Letters to the Editor -- October 21, 2004

Published on Thu, Oct 21, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
I wholeheartedly endorse Chuck Snyder for Superior Court Judge Position 3. I’ve competed against him in sports events, had friends come before him in divorce court, and he was efficient as president of our car club. He earns everyone’s respect, being a man of integrity and honor. He listens to reason, is of strong character and logical.
Experienced? Yes. He’s worked civil and criminal law as a practicing attorney and received accolades as Superior Court commissioner for the past 15 years.
He has volunteered and innovated programs like teen court, juvenile drug court, even helped to improve divorce court. Remarkable. He is quick to seek solutions, save time, and improve effectiveness. Results? Good judicial decisions, fewer teens re-offend, trial backlogs reduced. This is socially and economically intelligent. These are welcome in a world of inertia, conflict and chaos.
None of us ever know when we, or someone we love, might end up in that courtroom as a plaintiff or defendant. I recommend you vote for Chuck. He is knowledgeable, seasoned, and looks for the best solutions. He’s one of the fairest persons I have ever competed against.
Joy Gilfilen
Bellingham

The Editor:
While much has been said during the race for Superior Court Judge Position 3 regarding the relative importance of adult criminal trial experience and juvenile justice, I think it’s important to point out that the better of a job we do with the juvenile case load, the fewer adult offenders we are likely to have further on down the road. In a very real sense, excellence in the administration of juvenile justice should really be considered preventative justice.
Chuck Snyder has a stellar record with juvenile offenders from his 15 years as a Superior Court commissioner, while at the same time hearing civil and criminal cases daily, plus initiating creative solutions for streamlining the judicial process.
If there is a natural transition to becoming a judge, it most certainly begins with district or superior court commissioner with a solid focus on juveniles and the many combinations and permutations of civil law. Chuck Snyder is the only candidate who has this experience. Any candidate for Superior Court Judge whose background is limited to criminal advocacy with no background in juvenile or civil matters will find themselves unable to keep up with the overwhelming case load in superior court.
Gary Armstrong
Sedro Woolley

The Editor:
The decision on whether to grant shoreline permits for the proposed Georgia Strait Crossing (GSX) pipeline is going before Whatcom County Council on October 26. As the council sits in quasi-judicial mode on this decision (passed onto them by the county hearing examiner), the people can no longer lobby the council with further public comment. Let’s hope the council acts as responsible, accountable stewards of our community by rejecting those permits.
If implemented, the GSX pipeline would open up the serious probability that a new, unwanted utility corridor could be established along a designated shoreline of statewide significance that has considerable seismic activity. It would potentially threaten our salmon, herring, and shellfish populations and thereby negatively impact our fisheries – not only environmentally, but economically. It would set a dangerous precedent for similar, high-impact developments in any environmentally critical, sensitive area county-wide.
The council should consider the extremely poor pipeline safety record of co-developer Williams Company: for example, in its northwest pipeline, there were two ruptures in 2003 and at least eight other failures or safety incidents between 1992 and 1999 with its other pipelines in the Pacific Northwest. Following the 1999 Olympic Pipeline explosion (not one of Williams’ pipelines) in Bellingham, the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission launched an investigation into pipeline inspection and testing records of companies operating in the state. Williams came out at nearly the bottom of the list, having inspected only 17 percent of its system and tested a mere 11 percent.
The council should also be concerned about the “shape-shifting” nature of this project and that the developers have left open options for GSX to potentially carry products other than natural gas (for example, LNG, or liquefied natural gas) that may be even more hazardous to the environment and to the safety of people and wildlife.
Again, let’s hope the county council protects the people, wildlife, pristine environment, and economy of Whatcom County by rejecting the shoreline permits. What Williams calls “benefits” (possible tax revenues) to our county are abysmally terrible trade-offs on our environment, safety, and economy.
Jo Slivinski, Neighbors for Birch Point
Blaine

The Editor;
Doug Ericksen calls the Washington Commerce Corridor (WCC) a phony issue. Ironically he sponsored this Washington House Bill 2222 promoting the groundwork for the 10-lane highway, rail, pipeline and utility corridor, the largest public works project in our state’s history. This $100 billion privatization boondoggle would radically alter the entirety of western Washington and now he, the person who designed the scope of study, would have voters believe that the WCC is inconsequential. Mr. Ericksen has been backpedaling since last June. From the bill’s inception, Mr. Ericksen ignored the impacts that the corridor would have on his precious district, deciding in advance that the study would not look at the entire state with regards to our complex transportation issues. Next, he ensured that the half million dollar commerce corridor feasibility study would limit public input to a minimum. Thus far this year only two hours of public testimony have been conducted. I wonder which is phonier, the corridor concept with its built-in land grab or the undemocratic process utilized by this half million dollar study. I urge you to support Robin Bailey, a more mature and responsible candidate; this also is a surefire way to tell the legislature to Can the Corridor.
Jeff Margolis
Deming

