Letters to the editor: July 27-2

The Editor:

In response to a recent letter from Mr. Bill Becht regarding “traffic bullying” in the city of Blaine, I highly disagree with his continued rant about over-policing of minor traffic infractions. Blaine does not embrace a “bully culture” to generate revenue, but polices the traffic in Blaine to protect our residents and visitors from reckless endangerment by motorists traveling far too fast and not even slowing at intersections or cross walks, particularly on Peace Portal Drive in downtown Blaine.

The police department and city of Blaine have respectfully and concisely provided proof of reduced accidents as a result of the stop signs at Peace Portal and H Street.

Just two days ago, after stopping at that very intersection going southbound and preparing to turn left on H Street, a motorist approaching the intersection from the south flew through the intersection without slowing down, much less stopping. If not for my husband’s quick observation that the car was coming far too fast and not intending to stop we would have been in the process of turning left and I likely would have been severely injured as the oncoming motorist would have T-boned our vehicle, again driving far too fast.

The motorist said he did not see the stop sign, though I pointed out the large, flashing red light and cautioned him for future reference. I wish a Blaine police officer had been in the vicinity that day to provide a more deserved response to this motorist, but I’m thankful for my husband’s observation and defensive driving.

Please Mr. Becht, stop blaming and shaming our city and police department and direct your energy to a more positive and fruitful approach to revitalizing our downtown community. I would venture to guess that most residents have no qualms or complaints about stopping at a stop sign to protect citizens and visitors as we work toward increasing businesses and a thriving, bustling downtown Blaine.
Thank you.

Laura Lucas
Blaine

The Editor:

In the 15 years I have lived in Blaine, I have never felt more compelled to respond to a letter to the editor than I did after reading Bill Becht’s letter in last week’s paper.

Bill has been going on for some time about the stop sign at Peace Portal Drive and H Street. Drivers roll through stop signs downtown every day; it is against the law. I have heard from countless residents of Blaine that there is not enough enforcement. If a town has a reputation for enforcing its traffic laws, it does not discourage tourism, it encourages responsible driving.

The Trip Advisor forum posts Bill cites are made by people that got pulled over for driving irresponsibly. One poster got a ticket for driving away without fastening his seatbelt, another was ticketed for driving 60 in the 35 zone at the border and another for going 38 in a 25 going down the hill by Semiahmoo Park.

The comments for the most part chided the posters for complaining about being ticketed for breaking the law.

Bill states Blaine has a “bad reputation for over-policing.” The posts on TA were made three, seven and eight years ago respectively. That is hardly a reputation.

Speedtrap.com is actually Speedtrap.org. Every city in the country has postings about “speed traps” on this site; we do not stand out.

There are empty store fronts in Ferndale, seven on Main Street alone, I checked.

I do not want to risk the entire city council being from one part of town. I could see term limits to shake things up but not seven at-large councilmembers.

Bill made false claims about business license fees. In the business license section of the website access.wa.gov, I checked Bellingham, Lynden and Ferndale. Ferndale is the most expensive, not Blaine. All the cities had an annual renewal fee equal to the original fee.

Blaine deserves a lot of things, especially our respect and support. We all want to see our town thrive.

I respectfully ask that you please stop badmouthing our town.

Jason Friend
Blaine

The Editor:

The musical sounds of the 2017 Drayton Harbor Music Festival have faded, but the memories and the community created during our seven days together continue.

We appreciate the communities of Blaine and Birch Bay supporting over 60 student musicians and the world-class faculty who taught them. Both students and faculty premiered multiple original pieces, many composed during the festival. We were treated to concerts in the G and H street plazas, at the PAC, the Jansen Art Center, and the Blaine Pavilion, which hosted the rousing Big Band Benefit.

We offer our sincere thanks to the city of Blaine, Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 and the Blaine school district for the use of your beautiful facilities. Many local restaurants provided lunches for our campers. The faculty enjoyed a fabulous jam session at The Pastime Bar and Eatery. Thank you to The Northern Light for the festival coverage.

This festival was a creative and growth-filled success due to all of your support, and we are grateful.

Laura Aosved, on behalf of Drayton Harbor Music Festival
(Pacific Arts Association)

The Editor:

This past week saw the continued failure of the Republican majority Senate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We all should breathe a sigh of relief and thank the three Republican senators (McCain, Murkowski and Collins) who put country over party and voted “no” on the “skinny repeal” in addition to the Democratic senators.

A new threat to our healthcare system is coming from President Trump. He is threatening to block government subsidies to the healthcare insurers. This would probably cause a collapse of the health insurance market. It would make our rates increase and send millions of the poorest among us to the ranks of the uninsured. The instability to the markets would affect us all. The ACA is not failing as imperfect as it is. However, President Trump says to “let Obamacare implode.” He and many Republican allies want to “make Obamacare collapse.”

One of the many broken promises this president made was to protect Medicare and Medicaid. Republican healthcare plans will gut Medicaid and threaten Medicare. We need to remember candidate Trump saying that his healthcare system would insure everyone and cost far less.

It appears to be one of his many big lies.

Layne Boyce
Birch Bay

The Editor:

We fight our battles, often win and move on. At least that was the way things were in the “good ole days.” Under our present federal administration, things are different. Where once we prided ourselves for working towards clean water and air quality, energy efficiency, chemical and pesticide controls, increasing fuel efficiency in our cars and trucks, oil spill prevention, radiation protection and environmental education, we find ourselves battling to keep these advances from being erased.

One example – Pebble Mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay is again being considered for mining. The Environmental Protection Agency in 2014 “determined that the Bristol Bay watershed is too fragile to tolerate risks of large scale mining (Seattle Times, 7/22/17).”

However, the EPA of 2017 is reopening the discussion and is holding a 90-day comment period (July 2017 – October 27, 2017). Make your voice heard. Protecting these waters deserves a long-time commitment into the future. Mining interests should not override what is best for our planet. We have relied on our EPA to protect our vulnerable environment. Now we find that industry and corporations have priority. Contact your members of Congress to let them know we
won’t tolerate this.

Let the EPA know the importance of keeping Bristol Bay for the fish and for people who live there. (epa.gov/brisolbay) We can and should resist.

Naomi Murphy
Ferndale

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