Letters to the Editor: October 4 - October 10, 2012

Published on Thu, Oct 4, 2012
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The Editor:

We recently returned from a year-long trip and have walked several times through Blaine. Many residents try to keep their yards looking their best, however, there are many who don’t seem to care. The cost to keep your yard looking nice is generally not much – it only takes some physical effort.
Some homes are empty and have been for some time. Many communities have laws in place that require the homeowner to keep their properties kept up or the city does it and bills the homeowner. If it is not paid then it goes on your property taxes. Bank-owned properties can certainly afford this, and homeowners need not pay anything if they simply get out there and get their yards picked up and in order.
It’s not fair to those who have to live near these places and have their properties devalued or simply have to look at those homes. Blaine has great potential if the city and some homeowners would do something to fix this. Drive through Lynden and look at how nice their yards are. They have rules in place! Let’s all get together to fix this.
Also the city itself could take note to keep the streets litter and weed free. They can afford new sidewalks and such but you never see anyone maintaining the streets and public property.

Patti Mingee

The Editor:

I am writing to voice my support for Natalie McClendon to represent the 42nd district. Our current representative, Jason Overstreet, has a blatant disregard for the health and educational standards of our children. When Overstreet was on the Blaine City Council and the people of Blaine (including their parks board) requested a few thousand dollars to repair an aging and dangerous skate park so their kids would have something to do, he voted no, adding it would “better be provided for by the private sector” and then showed up for the new skate park’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the photo-op.
Once elected to the state legislature, Overstreet voted against a bill that would have banned toxic toys from China from being imported into Washington state, adding that it is “too much government intrusion.” He would rather have children play with lead toys than stray from his insanely free market voting record! He also voted against a bipartisan bill that would notify parents that it’s a good idea to immunize their children against whooping cough and measles.
Neither does Mr. Overstreet seem overly concerned about the quality of our state’s public schools, possibly because he homeschools his own children. On his website, he simply states he will protect the rights of families who homeschool their children. Meanwhile the Washington Supreme Court ruled in McCleary v. State that the state was not meeting its constitutional duty to provide an “ample level of education” for its students.
There are some things that can’t adequately be provided for by the private sector, education being one of them. Overstreet should know this, given that his own career as a Seattle city firefighter and legislator is paid for by tax dollars. As a former teacher, Natalie knows the true value of keeping our children healthy and making sure they have access to quality education. She knows that our children are not an expense, but rather an investment for our future.
Please join me in voting for Natalie McClendon for state representative. She will stand up for common sense protection and never put our children at risk.

Ray Wilkett

Notice: Seeking Attention
The Editor:

Your treatment of the letter from Dennis Withner of Blaine in the September 27 issue was classic! The “title” you placed above his letter was clever beyond belief and had me ROTFLMAO. The editorial note after his letter, asking your readers to tell you what they want (exactly as Mr. Withner requested), was the icing on the cake. Thanks for making my day – no, for making my whole week!
Oh, and BTW ... I agree with Dennis. In fact, I think putting titles above each letter would please your readers immensely, especially if those titles prove to be as witty as the one you put above his letter (I can’t wait to see what title, if any, you put above this letter!) Thanks to Dennis Withner for a great suggestion. And thanks to the editors and staff of The Northern Light for giving us the benefit of your exceptional journalistic talents every week for free.

Jeff Sterling
Birch Bay

The Editor:

Let me get to the heart of the issue. I am writing in support of Natalie McClendon and Matt Krogh, who are running for election to the State House representing the 42nd legislative district. My reason is because I strongly believe that the citizens of the 42nd district are not being properly represented by the two individuals currently in office and running for re-election, Jason Overstreet and Vincent Buys.
Once elected, I believe our representatives should do their best to protect the interest of all the citizens of the district they represent. Over the past two years neither Overstreet or Buys have demonstrated an effort or desire to tackle the hard and important issues, such as improving education, helping to create new jobs, protecting the environment or any of the other important issues facing our state, county and district. Instead, we got innocuous bills regarding the ability to use gold coins to pay bills, what time of day the legislature should start and other time-wasting and unnecessary pieces of legislation.
On the flip side, they voted against legislation dealing with issues including children’s health care, on limiting the amount of toxins allowed in toys, to provide fair and equal medical care for women, for requiring anyone aware of child abuse to report it and to continue the work being done to reduce or eliminate bullying.  
There is an adage that says if you cannot help, at least do no harm.  Both failed that simple test. In short, both failed to demonstrate any leadership on important issue and instead used their time to just say “no” to anything, whether it was good for the rest of us or not.  We need and deserve better. Please join me in supporting Natalie McClendon and Matt Krogh. With them we will at least get an honest effort for improvement, instead of two individuals determined to act as roadblocks for improvement.

