Letters to the editor, October 22- October 29

The Editor:

The need is great. The need is now. Are the communities of Birch Bay, Blaine and Custer up for a challenge? Blaine Food Bank (BFB) has an incredible opportunity. If BFB raises $25,000 by December 30, a local resident has generously promised to match community donations up to this amount. Whether you are a business, a family or an individual, please help us reach this goal.

Have you ever gone to sleep hungry, not by choice but because you had no food? Are you a parent who goes without to provide more for your children? Are you a child who goes to school without a breakfast? If so, please tell your friends exactly how important it is to receive milk, eggs and bread from the BFB. Encourage community giving by sharing what being able to rely on the BFB means to you and your family.

Please believe me. Blaine Food Bank needs financial help. Our agency is suffering the same economic setback as the rest of our country. Our lines are longer and government support has been cut in half. Point of fact: BFB now serves close to 100 more families a week than this time last year.

We average 400 families (over 1,500 individuals) in a week and distribute over 80,000 pounds of food every month.

Times are tough, yes. However, with help from our local businesses, churches, and community, BFB will continue to provide help to those residents who are most vulnerable.

So the challenge is issued: will Birch Bay, Blaine and Custer businesses, local churches, and current residents step up? Will you help Blaine Food Bank reach our goal of $25,000 by December 30? Starting October 31, BFB will display a thermometer showing our donors how we are progressing (from a low simmer to a full boil) as we try to reach our goal.

For more information, write me at P.O. Box 472 or call 332-6350.

Jerry Bladies, manager

Blaine Food Bank The Editor:

The Editor:

I am supporting newcomer Bobby Briscoe for Port of Bellingham commissioner. He works on the waters of our invaluable Salish Sea and is invested in the survival of the life within it. Also, Briscoe does not have the history of questionable leadership decisions that his opponent Ferndale mayor Gary Jensen has.

Jensen has been instrumental in pushing forward a number of campaigns for projects that I feel are overtly dangerous to the health and wellbeing of our county’s residents and our precious environment.

Among these are the Gateway Pacific coal terminal; the oversized jail proposal that does not adequately provide for a safe location and programs that would help keep incarceration levels down; the Ferndale water switch that was exercised in such a way that it compromised Ferndale’s water and water system quality; and the unreasonably expensive, oversized Ferndale police station.

Although Jensen tries to advocate “There is a balance between the protecting the environment and providing jobs that must be achieved,” he does not campaign for a transition from toxic fuels and rampant development to new sustainable jobs and controlled intelligent growth for our county that would improve quality of life while still supporting a vibrant economy. Instead, he repeats Tea Party rumors and rhetoric that there is a movement to de-industrialize the Cherry Point industrial area.

Many of us live within the blast zone of crude oil tankers now, and the threat of the nation’s largest uncovered coal storage and transportation facility is looming over our bays and harbors. Informed people who love it here will want to make sure businesses care for our health and survival as much as residents do.

Get the word out! Vote Briscoe for port, Sidhu and Donovan for county council. Accept proposition 9 for fair and equal voting districts and reject Tea Party-supported propositions 1, 2 and 3.

Dena Jensen

Birch Bay

The Editor:

Since 2011, Port of Bellingham candidate Gary Jensen (currently mayor of Ferndale) has extensively and publicly advocated support for the Gateway Pacific coal terminal project. There is no question about that.

Jensen has been using his political influence to assist the corporations involved in GPT in their attempt to foist a coal export terminal on our community and on the Lummi Nation, whose people are part of our community.

I don’t think Gary Jensen would be a good port commissioner, not only because of his actions on behalf of GPT applicants SSA Marine and BNSF, but also because, as a candidate for the port, he has not been candid. For me, that is equally as problematic as his very public advocacy of GPT, and his having allowed himself and the city of Ferndale to be used in advertising for GPT for years.

One example of Jensen having exhibited a lack of candor is evident in his 2015 Voters’ Pamphlet (primary election) candidate statement when he said, “I have never supported the burning of coal.”

That statement is simply not true, when Jensen, as a sitting mayor, has helped SSA Marine and BNSF try to sell the public on GPT which, if built, would handle, store and ship 48 million tons of toxic coal annually. The destination for that coal would be primarily Asia where it would be burned. His support of GPT supports the burning of coal.

Gary Jensen has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to serve the public because he has served private interests instead, and because he could not even be truthful in his voters pamphlet candidate statement.

I will be voting for Bobby Briscoe for port. He does not support GPT, and as a commercial fisherman, he cares about our important waterways.

Sandy Robson

Birch Bay

The Editor:

As an avid walker in Blaine, I never tire of the gorgeous scenery seen in every direction I turn. However, two things continually dismay me, particularly knowing that our community is hoping and trying to attract more pedestrians to our downtown.

