Letters to the Editor -- March 01, 2001

Published on Thu, Mar 1, 2001
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Letters to the Editor

If it quacks like a duck...
The Editor:
Skallman Park not official? Skallman Park is an official park. It is as official as the airport is official. It was dedicated by mayor Amos Pine or Doc Bonilla as “Saving a jewel for future generations when the east side builds up.” The sign was put up by the city of Blaine and is to this day maintained by our taxes.

I hand cycle past the park at least three times a week. Despite being desecrated by the building on even more neighboring airport property, it is still a jewel. Take a ride there and see for yourself. Get out of the car and walk around the pond. It is still as peaceful as ever. I think it is the neatest city park we have.

If Skallman's park goes then I suggest the airport goes too. It just makes sense. The city council is using some type of Latin phrase to intimidate a fellow Borderite into cutting trees that have been around his home for generations; all for the sake of the airport. The citizens of Blaine are losing the last real secluded spot in east Blaine because of the airport.

The airport keeps getting smaller and smaller because more and more land is used for industrial building, but is costing more and more to run. So much so that we must sell or lease our little jewel all for the sake of 13 or 14 planes ... What are the people of Blaine getting back? A piece of ground across from the police department and possibly a huge new levy to build the new park. I’m all for getting the ground, but not at the expense of Skallman Park. Put it up to the voters to see what stays. I suggest that the park would come out the clear winner. Of course, I would rather they both stay.

We keep talking about tourism, yet we really don’t do anything to show we really do want tourism. One way would be to put in the bike lanes that we locals voted for. Odell Road is an excellent example. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember any third lane in the plans. I knew there were to be bike lanes. Where are they and those that were to be put in as part of our other Blaine road improvements? Every time I hear the city is going to “improve another road, do the whole ball of wax” I cringe. It means that there is going to be one less road that I will be able to safely ride anymore.

I sat in front of the old Blaine post office as we gathered signatures to save the airport and was a fervent supporter of Blaine’s vision of the future. But you mess with Skallman Park and you will have changed this voter and others into fervent opponents of the airport and a skeptic on the word of the council. We all know of the many “squeakers” that made it by only a few votes. It’s those votes that you are now alienating.

Finally, I am appalled that anyone would treat one of our more respected elders by asking him if they could tear down his park. I am surprised that you didn’t ask Mr. Skallman for a chainsaw to run right down there and cut the sign down. Knowing Mr. Skallman’s honor and character I’m sure he would have lent you one. Well, if you do, please cut down the airport sign as well because I for one will not support it anymore. Maybe this is what the council wants. Make us vengeful by taking Skallman Park and then when the next airport levy comes up, we vote no. Hmmm, works for me except I may have the tendency to vote no for any other levy presented in the future.

After writing this letter, I saw Mr. Skallman at the senior center. I asked him about the park and his exact words were, “I told them they could cut the trees. It will still be a great park.” I then sheepishly told him that they didn’t consider it a park and were planning on putting metal buildings on it. His words verbatim were, “Well, city council did approve the park, so it’s a park.” Yes, Mr. Skallman they did approve the park and they also dedicated it to the people of Blaine. I trust that the people of Blaine will stand up and be counted when it comes to our city treasures, as we did when saving the airport years ago.
Patrick Madsen
Blaine

A dog’s life
The Editor:
My name is Snowflake. I have a problem. Perhaps the city council can help. While I am always good and listen to mom and dad, my brother Happy and my sister Mitzy sometimes do foolish things, like running across the street without looking and going up to people they don’t know and scaring them. Like it is for me, the concept of public restrooms is foreign to them so they soil private property and public walkways. I am lucky, mom and dad almost always pick up after me. I wish other moms and dads would do that.

Another thing. Happy and Mitzy would feel much safer if others were also kept on a leash. We have been scared many times when strangers, many very aggressive, have rushed up to us. As I say, I am very nice and sweet but my brother and sister, like many others, should be restrained.
George Tranberg
Blaine

Get on the bus!
The Editor:
The ultimate solution to Puget Sound transportation problems involves the use of motor coaches, rather than a $12 billion subsidized train.

For far too long, the motor coach industry has tacitly accepted the status handed to us by our federal regulators. While other nations view motor coaches as prominent players in their transportation systems, our existing government structures and institutions perpetuate the old view of motor coaches, effectively treating them like the tail of the commercial vehicle dog.

