Letters to the Editor June 25 - July 1, 2009

Published on Wed, Jun 24, 2009
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Dear Editor:
My name is Tatiana Kondratyuk and you have probably seen the photo of a Birch Bay home that burned down recently. The home belonged to my husband and me and our two little daughters. We are asking our community to help us out. My husband and I are attending Whatcom Community College part time.
My husband is going for an Automotive Mechanic and I am going for Medical Billing and Coding. With one small income it has been very difficult for us to afford homeowner’s insurance and we ended up losing everything we worked ever so hard to get.
My husband and I are trying our best to make our lives better by getting a degree and start working full time. We would like to ask our community if they have or know of anyone who is giving away a manufactured home that is 1990 or newer to please let us know. If anyone has any furniture or is willing to help our family out financially, they may contact me directly at 360/927-7643.
We are reaching out to our community to help us through this very difficult time. Thank you.
Tatiana Kondratyuk

The Editor:
My name is Jackson and I’ve recently moved to Blaine. I just wanted to write a quick note encouraging all citizens of Blaine to participate in the senior project process that Ms. Beth Waters introduced in the June 11 issue.
I am a lifelong citizen of Portland and after seeing the environmental progress and efforts that that city has taken to improve, I was overjoyed to learn that citizens in a small community such as Blaine show the same concern and consciousness. I have written suggestions to Ms. Waters and I urge everyone to do likewise. Having a Blaine graduate take part in the design of her hometown is really an exciting process and as a former environmental planner I am always happy to see future designers taking these sorts of steps.
I hope you’ll all join me in wishing Ms. Waters the best of luck and participating as much as possible in a project that will hopefully benefit the city of Blaine.
Jackson Thomas

The Editor:
The Blaine high school graduating class of 1959 is seeking all its members for an upcoming summertime (August) reunion. If you are, or know of someone who is a member of this esteemed class of 50 years ago, please call John at 332-8981 so we can notify all of our classmates.
John Liebert

The Editor:
The ongoing debate in Blaine city council regarding the proposed Critical Areas Ordinances (CAO) has been very interesting, even amusing. The Founding Fathers were evoked, along with checks and balances and property rights. My goodness! Incidentally, it could be asserted that what the Founding Fathers really “found” was someone else’s private property. Just ask our Native American brothers and sisters.
Back to the CAO. By my reading of the U.S. Constitution, I don’t see anything to suggest that a property owner’s rights are unlimited. Anglo-Saxon case law for the past 1000 years is full of examples of the rights of property owners being restricted for the good of the community. It’s common sense. It’s American even.
Wayne Weinschenk

The Editor:
In response to letters from Rusty Welch, Charles Robbins, Mark Douglas, Dick Vander Yacht, David White and Dennis Hill in the June 18 edition, I cheerfully suggest the public consider the obvious self-serving political ax these gentlemen are grinding.
The Critical Areas Ordinance doesn’t take anybody’s property. If you think the government should reimburse you for investments that go sour on you, why not petition the federal government to give you back money you lost during the recent swoon in the stock market?
When you speculate in property investment, you’re gambling that the public will not see fit to later rezone it to a different use that makes more sense. Don’t boo the good leaders who are trying to save our wetlands and preserve some kind of sanity in the growth of our community just because it may spoil your personal get rich schemes.
If you think Charlie Hawkins is the enemy of Blaine and Jason Overstreet is its savior, you need to examine their records more closely. Hawkins clearly loves Blaine and votes his conscience. Draw your own conclusions about Overstreet.
I might add that anyone who thinks our city manager is a socialist and our planning director a “pinhead” clearly needs to re-start his education at the kindergarten level. That kind of name-calling and irrational thinking should have been left behind in the sandbox.
As for realtor Dennis Hill’s rant about wetlands that breed malaria and nourish pests, I would hope he finds the legendary giant rat of Sumatra in our wetlands real soon and gets some nice pictures.
In conclusion, I think it’s time to start seeing through this gallery of loudmouths whose selfish carping is not motivated by genuine interest in building a better Blaine. They won’t achieve that through the unregulated development they think is the solution to everything.
Ron Miller

