Letters to the Editor: February 22-28

The Editor:

Be on the lookout for petitions for I-1600 – Universal Healthcare for Washington State. The measure would provide for the establishment of a comprehensive state non-profit program to pay for healthcare for all Washington residents.

Rather than the 12-15 percent of salaries individuals now pay to for-profit insurers, the Medical Care Trust would be funded by premiums and assessments on employers, individuals and capital gains, to make individuals pay 8.5 percent, a huge savings and held separate from the general fund!

Gone would be profit margin based denials, the lawyers who we must fight for implementation of policies we have paid for, those who divide citizens into acceptable risk pools, or premiums we pay that yield dividends for Wall Street investors. Say goodbye to huge CEO salaries, masses of offices workers who have to process paperwork for multiple for-profit companies, and Charge Master lists that require negotiation for coverage of hospital procedures.

Goodbye multiple competing computer software company programs that process patient records, because there would be one integrated system. Good thing I-1600 includes retraining of displaced

Did you know Toronto General Hospital has only two insurance processor personnel? With our large medical infrastructure already in place, I-1600 would save Washington multiple millions to add to our economy and education, long term benefits for short term adjustments.

Donna Starr

The Editor: 

This is in response to Mr. Skibsrud’s letter last week. When I moved to Blaine 14 years ago, I contacted city hall about riding my horses in Lincoln Park. I was told that I can ride anywhere on city property, without worrying about dogs, because Blaine has a leash law. While Whatcom County has a voice-control option, each municipality makes their own law in that regard. Blaine is not a leash-option city.

Since then, an off-leash area was established at Skallman Park, approximately a half mile from Lincoln Park. While on my way to, and inside Lincoln Park, I have been chased by dogs, yelled at by the owners, and occasionally politely told that I shouldn’t ride in the “only” off-leash park. I can’t seem to get anyone to understand that they are in the wrong park.

I hope the city puts up some signs, and enforces the leash law throughout the city.

Roxanne Hooper

The Editor:

Do we need a destination off-road vehicle/all-terrain vehicle park on Sumas or Red mountains in east Whatcom County? If you ask the local residents the answer is a resounding no!

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working on a Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan which includes opening up a section of Sumas and Red mountains DNR timber lands to ORV/ATV machines. This plan is dangerous. These forested areas become very dry in the summer and so are vulnerable to forest fire. The local firefighting system is primarily overburdened as well as the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department. There is no additional provision or support for these areas proposed.

These forested lands are home to many of our wild critters and potential habitat for endangered Marbled Murrelets. The mountains host many feeder streams for our local salmon streams and rivers.

It is ill advised because the local residents overwhelmingly do not want ORVs and ATVs on these mountains and are concerned about the noise, pollution and disruption to the peaceful areas. They do support all kinds of non-motorized recreation.

You can find out about this plan at the DNR Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan website.

Oh, and the DNR has asked the county to amend the law to allow motorized trail systems for all commercial forest zones in Whatcom County. You can write to them expressing your opinion or show up when it is introduced to the council.

Do we really want this?

Pam Borso

The Editor:

Thank you so much for adding “Highlights from Olympia: How did your elected representatives vote?” to the pages of The Northern Light. This is useful and timely information for all of our 42nd district voters.

Alice Brown
Birch Bay

The Editor:

A short while ago a surprise sprang up for residents living in the foothills of Sumas and Red Mountain. They discovered that Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking the county to rezone this forestry land to allow motorized off-road vehicle (ORV) trails throughout this DNR land.

This request from DNR comes at the request of a very active minority group of ORV users. They have been organized and vocal, working on this for the past two years. If anyone has been to Canada where these activities are allowed, you will see that the land is trashed and devastated with much erosion and packed soils. Their activities are noisy and destructive to the nature they invade.

Many years ago, the Whatcom County Council voted to forbid this activity on land zoned for commercial forestry; we must keep it this way. As climate change occurs our public forest land becomes ever more vulnerable to even minor abuses and this activity is not minor. Fires, erosion and landslides are possible consequences of such off-road activity. Even if a re-zone were done there will be scant resources for oversight and enforcement of any regulations made to monitor the harmful activity.

The proposal for a zoning amendment before the council is PLN-2018-0004. We can stop this request in its tracks if enough Whatcom County residents speak out. Call, write or email your county council member to speak out against this request by DNR. If our county council hears from enough concerned citizens, they have the option of not even considering the application.

The most important meeting to attend is the council meeting on Tuesday, February 27.
Speak out!

Ronna Loerch

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