Letters to the Editor -- August 22, 2002

Published on Thu, Aug 22, 2002
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Letters to the Editor



An apology...

The Editor:
You recently published a letter to the editor, entitled “Strange Tales...,” in your July 25 - 31 issue of The Northern Light. The letter, authored by Ruby Gibson White, resident of Point Roberts, Washington, voiced concerns about the attitude of the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding the Point Roberts community and criticized this service’s response to a previous letter written by Ruby White on June 22, 2002.
The Seattle district office acknowledges that its response to Ms. White’s letter of June 22 was improperly handled, and for this we apologize. As Ms. White stated in her letter to the editor, the district director has been temporarily detailed to Washington, D.C. for the summer. All correspondence authored by this office must leave under the signature of the district director, or his designee. As the acting district director, I personally review all correspondence leaving the office; however, I, too, was unavailable at the time the response was sent.
Please understand that the service recognizes the challenges that members of the Point Roberts community encounter, due to the nature of their location. The events of September 11 led to the termination of Point Roberts’ previous automated system (PACE lane). The absence of an automated commuter lane over the past six months has no doubt caused great frustration to residents and business owners alike. During that six month period, the service worked feverishly to replace the PACE lane with new technology that tracks not just the vehicle, but rather the occupant(s) in the vehicle.
I would like to reaffirm that the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Seattle district are committed to securing the borders of this country against those who wish it harm, while facilitating legitimate commerce and travel. I do commend the men and women in this district for their outstanding commitment to the service mission in the face of increasing demands and finite resources. I feel strongly that a vital component in achieving our mission is an adequately resourced work force using appropriate technology, such as NEXUS. Another vital component of these transitioning times is community outreach. I am concerned about the lack of response Ms. White references regarding the service’s handling of Point Roberts. The intent of community outreach meetings is to keep residents and business owner informed of the current status on ongoing programs and other items that impact the area.
The ease in which residents and business owners can travel to and from Point Roberts is of great concern to the Seattle district office and Immigration and Naturalization Service. The service is confident that NEXUS will provide the community of Point Roberts with a border crossing system that facilitates the flow of goods and people, while still securing the borders of the United States. I am very pleased to announce that, despite some technical difficulties, the NEXUS lanes at Point Roberts did open on July 29.
Robert J. Okin
Seattle

Vote wisely!
The Editor:
It’s that time again when the signs are up, the phones are ringing and ads are beginning to appear in the media. Our democratic process for the primary election has begun. It is going to be a very long and hard session in Olympia this year.
With Washington state in dire financial straits who we send to Olympia is more important than ever. It would be a real shame for our state, which has made so much progress in dealing with hungry children, lowered the teen pregnancy rates, aided our seniors who are cared for by family, and much, much more, to fail in the mission of advocating for all of our citizens.
It is absolutely imperative for you to become educated about the candidates that are running for office in your district. You cannot leave this decision up to a few citizens. And please don’t make the mistake of voting for someone on one issue alone. Find out what other issues they do or don’t support.
Go online to the PDC web site and find out who is financially supporting a candidate. Is it a grassroots campaign, or a special interest campaign? Attend the community forums. Does your candidate have a long history of community service? A person does not need to walk in someone’s shoes, but they do have to walk beside them to understand their lives.
The last question to ask yourself is if you truly believe this person can make decisions that are good for all of Washington state. An elected official is in Olympia to represent your interests, but the decisions that are made affect everyone in Washington. Your choice of a representative can help bring us out of this mess or bring us down even more. Your educated, well thought out decision is that important. Don’t just vote, vote wisely.
Sherry S. Marlin
Shoreline, WA

Laser letters
The Editor & Blaine police department:
Thank you for taking the time to respond with such a well-crafted letter to my concerns regarding the use of laser. I appreciate the difficulties faced making that part of the highway safe. It is however, important that this effort is both fair and seen to be fair. I took the time to address this matter because it was clear to me that an error, possibly systemic, had been made.
Being adamant and forceful of course cannot change the physics of wheel rotation. On a vehicle cruising at 35 m.p.h., the bottom of the wheel is stationary (on the road). The hub is moving forward at 35 m.p.h. and the top is moving at 70 m.p.h. Should the laser spot be focused upon the protruding cooling vanes, between the hub and the top of the tire (a likely spot if doppler were being relied upon), it would be taking a reading on an area that would be moving between 35 m.p.h. and 70 m.p.h. A reading of 50 m.p.h. could therefore be expected.
To expect an officer 980 feet away to be certain that the pinpoint is on the fender and not the wheel is absurd. He cannot possibly see the spot at that range so in practical terms it is about as accurate as pointing your finger.
I also have a problem with your reliance upon empirical data. The fact that you have failed to detect a problem (unreliable readings taken from rotating wheels) is not evidence that a problem does not exist. It could mean that you have not detected the problem or when one was detected, you chose not to recognize the evidence. Few judges would accept the protestations of a motorist over the “reliable, hard evidence of a laser gun” and police departments have a heavy investment in its infallibility.
It could mean that hundreds, even thousands of motorists have been unjustly fined.
The possibility of not recognizing evidence is reinforced in my mind by your apparent confidence in the certification process. I have considerable experience in this field and have observed that certification generally is designed for legal protection in a court of law. Certification tends to entrench dogma, inhibits new discoveries and fosters unjustified certainty to the point of arrogance in those whom it certifies. Frequently it is developed in close co-operation with the trade and members of the enforcement industry... not encouraging ingredients for critical reviews.
You raise the point about the officer estimating my speed as 15 m.p.h. faster than the speed limit. This, of course, is the nub of our original difference. Remember, the car in front of me was doing 38 m.p.h. (according to the officer) and pulling away from me as the line of traffic expanded out of a roadworks zone. I was in a far better position to assess my speed than the officer more than a 1,000 feet away. I suspect he merely ran his laser gun along the line of cars and settled on a hot spot.
My motive in pursuing this matter, and for going to the expense of challenging the charge in court, is that I believe it is a citizen’s duty to hold the overwhelmingly powerful bureaucracies to account when an injustice occurs - particularly one where there is potential for repeat “error.” I had no financial gain once the case was dismissed. I also had no investment in the reliability of a piece of magical equipment nor any quotas to fulfill.
If, as you say, the area has had a history of pedestrian fatalities, a better solution than harvesting motorists with laser guns might be to redesign the area with fences to prevent people from trying to cross the road from the customs house or the field to the north.
I appreciate that it is difficult to avoid an adversarial role in a situation where one feels falsely accused and I hope you will take my feedback in the constructive spirit it which it is given.
John Dowd
Vancouver, BC

Thank you!
The Editor:

On behalf of the commercial fishermen who sold their fish to the public at gate three at the Blaine harbor this season, I would like to thank all of the people who took the time to come to the dock and buy our fish.
It was a great experience for us as I’m sure it was for you. I’d never seen that many people on the commercial side before. It’s the start of something new and we will continue to provide an excellent product at a fair price to you.
Rumor has it there will be Kings and Coho available in September and crab and chums in October, so keep an eye open for that. Also a special thanks to the port of Bellingham for reserving space for us at the foot of the dock.
Thanks again!
Gary Dunster, Lee Bouma, Steve Croft and Dana Dolan
Blaine

Looking better...
The Editor:

At the corner of H and Mitchell streets is the ‘ole gym,’ and it stands out like a sore thumb.
It would look better if murals were painted on it, focusing on the city’s fishing of ole times, logging etc or Borderites logos or Blaine culture.
Joe Gordon
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:
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