Letters to the Editor: January 22-28, 2015

The Editor:

It’s been said many times, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This is a truism that is relevant today in our community. The village is Birch Bay, Point Roberts, Semiahmoo, Point Whitehorn and downtown Blaine.

We have, for decades, prided ourselves on our spirit, tenacity and ability to debate, compromise and come together with others to support a worthy cause.

To me, this current worthy cause is to pass our upcoming bond election on February 10. This bond would enable us to upgrade our school district facilities and especially build a new high school over a three-year span.

It’s exciting to see the young people jumping on this cause, knowing that it is not to raise our present tax rate, but to “roll it over” from the present bonds that are completing their term. For those of us who are older, what better legacy could we leave for the future than to be active in our support of this cause and leave our school in a better place than we found it?

In 1964, the special “school assessment” passed by 80 percent. Then superintendent Irv Ricketts said, “Blaine will have one of the most modern and complete educational plants in the state!” That was for $10 million and it passed with 80 percent of the vote. Now that’s a statement of spirit, tenacity and good will. Let’s be part of the new history and help set the path for our “village” in the future. It’s now the time!

John Liebert
Blaine

The Editor:

Did you know Blaine school district owns 98 acres of land and 300,000 square feet of school facilities all located in Blaine? The school district owns zero acres of land and has zero square feet of facilities in Birch Bay, where 60 percent of the students live. The 38-acre campus in Blaine houses a primary school, an elementary school, a middle school and gymnasium, a high school and gymnasium and a technical school. The outside play areas include tennis courts, basketball courts, softball and baseball diamonds, practice football and soccer fields and a quarter-mile synthetic track and football field at the stadium.

The 60-acre Blaine schools Pipeline Athletic Complex offsite in Blaine consists of three soccer fields, four softball fields and two baseball fields. The school district owns zero school facilities, zero soccer fields, zero softball fields and zero baseball fields in the Birch Bay area. Birch Bay athletes must be transported back to the Blaine campus or Pipeline Field to practice after-school sports on teams and leagues.

The city of Blaine comprehensive plan states: “The central location of the Blaine campus minimizes the need for car and bus transportation within the city.” Not so for Birch Bay area students who are bused to the Blaine campus. How long will Birch Bay elementary students continue to spend hours on a school bus being transported from the southern periphery to the very northern periphery of the school district? This is detrimental to the development of young children, their families and community.

When considering siting of essential public facilities, the Birch Bay Comprehensive Plan states: “Equitable distribution of public facilities should occur so that no one jurisdiction assumes more than their fair share.” The 20-year $45M Blaine capital bond proposal offers nothing to address this inequity. Public schools are intimately linked with communities. That “community thing” created by neighborhood schools is a concrete civic asset that should not be undervalued. Birch Bay should not have to wait another 15 to 20 years for an educational facility in our community.

Corey Priddy
Blaine

The Editor:

I am writing with a story about a Grinch. The people involved in the giving tree this year were all about catching people who were cheating or stealing. If I was scammed I would have rather erred on the side of the children than destroy their Christmas. Bah-humbug! But not these people; they even bragged about what they were doing.

Last year I gave them a glowing report. They were completely loud and rude this year. Several families had no Christmas. I know they called me a liar and thief, and they wouldn’t give any gifts to the one child we were able to get proof for on such short notice.

They called my son and refused to tell him who they were or why they were calling. They also refused to tell him what charity they were from. When asked for a superior they hung up on him twice.

On Christmas morning our five children were extremely sad, crying that Santa didn’t leave them gifts. The kids that understood what happened were hurt, and learned yet again that no one cares about the poor. We are just dirt under their feet. How can anyone be so cold-hearted? I would rather give a gift in error than do what they did to my kids, and the others, whoever they may be.

I have worked hard for what I have and I donated to charities before I became disabled. I have never enjoyed asking for help, but when you hit rock bottom, you do what you’ve got to in order to squeak by. We don’t deserve being treated like dirt on their shoes; we should be treated decently.

Thanks to these people our children will go without. There are always a few bad apples; therefore we are all rotten because we are poor. These people are not trying to help the poor, they are on a mission to pick out all the rotten apples.

I for one will never donate to these people again, and I intend to tell everyone who will listen to me what they did to my kids.

Barbara Hamilton
Blaine

The Editor:

I am writing this letter to urge all of you to vote “Yes” on the upcoming Blaine school district bond proposal. There are a number of significant improvements to the school infrastructure that this bond will pay for, but the most important in our view will be to consolidate the high school into one facility with as few as three entrances as opposed to the current pod arrangement where there are 46 entrances.

We are all aware of the challenges to school security we face and this seems like a prudent and long overdue change we can make. In addition, among other improvements, the bond will pay for:

1. The addition of full-time kindergarten space.

2. A new cafeteria in the high school, which will allow high school and middle school lunch access to be independent and simultaneous, thus avoiding mixing of grade levels in classroom areas and hallways.

3. Expansion of the extremely crowded elementary cafeteria.

4. Technical upgrades throughout the district. The current technology infrastructure dates from the 1980s.

5. New grandstands. The current ones are antiquated and undersized.

A key consideration in this vote is that this $45 million bond proposal is a replacement bond. All current Blaine school bonds will expire in 2016. This replacement bond, which will have a big impact on the safety and quality of our school district, will not raise your tax bill. Thank you for your consideration.

Mike and Anne Abrams
Custer

The Editor:

My faith community believes in authentic development, which offers a direction for progress that respects human dignity and the limits of material growth. Humans are causing climate change, but the impacts are not felt equally across our planet; some nations and even areas of our state are experiencing more adverse effects than others.

Industry, the single biggest carbon emitter, pays little for pollution, but makes the biggest profit. This isn’t fair. Governor Inslee wants Washington to lead in lowering carbon emission, making polluters pay with a cap and trade plan. Over 100 industry polluters together would pay $1 billion per year, to be invested in education ($380M), transportation ($400M), tax rebates for low-income residents ($100M), as well as affordable housing, manufacturing and forestry.

A self-described “climate agnostic,” Doug Ericksen is courted by big oil lobbyists. Ericksen will try to stop the cap and trade bill. He cites the uncertain impacts for the economy. But a study completed in September by the state’s office of fiscal management shows there would be very little impact to the economy from the governor’s plan. More importantly, it’s too expensive not to do it.

We are the ones that will pay with ocean acidification, less water for agriculture from droughts, poor health and flood and fire damage (since 1990, fire damage costs have gone from $4.5M to $140M a year). Polluters should pay!

Nancy Orlowski
Bellingham

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