If one wants to understand who is spending the taxpayers’ money unwisely look no further than the local Blaine City Council and the Whatcom County Council.
I just read that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Washington State Department of Ecology would be paying millions to pipe sewage from Semiahmoo to the new Marine Drive facility in Blaine. As readers may be aware, neither of the above councils of local government choose to impose or enforce the “impact fees” that were envisioned by our state legislature when it passed the state Growth Management Act. The GMA intended that real estate developers would help contribute to the cost of the public infrastructure required by their projects, solely in order to prevent that total cost from defaulting to the taxpayer; this act deliberately included roads and sewers in its logic.
Apparently, neither sewer system nor traffic “mitigation” impact fees were accrued appropriately by Blaine during the time since the Semiahmoo Master Development Plan was approved, because the widening of Lincoln Road just cost the county $4.7 million, yet Semiahmoo is within Blaine city limits. The Blaine State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) reviews said: “No impact to traffic is anticipated.” Do you suppose Blaine’s community development director thought the same of sewage?
The reason all of this matters is because 1 percent of the U.S. population now controls 24 percent of total U.S. income, and the top 20 percent claims over 50 percent, while less than 20 percent of our society now owns over 90 percent of all U.S. stocks and bonds. Because of this concentration of wealth, most peoples’ houses are now their only real financial asset. This lack of proper urban planning law enforcement means that when the Blaine council approves a 1,000-residential-unit Planned Unit Development above our aquifer, or the county approves 1,246 units on Birch Point, the taxpayers will not be receiving any impact fee contribution from these additional PUDs’ developers either.
However, normal homeowners must pay to connect to Blaine’s new sewer system in addition to their property taxes. Why do voters tolerate such unfair behavior by these councils?
Hi friends and neighbors, I’ve slipped away to Bellingham, taking up residence in Washington Square Apartments off Alabama and Cornwall. It’s been a sad and stressful experience, while necessary. Services and necessities without driving have become my issues, and where I’m located it’s all very convenient as WTA runs by my front door both ways every 15 minutes, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
While I miss my daily encounters with friends and co-workers in Blaine, I have begun to establish myself here, volunteering at our in-house luncheons to start. I’ll be commuting by WTA to tend my dahlia garden at Stafholt and our Marketeer musicals there and at the gardeners market, so I’m looking forward to keeping in touch when in Blaine.
To help celebrate Drayton Harbor Days, this week’s Blaine Gardeners Market will feature a Marine Swap Meet. So gather up those maritime goodies that many of us have hidden away in our basement, garages, barns and on our boats, and bring them to the H Street Plaza in downtown Blaine between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. this Saturday.
In addition, there will be live music, fresh fruit, veggies, arts and crafts. Don’t forget your pirate costume. See you at the market.
I had the privilege of working with Jack Louws during his eight years as mayor of Lynden. I served as city attorney during his entire tenure. Jack brought strong, balanced and dynamic leadership to the job. His business experience supports a fiscally conservative and pragmatic approach to problem solving. Jack is extraordinarily gifted at getting things done. Through his vision and leadership, he helped rebuild city roads and water and sewer utility infrastructure, build a new city hall, settle difficult lawsuits, clear GMA land-use hurdles, and negotiate an unprecedented agreement with the Department of Ecology on water rights.
As an experienced council member and mayor, Jack also knows the importance of local public process; I found him always respectful and inclusive of different perspectives. Over many years of practicing in municipal law and land use, I have worked with and observed some excellent elected leaders in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan and other counties. In my opinion, Jack Louws is the best of the best.
We are fortunate to have such a well-qualified and capable individual running for Whatcom County Executive.
This fall’s county executive election offers an exciting opportunity for Whatcom County.
Thirty-eight years ago my business partner Andy Mellema and I were given the chance to purchase a well-established business in Whatcom County. As new business owners, we consulted with county officials as well as local business and banking leaders. The encouragement and insightful advice we received at that time was pivotal to our long-term success. We learned the importance of solid leadership in county government.
We believe one candidate, Jack Louws, stands out as the best choice to lead this county. We’ve had many opportunities to work alongside Jack and have found him to be a man of extremely high morals and integrity.
He has the unique ability to analyze a situation or problem by picking it apart and putting it back together in a way that works for everyone. His own successful business and eight years as mayor of Lynden are tangible evidence of his ability to think progressively and surround himself with good and capable people that he empowers to do the job.
We heartily endorse Jack Louws as the candidate most qualified to provide the strong leadership required to ensure this county’s solid future.
Gary J. Van Loo
I’ve met all the candidates for county executive and the choice couldn’t be clearer: David Stalheim is the one I’m voting for.
Jack Louws seems nice, but he supports clear-cut logging in the Lake Whatcom watershed and for me, that’s a deal breaker. You can’t be a fiscal conservative and put the drinking water source for half of county residents, and most of our businesses, at risk. That doesn’t make sense.
Doug Ericksen is well known as a far-right conservative Republican. He’s been a career politician, and this seat is just a stepping-stone for him. That’s not for me.
Tom Anderson is nice, but I don’t see him as a strong manager and I’m not sure what his positions are: he didn’t fill out his Herald questionnaire and his website is silent on issues. I like it when people are straight with the voters about what they’ll do before we vote, not after.
Stalheim says what he thinks. He supports the 9,000 acre Forest Preserve, he’ll focus on good jobs by supporting small business and he’s got a wealth of experience managing projects. It’s all there: he answers honestly and clearly. That’s why I’m voting Stalheim.
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