Letters to the Editor
The citizens of Blaine need to know about the unfortunate decision to close our airport. We have a valuable asset and a small group of people who want to gain control of the property for their own self-centered ambitions.
Our airport has served the community well. It has an outstanding safety record and it is centrally located. It doesn’t eat up tax dollars – the tenants have basically supported it through their leases.
The airport is presently home to about 30 aircraft. The owners are business leaders and members of our community. There are at least two businesses that moved here because the city had an airport. Contrary to the facilities promulgated by the airport closers, these are not rich men’s toys – they are complex machines requiring skilled operators and maintenance far better than that you put into your automobiles. Our airport is on the state’s NPIAS list – meaning, the state considers it an essential part of the state’s transportation infrastructure. We will lose another connection to the national transportation system. We will lose a strong attraction for business to our community. And, finally, we would lose a strong educational connection to aviation for young people.
When the airport is closed the city will have to immediately reimburse WSDOT for grants provided as well as settle leaseholder claims, the costs of which could exceed $2 million and may be as high as $4 million. There is no guarantee that the airport land will sell for that amount at this time.
About a year ago the airport commission developed a master plan which would widen, lengthen and move the runway slightly east and a little to the south. Additionally, an electronic landing system would be installed making the airport all-weather. The city council approved this master plan, and later voted to close it. What could be more counter-productive and confusing than that?
I urge everyone to think about what I’ve heretofore said. The loss of a valuable asset, cost of destruction and disposal, loss of a transportation connection and loss of a viable new business attraction. I urge you to contact your city councilman to reverse this bad decision.
Blaine Boosters Volleyball is a group of parents who want to send their volleyball daughters/players and coaches to the Reno Volleyball Festival in June 2008. Volleyball teams from all over the U.S. and the world come to play volleyball in a week-long tournament. This festival gives the highest level of play for their teams and prepares them for their volleyball seasons.
Blaine Boosters Volleyball appreciates the support of over 40 sponsors. We appreciate our sponsors, our coaches and our volleyball players, who are all participating in youth volleyball camps and leagues, car washes, Math Olympiad and babysitting for community math night. We appreciate the community gatherings of the St. Paddy’s Day Bash and Cinco de Mayo at the Pastime Tavern.
We appreciate our coaches Nikki Hallberg, Tanis Russell and Shelli Moore for their coaching and acting as positive role models for impressionable young women athletes.
See you all at our Cinco de Mayo party at the Pastime Tavern, Saturday, May 3 for an ‘all-you-can-eat taco bar and music by the Crystal Tricycles. Tickets are being sold by Blaine Boosters Volleyball for only $20 a person. Call me at 332-4133 or Evelyne at 739-5606 for tickets.
Living wage careers go begging, where are our children going? Last Friday afternoon, I enjoyed a short conversation with our U.S. Senator, Maria Cantwell, while at a symposium of political, educational, business and industrial leaders of Whatcom and Skagit counties at Bellingham Technical College.
The senator and I exchanged pleasantries about my occasional e-mail rants, and our mutual interest for a positive change in U.S. executive administration, before listening intently to those gathered to address our manufacturing and service industry’s crying need for qualified trainees to replace an aging and soon retiring factory and trades work force.
Representatives from Intalco, BP, Janicki, ACB and other local employers led off the presentation, followed by WWU, WCC & BTC presidents and deans, to address the vital need for getting today’s students into trades and technical education tracks for our community’s socioeconomic advancement into the next decade.
A need for funding training and trades programs, to which our senator listened and responded, was the program’s format and cogently presented, with everyone present fully understanding how vital getting our school children into science and hands-on educational tracks is for socioeconomic survival.
It was shocking, enlightening and encouraging, as I listened to hard data which noted for example, 17 percent of Whatcom County’s adult population lack high school graduation credentials. While, with GED trades positions paying of $50,000 per year, to start, are going unfilled to qualified trainees as electrical line-persons, as an example of our service industry and educational guidance imbalance.
Also, a disappointment for me was to notice the conspicuous absence of Blaine’s civic, educational and business leaders. It seems the only person sufficiently interested to attend was also the least capable of effecting change, a retired has-been!
Raise impact fees not property taxes. Property tax increases throughout Whatcom County deserve investigation.
My property tax increased 250 percent in six years. I agree taxes are the price one pays to live in a civilized society; however, I object to paying for public infrastructure such as sewer, water, power lines, roads, schools, fire protection, and drainage systems that according to our state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) are supposed to be proportionally paid by real estate developers whose projects necessitated those expenditures.
I object to county executives and city managers and staff flagrantly violating mandates of GMA laws which were passed by our legislature in 1992, reaffirmed by voters last year, in part specifically to control unnecessary tax increases. Whatcom County assesses no growth management ‘impact fees’ whatsoever of developers; Blaine’s limited fees are inadequate to fund pending financial obligations, for one obvious example the $42 million dollar sewer plan.
Another mechanism of corrupt transference of costs from the private sector to the public is through abuse of State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) laws. Local SEPA officials simply indicate on the SEPA review forms that no impact to traffic is anticipated from a particular real estate development while the county executive declares that the $7.5 million widening of some rural road is a “top county priority,” and suddenly one developer’s responsibilities have become the taxpayer’s liability.
The same is true of road repairs as they relate to upstream drainage systems found adequate by a questionable SEPA review process. The GMA envisions smaller, compact urban areas because they are less expensive for cities to maintain. Blaine has been noncompliant with the GMA since October of 2004 because Blaine’s ‘Urban Growth Area’ (UGA) violates appropriate density standards mandated by the act.
Readers should understand there is a direct correlation between the size of a UGA and the level of property taxes required to service it. If you’re concerned about property taxes, read how GMA laws protect your right to have your government establish impact fees and appropriate UGA sizing, on your behalf.
To learn about the GMA visit: www.futurewise.org then lobby your local government representatives.
Thanks to all of you who attended the concert with Komatsumeihou high school! What a great audience you were! We were all again treated to a fine performance (free) from an outstanding group of young musicians from Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Thanks to the continued support of the Blaine school board and Mr. Ron Spanjer, superintendent as without it these concerts would not be possible.
Thank you to the students from the Blaine wind ensemble, concert band and their parents who provided food and assistance with set up and clean up for the potluck dinner held for the band prior to the concert. Thanks to Patt VanWanseele (programs), custodians, Jim Kenoyer (sorry I messed up the schedule) Don Lotze (lighting and sound) and everyone else who helped or assisted me in making this event a success.
Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu! Thank you very much!
I was just reading the letters to the editors and I was glad that something was put into the paper about the young people that were found dead in the Birch Bay woods. Rumor has been spreading around this town, across Washington, and across the country, literally, to people that were somewhat associated with this family.
Everyone had a different version of what had happened, and it was nice to have some facts printed. Even though the family knows what happened, it is still important that other people know what happened too. We may not be family, but we still care.
The truth needs to be known, to put speculation at rest. I was a friend from high school of the brother of the young man that passed away, and even though I have not spoken to him in years, this just rocked my world.
All I could think of was their pain, and all I wanted to know was what really happened, so I could try and make a little sense of it in my head. So I appreciate the facts that were printed in your report.
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.
send your letter to:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org