Letters to the Editor: July 26 - August 1, 2012

Published on Wed, Jul 25, 2012
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The Editor:

Not a Christian nation? I do believe that the Pilgrims sailed to this country in order to enjoy freedom of religion, which was denied them in England. They gave thanks to God when they landed at Plymouth Rock. Thomas Paine was not born for another 245 years and Thomas Jefferson for 251 years. Christianity was already well established, as the Pilgrims had been practicing their Christianity all those years prior.
The man stating that we are not a Christian nation, in my opinion, needs to get down on his knees and pray to God that this country keeps its Christianity, as we have leaders trying their damndest to remove the religion that has held this country together since 1492. Or better yet, leave this country and move to one that has his socialist views.

Shirley Reed
Birch Bay

The Editor:

I have lived in Blaine for 37 years now, and we have had some coal trains running both north and south for a very long time. I have never seen them leave behind any coal dust.
I don’t know where Eileen Herring went to school, but when I went to school as a kid in Seattle, we were taught that 100 times 0 is still 0. I am getting sick of the gross exaggerations and hyper-emotionalism the anti-coal train people keep putting forth. It makes me want to vote for the whole thing just to prove they are in some kind of mass hysteria, and it really won’t be all that bad to get an influx of jobs and house sales.
Moreover, selling something to the Chinese might even out the commerce flow a little. Or are we supposed to even consider the possibilities of seeing the other side of things? I have noticed that when anyone tries to present the positive side of the coal terminal, they usually get shut down. That is not exactly democracy. And by the way, we will be selling the Chinese anthracite coal that burns much cleaner than the bituminous stuff they use now. We can help improve their lives.

Donna Robbins

The Editor:

I do not know Jim Agnello and have never met him. However, from his name, I would guess that he was raised nominally Catholic. He, regardless, does not seem to understand the basic underpinnings of Christianity and its relationship to the U.S. constitution. Perhaps he is Canadian? However, most of my Canadian Christian friends are quite well informed about the U.S. constitution because they are educated and have studied it.
A few salient facts: Thomas Paine wrote political pamphlets and was not involved in writing the Constitution in any way. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were deacons at one time or another, along with George Washington, in their respective Christian churches on their plantations in Virginia and towns in Massachusetts, as were many of the original signers of the original document. They were Christians and what they most wanted was to separate the King (or President) from being titular head of the national religion and its church. That is why they separated church and state in order to allow free practice of religion by all citizens. This is still a very valid reason for doing so but it has nothing to do with what Mr. Agnello was claiming about Christianity in this country. Christians do not kill others because they are not Christian. He is confusing U.S. with Muslims, who kill infidels (including Christians)!
It makes me sad when someone equates modern Christianity with the Spanish Inquisition or witch burning in Salem in the 15th and 16th centuries respectively, or the wars of Europe, which were fought for territory and kingly egos. The entire world has changed since those events took place. I do not know what Christianity has personally done to Mr. Agnello but I would bet it is something private, personal and not a reflection on Christian churches. He needs to separate that from his public persona and find peace within himself.

Charles Robbins

The Editor:

In his 12 July letter, Mickey Masdeo seems to be having a garage sale on gripes from supporting the new jail (perhaps he hopes, a new residence for Lincoln Rutter) to questioning claims from several opponents of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. By his own admission he is waiting for more reliable data to support some hard-to-believe claims and writes, ‘Give me a break, Harold’. Here are a few sources to which he can turn to relieve his ignorance of the facts.

Sandra Robson’s 14 June editorial does not state ‘48 million tons of coal are transported annually to China’. Her letter clearly states the annual goal that GPT plans to ship, which is only a fraction of the 150 million total tons planned from six new Pacific Northwest coast terminals. Masdeo’s interpretation of her letter is incorrect.

Masdeo’s “reliable data” stating that China imported only 6 million tons of coal in 2011 is wildly inaccurate, perhaps reflecting only data from a few selected ports. On a world-wide basis, China imported 25 million tons of coal in 2005 (China Daily, November 3, 2005) and has imported 140 million tons in the first half of 2012, up 66 percent from a year earlier (Bloomberg News, June 9, 2012).

Here is a smattering of readily available data to support Melanie Young’s claim that pollution drifts back across the ocean from China: “Pollution From Chinese Coal Casts a Global Shadow”, New York Times, June 11, 2006; “Mercury in California Rainwater Traced to Industrial Emissions in Asia”, Science Daily, Dec 20, 2002; and more recently, “Hazy B.C. skies caused by Russian forest fires”, CBC News, July 10, 2012. Mickey Masdeo seems ill-informed.

