Letters to the Editor -- October 04, 2007

Published on Thu, Oct 4, 2007
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
As a long time resident and business owner, I have experienced several councils and city administrations. We have had some very interesting members of council in the past that have directed this city in directions that have not always been beneficial. I think that everyone can realize that serving on the council is a very demanding position. People decide to serve for a variety of reasons, some have an agenda or issue that they feel strongly about, and feel they must ensure its outcome. Others simply feel that they live here and want to make sure that the future is protected.
One such person is Harry Robinson. I have known Harry for 14 years, and during that time, I have come to realize that he is the type of person who would be exactly what this city needs. Blaine is on the verge of growing like we have never seen before. 
With the world coming for the Winter Olympics in 2010, we need to be proactive, not reactive. The opportunities and challenges that this presents will be staggering. The council will have issues presented to them that we have never seen before. 
People have come to the conclusion that we are the most desirable location in the county, and perhaps even in the state. All you have to do is look around, and see what is happening. If we’re not careful, we will lose what we have. 
We need the progress and improvements, while maintaining the core of our community. Harry’s background will provide the balance and objectivity that is needed on the council. He has no agenda, except to work tirelessly to represent us, the ones that have invested in town.
We should come first, and he would keep that in forefront of issues presented to him.  He’ll consider both sides of an issue, and I fully believe that he will do what is right.  He has the time to dedicate to this position, and knowing him, he wouldn’t enter into this if he didn’t feel that he could do the job.  I know that he can.
If you want someone that will act in the very best interest of us all, then Harry’s the right fit.
Dave Grant
Blaine

The Editor:
Regarding the story about fire district 21 in the September 27, 2007 edition of The Northern Light, I hope all Whatcom County residents – especially the community served by fire district 21 – will applaud and express full solidarity with fire chief Tom Fields and his fire commissioners. I also hope they will highly commend Whatcom County Superior Court judge Charles Snyder for his recent ruling in favor of Fire District 21 vs. local developers and Whatcom County.
This decision is a true victory for the rule of law and the Growth Management Act-supported principle of concurrency that implies new development must pay its fair share for its impact on the existing community and infrastructure, especially in regard to community emergency services.
I urge the community to loudly and vocally speak out in favor of this courageous and responsible stance and legal ruling that rightfully counteracts too many clueless (and/or maybe greedy?), irresponsible, rubber-stamp land-use decisions made by other Whatcom County agencies.
Such decisions have contributed to the now-out-of-control growth occurring in the Birch Bay/Birch Point/Semiahmoo areas without any seeming regard whatsoever as to whether the existing infrastructure/emergency services structure could even support this new growth. As we’re now aware, current resources are clearly stretched beyond their capabilities, and kudos to chief Fields and his commissioners for steadfastly holding the line on this.
Fire district 21 requested $2,500 per unit for the impact of all this new development on our community’s emergency services, yet that has drawn protests from local developers like Lisa Schenk (project on Harborview Road). As one wise member of our community pointed out: “. . .paying up-front fees for new infrastructure is an inherent responsibility of home and land ownership.
No one forces us to buy investments we cannot afford – that is a choice we make which carries with it both property rights and responsibilities to the larger community we impact. $2,500 for emergency and fire response is a bargain, considering the annual cost of a full replacement-cost fire insurance policy.”
Again, I ask the community to please weigh in on this with your opinions to the press and to your local legislators.
Jo Slivinski,
Neighbors for Birch Point
Blaine

The Editor:
The attempt by city council and staff to remove the planning commission from plat approval process and replacing a public body with a hearing examiner represents abdicated social responsibility.
The planning director made the argument that neither staff nor planning commission had time, due to backlog of planned unit developments, building permit requests, for long-range “visionary” planning State Growth Management Act’s (GMA) Comprehensive Plan requirement, mandates of all cities. According to Galvin time was reason for change.
Since undemocratic strategy to eliminate public involvement from process was proposed, “meltdown” in mortgage market demonstrated what financial frauds most development schemes really were. It’s publicized: 70 percent of Americans own home, up from 20 percent less than 20 years ago; 40 percent of Americans own two homes; 7 percent of American homes representing millions of residences are now sitting empty!
Default, foreclosure, bankruptcy rates skyrocketed above historic levels seen during the Great Depression. Because poor lending standards, accompanying real estate market hype, our country now has negative “savings rate” of 0.5 percent compared to average every year since 1929 of 7.9 percent, raising questions of who will buy record backlog unsold houses “in inventory?” Nationwide, bankers, developers, and builders are declaring bankruptcy and canceling projects only mortgage fiasco made possible.
Absent market demand, attempt to substitute examiners for public’s right to involvement through friends, neighbors that are members of commission, should be recognized as flagrant attempt (in light above economic facts) to make it quicker and easier for approval of “the growth machine’s” future plans.
Scam denies citizen’s right of appeal to council for redress of grievances making citizens pay $5,000 minimum legal, court costs to challenge even simple rulings of potentially biased examiners.
With “land rush” obviously over for Blaine, council should respect democratic tradition that believes in the power of the common man to understand, judge – even complex land use planning issues – when properly explained.
This faith should extend especially to councilors, as representatives of the people; I hope all will agree that transferring the power that was placed in government of, by and for the citizens, to one single individual as opposed to our peer group, is anti-democratic and should therefore be voted down. 
Lincoln Rutter
Blaine

