Letters to the editor: October 24 - 30, 2013

Published on Wed, Oct 23, 2013
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The Editor:
I have been residing and working in Blaine for over a decade.
Over the past few years I have attended many Blaine council meetings and have been impressed by the commitment and demeanour of councilmember Charlie Hawkins.
As a local business owner and resident, it is my opinion that Charlie Hawkins has been an asset to the city of Blaine.
I support his re-election and hope that others in our community join me in supporting him.
Leonard D.M. Saunders

The Editor:
Have your readers seen the gym in Birch Bay that Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 (NWPRD2) uses for so many of its indoor programs? It’s in the Bay Horizon County Park just off Alderson Road, not far from the C Shop. What a great facility for a small area like Blaine and Birch Bay to have available for its citizens! I have been going to Zumba there for a couple of years and I see the posters and announcements for all the other activities – it’s amazing! Basketball, pickleball, line dancing, tai chi, kids’ programs and art classes! And then there are the outdoor activities: a playground, trails, ball fields and sports programs for a variety of ages.
NWPRD2, which has the same boundaries as the Blaine school district, has worked with a variety of other groups on community projects: Blaine Senior Center – exercise equipment; Drayton Harbor Maritime – sailing school; Blaine Boys & Girls Club – “Teach Me To Golf” program; Blaine Youth Baseball – program support; Grateful Dogs Unleashed – support for the dog park and Blaine Primary School – drama program.
There is a levy coming up soon. If it fails, NWPRD2 will cease to exist. To keep it going will cost a homeowner with a $200,000 house $20 per year for four years. The levy needs a supermajority of 60 percent yes votes. Take a look at what $20 a year pays for – what a deal for the health and wellbeing of folks in the Blaine-Birch Bay area. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Corey Priddy

The Editor:
I’m voting for Harry Robinson for Blaine City Council in this election. He has shown to me that he is a strong supporter of the integrity of our neighborhoods and of the quality of life that we enjoy as residents of Blaine. Won’t you please join me as I vote for Harry Robinson for Blaine City Council?
Tom Burton

The Editor:
I sat with John Liebert on Blaine City Council for most of those years he said he served Blaine. He claims to be a big supporter of small business and economic growth, but he almost single-handedly brought about the demise of Blaine’s biggest chance of bringing in businesses, namely our airport.
He led the effort to turn down approximately 15 million federal dollars to our economy, which would have moved the airport south and turned it into a very business friendly B-1 category facility. We are now left with an empty field of weeds.
I was mayor for most of those years and found him often disruptive and overbearing, which led to council infighting. This is not the kind of council that, in my opinion, best serves Blaine.
This is in contrast to his opponent, Harry Robinson, who is presently serving as council mayor. Harry is an excellent mayor. His background consists of many years on the planning commission and he understands how city government functions best. He does his homework and generally the council has governed with consensus.
Mike Myers

The Editor:
The Circle of Trees Homestead does not see the discussion of the coal storage and shipping area as politics per se, but rather a matter of good math, good sense and good environmental practices.
Aside from the people hired short term to build the terminal, the advertised number of jobs to run the terminal is approximately 100, and as you will soon see, it doesn’t matter if there are more than 100 jobs. First of all, if this business is like any other, over time it will move more and more to automation, which will necessitate less and less jobs.
Second, let’s do the math. Assuming there are approximately 100 full time jobs, and there are 205,262 people in Whatcom County as of 2012; that’s one job for every 2,052.62 people. Of those 205,262 people, 4,831 people live in Blaine. That means that out of the approximately 100 full time jobs, less than 2.5 jobs, speaking mathematically, will go to residents of Blaine. Oh, and by the way, anyone in the United States or any other country on the planet earth can apply for these jobs, and that makes the percentage of potential jobs coming to Blaine very small indeed.
Now for the environment: I see the Let's Get Moving signs for jobs all over the Blaine area. So my question is, if someone would buy your house at its market value and sell you a “better house” right next to and downwind of the coal terminal for half the money, would you go for the deal? Need I say more?
Anyone up for moving next to Hanford? I understand you can get some real bargains there too. This coal terminal is a long-term loser for Whatcom County’s environment and your grandchildren. Please don’t sell us all out for a few jobs that may never come your way.
Cathy Taggett

