Letters to the Editor - February 10-16, 2011

Published on Wed, Feb 9, 2011
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The Editor:
Blaine is a small town with a huge heart. Monday night was the senior game for the Blaine boy’s basketball team. Nothing could have kept me from that game, or so I thought, but I am suddenly in Seattle being treated for a type of leukemia. But, one e-mail to coach Thomas asking if there was any way they could stream the game to my computer so I could see my son Dustin’s senior ceremony and things started happening.
Janell Kortlever hooked up a link, and I was not only able to watch the senior ceremony but the whole exciting game! Thanks also to the coach’s wife, Suzanne, who manned the camera for a lot of the game as well. Dustin said the energy in the building was amazing. A fantastic night. Thank you Janell, I can’t begin to say what that meant to me.
Crazy amounts of thanks go out to family, friends, school staff, so many people, for looking after me and my family in so many ways.
Miss you, Blaine!
Larissa Dhanani

The Editor:
As a resident of the extreme northern corridor between Blaine and Lynden, I have directly observed the smuggling of drugs and people on Markworth Road and have reported such to the border patrol.
Border patrol officers have always been respectful, professional and cordial to my family and I. Many are ex-military who decided to continue to serve as our first line against foreign or domestic offenders of our law. Due to their ever presence, they most likely would be the first responders to any crisis at my home and I am sure they would be willing to put their lives at risk to protect my family. I have also found the border patrol to be very accessible. It didn’t take me five minutes to reach chief John Bates on his cell phone while he was on vacation to discuss the matter.
The Wayne Groen situation has put a good working relationship with the border patrol in jeopardy, and that saddens me. Wayne is a good family man, a deacon in his church and an employer. Albeit a man with a bit of attitude, the same attitude that makes America special but does not make him criminal. Most of us believe in the sanctity of our home, Wayne just didn’t realize that sanctity didn’t extend to the air space directly above his house. Had that helicopter with no lights hovered over my house after I was in bed, I might very well have done the same thing as many of us would. But not now. No one would dare now. Point being the lesson has been learned.
Some may say he will never get the maximum sentence, but he must be prepared to defend himself from 40 years in prison with the expense and angst that entails. I do not believe that anyone on either side of the issue could argue that the penalty Wayne is facing is just.
We are almost at a no-win situation. Even if Wayne is given a full acquittal, the erosion of the trust of the community toward the border patrol will be set for at least a generation.
Embarrassment will occur. Sadly and unjustly this will be borne by the rank and file, patrol officers of the border patrol as their capacity to serve those they are sworn to protect will be diminished. Now is the time for the upper echelon of law enforcement to show their mettle with the U.S. attorney and correct an unconscionable and unjust situation.
Matthew Webb

The Editor:
This May, local Girl Scout Troop 41655 will be joining thousands of other scouts from across the country to take part in the Golden Gate Bridging ceremony. This ceremony will take place on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and is a special event celebrating the girls going from junior to cadet status. Troop 41655 has six girls from Blaine elementary school: Ana Conner, Lexi Townson, Gabriella St. Martin, Jade Swinford, Sophia Dwyer and Megan Anstett.
During the four-day trip the girls will work on the important skills of budgeting and map reading as they will be planning the daily itinerary, meals and navigating the public transportation system.
To raise money for the trip, we will be holding a garage sale this Saturday, February 12, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Northwood Alliance Church, 580 C Street.
The girls would really appreciate seeing the community turn out for this event. If you have anything you would like to donate to the sale, please e-mail reneerose2005 @yahoo.com, and we can make arrangements to pick it up.
If you would like to support the girls and are not able to come to the garage sale, donations may be sent to Troop 41655, c/o Laura Hedges, 609 F Street, Blaine 98230.
Thank you for being such a wonderful community for our girls to grow up in!
Kristen Swinford, Troop 41655

The Editor:
Ms. Starr, I’m so curious, how do you define rich? In your last letter you imply it is the awful rich that are taking our (the downtrodden citizen’s) money. Pardon me if I say that your view of economics is just too simplistic.
Let’s give thanks that most legal citizens in the U.S. are so very fortunate to live in this country where we all have the opportunity to work toward retirement plans, bank accounts, cars, tires, gas and homes and are allowed to freely make investments.
As much as you don’t want to hear it, it is because we are allowed to look for opportunities and work to make a profit that we are able to better our lives, the lives of our families, and those who have needs in our community. The dollars you spend do not only provide a profit to the rich.
The bulk of those dollars touch millions of lives in this country. They provide jobs and benefits. They allow new ideas to come to fruition. They feed and clothe millions. Let me ask you, do you donate your time and money to those in your community and the world that have needs they can’t fulfill on their own? I’m betting you do and I’m also betting you’re able to do that because you or your spouse has made a profit in your lifetime. Government can never be as efficient as private industry in helping those in need. Do a little research on all the rich and see for yourself the good they do! That’s material for another day.
As to where Mr. Hardaway got his figures, I’m not sure, but similar numbers have been taught in universities for decades – they aren’t any secret. I went to a Congressional budget office report on U.S. taxation for 2001 and found the top 1 percent of wage earners paid 34.4 percent of the federal taxes and the top 10 percent paid 82 percent.
If anything, it is your information that has been orchestrated to take a very complex picture and try to make it sound simply black or white.
Lorraine Conyac

