Letters to the editor: April 4 - 10, 2013

Published on Wed, Apr 3, 2013
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The Editor:
First Ken Imus pulls out of Blaine because of a failure on the part of the city to honor their previous development agreements. Follow that with an announcement that the city council wants to spend $30,000 to study the best ways to improve Blaine. Are you nuts? And now it appears that there is substantial objection to the proposed shoreline enhancements along Birch Bay Drive. Is it really OK to simply throw money out the window to study ways to improve our towns and beaches, but not do anything that would actually improve things?
I understand the concerns of property owners along Birch Bay Drive when it comes to right of way issues, and these concerns need to be considered in the grand scheme. But unless something is done to ease beach erosion and improve current drainage issues, eventually there won’t be any property to worry about. It will be eroded away and continually damaged by flooding.
What is wrong with the people of Whatcom County? Why not be open to a change for the better? Do you really think things are as good as they could be? Get your heads out of the tide flats – or wherever else you have them.
Nancy Grigsby
Birch Bay


The Editor:
As I am looking at my finances and my very modest income, I am getting more and more resentful of the town I live in. Not only has the value of my house become nonexistent but my property taxes have also gone up for at least two years in a row and my energy bill from the city is ridiculous. I pay $100 for my sewer alone, which is the highest in the county. Blaine has the highest gas prices around and I have seen the town’s only grocery store’s prices skyrocket. 
This town is not about the people who live here but about getting what we can from the Canadians who cross the border. Greed is a word that keeps coming to my mind. The citizens of Blaine are completely ignored and get nothing in return except they work harder and longer hours to try to make ends meet.
I bought a house in Blaine five years ago when my children were still in school and as much as I love my little 107-year-old house would I still buy here today? Absolutely no way, and I have lived in this area for 25 years. I bet I am not the only one feeling like this.
Krista Unser
Blaine


The Editor:
I just finished reading the police reports in the March 28 issue. I wish I were surprised by the offender’s attitude. I am shocked how people respond when confronted parking in handicapped spots they’re not entitled to.
I drove to Target with my grandson Paul, who is multi-handicapped, and we have a wheelchair van. One spot was open for our lift. I put my blinker on to take the spot when a mini-van roared in front of us and parked. I watched as four teenagers and a woman emerged. I called out to her and asked if she would please let me have the spot, as we required the larger space for our lift. She swore at me and then said, “You ** handicaps get all the breaks, ‘F’ off.”
I found a spot at the back of the lot, but had to leave Paul in the van. I went inside to inform the store of this infraction and asked them to do something. They refused, saying it was not their right and they did not want to cause trouble with a customer. Well, they caused trouble with me. I will not shop there again.
The worst thing about this is that it is not uncommon. It happens way too often. Even people who have the right to use handicapped spaces will take a wheelchair van spot even if other spots are open. I am often left driving away because small cars and people without handicap tags take wheelchair spots. If getting a good parking spot makes it desirable to be handicapped, I am sure someone out there would be willing to accommodate you at any time. Just bring your own bat.
Nancy Cook and Paul Flores
Blaine


The Editor: 
I would like to thank my friends and co-workers who came out to celebrate my retirement last week at city hall. The city of Blaine and the chamber of commerce put together a great party – we had great food and good company. Thank you all for the cards, gifts and flowers and thanks to the businesses who also contributed – I appreciate it so much. And thank you for supporting our visitor center!
Carroll Solomon
Blaine


The Editor:
After reading the article in a recent edition of The Northern Light about Blaine receiving $500,000 to reduce energy consumption I am puzzled and slightly irritated.
When I got to the section on what upgrades were needed for the city, the last facility I thought would be on Ms. Whitewolf’s list was the new Lighthouse Point Water Reclamation Facility. How is it that a facility that cost taxpayers $33 million to build and has been in operation for less than three years already needs energy efficiency improvements?
Back in 2008 we were told that the wastewater treatment facility would feature two contemporary buildings designed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) LEED concepts in mind that included bright open breezeways and large windows to maximize passive solar energy. I am not an expert on the LEED concept, but a large part of sustainability is a reduction in lifecycle costs. Now Ms. Whitewolf is saying that after less than three years of operation the city has to perform a complete mechanical and heating optimization. Three years is the life cycle of the mechanical and heating systems? How many of us replace our furnaces every three years? 
I have an idea – why not go back to wastewater-engineering experts Brown and Caldwell and Zervas Group Architects, who designed the $33 million structure, and ask them to explain how a three-year-old mechanical system can be obsolete? How much are they willing to kick in to fix their obvious engineering mistakes? This facility was supposed to be state of the art, not a power-guzzling entity that has sent our sewer rates through the roof.
We deserve better than this for our tax dollars. Why not take the $500,000 in grant money and identify the most obvious energy saving projects that have the shortest return on investment, complete those and then complete additional projects with the savings instead of accumulating more debt for the city?
Darin Dalry
Blaine


The Editor:
I am writing as a citizen to express my concern about Whatcom County making a prudent decision about the size of the new county jail. While I recognize that we need a larger jail, I worry that building one larger than necessary could consume precious funds that could meet other needs. I also worry that if we have too big a jail, we could unnecessarily incarcerate more people. I call on county council to exercise more oversight on this process to make decisions in this area. We also need more transparency about the decisions being made.
Jerry Spatz
Bellingham


The Editor:
Follow the money! Congress should pass a law granting partners in licensed civil unions in any state the same rights and monetary exemptions and/or other privileges as are granted to men and women who obtain a marriage license in any state.
Thus we maintain separation of church and state, as does the dictionary, the animal kingdom and the Bible’s definition of marriage.
Margaret Guilford-Kardell
Blaine


The Editor:
The vote to support reconveyance of 8,844 acres of land on the east and west sides of Lake Whatcom shows a real concern for the preservation of water quality and the continued support of recreational uses of public lands.
For a relatively modest outlay of public funds in future years, this will make a huge impact in preserving the heritage of land use for the benefit of the majority. Not only does this benefit local residents, it provides a draw for people to visit, enjoy and contribute to our local economy.
We are blessed with a bountiful area. It is laudable that those entrusted in husbanding Whatcom County for current and future residents have realized the real value of these land parcels. They would like to protect them for use and benefit of the vast majority of people in the area.
Karl W. Berntsen
Bellingham

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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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