The Editor:
When I think of what it means to be a true downhome Blaine man, John Liebert comes to mind. John is running for Blaine City Council and would be the best fit for the job. Because of his Blaine roots I feel he would have the best interests in mind when it comes to bringing businesses to our town, listening to our current business owners needs and giving honest and open communication to the council.
Our town is stagnant, there are empty storefronts and the businesses that are open are more than likely hanging on by a thread. Why is that, you ask? We currently have a city council that talks about rejuvenating Blaine, but does not put it into action. The statement “not in my backyard” comes to mind, and with this mindset nothing will get done. Why would we not want growth? It can be done and with John, he sees the need, educates himself and visits with business owners to find out what their vision is for our town.
If you want to see some changes in Blaine, vote John Liebert on November 5. 
He is a true Borderite!
Jennifer Wheeler

The Editor:
I am writing to put my full support behind voting yes on the ballot for NWPRD2 funding.
I am a director/choreographer who lives in Los Angeles and owns a home in Blaine. I worked with Michael Jackson and Madonna for many years as well as creating work for Cirque Du Soleil, Broadway, opera and many music videos and commercials.
I have been physically active all of my adult life and believe that exercise creates a healthy body as well as a healthy mind and spirit. The incredible classes that are offered at NWPRD2 are an opportunity to keep oneself in shape at almost no cost.
Classes in Los Angeles are sometime 10 times the price.
Taking advantage of the various physical classes at NWPRD2 can do so much for your life: A fit and healthy body means less trips to the doctor, and because of the flow of endorphins in the body during and after exercise, a more stress-free life. And it’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
When I am in Blaine, I take the Zumba classes. I have watched them grow from about 20 students a year ago to more than 70 last summer. And all ages were in attendance.
Blaine needs the NWPRD2 activity center. I encourage everyone to get out and vote to keep it funded for the sake of the community and for your own personal welfare.
Vincent Paterson
Los Angeles

The Editor:
Simply stated, SSA Marine and the other multinational corporations behind the deceptive Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) advertisements are guilty of ‘facts evasion.’ The latest GPT ad avoids mentioning coal (used only once) as though the word itself were as toxic as the real coal dust, diesel and noise pollution that the proposed GPT would actually spread over our community. And the newest ad’s distorted drawing of the proposed GPT site makes the 2.5 miles of six-story-high coal stockpiles look vaguely like a parking lot while totally omitting the word coal.
Disingenuously, the ad says the proposed GPT would “meet a requirement that no odors, dust or dirt shall be emitted that are detectable beyond the property line … to cause a public nuisance.” SSA Marine knows it’s impossible to prevent coal dust from escaping from enormous uncovered open-air coal stockpiles. Photos and weather records show that a gust of wind as low as 28 mph can blow mountainous black clouds of coal dust off uncovered coal stockpiles. It is not uncommon for Cherry Point to have wind gusts of 28 mph and much higher. The only way to prevent coal stockpiles from emitting coal dust would be to put all the coal in a contained building, but this is impossible because coal is prone to spontaneous combustion and readily explodes when contained. (For the same reason, coal is not shipped in covered or “container” rail cars.) It is certain that the proposed GPT would emit coal dust. GPT likely would emit three million pounds of coal dust every year and it would pollute our air and water, harm our health and devalue our property.
Public records show that SSA Marine has no regard for Whatcom County rules and regulations and is unworthy of our trust. Less than two years ago SSA Marine flagrantly ignored every requirement and regulation pertaining to this very same site at Cherry Point and bulldozed through nine pristine acres of protected wetlands and sacred burying grounds of the Lummi people.
Reading the newest GPT fact-evading ad brings to mind Ronald Reagan’s famous quote, “There they go again.”
Michael Crum
Birch Bay

The Editor:
NWPRD2 – vote yes! Supporting your local park is a testament of supporting a healthy and active community. Our wonderful community is enriched by the multitude of physical activity opportunities and venues made possible over the years by the NWPRD2 (vote yes) commissioners and staff.
One has simply to go to their website, nwparkandrec.org for yourself to see how NWPRD2 (vote yes) “… makes this place a great place to live and play.” As a parent, a PE teacher, a coach, a volunteer, a community member and one who loves to “live and play,” the NWPRD2 (vote yes) has my vote for the future of my family and the community we live in. NWPRD2 … please vote “Yes”
Dan Persse
Birch Bay

The Editor:
National Friends of the Library Week is October 20–26, and we at the Blaine Library want to especially recognize the tremendous support we receive from the Friends of the Blaine Library. This group continues to demonstrate unwavering dedication in promoting the Blaine Library in the community, as well as advocating for the importance of public libraries in general. Their fundraising efforts through book sales can been painstaking, but proceeds from the hundreds and thousands of books sold, most at a dollar or less, have added up to admirable sums over the years. 
These funds have provided for things that are not available otherwise through the regular library budget. Examples of these beneficial additions include summer reading club resources, a children’s early learning area, updated seating in the teen area, a reconfigured public internet section, new circulation desk and cabinetry, digital signage and a storage shed.
The friends are always happy to welcome new members, and levels of commitment can range from a couple hours a year volunteering at a book sale, to serving as an officer on the board of directors. Please consider showing your support by joining this group that helps keep your Blaine Library the thriving and vital center of the community that it is!
Debby Farmer

