Letters to the Editor August 13 - 19, 2009

Published on Wed, Aug 12, 2009
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The Editor:
For the last two weekends the Blaine waterfront has been busy with Tall Ships, raft races, steam boats, sailing regattas, Sea Scouts demonstrations, vintage automobiles, food venders and lots of folks visiting the Blaine Harbor Marina. This past weekend, the gate 2 visitor’s dock at the Blaine Marina was filled with 29 steam boats of all shapes, sizes and colors and the public who had the opportunity of getting close up views of these interesting little steam launches.
There were many folks and several agencies which helped to make the last two weekends at the Harbor Marina the success it was, space does not allow me to mention every one in this letter however on behalf of Drayton Harbor Maritime and the Northwest Steam Society, I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Pam Taft, Blaine Harbor Master and her staff for providing moorage, and going out of their way in supporting these two weekend events.
I would also like to say thank you to the city of Blaine for allowing the use of part of Marine Park for members of the Northwest Steam Society who brought their motor-homes so they could be close to their steam boats at the marina across the road. Debbie Harger, who put together the marketing package that got the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain here for Drayton Harbor Days, and The Northwest Steam Society, who made the effort to come here, some of whom towed their boats as far away as Arizona.
Lastly, I want to mention these festivals are not only fun to attend, they also bring folks to our community folks who spend money, both as tourists and participants. For the last three days over the weekend, I had breakfast at one of the larger local eating establishments, it was packed each morning.
Many of the almost 100 steam club members who came to Blaine ate at the local restaurants, stayed at the local motels, purchased groceries, and bought items at Napa and the other hardware stores in Blaine.
Thanks again everyone, we will do it again next year!
Richard Sturgill

The Editor
On Thursday, August 6, the citizens of Blaine were invited to an open house sponsored by the city planning department concerning further development on the Semiahmoo Spit. This massive development includes approximately 325 condo units, commercial space and a doubling of the marina, plus another development of a village on the hill.
On Monday night at the Blaine city council meeting another developer’s architect presented ideas for downtown and marine development.
This developer requires substantial fee reductions and concessions to proceed with development plans in downtown Blaine.  This is to attract other development to our area as the fees supposedly are to high and others will not come unless there is a reduction. What was Thursday’s meeting about?  I would maintain, that perhaps stalled development to our area has more to do with the general economy as I do not feel Blaine is in a derelict area of the country where concessions are necessary. 
We are geographically unique as a port of entry between two major cities, and our natural beauty is second to none. This all is extremely confusing, do we all get rebates if fees are changed, do other developers also get fees changed, and why are the fees “penciled” as they are now? Is it to break even?
Does Blaine not require the revenue?  Who really will benefit from these required fee changes in the end?
Joan Clark

The Editor:
The denial by the State Parks and Recreation Commission of the request to extend the exhibition of the sculptures at the US-Canada border through the Winter Olympics defies any logic system.  
The main reason cited was the need to avoid future controversy and confrontations like the one that occurred at the Capital Rotunda when the atheist solstice display was stolen last December.  The commission has empowered themselves to create strict guidelines.
Following their line of reasoning then all works of art should be removed from public display.  This would also include portraits on display at all state buildings, as many of the personages might be religious, or not, or offensive in some other way.  God forbid that a portrait might be of a Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, a liberal, a conservative, or even (gasp) have an offending skin color.  Maybe the state can hire an expert from the Afghan Taliban to assist the Commission.
Don Starr

The Editor:
Since early this year, I have watched the development of the roundabout issue and am totally perplexed why the city would approve of such an action.  I attended the meeting at the Blaine community center earlier this year to see the actual proposals and talk to the folks from DOT.  I must say it seems to be another example of poor judgment and overkill for our small community.  The intersection in question is not an unsafe intersection, nor is there an inordinate amount of traffic in that area. 
The roundabouts proposed will not direct more traffic into Blaine, so there seems to be no benefit to the city to have them constructed.  I would like a member of the city council to explain why they are in favor of supporting this project when it is more likely to create traffic problems, than correct traffic problems. 
I know this is a novel thought, but just because something is proposed, doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.  Is the State insisting on this project?  It is my understanding that they have passed the baton to the city to make the final decision as to the need for the roundabouts. 
Please city council; direct your efforts to obtaining funds for the traffic problems that need immediate resolution, like the railroad crossing at Blaine Road and Peace Portal and tell the Federal government to direct their $13 million to the over-run in costs for the new border crossing facility.
Lorraine Conyac