Pat Jerns

News flash: No Valium in Blaine water supply
The Editor:

I would like to respond to Gretchen McFarland’s letter regarding yard sign placements.
What do you do? Drive around the neighborhoods scoping out which homes are voting GOP and which ones are voting Democrat by the way their yard signs are placed in their yards? Shame on you for calling me and my family names just because of the way our political yard signs line up in our yard! You know nothing about myself or my family, yet you think it’s OK to belittle us because we align ourselves as GOP and not Democrat. Thanks for showing us just how small minded you are.

Sheila Dalry
(Ed. Note: We’ve been asked to put headings above letters. What do you think? Drop us a note at

The Editor:
I was running on Saturday, September 29, on the partially developed roads to the northeast of Birch Bay Village. I believe that I may have encountered a gray wolf there. We were about 30 yards apart. We looked carefully at each other, and it then walked purposely away, as did I! When I got home, I searched the Internet for wolf habitat in Washington, and learned that they were only present in the area east of Spokane.
Has anyone else reported sighting this type of animal in Blaine?
Keith Wilson

The Editor:

Like so many in this town, we look forward to reading the Letters To The Editor, especially during the election season when we are regaled with the witty hyperbole delivered in a political slam disguised as a candidate endorsement.
In last week’s letters there was a pair that we’ll be talking about for a long time around here. In the first, the writer compares the parties to yard signs. I guess she wasn’t too far off, as you can easily characterize Democrats as haphazard and random. She goes further to define the local GOP guy as orderly and aligned, much like his signs throughout the city.
The second one was equally humorous in describing not only the candidate, but his entire party, as anarchists. So we have someone who wants to maintain the status quo while at the same time wants to tear the whole thing apart.
I suppose this will go under the heading “You Just Can’t Win.” Then again, these are the same kind of people who claimed that George Bush was the mastermind behind many complicated and elaborate schemes, yet so dumb he can’t count to 11 because he only has 10 fingers.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Vote for Jason Overstreet.

Steve Berndtson

The Editor:

I wish to endorse Deborra Garrett for Superior Court Judge.
We live in an era where the legal arm of our social system touches us all in profound ways. We must have thoughtful ethical individuals supporting that arm. I know that Deborra has those ethical qualities.
Stepping into a courtroom can be a frightening experience for one. It is so important to have Deborra on the bench. She can maintain those principles that secure the fairest and most just outcome for all. Our courts shape our lives and our culture.
I am not old enough to remember “Scoop” and “Maggie” as well as Judge Ear Warren’s words: “It is the spirit and not the form of law that keeps justice alive.” I sincerely believe we must pick judges on the basis of their individual strength of character; their willingness to fight for what is true and right. Deborra chooses to work without pay as the legal adviser for the YMCA, the Women’s Care Center and has helped shape the Whatcom Civil Rights Project.
I have watched the courts both locally and nationally and I believe a judge’s decisions are life-altering. I have been a teacher in Washington for 42 years. One fearful reality I know as a teacher is the impact court decisions have on shaping a young person’s future. In a democracy it is our responsibility to vote for who our judges will be.
Please vote. I am voting for Deborra Garrett.

Carol Hanaway

The Editor:

In 2010, Jason Overstreet was swept into office during a period of political discontent. Two years later, voters can now examine his record of extremism. For example, Overstreet voted against the Infrastructure Jobs Bonds Bill designed to create more than 20,000 jobs in Washington state and had broad support among business groups and industry leaders. When Washington state legislators on both sides of the aisle voluntarily cut their own salaries by 3 percent to match the cut to state workers’ paychecks, Rep. Overstreet and Rep. Vincent Buys did not sign. Jason Overstreet scored a zero on the environment, according to the 2011-2012 scorecard released by the Washington Conservation Voters. He voted “no” on bills that banned toys containing toxic chemicals and stopped the use of coal tar sealant on playgrounds. During a recent debate, Overstreet incorrectly asserted that there is no constitutional requirement to have a balanced budget in Washington state. After two years in office, he should know better.
Overstreet appears to be catering to a narrow segment of voters. However, his responsibility is to the whole county. His opponent, Natalie McClendon, more closely represents the needs and values of Whatcom County residents. Natalie wants to get things done for our children, our future, our economy and our quality of life. Therefore I am lending my support to Natalie McClendon.

