Letters to the Editor
Last week, five members of the planning commission voted to recommend denying the Seagrass Cottages project on Semiahmoo spit.
We found it refreshing that these people had the courage to follow their convictions and do what they believe is the right thing regardless of pressures from powerful developers and the building industry.
It sets the standard for planning departments in other cities and in the county.
Their decision will be good for present and future generations.
We can keep our hopes alive that planning departments are not a rubber stamp for developers and unchecked growth.
The vote of these five commissioners was a vote for the community and made a very big impact in positive way.
We hope that the city council will follow their recommendation.
Kay and Fred Schuhmacher
The citizens of Blaine are confident that city council will undertake the steps to research the best stewardship of the airport. If its use as an airport as is, or requiring the proposed extension and property acquisitions provides the best benefit (i.e. most investment opportunities, most living wage jobs, highest tax base, etc.) it would be a “win-win” situation for all.
However, until an unbiased review is undertaken, one is unable to come to any conclusion. The only review undertaken, to date, has been to explore the costs and viability of expansion of the airport. Regardless of ultimate use, we must understand who is benefiting most from present lease arrangements, who would be benefiting most from future leases, and decide who should benefit most from this city owned property. The answer should be – the city of Blaine, whether via leases or sale.
Also at issue is the undetermined cost of potential termination of the city’s lease management agreement. During the last airport referendum unsubstantiated reports circulated that taxpayers would be left holding the bag for millions of dollars in compensation. Many of the existing tenant leases, whether or not airport specific, would not necessarily have to be terminated just re-assigned to management by the city for the city.
While it is understood that the present lease manager would expect compensation for abrogating his lease, understanding these costs is vital to the public.
If the airport commission is sincere that the airport’s value speaks for itself, why does the data provided to the city’s consultant impart a perception that the airport’s traffic is considerably more than it is. Individuals involved in touch and go practices (touching the wheels down without slowing, taking off, circling and touching again), to be repeated 10 - 12 times per hour, result in operations being logged into the airport’s annual operations distort and inflate the record of annual airport operations.
Ten – 12 an hour by one aircraft for only one day constitutes up to 24 operations logged in that day. Three aircraft doing so for one hour, only one day a week – would record 72 operations per week. Multiplied by 52 weeks - you have 3,744 annual operations – almost 75 percent of the 5,000 operations logged in 2004.
Even allowing the benefit of doubt, and this practice is common to all small hobby airports, why are they counted as operations and meticulously logged and allowed to be used to mislead people into believing that 5,000 aircraft are landing and taking off, resulting in the impression that essential airport services are being provided, freight and/or people are being transported, and that restaurants, hotels and taxis etc., are benefiting?
While abrogating the present lease agreement is long overdue, will alternative use of this land outweigh the benefits of the airport in its present condition, or future expansion?
The citizens must know the answers to these questions before their position(s) can be made known to our city council or decide whether or not a “citizen’s initiative” to require a vote on the issue is in order. We won’t know until a proper review, taking every detail and viable option into consideration is undertaken.
Michael D. Jones
I am writing to my circle of compassionate people in hopes that you or someone you know will be able to help my wonderful friends, the MacLeod family.
The MacLeods have lived in Blaine for nearly 20 years and have given much of themselves to impact their community in a positive and loving way, such as planting community gardens, volunteering their time and expertise to the schools, the local theater, the Boys and Girls Club, and so much more.
Brian, the father, is again diagnosed with cancer. Even though he fought long and hard with chemotherapy and other treatments, the cancer has now spread to his liver. The family is waiting anxiously for a referral for a surgeon in Seattle to remove the parts of his liver infected with cancer, his only chance at surviving.
The MacLeod family has bravely endured Brian’s fight with cancer for years, each of them being tremendously impacted emotionally, psychologically and financially. Even though the parents struggle to keep up with their basic expenses and mounting medical costs, they focus on the children and strive to give Alex, Clinton, and Kailey any opportunity to help them deal with the incredible stress in their lives in an effort to give them a happy childhood.
Each of the children have qualified for scholarships at the YMCA to help them attend a wilderness camp; however, they are still required to pay a portion of the fees: $75 each by July 31.