The Editor:
As a member of the Blaine Parks and Cemetery Board, I’d like to express my thanks to all who are helping to create the first portion of the Peace Portal Trail. Creating a safe place for people to walk along that arterial was one of the top priorities of the Trails and Open Space subcommittee.
Members of the community have turned out with rakes and shovels three Saturdays in a row to spread the gravel in the landscape fabric-lined trench dug by city crews. City staff were volunteers on Saturday; so were members of the Blaine planning commission, the parks board, the NW Parks and Recreation District and people from Birch Bay, Custer, and Semiahmoo. Some were new to Blaine, others have lived here for decades. Young parents helped and so did grandparents.
The NW Parks and Recreation District provided for materials. The Cost Cutter grocery provided bottled water to keep workers wellhydrated.
The planned fourth work party will not take place on June 27. Instead, another work party is planned for Saturday, July 11. That work party will complete the first four blocks of the trail. The plan for the future is to extend it north to Cherry Street, then south to Bell Road.
Using available city staff and volunteer labor, the city has created a useful beginning to its implementation of the Trails and Open Spaces Plan. In these tight economic times, this use of volunteer labor has made it possible for the city to prepare an amenity that will benefit all the people of the Blaine – Birch Bay community. We can enjoy the view across the harbor as we vigorously inhale, burn calories, and appreciate this corner of the world we live in.
Another benefit of these work parties is the feeling of community that developed as we sweated and shoveled and raked together. The give and take between strangers soon made us strangers no more.
See you at the work party July 11 with gloves, rake, or shovel!
Jan Hansen

The Editor:
Blaine needs an administrative overhaul. We were employed by the firm that had work stopped nearly six months (Seascape). This cost us a lot of time lost and the developer considerable legal costs and other fees. The city finances suffered nearly $150,000 in legal costs too. They posted the stop work orders without purpose. The city planner and manger need to go. We need to replace council members Onyon and Hawkins that overlooked these administrative actions.
Greg Beanblossum

The Editor:
 I’d like to thank whoever felt it necessary to cross the boundary of the sidewalk and my front yard, where you continued to advance towards my garden and relieve me of my possession of two dragonfly solar powered lights. Let me tell you, it was a burden to come home after a long evening of work and see those two color changing ornaments hovering over and illuminating my flowers. Oh, and I’m sure my neighbors hated it too. Would you kindly come back and steal my white light producing lamps as well? So I won’t be able see how much water my plants are getting when I shower them at night. I would really appreciate it.
On a non-sarcastic note, it’s extremely sad that we are and have been living in an age, where we have to put up fences, security lights, and cameras in order to possibly prevent even the least pricey of possessions from being snatched away by the dishonest and disrespectful. I’m sure the selfish individual who accomplished this act of thievery has little to no concept of work, respect, or the hard earned dollar.
However, if you do and you happen to read this; I’d really appreciate it, if you’d gather a little bit of respect for your fellow man and put the lights back where you found them. Thanks.
Andrew Onyon

The Editor:
One aspect of the proposed Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) has perhaps not achieved the prominence it deserves. The draft of the CAO now on the table is unlikely to be acceptable to the state department of ecology (DOE).
Weakening the CAO further – as some propose – makes it even less likely to pass DOE muster. Not passing a CAO acceptable to the DOE, would cost each of us dearly, in terms of taxes, utility rates, or infrastructure improvements foregone.
Let me explain.
In the coming year, Blaine anticipates applying for about $2.5 million in grants. If we do not have an acceptable CAO in place, these applications will be rejected out of hand, regardless of their substantive merits. Assuming a population of about 4,500 people, not receiving just these grants would cost us over $500 for each person now living in Blaine, or well over $2000 for a family of four.
Most (perhaps all) of the municipalities in the county have already passed their own CAOs, which are generally more restrictive than the proposal Blaine now has on the table.
If the collective wisdom of these municipalities finds the restrictions – and benefits – of a CAO to be in their best interests, I suggest that the citizens of Blaine could do likewise.
Paul Greenough

