Letters to the Editor: November 3 - November 9, 2011

Published on Wed, Nov 2, 2011
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The Editor:

I attended the Blaine City Council meeting on Monday, October 24, and was very satisfied to find out that the City of Blaine fully backs all efforts to retain the train station and establish a commuter stop. They are negotiating with the railroad at this time, but need help from the citizens of Blaine, and that help comes in the form of submitting either written letters or email letters to individual government representatives requesting assistance. You can find the ideas and suggestions on the new website at www.blainestation.com.
I urge each and every person in Blaine and all surrounding communities to visit the website and take a few minutes to read and educate themselves and then forward to the named representatives your thoughts, suggestions and concerns. This can be accomplished with the entire community of Blaine, Birch Bay, Custer, Ferndale, Point Roberts and White Rock working together.
I would also like to invite each and every one of you to the next meeting at City Hall at 6 p.m. on November 14, to further show the council our support.

David Riffle

The Editor:

As you are aware, Blaine Food Bank (BFB) has historically provided both a Thanksgiving dinner and a Christmas dinner for all our clients. Due to both the national economic downturn and our own budget constraints, BFB has decided to save our holiday spending for the Christmas dinner only.
It is Blaine Food Bank’s holiday hope that those clients who have relied on us for their Thanksgiving meal will make other arrangements with another source or facility for their Thanksgiving dinner supplies.
Our communities are fortunate because there are so many locations for a family to apply for and to receive a Thanksgiving dinner or supplies. Specifically, the Sons of the American Legion are sponsoring a Thanksgiving dinner at the Blaine Senior Center. This “open to all” event will be held on November 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and does not require reservations.
The Community Assistance Program (CAP) is once again offering Thanksgiving Day dinner baskets. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 360/332-0740. This program is primarily for families with children and some restrictions apply. You must call by November 15 to reserve your basket.
Please remember during Thanksgiving week, the Blaine Food Bank will only be open on Tuesday, November 22, during our regular distribution hours (9 a.m. to noon). BFB will not distribute food on either Wednesday, November 23, or on Friday, November 25, to allow our volunteers a brief holiday rest with their families.
May your holidays be blessed and your futures be bright (from the Blaine Food Bank volunteers).

Robin G. Kendall
Blaine Food Bank

The Editor:

Our Blaine Primary School kids grades K-2 enjoyed our annual Primary School PTO Fall Harvest Festival on October 26. A great time was had by all! The kids (and some adventurous parents) were dressed in their Halloween best and enjoyed games, food, face painting courtesy of the Blaine High School cheerleaders and balloon creations from The Balloon Guy, who is always a HUGE hit with the kiddos!
Our Family Fun Nights are such a great community event! The Blaine High School football players and some high school students helped out running games. The kids love to see the older kids taking an interest in what they have going on and really see them as role models.
We enjoyed cotton candy with the machine donated by Pacific Building Center. Hot dogs and buns were donated by Big Al’s Diner and Paso Del Norte. Chili was donated by The Pizza Factory. Good Samaritan Center-Stafholt helped by donating spoons and cups, TC Trans donated cooking stoves, Woods Coffee at Birch Bay Square offered a gift of coffee and hot chocolate and Hagen’s of Blaine and Costco were so gracious to give cash donations to help offset our costs.
Blaine is so full of generosity, and we should all be so proud to live in this great community! We are all in it for our kids! Thank you to all who volunteered their time, money and goods!

Rachel Hrutfiord
President, Blaine Primary PTO

The Editor:

The Community Assistance Program (CAP) will be providing Thanksgiving dinner baskets this year on Wednesday, November 23, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at Unit 280, near Cost Cutter, in the Blaine International Shopping Center.
Those needy families residing in the Birch Bay, Blaine, Custer and Point Roberts areas who desire to be recipients must make a reservation through Family Services at the Blaine School by November 15. Call 360/332-0740 for a reservation. Please call this week to ensure that your name gets on the list. There are no baskets for walk-ins.
Historically, the population that we have served has been families whose children qualify for free and reduced lunch, a small number of families referred by pastors of local churches, and a few families who would not otherwise have any Thanksgiving dinner. The list of recipients has always been vetted by and provided to us by the Family Services office of the Blaine school district.
This year we anticipate a substantial increase in registrations from those we have not targeted in previous years. This includes the following: families with preschool children who are not known to Family Services, families with children who are home schooled, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed and under-employed and the chronically poor.
The funding for this outreach effort is provided by contributions from individuals in the community. We have no government funding. With the anticipated increase of registrations, we need your support this year to help those families who are living on the margins in these difficult economic times.
If you have the means to help your neighbor in need, please mail a check to the CAP Thanksgiving Basket Fund, P.O. Box 1067, Blaine, WA 98231. Donations may also be made at Cost Cutter, Sterling Savings Bank and other supporting business in Blaine. Look for the turkey signs at these businesses.
CAP is an approved 501(c)3 charity program, under the Peace Arch Christian Ministerial Association. All donations are fully tax deductible.

