Letters to the Editor -- April 26, 2001

Published on Thu, Apr 26, 2001
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor and Blaine City Council:
I believe the city is overdue as far as updating business license fees. The cost of a license starts at $25 and goes to $500 which I’m forced to pay. In order to pay $500, I must net $815 Canadian dollars; unfortunately, most of my business is in Canadian dollars.
I’ve called around to neighboring cities to compare fees. Ferndale cost $50, Bellingham $40 and B&O tax to license a tavern. Why is Blaine 10 times more?
It doesn’t seem fair that I pay $500 when another business on my street pays $25! The license classifications and fees are unfair and have no logic to them. They’re old and need to be revised. This must change if we want new businesses to come to our town. Why come to our town? Why come to Blaine when you can get your license for one-tenth the cost in Ferndale? Businesses are closing on a regular basis and the cost of a business license is part of the reason.
I urge you to make a change now because businesses in Blaine can’t afford unfair license fees along with everything else we have going against us.
Mary Lee Hill, owner of Pastime Tavern
Blaine

The Editor:
I am writing to ask for the community’s support for the vote on the upcoming school bond vote for the Blaine school district. Support from everyone in the Blaine school district is very important. There are so many reasons why this bond should pass and I would like to mention a few of them.
Both of our sons wrestle, and if you haven’t been in the wrestling room lately, you really should take a look at it. The kids who are wrestling right now have much talent and promise to go far. It would be nice for these talented kids to have a modern wrestling room complete with a work out area.
The middle school shares classroom space with the high school, and if the bond passes, then new classrooms for the middle school will be built as well as the cafeteria expanded and the buildings would be made more energy efficient.
The primary school will receive a new pod which, with our growth in the community, is desperately needed. Over at the elementary school, a new heating system is planned and four new classrooms will be built. The outdoor play area will be enclosed which will be great on those rainy wet days!
The Blaine school district already has the best teachers, staff and students in the entire universe! Let’s make them all have the best school and equipment in the universe! Please support the bond, get out and vote yes!
Terilyn Price
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Support our school district. “There’s a powerful computer between your ears,” I told my student, a member of the United States Coast Guard. “Why not turn it on and raise your grade?” I asked. “The programmer is on vacation,” he replied. That answer I got 23 years ago; I was an itinerant sociology professor assigned to Alaskan military sites by Chapman University.
Thankfully, there are students at Blaine high school whose programmers are on duty. As academic athletes who realize the human mind is a galactic gift to be discovered and explored, they launched the new millennium with state championships in math and the knowledge bowl. No small achievement! Nothing beats lifelong development of the mind; even at their tender age, they have come to realize this.
In their honor I ask my community to vote in favor of the forthcoming bond issue. Honor our Borderite athletes as they discover and explore the unfathomable universe of the human mind. Support them by granting them the finest tools and environment for a lifelong journey that will equip them to improve the world for the good of all.
Richard E. Clark
Blaine

The Editor:
The Blaine public schools have been serving the community well. My children are receiving an excellent education. However, to remain competitive, the schools need adequate classroom space. At this point in time, the schools are filled to capacity and in the middle school they are overflowing. There are presently three middle school classes that are meeting in the high school due to lack of space in the middle school.
The proposed bond that the school district is putting forth to the voters would provide money to expand the classroom space of the individual schools as well as update the buildings for energy conservation and safety. Also included in the proposed capital improvements are the expansion of the seating area of the PAC, a new shared cafeteria for the high school and middle school, expansion and remodeling of the physical education facility and other improvements and renovations to the overall campus.
I strongly urge the voters in the Blaine School District to vote yes on May 15.
Anne Abrams
Custer

The Editor:
Our school district staff and elected officials have identified a building plan that will ensure we have an adequate and safe school facility to meet our community’s needs for the next decade. To fund this plan, we are asked to approve a bond issue May 15 that will result in an increase in property taxes.
The Blaine school district provides high quality education and is one of the major assets our community has to offer. An investment in our school system correlates to an investment in our community. If our goal is to maintain property values and attract manageable growth, we cannot ignore the legitimate needs of our school system.
Addressing the school’s needs should not be delayed. No one expects construction costs to decrease over the next few years and we should take advantage of favorable prevailing interest rates. Furthermore, some of the more important aspects of the plan involve bringing the school campus into compliance with contemporary fire and life safety standards that are necessary for the protection of our children. These are high priority items that cannot in good conscience be delayed.
As a taxpayer, resident and parent, I urge my fellow voters to vote yes on May 15.
Bill Elfo
Blaine

