Letters to the Editor: October 30 – November 5, 2014

The Editor:

Forty years ago I chose Blaine as a place to start my practice. I chose it not because it had a catchy or cute name but because it was a great place to conduct a business and raise a family. Blaine is much more than just a harbor. Let’s keep it that way! Vote no on the name change.

Don Rathe
Blaine

 

The Editor:

The “We Are Blaine” committee has miscalculated the cost of adding the word Harbor to our city name in the voter pamphlet. If one does the math correctly, using their numbers, Blaine would have an annual budget of over $2.6 billion.

The actual general fund budget for 2013 was $5,349,499. Any cost for “Blaine Harbor” would come from the general fund. After brainstorming with the city manager and other city officials, we have determined the estimated cost to the city of adding Harbor to be about $8,000 to $10,000, which, at the high end, is .00187 (.187 percent) of the budget. The “We Are Blaine” group’s figure of $49,435 is in error. We hope Blaine citizens will take the correct estimate into consideration when they make their vote.

The real point to all of this is that while Harbor pays tribute to our town’s heritage, it is also about our future. We have been economically stagnant for too many years. It’s time to step up to the plate and be proactive for the good of the town. Let’s focus on the future and imagine how good we can be. Let’s not be afraid to tell the world about the beautiful place we call home. Please vote for Blaine Harbor on November 4

Clark Cotner, on behalf of Citizens for Blaine’s Future
Blaine

 

The Editor:

Let us remember the selling points for changing the name of the town of Blaine.

In the beginning it was being sold that a new name that featured the word harbor would attract some of those millions of travelers who pass through the border to stop in Blaine. When it was pointed out that these people traveling by Blaine have the agenda to shop at stores such as Costco, TJ Maxx, the mall, etc., and that Blaine has hardly anything to offer these folks, then we saw a shift in the argument.

Now the argument is about how a harbor town name would sound appealing to tourists and other travelers. For instance a small business owner recently explained in a letter to the editor, “Let’s say you are driving from Montana, you see a sign ‘Blaine Harbor.’” That traveler may decide to come to Blaine because in his opinion a seaside town would sound inviting to visit.

I have a better idea. Let’s herald those businesses that actually do bring the Canadian traffic into town.

Are you a business that is struggling to make it? Business owners in Blaine should define the market and then meet those needs. It’s one thing to hang a sign out saying you are a businessperson. It’s another thing to actually meet the needs of the targeted customer.

One such business is the new Edaleen Dairy store. Business owners should be thinking like the owners of that dairy. They saw the potential of the Canadian market. That store alone will do more for the downtown Blaine area by driving business to other eateries and business establishments than any name change possibly could. Instead of changing the name of the town, why not change your business model?

My view is those crowds of folks who are shopping in towns such as Bellingham and who are dressed nice, have nice cars and money in their pockets to spend are not very interested in standing on a pier looking at seagull droppings and smelling dead fish.

Roderick Pagnossin
Blaine

 

The Editor:

Over the last four years we have looked forward to October when we can have fun decorating our office and being part of the Blaine fall scarecrow exhibit, providing some joy with a fun display for the benefit of the community.

This year has been no exception; we had a lot of fun taking the time to create our handmade trick-or-treating Seahawks scarecrow minions. It is really frustrating that someone had the audacity to steal parts of our display.

Within the first two days of our display being out, two pumpkins went missing. October 15 we discovered our pumpkin-carving Seahawks minion was minion-napped/stolen. Then on October 20 we discovered a third pumpkin was taken over the weekend. On October 22 we discovered the fourth and final pumpkin that had been used as part of the knight’s costume (a sword was stuck in the pumpkin) was taken overnight.

We are terribly disappointed that someone has the insolence and impudence of stealing from our display that was set up to give some fall spirit to our community. We know that at least one if not all of the pumpkins were thrown off the H Street bridge onto I-5 and we will not see them again. Please, if you see a handmade Seahawks minion carving a pumpkin somewhere it is ours and we would like it returned.

Kari Hrutfiord and Laura Hedges
Blaine Healing Arts Massage Therapy

 

The Editor:

More good paying jobs may improve the wage gap. However, the low wages paid to service industry workers will not improve with more good-paying jobs. Thousands of people in Whatcom County will work part or all of their lives earning minimum wage. Some will have no choice; most are adults and many are sole providers for their families.

