Letters to the Editor: November 10 - November 16, 2011

Published on Wed, Nov 9, 2011
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The Editor:

Doughboys
The Springfield and
the Enfield have seen
their better day.
The trench knife
and the mills bombs
have also gone away.
Puttees are no longer seen
on uniforms of wool.
Horses, in their traces,
cannons no longer pull.
The young men of that era
are with us now no more.
They’ve fought the final battle
in the war to end all wars.
So in a graveyard passing
a statue you may see
commemorating the sacrifice
they made for you and me.
Stop and render honors
for they’re no longer here,
but the echo of their bugle
still rings loud and clear.
Note: Springfield and Enfield were rifles used in World War I. Mill bombs are hand grenades, and puttees are lower leg wrappings.

George G. Tranberg
Blaine


The Editor:

I am a Canadian citizen. I am 85 years old and hardly a threat to anyone.
Yet, in the past year or so, my car has been ransacked at least three times by U.S. border officials looking for drugs, contraband or something.
Over many, many years I have visited your casinos, patronized your stores, stayed at your hotels, eaten at your restaurants. But no more! No more! Like many other Canadians, I’ve had enough!
The last straw was a recent trip to Seattle. On my return to Canada, I was pulled over by Canadian customs and told to cool my heels in the waiting room.
After some time, I was called to the desk and asked to account for my activities in Seattle. (I had dinner with my cousin and a friend, had lunch with my cousin the next day, and visited a casino.)
But I was told by these officials that “it wasn’t what their ‘source’ said.” They wouldn’t identify the source, nor what I was supposed to have done. No, just that the source had a different story.
So on thinking it over, it dawned on me that their source could only be U.S. Customs and Border Protection. After failing to find anything in my car on at least three previous occasions, they must have concocted some story on my activities in Seattle in order to convince Canada customs to do their dirty work for them when I went to cross the border.
After two hours of questioning and searching my car yet again, they finally verified my account of my time in Seattle, released me and apologized.
Will I travel to the U.S. again? Not on your life! What will U.S. CPB do next? Plant some “incriminating evidence” in my car to try and justify their actions over the past year? I don’t know! But I’m not willing to take that chance.
So farewell to all my friends in the U.S. and to all those stores and businesses I have patronized over the past 51 years.
I won’t be coming your way anymore.

D. Davison
North Vancouver, B.C.


The Editor:

I would like to express my gratitude for Steve Banham, who has served as director of public works for Blaine for the past 10-plus years. Steve is taking over as director of public works in Lynden, and I wish him well.
I worked with Steve as a member on the city council and I was amazed at his depth of knowledge and effectiveness as a leader. His work, along with Gary Tomsic’s, in obtaining funding for our water reclamation project cannot be overstated, and he followed that up with making sure the project proceeded on time and as planned. This whole project with the community committee that worked with Steve on the placement and design of this project should be used as a model for other communities. Remember this was such a divisive issue based on all the difficulties with the previous site, but Steve was able to bring the community together and make this project a huge plus for our community. This town was so fortunate to have this talented, dedicated public servant oversee this project.
Steve also was very effective in working with the public to attempt to address their concerns with every project he managed. His true forte was his ability to write effective grant proposals that allowed Blaine to proceed with so many projects to make Blaine a safer, more beautiful place to live. I wish Steve well in Lynden, and they are very lucky to have him.

Bruce Wolf
Blaine


The Editor:

We were blessed with the labor of students from Blaine High School on Make a Difference Day, October 22. They helped with things that our health conditions had caused to fall into disrepair. They worked diligently and cheerfully in adverse conditions and did an outstanding job. We would like to thank both the students and their faculty advisers from the bottom of our hearts.

Patrick and Nadine Graover
Blaine

The Editor:

A letter was published unhappy with “Occupy Wall Street.” I suggest people against the protest join us and make some discoveries. To guess about what is happening and who is demonstrating causes uneducated bias.
The “occupiers” have mixed ages and beliefs. Retirees who have worked and invested see their investments manipulated, putting savings in peril. Some people have lost homes to bundled fraudulent loan manipulations. Some have lost homes and savings to medical losses. Some can’t get jobs to finance school loan payments, or are unemployed and have been looking for work for up to two years. Some do live in public housing and collect state aid. But all feel Wall Street manipulations of our government are at fault. Our numbers are meant to get the attention of the empowered.
Legislators fix problems? If they would! Unfortunately our government is controlled by the biggest Wall Street entities. ALEC members have fashioned legislation since the ’70s. Our government is controlled by corporate lobby and election “buying” through Wall Street, rather than human citizens.
Occupy wants the 1 percent to lose tax loopholes and for human citizens to decide our futures, stability, freedom and ”security.”
Don’t judge based on TV. Look for yourself.

