Letters to the Editor -- October 13, 2005

Published on Thu, Oct 13, 2005
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
I am having a difficult time regarding our city council directing the city attorney of Blaine to try and stop the airport petition. Why would 500 signatures not say anything about residents wanting a chance to vote on the airport?
Thankfully, Judge Steve Mura let the Blaine city attorney and the Blaine City Council know that they are working for the citizens of Blaine.
Blaine’s form of government is run by a city manager that takes direction from the city council. In other words, whichever direction the city council takes on an issue, the city manager’s job is to follow through with the council’s decision.
I understand our city manager is a very fair competent city manager and is trying to do what the city council directs him to do in regard to taking action on local problems such as the Blaine airport.
It appears to me that we need to get some “new blood” on the city council. There are only two seats that are available in the upcoming November election. I have spoken with both candidates, Jason Overstreet and Jason Burke. Both of these gentlemen will help build a stronger city council that will listen to the voices of our residents.
Mr. Overstreet should be complimented for his efforts in getting the city to loosen the stringent sign ordinance placed on local businesses. This young man is a local business owner and is very excited about getting involved in local politics.
The other candidate, Jason Burke, is a lifelong resident with an open mind and a strong conviction to help get our city on track. He is very frustrated with the city council not being able to make decisions and continually delaying important issues as in the case of the 18-month moratorium on multi-family housing.
Our city council is faced with a lot of decisions in the near future. Hopefully, adding these two new faces to our council will keep us out of court, defending ourselves against our own city council!
Scott Dodd

The Editor:
Many of the natural assets that all of us enjoy in Whatcom County face unprecedented long-term threats from the type of land conversion and urbanization we are now experiencing countywide.
Good leadership is required to develop and implement policies and programs that protect our greatest natural gifts for future generations to enjoy. This is our major challenge as a community – recovering healthy salmon runs, protecting our drinking water, restoring shellfish growing areas, protecting agricultural land and a viable agricultural economy.
There is enormous pressure to accommodate more and more people. Can this be done while still protecting what we cherish about this place? My wife and I will be voting for someone who we think is best suited to shape how the county grows and where it grows in the next several years. We want someone who has made a commitment to and has a successful track record in public service.
We will be voting for Carl Weimer for county council district 3. If you want this place to be a place that you would recognize 30 years from now, we suggest that you vote for Carl Weimer. He will go to work for all of us – it’s what he’s been doing for years.
Geoff and Andie Menzies

The Editor:
I served on the Birch Bay Village homeowner’s association board of directors several years ago, along with Mike Kent. If his actions there are any indication of what he would be like as a county council representative the community needs to be forewarned.
It was not at all evident that he was working for the benefit of the community. He often tried to control decisions himself, rather than sincerely participating in team decision-making with the board of directors. When the board faced important issues where community notification and input was warranted he would try to find ways to preclude broader participation.
This was especially evident when the issues involved things which might adversely affect the community’s marketing image. He needed to be continually reminded of the state’s open meeting laws, and the property owner’s legal rights to information. He also did not hesitate to use his influence to benefit business associates and clients who had real estate listings with him. Electing Mike Kent to represent county council district 3 would be opening the door for him to practice his “special favors for special friends” politics on a much larger scale.
There’s a place in this world for salesmen like him who serve for-profit interests; but it’s not on the Whatcom County Council.
The clear alternative is Carl Weimer. His track record of working for the public interest speaks for itself.
Linda Haynes