The Editor:
The city of Blaine needs Charlie Hawkins on its City Council. I urge readers not just to vote for Charlie but to actively campaign among your friends and neighbors to get them to vote for Charlie Hawkins too. Charlie’s is a more balanced view, an unbiased, more objective approach to solving the problems facing Blaine.
Charlie does not represent special interest groups at the expense of our community. He understands that water quality issues have an important economic benefit in terms of protecting the jobs of fishermen, the marine trades, the crabbing industry and the entire tourism-related business sector such as hotels, shops and restaurants located throughout Blaine.
Make no mistake; Blaine is facing some very serious fiscal challenges. Sales tax receipts are down over 27 percent. State governments are eliminating programs that cities relied upon as states seek to reduce massive deficits.
The decision to close Blaine’s airport was foolish and has cost local taxpayers over $4 million so far, while the Federal Aviation Administration just awarded a $150 million “stimulus,” an average of $7 to $15 million per airport, to Alaska.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently issued “memorandums of understanding” ordering a couple of our largest local banks to “cease and desist” from making any further loans until they raise more capital. Some local banks had more than 50 percent of their loans in residential real estate. Now, over $2 trillion dollars in commercial real estate loans are scheduled to re-finance before the end of 2010. Why wouldn’t the same residential devaluation process affect commercial property? Deutsche Bank says the lack of willing real estate investors will result in a future “$200 to 230 billion dollars in bank losses on property-related loans.”
Blaine needs a leader that will support an economic development effort that will promote diversification of the local economy. We have to get past the “east Blaine vs. west Blaine” distinction. I think Charlie Hawkins is the right guy to promote a whole community involvement in making the tough choices ahead about how to balance Blaine’s budget in the face of a recessionary economy. Please support Charlie for city council.
Lincoln Rutter

The Editor:
We urge those in Ward 2 who have not yet voted to cast their vote now for Charlie Hawkins. Charlie well deserves to return to City Council.
Charlie has the sound judgment, experience, knowledge, and integrity that are characteristics needed by our city Council Members to be effective and productive, and to enable them to make the difficult decisions they face.
Help Charlie to return to City Council.
Bob and Lois Franco

The Editor:
The family of the late Jack Pierce would like to let everyone know that the memorial bench in his name has been installed at Blaine Marine Park.
The easiest way to the bench is to take the gravel path that’s across the street from the “Seafarer’s Memorial” sign in front of the main (middle) harbor gate building. Follow the path (about 200 feet) and it’s the first bench past the water fountain.
The view from the bench is facing out to open water, between Point Roberts and the end of Semiahmoo Spit. The view was one of my father’s favorites, because when he was looking that way, it usually meant that we was getting ready to go out fishing.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the memorial fund.
A special note of appreciation goes out to Debbie Harger, Blaine Community and Tourism Development coordinator, who saw this through to completion, and the city of Blaine crew who did such a great job putting the bench in.
Stephanie Pierce Sandercock

The Editor:
We would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful friends and family, who have been so kind and understanding at this difficult time in our lives.
A great big thank you for the American Legion Post 86, the National Guard, and Ladies Auxiliary for all of their support.
A special thank you to Jim Pace and the veterans for all their assistance.
In great appreciation.
The Gilmore Family of Jan,
Jason, Maggie, Gary and Jake

The Editor
I am surprised, for once, to see something so interesting as David White’s letter in the July 16-22 publication of The Northern Light. While it’s not uncommon to use this section of the paper as a vehicle for gratitude and public announcements, etc., Mr. White’s letter resembles a poor version of rhetoric spoken by the eponymous character from Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta. It is, admittedly, nice to see some spice added to this section however. Though I am sure, by sending this letter, I have fallen for the trap this attention-seeking letter sprung on its readers.
I have little interest in inundating readers with idealism and moral finger-pointing unlike those before me. White may be attempting a noble goal but surely is going about it the wrong way. Dissent can, and sometimes has, been a form of patriotism unlike no other. While it may seem satisfactory to throw around terms like “something stinks in this town” and “corruption, malfeasance, misuse of public funds, the likes have never [sic] been seen before”, the reality is that exaggeration is not necessary in this situation.
In short, presenting issues in a hyperbolic and grandiose letter is not a solution. Seemingly, this is why I find myself being one of the few to respond or quite possibly even give this letter the time of day.
As I hear the police siren wail through town, I can’t help but feel satisfied with how things are in Blaine. While I began this letter just to warm up my writing before school starts again, I’m glad to discover that writing it has certainly left me feeling a bit more content with the town I live in.
I implore Mr. White to bring this documentation to public light in a more mature fashion. I have no intention of offending Mr. White, instead, just offering a bit of friendly advice. I look forward to hearing it presented once more.
Kristian Freeman

The Editor:
Several years ago, I conducted a campaign here in Blaine (with Colleen’s help) which I called “Save the Songbirds.” My motivation for doing so was an article in an Audubon Society magazine stating that after habitat destruction, the second biggest cause of songbird extinctions were feral and free roaming pet cats.
Six pertinent questions were asked of 200 residents picked at random. The results briefly: 1) About 50 percent of households have no pet cats, roughly 80 percent of these folks wanted humane restrictions. 2) Of households with pet cats, roughly 65 percent were willing to comply with lawful restrictions; about 35 percent were, let’s say, “hostile.”
The campaign failed.
The Blaine library graciously accepted a compilation of my data and research with the understanding that relevant individuals and organizations may find the information there useful. The contents (briefly): 1) The original survey and results including the questions asked. 2) Letters, speeches to various individuals and organizations. 3) Letters, pro or con, to The Northern Light and other newspapers, 4) Pertinent historical and scientific reviews of the issue.
A personal note: The environmental assault on planet earth is, I suppose, well known. What a pity if songbirds continue to extinction. Surely their sweet songs, which enraptured even Mozart, would surely be missed.
Ken Knutsen

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