Letters to the Editor -- March 22, 2001

Published on Thu, Mar 22, 2001
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Letters to the Editor

Moratorium maligned
The Editor:
The city of Blaine in all its wisdom has struck again. I am talking about the moratorium against manufactured homes. This has got to be the most ridiculous idea since they logged the watershed.
Manufactured homes look much better than most of the rat traps that are here now. To keep people from having the type of home they want on their own property does not sound like a free country to me.
It is time to stop letting a few people tell the rest of us how to live and what to do. If I want to put a manufactured home on property that I bought and pay taxes on that should be my business, not some ding-dong at city hall.
Bill Wilder Jr.
Blaine

The Editor:
In Meg Olson’s article “Moratorium on manufactured homes extended,” she neglected to mention that there was a public hearing on the subject at the last city council meeting before the council voted to extend the moratorium. The article would have been more balanced had that been mentioned. I was the only person who chose to speak during the public hearing. Here is the text of my remarks:
This is an issue of private property rights. Whether or not a private property owner chooses to put a manufactured home or a site-built home on his lot is of no business to anyone but the property owner. In one case you have a home that is built in a factory and is moved on to the lot and in the other case the home is built on site. In either case the owner has his home. It doesn’t matter that the neighbors think the value of their property will go down, even though that fear is debatable. As they do not own their neighbors’ property, they have no right to dictate what type of home he chooses to place on the lot. The neighbors also have no right to use the force of government to dictate what type of home is put on the lot.
There are ways that such disputes can be resolved. One is that the sellers of property stipulate in their sales contract that a manufactured home cannot be built on the lot.
Another way is for neighbors to form privately run “condominium” associations, so that anyone that chooses to move into a given neighborhood knows from the beginning that if they buy property within the association, the sellers of property will have specific stipulations written into their sales contracts. Or you may simply purchase adjacent lots.
When moratoriums or ordinances are enacted that restrict the rights of private property owners who choose to place manufactured homes on their property, you deny them the opportunity of purchasing “affordable housing.” Manufactured homes allow those who would ordinarily not be able to purchase their own site built home a chance at home ownership. In most cases the quality and appearance of a manufactured home is equal to or exceeds that of a site built home.
Please place yourselves in the position of a young couple trying to purchase their first home and then having someone tell you that you can’t because it is a manufactured home.
I strenuously urge council not to extend this moratorium.
Terry Pilant
Blaine

More talking dogs
The Editor:
Hi! My name is Duchess. I am a husky. I live in Blaine. I love to go to the park at the marina. I hear that some people are trying to make the park a leash only park. I really hope they don’t. My mom is a little bit disabled and can’t walk enough miles to get my energy out, and she is very careful not to let me go loose if there are people in the park. But sometimes I get to play with other dogs, we run and jump and have so much fun.
We walk around town sometimes and see a lot of dogs tied up on leashes and they don’t have a yard to run in. I feel sorry for them because I don’t have a yard either.
There aren’t very many places left to really have fun and play. If I have to be kept on a leash all the time I hope they at least have certain hours we can run free – maybe early or late in the evening.
To make things worse my mom brought home a year-old puppy and if she doesn’t get to run she drives me crazy.
So please Blaine people, don’t stop us (the dogs of Blaine) from having a place to run and play or you will have a whole town of unhappy dogs.
By the way, shame on the two legged animals that left 40 ounce beer bottles all over the park. We just picked them all up.
Judith Powers for Duchess Powers
Blaine

Parting shot
The Editor:
As a parting gift to the city of Blaine lets look at the legacy Mr. Hobberlin, along with the approval of the majority of the council, have left us with. And just so there is no question as to the figures I will use these figures that came direct from city hall under the freedom of information act.
(1) Since 1995 to 2000 under his leadership and with the backing of the majority, council increased Mortillaro’s salary and benefits from $75,936 to $101,056 for a town of 3,500 residents, as financially devastated as we are. Who else do you know that got increases like that?
(2) Under his leadership, along with a majority of followers, he is leaving us with an unprecedented number of lawsuits against us and our legal costs have gone from a low $35,679 in 1995 to a whopping $138,233 in 2000. Can we afford this type of incompetence in our government? It will be higher this year.
(3) He and his followers have voted for rate increases, regardless of the financial impacts upon the businesses of the residents, and have instituted fees so outrageous that no business of any magnitude will consider locating here. They go to other communities where they are welcomed easier.
(4) Since 1999 Mr. Hobberlin has used $2,594.22 of your money to make numerous trips, one of which was to Washington, D.C. supposedly for the wastewater treatment plant, with no discernible benefit.
(5) He is leaving us with a legacy of debt, created by his leadership and that of Mr. Mortillaro, that our children’s children will be trying to get out from under.
I am consistently amazed at the blindness of this town, that they think for some reason these two people walked on water, when they have pushed us into a financial mess like no other city in this county and are walking away scott-free with no recourse, much the same as Clinton did. Still, there are a few out there that want to pay homage to them, as if they did something wonderful to earn respect.
Respect is something you earn, and I don’t think making us the laughing stock of the county, and the state, much of a legacy.
Have we become so mindless that we don’t care where we are headed and how we get there?
There is a change in the wind, and it will be coming soon, and now is the time to act on it.
David White
Blaine