The Editor:
When it comes to the Blaine airport, I think Clark Gable summoned it up best in Gone With The Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Frankly, I don’t care if the airport stays the same, is enlarged, or shut down. Others do. So, put it on the ballot – either as binding or advisory. Get feedback from the public. Debate the issues using proven facts, not personalities.
Opponents, please don’t tell us that if airport stays or is enlarged the increase in our tax bill will become excruciating, or the air traffic in and out of Blaine will be unbearable. Do tell us, however, what you are going to do with airport property to increase Blaine’s tax base, without adding to the immediate area’s congestion, or add to the trucking area’s noise and ugliness.
And for those wishful thinkers or those who wish to enlarge the facilities for personal gain, please give us more than your maybes: Maybe the border patrol will come back to use it. Maybe UPS will fly cargo in and out. Maybe, once enlarged, a vast number of businessmen and women will be using the facilities.
We are told all these maybes will bring increased jobs and wealth to Blaine. If true, good. I am in favor of increasing the economic pie. But, please, facts not fantasy.
As I said, I don’t care if the airport stays the same, is enlarged, or shut down – Blaine will remain a superb place to live. I do care, however, when it comes to perpetuating economic ignorance or dishonesty.
So, please don’t tell me it won’t cost anything if the airport is enlarged. Federal monies are not free. It costs someone. Government grants or loans lead to increased rules, regulations and often further local costs. Worse yet, the offer of federal monies brings out the looting mentality in the best of people: “If we don’t get the funds someone else will.”
Yes, I know the millions offered are supposed to be user funds, taxes on aviation fuel and passenger tickets. But from Blaine? Users in other areas were forced to pay these monies. All federal funds are monies taken from someone else, either through taxation or through increasing the money supply and stealing from everyone through inflation.
The federal government’s constitutional mandate is to protect us from an external threat and to ensure equal administration of justice. When government force is used to take money from one citizen to economically benefit another that is thievery – looting. When it comes to that I do care.
Michael E. Odell

The Editor:

I urge our community to follow retiring county council member Sharon Roy’s lead in voting for Carl Weimer for the district 3 seat she’s vacating. Ms. Roy’s September 29 letter wholeheartedly endorsing Mr. Weimer was an elegant summation of his exceptional character and moral integrity plus his outstanding leadership, entrepreneurial, business and political credentials, with 20 years experience in public service.
As demonstrated by his role in establishing the Watershed Pledge and BayKeeper programs, Mr. Weimer will be a strong advocate for the environment and clean water and will urge sensible growth to preserve our county’s precious resources and quality of life. As the entrepreneur behind Bellingham’s ReStore and as former general manager of Ferndale’s Vanguard Northwest (employing the severely disabled), Mr. Weimer has a proven track record in creating economic opportunities, which our community so sorely needs. As evidenced by his organization of a national effort leading to the Pipeline Safety Act and his experience as executive director of the subsequently created Pipeline Safety Trust, Mr. Weimer will be a tireless advocate for community safety and police and fire protection.
Carl Weimer will serve solely the public’s best interests – not only for his district, but for all Whatcom County.
Speaking of endorsements, Mickey Masdeo publicly requested my response to his September 29 letter. Mr. Masdeo mistakenly alleged that my September 21 letter endorsing Laurie Caskey-Schreiber “greatly exceeded” the 350-word limit. Per computerized word-count, it was exactly 350 words, or it wouldn’t have been published. He said my letter implied, “that it is the Birch Bay Steering Committee’s endorsement.” I believe most discerning readers would infer that I no more intended to imply that I was speaking for the entire committee than did Ms. Roy mean to imply that she was speaking for the entire county council!
Contrary to Mr. Masdeo’s assertions, my letter was not “inappropriate.” My simple, human mistake was hastily sending off the letter, forgetting to delete the reference to my status as the committee’s Birch Point representative in my automated e-mail signature. For that error alone, I respectfully apologize to the committee and for any public misunderstanding.
Jo Slivinski

