Letters to the editor: March 16-22

The Editor:

This is a call to all those who believe that the city excessively enforces the H Street and Peace Portal Drive stop sign. There are days when rolling stop tickets are written there one right after the other as well as the stop sign just south of U.S. customs on the truck route and no doubt other locations.

I’m all for professional police work, they have a tough job sometimes and I believe in enforcement of the law and keeping the peace.

That said, the day after Christmas, MLK Day and around New Year a particular officer lays in wait and poaches this
intersection.

I’ve had customers from out of town tell me they rarely come downtown anymore because of these kinds of ridiculous petty rolling stop tickets. Another customer and I were standing in front of my store watching all the police lights one right after the other and she said, “That can’t be good for business.”

Exactly. It is really bad for business. The day after MLK Day, I had two folks in my shop the entire day. This type of action is helping turn downtown into a ghost town.

I am hoping others show up and speak out protesting this over-aggressive action. This over-enforcement sends a loud message to those visiting our town and is bad for business.

Please show support for a successful downtown and come to the meeting at Blaine council chambers on
March 27 at 6 p.m.

Bill Becht
Blaine

The Editor:

It is time someone addressed the entitlement that many, if not most men live under, by their attitude and lack of knowledge. Would the West ever have been won without women? Who cooked, tended, nurtured and healed the pioneers who had a dream? Women made those dreams possible.

Few men actually think about how they travel through life, first with a mother, then a wife, then a nurse. Women make life possible, and even enjoyable sometimes.

In our society we do not talk about the trials and tribulations of women, from the physical travails, pain and danger that comes with our biological functions, to the fortitude, strength and character it takes to mother, teach, nurture and even endure, in some circumstances.

It is not male-bashing to want some credit, health care, even fair financial compensation for the jobs we do, for families, society and the historical progress of this nation.

How dare a male-dominated elite group of legislators call medical care that is affordable and necessary an entitlement? How dare the GOP deny what the scriptures demand? Enough being polite! Outrage is not only deserved, but talk about entitlement!

Donna Starr
Blaine

The Editor:

Save Birch Bay is a group of Whatcom County residents brought together by a shared concern for the quality of life in our area. We appreciate the importance of Cherry Point’s unique ecosystem, both aquatic and upland, and we recognize that the Cherry Point area’s health and diversity have been diminished in our lifetimes. We believe this decline can be reversed.

Longtime Birch Bay residents have noted five substantial Cherry Point fuel spills hitting beaches in the past 45 years, including one where residents were warned to evacuate due to toxic off-gassing from spilled jet fuel. During this time, Cherry Point’s herring, salmon and migrant bird populations have severely
declined.

The Cherry Point amendments to the Comprehensive Plan proposed by councilmember Carl Weimer (identified as “Proposal – Council Resolution”) offer much-needed protections to support a rehabilitation of this critical ecosystem.

Cherry Point is important historically, culturally and spiritually to the Coast Salish people, and we support the Lummi Nation’s interest in protecting that area. Our nation must honor the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott.

We would like to see language in the Comprehensive Plan declaring that Whatcom County does not support additional piers at Cherry Point.

We also would like county policy strengthened to protect against piecemeal expansions that could violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act, specifically the Magnusson Amendment. In recent years the county has allowed expansion of oil by rail at Cherry Point without any study or adequate citizen input. This is not acceptable policy.

We support the proposed policy that directs the county to complete, in 2017, a study to examine existing county laws, including those related to public health, safety, development, building, zoning, permitting, electrical, nuisance and fire codes, and to develop recommendations for legal ways the county can work to limit unrefined fossil fuel exports from the Cherry Point UGA to levels in existence as of July 5, 2016.

Rick Hann
Birch Bay

The Editor:

Blaine school district boasts zero tolerance policies against bulling, holds assemblies featuring the Mad Hatter who educates on cyber and other types of bullying, displays posters galore of anti-bullying propaganda, yet there in no action and no consequences for it time after time.

A recent example is a 10-year-old boy being bullied by a 10-year-old girl. This girl is verbally and physically assaultive, leaving bruises and marks, challenges him to meet her at the flag pole to fight, and more. It has been repeatedly brought to the school staff’s attention who have only told this girl she needs to stop hurting his feelings. This boy’s mother now has to go higher up the chain of command to involve the superintendent due to negligent inaction.