My first concern is the number of drivers who do not pay attention to the crosswalks, particularly at the intersection of H and 3rd streets. I have watched drivers not stop at all, stop only after they have crossed over the crosswalk, and most recently, drive through it when pedestrians are only halfway through the crosswalk.

If drivers cannot adhere to traffic rules right in front of the police station, there is a definite problem. Perhaps blinking lights on the stop signs are needed to draw attention.

My second concern is the amount of dog waste I find myself dodging as I walk our sidewalks – neighborhoods and downtown alike. Nothing says we don’t respect our streets and pedestrians like dog doo that is ignored by owners. I applaud you, dog owners, for your due diligence in exercising your pets; however, please take your responsibility as a pet owner one step further and carry a waste bag or two in your pocket – and use it. It’s not the dog’s fault when and where they feel the need to go, but it is the fault of owners for “sharing” it with the rest of us.

The citizens of Blaine have continuously voiced the desire for more businesses and foot traffic downtown. Let’s try welcoming those potential visitors, not to mention respecting our own citizens, by taking care of our pedestrians and streets.

Christy Schroeder

Blaine

The Editor:

In all the debate this past year, I have heard northing that has swayed me from my first instinct that this new port would be a great opportunity for this county. Bellingham is steeped in coal history. Trains have been passing through regularly for many years. There are no wizened crops, lanes of blackness following rail lines, livestock with emphysema or any of the other doomsday predictions that ignore reality and truth. The fact that none of this has occurred with the great number of coal trains already passing through is magically dismissed.

For me, the Gateway Pacific Terminal is all about commerce and broadening our base for it in this region. This is a terrific all-round opportunity to grow and replace some of what has been lost in this past decade or so, an example of which would be Georgia Pacific. That industry was admittedly an eyesore at the waterfront downtown: this new terminal will be placed so as not to offend aesthetically and designed to be as efficient and non-polluting as technologically possible.

Of course the opposition phrases the debate as a fight against dirty old coal. I think much of the attitude must come from the government itself, as the current federal administration has shown itself to be against coal as an energy source. Much of the argument against is emotionally charged exaggerated silliness. Any testimony or fact and common sense is summarily and rather childishly dismissed. “You can’t tell me that! I won’t listen!”

People need to broaden their perspective. This will be a commodities shipping terminal, not just a “coal port.”

Jorja Starr-Bishop

Custer

The Editor:

A Republican mailer alerting voters of a “power grab” by outside interests neglects to mention funding they have received from outside Coal Terminal investors wanting to gain control of Whatcom County. Be well assured, from their actions, that the county Republican Party is definitely not interested in fair representation for all residents. Otherwise, the Charter Review Commission, many of whom were elected due to a secretive infusion of coal money, would not have quickly rammed through Proposition No. 1 with little discussion.

Charter Propositions No. 1, 2 and 3, effectively disenfranchises all voters in our county, including Bellingham, and goes against democratic principles. Proposition 1 dooms us to an even worse feudal commissioner system than that which voters rejected about 30 years ago.

This election is not just about agricultural representation. Those three propositions together disproportionately empower a dysfunctional minority over Whatcom County who intend to ram the coal terminal into the western part.

Proposition 9 sensibly creates equal districts that are geographically and proportionally fair, creating responsive representation for all of us, including the agricultural district. Retain your rights! Vote to reject 1, 2 and 3, and approve Proposition 9.

Don Starr

Blaine

The Editor:

Why are opponents of the new replacement jail in Whatcom County so threatened by a factual County Community Report mailer sent to voters?

Whatcom County needs a new safe jail now. The current jail with its failing systems and crumbling infrastructure is overcrowded, unsafe and a liability risk to Whatcom County and its taxpayers. County governments have a public obligation to build and maintain jails that are safe and secure, hold inmates accountable, and provide services necessary for inmates to reenter the community successfully. With years of jail planning, public input, purchase of property, and design work completed the County has never been more ready to accomplish the construction of a new jail, one of the largest responsibilities and important tasks a county faces to insure public safety.

According to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) guidelines, “one jurisdiction-wide objective and fair presentation of the facts per ballot measure is appropriate;” The (PDC) Guidelines for Local Government Agencies in Election Campaigns states that “it is not only the right, but the responsibility of local government to inform the general public of the operational and maintenance issues facing local agencies.”

The opponents of the new replacement jail have confused the issue with misinformation and outrage. Delaying the construction of a new replacement jail will simply cost the taxpayers of Whatcom County millions of dollars a year.

Be sure read the Whatcom County Community Report mailer regarding the jail; educate yourself with the facts and VOTE YES on Jail Prop. 2015 – 1.

Doralee Booth

Birch Bay

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