The Editor:
The best way to know what someone is going to do in the future is to look at what they’ve done in the past, and when you look at Chuck Snyder’s record over the past 14 plus years you’ll understand his commitment to coming up with fresh approaches to streamlining the judicial system in Whatcom County.
One example of this is Snyder’s creation of teen court, a model that takes minor offenders and allows them to be heard and judged by a court and jury of their peers. Students train and then participate as jurors, bailiffs, prosecutors and defenders, mentored for these tasks by local volunteer attorneys.
One of the many positive aspects of this program is that offenders get the experience of a judgment by their peers, and the other student participants also learn to develop trust, respect, and understanding for the judicial system. Those offenders who pass through this program typically have a repeat rate of less than 20 percent. This is a proactive judiciary at its finest.
Teen court is typical of the kind of forward thinking Chuck Snyder brings to Whatcom County, and with your help November 2, as judge in Superior Court.
John Ury
Bellingham

The Editor:
A desperate situation exists in Whatcom County that threatens public health and safety, affects our quality of life and exposes taxpayers to huge financial risks. The Whatcom County Jail has been so overcrowded that for over a decade, officers have not been able to book many categories of dangerous offenders and must pre-release others.
Offenders who repeatedly drive drunk, break into cars and cause public disorder cannot be booked either at the time of their arrest or on outstanding warrants when they fail to keep court dates. Even when a dangerous offender is admitted into jail another has to be released to make room. Overcrowded and understaffed conditions within the jail have led to the spread of disease both in and out of the facility.
Multiple consultants (including the United States Department of Justice) have reported that jail conditions are dangerous and that even the structural integrity of the building itself is in question. Millions will need to be spent to keep it open. Other public funds are expended on a regular basis defending lawsuits or paying judgements that stem from overcrowded and inadequate jail facilities and staffing levels.
Whatcom County Proposition Number One provides both an interim and long term solution to this problem. A tax of one dime on $100 in taxable purchases will generate the funds necessary to correct this situation. Please vote to approve Whatcom County Proposition Number One.
Bill Elfo
Blaine

The Editor:
I support Chuck Snyder for Whatcom County Superior Court Judge. We need to elect the best, most qualified candidates we can as our judicial officials. Experience matters. Chuck Snyder was an attorney in private practice before being chosen to be a Whatcom County Superior Court commissioner. With more than 60 percent of superior court hearings involving civil (non criminal) matters, it is in our best interest to select a judge with civil law experience. I want a judge who has worked with business clients, with real estate clients, who has real experience with family law. Chuck Snyder has a broad range of legal experience and knows how the rest of the judicial system works. Vote for Chuck Snyder for Superior Court Judge Position 3.
Jane Madden
Bellingham

(Ed Note: A number of other letters were received expressing support for Chuck Snyder and making similar points as expressed above; for reasons of space, they have not been included here.)

The Editor:
From all your friends across the border I wish to express our sorrow in learning of the passing of mayor Dieter Schugt.
In my association with Dieter over the past years I found him to be a gentleman of great humility, but with the political sense to do and work hard for the citizens of Blaine.
A man of his caliber does not come along often and he will be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.
Gordon A. Shaffer, past
president, White Rock South
Surrey Chamber of Commerce

The Editor:
This is an allegorical poem. I am fully aware that in this poem there are certain usages that may cry out for editorial change such as the modifier “tyrant.” It is not meant to be a possessive. And I am aware that a rampart is a fortification.
The Glorious Few
Hail to you
The glorious few
To wear the uniform
You protected our country’s
ramparts
from tyrant fire and storm
You raised high
Our scared banner
And kept us safe from harm
Today’s your day of honor
Our hats are off to you
Today we salute you
You, our glorious few.
George Tranberg
Blaine

The Editor:
One of the recommendations made by the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner may give those who oppose the GSX project some reason for optimism. That finding is that the GSX project is a major development under the definition set by Whatcom County. That has some important implications:
1. There is no 120-day time limit for the county to consider the application, thereby ruling against William’s assertion that the county missed approving the permits by default.
2. As Williams has not applied for a major development permit it must now apply in order to have the project considered.
3. Any major development application must go through Whatcom County Planning which is on record as opposing the project.
4. The resubmission of a new application opens this unnecessary and controversial project to additional scrutiny by an increasingly aware and informed public.
If the county council does not just deny the permit on its current merit, I sincerely hope that it will follow the law explicitly laid out in the Whatcom County Shoreline Management regulations requiring Williams to submit a major development permit application.
Eliana Steele-Friedlob, Smart
Growth Birch Bay
Blaine

The Editor:
A leader must have the ability to set a goal and guide others toward it. A leader must have the courage to overcome obstacles and be flexible without sacrificing his principles and a leader must be responsible and care for those he leads.
John Hobberlin is a leader. He is a dedicated public servant who understands the people he represents and why he serves them. He will always strive to improve the lives of his constituents, which he does with the understanding that long-term improvement, while more difficult to accomplish, is preferable to quick fixes.
John Hobberlin is not a professional politician. He is a leader and an honorable citizen who steps forward when needed. He will serve us by doing what is right, rather than what is politically expedient and he will choose principle over partnership. John Hobberlin, November 2, 2004.
Ed Magner
Birch Bay

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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.

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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