Letters to the Editor: August 11 - August 17, 2011

Published on Wed, Aug 10, 2011
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The Editor:

This is a brief letter to let you know how very impressed my husband and I are with the businesses of Blaine. We moved here a year and a half ago from Everett, and we use many of the local businesses that are available.
Blaine Vision Center just finished with my eye prescription and lenses, and they are the very best I have ever received compared to the larger cities, and Dr. Wilf was wonderful in explaining what he did to improve my vision.
We recently had a new stove installed by Mt. Baker Fireplace Shop, and the owner went out of his way to do extra work on the installation to make it look nice.
Jeff at Vanderyacht Propane came to our house on his day off to hook up our gas range, and you just can’t beat the helpfulness and information the folks at Pacific Building Center provide!
Every business I have been to in this area has impressed me with the extra care, quality and consideration they provide their customers. Why would anyone use their time, energy and gas to go outside our area for services?

Lynn Neese
Blaine


The Editor:

I am deeply concerned about the impacts from the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point, to be planned and built by SSA Marine.
From the human health perspective, this proposal is alarming. Coal is transported in uncovered railcars that allow dust and particulates to disperse; if the terminal were running at full capacity, it would mean a total of 18 mile-and a-half long trains to and from Cherry Point every day. This could have very negative consequences on emergency vehicles that must wait at street level crossings that were not built to accommodate that level of rail traffic.
Additionally, the diesel exhaust and the additional noise from these trains would add further to the risk of respiratory problems and other medical consequences for citizens along its route.
At Cherry Point, coal dust would be a huge problem. Coal would be stored in large mounds adding up to a total of 80 acres of the site, with unavoidable noxious coal dust contamination of sensitive herring and shore life habitat. Herring are the base of a food chain. Coal dust would degrade water quality, and travel inland to our dairies, gardens, and raspberry fields. It is my understanding that a significant number of additional ships would also be needed each year to transport the proposed 48 million tons of coal, presenting risk to our fragile Georgia Strait and Puget Sound waterways.
Once transported, coal burned in Asia would continue to pollute the Northwest. Sulfur compounds, soot and other byproducts of Asian coal combustion have been found on mountaintops in the western U.S. Links have also been made from ozone and mercury in the air above the U.S. to pollution from Asian countries burning fossil fuels. Ozone can complicate asthma and heart disease, and mercury is a neurotoxin that is particularly dangerous for children.
An important part of what makes Whatcom County such a wonderful place to live is the diverse and abundant wildlife. Many of us including birders, hunters and fishermen enjoy the wildlife. According to SSA Marine’s proposal, the project could impact 12 species listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act including bull trout, marbled murrelet, salmon, humpback whales, orcas, Steller sea lions, leatherback sea turtles, bocaccio, canary rockfish and yelloweye rockfish.
Noise, increased diesel exhaust, traffic delays, coal dust and ongoing health impacts – this cannot be helpful for property values, tourism or our quality of life. We deserve better than this.

Elie Friedlob
Birch Bay


The Editor:

Before Sheriff Elfo took office eight years ago, employee morale was low. Deputies were leaving in droves to work for other agencies. A scandal in the jail affected the reputation of the good people who worked there. At the same time, crime rates were skyrocketing and our undersized jail prevented police and judges from arresting and jailing criminals. Booking restrictions enabled criminals to act with impunity; many were taunting officers. I remember those troubling times. Community security and rule of law were eroding.
Enter sheriff Elfo. He immediately went to work lobbying the county bureaucrats to fund and open an interim jail work center. He concurrently worked to improve jail alternative programs and our mental health system to help divert offenders from jail. Elfo’s preventative measures and targeted enforcement have improved community security while using taxpayer resources sensibly. This is what we should expect from our sheriff.
Decades of progressively responsible service have equipped him to tackle our law-enforcement issues. The other candidates are mid-level employees that have not even progressed to supervisor level. They don’t have the qualifications to lead a law-enforcement agency in our county. Please consider his accomplishments and vote for sheriff Bill Elfo.

Van Trutanich
Bellingham


The Editor:

Jack Louws is clearly the most qualified candidate for the office of Whatcom County Executive. His credentials include:
- Nearly three decades as owner of a business with more than 40 employees.
- Eight years as mayor of Lynden.
- Four years on Lynden City Council.
- Member of numerous boards involving the Whatcom Transportation Authority, our emergency medical services system, economic development and more.
This list makes Jack Louws the most qualified man for the job of county executive. But those of us who know Jack understand that he will bring integrity, diligence and a level head to county government.
We need a fair-minded leader who has the skill to handle the difficult term that lies ahead. It’s time to put “politics as usual” aside. Let’s not miss the chance to put the right man in the right place at the right time. Join me in voting for Jack Louws for county executive.

Jim Unruh
Ferndale


The Editor:

I am a sixth-generation Whatcom County resident. I have been involved with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office in different capacities since 1989; for the last 18 years as a reserve deputy sheriff. I have experienced the tenure of three different sheriffs. Bill Elfo has earned the respect and dedication of his employees. His leadership, understanding and ability to connect with his employees really set him apart from past administrations.
He understands how things work and is willing to make changes if they make sense for the department and the overall service to the public. Employee morale is paramount to the successful execution of any job. The deputies on the street and in the jail are excited to come to work each day. We know if there’s something that can make the sheriff’s office a better place to work, Bill will listen. Bill has implemented many successful programs and positions based on employee and citizen input. Bill has managed to hire more deputies despite tough fiscal times.
Our communities are safer with Bill as sheriff. Vote to re-elect Bill Elfo and our communities will be safer going into the future for four more years.

Mark E. Shintaffer
Bellingham

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