Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are you Active?

9/30/2014: Republishing this post because of the timely importance. 9/30/2014 - RMF
If you have not registered to vote for the general election, do so now at  I talked extensively with the Whatcom County election desk and others about 1,927 'undeliverable' (returned) primary ballots, some of which came from the 200 series precincts centered around WWU. Here is some information on reactivation of your voting status if you leave Bellingham for the summer.

If you are a registered active voter (e.g. student) and you move home for the summer, your registration status becomes inactive if your mail-in ballot is 'undeliverable' for the (August) Primary election. When you return in the fall, simply log in to MyVote WA ( with your name and birthdate, *UPDATE* your registration with your new Whatcom County/Bellingham address, and *presto* you will become an active voter here again. It is probable that many of you changed your voter registration address when you moved home (e.g. out of Whatcom County) so you could vote in your home county WA primary. Most probably, you would have not been mailed a Whatcom County ballot here. If you were a registered voter in Whatcom County, and if 'home' for you was not a county in WA State, you most probably were mailed a Primary ballot to your school year address. Simply change your voter registration to a Whatcom County address when you return to your new residence in Whatcom County in the fall. You will be activated.

Student or not, if you move, you *MUST* change your address every time you change residence. You can do this  either on-line (*preferable method*) at or by calling the elections desk for Whatcom County. Do this as soon as you find your new place here in Whatcom County.  There is no automation or reminder for you to change your voting address. This does not happen 'automagically' when you forward your mail via the USPS.  Unless you set up it, your smart phone or tablet or email will not remind you to change your voter registration address. It's all up to you. 

Here is where the voter data base stands as of 09/05/2014 for Whatcom County:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Millennial Effect

Left: Inactive Voters By Age as of 09/23/2014  Y Axis = c(0,500)
Right: Active Voters as of 09/23/1014, Y Axis = c(0,1800)
Blue = Whatcom County 40th LD; Red = 42nd LD ; X Axis = c(0,110)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reactivate yourself!

Updated with recent data and comment about mobile urban millenials and voter registration -RMF

Make sure to reactivate your status as a voter if you have moved!   In fact, it is just a good idea to log on to  and check your voting status now. WA state and your county are actively paring  (or making inactive) voters who have moved, passed on, not submitted change of address forms in preparation for the October/November general election period.  When I perform the PostgreSQL query below on the September 5 vs. the September 19 active voter databases in Whatcom County, I have a possibility of 3589  to 3693 voters that are no longer part of the current active voter database. If you have any doubts that the current registration process isn't a disaster for urban millennials, check out the stats below. Code for this post is here.

"What does it Mean?"

But what does it mean?
It means they have the ability see every website you visit, every text message you send, every call you make, every ticket you purchase, every donation you make, and every book you order online. From “I’m headed to church” to “I hate my boss” to “She’s in the hospital,” the GCSB is there. Your words are intercepted, stored, and analyzed by algorithms long before they’re ever read by your intended recipient.

Faced with reasonable doubts, ask yourself just what it is that stands between these most deeply personal communications and the governments of not just in New Zealand, but also the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia?
The answer is that solitary checkbox, the Five Eyes Defeat. One checkbox is what separates our most sacred rights from the graveyard of lost liberty. When an officer of the government wants to know everything about everyone in their society, they don’t even have to make a technical change. They simply uncheck the box. The question before us is no longer “why was this done without the consent and debate of the people of this country,” but “what are we going to do about it?"

Edward Snowden on  Five Eyes Surveillance on The Intercept

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fwd: Comprehensive Plan Survey

I filled out the Comprehensive plan  survey for the City of Bellingham whose notice  I received in my mailbox. I found the entire document limited in scope to planning and growth discussions I know little if anything about.  Nor did I feel qualified to discuss them. It might have been nice to have first introduced the reader to the all those planned urban village discussions in some type of forum where others have contributed their opinions and knowledge.  Here is what I wrote in the only text box that allowed for my "comprehensive plan" opinion:
"I would like to see *grand city projects* in the urban core and surrounding city like light electric rail to BC, a bridge over the rail to the waterfront from Broadway, downtown skyscrapers, high tech business parks off Hannegan, a brilliant, utilitarian but classic new library with meeting rooms and skybending architecture, a world class concert hall on the Waterfront, a wealthy enriched population engaged in mathematical and scientific research."
I think this survey is probably a misuse of sampling technique that will add little that is important to discussions about growth in Bellingham.  The internet could be used so much more thoroughly than a limited, handpicked sample of multi-choice opinion questions.  What cities should host are forums and mail lists about growth in a specific area to encourage communities to have lively discussions with frequent moderation and contributions by COB planners and Council members. Cities could develop online simulations of growth areas and development, allowing users to construct and design buildings and city amenities in their cloud space for competition or display of the most interesting designs.

