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  • There is a deeper and simpler reason that the Waterfront is, and always has been, a bad idea. It’s because the age of physical expansion (except for housing) is past. Our housing, is too expensive and has very little value for its cost. For example, an overpriced condo by the Waterfront, recently built, will probably lack electric car charging. The tenant can pay at their own expense to put it in, and essentially gift it to their landlord when they leave.
    In the meantime, one of the largest growth sectors in the economy is small, internet based, home businesses. These businesses need cheap broadband, provided by as many providers as possible, and it has to be the same quality. Meaning that real gigabit connections need to be available everywhere in Bellingham and Whatcom County, provided by as many local net-neutral providers as possible, and need to be the same price as they are in Chatanooga, TN, Kansas City, etc. Meaning around $70 a month for gigabit service. Right now, WAVE charges $900 a month for that same service. CenturyLink provides a fake version of the service, which doesn’t hold up to testing, and they’re an anti-first amendment, and anti-net neutral company. None of these services are available everywhere and virtual monopolies exist all over Bellingham (if you actually look at the speeds, prices, etc.)
    An investment in publicly owned fiber-optic network would cost less than 1/5th of what the Waterfront has already cost., it will pay for itself, and it will work. Neilsen’s Law of internet bandwidth tells us that our need for Bandwidth grows by 50% every year. Where the Waterfront is a foolish idea that just provides some temporary construction jobs, fiber will attract next generation businesses and help us address most of our social and economic concerns. Fiber will do for Bellingham what the Waterfront never will.
    When these points were brought up the mayor she said, “it doesn’t help when people make cost comparisons between fiber and the Waterfront.” (aka “Hey my friends and I have a lot of money invested at the Waterfront and you better stop telling people the truth. Also, we have a deep and inappropriate relationship with the big telecoms). She also, “doesn’t understand technology and doesn’t have an interest in it.” This is true of most of your council members, btw.
    The last point to make is that our Mercury contaminated Waterfront (it’s a heavy metal, hard to get rid of, don’t believe everything you have heard about it being contained, shhhhhhh) is subject to global warming like everywhere else. Many Waterfronts in the US are literally moving themselves back from their shorelines as ocean levels rise and they find themselves, more and more often, literally underwater. Nothing is dumber than developing the Waterfront at this point in history. Also, Halcourt has an exclusive contract! That deserves some investigation. Exclusive contracts are always a bad idea and usually show corruption between governments and corporations.

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