My own daughter was involved in an altercation with a girl who was bullying her and when this girl punched her and left a bruise on her face I didn’t even receive a call and there was no in-school consequence whatsoever.

The boy has been taught that is unacceptable to put your hands on another person in anger and he has not retaliated at any point. Yet this girl is told to stop hurting his feelings and that is it? Her parents are not made aware of the events either. That means a place where “zero tolerance” on bullying and violent behavior in school is supposed to be a top priority is teaching these kids that although they have this rule they are not protected by it, and that people are above the rules and will not be held
accountable.

In our current world we need to teach these kids that they are not above the rules, that hurting others is unacceptable and will not go unpunished, because what does that show these young people about violence and consequence? Nothing. These kids need to be held accountable or this generation is doomed to the entitlement syndrome.

You had one job, Blaine schools. Let’s get it together and follow through. It’s your job to do this for these kids, because without these kids, you wouldn’t have a job!

Wendy Owens
Blaine

The Editor:

Whatcom County Council has been contemplating changing the ordinance that allows for homeowners to inspect their own on-site sewage (OSS) systems. Our county has done a huge amount of work to lower fecal coliform bacteria levels in the Nooksack River and lowland tributaries so shellfish can be safely harvested in Portage Bay.

I’ve never understood why homeowners should be allowed to inspect their own OSS systems. Think about it. In order to install a septic system, a property owner must receive a county permit. Only a licensed OSS installer is allowed to install the system, so why isn’t certification also required for inspecting it?

In cities, sewage is treated in wastewater treatment plants. These are designed by engineers, and require a permit that’s issued and regularly updated by the department of ecology. Operators of these facilities must be certified.

The purpose of OSS systems and wastewater treatment plants are the same: to process human waste so it doesn’t cause disease. Homeowners simply are not qualified to ensure these systems operate properly. If you add up all of the 14,174 OSS systems in the Nooksack watershed, their total pollution risk approaches that of a small city.

Close to 100 Whatcom County dairies are regulated by Washington State Department of Agriculture, and are required to gain coverage under a strict new state department of ecology permit that will help ensure pollution from farms is not entering surface water. Some dairy farmers have also joined with Lummi Nation in the Portage Bay Partnership to take exceptional measures to ensure water quality.

These efforts in the agricultural community address this concern: only 20 percent of monitoring sites along our lowland streams in the Nooksack River watershed achieve water quality standards for disease-causing fecal coliform bacteria.

Given the risks and pollution here, does it make sense to allow homeowners the privilege of inspecting their own on-site sewage systems? No.

This is a complex problem: ensuring clean water for our community requires that all of us be part of the solution. Please contact your county council members and demand they amend the OSS ordinance so homeowner OSS inspections are no longer allowed.

Pam Borso
Custer

The Editor:

Once or twice a week, I arrive back to Blaine via the truck route exit off I-5. There is a growing collection of garbage right at the curve on the off-ramp, including a large display of plastic gallon jugs full of urine from, I presume, the truckers using this off-ramp. It is disgusting to view! Who do they think is going to come collect their urine samples and dispose of them?

Maybe we should require all truckers to have their DNA on file and we can do a dip test to find out who is unable to throw away their own pee at one of the many gas stations along that stretch of road.

Add this to the few semi drivers who find it necessary to run through the yellow lights while going full speed at the intersection of H Street, where the wall creates a blind spot for those waiting at the light, and they are not making a very good impression. Any suggestions from the local authorities on how to deal with these issues?

Sally Howell
Blaine

The Editor:

Hopefully when the berm around Birch Bay and roadway get restored, people again can park and enjoy the bay sights with its colorful sunsets. The bay is the shallowest bay on the West Coast. That makes it ideal for wading and exploring for sea creatures.

Once complete, there should be restroom facilities and trash barrels provided to keep the beach clean. New Year’s Eve with its “Ring of Fire” around the bay is awesome, sponsored by a local realtor. Birch Bay has been the place to go for generations.

Earl Erickson
Blaine

  1. I can’t make it to the city council meeting on Monday, but I will be sure to let the council know that I disagree with Mr, Brecht. Stop means stop. Enforcing is not poaching. I support making Peace Portal a through street with a 20 mph speed limit through downtown, but unless that happens, it’s unconscionable for a retailer to suggest that the police stop enforcing traffic laws just because s/he thinks it’s bad for business.

    Reply

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