Letters to the Editor -- February 21, 2002

Published on Thu, Feb 21, 2002
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Letters to the Editor


Bus matters...
The Editor:
To Birch Bay Village parents: I have lived in the village since 1985. When we moved there, our oldest children were of driving age so school bus drops were not that important to us.
However, I have picked up my grandchildren at the gate and there are elementary children, about 70 kids or so, unloading. This does not include the higher grade levels. The guards have made it clear that they are not babysitters and do not like the traffic congestion at the time of the drop off.
We have watched little ones walk to and from the gate in the snow and rain. We have no curbs or sidewalks so they must walk on the road with no street lights. The village says the weight of the buses is too much for the roads, but look at the equipment (cement, dumps, lumber and garbage trucks) which are allowed. There is a way to make a school bus route within the village an easy in and out.
I drove a school bus for 10 years, five years in Blaine. Blaine has some weird roads and turn arounds. It’s time for parents to speak up and protest. Protect your kids.
Joy & Doug Dairy
Blaine

The Editor:
On March 12, we will be voting on the 0.3 percentage tax for transportation. The Blaine Senior Center advisory board unanimously supports this tax.
The WTA bus is the only means of transportation for many seniors and disabled people for such necessary trips as to the doctor, the drug store or the grocery store. Without this service, they would be unable to stay in their homes.
Very few people now live within walking distance of their current job or of any other job opportunities. Without bus service, the choice is between driving if you have or can afford a car and not working or going on welfare if you do not have transportation. Reduction in bus routes and times have already made it necessary for some people to make that choice.
It seems obvious that every cut in bus service means more cars on the highways, more air pollution and road damage to repair, more people on welfare and more people who are prisoners in their own homes – or who must give them up completely. Can we afford this?
The question is not should we vote yes for this tax, but can we possibly afford not to. Three pennies on each ten-dollar purchase we make is a small price to pay to ensure that these difficulties do not arise.
Evelyn Yarbrough, president
Blaine Senior Center

The Editor:
Each of us on the city of Blaine council individually supports the WTA ballot proposal of 0.3 cent added to retail sales tax. We did not vote as a council to support. This is your decision on March 12 or by absentee available on February 20. Blaine in 1994 supported the original vote by 78 percent. Ridership has increased 36 percent over the past three years from the Blaine/Birch Bay area.
This tax will maintain the present service level, which is vital to many in our area. A cut in service will take place if this measure fails. Most severely affected will be: those without adequate transportation, handicapped, seniors, and students. Please vote yes.
Dieter Schugt
Blaine

The Editor:
Initiative 695 led by Tim Eyman all but eliminated the motor vehicle tax, and with it funding for many local government services including law enforcement, public health and public transportation. Fifty percent of public transportation funding in Whatcom County was eliminated.
So far, the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) has been able to maintain current services by drawing on reserve funds. However, should those funds not be replaced by 2003, there will be 46 percent reduction in public transportation services in the county.
In order to avoid drastic cuts to bus service, the WTA board is placing a ballot issue before the voters on March 12, 2002, for a 3/10 of one percent sales tax increase. That is to say, 30 cents on every $100 thus raising the tax to a total of 6/10 of one percent for public transportation. This tax will be collected beginning in January 2003.
Public transportation is critical to low-income persons and families, elderly and disabled individuals, many of whom cannot drive or cannot afford a car. It is critically important to Western Washington University and will be increasingly important to commuters as the county grows in population.
The livability of our county will be diminished now and increasingly in the future if the funding shortfall from Initiative 695 is not filled and the WTA board has to cut services. Whatcom County voters rejected Initiative 695 – now it is time to fix one of the problems created by that initiative.
What have other counties done? Since the MVET was eliminated in January 2000, eight out of nine counties in Washington placing a transit tax on the ballot have voted to approve an increase in local sales taxes to support transit. Two others in addition to WTA have similar ballots scheduled within the next two months.
If you have any questions or comments, or would like to help in the campaign, please email Transportation Choices for Whatcom County at transportation-whatcom@attbi.com or call Rick Gordon at 360/671-2236 (evenings).
Campaign meetings will be held downstairs in the Labor Council Building meeting room (north side of the building) located at 1700 North State Street in Bellingham every Thursday until ballot day from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Parking is available at the Labor Hall, next door in the vacant parts store parking lot or across the street. (The latter is not recommended for the faint-hearted.)
Ted Mohr
Point Roberts

Mind matters...
The Editor:
In today’s round-the-clock business atmosphere, employees are under great pressure to deliver more with less, work longer hours and improve the bottom line.
Mergers, downsizing, multi-national competition, rapid growth, relocations and information overload can affect employee’s morale, job satisfaction, and retention. Together, work stress and family issues affect an employee’s ability to cope and be productive in the workplace.
That’s why the Washington Psychological Association is sponsoring the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award.
The program, supported by the American Psychological Association, was developed to recognize businesses and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to the psychological health and well-being of their employees.
While many employers are beginning to realize the benefits of a workplace that is sensitive to their employee’s psychological well-being, sadly, there are many more who do not. According to a 2000 poll by the American Psychological Association, two-thirds of both men and women say work has a significant impact on their stress level, and one in four has called in sick or taken a “mental health day” as a result of work stress.
We encourage employers to review their policies and consider their impact on the psychological health of their workers. For more information on the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, employers can contact Dr. Dwight Moore at 360/371-7180.
Dwight Moore
Birch Bay

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:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
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