This may seem to be a small amount to us, but the MacLeods are burdened with extreme financial hardship and cannot come up with this amount on their own. I am writing to you to ask if you can help with any kind of contribution to help the kids get to camp. Or, perhaps you know of an individual or group that can help with this request? Please pass on this information to anyone you feel may be able to help the MacLeods.
The MacLeods – Brian, Diana, Alex, Clinton, and Kailey – are the kindest, most generous, most selfless people I know. If the tables were turned, they wouldn’t hesitate to help someone in any way that they could. I hope that, together, we can help them with their effort to send the kids to summer camp at the YMCA. Thank you for reading this, my friends, and please contact me immediately at 371-0505 if you have any questions and/or would like to help the MacLeod family.
The Blaine community development director asked the community for their “vision” for the city of Blaine.
A problem with that is the Growth Management Act (GMA) already articulates Washington’s vision of how cities should grow. It says: cities should grow in concentric circles from within the city limits, not “leap frog” out to rural zoned areas first.
Cities should accommodate legally defined 20-year population projections with actual sales to real people first, not process 20 year’s worth of empty plats and PUDs in the first year after the mandated seven-year review. The Urban Growth Area (UGA) should be sized appropriately, based on U.S. census data and there should be rural separation zones between those UGAs.
The infrastructure costs of new developments should be financed at the time of permit approval by those that profit from each individual real estate project, not deferred until forced upon the taxpayers and utility ratepayers. Our drinking water aquifer, wetlands, forests, farmlands, shorelands and other “critical areas” should be protected from urbanizations known pollutants by providing lower densities in such areas. The state’s vision represents all of our interests and it is the one that should count most.
The problem is that neither the city of Blaine nor Whatcom County have been enforcing the GMA laws that are already on the books. Until they begin to do so, more “visions” will only confuse the important question of how we get growth “to pay for itself.” To learn more about the GMA’s vision, log on to FutureWise.org or give me a call, we could use your help.
Lincoln L. Rutter
FutureWise, board member
On behalf of the Semiahmoo Ladies Club we wish to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Blaine community for its support of our second annual art show and fundraiser, Summer-Aire 2005. With approximately 1,000 visitors and brisk art and raffle ticket sales, the Ladies Club will be assured of continuing their support of Blaine community services and scholarships to Blaine high school graduates.
We also salute the fine efforts of the Blaine Jazz Festival organizers and the Peace Arch Sculpture Exhibition for joining with us to create “A Week of the Arts in Blaine.”
Personal thank you’s are being extended to the many businesses and individuals who made our event a success.
Georgia Donovan and Helen
Semiahmoo Ladies Club
Carol Binns, Summer Aire
I urge every taxpaying citizen in Blaine to request a copy of the airport facility development plan from city hall. This 20-page document was authored by Paul Southland, Doug Fenton and our current city manager, Gary Tomsic.
The city council who votes on everything airport apparently hasn’t seen it. Expansion isn’t recommended until the year 2015 when the population grows to approximately 7,800 residents.
In the meantime a list of 21 safety and non-safety issues need to be addressed. Currently there is no accountability for these issues. The report states, among other things, that in May of 1981 the city council voted to close the airport. As a result the FAA removed Blaine Municipal Airport from the National Airport Plan.
In 1987, Blaine city council announced plans to sell the airport. In 1992 city council was petitioned to abolish the airport. This document, although ignored, cannot be dismissed. It was currently used in court to take 485 trees and the land they sat on, apparently prematurely.
Why are we not appalled that our current airport commission chairman and our well paid city manager would actually suppress this information that is all of our concern?
We, the board of the Blaine Dollars for Scholars, would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make our sixth annual golf tournament another success.
Although we are but a small committee of seven, the wonderful support that we have received from our community, allowed us to present 21 graduating students with scholarships this year, helping them to further their education in four-year, vocational and community colleges.
Our thanks go out to our generous corporate hole sponsors, raffle donors, helpers and tournament participants. We could not achieve our goals without your ongoing support.
Marta Kazymyra, Shannon
Vander Yacht, Bill Wright,
Larissa Dhanani, Todd Berge,
Loretta Strube & Jerry
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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 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.
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