We need to look at the bigger picture. A July 2000 report by R.L. Banks & Associates, stated that U.S. and Canadian motor coach operators carry 860 million passengers yearly. U.S. operators carry 774 passengers compared with 558 million airline passengers and 377 million on intercity rail. Motor coaches are not only the busiest mode of transportation, they are historically, year after year, the safest.

A motor coach can operate for a fraction of the cost of a train. You could run a 47, or even a 55 passenger motor coach every half hour, 24 hours a day, between Bellingham and Seattle/Tacoma for the next 1,534 years for $12 billion. Why spend more and still get less? If people want the romance of a train and choose to spend more money than necessary for basic intercity transportation, let them pay for it out of their own pocket.

A motor coach can operate on any highway. It is flexible enough to use alternative routes if main highways are blocked. Can a train do that? It is easy to add extra motor coaches to any run. If people want safe, reliable, affordable transportation that gives them an option to driving their personal car, then use a motor coach. Will a train running two, four, six or even eight times a day really take that many people out of their cars? Can we afford it?

Not that I am against rail. In some cases it is a great alternative, but it should be considered and treated as just that, one of several alternatives. If we are going to use public funds we need to include all alternatives, not just the most expensive ones.

For those on a recent Airport Ground Transportation Association airport tour in Baltimore, there was a sense that once more, rail connections were at the heart of the planning and funding process, and passengers utilizing rubber-tire conveyances such as taxi, van, limo and motor coach were not being given due consideration for the volumes of passengers they move from airport curbs each day. Do you suppose that rail planning enthusiasts believe that if they make the alternatives much more difficult to use, people in significant numbers will use the rail service they think we should use?
Larry Wickkiser
Ferndale

April: the cruelest month
The Editor:
I hate this time of year. Of course, I’m talking about tax time. This is the time of year that we can actually see tangible proof of how Uncle Sam is, pardon the expression, screwing us over.

I got my W2 form last week and started working up my 1040, filling out all the appropriate blocks and completing all the required schedules. When I finished I figured I will get a refund of $72 and change. In past years I would be jumping for joy that I would be getting a “bonus” from the IRS.

But as the years have gone by and as government has been getting bigger, I don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling anymore. It’s more like a bad case of indigestion. I took a good hard look at the withholding blocks on the W2. Taking into account federal income tax, social security tax, and the Medicare tax, the federal government was taking just shy of 20 percent of my total income, 20 percent. That is nearly one fifth of my total income for the year. Add to that property taxes, sales tax, various excise taxes, and licensing fees, I am paying at least 50 percent of my total income in various federal, state, and local taxes. I am working two and a half days a week just to pay taxes. This is insane.

What is being done with all this money? Feeding people? Some maybe, but there are still hungry and homeless people. Fixing the roads? Well some, but there are still plenty of potholes. Educating our children? Some of them, but a lot of them still graduate as functionally illiterate.

Then I got to thinking, did I give the government permission to take this money out of my check? Am I giving this money to the government voluntarily? The answer to both of those questions is no. The definition of “stealing” is someone or something taking money from me and I have no recourse. If someone entered your home armed with a gun and took 50 percent of all the money you made, you would be outraged. You’d want that person to spend a sizable amount of his life in the gray bar motel.

Why are we not as outraged when the government takes this amount of money from us each year? Just think of what you would do with that money if you didn’t have to give it up. Would you send your kids to a private school? Would you take that dream vacation that you’ve always wanted to take? Would you give more money to your church or favorite charity? Would you use it to take care of your elderly parents? Don’t you think you know what’s best to do with your money that you worked hard for? Think of all the extra hours put in at work just to make ends meet. Don’t you think you deserve to keep what you earn, or spend it, save it, or give it away as you think is right?

Now if governments’ only responsibility was to keep us safe in our homes and a free market took care of the rest, we would be able to keep most of what we worked hard for. “It’s a pipe dream” you say to yourself. But what if there was an organization who’s goal it is to help ensure that the “pipe dream” comes true someday. It does exist. It is the Libertarian Party. Their goal is to limit government to its constitutional function. If you would like to learn more about the Libertarian Party, you can contact its website at www.lp.org or you can call the Libertarian Party of Whatcom County at 360/733-6410.
Terry Pilant
Blaine

Letters Policy
The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank-you letters should be limited to 10 names. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please send your letter to:
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E-mail:editor@thenorthernlight.com

Letters Policy

The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

Please email letters to letters@thenorthernlight.com