Letters to the Editor -- October 16, 2003

Published on Thu, Oct 16, 2003
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Letters to the Editor

My vote goes to...
The Editor:

The November election gives the citizens of Whatcom County an opportunity to change their representation in the Port of Bellingham contest for commissioner. I encourage the voters to make that change with the candidacy of Jim Jorgensen. The Port of Bellingham collects millions of tax dollars annually and I believe it is imperative to know how those dollars are spent.
We need a commissioner with a strong background in education and a commitment to provide the knowledge we need. As a 40-year resident of Whatcom County and a long involvement in environmental advocacy, Jim Jorgensen can give us a balanced prospective in providing for economic growth and effective environmental stewardship. Jim also provides an element to this position that previously has been lacking. It is my experience that Jim as a husband, father, teacher, business owner, and sportsman has proved to me throughout the years that he has unquestioned integrity and ethics. I urge you to vote for Jim Jorgensen on November 4.
Gordon L. Dolman
Blaine

Speak up about the spit
The Editor:

In the September 25 issue of The Northern Light, in the news briefs titled �Trillium Corporation files second Seagrass Cottage application� it states that Trillium Corporation had decided to change their original plan of 64 units on 14 acres because the community vocalized environmental concerns, including birdlife, road work, and sewage treatment issues.
The new application by Trillium Corporation is for 72 units on roughly 20 acres. I am at a loss to understand how the increase in the number of units from 64 to 72 has made the environmental concerns including birdlife, road work and sewage treatment issues go away.
We, the people of Blaine, all need to take a share of the responsibility for protecting the Semiahmoo spit and ascertaining that the environmental concerns and issues are once again vocalized. Let us make an impact and write to Russell Nelson, city of Blaine community planner, 344 H Street, Blaine, or e-mail: rnelson@ci.blaine.wa.us.
Your comments need to be submitted by Friday, October 31. N. McCaig Blaine

Clarifying variance
The Editor:

We are applying for a variance in height for our Seascape Condo project (to be built at the present location of Westview Motel on Peace Portal Drive), one that would normally accommodate 24 units.
Using the current height-restrictions, more neighbors� lateral views of the harbor would be blocked and parking would be spread over a wider area.
So we have applied for a minimal increase in height and we dropped 20 percent of our capacity (four units) to help lessen any sprawl impact our project may have to the neighbors.
Joel Douglas
Bellingham

Save the spit
The Editor:

It was with great dismay that I read the property owners letter from Trillium Corporation announcing plans to again apply for permits to build the Seagrass Cottages development on Semiahmoo spit.
Seventy-two units on both sides of a realigned road and on 20 acres now instead of the original plan of 14! Do they think this is an improvement environmentally and aesthetically? Do they have the practical concerns of sewage and runoff and water solved? Do they have a new environmental impact report in hand? Have they informed the Indian tribes who lived here first and have valued this spit as sacred land for generations? Have they no concern or respect for the large number of Blaine residents who spoke out against this project at the Seagrass presentation meeting last March?
Will John and David Syre ever realize that the spit is the heart and soul of Semiahmoo? It�s Blaine�s greatest resource and must be kept as it is � peaceful, serene, unspoiled, mystical � a haven from the overdeveloped places most of us live in.
Please don�t be silent on this matter. Do your part to speak out and save the spit.
Gladys Hagerty
Blaine

Taxpayers are asked again
The Editor:

Once again the overburdened taxpayers of Whatcom County are called upon to surrender more of their livelihood for the supposed good of society. Varied and strident come the voices from a wide spectrum of our populace stressing the crisis we are in and how it is our civic duty as responsible citizens to complacently comply with their demands.
A few years ago we needed more taxes for law enforcement. This was rejected by the voters and, lo! the county found the money to take care of the problem anyway. We �needed� a remodeled county courthouse. We got Shirley�s Temple. We �needed� mass transit; we all now pay 8.2 percent sales tax and have created yet another insatiable �public service� behemoth.
Now we must fund an ambulance service. Who will be most affected by increased property taxes? Small businesses, farmers and plain old garden variety working folks. There are many people in this county of high living costs and low wages who work hard for little enough return already.
There is, in a representative republic such as ours, certain obligatory duties the citizens thereof must be accountable for. In 21st century America this has reached such extreme proportions that the average citizen works nearly half a year to finance the functions of government. In this state especially, the person who earns less than the average pays a proportionately greater share of taxes.
We cannot afford to accept these ever greater burdens which fall most heavily upon the shoulders of those least able to bear it.
Mark Aamot
Custer

The Editor:
I wish to express my concerns about the impact of building more condos on such a site as the spit, so close to so much marine life and wildlife that we have come to enjoy.
When the Trillium Corporation wished to change the old application to the new, I had glimpse of hope that finally Trillium is showing some respect to citizens� concerns and they also see the wisdom of saving our vital natural resources.
But I am deeply puzzled by their new proposal! It is a more damaging plan to our environment than the first application, therefore my assumption is either they do not understand what people are saying or are ignoring it. It appears that they are determined to go ahead with this project without regard to the environmental damage or the welfare of the people. Why not preserve some of the things we have enjoyed for the future generations?
I am totally opposed to this project.
I hope my voice is heard by the Blaine city government officials who will eventually have the final say on this proposal.
Kay Schumacher
Birch Bay

EMS levy, more taxes
The Editor:

The emergency medical services levy is not a vote for or against Whatcom Medic One. It is not about whether someone will answer the phone when you dial 911. The EMS levy is about more taxes.
Whatcom Medic One already has a source of funding. This year Whatcom County taxpayers pay 2.6 million dollars with ambulance fees picking up the balance for a total 2003 budget of 5.4 million dollars. If this levy passes the tax subsidy will increase by 88 percent to five million dollars with a total 2004 budget of 7.7 million dollars.
Whatcom Medic One costs have increased over the years at a rate much more than population, inflation or the number of calls. Consultants in 2000 called Whatcom Medic One a Cadillac system. Since that time costs have gone up 40 percent and they want another 43 percent from this year to next. Whatcom Medic One administrators should be funded just as it has been for the last 28 years, from the general fund of the county and Bellingham with 50 percent of the cost paid by users. If the levy passes users will pay 35 percent with the rest of us picking up 65 percent.
City and county elected officials would love to get the Medic One people off their backs. City and county council members seem to be unable to control skyrocketing costs. We are currently paying 2.6 million dollars. The new levy will raise an additional five million dollars. If this levy passes, city and county elected officials will have 2.6 million available to spend as they see fit.
Giving Medic One millions of dollars will not solve the problem. There are 17 fire districts and two fire departments in Whatcom County as well as a private ambulance company. There are 35 ambulances in fire districts alone sitting idle much of the time. Voting this levy down will force EMS officials to deal with the problem of runaway costs and will force consolidation, cooperation and inclusion in the EMS system in Whatcom County.
The EMS levy is about a huge property tax increase. Ignore the disturbing scare tactics and vote no on November 4.
Lynn Carpenter
Committee of Public Safety
Bellingham

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