These jobs include waiters, cashiers, clerks, fast food workers, domestics and childcare workers, among many others. No matter how many good-paying jobs there are, low wage jobs will continue to exist. I do not remember a time when low unemployment has significantly driven up the pay for low-wage earners.

We live in a time of record corporate profits and an expansion of wealth in the upper economic levels. This has been going on for some time and yet the standard of living for the lower and middle classes has continued to fall. What is trickling down is not money. We have no evidence that any free-market forces will result in employers voluntarily raising the pay of their low-wage employees to a living wage. Without government involvement we would not have a 40-hour workweek, bans on children working in mines or compensation for workplace injuries.

Most opponents of raising the minimum wage find ways to avoid acknowledging that our economy depends upon a permanent workforce of full-time service industry workers. The dignity of work depends upon earning enough to live on. A living wage is the perfect answer to dependency on the government for food, housing and childcare support. Advocating for poverty-level wages as well as for cutting welfare to the working poor is obscene. I keep expecting to hear these people ask, “Are there no work houses?”

Jim Thomson
Birch Bay

 

The Editor:

In response to the letter from Christy Smith, I’m insulted by the question, “What have those against the name change done,” and the comment,“We are afraid of change.” I can say I’m not afraid of change. I am afraid of the wrong change. Change that’s made by people who think they know what’s best but aren’t willing to listen to the community.

As far as what we have done for Blaine, I’ll speak for myself. Since getting involved with the name change I have helped organize a successful and positive campaign; and attended city council, planning commission and economic development council meetings. I became a member of the parks board. I also worked with the community to raise $30,000 for a new playground, and joined the school bond committee.

I am a lifelong, active member of the community and our schools. That’s just me. There are countless people against the name change who are doing everything they can to make Blaine a better place. They are educators, city employees, city councilmembers, fishermen, small business owners, etc.

We need to offer incentives to new businesses, make it easier for start-ups and harder for landlords with empty storefronts. We need activities for families and children. I could go on and on with ideas, and I’m not just sitting back doing nothing. I’m standing up and fighting for what I believe in. I’m making my voice heard and the voices of those who already told you in 2000 they don’t want to change the name of their home.

When I said those in favor of the name change don’t have a plan I wasn’t referring to a plan for the city, I was referring to a plan for the name change. There is no cost estimate, timeline, or plan for how this would take place. “You don’t have to use the name if you don’t want to” isn’t a plan.

And one more point about your comment on the logo: we needed new signage at that point and we got it. So we don’t need to replace it now – it’s perfectly good.

Angie Dixon
Blaine

 

The Editor:

I’d like to know what is wrong with two names for a city. Many cities have two names – San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, St. Louis, St. Paul, Santa Fe, Sioux City, San Antonio – I could go on, but you get the picture. Oh yeah, let’s not forget Gig Harbor. What city would want to be called Gig?

Let’s add a little class to our name; Blaine Harbor does so without any intended disrespect.

On another recent topic, the very late arrivals of mail – if you have an unresolved problem with any local post office, maybe it’s time to contact the regional director in Seattle or the Postmaster General of the United States. Your Senators and representatives might also be a help.

Norma Lang
Blaine

 

The Editor:

Over the past 25 years Semiahmoo Resort has been bought and sold numerous times, with each new owner having great expectations for its future. They all do renovations, painting, install new carpeting, upgrade rooms, etc. and at the end of about five years decide to sell because nothing about the area’s economic climate or condition has changed enough to bring more sustainable business. Sustainable is the key word; the resort does fine in the summer, but the ownership history makes it clear that Blaine and the rest of Whatcom County can’t be counted on to support the inn through the fall and winter.

As the Semiahmoo Resort is a significant source of revenue for the city to help support all the services we enjoy, it is in the best interest of the city and its citizens that the resort succeed as a thriving and successful business, and therefore I would suggest considering anything that will help it (and all other businesses) succeed.

The city name of Blaine Harbor has a charming and positive image of the scenic assets that should help bring more people to town, and I fully support the name change to Blaine Harbor. Not only will it hurt absolutely nothing, but it might also help support the off-season slow business at the resort and also the other businesses in town.

Keep in mind that a town is either growing or it is stagnant and dying. In which kind of town would you wish to live? It won’t hurt a thing to vote for the name change to Blaine Harbor and it might help more than you expect.

Martin Conyac
Blaine

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