Letters to The Editor: October 6-12, 2022


The Editor:

‘Make America Great Again;’ a political slogan that one would not suspect would invoke such vitriol as was apparent in Mr. Ganz’s recent letter to the editor. 

Myself, I identify with the implied message, and the associated political movement. Many of my family and friends, who know me well, do not share my political persuasions; however, to the best of my knowledge, they do not view me in the fashion that Mr. Ganz depicts, nor do I them. Hoping here that your readers, and eventually Mr. Ganz, do not harbor such contempt for what is a significant portion of our population holding alternative views.

Pete Werner


The Editor:

Whatcom County, like much of the nation, lacks sufficient quality childcare and educational opportunities for children from birth to age 5. 

The Healthy Children’s Fund, Proposition 5, is a property tax levy on the November ballot. Proposition 5 has not been adequately explained to voters. Who allocates the tax funds? Will funds go to for-profit entities? Only nonprofit? Will religious-based childcare organizations receive funds? Who provides oversight? What are the plans to assess quality? Who assesses quality? How often will assessments be given to the public?

There is broad public support for early childhood education and childcare programs, but to what extent is this a public or private responsibility?

One rationale for Proposition 5 is that it would enable parents to more easily and confidently participate in the labor force. The childcare crisis is weighing on labor force participation, particularly among mothers. When it comes to paying into a functional childcare system, businesses are freeloaders. One option is lawmakers should consider a small employer childcare payroll tax that is not passed on to employees. 

Businesses pay property taxes at the state and local level, but businesses do not contribute a cent of dedicated funding to childcare. Or, short of levying an additional tax on businesses, why not permanently allocate a portion of business property taxes to childcare? 

Early childcare programs serve academic and socio-emotional ends, too. No business is free from needing high-quality childcare systems, both now and in the future. 

A payroll tax as an option for funding childcare has the inherent advantage of strong fiscal sustainability since this type of funding has access to a consistent and reliable source of income.

I acknowledge the need for quality childcare, but I will be voting “no” on Proposition 5. I suggest the promoters of this scheme go back to their drawing boards.

Delores Davies


The Editor:

The KGMI candidate debate on September 27 made clear to me that Sharon Shewmake is by far the best person to serve the 42nd Legislative District in the Washington state senate.

I found Sharon’s performance in the debate straightforward, knowledgeable and courteous. 

For example, I was impressed by her clear explanation of the factors driving inflation in Washington state and which of those can be effectively addressed by the Washington state senate. This indicates to me that Sharon has the analytical capability to grasp complex issues and the political experience to focus on what can be realistically achieved by the organization in which she serves.

In contrast, I found Simon Sefzik’s debate performance to be light in content and arrogant in tone. He talked in generalities about his own ideas and used most of his time during the debate to attack Sharon’s record in the Washington state legislature. Throughout the debate, Simon’s consistent reference to Sharon as “Sharon Shewmake” instead of speaking to her directly by saying “you” or “your” sounded petty and condescending. It made it apparent to me that Simon does not have the temperament of a team player; whether that team is as simple as two people presenting a debate on KGMI, or the many teams that he would be called on to serve on as a state senator.

We need a senator in Olympia who has a clear, in-depth understanding of issues facing Whatcom County and the ability to work effectively with constituents here in Whatcom County and colleagues in Olympia to move us all ahead.

The Northern Light readers, please vote for Sharon Shewmake for Washington state

Myra Harmer


The Editor:

Our conversations related to childcare and early education suffer from a lack of imagination. What we’ve been doing since women entered the labor force in great numbers in the 1960s is not working.

We devalue our children’s needs by insinuating their daily care collides with market work outside of the home.

Pew Research found that 79 percent of Americans reject that women should return to what has been viewed as their traditional role. Yet when asked what is best for young children, only 16 percent of adults said having a mother who works full time is “the ideal situation.” Among full-time working moms, only 22 percent said that a full-time working mom is ideal.

Pew Research also found that among millennials, a majority of men would be willing to be stay-at-home dads if the societal stigma associated with that choice was mitigated.

I had a conversation about childcare needs with Lady Bird Johnson in the mid-1980s. She said a paradigm shift was warranted – why weren’t parents challenging assumptions that their opportunities would suffer if they interrupted participation in the workforce at least until their child started school?

Lady Bird said we needed to design workplace systems that fully engage families in their children’s care. While admitting it would take time to accomplish, she maintained it was possible to create such conditions. If we indisputably value the well-being of our children, our culture wouldn’t consider time out for caregiving as a black hole on a résumé or a detriment to the economy. 

By failing to honestly address our social weaknesses, our country accumulates more of them. Our nation’s children are our greatest asset – our precious treasure. We must ensure that as working parents juggle their many responsibilities, we support them with workplace policies that let them stay home, or at least work part-time, in their child’s formative years with no harm to their future success in the workforce. 

That concept is absent in the Proposition 5 conversation.

Micki Jackson



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here