The Editor:
Have the people who want to get rid of the airport become so complacent to let the council change the petition that they presented to them to get rid of the airport?
By letting the council change the petition to their wording, you are depriving the people the right to tell the council to get rid of the airport, which is what they signed the petition to do. Not to look at ways to get rid of it, but to get rid of it. It is illegal for the council to change the wording of the petition to suit their purposes and you need to go back before the auditor and the judge and have them force these pinheads to put the initiative on the ballot the way it was written, not the way the council wants it to read.
Second, the council wants to raise the sewer rates on you, the people, without justification. The sewer rates do not need to be raised, the only reason why they are doing it is to make you, the taxpayers, pay for their mistakes, back when Tony Mortillaro caused the major lawsuit against the city for digging up the bones. The council should have to absorb those costs, not you the taxpayer, because it was they who screwed up not you.
Come on folks, it is time to get rid of the pinheads that run this city into the ground, and put people on the council who will look out for you, not make you all the scapegoat for their foolishness and stupidity.
David White

The Editor:
It was no surprise that Sharon Roy, a liberal Democrat, endorsed Carl Weimer, a liberal Democrat. She should be commended for taking this stand. Her reference however to years of public service on Mr. Weimer’s part may be a stretch unless receiving public subsidies year after year constitutes being a public servant!
I firmly believe that Mike Kent is without a doubt, the more qualified of the two candidates. He has operated successful businesses without government handouts and in fact, has provided year after year, tens of thousands of dollars to local charities to improve the “quality of life” for many others. Mike Kent really and truly cares about all of Whatcom County, not just Bellingham or certain cities.
He worked more recently with Sheriff Elfo in the successful campaign for Proposition 1. As Sharon Roy mentioned in her letter, and also in a meeting I attended, Mike Kent is a very good people person and would work well with the presently constituted Whatcom County Council. Mike has a very positive agenda which he feels very strongly about. He is very concerned about the drug (especially meth) situation, has proposed that the county growth currently being experienced be properly managed (not controlled and taxed to death as his opponent proposes), has every intention to support and retain local business and encourage the influx of “quality” newcomers who would contribute not detract from our beautiful and wonderful county.
Working in his profession, Mike has, in my opinion, a much better feel on the pulse of the community. In my discussions with him, I am very impressed by Mike’s in-depth knowledge of the major issues facing our county today. He has a position and also an opinion on how to take on these issues. They do not include raising taxes.
I am looking forward to Mike bringing his comprehensive knowledge of the issues and experience to his position as county councilman.
Mickey Masdeo
Birch Bay

The Editor:
The Blaine airport will be on this November’s ballot and I would like to disclose a few important facts. The first one is to let voters know that I live two miles outside the Blaine city limits, attended Blaine schools and was president of Pastime Tavern and Casino from 1989 to 1998.
I currently am a licensed real estate agent and have an office in Blaine at Semiahmoo. Contrary to rumors around town, I do not have any real estate deal going on with developers involving the airport property and as president of Revitalize Blaine Now, I will not be involved in any form of real estate negotiations regarding the Blaine airport. I will disclose that I am heavily involved in the development of waterfront condominiums in downtown Blaine and I look forward to helping revitalize this very scenic small town.
The last few weeks have been very frustrating watching our city council refuse to listen to petitioner’s requests for the airport to be placed on the November ballot. Three different polls were taken by three different groups and the results were 77 percent in favor of closure of the airport in a survey conducted by the West Blaine Business Association. My group, Revitalize Blaine Now, gathered 511 signatures in five days to put the closure of the airport up for a public vote and last, but not least, the Semiahmoo Political Action Group did a survey and the results were six-to-one in favor of not spending any more tax dollars on the airport. There are three city council airport advocates who are Semiahmoo residents who should sit back and take a look at who they are representing. I’m sorry, boys, but if your ward tells you to paint the town pink, your job is to order the paint. Don’t laugh – back in the 70s, city council decided to paint the whole town white with black trim!
Don’t forget to vote yes on the airport feasibility closure and also please vote for Jason Overstreet and Jason Burke. These two fine gentlemen will get rid of one third of our city council problems.
Dennis Hill

