Letters to the editor: March 30-April 5

The Editor:

The city of Blaine is asking voters to approve a 0.2 percent sales tax increase to fund a Transportation Benefit District. I support this idea wholeheartedly, and wanted to share why.

Blaine is a great community, but there’s always room for improvement. One way to attract more businesses to the city is by having good streets, and plenty of recreational activities. This funding would be dedicated to street improvements, or trail connections.

The sales tax that is collected will stay in Blaine for these types of local projects. In addition, the Canadians who come here for certain services will help pay for the streets and trails they use. This is not just a tax on local property owners, which seems fair.

All our neighboring communities have a Transportation Benefit District to fund their streets. When we spend money in those places, we fund their street and trail projects. I think it’s time we learned from the successes of our neighbors – vote yes on the Blaine Transportation Benefit

Colin Hawkins

The Editor:

I’d like to thank all those who attended the NWEP Emergency Preparedness Expo on Saturday, March 25, at the Pavilion in Blaine.

We had a wonderful turnout of hundreds of people on a day when even the weather cooperated. The whole purpose was to get people thinking about their own personal emergency preparedness, how to get started with your whole family, and to know that they have options for training and credible information in our area.

NorthWest Emergency Preparedness is a non-profit educational organization, training people on regional hazards and preparedness. We also refer people to outside advanced training resources when needed. I also want to thank those who helped us bring this event to the community. Helpful members, presenters and our valuable emergency responders who also made the time to show up for their community.

We welcome the community to join us in free membership to get your family ready! Contact us at myNWEP@gmail.com.

Richard Martin

The Editor:

Just wanted to send a quick note thanking you for publishing District 42 legislators’ voting report. I don’t remember seeing it before. Very helpful!

Margarette Grant

The Editor:

Just wanted to say a big thank you to the parks district and the senior center.

Recently, the Blaine Senior Center and the Blaine parks district donated a commercial-quality treadmill to our gym at the Lynden Senior/Community Center.

I understand this came about because the parks district had gotten a NuStep (an approximately $5,000 seated arm and leg cardio machine used in many physical rehab clinics) for the Blaine Senior Center. They needed to find a home for one of their treadmills to make room for the NuStep.

When the treadmill arrived at our center on short notice, assistant chief Robert Spinner was very gracious in helping us out. He and four of the department’s finest came right over and carried the treadmill in. They actually had to lift it up and over some of the other gym equipment to get it into the back corner. I don’t know how we would have got it in place without them!

Thank you.

Cathi LeCocq, manager
Lynden Community/Senior Center

The Editor:

In recent weeks, “Save Cherry Point Jobs” signs have sprouted in the Birch Bay area. From what, I ask. The only threat I am aware of is the future possibility that the Intalco plant may close. As I understand it is operating temporarily under a four-year agreement. It’s also rumored that a Canadian firm has plans to buy the plant and export from the Intalco pier.

BP has invested so much in upgrades that it is highly unlikely they will move anytime in the next 50 years, if ever. Phillips has a good location and no incentive to move. Intalco is the only plant with employees at risk. Their future depends on the world aluminum market and decisions by the management of Intalco, not the residents of Birch Bay.

I suspect that Pacific International Terminals may be funding the sign projects because we, the people of Birch Bay, have spoken to our county council and county executive on the matter of the proposed 600-acre coal terminal and the 18 1.5-mile trains rumbling through the neighborhood every day. Further heavy industrial development in this area has the potential to forever ruin our air and water, not to mention our quality of life.

Driving along the Grandview and Kickerville roads you can see there is ample room for light industrial development and likely no objection to any reasonable plan. Smart development using our natural resources wisely will provide good jobs and a quality environment. Nooksack salmon are an endangered species, shellfish beds on both sides of Cherry Point are threatened, herring beds have been decimated. A major factor in locating new business to an area is quality of life and the amenities offered. We have the best. Let us not foul it up.

Alice Brown
Birch Bay

The Editor:

From all the signs that have gone up around the county, you may be aware that the local business advocacy organization, Whatcom Business Alliance (WBA), has a website, preservecherrypoint.com. Unfortunately, the WBA leads off that webpage saying, “The Whatcom County Council is considering passing a study to kill jobs at Cherry Point and cut education funding for schools in our communities.” This statement is not true.

The study the county council and planning commission are recommending is to “develop recommendations for legal ways the county can work to limit crude oil, coal, and natural gas exports from the Cherry Point UGA above levels in existence as of July 5, 2016.”

Additional export of fuels, such as crude oil, can mean more crude-by-rail trains prone to explode, more vessel traffic in and around the aquatic reserve and treaty-protected fishing grounds, and fewer jobs at Cherry Point since the refining of increased fuels shipped in would not be done by workers at the Cherry Point refineries.

Additional export of natural gas can mean more pipelines that could leak into the same vulnerable waters at Cherry Point.

Additional export of coal would mean keeping the door open to a coal terminal that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already found would violate Lummi Treaty Rights. The May 2016 Army Corps decision specifically found the construction of the additional fourth pier at Cherry Point that Gateway Pacific Terminals wanted to build would violate Lummi Nation’s usual and accustomed treaty fishing rights.

When considering increased export of such fuels, we also have to remember that even though our Cherry Point refineries are safer compared to others, the extraction of these fuels is often devastatingly invasive and polluting of our planet and can be incredibly dangerous to workers.

Smart and successful businesses adjust to the demands of the changing world around them. When they do, they have the potential to thrive like never before. Time for Cherry Point industries to transition to safer and renewable energy options.

Dena Jenson
Birch Bay


On behalf of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce I would like to encourage voters to approve the Transportation Benefit District proposal for the city of Blaine. This action would change our sales tax to 8.7 percent from the current 8.5 percent rate and would be paid by anyone who purchases a product in Blaine, whether a resident or a visitor.

These funds would stay in the city of Blaine to benefit the creation and maintenance of city roads and trails that would be enjoyed by all. Please join in this effort to make our community a better place to live and work.

Carroll Solomon
Blaine Chamber of Commerce

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