I am writing to express my concerns about the Blaine school board. I turned 80 on November 6 and have no direct interest whatsoever other than making things right for Birch Bay children and parents who have been ignored for many years in having their own schools in Birch Bay.
My friend, Patrick Alesse, told me he voted for the bond issue and stated in his letter to The Northern Light, “This issue would be an opportunity for our school district to make a future investment in property at Birch Bay.” Of course, this board ignored Patrick’s wish and continue to take no steps or make a commitment on behalf of Birch Bay children and parents.
It is a shame voters ignored the facts as stated by Doralee Booth and others in their January letters to the editor. In a subsequent conversation, Patrick made an excellent point to me that until we incorporate, Birch Bay has no real power or authority and must bow to the desires of this school board and Whatcom County Council.
My point is now is the time for Birch Bay to incorporate. In 2004 and 2005 I served on committees formed by the now inactive Birch Bay Steering Committee to study whether to incorporate or not. I prepared the financial report for Mike Kent to submit to the full steering committee, which got approved. Then we got funds from the county for Berk and Associates to do a feasibility study and they concluded at that time Birch Bay could incorporate. Times have changed but the need for schools and post office remain important.
The incorporation process is long and involved and there is a need for someone to lead us successfully through this process. I hope certain people, some I know personally of their capabilities, can do this task. They are Mike Kent, Brian Southwick, Doralee Booth, Pat Jerns and hopefully Jeffrey Carrington, president of our chamber, who my sources tell me would be an excellent candidate.
I will write more in December.
In our recent election, most candidates suggested we need jobs. No question about that – we have unemployment rates higher than the state average, coupled with the high cost of living here. A recent study said Whatcom County is one of the least affordable in the state for either renting or owning a home. We now have this great opportunity to bring in real jobs with the Gateway terminal. These kind of jobs support families, build the tax base and contribute to our wonderful local charities. Just like the three already at Cherry Point, Gateway will be a positive addition to the economic landscape here. The coal and other commodities passing through our community by rail will continue to do so, with or without this project, so why wouldn’t we want to capture the jobs and benefits a solid industry brings?
I hope the decision-makers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are not short-sighted as they choose whether to finish the environmental impact statement. This statement will be the basis for moving forward.
It makes no sense to arbitrarily stop because of objections from people who don’t like the idea of industry. The time to debate this is after the facts are in, not during the process of gathering information. Fairness dictates a comprehensive, not half-complete, review.
Many of us here are worried that the endless delays to this important Pacific terminal will signal that our state (and Whatcom County) doesn’t want any businesses here. We can be a thriving and progressive community, but we need the anchor of solid businesses with good jobs to make that happen.
I have lived in Whatcom County all my life. Despite what some people suggest, it’s is not easy to find a good-paying job here. It’s great to talk about recruiting giant software companies like Microsoft or Amazon, but we shouldn’t turn our noses up when a legitimate business like the Gateway terminal wants to come to town.
These aren’t pie-in-the-sky jobs, but real jobs that will pay for things like a new jail. Whatcom County decided to place the heavy industry companies like the refineries at Cherry Point, and has set aside a spot for one more industry. This one won’t disrupt fishing, because there will be no dredging.
Gateway will provide the kind of steady generations of jobs that have allowed families here to live comfortably. I don’t think anyone really wants to work at two low-paying jobs for the privilege of living here. Respect working people and move ahead with a company that wants to be here, instead of wishing for those that may never come.
Debra J. Scott