The Editor:
SOBs, ours or theirs?! This past week Cairo’s streets ran red with patriots’ blood, a tyrant’s day, numbered and all the while our U.S. state department is uttering high sounding suggestions about orderly transitions. Our own overthrow of George III’s dominion surely wasn’t orderly. As every Egyptian knows, begging the question, “Why U.S. and not Egypt for real freedom and independence?”
Seems we’re really not in it for real revolution as it might then be out of U.S. control and our billions of foreign aid would be wasted, except for the lid it helped Mubarak place on Egypt’s bubbling cauldron of popular discontent and frustration with his repressive regime.
Diplomacy’s a Machiavellian world, epitomized and immortalized by Franklin D. Roosevelt who, commenting on the Latin American generals and dictators his administration supported during the 1930s and 40s “Good Neighbor Policy,” with the state department acting as functionaries of U.S. corporations with commercial interests in natural resources and agricultural products of those countries, noted “They may be SOBs, but they’re our SOBs.” You count the dots from there to here.
Bob Hendricks

The Editor:
A gift from the city of Blaine to property owners in the area of Alan Street and Vista Terrace Drive has been presented in the form of a proposal to extend the sewer main on H Street.
This proposed sewer district (referred to as a LID) would pay for the new pipe and is comprised of 59 residential properties. With a little care, a septic system can last a long time.
In fact, upon questioning city officials regarding how many needed off their septics, it became clear that the city intends to install this pipe even though only one of the 59 properties has a failing septic system! So, at best, for most, this would be an investment in the future, not a need for service in the present.
This hasn’t stopped the city from threatening owners in the proposed LID with substantial immediate financial costs beyond the pipe installation (which can cost $12,000 for each property). Threatening? In what way?
Essentially, if we don’t hook in now, we are threatened to pay $5,000 or more later when our septic is no longer sustainable. But wait, there’s more! If you want to sell your home or renovate, you guessed it, you have to pay to hook in. And once on sewer, the former septic owner now gets to pay $1,100 annually in sewer bills, (nine times more than I pay for septic). Realistically, it doesn’t make sense to hook in now for most owners inside the proposed LID, so why the rush to make us pay $2,500 per year for something we don’t need?
The city has a shiny new treatment plant to fund. There are properties further east on H Street Road that when developed will have to hook in and a pipe already to the top of H Street is an incentive to developers.
To owners affected by the LID, consider this: Most of us don’t need the pipe, but the city does. We need 36 owners to object. Why not at least object to the pipe until they guarantee not to coerce us into abandoning functioning septics and paying fees to hook into a pipe that our own money would be paying for? Permanently waive the fees or permanently waive the pipe!
Adam Williamson

The Editor:
I was looking at my water/ sewage bill and I am disgusted. I am trying to figure out how I spent $11.20 in water consumption but yet my bill is for $115.34. No, my electric is not included in that figure.
The sad part about this is that if I used absolutely no water my bill would still be more than $100. I found this page online that details other areas of Whatcom County and noticed we are the most expensive at almost $25 more than the next area.
So I encourage everyone to question the city on why this is. I hope we can we change the city motto to “Blaine, where we pay more to get rid of crap.” Here is the link to the chart: www.bit.ly/sewer_rates.
Angelo Gibson

The Editor:
The (Blaine city) council’s decision for allowing accessory dwellings was one of the most productive decisions made by any council anywhere, anytime in the past 50 years. It will provide jobs and affordable housing.
Joel Douglas

The Editor:
I have been reading about this giant prison that has been proposed and I am left wondering why. Why has this project ballooned from a reasonable $40 million dollars into a sprawling $150 million facility? Why do we need to spend our tax dollars on a prison when violent crime rates continue to drop? Why are we cutting teachers and begging for dollars to fund our basic safety net and so many of us are looking for work, does the county fritter away our money on a California-based consulting firm?
We need a new jail, let us make sure that it is the right size for our community.
Mike Estes



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