Kathleen Page

The Editor:

Born and raised here in Bellingham there is no doubt that our local economy could really benefit from private investment and the creation of family wage jobs. I believe the Gateway Pacific Terminal could be a big source of news jobs. I also believe the discussion regarding coal dust is a made-up issue to cause false alarm through our community in the effort to drum up opposition to the Gateway project. Having lived in Bellingham my entire life, I can say I have only been stopped by one train within those 33 years.
My property directly abuts the rail line here in north Bellingham. Coal trains and all other types of trains pass right next to my house. Our family garden located on our property has provided coal dust-free vegetables to my children and I. Coal dust has never been an issue for me or my family. I have never found any trace of coal dust on my property and the rail is 50 yards from my kitchen table. Please join me in my support of the Gateway Pacific Terminal and bringing family wage jobs that our county desperately needs.

Nick Evans

The Editor:

My family and I moved to Bellingham from Ballard 18 months ago to find a heated debate around trains, coal and industrial development. I am astonished by the comments people of dissent make about this project. Lacking facts and sound thought, it seems to me that their goal is to just oppose everything. Having a husband who works in the marine industry down at Squalicum Harbor, I am confident this additional marine export terminal will improve our local economic situation. I believe this will breathe new life into our downtown marina and be a great investment to jump-start the waterfront redevelopment. It is time we stop just talking and start doing.
In line with “buying local,” I hope those residents in opposition to GPT start thinking about supporting local families and small businesses. It is hard to “buy local” when a big portion of our county residents are either unemployed or underemployed. It is common sense that private economic investments will improve our community and this opportunity is knocking on our front door. Coal exportation is already here and will continue with or without GPT. With an upgraded and modern industry here locally we will be generating new opportunities for the next generation and strengthening our local economy. Additionally they are using the land legally, exporting legal products and following environmental laws and practices. I do not see the issue behind this debate. My family and I support the Gateway Pacific Terminal, and I hope you will too. Let’s get back to work, Whatcom.

Desiree Riise

The Editor:

Without a doubt, the economic landscape of Bellingham and the rest of Whatcom County is in dire need of improvement. Let me be clear – that will not happen here unless private enterprises invest in our community. Even through increased taxation our government is not able to support employment for all. Having retired from a life in law enforcement, I understand what it is like to be in a profession where adequate funding is essential. Now apply this locally to our roads, parks, civil services and most importantly our schools. A strong education system is the backbone to the future of any strong and secure community. I believe this future could be ours with the approval of the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT).
I do not think the local groups, whom have taken an obstructionist position towards GPT realize that this project has the ability to improve our economy but also upgrade the process of dry bulk exports. Coal, grain, potash and other commodities will continue to be exported by rail through our area. Why not capitalize of it? The EIS, environmental laws and best practices policies will ensure what is proposed will not jeopardize our community. Come out and support GPT!

Marc Ganow

The Editor:

Having chosen Bellingham to spend my retirement; I have kept myself busy by enjoying the outdoors, enrolling in classes at the university and staying active in the community with the medical reserve corps. Although I come from a struggling local economy similar to the one here in Whatcom County, I definitely believe the toxic political atmosphere here in Bellingham does not reflect the pro-business/family/community sentiment needed to improve the social and economic status of our county.
This mentality of continuously subsidizing city services, especially the non-line budget items, off the back of taxpayers is the wrong approach to resolving our cities’ and county’s financial issues. Private investment and industry are the missing pieces to the puzzle; and I believe SSA Marine and the Gateway Pacific Terminal are those pieces. Family wage jobs and a huge source of tax revenue coupled with the best environmental securities and practices is something I fully support.
For these reasons, I am appalled by the Whatcom Docs and their egregious stance towards GPT. It is beyond logic to apply their approach. Bellingham has had coal trains and mines since the late 1800s and at times much heavier rail traffic. Their authority should be called into question. Whether a true believer or a careless endorser; the irresponsible nature of the letter highlights the toxicity exuding from the local Sierra Club funded activists. I choose to support not obstruct!

Allen Brown

The Editor:

Bellingham and Whatcom County are at a crossroads between prosperity and continued economic stagnation. Local activists whom spout anti–development, anti–growth and anti–industry rhetoric only hinder the process of progress and lessen the opportunities for future generations of local families to become successful. This has to stop! The next generation of our community will need jobs, and without projects like the Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT), I fear we are in for a bleak future. For the next generation to survive and to remain part of our community then growth must happen.
I believe it is foolish to think that by preventing this terminal the use of coal globally will end or that it will have any effect on the amount exported and consumed. These commodities come through now and will continue to do so at whatever rate the world market demands. These Sierra Club funded anti–groups continue to sling mud and illicit fear but provide no facts; just conjectures and bias studies. Logically, by building this terminal, the process of exportation will have less of an impact environmentally; modern facility, stricter regulations, and better environmental practices. I believe GPT and the almost billion dollars’ worth of private investment will be a great addition to our community.

David Feldberg

Letters Policy

The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

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