Soon we will have the opportunity to support Blaine school district in undertaking important and long overdue improvements to some of its facilities.
Blaine’s proposed capital projects replacement bond would add classroom space to the primary and high schools, update the high school and improve student safety by reducing the number of entrances from 46 to no more than three.
The need for these improvements is significant. With the recent exception of a new science building, relatively little has been done to Blaine High School since I was a student there over 30 years ago, when the student population was approximately half what it is now. It is overcrowded and outdated. While visiting the primary school earlier this year I noticed a computer lab had been set up in the hallway because there was insufficient classroom space for it.
We can and should do better than this. The bond will not increase our property taxes, but instead will replace existing debt that is about to come off the books. Blaine’s tax rate for school bond and levy debt is already the lowest among Whatcom County school districts – Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, Meridian, Nooksack and Mount Baker all have higher rates than we do.
Recent Blaine bond measures that have not passed have fallen short by just a few votes. Please don’t let that happen this time. It’s our responsibility to support our schools, and now is the right time to support Blaine school district. Please take the time to vote.
I stand with Lummi Nation in opposition to the Gateway Pacific Terminal. I am repeating myself, I know. When contemplating this letter I felt driven to write, I had the hardest time. What can I say that is new? What can I say that won’t be going over what so many others and I have said before?
But I know it is not so much about saying something new, or even different words. It is at times a painfully exhausting thought to have to repeat the message over and over and not have it understood. Saying these lands and waters are sacred – they are ours and they must be protected. We have to have water. We have to have food. We have to have spirit, education, and a way of life that tells us how to access and value these.
On January 5, the Lummi Nation said this once again to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They used some new words and asked for specific actions, yet the message is the same. As I am waiting to hear whether the Army Corps responds by honoring Lummi Nation’s treaty rights, I ask the question indigenous people have been repeating for so many decades: What about those promises?
So I realize the message does repeat; it becomes a chant, a drumbeat, a heartbeat. I stand with Lummi Nation in opposition to the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Sacred water and lands that are ours must be protected. No water, no food, equals no life.
With the Blaine school district’s capital bond project coming up in February, I want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on why this is such an important project for the Blaine, Birch Bay, Semiahmoo and Point Roberts communities. Three things come to my mind about why this proposal must pass: safety needs, outdated resources and no new taxes.
There are serious safety concerns in regards to the high school building. Currently almost 50 entry points lead into the building, which makes supervision and keeping unwanted guests out very difficult. With new construction there would be far fewer entry points. With the unfortunate incidents that have taken place at schools in our country, safety has to be a number-one priority.
Much of the high school was built over 40 years ago, and if you have ever walked in the facility you would notice that it is in serious need of an upgrade. The district has put together a very informative video located on their website (blainesd.org) about the needs of the high school. Please take a minute to watch the video.
I took a tour in the recently remodeled science building and was very impressed with the design of the building, and how they were able to take an outdated science lab and transform it into five state-of-the-art classrooms, each with its own lab.
Lastly, I want to communicate that this capital bond project will not raise our taxes, because the existing bond will be expiring. This is a perfect time for the district to run a bond and take care of the many needs of our community’s school and children.
I have lived in Blaine for 80 years and graduated back in 1952. I am a Borderite through and through and am very proud of what the school district has provided my family and me, and how they have prepared our children to be successful adults. I have seen how proud our citizens are of their school and community. Let us all continue to show how proud a community we are, and take care of our future. Please vote yes for kids in February.
I wish to add some additional remembrances for Bruce Wolf. Bruce was a good friend, companion, compatriot and community jewel. Bruce and I sat on the city council right next to each other for a few years – he and I, along with Charlie Hawkins, tried our best to do what was right for Blaine.
Bruce had no other thing in mind than to do the right thing for others, whether it was for family, the citizens of Blaine or the improvement of community. We need mentors like Bruce – his loss is tragic and tremendous.
I don’t know the lady who was driving the car that night. I’m sure that to her dying day she’ll feel rotten and awful. Bruce would be the first to forgive her – I certainly do – I know she meant no harm to any living creature; she was a victim to circumstance.
For Bruce, his exuberance for life, the steadfast pursuance of living with and helping others and his total friendship will be missed.
Our family is concerned with the rising levels of carbon pollution and the negative effects this has on our lives. We are grateful to Governor Inslee for proposing a cap and trade program to make polluters pay for carbon emissions, which will achieve the goals already agreed to in 2008.
Floods, fires, landslides and ocean acidification are all affecting our health and our budgets. Asking those who pollute to pay for their pollution would increase the revenues the state government badly needs as well as stimulating green job growth. I like this. The estimate is $1 billion in increased revenue, which can be used for education and transportation priorities.
I remember as a kid when we all threw our trash out the window of the car and thought nothing of it. Our common consciousness grew and we changed social expectations of what is right and good. We can do this again and stop throwing our pollution into the air with nary a thought to the damage we are doing.
Governor Inslee’s 2015 climate legislation will help Washington to continue our transition to energy independence, reduce carbon pollution and meet established greenhouse gas limits.
In 2008 Washington established goals to limit carbon emissions and these goals have not been met. Carbon pollution in our state has impacts on the economy and health of our citizens. There has been an increase in forest fires, flooding and even asthma.
Governor Inslee proposes a cap and trade program that would set limits on greenhouse gases from the top 130 polluting facilities. These facilities would have to pay for permits.
The funds generated could be focused on priority areas including education, transportation and affordable housing. I support this legislation because it is not only an opportunity for us to improve air quality, but also to improve the quality of life of all our citizens.