Letters to the Editor: March 1-7

The Editor:

Congratulations to Paso Del Norte and Black Forest Steak House who were voted Best of the Bite! This year’s Bite of Blaine featured 17 Blaine and Birch Bay food vendors and was so delicious! Our thanks go out to the staff of Umpqua Bank, Blaine Healing Arts, The Northern Light, Blaine Girl Scouts and many other volunteers for putting it all together.

We especially appreciate all who attended the event, and those who donated auction items that helped to raise over $14,000 for our awesome Old Fashioned 4th of July.

Carroll Solomon, chamber secretary

The Editor:

This is a response to the letter advising us to be on the lookout for petitions for I-1600; I will be on the lookout, but probably not for the reasons intended in this letter.

I’m sure we can all agree that in the most prosperous country in the world, a person shouldn’t go broke keeping his family healthy, but handing it over to the government isn’t the solution. The incorrectly titled ‘Affordable Healthcare Act’ should have taught us that. The supporters of this initiative have this utopian vision of a flawlessly-run system totally void of any greed or corruption, the only interests served being are those of the grateful beneficiaries of the state’s services and benevolence.

However, anyone who has ever had to deal with a governmental agency on any level sees a system run by lobbyists and special interest groups that will eventually be crippled by corruption, apathy and incompetence.

My own personal experience with state run healthcare took me several months dealing with three different agencies, and ended up costing me hundreds more per month than before they offered mandatory help to my problem.

As humans, we have a tendency toward imposing simple solutions to solve complex issues thinking that if you just do it my way, all of our cares will vanish. We often don’t see that we’re simply trading one set of problems for another – sometimes with disastrous results.

Steve Berndtson

The Editor:

Two of our founding principles are not working well. The right to bear arms (including machine guns) which, in many cases, takes away the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The evidence lies in the more than 32,000 U.S. gun deaths in 2017.

When we suffered a terrorist attack by airplanes in 2001 we were able to go to war in the Middle East to prevent further attacks by foreign nationals. To that end we have bent the laws, sacrificed the lives of our military, spent upward of a trillion dollars and restricted many from entering the country. Citizens now endure pat downs, X-rays and removal of our shoes in airports throughout the land. That also intrudes on our right to privacy. But we put up with it to prevent foreign inspired terrorism. It is past time to tackle home grown terrorism and evidence shows the sale of AR-15s and bump stocks are a good starting place. When confronted with a single shot pistol or rifle you might have a sporting chance to dodge the bullet. Or if you are practiced, calm, cool and collected, you can defend yourself from an intruder with one or two well placed shots.

Of course, that assumes that you will be wide awake and have your weapon at hand, loaded and ready to fire 24/7, at home, work, church, mall, school, grocery store, McDonalds or on the freeway. And as for spending money on better mental health diagnosis and treatment, I’m all for it, beginning with Wayne Lapierre, head of our third political party, the National Rifle Association. Note: It is a rifle association not a machine gun association.

Alice Brown
Birch Bay

The Editor:

This past Friday’s closure of Blaine schools due to a threatening email has reminded me that the recent school shootings in Parkland, Florida could happen here. Washington, like Florida, allows 18-year-olds to purchase an assault weapon (like the AR-15) with no waiting period and no background check. The state legislature has failed to rectify this.

I believe that assault weapons like the AR-15 have no place in civilian society. They are offensive weapons of war meant only to kill. These weapons put all of us at risk.

I have been inspired by the bravery and determination of the students, parents and teachers of Parkland who survived this horrific event; they are making our elected leaders accountable for not fixing the problem of gun violence. Corporations are already severing their ties with the NRA which has not been helpful in solving gun violence.

I will call our state and federal representatives and demand that assault weapons be banned and every gun purchaser have a background check. I invite all who read this to do the same. If our representatives will not act, then let us work to elect those who will. We need more vigilance and accountability, not more guns.

Layne Boyce
Birch Bay

The Editor:

I know the name of Nikolas Cruz but not one name of his victims. Society has failed to make any progress in stopping school shootings in the 40 years since the “I don’t like Monday’s shooter.” In fact, the frequency and level of carnage has increased in our celebrity-driven culture.

A class action lawsuit against major media outlets which have contributed to the propagation of mass shootings by facilitating the shooters’ desire for fame would allow many people who have suffered loss or injury to unite and force change.