A better system?
The Editor:
The manager/council system has left us unmercifully in debt. The city of Blaine should go back to the mayor-council form of government, where the local people can manage the city. We have local people on the Blaine planning commission.The people who make up the chamber of commerce are local citizens as well as business owners. We bring in high-priced city managers that don’t know anything except to build a regime for themselves and then they say, “Look what we’ve done.” As soon as they have the city in financial trouble they move on to a bigger city.
Here are the figures the city of Blaine has on the city ledger.
In the last 10 years, wages for four city managers totalled $832,000. The legal fees recorded paid in the last 10 years to handle several lawsuits has totaled $727,584. The senior center legal fees for the roof repair came to $26,321 and the roof still leaks.
The greatest waste of your money has been consultant fees. All they give for your money are books and papers, which tell you what you should do. The cost for the last 10 years comes to a total of $6,055,794. Now, voter, it’s time to total all of the cost, which comes to a total of $7,615,254 of your money which the city manager system has spent on your behalf. Can you see any changes that benefit you?
The time to go back to the mayor-council form of government may be near before we go into possible bankruptcy. The manager-council form of government has left us with a potential $30 million lawsuit, which the Lummi filed last year, and then Larry Freeman is suing the city for his land that he can’t use.
Now the council is talking about putting the sewer line into Birch Bay. Cost estimates have been as high as $50 million plus a 10 percent cost over-run. How much more can you afford to pay?
Are there other alternatives or are they just guessing? What we need is for people to come together and we can do a better job ourselves than the city manager who’s spending our money. They’ve raised your property tax four percent, and they are talking about raising your light bill 16 percent and raising your water rates eight percent and your sewer rate 50 percent. How can you cover this debt?
The former city manager and some council members have taken credit for the street improvements in front of your home. Remember, the new streets are paid by you, the citizens of Blaine, with a levy that you voted to pay for.
There’s something wrong with the present form of government in Blaine because Ferndale, Anacortes and Wenatchee have returned to the mayor-council form of government. Ferndale has increased their building growth with Blaine having less.
There is a petition coming out to go back to the mayor-council form of government. Let’s change the current form of city government and its rubber stampers. The people in this town are smart enough to operate a small city of 3,500 people. Please sign the petition so that we can get it on the ballot, then you the homeowners can vote for the change of government that is so badly needed. It’s your choice. The only way to change our form of government is to bring it to a vote. It’s money coming out of your pocket.
J. G. Andy Anderson
Blaine

Math coach missed deserved kudos
The Editor:
This letter is in regard to the article in the March 8 edition of The Northern Light “Mathletes Shine at Home.” The article highlighted the accomplishments of Blaine elementary and middle school students at the Whatcom County Math Championships.
I have attended the county math championships for the past six years and this was the strongest showing for Blaine students I have witnessed during that time period. These students owe their success to hard work (the fifth graders attended before and after school math sessions for months before the competition in addition to their regular math classes), natural ability, great teaching and coaching, and the dedicated people who organize these competitions each year.
As a parent of one of these “mathletes” I would like to thank not only Brian Chang, who has given three early mornings a week since the beginning of the school year to teach an extra math class to my fifth grade son and several other students, but also other key people.
John Dougan has been the weekly after school math championships coach for the fifth graders for the past two years. Like Brian, John has volunteered his time to help these students cultivate their interest and enjoyment of mathematics. The teaching, coaching and mentoring that John has provided has helped make my son and others believe that they truly are “mathletes.”
I am not even sure how long Bill Wright and Gail Wildermuth have been working as a team to organize both the county and state math championships, but it is longer than the six years that I have attended! It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to organize one of these competitions. Their dedication to our children is much appreciated.
And lastly, I would like to thank the teachers and administrators of the Blaine school district who have encouraged and supported the math championships over the years.
Karen Mulholland
Blaine

The Editor:
In your March 8-14 edition you ran a story on the mathletes of Blaine and their accomplishments at the Whatcom County Math Competition.
The article failed to mention John Dougan, who was the 5th grader’s primary coach for the three teams who competed. Mr. Dougan has volunteered his time for the past two years and was a crucial part of the success of these teams. I just want to acknowledge Mr. Dougan’s commitment to these kids and let him know that he is greatly appreciated by both the kids and parents. They couldn’t have done it without him!
Laura Sitko
Point Roberts

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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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