Letters to the Editor -- January 26, 2006

Published on Thu, Jan 26, 2006
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
My name is Jake Ross. I am 18 years old and I am spending my 18th year of my life in Whatcom County Jail. In the jail, I am on the third floor (maximum security). I am in a tank that happens to be right next to the tank that has murderers and highly violent assaulters and one of the people in that tank is named Mike Mullen.
In my five months in this jail I have talked to Mullen in between doors and I’ve gotten to know what an awesome guy this person really is. Mike is not a person who brags about what he’s done wrong, he doesn’t even talk about it unless he is asked. I, myself, don’t ask questions about what happened or why he decided to shoot two guys in the head, because it’s none of my business.
I know what Mike did was wrong, but I’m a non-judgmental person and I look past the bad things people have done. A lot of people label Mike Mullen as a murderer, well that is because they don’t know who Mike Mullen is – my view of Mullen, he’s just a big teddy bear. Mike Mullen is a way cool dude and it makes me sad to think that this cool of a person may never walk on the street again.
No one in the world is better than someone else, so I don’t know why people have to judge.
Jake Ross
Bellingham

The Editor:
A respected American citizen with proper identification was recently detained at the Peace Arch border by U.S. agents, told to exit the vehicle, get prone on the ground and handcuffed. The entire entry into the U.S. was closed, forcing hundreds of people to wait until authorities resolved the problem with one vehicle. Within moments of being led into the building the supervisor told the agents to release this person as they had the wrong man.
The entire border was shut down for an evening (by Canadian authorities) some days later to deal with one vehicle. It was not a terrorist attack, just a man with mental problems whose truck contained some guns but no bombs. Again, hundreds of people were forced to wait until this situation was resolved.
The media dutifully informs us of these closures as if there was no other option but does not ask how these typical police responses could have been handled more effectively. Yet when the border is shut down, many people have to contend with no bathroom facilities and, depending on the time of day, perhaps children who may not be able to tolerate delays.
The secondary areas exist where these situations could have been addressed without inconveniencing everyone else in line? Are the schedules of everyone else unimportant? Is it really necessary to have so many vehicles with flashing lights and personnel standing around looking official? Do they have nothing else to do?
It seems that the terrorists have won. Border agents respond to a minor event as if the entire border is under attack. Yet, not one of these over-reactions has involved the illegal import of weapons of mass destruction?
This most recent event is a perfect example of excessive response. Two shooters were apprehended on the U.S. side. Why was the entire border shut down? Why stop traffic from going into Canada when this had nothing to do with them?
Washington/Homeland Security bureaucrats are creating a new ID card that will have serious impacts on border traffic and valid only for travel between the U.S. and Canada. We already have the NEXUS card. If that issuing organization had simply added the country of birth on the card it would have served multiple uses. That could be added now without having to create an entirely new card and supporting system.
Everytime the border is closed to resolve a singular event, the lives of many people are impacted. The abuse of individuals and closure of the border has to stop. It is the job of any police organization to serve – not mistreat, oppress, suppress or abuse. We are all innocent until proven guilty.
Karl King
Birch Bay

The Editor:
In last week’s issue of The Northern Light, Ken Ely claimed that Mike Myers has not actively sought to keep the airport open. He also claims that Mr. Myers’ bid for mayor was not motivated by his predilection for airports.
I don’t know where Mr. Ely has been for the last six months, but Mike Myers has spoken publicly in support of the airport and he also wrote a long letter in support of the airport and signed it Blaine City Council.
Perhaps the vote for Myers was not related to the airport. Are we expected to believe this when the four people that voted for Myers are airport supporters?
The last part of Ely’s letter discusses the steps that are required to close the airport. One can only wonder how long and how much money will be spent on this process, when the easiest thing to do would be to have the land appraised and sell it to the highest bidder.
I have only lived here for two years, but it is quite obvious that the airport has been a contentious issue in Blaine for many years. I also understand that the airport has been a financial drain on the city for the last several years and it seems like there are only a few people in this town who really support it. In November the voters asked for the council to do a study on closing the airport. One can only hope that four council members will fulfill their fiduciary responsibility by voting to close the airport.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a poorly located airport could never be an asset to this small town, so I encourage the council to do a quick study and let someone else purchase this property and turn it into something that could be a source of pride to the community instead of a political nightmare.
Michael Farrell
Blaine

The Editor:

