Letters to The Editor: January 27-February 2, 2022


(Editor’s note: This week’s issue is the last one in which The Northern Light will accept political letters for the February 8 special election. We will continue to publish political letters online.)

The Editor:

The vote for the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library is upon us. Ballots have been mailed and the deadline nears. Not only that, all the conversations seem to be the same right now and they are overwhelmingly in favor of building this community resource in Birch Bay. 

Well, okay, let’s be fair; there are still some voices out there that think it’s too expensive or that it’s a shame the lovely old Vogt house won’t be the actual library. We’ve heard these voices and answered every point. We have described the thorough community process that allowed us to decide what we wanted in that space – what would make sense both architecturally and culturally.

Overwhelmingly – to use that word again – the community said “yes.” We want to have a library we can walk to or ride to quickly; where we can find a place for our kids to get away from their screens for a while and see a play or have a librarian animatedly read them a story; where we can hold a business meeting; where someone who might need a little help downloading the Whatcom County Library System free audio book app can get it quickly; where just the thing you need is to sit and look out the window at our beautiful bay … maybe on a day when you need a little company.

You all know the measure needed another 26 votes to pass the last time. Those of us who have been working on this project believe the votes were there and just didn’t get placed. We figure all the people who voted the other way are the same people who will do so this time so our job is to make sure all the votes we know are there in favor – nearly 60 percent of all who voted, which is a super majority – just need to make sure they get that ballot in on time.

So please do it now if you haven’t already.  

Holly Witte


The Editor:

With the amount of publicity, paid and otherwise, in favor of Proposition 2022-2 in the February 8 special election (which proposes to raise our taxes to build a new library in Birch Bay by creating the Birch Bay Library Capital Facility Area), and the highly organized cheering campaign, many may have thought that there was no opposition to this proposed tax increase. They would be wrong.

I am not opposed to libraries. I just do not believe that this major expense is a priority especially when we look at the dwindling use of libraries and significant other factors affecting all of us now.

One of the most expensive parts of this proposal is to tear down the existing building that was originally planned to house this library and rebuild it bigger at great expense. The main reason given for this massive expense increase is that the existing building cannot handle the volume and weight of expected paper books. 

The most used functions of modern libraries are online. Research materials, magazines and e-books exist in hyperspace where the cost of set-up and maintenance are much lower. E-books have very little space or weight requirements. Paper books are probably useful for small children. Often, they are revered by book aficionados who can find plenty as close as the Blaine library. If this library provided online access and paper books for children, surely the existing building would suffice.

After two years of lockdowns, we have seen lost jobs that will never come back. Winter storms and flooding require expensive repairs to roads and other infrastructure. This is already putting a strain on the county finances. These are not normal times, and we don’t know what’s coming next. Even small tax increases can have a disastrous effect on people already struggling. This is not the time for any tax

I urge everyone who didn’t vote “no” last time because it seemed a foregone conclusion that this would pass to get out on February 8 and vote “no.”

Linda Cain


The Editor:

The first time I ever went into the book mobile, there were six bikes laying there on the grass, and I couldn’t get inside because six little boys were inside talking to the librarian. I wondered, “Why doesn’t Birch Bay have a library? Why don’t we have an identity beyond our front door?”

Why a library? Because it is neutral … it’s a place for everyone and everything. Community meetings, old people gathering, people of all ages doing crafts, kid camp activities out on the front lawn and on the tide flats, after school activities – you name it, it’s all about us – all ages, all interests. 

It’s inclusive; it says we belong to one another; it says Birch Bay is back in business. You want to increase the value of your property? Then increase the value of your community. That’s how it works. We are in this together. Together we are stronger.

That’s why we say, “It’s so much more than a library.” It is a legacy, a memorial, a testimony, a gift from one generation to another. A gift that says we believe in learning, we believe in knowledge and virtue and community, and we believe in one another. 

It’s hard to believe, that a community of over 10,000 doesn’t have a library, but the mothers, fathers and grandparents in Birch Bay aren’t going to stop until they get one, because we need one. We’re asking you to give back to your community a little something of all that Birch Bay has given to you.

That’s how America works. We pay our taxes, and then we give, to build the churches, the community centers, the parks and the libraries that say, “We believe in community; we believe in one another.” The generosity of each one of us can make this dream come true. Please vote “yes” for Proposition 2 on February 8. Then “they” built a new library, becomes “look at the new library we built.”

Yvonne Lindquist and Russ Rehm

Birch Bay

The Editor:

As a lifelong teacher, I wanted to offer a few compelling thoughts regarding the upcoming Birch Bay Library Proposition 2.

What a library can do:

• Free access to computers and the internet;

• Librarians to help people find information they need;

• Borrow books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers and music;

• Provide a quiet, warm, inviting gathering place for adults, teens and children;

• Programs and classes that are suitable for our community (think story time, computer basics, gaming);

• Job, employment and career assistance;

• And better access to databases on the internet that are not offered at home.

I could go on and on. Libraries build our communities into better communities. Please join me as I vote “yes” in support of the Birch Bay Library Proposition 2, before February 8.

Joan Hall


The Editor:

I agree with Mr. McLeod’s letter last week in The Northern Light. The construction cost of tearing down the historic Vogt home to build a library is not a wise use reason for levying the taxpayers for money.

We are going into a recession and money will be tight.

The Birch Bay area has transportation and other capital needs that should be addressed. These are costs for which developers are not assessed. And if we are really moving toward incorporation, shouldn’t we look at civic area, like up at the old U.S. Air Force property for the library and all future civic buildings?

White Rock, Bellingham and even Seattle do not have a library on pristine waterfront property. Their libraries are by city

Technology is constantly changing. Research can be done online. Books are read online. I asked a few college graduates about a library and they all quickly responded: “No one uses libraries anymore.” 

If libraries are waning in popularity by the upcoming generation, should we be investing in another library when there are already several in our county?

Mr. McLeod is also correct in stating that once this project reaches into our pockets, it will be never-ending. Note: the Blaine, Ferndale and Lynden libraries have all been rebuilt since I have lived here.

Money does not grow on trees. Even though our state allows special elections, this election will cost the taxpayers $100,000-$200,000.

Please vote “no.”

Cathy Cleveland

Birch Bay

The Editor:

I’m tired of listening to emotional appeals about approving the library, and probably so are you. Let me ask you one quick question: “Would you like to have an extra $12,000?” 

If your answer is “yes,” it might interest you to know that homes near a library have an average increased property value of $12,923. * Yes, you read that correctly: $12,923. Do what’s best for you. Vote “yes” for the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library.

*This figure is derived from the Fels Institute of Government and has been adjusted for increased property values in Birch Bay according to the U.S. Census.

Cayley Buckner

Birch Bay


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