Letters to the Editor -- August 12, 2004

Published on Thu, Aug 12, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Re: “Unfair Border Guard:” If what happened to Americans on 9/11 reduced them to suspecting that everyone is out to get them and to treat visitors like animals, then the terrorists did indeed break their spirit and have won.
Maureen Caskie
Vancouver, B.C.

The Editor:
Last week I was halfway through my radium treatments when I had a nasty side effect come on. I started a daily bout with an acute gastro-intestinal problem that came on very suddenly.
I walk five or six times weekly from F Street to D Street and around to H Street and stop at the senior center and come home. A regimen that five doctors insist I maintain.
I usually choose ‘pit stops’ to rest and so I thought if I needed to use the bathroom, my first stop could be a local gas station on my route, as I have literally bought thousands of gallons of gas at that station since it opened and if need be, there are other places in town where I am known.
As I got to the area of the bathroom, I tried the door and found it locked. So I went inside and the lady there, who later stated she was the manager, told me I had to be a customer when I asked for the key. She also stated she had seen me pass by another gas station across the street and why didn’t I use their restroom. I informed her I have cancer and am disabled, although I am not in a wheelchair and am on radium treatments and I have a side effect of an acute gastro-intestinal problem that comes on really fast and I would not make it home or to another bathroom. She again said the bathroom was for customers. So I walked out and as I got close to the restroom, a man came out and I asked for the key and saved myself a huge embarrassment.
So I will take my business elsewhere and will let the public know that business is not friendly to handicapped people or those of us with cancer.
By the way, the Blaine police informed me I cannot do a thing about your policy- however, the justice department says you must post a sign on that facility stating it is for customers only.
So I ask the public officials of this city, county and state if there can be an ordinance put into law that handicapped people with disabilities will be legally allowed the use of all restrooms if that business sells to the public regardless if he or she is a customer or not.
R.W. “Sonny” Rasmussen
Blaine

The Editor:
Mr. Rob Pochert of Bellingham Whatcom County Economic Council is absolutely right in his comments in the Peace Arch News regarding Sharon Simpson’s experience at the border : “It’s a serious concern for us from a tourism perspective and an economic development perspective,” he said. “My biggest concern is the precedent it sets. This lady is going to tell 10 people what happened, and those 10 people will make the same decisions she made about not crossing the border.”
Canada Border Services Agency announced plans this week to expand the NEXUS program at Douglas border crossing, and increase the number of travelers crossing the line. But for one frequent stateside visitor, the move is bitterly ironic.
By the time I had picked up the local paper, I had already heard about this incident. Now several thousand people in this area have heard about this incident and I too will most certainly be spreading the news. Although I do not know Sharon Simpson it still impacts those of us who live in this area (me for 46 years) and will undoubtedly influence whether or not we choose to travel into the USA.
Personally I have resisted traveling to the U.S. over the past few years partly due to the exchange rate which no longer made sense to do so and then the fallout from the 9/11 incident just made it less appealing. With the exchange rate in its current state I have started to go back into the USA. Now that this incident occurs it really does have me thinking about not going back.
David Lawson
White Rock

The Editor:
I had to respond to the recent complaints being lodged against the people who protect us, American citizens, from intruders, and yes Canadians that means you too. Just because your skin is the same color or because you are able to own property in the U.S. you aren’t going to get treated any differently than every other visitor to our country. I am so tired as a Blaine resident, U.S. citizen and a relative of those who work at the border (CBP) listening to how people feel they were treated unfairly.
When you come to our country there is a big sign letting you know that by entering our country we can inspect you, your person, your car, your bookbag, your purse, your luggage - anything - it is an inspection.
If you have nothing to hide just let the inspectors look and you will be on your way. If you aren’t hiding anything stop wasting time. Don’t come crying to our officials whom you do not vote for about how mistreated you or your daughter were because they made you cry. Get over it.
There is no profiling at the border and since we as Americans do not believe in singling out individuals based on personal characteristics please be aware if you come across into our country we just won’t be sitting here with our door open freely. I have an analogy for you all who feel mistreated by our inspectors. If I came to your door and asked to come in and spend the day loafing around your house and you had no idea who I was, would you let me in? How about letting me come stay in your house for six months of vacation? No? You wouldn’t let me? Well I’m appalled. You don’t need to know anything about me you would be violating my rights so don’t ask. Why no, I won’t let you take my fingerprints for what? Do you think I am a criminal? Do you catch my drift?
We have beefed up security the best we can at our borders and while you non-U.S. citizens tie up our precious resources that you don’t pay for by bombarding letters to our congressmen the time they spend pacifying you could be used keeping our citizens safer. This is not to say that the customer service is not what you would get when you are calling about your phone bill, but if you listened to someone complain for eight hours a day what kind of mood would you be in?
There are a lot of good people who knew the law at the borders but because of mismanagement and micromanaging are no longer working there. By the recent rash of complaints I would say that some of your frustrations should be directed towards the person who these guys answer to and that would be Ms. Fearon Port Director, Blaine, WA. When you just fill spaces with warm bodies you get quantity and no quality. Get used to it, that’s the new face of Homeland Security.
Name Withheld by Request
Blaine

The Editor:
I just wanted to take a moment and express my sincere thanks to everyone who made the annual Bids for Kids Auction and Dinner for the Blaine Boys & Girls Club a huge success this past Saturday night. It was truly a night that will be remembered by all. Thanks to the generosity of over 150 guests, we raised just shy of $34,000!
Thank you’s are in order for our sponsors: Semiahmoo Resort, Skagit Valley Casino Resort, Johnson Construction, Nature’s Path Foods, Cost Cutter, Pizza Factory, Sterling Savings Bank, Applebees, Cost Cutter, and Northwest Recycling.
A special thank you to Kelly’s O’Deli and Sundance Beef for the fabulous meal they served. Thanks also to Boundary Bay Brewery and Debra Lankaar for donating their time, talents and products to make the night festive.
I also need to thank the other staff from the clubs in Whatcom County for lending their support and time to the event. Our commitment to kids in Whatcom County showed brightly on Saturday!
Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic did an amazing job with the live auction, keeping the crowd entertained as well as pulling in a few extra dollars from people for the kids.
I need to thank my wonderful Unit Advisory Board for the club. They pulled together and showed that many hands can produce an amazing event for the kids. Thank you to Mike, Jeff and Stephanie for leading the charge. And a thank you goes to Heather and Shannon for decorating and setting the tables. You were able to transform a parking lot into a great environment!
And finally thank you to Molly Bagley. Molly works for the Ferndale Boys & Girls Club, but came up to help us at the Blaine club with our event. She is an amazing lady who really gets a great deal of the credit for pulling everything together for us. Thank you Molly.
See you next year.
Greg Tillotson,
Blaine Unit Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County

The Editor:
Last week The Northern Light published my letter regarding my incident at the U.S. border.
I am very happy to report that I have been granted entry into the U.S. and my NEXUS card has been returned.
Today I even received a telephone call from Customs and Border Protection offering me an apology!
I was very surprised at the attention and support that this letter received and would like to thank everyone that wrote letters and made phone calls on my behalf.
I am very aware that entering the United States is a privilege not a right, and look forward to future visits.
Sharon Simpson
White Rock, B.C.

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