Providing software that simulated the effect of growth on co-factors like traffic, accidents, air quality, park space,wildlife, child care, bicycle and pedestrian safety, crime, jobs would allow citizens to think about the impacts of their design decisions as our city grows increasingly complicated. A survey monkey is a cute idea, but what is really needed is something like a "Second Life meets Sim City meets Urban Big Data" with real live politicians, planners,economists, environmentalists of note invited/mandated to play the game with community members who can contribute their own visions of urban development. Like corporate world policy and shareholder meetings, web conferencing and q and a could be provided by city planners in the late evening hours via services like "Live Meeting" so that citizens could listen in live and send in opinions without leaving the comfort of their homes.

I don't think urban centers have figured out a way to engage their populations with all the communication tools available to them on the internet.  Maybe if they did, they could use these tools to their advantage to encourage lots of participation from many different users.   My guess is the first city to do this will find a way to increase civic pride and decrease civic resistance.

To top it all off, nothing seemed to prevent me from taking the survey over again which doesn't make this a very reliable poll. Any way I found the survey at this link.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fwd: NWCAA draft permit focuses on potential air releases from proposed Shell crude-oil rail terminal

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Northwest Clean Air Agency <>
Date: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 11:47 AM
Subject: NWCAA draft permit focuses on potential air releases from proposed Shell crude-oil rail terminal

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The 'swing vote' in WA 42 LD

GIS : City of Bellingham Precincts (2012)  and  Whatcom County Precincts (2011)
The columns in the long table below the break represent active voters as of 09/10/2014 for the 119 precincts in WA LD 42nd. They represent the queries for (successful) BallotCounted = 1 for  the 2014 primary, ge2013, ge2013  and (not successful) BallotCounted = 0 as nprimary, nge2013, nge2012. The last three columns are synthetic:
  • pdiff (ge2013 - primary) # Voted in GE2013 but not the primary
  • gediff (ge2013 - ge2012) # Voted in GE2013 but not GE2012
  • ngediff (nge2013 - nge2012) # Not Voted in GE2013 vs Not Voted GE2012

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Campaign Financing War Part III:42 WA LD 09/01/2014 PDC data

Editor's Note: Two minor corrections as noted below.  -RMF

Above is a quantile plot of Republican (red) vs. Democrat (blue) campaign donations for the six candidates in the 2014 WA LD 42 races as of 09/01/2014. Quantile plot for all donation levels are in gray.  The extensive difference between the 60th to 90th percentiles corresponds roughly to the $200 - $850 donation levels; a difference which has allowed the Republicans to raise more funds than the Democrats by $96K ($324K - $228K),  despite the fact that the Democrats  have 368 more unique contributors (1157 -789).  A total count of  contributions favor the Democrats as well 1512 to 1160, revealing a large number contributors who have donated to multiple campaigns.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Race and the Vote in the Pacific Northwest (Whatcom County) : Part II

"We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is a time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives. It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the facts that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all. Those who do nothing are inviting shame, as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right, as well as reality." - President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on Civil Rights June 11, 1963.
This piece continues my work on CVAP data and demographics in Whatcom County (See 1, 2).  Most of the code (and some ouput) for this piece is here.  My guess is that the key piece of OFA's victory in 2012 derived from the engagement of people of color not only in Whatcom County but throughout the nation. The 42nd district races in 2014 present opportunities particularly for the Democratic Party to engage many county based Hispanics and Native Americans and a surprising number of people of color who live in block groups or precincts that are part of the 42nd.  The data here is 2010 Block Group Data. For statewide only updated estimates see the Census data explorer.

The Democrats I grew up with in the Bay Area (e.g. Phil Burton, Willie Brown, Ronald Dellums, Barbara Lee, George Miller, Gus Newport among many other local politicians) made it a point to engage in political dialog with all of their constituencies in a state whose legacy included Cesar Chavez, the Black Panthers, and historical civil rights activism. I simply don't see this type of engagement from local political leaders in Washington state outside of perhaps Seattle. Yet the emerging electoral profile of WA state is increasingly made up of people of color. This is one view (race and ethnic groups are overlaid with transparent (alpha channel) color) of the  multi-racial spectrum of Whatcom County's non white citizens by Census Block Group. Click to Enlarge :

Note on this graphic: These population estimates in this charts are limited to 750 max for perspective. For grouped and not overlaid charts see Barcharts of All Races and Ethnicity (far below).

Friday, August 22, 2014

Race and the Vote in the Pacific Northwest : Part I

Post Ferguson, pre-election: Let us discuss Race and the Vote in the Pacific Northwest.

Technical for this post is here . -RMF
One bright Farmer's market Saturday morning two weeks ago, when downtown Bellingham seemed almost unbelievably hip, sunny, and organic all in the same breath, I stopped to chat with a group supporting farm worker rights in WA. They talked about their struggles to form a union, receive adequate housing on local farms.  I asked how many farms are unionized in Washington State?  Only one other at this time, was the answer. However, Latino and Hispanic peoples have a long history in WA. We are full  of talk about community in Bellingham, WA.  Most of the time the community concerns are those of a white community.

