Letters to 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 chamber 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 said some people 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.
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.
Meredith Riley, finance director of the city of Blaine, recently presented the proposed 2006 budget to the city council.
It noted some important revelations: “Revenues are not keeping up with expenses.” The street fund’s 2007 deficit: $101,185; the stormwater utility 2007 deficit: $46,563; the airport deficit: $75,590. Projections so profound that if you add the above to the electric utility’s deficit the loss is $2,014,451 by 2011.
The problem stems from the fact that the general fund’s projected balance for 2008 is only a $3,209 surplus. Therefore, any attempt to resolve this serious financial situation implies either raising tax levies which will negatively impact Blaine’s taxpayers, or new “impact fees” must be created by our council to get the developers that are benefiting from the approximately 2,000 new homes (that our community planning director has recently approved) to pay for this inevitable city infrastructure usage.
The myths that the five developers of these 2,000 homes are pushing on an unsuspecting public is that “growth pays for itself” and that our “population growth demands” their new projects. This is nonsense.
The truth is that Whatcom County’s population grew by only 1.7 percent per year from 2000 to 2005, whereas, the number of houses built grew by three percent (almost twice as fast) which means that the average number of people per house fell from 2.26 to only 1.58 which in turn caused the vacancy rate to increase from 2.4 percent to 7.3 percent during the period.
The facts is the “growth machine” or these five developers plus their governmental staff supporters, bankers, realtors and suppliers are leaving the Blaine taxpayers with millions of dollars worth of unfunded liabilities, as Meredith’s report makes painfully obvious. What Blaine needs is a building moratorium until our financial house is put back in order.
‘Twas the night on an airport, with stars shining brite
Not a bi-plane was landing not even an ultra-lite
All the truckers lining up on the truck routes with care
Miraculously less polluting than if they were parked somewhere.
The city council was nestled all snug in their beds
While the fear mongering vision of a large polluting truck stop danced in their heads
Mayor Liebert was hung and then backstabbed with care
So the airport mafia thugs could get their man in there
But high on Blaine’s rooftops there arose such a clatter.
Let’s throw it to the people and settle this matter.
Away to the voters it spread like a rash
Finally this issue we will be able to hash
The vote it came, like a breath of flowing fresh air
Gave the people a purpose, a voice, what wonderful fair
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
Councilmens Hawkins, Wolf and Ely lit up like Christmas reindeer.
With a little old driver wily and quick
Is that Austin Powers or Mike Myers – is this some kind of trick,
or some form of magic he stole from St. Nick?
So more rapid than eagles the airplanes will come
And the FAA money will rain down on us, in tons
Austin Powers he whistled as he flew out of sight.
Your voice doesn’t matter so shut up and good night
This letter is not a reply to Mickey Masdeo’s letter in the January 19 issue of The Northern Light but rather is my comments and objection to his using my name in his letter which was mostly regarding matters pertaining to the Blaine airport, city policies and politics.
Not being located within the Blaine city limits we cannot, and do not want to, vote on such matters. To mention I was a ‘cohort’ of Lincoln Rutter, Jo Slivinski and Jeff Robinson is ludicrous as I do not know these people and have never expressed an opinion on any of the matters mentioned in his letter. We do, however, continue to vote on anything that pertains to the Blaine school district and anything else that concerns our area and which directly affects our Birch Bay community.
Mr. Masdeo seems to have some sort of a hang-up about residents of Birch Bay using a Blaine address. Blaine is our legal address and I assume his legal address is also Blaine and without a Blaine zip code his mail may not be delivered.
My original letter was in opposition to making Birch Bay a city and I have not changed my stance against incorporation. However, I’ll not go into that again.
Having a city status for Birch Bay doesn’t necessarily guarantee a Birch Bay post office and address as Mr. Masdeo seems to think. I am not against a Birch Bay post office; it would be handier – but neither do I have any criticism of the service we now have out of Blaine. Our carrier, Dar Kruse, is excellent and goes out of his way to provide exceptional service to everyone on his Birch Bay route.
So, in the future, Mr. Masdeo, please refrain from using my name in your letters unless it is an answer to a letter I have written.
The city of Blaine certainly has a jewel in Richard Clark.
Thank you, Richard, for your insight, wit and intelligence. We appreciate your letters, articles and ideas. You always make our day.
Derrel & Joan Clark
Bellingham Boy Scout Troop 20, chartered by Garden Street United Methodist Church, is looking for former members to help celebrate the troop’s 85th anniversary on March 2.
We’ve uncovered many old newspaper articles and an old photo of the troop from long ago, so it’s very interesting to be able to see the troop’s history. Troop 20 has been continuously chartered by the church for the whole 85 years and is the oldest troop in Whatcom County (and one of the oldest in the state).
The room the boys meet in now is the same one they used years ago, when it just had a dirt floor. There are lots of memories in that room! So we’d like to locate some former troop members and invite them to our party to share their memories.
The celebration will be held March 2 at the Garden Street United Methodist Church (dinner, cake and a program). If you are a former Troop 20 member, please contact Nancy Hamilton before February 23 with your contact information so we can send you an invitation: 647-0239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katey Roemmele (Troop 20 mother)
With all due respect to Mr. Michael Farrell, simply obtaining an appraisal and selling the airport to the highest bidder is not the “easiest” solution to the dispute over the best use of that property. Mr. Farrell, out of frustration, may feel that going through all the steps necessary to achieve an educated public decision vis-à-vis the airport is merely expensive council dithering, but may I point out to him that there are avid airport supporters who agree with him in this regard? Of course, their solution is to dispense with the study and improve the airport! Mr. Farrell, then, is but one side of the very coin that necessitates the dithering study.
Mr. Farrell states in his letter that the four people who voted for Mr. Myers are “airport supporters.” He may have particular knowledge where the other three are concerned but he cannot speak with any authority on my behalf. I have never categorically stated to anyone that I was for or against the airport. At this juncture, I am in the felicitous circumstance of having both polemics acknowledge that I am in sympathy with their respective points of view – as indeed, I am. Does this mean I am ambivalent? Not at all. I have a very decided opinion on the matter – I just do not choose to make it plain. What I will make plain, however, is that neither Mr. Farrell nor anyone else can presume to place me, categorically, on either side of the divide. My only political loyalty is to the welfare of Blaine. Everything else sorts out from that.
Ken Ely, Blaine City Council
Reverend Al Currier, Pastor of the Blaine Community Church, recently suffered a heart attack and is currently hospitalized at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham. Unfortunately, there are other severe complications, so his recovery will take some time.
The Currier family is under considerable financial stress, so our small but close-knit congregation is asking churches, individuals, foundations, etc., is asking help for the Reverend and his family financially. You may send or deliver donations to: U.S. Bank in Blaine at 280 H Street or any U.S. Bank located elsewhere.
Our profound thanks to all.
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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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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