Letters to the editor: August 10-16

The Editor:

The Blaine Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the community and participants for another successful Drayton Harbor Days Maritime Festival. We are fortunate to have a number of committee partners including: Blaine – Birch Bay Parks and Recreation District 2, Drayton Harbor Maritime, Blaine Harbor, Port of Bellingham, city of Blaine and many other contributors.

In addition, a number of community sponsors either helped by staffing activities or providing assistance make this event happen. Thank you all for your efforts to make this event memorable.

Carroll Solomon
Andy Peterson

The Editor:

I read with interest Naomi Murphy’s letter in last week’s issue about the Pebble Mine project near Alaska’s Bristol Bay. I’m responding to comment on her mention of the 2014 EPA negative determination and the 2017 EPA reopening of the discussion. I’ll assume she is unaware of reported misconduct by the EPA in 2014 that contributed to that negative determination, or she would have mentioned it. That probably is why on February 22 a U.S. Congressional Committee called on the EPA administrator to withdraw the Pebble Project’s unprecedented “pre-emptive” regulatory veto and to undertake a fair and unbiased environmental evaluation.

This resulted after the Pebble Mine ownership commissioned an independent investigation into the EPA’s actions in and prior to the 2014 determination. The investigating team was led by William S. Cohen, who served as a member of the U.S. House and Senate for 24 years and as Secretary of Defense for four years under President Bill Clinton. He determined that, “after a very thorough review, I do not believe EPA used the fairest and most appropriate process.”

His report raised a series of concerns about potential EPA misconduct, including that EPA may have predetermined the outcome of its review before conducting the Bristol Bay watershed assessment; and that EPA officials may have had inappropriately close relationships with environmental activists.

He also urged Congress and the independent Office of the EPA Inspector General to use their respective subpoena powers to look more deeply into the myriad issues of EPA misconduct catalogued in his report. The full report and an executive summary is available at northerndynastyminerals.com, the website of the Pebble Mine’s owners. In an editorial published October 6, 2015, the Wall Street Journal calls the Cohen report “a straightforward yet withering takedown of EPA’s conduct.”

We all want to protect and preserve our environment, and my letter is not intended as an overall condemnation of the EPA. Any government agency’s employees could occasionally lose sight of correct process in overeagerness to achieve a desired result.

(Full disclosure: After examining the project and the credentials of its supporters, I decided to invest in the project).

Phil Gardner, P.Eng.(B.C.)
Birch Bay 

The Editor:

I have to agree with Bill Becht’s letters to the editor.

Bill has some good points regarding the stop sign and the way businesses are treated in Blaine, the police would have no problem in funding and being a good force in the city if businesses were supported in Blaine by the city council and police.

1. That stop sign in the H Street
intersection at Peace Portal should go away; it is useless other than a stop trap for the police and I have seen them there waiting to jump on the car that may not stop to their liking. Maybe a three-way amber flasher would be better.

2. The train station should be promoted for Blaine. Customs stops the train anyway and it would be good for business to have a train stop in the city.

3. The city council ward program should be done away with and the council should be membered by anyone living at a Blaine address, that way you would get a better-rounded council. The council now is totally useless. In my opinion they are old and stagnant we need fresh blood
on the council.

4. The idea of impact fees and other dumb ideas being brought up by city council is not the way of getting businesses in the city and helping the businesses grow. The council needs to start listening to the business owners, after all they are the ones with money invested, not the council.

Gordon Ames

The Editor:

I would like to offer a $100 reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals that spray painted numerous logs on the beach at Semiahmoo spit by the museum parking lot.

The words they painted on those beautiful old logs don’t describe the people that did it! They are immature, uncaring and stupid. I walk that beach every day and they destroyed a portion of beach for a long time.

If caught, which I hope they will be, I will do what I can to encourage the judge to order them to remove the graffiti with 100-grit sandpaper. If you saw someone doing this last Sunday evening please report it to the Blaine police!

John Welch

The Editor:

Why join the Friends of the Blaine Library?

