Letters to the editor: March 2-8

The Editor:

In response to the recent letter from Betsy Gross and Beth Insera I felt the need to remind our community the truth about the majority of Republicans and conservatives.

The accusations about the “wave of hate” toward immigrants is just not true. Although there are a few radical haters on both sides, the vast majority of conservatives do not hate immigrants at all. Hate should not be tolerated by either side of the debate. Every person is valued in the eyes of God. The primary challenge we have on this issue is toward illegal immigrants. When we have open borders and sanctuary cities, what message does it send to those immigrants who have gone through the effort to enter the United States legally? When we don’t enforce immigration laws we tell those who took the time to do it right that it just doesn’t matter.

Blaming the increase in hate crimes on President Trump and Republicans is completely unjust. I have repeatedly heard Republicans take a stand opposing all violence and hate crimes.

And yes, legal immigrants are assets to our community.

Mark Gubrud

The Editor:

I remember when we had open garbage dumps in our towns and cities. For Blaine it was in the harbor at the intersection of the railroad track and Marine Drive. In Seattle it was a valley between Queen Anne and Magnolia called Interbay. Today, thanks to state and federal environmental law, Interbay provides a golf course, Whole Foods, commercial ventures and condos. Blaine Marine Park is a great improvement over a dump.

Before 1960, there was air and water pollution from two pulp mills in Everett which wafted sulphur smell into Marysville, Snohomish and Stanwood. Bellingham was no sweet breeze either. The bay sediments are still toxic. Tacoma had the ASARCO smelter, which lofted deadly lead and arsenic toxins. People everywhere had real health effects from these poison-spewing stacks. The air darkened and became smog. Our cat was convulsive after killing birds that had consumed DDT. The birds were too sick to dodge the cats. Most waterside cities dumped raw sewage “in the chuck” until it became visible on the beaches.

Once upon a time 50-pound salmon were abundant in our waters. I remember the 1950s Puget Sound fishing derbies and flotillas of fishing boats. Where did their herring feed go? What happened to the Chinook runs in the Nooksack? All of this happened before there was an Environmental Protection Agency. We lobbied and protested and finally got some regulations and funding to clean up the messes.

Whatcom County didn’t have so many people or even a freeway in 1960 and didn’t think much about water conservation. Some think it doesn’t matter now and we can have fish, irrigation, wells and cities and industry. They don’t know what it was like back then, nor do they care. People who were not alive in 1960 want to undo the EPA and put us back to dirty air, water and land. The same applies to the schools and highways we built for you.

Taxes were higher and it was a sacrifice but we cared about your future and had great pride in our state and nation. We didn’t just say the words, we paid the bill, and it created jobs.

Alice Brown
Birch Bay

The Editor:

I went to Senator Ericksen’s March 4 town hall held at Meridian High School. I arrived 30 minutes before it was to start, but when I entered the auditorium, all of the seats were taken. The auditorium seemed small to have been chosen as a venue for such an event, especially after all of the attention that has been focused on Ericksen due to his acceptance of the EPA position (described by the senator as “temporary”) under the Trump administration. Hundreds of frustrated constituents had called on Ericksen to hold a town hall.

Because there was not enough seating, I would have had to stand for the two-hour event. Having a knee injury, that was not feasible, so I had to leave before it even started. I had brought along a question to ask Ericksen which I thought I would include in this letter to the editor. Here it is:

Senator, in the 2015 fall issue of Whatcom Business Alliance’s Business Pulse Magazine, in a piece titled, “Personally speaking – Senator Ericksen Sounds Off,” on the subject of treaty rights you made quite an allegation, which was:

“It’s complicated because we have to deal with treaty rights. One of the treaty tribe government’s position is that all the water belongs to them. Until the federal government gives it all to them they will not agree to any compromises on water rights here in Whatcom County. That’s not a healthy situation for moving forward. It’s unfortunate.”

In light of that statement, and of recent legislation (SB 5239) you sponsored which does not appear to take into account the United States’ legal duties and moral obligations relating to Native American treaties, my question is:

In truth, treaties are the supreme law of the land, and in Whatcom County, Native American tribes and nations are senior water rights holders. What legislative actions will you take to demonstrate a respect for, and commitment to, prioritizing and upholding tribal treaty rights, especially in terms of protecting instream flow/s and salmon?