Racial divides are often not what people think of first when contemplating Washington State. Our endless rain and Microsoft's endless success assure that when most of the nation thinks about us, it isn't in terms of racial conflict. Historically, if wasn't too long after Lewis and Clark had returned from their expedition to the Northwest that the nation was busy crafting the Missouri Compromise. During the civil war era, Washington was a remote outpost, not achieving statehood until 1889. For all municipal purposes, Washington remained for a long time a bastion for escapees, Utopians  and frontiersman. For the devotees of a "White Homeland", eastern Washington still holds this type of promise.  It comes as a shock to a native of Oakland, Ca to see such separatist web sites.. But then advertisements on the local bus system in Oakland while I was growing up promoted the possibility of a separate homeland for African-Americans created from the Southern states. I don't expect the concept of either black or white separatism will ever find much acceptance.

It is unlikely that the future of Washington state will retain anything segregationist,remote or frontier like about it. Positioned as the gateway to the Pacific Rim, bordering some of the fastest growing and heterogeneous cities in both the U.S. (Portland, Oregon)  and British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), Washington state is home to one of America's most impressive and growing urban centers (Seattle). Washington state is poised to become not only a serious immigration destination, but an international economic engine. What will be the racial composition of this state in the future? Below, I use CVAP data ('Citizen Voting Age Population') from the 2008 - 2012 American Community Survey to look at the state of Washington as a whole and Whatcom County specifically. Here are the 2012 estimates of citizens and the voting age population by race/ethnicity:

Total 6,258,320 4,737,840
Not Hispanic or Latino 5,713,835 4,466,845
White Alone 4,788,925 3,840,125
Hispanic or Latino 544,500 270,980
Asian Alone 352,720 263,595
Black or African American Alone 209,164 152,309
American Indian or Alaska Native Alone 81,860 59,515
American Indian or Alaska Native and White 66,875 47,280
Asian and White 78,738 35,736
Remainder of Two or More Race Responses 46,695 24,124
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander Alone 34,113 23,322
Black or African American and White 49,048 16,871
American Indian or Alaska Native and Black or African American 5,696 3,942

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

42nd District By The Numbers

42 WA LD Boys vs. Girls by Precinct
The data below is from Active Voter database from 08/01/2014 for the 85829 voters in the 119 precincts of the WA 42 LD only. Click on the Graphs to enlarge. Code and output are here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

GIS Sources of Electoral Information: Part I

Updated with Block Group list and Annotated Block Group shapes location. -RMF

Below are three GIS representations of Bellingham Precincts, Whatcom County Precincts (2011), and CVAP information and Block Groups (2012). This GIS data has been developed for three different agencies (City, County, Census),  each of which have emphasized three different sets of information. Consequently, hybridizing precincts data with Block Group data is a difficult task. This is a shame since co-ordinated GIS could tell us in which precincts registered and non-registered voters live.

The City of Bellingham holds the most dense collection of precincts in Whatcom County. In total, the 68 200 series precincts hold almost 40% (49,632) of total registered voters. There may well be many more voters in these districts that have not registered. It would be nice to know where they are.:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

42nd LD Primary Turnout and Active Voter Information

This post is just raw data and charts. Not a conversational or analytic post. 

This is essentially 42 LD WA data from a recent Active Voter Database and August Primary returns from accumulated "match backs". It shows turnout percentages with that data. This will be useful to PCOs and campaign managers who are worried about why their full precincts turned out so little or why some precincts have lower Active Voter rolls than others. There are two groups:

  • 200 Series (Urban Bellingham proper)
  • Rest of Precincts (Everyone else in Whatcom County)
12 Charts are far below. Click to Enlarge. The lattice charts should enable you to pick out your precinct and contemplate electoral participation. So will the lists.  There will be second quarter 'ERIC' reductions in the active voter list. There will some number of the "Undeliverables" that will be placed on inactive status. There will be increasing registration by both parties for all precincts. In the next three months, change will come to the active voter list.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fwd: The Central Valley: where oil and water mix

Editor's Note: I find Kate Gordon's "Cliff Notes" some of the most readable, engaging and detailed analysis of energy and climate news anywhere. I recommend you subscribe.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kate Gordon <>
Date: Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 2:52 PM
Subject: The Central Valley: where oil and water mix

Fwd: Fracking the last best place

Editor's Note: The fracking threat to Whatcom County is real possibility. No one covers the disaster that is fracked gas and oil like Josh Fox and Gasland.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gasland The Movie <>
Date: Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Subject: Fracking the last best place

Gasland, A Film By Josh Fox
Gasland, A Film By Josh Fox