The Editor:
I read with total amazement this stupid debate over Blaine’s airport.
This “committee to revitalize” Blaine wants to eliminate one important part of our city because it serves only hobbyists, “Dah.” If they want to rid the city of hobbyists, let’s close the boat harbor too! If their intent is to really revitalize Blaine, let’s start by getting rid of some of the many building restrictions to allow more development.
Also, this committee headed up by a realtor might consider stopping the inflationary rise of land costs caused by realtors. Do you realize that for every $1,000 they can raise the price of properties, the realtor can get up to $100 more in commission? That’s called greed.
Once the airport is gone, it’s gone forever. Do we really want that to happen?
In the 1970s, the Snohomish County commissioners closed Paine A.F.B. to commercial air traffic. Now they’re trying to rescind that action. Ha.
We could have a major regional airport in Everett if not for this closure. The point is, when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Let’s stop this closure nonsense before we make lots of attorneys rich. For what?
Dan Moen

The Editor:
On October 4, I celebrated my 95th birthday at Truffles restaurant in Blaine. I have never before been treated so royally. The food was really delicious. They knew I liked balloons, and had eight colorful balloons at my chair.
There was a rose at the table with beautiful red carnations which they sent home with me. The owner and chef baked a special chocolate birthday cake that was absolutely scrumptious.
Our waitress, who is an opera singer, sang one of Puccini’s operas especially for me.
I would highly recommend Truffles restaurant as a special place to eat, as the treatment and food we received was beyond the normal and truly something special to rave about.
Betty Liepert

The Editor:
I have heard the phrase “emotionally loaded” too many times in the last month. The citizens of Blaine and concerned citizens of the surrounding communities are frustrated. Quotes from city council members saying that looking at other uses of the airport “wouldn’t look proper” is how people become “emotionally loaded.” Our city officials are elected by the people for the people. The city has changed a lot since the vote 10 years ago. I think the new city of Blaine deserves a vote.
Voters will remember whether their opinion counted at the next election.
I have a few questions that I would like answered:
The city of Blaine public works department maintains the airport. Is the airport paying for that or are the taxpayers?
How many people serve on the airport commission? How many of those are city officials? How many of those are business owners within a one-mile radius of the airport? Is this in any way a conflict of interest? Are these people looking out for the best interests of the city of Blaine or for themselves personally? How many of those businesses have any relationship to airport activity? If the airport closing does not directly affect them, does the city have to buy out the leases for them?
Have our citizens seen the first proposed airport plan? One recommendation is to “fill in the pond on the area known as Skallman Park,” and “clear brush and weed area to remove wildlife cover” as wildlife pose special hazards to aircraft. I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time filling in a pond on my property.
Blaine has been a “sleepy little fishing village” for a long time. Our town has survived for generations thanks to it. Now Blaine is becoming one of the most desirable places to live. Businesses will follow, airport or not. Maybe the airport is the best use for that land, I don’t know. I do know that it wouldn’t look proper not to look into other uses for it.
Rachel Hrutfiord

The Editor:
As I watch the sides square off on the Blaine Airport issues it is hard not to get drawn into the drama of it all. The airport controversy has been an ongoing saga for as long as I can recall in my 50 years of living in Blaine. So, to satisfy my own curiosity and bring validity to my eventual opinion I took councilmember Onyon’s excellent advice and did some Internet research on the pros and cons of small airports.
As the argument is primarily one of economics, we as a community need to assess what our goals are for the business community and whether a small airport adds appeal, service and value. We need to understand that for every dollar spent there will be a return whether in direct form of wages, taxes, leases, fees and operational expenditures or indirect impacts from visitors utilizing the facility and creating a cash inflow into the community.
The operating expenses are certainly a reality; however, each dollar spent in maintenance does not vanish once spent. Conversely, that dollar makes its way to the butcher, the baker and who knows where. The point is that much of it circulates within the community three, four or more times before it is incrementally exported from the local economy.
Further induced impact would be realized if the $16 million improvements funded primarily by federal means comes to fruition. Studies show that, nationwide, for every dollar spent in airport construction projects an additional two dollars of economic activity is generated to the benefit of the local economy.
Most importantly, we have business people who, in good faith, have entered into agreements with the city, who have invested not only money but their time in developing aviation-based businesses here in the community. I have a hard time justifying removal of their livelihood, removal of the dreams.
We must ask have we as a community ever promoted and nurtured this facility with the intent of making it a self-supporting entity and given it the backing it deserves? Have we really tried to elevate and improve the asset to it’s fullest potential?
I think not – I think we should.
Once the airport is gone it will probably be gone forever and with it we close this door of opportunity and diversity on ourselves.
Len Beckett

