Letters to the Editor - January 21 - 27, 2010

Published on Wed, Jan 20, 2010
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The Editor:
I was in Blaine traffic court on January 12 because a police officer claimed I had failed to stop at a stop sign. It was interesting to see that two or three other defendants were cited by the same officer for the same violation at the same intersection, H Street and Peace Portal Drive. Fortunately, my sworn testimony and some photographs put the officer’s sworn statement into question. The officer probably did not have an unobstructed view of the intersection and probably could not have seen what he claimed to have seen.
That was my first traffic citation in over 15 years of driving in and about Blaine. There were probably 40 to 50 others contesting their tickets or seeking the mercy of the court. I guess most people resign themselves to paying their fines and avoiding the hassle, even if they believe they’re not guilty. However, a few contested their tickets and won and many more had their fines reduced. A word of caution, a police officer with a radar gun is a formidable weapon. The judge invariably sided with the sworn statement of the officer that the radar gun had accurately measured the speed of the car.
Imagine how many tickets must be issued each month in Blaine and how much money the city rakes in. Here’s a quote from the November 5 issue of The Northern Light, “Two revenue streams that were on target were utility bills and money from traffic violation fines, which were 94 percent of what was predicted in the 2009 budget, Blaine police chief Mike Haslip said.”
I have no proof that the revenue from traffic violations provides a perverse incentive for police officers to make questionable judgment calls. However, during these economic hard times, it has been my experience that quite a few government authorities have abused their discretionary power, most likely to get more money or to save more money. If my experience holds true more broadly, that abuse of power has, in turn, undermined the freedom, the economic well-being and the rights of average citizens everywhere. This is the real bottom line of the unbridled greed and unaccountable actions of a select few at the top of our economic system.
Mike Divine

The Editor:
I really enjoyed reading the article by Steve Booth. I am a volcano researcher geologist in Bellingham and have been working on Mount Baker’s eruptive history. He writes well; please pass along my appreciation to him.
I am also a science writer, in addition to researching Baker’s eruptive history. There is a website that encapsulates the most up-to-date research on Mount Baker and it is located at http://mbvrc.wwu.edu. I also maintain a geology field trips blog at http://nwgeology.wordpress.com. It has field trips to our area written for the layperson who is geologically curious, including Point Whitehorn up in your neck of the woods.
Dave Tucker

The Editor:
Last night I came back from Canada entering at the truck crossing. After an extensive inspection I finally left heading out in the darkness on the freeway south to my home in Tacoma. The border inspectors apparently opened the hood of my car. However, they neither told me they did nor did they secure the hood. I could have been killed if the hood had flown open. With an automobile this is the only means of transportation where you cannot witness the inspection. I inspected my car, my personal belongings, resorted their trashing of my belongings and repacked; however, I did not notice the hood was not secured despite walking around the car and I sure was not informed. I do not need to know their procedures, but their procedure of not letting me witness the inspection, as you would coming in by ship, plane, or on foot just about caused me to be either severely injured or killed. I did turn around after securing my hood on the side of the freeway and went back to report their negligence.
Some of your readers no doubt work for this agency and are trained to think they protect the U.S. However, neither the retired black serviceman who missed his grandson’s basketball game due to a lengthy inspection nor myself, also a veteran, are likely to agree.
Dale Bickenbach

The Editor:
Hi, all you lucky septic tank owners. Mark January 26, 7 p.m. at the county court house, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham on your calendar. This is a council meeting and Barbara Brenner, one of our council members, is going to bring up and try to get rescinded the part of our septic rules that says we have to have a professional inspection.
She is trying to get it so we can take a class and be able to do our own inspections. At the beginning of the council meeting you can get up and have your say on anything. This would be a excellent time for all septic tank owners to get up and let them know you would like the option of doing your own inspection or for maybe an elderly, handicapped friend, neighbor, or relatives. They allow three minutes for each person. It doesn’t matter if someone just said what you were going to say, do it again. If you can’t attend or wish to really let them know how you feel, please email our council members at council@co.whatcom.wa.us. A copy will go to each council person. If you wish to mail a copy of your wish, a copy will go to each council person. Mail to Whatcom County Council, 311 Grand Avenue, Suite 105, Bellingham, WA, 98225.
It won’t hurt to do all three of the above. Let’s pack the place on January 26 at 7 p.m. and let them know we can take care of our septics!
Al and Carol Melton

The Editor:
PAC – “Lost in Yonkers,” Blaine high school theatre troupe, excellent!
Sandie Miller

The Editor:
Several years ago (maybe 10-15) Robin Kennedy operated a short helicopter tour of the bay in the summer.
This was right at the mouth of Terrell Creek from the berm between the road and the water. He was one good guy. A few years after this he was killed in a freak accident in a helicopter he was testing for log moving. His family erected a cement bench at that location on the beach in his honor and it was used and enjoyed by many people.
Last year someone destroyed the bench and it has not been replaced, nor has it been reported that I know of. I think this is a shame as Robin was a great guy, a good man and the bench was well used by many people. Do you have any info on this matter? I would appreciate knowing if the police ever did a follow up on this, as I never read anything about it in your paper.
Thank you for any light you can shed on this situation. 
Don Kennedy (no relation, just a good friend and fellow handball player)

Letters Policy

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