Here are ten good reasons:

10. Get involved by helping support the community’s Blaine Public Library.

9. Volunteer your time to help with library events, activities and at the yearly book sales in July and December.

8. Plan yearly fundraising activities to support the Blaine Library.

7. Attend the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) luncheon for friends and foundation to find out what is going on in the library community and support each other through exchange of ideas.

6. Use your culinary skills for the friends’ Halloween Bake Sale with “monster” treats!

5. Welcome new members to the community and invite them to join the Friends of the Blaine Library.

4. Provide a great book selection through the ongoing friends’ book store open during all library hours.

3. Help with a great summer activity for our community’s children by funding the summer
reading club.

2. Be an advocate for the Blaine Library through membership with the Friends of the Blaine Library.

1: Work with the city of Blaine, WCLS and the communities in the area to improve and expand the Blaine Library.

Pick up an application form today at the Blaine Library!

Sandra Bogen
Friends of the Blaine Library

The Editor:

As harbormaster at Semiahmoo Marina, I’d like to ask you to relay an important message to visitors and residents of our beautiful Drayton Harbor. Although this letter should have been written long ago, it’s never too late to try and prevent a possible tragedy.

From my office, I have an almost unobstructed view of Drayton Harbor and the channel between Blaine Harbor and Semiahmoo. Each sunny day I watch as people happily go about their water sport activities. Some are very aware and familiar with their surroundings; others seem dangerously naïve. With the currents and very cold water that run through this channel, some don’t realize how easily they will become separated from their paddle board, kayak or any other floating object, should they happen to capsize.

We consistently see whole families – including the dog – aboard a kayak far from shore, without a single lifejacket aboard. This is extremely dangerous, and just plain irresponsible. It seems these folks on paddle boards and kayaks, who are much more vulnerable in waves and currents, think they’re invincible, and not at all subject to possible drowning. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you could please let these super heroes know they may be able to save themselves, but what about the four children not wearing lifejackets?

Doug Romano

The Editor:

I didn’t like roundabouts myself, but in certain situations they can save lives. One such place would be the Blaine Road at Alderson Road corner. With past fatalities and numerous accidents, it would be a welcome relief to many to make it safer. The school bus episode magnifies what could happen in the future and when things are fogged in next time and no one can see, it’s not going to be good.

I met a wonderful woman, Andrea Petrich, with WSDOT communications, who coordinates traffic roundabouts for the state. She did not hesitate to try to help with this dangerous corner as it is on State Route 548.

Encourage Andrea with emails to take up this issue with WSDOT and make this corner finally safe for all, including school kids on the Blaine bus.

Include State Route 548 in your message.

You can make a difference!

Email: petrica@wsdot.wa.gov

Gary Markusen
Maple Falls

The Editor:

In the August 13 Bellingham Herald, Republican Representatives Van Buys and Van Werven attempted to put lipstick on a pig (no offense to pig lovers here).

The pig is the Republican hostage taking of a bipartisan capital budget bill in order to tack on a poor runaround to the Hirst Decision (the State Supreme Court requirement to perform water resource assessments in order to uphold water conservation laws).

The lipstick is Buys and Van Werven’s contention that the Republicans did this hostage taking “knowing it would be unfair to administer millions in capital budget funds for the state to build its projects when thousands of families and taxpayers throughout Washington can’t enjoy the same privilege.” Really? It is unfair for workers and citizens to get the benefits of funding public projects because property owners now have to show surety that there is an adequate water resource available before digging new wells? There is no connection between the two except for the political calculations of the Republicans.

It is a real problem that property owners suddenly cannot develop their land because counties do not have the resources to determine water availability. Let’s solve that problem rather than creating new ones by stopping needed capital projects that will provide jobs and services that we all value. Let’s stop the political rhetoric and do some problem solving.

Michael Chiavario

  1. There are a couple of good letters in this week’s edition. First, I agree that a roundabout is needed at Alderson Road. I will email Andrea. I also agree that it’s unconscionable for Republicans to hold the capital budget hostage unless Democrats concede to a completely unrelated, partisan, political debate. And finally, I would like to know what business Mr. Ames owns in Blaine and why he thinks having AMTRAK stop here would be good for business? People need a reason to stop and linger here. Currently, there isn’t one.


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