The Editor:
Whatcom County Council candidate Michelle Luke is a Whatcom County resident of 40 years, a small business owner and a grandmother. Michelle works to bring real solutions to our real problems as we do in small businesses and our family life.
As chairperson of the Whatcom County Planning Commission, Michelle has a record of advocating for the infrastructure that will retain jobs in Whatcom County and will work as a council member to stop the embarrassment of outsourcing middle class jobs to other states. Michelle has worked to make government less complex, and more importantly, she never forgets that elected officials are spending our money and will be a good steward of our tax dollars.
Michelle Luke’s love for our county is too great to let it fall. If you also believe that our county government must uphold the priorities of our hardworking families, then please join me in voting for Michelle Luke for county council.
Bonnie Wiesen

The Editor:
I have been a friend of Bill Knutzen for many years. I appreciate voting for a candidate with a business perspective – someone who understands budgets and how to contain operating costs.
Bill is a council member who understands that government doesn’t create jobs, people do. He is not a career politician, but has real world knowledge and tells it like it is.
He is reasonable, smart and principled. He has the backbone to stand up to outside interests and put Whatcom first. Bill is supported locally and he understands Whatcom County.
Join me in voting for a remarkable fellow citizen who will put Whatcom County first. I’m voting for Bill Knutzen for county council.
Bob VanWeerdhuizen

The Editor:
My vote is for Dan Robbins for port commissioner.
I have known Dan for 50 years, since he gave me my first job at Yeagers. A lifetime Bellingham resident, Dan has started seven successful businesses and created many good-paying private sector jobs. In addition to a busy business and family life, Dan has also made time throughout his career for active involvement in Bellingham Central Lions’ Club and the Assistance League of Bellingham. Since retirement, Dan has also been an active member of SCORE, a group of retired businessmen helping entrepreneurs start new enterprises.
Compare Dan Robbins’ online resume with his challenger, Renata, who has lived in Bellingham only four years and has created no private sector jobs. I want a port commissioner who has proven both dedication and contribution to the vitality of Bellingham and Whatcom County. Experience counts.
Steve Brewster

The Editor:
Members of Whatcom County Council who are seeking re-election should be talking about their accomplishments rather than brandishing their party affiliation in what is supposed to be a nonpartisan race. Of course, council member Kathy Kershner would have to acknowledge her failure to fulfill her oath of office, which requires that she uphold the laws of Washington state. Instead, she chooses to defy our state’s Growth Management Act and votes to spend our tax dollars on high-priced Seattle attorneys in a losing effort to support her delusion (and that of other council members) that Whatcom County’s planning and development regulations are exempt from compliance with this state law. 
Kershner could be bragging about how she voted for the creation of the 8,800-acre Lake Whatcom Watershed Park, but most likely she is hoping those affiliated with her party forget she did that. I think Kershner’s got things turned around. She should be embarrassed about ignoring her oath and defying state law and proud of her successful support of the conversion of forestland into the new watershed park.
Virginia Watson

The Editor:
We have lived in Whatcom County for almost 50 years and have taken part in planning the future of this county for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We want our great grandchildren to be proud of where they grow up. The people we choose to represent us in Whatcom County are actually more important than who we elect in federal elections. That is why we urge citizens to vote for Ken Mann, Carl Weimer, Barry Buchanan and Rud Browne to help preserve our county lifestyles. Ken and Carl have worked very hard to represent Whatcom County. We respect their hard work and honesty.
Bill Knutzen and Kathy Kershner have voted several times to spend our tax money to fight the state’s Growth Management Act. More than $150,000 of our hard earned money to let developers expand growth areas into farmland, etc. Who are they thinking about? Not their children and grandchildren, that’s for sure. They apparently think it is more important to please the Tea Party than preserve agriculture lands and water supplies for the future.
Money has been flowing indirectly from SSA Marine via the Republican Party to help get them elected. We see a problem here.
It is almost time to pay our property taxes again. We don’t want that money wasted again by Knutzen and Kershner.
Please vote for the future and not the past.
Mac and Donna Macomber

The Editor:
While perusing the voters’ pamphlet I noticed that Ken Mann lists two endorsements: Conservation Voters plus the local Democratic Party. Those would be the Seattle-based environmental group that is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars telling everyone that Mann has pledged to an anti-jobs agenda; and the group that passed a resolution that would destroy the companies and the family wage jobs now operating at Cherry Point – their resolution says no new use of land or water at Cherry Point. That means that if one of those companies had to replace a dock, they would not be allowed to do so.
Karen Brown

