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/]

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

danger sign sarbanand
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. 

By Sandy Robson

June 3, 2018

This is a follow-up story with additional details related to my March 25, 2018 article. That article had reported on what was known back at that time about Washington state Senator Doug Ericksen’s March 21, 2018 visit to Meridian High School (MHS), as he described it, to talk with students about gun violence and school safety. Ericksen, a Republican from Ferndale, Washington, is running for re-election to the state Senate this year.

sarbanand farms sign

By Sandy Robson

April 27, 2018

Adding to the list of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) inspections of Sarbanand Farms in Sumas, Washington, in 2017, is another safety and health inspection I learned more about on Wednesday, April 25. Inspection number 317946364 was conducted by L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) after being initiated back in June 2017, although it was not mentioned in L&I’s February 1, 2018 press release announcing its findings from investigations at Sarbanand Farms which the department initiated in August 2017.

The DOSH inspection initiated in June 2017 did find that Sarbanand Farms had committed a serious violation involving an employee injury. 

Workers receive news about co-workers and Honesto
Remaining workers in the fields at Sarbanand Farms on August 5, 2017 listen to advocates telling them that some of their co-workers were fired earlier that day, and that Honesto Silva Ibarra was in the hospital. Photo Credit: Edgar Franks.

By Sandy Robson

April 23, 2018

In a February 1, 2018 letter sent to Robert Hawk, CEO of Sarbanand Farms, LLC, Deibi Sibrian, Industrial Relations Agent with Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) wrote, in part:

By Sandy Robson

March 15, 2018

On January 6, 2018, Republican state Senator Douglas Ericksen found himself on the front page of The Bellingham Herald, and the subject of headlines in numerous other news publications later that day and over the weekend, for having been appointed to the position of senior adviser to the regional administrator in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 10 office, in Seattle, Washington. Ericksen tried to quash that news by saying the story was false, and by calling those press reports “erroneous.” Local reporter Kie Relyea, first broke the story on January 5, in the online version of The Bellingham Herald.

Screenshot photo of WBA President Tony Larson’s “Leading Off” column featured in the Fall 2017 issue of Business Pulse Magazine. Click the graphic to access the Fall 2017 issue of Business Pulse, and the page 10 article

By Sandy Robson

February 24, 2018

The Fall 2017 issue of Whatcom Business Alliance’s support publication, Business Pulse Magazine, featured WBA President Tony Larson’s “Leading Off” column, titled “Apparently doing the right thing is just not enough: How to protect your business against, [sic] unwanted, uninformed demonstrators.”