What say you, senator?

Sandy Robson
Birch Bay

The Editor:

What is “hate?” Why do we hate? Hate is different than and more than “not liking” someone. We need to deeply explore our feelings of hate, bringing them up and being with those feelings with our heart and soul.

We are all human beings living on Earth in one solar system of many, in one galaxy of many, in one universe authored by infinite mystery. We are all expressions of this divine mystery we call God. Yes, there are different religions, but one creator.

Why do we hate people of a different race or ethnicity or religion or sexual orientation? Paradox is built into the universe, into our existence. Opposites exist. I believe the trajectory of an evolving universe and of each of us is toward the greater good. We need to explore this love-hate continuum and open our hearts to God’s call to love your neighbor as yourself and to love and care for Earth as yourself.

I am blessed to have been raised by parents who never denigrated any race, culture or religion. I graduated from Garfield High School in Seattle in the early ’60s and treasured my high school experience of racial, cultural and religious diversity. And long before the LGBT community was accepted I honored my oldest son’s “coming out” as gay.

What is happening in our world today invites all of us and really demands that we each discover our heart and soul and that love is our true nature.

Kay Burrough
Birch Bay

The Editor:

At the risk of making a lot of people angry, I felt I could stay quiet no longer. In response to a quote by Nick Brown in your article “Governor limits state agencies’ assistance in enforcing President’s immigration ban,” he stated, “Simply being undocumented is not a crime.” I must disagree.

If a stranger, uninvited, entered your home, unpacked their bag and demanded that you feed, clothe, educate and take care of their medical needs, I believe the first thing you would do is call 911. And rightly so. They have no right to be there.

When someone walks, swims, drives or rides across the border of our country without first going through the proper application process, they are an intruder and have broken our immigration laws. And, by the way, anyone helping them to remain is guilty of “aiding and abetting.” They are, after all illegal immigrants.

Don’t get me wrong. My heart also bleeds for them and their situation but we have to find a way to help that does not ignore the law. Change the law, don’t break it, for without our laws we are no longer a nation but an unruly rabble – just watch the news if you don’t believe me.

Carole Peterson

The Editor:

Relative to Ms. Gross and Ms. Insera’s March 2 letter: It’s likely you are very concerned and principled individuals, however, I find a number of your assertions to be misleading and wrongful.

As much as I have difficulty with many of President Trump’s traits, I do not see him as fostering an “anti-immigrant climate.” He is adamant in his position relative to illegal immigrant individuals and practices – however, has focused his concerns solely on criminal illegal immigrants. It is irresponsible (assuming you have serious social concerns) to present your position, implying all immigrants. What is problematic in protecting our communities and citizens from criminals, regardless of source?

The “seven Muslim-majority countries” were cataloged appropriately by the Obama administration as being problematic relative to ineffective screening practices. Also, the “banning” would be temporary until effective practices are implemented.

There is no plan, implemented nor suggested, to “deport millions of immigrants.” Deporting criminal illegal immigrants has been proposed – even that will initially focus only on the most seriously criminal individuals. The “created fear and panic” has been fostered by those who, for maybe somewhat understandable reasons, dislike President Trump so vehemently that well-meaning logic escapes them. Don’t be blinded by misapplied passion. President Trump, regardless of his demeanor, has no ill will towards our citizens or well-meaning

Blaming crime, particularly “hate crime,” on any entity other than the perpetrator(s), is simplistic and counterproductive. Orchestrated crime appears more prevalent with liberal/progressive demonstrations than with more conservative postured entities.

You are quite correct, “Immigrants are assets, not liabilities.” Other than native individuals, we are all of immigrant heritage – that should rightly be celebrated. However, it is insulting for you to include my relatives’ and my friends’ proud immigrant heritages with criminal illegal individuals. I have eight grandchildren – the mother of two having recently legally immigrated from Columbia. Your implications are disconcerting.

Lobbying for “sanctuary” communities is very difficult to understand. Law-abiding immigrants like my daughter-in-law have no need for any fabricated “sanctuary” other than that realized by being a law abiding entity within the United States of America. That later sanctuary is logically compromised by your suggested “sanctuary” for criminal illegal individuals. Your logic is perplexing.

Peter Werner

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