Donna Starr
Blaine


The Editor:

Where are the safe bike lanes?
I question Blaine’s sincerity to safe nonmotorized pathways when roads like Boblett Street, H Street and Portal Way are built without safe bike lanes.
According to the adopted nonmotorized transportation plan (2009), H Street was to be a shared road or have a separated bike/pedestrian path. Instead, we have turning lanes with curbed sidewalks but no bike lanes. The way the street is designed, it is unsafe for a car to pass – it’s too narrow. Was nonmotorized money used to provide a wider road for turning lanes?
Boblett Street has painted lines with curbs on the left and right. With a curb to the left, truckers tend to ride the bike line, and with a curb on the right, there is no room to escape the line riders. So much for safe biking to school.
We got stuck with one heck of a bill for closing down the airport. The least Blaine could have done is provide a safe separated path on the north side of the road to the school.
Portal Way was going to continue lanes around the turnabouts and connect with D Street lanes when built.  Instead they eliminated the bike lanes altogether from Cherry Street to Marine Drive.
When D Street was rebuilt, grant money was used to provide four-foot bike lanes on each side. Recently, they were repainted to be less than two feet wide.
I cringe when I hear Blaine is going to rebuild one of our streets.  It usually means it is one more road that will be unsafe to bike on. Rather than turning Blaine into a city where alternative transportation is highlighted, it’s being made to look like every other town along the I-5: passed through without a second thought to stopping.

Patrick Madsen
Blaine


The Editor:

SSA Marine cannot be trusted!
They illegally cut forests and were given just a slap on the hand.
They attempted to buy our elections. They made their proposal for the coal terminal right before elections and then barraged the county with advertisements on why they think the terminal is a great idea, even stating that they would hire people to go door to door. They were hoping their big corporate money could buy our vote for county council and county commissioner.
SSA Marine claims to be local, but has terminals in Mexico, Panama, Chile, Vietnam and even operates a terminal in Iraq.
SSA Marine claims it will create jobs, but does not tell us how many jobs will be lost in tourism, local business, and fisheries. A transparent corporation would tell us the whole truth, not only their side of the story. More will probably be lost in local business than gained from a terminal.
SSA Marine claims that the regulatory system will make the terminal safe. There is no safe level of coal dust. It doesn’t matter if they say they will cut it down from 3 million pounds to 2 million pounds of coal dust in the air per year through technology.
The first regulatory system, ICC, was set up in 1887 by steel tycoon Andrew Carnagie, banker J.P. Morgan and other railroad presidents. Railroad baron Charles Adams stated, “What is desired is something having a good sound, but quite harmless, which will impress the popular mind with the idea that a great deal is being done, when in reality, very little is intended to be done.” SSA Marine knows exactly how to make us think this is safe when in actuality it is not. People will die from train congestion blocking emergency vehicles and from toxic coal dust.
Are we willing to sacrifice our lives so that Goldman Sachs, Peabody Coal, and SSA Marine can make a profit? Will we sit back and let big corporate government destroy our lives? Or, will we finally rise up and not let this happen to us?

Suzanne Ravet
Birch Bay


The Editor:

We are writing to respond to the recent article and letters regarding the condemnation of the Robert Martin family’s land near H Street. Eminent domain is generally applied to create the greatest benefit to the largest number of the population. That the city and the developer could claim this is, in our opinion, offensive. It is of immediate benefit to the developer, of short-range benefit to the city and is long-term degradation of the greater public’s interest and quality of life.
Mr. Martin could have developed and made money off of his land in all the years he has held it. Instead, he consciously chose to protect our watershed, which benefits everyone on city water and everyone who pays tax dollars or volunteer hours to clean up Spooner Creek, Dakota Creek and Drayton Harbor.
If no viable alternative existed, it would be one thing, but that is not the case. While the city has called this a “necessity,” they have also admitted that the utilities could be run on H Street, though it would disturb “dozens” of people. To our minds, the city’s greatest interest would be to stand behind Mr. Martin’s protection of the thousands of people in our community and watershed. If Blaine is truly invested in expanding, it should be done the proper way: Unfortunately, disturb the dozens, but install the utilities on the city streets, just like “real” cities do.

Betsy Delph and
Devon Bjerkness
Blaine


The Editor:

U.S. and Canadian forces fought together for freedom in the first and second World Wars and Korea. Ten thousand Canadians volunteered for service in U.S. forces to fight in Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan and recently in Libya. Children of a common mother fighting for freedom together! Lest we forget.

Jay James
Birch Bay

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