Jerry Williams, Director
The Community Assistance Program

The Editor:

Last Monday evening during the Monday night City Council meeting, Blaine Mayor Bonnie Oynon presented Commissioner Ted Morris, chair of the Northwest Park and Recreation District 2, the Blaine Builder Award. This prestigious award is given annually to those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the city of Blaine and the Blaine community.
As a NWPRD2 commissioner and a citizen who cares a lot about our community and its future, I am proud that the district has been recognized by the Blaine City Council and given this award for listening to its constituents (the community’s citizens) and responding to their suggestions and making a positive difference in the following ways:
Helping to begin the construction of the much-desired pedestrian/bike trail between Blaine and Birch Bay; helping to build the new small boat launch area and access trail to Dakota creek on Runge Street; the re-opening of the gym, now known as the Activity Center at Birch Bay Horizon Park and former Blaine Air Force base; the purchasing of new gym exercise equipment at the Senior Center; and helping fund the very successful community sailing program and Blaine youth baseball, to name several of the many projects and programs the district has provided to the community.
I wasn’t able to attend last Monday’s ceremony, otherwise I would have been there. Lastly I want to thank the community for supporting the district.

Richard Sturgill  
Commissioner, Northwest Park
and Recreation District 2

The Editor:

I am writing regarding the use of eminent domain as it applies to the acquisition of property in east Blaine. That Mr. Martin should have to suffer through this procedure is outrageous.
Although familiar with the concept I never thought that I would see it put to use here in Whatcom County.
Paul Greenough is correct in that what is being proposed is horrible but incorrect in saying that the alternative is worse. Other alternatives exist.
The Grandis Pond development is not in the best interests of the public. A higher tax bill is all that will remain for area residents once the developer is done.

H. Malms

The Editor:

In these days, trick-or-treating door to door seems to be an anomaly. There is always a ton of candy at work the following day brought in from coworkers who had minimal to no trick-or-treaters. In that light, we want to thank all the youngsters and their parents who year after year come out to the lettered street neighborhood to trick-or-treat, and to encourage them to keep coming by.
Every year we worry the tradition will not continue, but thankfully, we have not been disappointed. We counted approximately 175 visitors last night. We get as much fun from seeing all the kids in their costumes and from seeing the proud parents, as the kids get from getting candy. We even enjoy the older teenagers who “phone it in” with their costumes. It is fun teasing them, and it is great to see them out continuing this tradition. We also want to thank the Blaine police for patrolling the neighborhood, keeping the trick-or-treaters safe. So we really hope to see you next Halloween at our door ... we guarantee you a handful of good treats! Happy Halloween everyone!

The Davidsons

The Editor:

The headline in last week’s The Northern Light, “Blaine public works director leaving ...” is one that I hoped I would never read. Lynden’s gain is certainly going to be Blaine’s loss. Steve Banham has done an outstanding job for our city.
With other citizens, I served for several years on the Waste Water Advisory Committee, which resulted in the Lighthouse Water Reclamation Facility. Steve chaired this committee. Without his professionalism, perseverance and total dedication to the project, I doubt this facility would have ever been built. It was a privilege to work with Steve, and I recognize this is only one of the huge contributions he has made to our community.
I understand that 11 years is considered a long time to remain in this challenging position but we should all be grateful Steve stayed. His shoes are going to be very difficult to fill. I feel sure I speak for many others when I wish Steve every happiness in Lynden and thank him for the huge contribution he has made in Blaine.

Trevor Hoskins

The Editor:

In a few weeks I will be taking on quite the challenge: walking 60 miles in just 3 days. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure is an annual walk that takes place in different cities throughout the U.S. to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, education and community health programs. I participated back in 2008 and it was hands-down one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had!  
Along with walking 60 miles, each participant is required to raise a minimum of $2,300. Since I’m still a little short on my fundraising effort, I’ve teamed up with some local business for assistance. Here are some ways to help:
Friday, November 4, at The Wheelhouse, 8 p.m.: $1 of every meal purchase goes toward my walk fund, and if you wear pink, $1 of every drink purchase will too. Come join and listen to some great local music!
Tuesday, November 8, at Paso del Norte, 6 p.m.: $20 gets you an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner along with a DJ taking your karaoke requests. This will be a family-friendly event so feel free to bring your kids!
Both events will have prizes to be raffled off in addition. So come out, bring your friends, dress in pink and show some support!  
If you can’t make either of those events and would still like to help, please visit www.the3day.org, click on the link to donate and enter my name (Yvonne Angell) for my personal fundraising page.
Please help me put an end to breast cancer.

Yvonne Angell

The Editor:

In the race for Whatcom County Council District 1 there is one clear choice! That’s Pete Kremen. Pete has served our community with vigor and success. He cares about the people he serves and keeping Whatcom County the special place it is. He has accomplished this over a long period of time without ever raising the county’s portion of the property tax ever since he was elected County Executive 16 years ago.
It’s truly amazing how Mr. Kremen has been able to do this and still leave his successor more than $10.6 in the reserve fund, especially when you consider how bad the economy has been for the last four years.
Pete is experienced, trusted and respected throughout Whatcom County and has earned the privilege to serve us on the County Council.