The Editor:
When slick “Vote No on 522” flyers hit my mailbox, I got curious and looked for more information. I found the flyers were intentionally confusing the very important issue of GMO labeling. Some truths:
• At least 64 countries, including the EU, Japan, India and even Russia and China require GMO labeling, and some have even stronger restrictions.
• I-522 needn’t cause higher prices. It doesn’t require anyone to change crops, ingredients or purchases. It simply requires labels. Manufacturers already change their packaging regularly, and would have 18 months to conform. (And the EU reports that labeling in Europe has not caused higher prices.)
• I-522 is not badly written. Rather, it is written so carefully to withstand court challenges that it scares the hell out of the Monsanto cabal.
• Hundreds of real Washington farmers are endorsing I-522.
• I-522’s exceptions simply conform to existing food labeling practices and common sense. Delivered pizzas aren’t labeled now, and wouldn’t require GMO labels under I-522.
Monsanto and junk food makers are spending a record $17 million trying to distract and confuse voters with misleading charges. They hope we’re too stupid or lazy to look for the truth.
I-522 is not about banning GMOs, or controlling their use in any way. It is simply about the right of mothers and other consumers to know what our children and we are eating. What do 64 other countries know that Monsanto and friends don’t want us to know?
Ken Kaliher

The Editor:
Overwhelming evidence in Whatcom County demonstrates that the biggest concern people have is family wage jobs and the economy.
The four men on the Democrat slate who are running for county council claim to be job creators. They want you to think that they support job creation in Whatcom County when in fact their actual record is a different story.
For example, Weimer’s enterprises are mostly the result of grants funded by us, the taxpayers. The industries that these Democrat candidates choose to support are very narrow in scope and generally limited to green jobs and minimal pay/service positions.
Additionally, the Democrats recently adopted a strongly worded job killing resolution opposing any further development at Cherry Point.
This is why I support Kershner, Elenbaas, Luke and Knutzen for county council. They are all business owners and more importantly they support jobs in all sectors, not just select industries that line up with their politically correct agendas.
Melodie Kirk
Ed. Note: Whatcom County Council are non-partisan positions, meaning that candidates do not declare political affiliations.)

The Editor:
Rud Browne knows how to create jobs. Others talk about it; Rud has done it.
Rud understands that we need both jobs and a healthy environment. Others think it is an either/or. Rud knows from experience that a vibrant economy and a thriving environment depend on one another.
If you want reason, fairness and common sense on the county council, rather than the voice of the Tea Party, vote for Rud Browne.
Rand Jack

The Editor:
The amount of outside money being raised by council candidate Rud Browne is to the point of being obscene. His campaign money is pouring in from places like Vermont, DC, Alaska, Ohio and Utah. He has shattered all previous fundraising records for a local campaign and shows no sign of letting up.
Will we let outside money tip the balance to the extreme for Whatcom County? A vote for Bill Knutzen is a vote well placed since he will always put the best interests of Whatcom first. As the current county councilman he has always represented local voters and not a political agenda.
Bill is local and trustworthy. Virtually all his campaign contributions have come from the good citizens who live, work and play in Whatcom County. Join me in voting for a better future for Whatcom County. Bill Knutzen is my choice.
Chrisdena Rathjen

The Editor:
Michelle Luke understands that our local businesses need to be the highlight of Whatcom County, not devoured by government taxes and regulations.
That is why I support the election of Michelle Luke for county council. 
As chairwoman of Whatcom County Planning Commission, Michelle worked hard to read between the lines and produce plain language plans that are actionable and would improve our county. She stands in the gap and insists that future projects be efficient and beneficial to protect taxpayer dollars from bureaucratic cash dumps. 
Join me by voting for Michelle Luke for county council and let’s get Whatcom County working. 
Abigail Ungersma

The Editor:

"The times, they are a-changin," someone once said, and that idiom is always true. 

This is especially true for city government's business as it effects al those within the boundaries of that city.

I'm supporting Charlie Hawkins for re-election to the Blaine City Council, because I feel he has the ears to hear, as proposals are brought, what sounds good for the interests of Blaine, but also the heart to consider fairly the overall effect on the people within those boundaries, and act forthrightly for both the present and the future of Blaine.

He's not afraid to speak up on issues, whether hot button or the more mundane; be it the railroad coal train impacts or the diversion of hookup fees from developers to the general population, as an enticement to build more housing units. 

Vote to re-elect Charlie Hawkins to Blaine City Council. He's your watchdog. 

Michael W. Smith 


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