In his January 19 letter, Mickey Masdeo alleged: “. . . Lincoln Rutter, Jo Slivinski and Marilyn Vaux. They all write letters and sign them Blaine and none of these three live in Blaine – thus a false claim by all of them.”
“A good name is better than riches,” wrote Miguel de Cervantes. I truly try to abide by those words. Hence, I hope Mr. Masdeo made the above allegations, not out of any spiteful attempt to besmirch my good name with a deliberate lie, but rather, because he failed to check out the facts (again!).
It is public record (county assessor’s website) that my legal address is Blaine.
Whatever the explanation behind Mr. Masdeo’s latest sputtering off, this isn’t the first time he’s directed pointless, unfounded, defamatory diatribes against individuals who perhaps don’t agree with him on certain issues or political candidates. In a September 29, 2005 letter to The Northern Light, he claimed (falsely) that my September 21 letter endorsing Laurie Caskey-Schreiber “greatly exceeded” the word-limit. Again, he apparently didn’t bother to check out the facts: my letter contained precisely the allowable 350 words.
In that same letter, he chided me for implying that my September 21 letter was, “the Birch Bay steering committee’s endorsement.” In an October 13, 2005 letter, I gladly clarified for the community that, racing to submit my letter minutes before the deadline, I neglected to delete my steering committee designation from my e-mail signature – innocent mistake, no intent to mislead the public.
However, I question whether Mr. Masdeo himself intentionally misled the community: In that September 29 letter, he expressly stated that Birch Bay steering committee chair Kathy Berg asked him to write that letter. What I subsequently received in writing from Ms. Berg proves he did not tell the truth. Ms. Berg’s exact words: “He wanted a letter to the editor; I suggested he write it himself.”
As always, thank you for the truth, Ms. Berg.
If a person desires community credibility and respect – and, yes, a good name – he should check out the facts, and above all, always tell the truth.
Jo Slivinski
Blaine

The Editor:
I have lived in Blaine for 35 years. I have seen many changes growing up in this small town. Two things that have not changed are the airport and the commercial importation, better known as (the trucks).
The main land port of entry into Canada for commercial trucks and buses on the west side of the Cascades is State Route 543, also known as the truck route.
Some people of Blaine would like you to believe that if we have a truck stop this would invite corruption, noise and pollution. Well, I hate to be the one to inform them; but we already have a truck stop. It is run by the Exxon gas station. Some people have given the impression that if we do not build a truck stop, the trucks will disappear.
I am ashamed of these people who insinuate that all truck drivers are seedy people. My father-in-law drove trucks across the border for many years. He has lived in Whatcom County for 80 years and raised five children and owns a very nice farm in Whatcom County.
If it were not for these trucks many people would not have jobs.
For instance, the brokerage companies, and Customs and Border Protection are here in Blaine. These agencies clear these trucks to go through our border. Yet trucks cause noise, but no more than the plane flying over my house that sounds like the engine is going to cut out. I live three blocks from the truck route, but not once have the trucks ever rattled the pictures on my walls like the planes. Pollution – well, maybe if we gave these trucks somewhere to park, they wouldn’t have to get in huge line-ups. Come on, do you really believe that we the people of Blaine are so naïve that we do not realize that airports generate corruption and pollution?
Border statistics show that over 2,000 trucks cross into Canada weekly. Compare that with the 5,000 planes landing annually at our airport. The state is going to be rebuilding the truck route at no cost to the city. Please stop putting down the trucks and start supporting them as they have done you.
Lisa Bailey
Blaine

The Editor:
I must admit, I am somewhat confused and more than a little concerned. As I attended the January 9 council meeting, I sat and listened as it was time to elect a mayor for the
next two year term. Both Mike Myers and John Liebert were nominated for the position. As each was given an opportunity to express their reasoning for wanting the position, Mr. Myers quietly stumbled over a brief statement about being committed to doing the job. When Mr. Liebert’s opportunity came, he read a powerful statement outlining the responsibilities of the mayor position, and his qualifications for such a position. He stated that not only is the mayor responsible for running the meetings, but almost more importantly to be a representative for the city, to interact and support the local businesses and owners, and to be someone for whom the community feels confident and safe to share concerns. At the conclusion of his statement the
chambers erupted in applause. Then the vote took place, and this is where my confusion and concern come in. I was under the impression that elected officials are serving to make
decisions based on what is best for the community they represent. So you can imagine my and most everyone else’s shock in the room, when council members Ely, Hawkins, and Wolf voted for Mr. Myers giving him the position. I guess I along with many other citizens, would love to hear from them as to why they think Mr. Myers is better suited for the position. He certainly didn’t let us know in his brief comments. I would like to encourage voters to ask this question, because the only reason I heard during the meeting was when Mr. Liebert stated some thought he was trying to be too strong of a mayor in a “weak” mayor system, and that he suggested the council may want to look at how the citizens are best served by the use of the current airport property (what nerve). Those both seem like qualities of someone who does have our best interests at heart. I would like to encourage you to let the council know that we are more
interested in the decisions that affect us, than just hearing about them in the paper the next day. It is as easy as picking up a city council meeting agenda on the Friday before the meeting, looking it over, and if there is any subject of interest to you, show up on Monday night. The
work sessions that take place before the meetings are also public, and I have found them to offer a lot more discussion and information sometimes than the meetings themselves. I think it is important to let the council know that they are not operating in a vacuum, that we do care about their decisions, and that they are charged with making decisions based on what is best for our community as a whole.
Shelly Button
Blaine

The Editor:
Should it be determined by the city of Blaine that the Blaine airport be closed, I would like to make the following suggestion for the use of the property.
What has become a rare commodity in Whatcom County is affordable housing and home building lots for young couples, with or without children, young career and professional individuals. This would be a great opportunity to bring a younger generation of people to the city of Blaine.
The land could be developed as a village – like community with single, duplex and four-plex lots.
Nicole McCaig
Blaine

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