Bob Marshall


 The Editor:

The current majority on the Whatcom County Council has instituted fiscally misguided policies designed to promote urban sprawl. Their decisions will increase unfunded county budget deficits, rapidly draining their needed reserve funds.
The council voted to spend $12 million, of its total road fund of $20 million, in the unincorporated area around Birch Bay. Federal census data was deliberately distorted by the county to indicate a population of 7,800 for that huge area from the border of Semiahmoo in the north to the border of Ferndale in the south, and from I-5 in the east to the Strait of Georgia in the west. They call it “Birch Bay;” if it were a city, which it is not, it would have a city limits larger than that of the City of Bellingham, yet at 7,800, less than a tenth the population of Bellingham.
Birch Bay has been made a poster child for uncontrolled urban sprawl by a council led by an individual with an obvious conflict of interest. The council deliberately became noncompliant with our state’s Growth Management Act, which means millions of dollars in state funds could now be lost to the county government.
Overspeculation in real estate that is caused by policies like upzoning rural land (such as the 470 acres south of Drayton Harbor by the council last week), drives market devaluation of existing properties. Doubling rural density (from R10A to R5A) in areas prone to wetlands and therefore critical to marine habitat and water quality violates the principles of our GMA laws. The reduced sales tax revenues paid to the cities and counties when fewer and devalued properties are sold in turn causes growing budget deficits. Excess home building in rural areas necessitates increased tax levies, whether they are police, fire, school, parks or stormwater protection districts.
All of these unfunded liabilities could be avoided by “infill” or selling some of the hundreds, if not thousands, of existing homes that are already on the market in Blaine or Birch Bay.
Please vote for Alan Black and Christina Maginnis to reaffirm the rule of law in the county.

Lincoln Rutter

The Editor:

I am writing to urge all voters to vote no on Initiative 1183. As a small business owner, I believe in privatization; I don’t think the government should run the largest revenue business in the state. However, Initiative 1183 was written by Costco for Costco. Privatization would mean that only the largest businesses in our state would be authorized to sell liquor, eliminating opportunity for small business completely. This initiative further widens the gap between large corporations and small business. I do not feel this is privatization.
To date Costco has spent $22 million on the advertising campaign to pass Initiative 1183. The initiative, written by Costco, is only good for the large grocers and excludes small business from the pool. This creates a monopoly for large grocers, such as Costco, who will have exclusivity.
It is becoming increasingly more difficult for small business to operate. We do not have the bulk buying power of the larger corporation, thus making it difficult to compete. But yet our businesses are the backbone of our small communities. I believe privatization should be a choice and should benefit all, rather than only those businesses with the money to buy the vote.
I believe we will see privatization for liquor in our state in the future. The privatization should be written by government for the people with proper procedure, regulations and enforcement in place. I urge you to vote no on Initiative 1183.

Joan Roberts
Brewster’s Fine Foods, Point Roberts

The Editor:

Public accolades given to Sheriff Elfo during this election cycle have been numerous and are certainly well-deserved. The unanimous support from all local Chiefs of Police further substantiates Sheriff Elfo’s reputation as a leader and partner in the local law enforcement community. The Whatcom County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild endorsement demonstrates the collective confidence in Sheriff Elfo’s leadership. He has cultivated mutual support and interaction with State and Federal law enforcement organizations.
During past assignments, I have had the honor and privilege to serve with Sheriff Elfo and witness him in action. Sheriff Elfo distinguished himself as a key member of the multi-jurisdictional security committee assigned to the Governor’s Task Force during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Partnerships that existed prior to the Olympic Games were strengthened during the event and have continued to develop since.
Due to Sheriff Elfo’s vision and strategic planning, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office is postured to respond in the event of a man-made or natural disaster. Another aspect of preparedness that can be credited to Sheriff Elfo is the establishment of a dedicated special response team within the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. Realizing that this capability is absolutely necessary to adequately protect the community and support Deputy Sheriffs when dealing with an extreme, Sheriff Elfo made this a priority.
Sheriff Elfo’s experience and education provide a depth and breadth of expertise that makes him an exceptional candidate for Sheriff. Whatcom County has been fortunate to have Bill Elfo serve as Sheriff; that he is enthusiastically seeking re-election is an immeasurable benefit to our community. Sheriff Elfo is an intelligent, articulate and conscientious community leader and a dedicated steward of county resources. I encourage you to vote for Bill Elfo and support him as he continues to serve.

Mark Beaty

The Editor:

In the race for county executive, the choice is clear. I’m voting for Doug Ericksen because of his leadership and wealth of experience fighting for the people of Whatcom County. He is the only candidate offering clear examples for job creation, will require all taxes go to a public vote and checklist of what he wants to accomplish as our next county executive. He is rock solid and knowledgeable in his answers when asked a question about any issue facing our county. His opponent offers nothing in the form of specifics. I encourage everyone to join me in voting for Doug.

Callie Kendon


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