with striking Allan Bros. workers. Photo credit: Brenda Bentley

By Sandy Robson

May 24, 2019

Workers at Allan Bros., Inc., a century-old apple grower, packer and shipper located in Yakima County, Washington, have been on strike since May 7, 2020, when more than 50 workers walked off the job.

Click the graphic to access a PDF copy of The Searchlight Review’s full, December 2019, “A Report on the Reports – Examining public records relating to the Center for Economic and Business Research’s 2014 and 2019 ‘Employment at Cherry Point’ reports”

By Sandy Robson

December 10, 2019

Editor’s note: The Searchlight Review assembled “A Report on the Reports” based primarily on public records related to Western Washington University’s Center for Economic and Business Research’s 2014 and 2019 “Employment at Cherry Point” reports sponsored by the Whatcom Business Alliance. Readers can view a pdf copy of The Searchlight Review’s full report, released on December 10, 2019, here. The Introduction, Executive Summary, and Conclusion sections of Searchlight Review’s report are provided below, along with an interactive slideshow containing screenshots of email records which are included in the report. 

Screenshot of photo accompanying an October 3, 2019 post displayed on Estudio Manini Abogados‘ Facebook page

By Sandy Robson

November 9, 2019

Washington state Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) has been keeping busy with his company, PacRim Bridges LLC, which he and his business partner, Jay Rodne, a former Washington state Representative from Snoqualmie, Washington, founded in November of 2017.

Elfo We Speak asking supporters
Screenshot photo of a September 19, 2019 post made by the “Sheriff Bill Elfo” profile on We Speak

By Sandy Robson

September 22, 2019

[Editor’s note: This story has been updated on September 23, 2019 to reflect the fact that sometime today (September 23, 2019) the “Sheriff Bill Elfo” profile appears to have been removed from the We Speak social media platform. Now, when searching on We Speak by entering the former profile name, “Sheriff Bill Elfo,” that particular profile no longer produces any search results. In addition to this new development, it appears that the Re-elect Sheriff Bill Elfo Facebook page has removed the post declaring that “We Speak is running most of Re-elect Sheriff Bill Elfo’s campaign,” which had been posted on that Facebook page on Thursday, September 19, 2019, and which is referenced in this article with an accompanying screenshot photo.]

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo’s campaign for the November 5, 2019 general election recently urged the sheriff’s supporters to join We Speak, a new social media platform created for Christian conservatives and founded by Ray Gilbride and his wife, Danielle Gilbride, who reside in Bellingham, Washington.

Gilbride We Speak in Austin
Still frame photo of We Speak founder Ray Gilbride taken from video recording posted in an August 16, 2019 post on his Facebook page. Photo shows him in front of the We Speak booth during the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual conference held August 14-16, 2019, in Austin, Texas

By Sandy Robson

September 8, 2019

A July 30, 2019 post made by Washington state Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) on his Facebook page read:

“Rep. Matt Shea is a good man, a good legislator, and a great American.

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Photo showing the “Trump Keep America Great 2020” banner draped across the stage at the Whatcom Republicans’ annual summer picnic held on July 11, 2019, at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale, Washington. Photo is displayed on the Whatcom Republicans’ Facebook page

By Sandy Robson

August 11, 2019

The Bellingham Herald published an August 5, 2019, article, “Ferndale Police investigating signs promoting white supremacist ideology.” The article reported that the Ferndale Police Department is investigating posters linked to a group called Patriot Front which were placed in downtown Ferndale, Washington.

Screenshot of a May 18, 2019 Facebook post displayed on Rud Browne’s campaign Facebook page showing photo of Browne, current Chair of the Whatcom County Council

By Sandy Robson

June 1, 2019

Whatcom County Council Chair Rud Browne announced in a press release on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, that he had withdrawn from the 40th Legislative District (LD) state Senate race. Browne, who resides in Bellingham, Washington, had filed to run for state Senate on Friday, May 17 at 3:44 PM, according to the listed 2019 candidate filings posted on the Whatcom County Auditor’s website.

Image on left: Screenshot photo of paragraph 4 contained in executive order 13770, issued on January 28, 2017 by President Donald J. Trump. Image on right: Still frame photo of Senator Doug Ericksen taken from a March 14, 2019 Inside Olympia program broadcast on TVW.