The Editor:
I love Whatcom County and particularly Birch Bay, Birch Point, and the “sleepy little fishing village” of Blaine. My roots are here, going back to the 1880s. Whatcom County is a beautiful place to live and many people have discovered this and have moved here. I am extremely worried that all of the rapid development is compromising our shorelines and negatively impacting our beautiful area.
I would like to see responsible development and planned growth that protects our natural resources. I would also like to see an infrastructure that keeps up with this growth. I think developers should be paying towards this. Please support those who have worked hard to keep this such a great place to live by voting for Carl Weimer, Laurie Caskey-Shreiber, and Seth Fleetwood. And while you are voting, Jeralyn (Jeri) Smith and Ted Morris are running for Northwest Park and Recreation commissioner positions. They both are positive choices who will work hard at helping to keep and develop our parks system.
Lastly, I would like to thank Sharon Roy for doing such a splendid job in her position on the county council.
Katy Montfort
Birch Bay

The Editor & citizens of Blaine:
Bob Brunkow is the best candidate for the Blaine City Council Ward 3 position.
Since being appointed to complete Dieter Schugt’s term on city council, Bob has proven his commitment to our community through his involvement in all aspects of its operation. He is a successful businessman whose experience and financial management skills are what we need to help stimulate our local economy.
Join me in supporting Bob with your vote of confidence on election day.
Nancy Hobberlin

The Editor:
I am writing to urge your readers to support the re-election of Bob Brunkow to the Blaine City Council.
We have been very fortunate to have a man with Bob’s credentials on our council for the past year. He is the founder and CEO of a very prosperous communications equipment company and as such, is accustomed to making decisions involving large sums of money in a responsible and timely manner. He has served for many years on the Board of Seafest in a number of positions, including chairman of the budget committee and chairman of the board. In his short time on the council, he has demonstrated his ability to look at issues from all sides to determine what course of action would be best for the city and its taxpayers. From watching council meetings, it is obvious that the other members of council seek out and value his input on the many difficult issues that they face in performing their duties.
Why would we want to replace a person having Bob’s obvious abilities and record with an unknown opponent at a time when so many complex issues face our city government?
Please re-elect Bob Brunkow to a second term on the Blaine City Council.
Doug Fenton

The Editor:
I would like to share the experience I just had on October 8, off of H Street Road. I went to a favorite spot of mine with my 10-year-old son. This is a place between H Street and Canada’s border where we can 4-wheel. As luck would have it, we got stuck. Almost every time we go out, we pass one or two border patrol vehicles protecting our borders.
Every time we see them, they are very friendly. On this experience, they went beyond the call of duty. We were stuck waiting to get cell service to make a call when the helicopter flew overhead. Of course, they did not know who we were but kept circling and I waved my arms. Within five minutes, four border agent vehicles responded to the scene. And yes, all the questions were asked: Who, what and why are you here? This is their job and they did it well. After a few questions and answers, they helped push me out to be on my way. My point of this letter is to let people know our government dollars are hard at work and their presence is very known and they are doing an excellent job. This should just reinforce the fact that we should feel safe living on our border with the quality of law enforcement we have.
Tony Davenport

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.

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