The Editor:
I do not agree with the proposed change in the planning process to use a hearing examiner in place of the planning commission. The planning commission plays a very important role for the public in examining development proposals and that role should not be changed.
In our form of government we have many checks and balances that are necessary but sometimes hard to live with. For example, the U.S. president would no doubt like to do away with congress.  Congress may want to do away with the president. And both would like to do away with the courts.  There is little doubt these checks and balances slow down the process and there is little doubt that taken as a whole they improve the end result.
The same is true for our planning commission. The process may be faster without them in the loop but the end result would not be as good. So please do not make this change to the planning process.  However, the Blaine city council could do a lot to improve Blaine.
The council could resolve to enforce the city ordinances already on the books and get rid of the abandoned cars, trucks and boats that litter the city. Get rid of the abandoned houses and require lots to be cared for in accordance with the Blaine code. We have to clean up Blaine before we can expect new people and businesses to want to come to Blaine.
The planning process could be hugely improved by eliminating the “conditional use” section.  Blaine should not encourage developers to spend money and time proposing projects that exceed the basic zoning limits. When that happens, developers pay too much for the land, spend a lot of money on an uncertain outcome, and then are very unhappy with the whole process when they cannot build to the “conditional” max.
The planning commission and the city council should decide the zoning rules and then apply them to all applications.
Thomas Long,
Blaine property owner
Mount Vernon

The Editor:
Carol and John Hamilton of Birch Bay wrote a letter last week asking why someone would cut down the eagle perching tree on Birch Bay Drive by Trendwest. I can sympathize with them since there is an eagle perching tree on Georgia Street in Blaine. We have spent many wonderful hours watching bald eagles rest, court and mate in this tree. I think that many citizens don’t realize that bald eagles and their habitat are protected by both state and federal law.
There is a document called the “The Standard Bald Eagle Management Plan (also known as the County Short Plan).” It specifically states that, “For activities that are within 800 feet of an eagle nest, but not within 400 feet of the eagle nest, and for activities that are within 250 feet of the shoreline and within one half mile of an eagle nest, but not within 400 feet of an eagle nest, the following basic conditions are applied:
1. Retain all known perch trees and all conifers greater than or equal to 24 inches diameter at breast height (24 dbh, measured at 4 and a half feet above the ground). 2. Retain all cottonwoods greater than or equal to 20 dbh, in counties where cottonwood nests occur. 3. Retain at least 50 percent of pre-clearing or pre-construction conifer stand with diameter distributions representative of the original stand (more than 6 feet tall). 4. Windowing and low limbing of trees is acceptable provided no more than 30 percent of the live crown is removed. Topping of trees is not allowed.”
This tree might well have fit into one of these categories. If you’d like to know more about the protection of our national bird you can contact Julie Stofel from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife at STOFEJLS@dfw.wa.gov.
Janet Pickard
Blaine

The Editor:
This letter is in response to Greg Gallos’ letter on religion.
1. “Religion brings more separation than connection between people.” Another view: Often true, because of false teachings, hypocrisy, or hidden personal or political agendas behind the cloak of religion. True Christianity produces love, caring relationships with others.
2. “It’s naïve to spend your whole life living for a higher power who has no personal relationship with you.” Another view: Not only naïve, but tragic. The world’s religions, including some of those that call themselves “Christian” that teach that you have to follow their traditions and rules to please God are misleading.
A personal relationship with Him is not earned. Working your way to a higher power’s approval is just the opposite of scriptural truth. “God helps those who help themselves” is not the Bible. Spiritual self-reliance – “I can do it myself” is spiritual blindness – even arrogance.
3. “If I’m not good enough for God, maybe he’s not good enough for me.” Another view: None of us – not even heroes – are good enough for God by nature, but God has reached down to us in love, and when we let go of enough pride to ask Him, He creates a personal relationship with us by grace (undeserved favor) through faith in God the Son’s sacrifice, freely given for us.
Isaiah 53:6 says “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
See also Philippians 2:5-11, which answers some of our questions.
D.J. Case
Birch Bay


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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 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