The Editor:
We want to publicly thank Richard (Dick) Clark for sponsoring and being instrumental in making the required arrangements for bringing Dan Sabo and Victoria Ebel-Sabo to the Blaine Performing Arts Center Father’s Day evening.
The Sabos, “duo-pianists” as well as solo performers and composers, have studied and performed internationally, and have chosen Bellingham as their base from which to teach, compose, and perform.
In collaboration with Dick Clark, their Sunday night program was expressly created for families, especially including children, as a special Father’s Day Benefit Concert.
Most special was Ms. Sabo’s dedication to Ford Hill,  Professor Emeritus, Western Washington University (Music), and performance by  Dan Sabo and  Victoria Ebel-Sabo of her composition, “The Legend of Silverheels,” a fantasy for two pianos inspired by a 13,485-foot mountain behind her family’s cattle ranch in Colorado. It was a very melodic, poignant and complex piece, magical and stunningly beautiful.
Mr. Clark’s and the Sabos’ generosity also is much appreciated: Admission was by donation, with all funds collected and a generous portion proceeds from the sales of the Sabo’s CDs and sheet music of her compositions directed toward the fund to replace deteriorating playground equipment at Peace Arch State Park.
Mr. Clark, the Sabos, the state parks manager Jason Snow and his staff and volunteers all worked together to bring Mr. Clark’s dream to reality, and it was just plain wonderful.
Who would believe? A premier performance and dedication of a composition by a world-class pianist and composer in little ol’ Blaine. Thank you Dick Clark, the Sabos, the state park folks. It was a truly special gift! Thank you so very much!
Bob and Lois Franco

The Editor:
Blaine’s community development director Terry Galvin’s plan must be stopped. I urge all taxpayers to please immediately contact Whatcom County Council (council@co.whatcom.wa.us) to ask them to remove Terry’s proposed 600-acre “West Blaine” Urban Growth Area (UGA) that was just sent for county review.
Virtually all of the present acreage included in Blaine’s Birch Point UGA has long been zoned “Designated Forestland.” As such, the landowner pays a “tax exempt” rate of property tax of only $22 per acre per year.
The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) Hearings Board ruling, directed at both Whatcom County and Blaine city governments, was to “preserve the character of rural areas by preventing urban sprawl” onto natural resource lands. Galvin’s UGA proposal flies in the face of that legal directive.
Contrary to Galvin’s statement, an owner of “Designated Forestland” zoned property has not “invested” in our existing twelve “taxing districts” such as roads, schools, fire protection, storm water runoff control, etc., etc., because that $22 tax rate is almost nothing compared to what local homeowners presently pay. Others pay hundreds if not a thousand times that much property tax.
Therefore, when lots within Terry’s proposed West Blaine UGA sell, the average taxpayer will have to subsidize the cost of the inevitable public infrastructure that must be created to service the new residents.
This is an example of why local property taxes have increased 215 percent while real estate developers often walk away with windfall profits after flipping plat applications; neither Whatcom County nor the City of Blaine charge appropriate GMA “impact fees” to properly account for these large public expenditures.
The existing city limits of Blaine are large enough to accommodate 11,000 new residents while the maximum population growth forecast is only for 3,700 over the next 20 years. Why spend taxpayer’s funds to destroy valuable forestland for the exclusive benefit of tax exempt landowners?
Bestowing urban level development rights onto rural land is called a “giving” because the lucky landowners make millions at the taxpayer’s expense. In this case, it is totally inappropriate. Please tell them so.
Lincoln Rutter

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