The Editor:
I’m writing today because my husband has worked at Intalco for the past 33 years and the crisis that is facing us will affect the entire county and the economy of this state for a good many years.
I attended the public meeting at Mount Baker Theatre on Friday evening and was gratified to see a full house that included city officials from Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden and Everson. There was no mention of any official, elected or appointed from the city of Blaine! [Ed. note: city manager Gary Tomsic was in attendance.]
The fight we are waging for power is not just about our jobs, that is important, but the fact is the loss of 930 jobs is the loss of a total payroll or $65 million annually! This money supports three more service jobs for every one at Intalco. There are another $75 million of goods and services (excluding electricity) annually that Intalco purchased, most of it local! If that doesn’t make you stop and think, there is one more little item:the local medical community is the beneficiary of purchases annually in the amount of $7.5 million.
Everyone in this town and this community needs to write to Steven Wright of the BPA and to President Bush and their elected officials in Washington, D.C. Without reasonable power rates for all of us we are looking at the beginning of a recession that will be a long time leaving!
This is not just a local issue. There are over 7,000 workers in the aluminum industry in this state who are going to lose their jobs. Each of those jobs support seven other jobs! Pay attention!
Thank you for listening, now get out and do something!
Maureen Scott
Blaine

The Editor:
It is unfortunate when some people leap to conclusions without all the facts. David White needs to know the facts about the city manager’s salary, and about the White Rock/Blaine Amtrak stop. The city manager’s salary is the same figure as originally negotiated last July – five figures. No change.
White Rock/Amtrak: The city manager and six others, including myself, met April 11 with senator Georgia Gardner. It was a good meeting, clearing communication channels admittedly let slide. We are discussing two different train services. The one championed by senator Gardner is the second Seattle-Vancouver train now stopping in Bellingham, to make a Blaine stop. Senator Gardner has been a real champion for train service and we appreciate her effort to include a Blaine stop.
It is necessary for B.C. to step to the plate with $20-$30 million to allow two and potentially four trains daily. But a stop in lower mainland seems from a regional view point necessary for this to take place. This is the reason for thinking beyond our city limits to support White Rock in pursuing a stop on the part of Amtrak. Where B.C. government actually will put the stop is up to them, but it could benefit Blaine by a stop in White Rock, rather then further north or east. There is also a feasibility study underway supported by senator Gardner for an Everett to Blaine commuter train with potentially five to eight round trips daily.
Again – two different trains – commuter and an Amtrak high speed train. I applaud senator Gardner and look for her help to get necessary financing to make a Blaine stop a reality. Likewise we encourage White Rock and the B.C. government to do what needs to be done to improve the Eugene to Vancouver run with more high speed trains and make it therefore convenient to all in the greater Northwest.
Dieter Schugt, mayor
Blaine

The Editor:
It’s perfectly understandable that senator Georgia Gardner should lament the decision by Amtrak to support a new stop in White Rock, but the rationale is based purely on economics.
Simply put, Amtrak wants to be able to attract passengers from among the nearly 700,000 Canadian residents living south of the Fraser River in order to increase its revenues. Senator Gardner can draw some comfort, however, from the likelihood the new revenue will reduce Amtrak’s dependence on state subsidies and make possible the introduction of a commuter rail service to the residents of Blaine.
At the same time we want to increase traffic across the border in another significant way. White Rock and Blaine officials have discussed the launch of a new three-point shuttle ferry service that would connect Blaine, White Rock and the Semiahmoo Inn. This has been proposed in the past as a commercial stimulus for all communities near the border, but the additional Amtrak stop will make it economically feasible.
I must assure the senator that Blaine has not been, and will not be, ignored during these Amtrak discussions. On the contrary, the plan has already led to the development of positive and open relations between our city councils, our provincial and state representatives and between our chambers of commerce. We have developed a consensus on this issue and we now look upon our two cities as a single development area that will share the benefits of this new service.
I can only hope that senator Gardner will recognize the benefits of a stop in White Rock and by her support, help cultivate the positive, cross-border spirit of cooperation and respect that has already been established.
Hardy Staub, mayor
White Rock, B.C
.

The Editor:
Concerning the Blaine city manager’s salary, it remains at five figures. Mr. White, it would seem, has an expanded capacity for discovering zeros.
Kenneth Ely, council member
Blaine

The Editor:
Referring to your report of a hearing on manufactured homes: I have lived in both manufactured and site-built homes and have been equally comfortable/uncomfortable in each (although the manufactured home was easier on my budget).
Of the principals your report named, I am only familiar with the Meakers and Coggan. Do they have an axe to grind? Of course. They have proved their willingness to rape the land if it will provide benefits to them. Why else destroy several fruit trees to make room for a parking lot?
Indeed, why build several apartment houses in a town that has been losing businesses for the last two years? I can only imagine, if those white elephants remain vacant ... Well, a business loss is tax deductible, isn’t it?
Lawrence Hammer
Blaine

Letters Policy
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please send your letter to:
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E-mail:editor@thenorthernlight.com

Letters Policy

The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please email letters to letters@thenorthernlight.com