I am a full-time resident of the Semiahmoo community in Blaine, Washington. Like most cities, Blaine struggles to fund all the services local residents want. Transportation projects have been particularly difficult since state and federal funding has dried up.
That’s why I was pleased to see the Blaine City Council form a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) and plan to ask voters to fund it with a modest sales tax increase of .2 percent. Semiahmoo has walking paths and trails that Blaine maintains, which would benefit from a TBD.
A sales tax is a fair way to collect revenue for streets and trails because it includes everyone who uses these services – not just taxing local property owners. This would raise $200,000 a year for street maintenance and improvements as well as provide matching funds for competitive grant applications.
This winter has been a great example of why road maintenance is so important. A TBD funded by a small sales tax increase will ensure our streets will be safe in good weather or bad.
“You’re Fired” – These are the words that state senator Doug Ericksen needs to hear now that he has accepted a full-time job working in Washington, D.C. as part of Trump’s newest reality TV show. Since starting his new gig with the Trump transition team, Ericksen has missed 75 percent of the meetings and hearings in the state senate, but has cashed 100 percent of his paychecks, funded by state taxpayers to the tune of more than $45,000 per year.
Senator Ericksen chairs the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee but is not present to run the meetings. On Tuesday, January 24, the senate held a hearing for a bill sponsored by Ericksen (and no one else), but Ericksen missed the meeting because he was in the other Washington. Fifty-one people spoke in opposition to the bill, exceeding the capacity of the room – too bad Ericksen wasn’t there to hear the people of his
How long can we allow this to go on? The ethical thing for Ericksen to do is to resign his state senate seat now. But ethics don’t appear to be high on his radar. Instead of resigning, Ericksen is doubling down on his double duty, and has said that he does not intend to resign his state senate seat, but will rack up frequent flier miles going back and forth between the two Washingtons. Based on his poor attendance record in state government activities, it doesn’t appear he is racking up too many miles yet. At his current pace, he won’t even have enough frequent flier miles to fly from Seattle to Spokane when all of this is over.
So, in the words of a famous so-called celebrity, the people of Washington state and the 42nd district say to Mr. Ericksen, “You’re Fired!”
With gratitude and hope for keeping our elected (and paid) representatives
I would like to remind county residents, especially those in the 42nd legislative district, that in addition to paying the absentee senator Ericksen’s salary, taxpayers are still on the hook for the security expenses for the Lynden Trump rally that senator Ericksen facilitated. That tab is estimated to be around $130,000, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department. Dig deep, people; senator Ericksen is an expensive public servant.