By Sandy Robson

April 24, 2019

An April 5, 2019 article published in the online version of The Seattle Times reported that Washington state Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) registered as a foreign agent for the Kingdom of Cambodia in an April 3 filing with the U.S. Department of Justice, along with former Republican Washington state representative Jay Rodne, of Snoqualmie, Washington.

According to the April 5 Seattle Times article, Senator Ericksen and Rodne registered as foreign agents under a company, PacRim Bridges, LLC to lobby for the Cambodian government.

Photo of Rader Farms sign taken in Lynden, WA on August 5, 2018

By Sandy Robson

April 12, 2019

A forum featuring a panel of individuals representing local farming interests was held on March 6, 2019, at the Meridian High School auditorium, in Bellingham, Washington.

The forum, “Whatcom Agriculture – Is There A Future for Farming in Whatcom County?” was hosted by Common Threads Northwest, a local conservative organization that was created in early 2015. Common Threads Northwest essentially assumed the role of the Whatcom Tea Party after it became defunct in March of 2017.

 

sunset square starbucks
Photo of the same “Say No to Panhandling” sign located at Sunset Square shopping center in Bellingham, WA, that appeared in the live-streamed video posted on the Hearts & Homes Bellingham Facebook page

By Sandy Robson

February 24, 2019

Bellingham, Washington, known for its unofficial nickname, “The City of Subdued Excitement,” is also known for its fairly subdued winter weather — not too cold, not much snow, but with a pretty steady stream of rain. Sunday, February 3, 2019, brought unusually frigid temperatures to Bellingham and its surrounding county. Those below freezing temperatures were accompanied by several inches of snow that fell on that Super Bowl Sunday, along with power outages which impacted thousands of Whatcom County residents. Local schools were closed the following day due to the snow.

Screenshot photo of the top portion for the home page of the Great America PAC (formerly named TrumPAC) website. TrumPAC was co-founded by William Doddridge and Amy Kremer

By Sandy Robson

November 1, 2018

In doing research for The Searchlight Review’s October 20, 2018 report  entitled, “Undermining tribal sovereignty and stoking anti-Indianism: The 40th Legislative District Pos. 1 House race,” some campaign finance information that was discovered, was not included in the report.

 

petrish collage Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 12.22.53 PM
Top left: Michael Petrish, photo from michaelpetrish.com – Top center: Kris Halterman, photo from smllibertyroad.com – Top right: Elaine Willman, photo from gemstatepatriot.com – Bottom center: Tom Pasma, photo from tompasma.org – Bottom right: Rud Browne, photo from whatcomcounty.us

By Sandy Robson

October 20, 2018

The November 6, 2018, general election race for 40th Legislative District State Representative Position 1, features Democratic candidate Debra Lekanoff, versus Republican candidate Michael Petrish. Parts of both Whatcom County and Skagit County in Washington state make up the 40th Legislative District (LD). The district encompasses southwestern Whatcom County, northeastern Skagit County, and San Juan County.

 

Red Line Salish Sea banner on display at a September 30, 2017 march from Birch Bay State Park to Peace Arch State Park

By Sandy Robson

August 25, 2018

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office found itself in the news last month in a July 17, 2018 article published by The Intercept entitled, “The U.S. and Canada are preparing for a new Standing Rock over the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline.” In late May of this year, the pipeline expansion project proposed by Kinder Morgan Inc. was purchased along with the existing Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia. The purchaser was the Canadian federal government.

Tim Eyman full contact
Tim Eyman speaking at the May 10, 2018 “Full Contact Activism Tour,” held at Meridian High School, in Bellingham, Washington

By Sandy Robson

July 10, 2018

In May of this year, some well known Whatcom County conservative stalwarts teamed up with one of Washington state’s most infamous tax opponents, Tim Eyman, and newly dubbed “Master Provocateur” Glen Morgan, to launch the “Full Contact Activism Tour.” The tour visited eight cities throughout the state.

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Blueberry field at Sarbanand Farms in Sumas, Washington. Photo Credit: Krista Rome

By Sandy Robson

June 24, 2018

In a full courtroom in Whatcom County District Court on Tuesday morning, June 19, 2018, attendees heard Judge Pro Tempore Dave Cottingham agree to Sarbanand Farms’ request that the $73,000 penalty it was assessed by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), be reduced by half, to $36,500. The proceedings that day serve to raise significant doubt as to the ability of state and local agencies to take actions that would adequately identify and prevent abuse of farm workers employed by farms under the H-2A visa program.