BELLINGHAM TheNewsTribune - A candidate forum on growth and the environment was canceled because none of the four conservative Whatcom County Council hopefuls were going to participate. The organizers, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and Futurewise, announced the cancelation Wednesday, July 31, one day before the forum was to be held. They hope to reschedule it before the election on Nov. 5.
"The goal of this forum was to question all the candidates about critical growth and environmental issues," RE Sources Executive Director Crina Hoyer said. "We would love to give the community the opportunity to have their opinions."
RE Sources would go ahead with the forum if it could get "the majority of candidates represented," Hoyer said, which means that one of the conservative candidates would need to join incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer; Rud Browne, who is challenging Bill Knutzen; and Barry Buchanan, who opposes Kathy Kershner.
It was unclear late Wednesday whether the organizers would ever get that majority.
Knutzen had said earlier this week that he didn't want to take part in a forum hosted by Futurewise. The anti-sprawl group has filed challenges to what it perceives as the county's overly permissive rural-growth rules.
"It seems if they don't get their way, they litigate everything," Knutzen said on Wednesday, reaffirming his stance. "It's frustrating, and it's not the kind of behavior I want to support."