Letters to the editor, May 1 - 7, 2014

Published on Wed, Apr 30, 2014
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The Editor:
Bill Becht has a good idea; remove the stop sign. However, if city hall decides to keep the sign, some changes might help, eh? A new stop sign might have the words, “Stop,” plus “Arret” (stop in French) and “Gracias” (thanks in Spanish). 
The new and much bigger sign will also portray to the driver how welcome everyone is to Blaine. In fact, some drivers might even stop and pull over and take a photo of the “tri-lingual” stop sign, which would be a first for America. Then if it goes viral worldwide on the Internet more visitors might just turn into Blaine, instead of zooming on to Bellingham. Great idea, huh?
Jay James
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Forewarned is forearmed. Plans for Gateway Pacific Terminal (GPT) are progressing, while everyone waits for the Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to be made public sometime next year. The public will have a short window of time (about 45 days) to review the draft EIS to make sure your concerns will be studied in the final EIS. It remains vitally important for anyone who plans to continue to live and work in Whatcom County to spend some time making sure they are armed with the facts in order to have a voice in the future of Whatcom County before permitting decisions are made.
Many people remain under-informed or misinformed about the realities of GPT because they have not read (online) the official 312-page Project Application/Revised Project Information Document (PID) submitted by SSA Marine in March 2012. Periodically SSA sends out “Community Updates,” which continue to repeat misleading statements. 
For instance, they keep telling us that the coal will be covered, referring to the fact that the conveyors, which take the coal to the ships, are, indeed, covered. However, the official PID reveals on pages 85, 89 and 135 that GPT would have “five stockpiles of coal, each of which will be one-half mile long and 60 feet high, and will be uncovered while sitting in an 80-acre stockyard,” subject to wind and weather.
Over the last two years a small group of concerned Birch Bay residents (Save Birch Bay) has carefully studied the PID, resulting in a user-friendly document called “Facts and Impacts” of GPT. Important facts are highlighted in large print and include colorful diagrams and photos, referencing specific pages in the PID, revealing discrepancies and contradictions between SSA’s public statements and the PID. 
We encourage everyone to dig deeper and uncover all the facts by reading “Facts and Impacts,” available for review in libraries throughout Whatcom County.
Christine Westland
Birch Bay

The Editor:
The Blaine Family Service Center, which provides families within the Blaine School District with a variety of services, is in need of hygiene and household products such as toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, laundry detergent, dish detergent, paper towels, household cleaners and personal hygiene products. 
The center distributes these items as well as school supplies and gently used clothing, and provides resource referrals to outside agencies. These services are funded by donations only. 
Those who wish to make a donation of supplies may do so at the district office, 765 H Street, Monday through Friday. Monetary donations may also be dropped off, or mailed to Blaine S.D. Family Service Center; Attn: Jessie Burton; 765 H St Blaine, WA 98230. 
All donations are tax deductible. If you have any questions please call the Family Service Center at 332-0740.
Jesse Burton
Blaine School District

The Editor:
Thinking about what this little bit of heaven ought to be called, the following occurred to me:
1. Lose “Blaine”? Sure. Our town was to have been called “Concord” until some local Republicans got together and forced a change to the name of a corrupt GOP has-been, who was never here.
2. But “Blaine Harbor”? There’s no real harbor by that name, making Blaine Harbor seem contrived and boosterish. Try “Lynden Harbor” or “Sumas Bay” or “Port Acme.” It’s not descriptive, it’s just spin.
3. “But we are on the water,” you say. Well, why not name the town after the real harbor it’s on, Drayton Harbor? Like many towns in western Washington (Port Angeles, Port Townsend), there’s an actual physical feature that would lie behind our town’s name, which itself is then an appropriate description rather than a made-up fake.
4. Besides, like many locals, Drayton was a sailor and an artist, not a politician, and he never even heard of the GOP.
5. Or we could just expand the town borders to include the whole zip code, and call it all “Birch Bay.” Kathy Berg can be the first mayor.
Jack Kintner
Blaine

The Editor: 
My concern is the price of a gallon of gasoline in our area. Being that the refineries are in our area, we should pay less per gallon, considering the pollution they cause.
Harold Schneider
Blaine

The Editor:
This year the state senate, a body in which Doug Ericksen holds a leading position, blocked many important pieces of legislation that would have made things better in our community and state. To cite just a few examples:
• They blocked any action to close the more than 650 tax loopholes benefiting special interests in our tax code.
• They blocked movement on protecting our communities from the dangers of oil trains.
• They blocked important action on climate change, perhaps more urgent than any other issue.
• They stopped (for two years in a row!) the transportation funding package that it should be apparent we need when our bridges are falling down.
Doug Ericksen needs to answer for his and his coalition’s inaction on these and many other issues.
Karl Berntsen 
Bellingham

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