The U.S. certainly does export substantial coal tonnage to Europe and about 94 percent of the current port capacity is on the east coast and Gulf of Mexico. However, coal has been shipped to Asia as well from 2009 to present from East coast ports, which are now unable to meet the growing Asian demand. (“U.S. Coal Operators Cling to Exports”, Coal Age, 18 Feb, 2010). That is why SSA is anxious to ship from the west coast.

Regarding Chinese wearing face masks, I encourage him to watch a vivid TV news segment on NBC News from 6 Dec 2011 showing Beijing’s pollution. The cameraman is wearing a face mask. If one wishes to further dispute the poor air quality, accurate information may be found in the Feb 6, 2012 issue of “The Economist” and the German magazine “Der Spiegel International” online, 28 June 2007. A partial quote: “In China’s 14 largest cities alone, air pollution is responsible for the deaths of 50,000 newborns each year”. A large part of the pollution is due to coal-burning plants. Mickey Masdeo is obviously very familiar with China and I find his rebuttal odd.

The verification of the claim about mercury levels in Lake Whatcom can be found in an exhaustive study conducted by Anthony Paulson of the US Geological Survey in April, 2005 titled “The Sources of Mercury to the Sediments of Whatcom County Lakes”.

There’s your break, Mickey. I’ve done your homework for you. Each and every point you made has been addressed.

Harold Roper
Birch Bay
July, 2012

The Editor:

We are writing to offer our wholehearted support for Carrie Coppinger Carter, a candidate for Whatcom County Superior Court. We have known her personally for many years. She is a person who is fair, honest and compassionate, and a woman of integrity.
Carrie’s accolades and experiences are many. She has 13 years as a trial lawyer, which includes extensive experience in Superior Court covering a broad spectrum of complex civil and commercial issues, plus criminal and family law matters. As a result, she is respected for being knowledgeable about Whatcom County Superior Court’s proceedings and rules of evidence.
Carrie is a four-time “Rising Star” honoree by Washington Law & Politics magazine. She holds a perfect Avvo.com rating. The legal community has also recognized her leadership and legal skills in federal, state and local tribal courts.
Most importantly, Carrie Coppinger Carter is smart, hardworking and fair. She is an excellent listener. She knows that being an outstanding judge requires more than a deep understanding of the law but also a commitment to equity and everybody’s opportunity to be heard.
Carrie is the complete package. She has the common sense and an inner drive to make a difference in the future of our county. We strongly encourage you to make a difference too, by voting for Carrie Coppinger Carter as our next Whatcom County Superior Court judge.

Karl and Karla Vander Ploeg

The Editor:

Election time is upon U.S. now. We are writing in support of Carrie Coppinger Carter for position of Whatcom County Superior Court judge. We have known Carrie and her family since Elisa and Carrie were students at Nooksack Valley High School. In addition to being a superior athlete, student, mother, community volunteer and attorney, she has always had a similarly strong work ethic – no matter what position she held from working on farms in high school, waitressing or managing apartments in college, or when working for clients when she later achieved her goal of being an attorney.
Often judicial elections may not achieve the notice of other races at the federal, state or even local levels. Some people may look toward their party for assistance, but Carrie has tried to run this race as non-partisan as possible as she would represent all people, all citizens of Whatcom County equally by being dedicated to impartially following the Constitution.
We encourage you to take a closer look at Carrie’s qualities and qualifications, which include coming from a long-time area family dedicated to the wellbeing of the community and its residents, graduating with honors from the University of Washington, receiving the 2011 Nooksack Valley High School Graduate of Distinction for outstanding service award, the 2009 LAW Advocates Volunteer Attorney Award for extraordinary service, extensive involvement with children’s and church groups, 13 years of experience as a trial attorney being the Whatcom County Superior Court (representing both civil and criminal cases), and being a Judge Pro-Tem for Whatcom County’s District Court since 2007.
We appreciate your support and vote for Carrie Coppinger Carter.

Elisa and Bernice Claassen

The Editor:

I am supporting District Court Judge Dave Grant for Whatcom County Superior Court judge. I believe that having a judge with experience and knowledge in criminal justice is critical for public safety. I feel that individual and community safety demand an experienced judge like Dave Grant.
I know Dave Grant to be a person of the highest integrity. I believe that as a sitting District Court judge, he is fair and knowledgeable and presents an excellent judicial demeanor and temperament. I know that Judge Grant already fully understands the daily requirements of being an elected judge.
We need a judge who will protect our community. We need a judge who will respect the rule of law and our constitutions. We need a judge who will preserve our rights and our liberties. I know Dave Grant, and I know he is committed to keeping our community safe. Please join me in voting for Dave Grant for Whatcom County Superior Court judge.

Kenni B. Merritt



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