“Freedom of speech” is about restraining the government’s ability to suppress speech but there are limitations; scream fire in a crowded theater and you would be exposed to criminal and civil penalties. The First Amendment does not allow you to expose others to danger. You may not incite others to criminal acts. The First Amendment allows media outlets to speak their minds but it should not protect them from the consequences of their actions.

Do mass shooters want fame? If you Google that phrase there are over 300,000 responses, most in the affirmative and most from stories produced by the media. They know these killers want fame and they continue to give it to them. What purpose does it serve to know every single detail of these killers’ lives? Leave it at a “19-year-old male” and no photograph and maybe killings by these copycat, celebrity seeking monsters would be reduced.

This is just one component which should be pursued in the effort to stop mass shootings. Increased security at schools, improved gun laws and more enforcement and treating mental health issues have to be addressed. However, if I was injured or lost a loved one in a mass shooting I would get together a group and contact a class action suit attorney. The media does not have the right make celebrities out of these killers and put the public in danger.

Dave Berry

The Editor:

The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been called a tax reform plan but is really a tax cut plan, showering taxpayers with rate reductions without offsetting the full cost by closing loopholes or raising taxes elsewhere. This plan adds billions of dollars to the national deficit, while sacrificing virtually all federal programs (National Park Service, US Forest Service, EPA, NOAA, etc.) except the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, which will receive significant increases.

It results in a $1.4 trillion benefit to large corporations and will cost our nation almost $2 trillion! It repealed the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, limited deductions for state and local income taxes and property taxes, and reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. It cuts Medicaid by $1 trillion over 10 years, cuts the medical expense deduction for 9 million people with high medical costs, and results in 15 million Americans losing their health insurance.

This tax overhaul revives the so-called “Laffer Curve” supply-side economics inspired Reaganomics from the 1980s. Economists use it to argue that it is possible to generate higher revenues by cutting tax rates, but evidence from the Congressional Budget Office (2011) analysis does not support this.

Lower tax rates by the Reagan administration decreased tax revenues significantly and contributed to a massive increase in federal debt during the 1980s, with income for the top 1 percent nearly doubling, while income for the other income levels increased only marginally, and income actually decreased for the bottom quintile (CBO 2011).

During Reagan’s presidency, the national debt grew from $997 billion to $2.85 trillion, leading to the US moving from the world’s largest international creditor to the world’s largest debtor nation.

The CBO (2017) determined that this new tax plan will actually increase taxes in 2019 for 13.8 million households, earning less than $200,000 a year, and by 2025, 21.4 million households will have steeper tax bills. Is this really what the American people want again; a plan that even President George Bush Sr. called “voodoo economics?”

D. Brady Green

The Editor:

Another day, another heartbreaking mass shooting. Although our schools and concert venues have become increasingly unsafe, senator Doug Ericksen can’t see his way to doing anything about it.

The Las Vegas shooter in October used a “bump stock” – a trigger modification that turns a semi-automatic weapon into a machine gun – to kill 58 and wound over 500 in less than 10 minutes.

To its credit, our state senate just passed a bill banning bump stocks – with bipartisan support. But Ericksen opposed it, saying a ban in Washington wouldn’t prevent a purchase in another state.

It’s up to our state to protect us. Other states should step up, and many will, to protect their own. Saying that one law won’t automatically prevent every mass shooting is no excuse for doing nothing.

Senator Ericksen seems to favor doing nothing.

Myra Ramos
Lummi Island

The Editor:

We all felt the impact of climate change last summer when wildfire smoke from BC fires caused the air quality in Bellingham to resemble that of Beijing. And should we not heed the warnings of a 2016 Zillow study, stating that almost 2,000 homes in Birch Bay and Blaine will be underwater by 2100. The cost of climate change is not just economic. According to the World Health Organization, it’s the greatest threat to global health in the 21st Century!

Depressing? Yes. But the good news is our elected officials in Olympia can take action on climate by passing key pieces of legislation, including a bill that would put us on a path to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.

Kudos to senator Kevin Ranker for sponsoring this important bill and generating bipartisan support for it. We need to make the switch away from harmful fossil fuels and promote the use of clean energy alternatives. Doing so will not only protect our health and the land that we love, but it will also create new jobs and bolster our economy for years to come.

We must put an end to our dependence on fossil fuels now. Ranker – lead the way!

Pam Borso

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