Letters to the Editor: July 21 - July 27, 2011

Published on Wed, Jul 20, 2011
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The Editor:

Sheriff Bill Elfo has been an outstanding public servant in this county for the past several years. I live in Birch Bay, and the law enforcement coverage here is remarkably better than it was some years ago. I served at one time on the Sheriff’s Advisory Board with Sheriff Elfo’s predecessor, Dale Brandland, and I learned then about the monumental responsibilities faced by this sheriff’s department each and every day.
Considering the huge size of this county and the fact that it has an international border with part of a well-established route up I-5 from Mexico to Vancouver, B.C., with all manner of questionable folks and substances, this is a formidable job! Sheriff Elfo has been excellent. His department has to work effectively and well with many other law-enforcement agencies because of our location, and in addition, there is a huge jail problem, which is very much related to our border proximity. I have heard Sheriff Elfo speak about his concerns for this county and his plans for the future. His ideas are well thought-out and thoroughly researched. He deserves our support.

Corey Priddy
Blaine


The Editor:

To those folks who are upset over the new Discover Pass fees at Washington state parks (and it appears there are many), I would like to offer the following information freshly gleaned from searching every state’s park fee web pages:
Thirty-six states, including Washington, charge vehicle entry fees to their state parks. Charging such fees to taxpayer-owned parks is not unique to Washington. The average annual state park fee is roughly $60 (the annual fees in some states vary by park). Washington’s annual fee is $30. Only three of the states that charge annual fees – Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin – charge less than $30.
Twenty-nine of the 36 states that charge park entry fees also collect state income taxes! Washington does not.
Now that our state government has eliminated funding for parks, a tragic shutdown like Minnesota’s will happen here without the support of everyone who cares about the future of our state parks. Even if you don’t own a car or don’t expect to visit a state park you can still buy a Discover Pass as a gift for someone else. All you need is their license plate number. It’s a great way to help save the parks and give a gift that will last the whole year through.
Unfortunately, paying a nominal fee to sustain our parks is such an uncomfortable paradigm shift for some folks that they would rather see the parks close than pay any amount to keep parks open. Grumble if you must – park rangers can handle it – but please, stop by the nearest state park and buy a $30 annual pass.

John Yirak
Blaine


The Editor:

Whatcom County is becoming an increasingly diverse community. People have arrived here from other parts of our nation and the world. Many of our new residents bring with them a culture of distrusting law enforcement.
I have worked with Sheriff Elfo for the past 15 years to help bridge this gap and ensure that the civil and human rights of all our protected by our sheriff’s office and law enforcement community. Sheriff Elfo’s reaches out to all segments of our community that tend to be insular and marginalized. He ensures that the deputies working under his leadership are highly trained, professional and attuned to sensitive issues.
When members of the Sikh community felt targeted for harassment and threats, Sheriff Elfo attended meetings at Sikh temples and made the community feel confident that the Sheriff’s office was there to protect them. When members of the Hispanic immigrant community were victimized and afraid of law enforcement, Sheriff Elfo attended countless meetings to help build trust and prevent exploitation. When I was threatened because of my skin color and message of hope, Sheriff Elfo was there to provide solutions and my protection.
Please vote to keep Bill Elfo as our sheriff.

Malcolm H. Oliver
Bellingham

The Editor:

Last month we held our Second Annual “Save Second Base” golf tournament, benefiting the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile walk in September.
Despite the weather, we had a great turnout and a very successful day! I would like to thank Sports Unlimited for helping design and order the golf towels, Pam at Dakota Creek Golf Course for her words of encouragement (you were right – the sun did come out!) and getting us organized and on the course, and the Wheel House Bar & Grill for providing a delicious meal and great gathering place after our tournament. I especially want to thank my family and friends for braving the elements and coming out to help and play despite the rain – without your support it could not have happened. Thank you all!

Betsy Sandell
Blaine


The Editor:

I’m disappointed with our politicians. Republicans and Democrats alike. Some have sex in airport bathrooms, we had a 50-year veteran who filibustered against the Civil Rights Act and was an Exalted Cyclops of the KKK (you expect KKK members not to have stupid titles?), a guy who had a baby with another woman while his wife was deathly ill, and another guy who was emailing photos of his privates to private citizens. Seriously, the people who run our country make the Star Wars bar patrons seem normal. The point is that just because you speak well and raise enough money to get elected, doesn’t mean you know what is good for our country.
The president has asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling by August 2. Congress failed to meet requested deadlines to raise the debt ceiling in 1985, 1995 and 2002. The stock market did not crash and the U.S. was able to pay its bills. The 1995 episode resulted in spending cuts, a balanced budget and an economic boom during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has the authority to prioritize government payments. If the debt limit is not raised, the only reason Social Security, Medicare or military checks will not go out is because the Treasury secretary and the president chose not to pay them.
It’s not a raise the debt limit, or we are not taxed enough problem – it's a federal government over-spending problem. How many of us have cut 5 percent, 10 percent or more out of our budget? It’s easy: give less at church; cut your own hair; consider raising sea monkeys instead of children; sell a bunch of your wife’s jewelry without her knowledge … oops.
No external force can defeat this county, but the U.S. will fall if we do not begin to have fiscal responsibility. We are alright with shared sacrifice. We have been there, were are doing that – individuals, our local government, our school district – but shared sacrifice has to include our wasteful, over-spending federal government. I’m guessing it’s a moot point – my guys are gutless and will likely have caved by the time this paper comes out. I should have ranted on about why it’s time to have a woman run the county.

Dave Berry
Blaine

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