Letters to the editor, April 9- April 15

The Editor:

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Ken Hull over at Kenny’s Materials on Lincoln Road here in Blaine.

Kenny loaded my driveway with some fill back in August 2013 that was substandard, which was no fault of his. I dropped by last week to see Kenny and explained my displeasure. He brought his truck and trailer to my house, dug up the faulty product, supplied new landscape fabric and replaced the product, all at no charge.

Now that is customer service! It’s acts like this that make our community such a wonderful place to live.

Paul Phillips

Blaine

The Editor:

Canada steps up to help again in the Middle East. The Royal Canadian Air Force accepts the Allies’ new assignment target: Syria to help defeat ISIS. Canada and the U.S.A. always work together to preserve our great democracies.

Jay James

Birch Bay

The Editor:

Re: $15 an hour. What that does is give all the greedy merchants, landlords, services, etc., the opportunity to raise prices accordingly, thus basically nullifying this $5 an hour raise. But it really hurts the seniors who are living on a fixed income and darn near at poverty level before the raise. It will just guarantee placing many of us on the poverty level for sure.

Besides, and this ought to raise a few hackles, the majority of people who work for minimum wage have no skills whatsoever and are really not qualified for such high wages. The people they work for have to train them to do the job. And truth be told, they all want the jobs and the money, but darn few really want the work.

Harold “Tom” Thomson

Blaine

The Editor:

A recent letter to the editor described a decline in customer service at the Blaine Post Office. There certainly is no excuse for surliness from USPS employees. However, the decline in delivery performance can be directly tied to the onerous conditions imposed upon the USPS by the Bush regime, which mandated the postal service pay for assumed pension benefits 75 years into the future.

Immediately the USPS went into the red and Republicans led by Californian Daryl Issa began to chant for solutions, beginning with reduced staffing and closures of small office. It has now progressed to the closure of regional sorting centers such as the one in Everett.

The failure of the Obama administration to correct this insane pension funding is inexplicable and inexcusable. Our Washington state representatives are at fault too. The Everett facility is in Rick Larsen’s district and its closure resulted in job losses and the reduction of service for Whatcom County. What did he do about it?

The reason for the Republican attack on the USPS is two-fold. The first is to weaken the postal unions; Republicans don’t care if the USPS is the largest employer of veterans, their rabid hatred of unions drives all policy. The second reason is their desire to privatize the USPS and give the business to UPS, FedEx and other private outfits. They don’t care that the postal service is constitutionally mandated – they hate the government and the USPS by extension.

Most people don’t realize that the USPS delivers a lot of UPS and FedEx ground shipments. Dumping these less profitable deliveries on the USPS at a time of severe staff reductions puts nigh insurmountable demands on postal employees. Again, there is no excuse for bad face-to-face encounters, but the public needs to understand what is being done to the USPS and who is doing it.

Anyone who cares about their postal service should contact their representatives and senators to demand the USPS be freed from the destructive pension obligations, its sorting facilities re-opened and high service standards restored. After all, it is our postal service. I know what I speak of – I hauled the mail in and out of Blaine for over 16 years and it has been sad to see what the Republicans have done to a great organization and a shame that the Democrats have turned their backs on the post office.

Mike Sennett

Bellingham

The Editor:

In spite of Democratic protests that we Republicans don’t care about higher education, it is we who work to make it affordable. The state Senate Republican budget reduces college tuition by 25 percent. That budget also has cost of living adjustments for teachers, and funds all the critical services including mental health developmental disabilities.

Senator Doug Erickson, 42nd district, opposes raising any taxes during this budget period. Both Democratic and Republican budgets add $1.3 billion to public education. However, the Senate Republican budget does not raise taxes. The House Democratic budget raises taxes by $1.5 billion. If the Democrats get their way, they will establish a statewide 5 percent capital gains tax for the first time in Washington state history – a tax I’m sure you know will not be taken off the books in your grandchildren’s lifetimes. They also want to raise your B&O tax 20 percent.

Mark Nelson

Bellingham

The Editor:

I’m all for the Gateway shipping terminal. Since the mid-1950s, the industries at Cherry Point have brought us good jobs supporting hundreds of families and protected our environment. Now, Gateway can join those industries, again bringing work for our people living here.

Other states like Wyoming rely on our ports to get their products to market. They would much rather use American facilities and keep jobs in this country than send them abroad. The same is true for Washington – we need port capacity to ship our products such as apples and
airplanes overseas.

The trains come through here all the time to older, outdated shipping terminals in Canada. Why would we want to give this work away to Canada when we have people right here in Washington who are willing and able to do it? If you truly care about the environment, then you would want the Gateway facility, because this terminal will be built with the newest, cleanest
technology.

I’m disappointed that the Lummi leaders won’t talk with the Gateway people. I hope they look out for the entire community, which supports their casino and other businesses, and find common ways to protect their future without blocking opportunities for working families.

Frank Smith

Bellingham

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