Letters to the Editor -- February 28, 2002

Published on Thu, Feb 28, 2002
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Letters to the Editor


Visas for guns?
The Editor:
On behalf of the Custer Sportsmen’s Club, I would like to alert your organization to a recent temporary rule adopted by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) that has had an immediate and draconian impact on the economy of Whatcom County. The Custer Sportsmen’s Club has 105 members who live in Canada and travel to Whatcom County on a frequent basis to participate in the shooting sports at our facilities on Birch Bay-Lynden Road and at our shotgun range near Lynden. In addition to these members, the competitive events sponsored by the club attract literally hundreds of Canadian sportspersons each year. The economic impact of these people is not insignificant.
Until very recently, federal laws prohibiting the importation of firearms into the United States by non-immigrant aliens contained an exemption for persons engaged in competitive shooting sports, and legally licensed hunters. Effective on Monday, February 19, 2002, that exemption was abolished. In place of the exemption, the BATF, in its new regulation, now requires all previously exempted aliens who desire to participate in competitive shooting sports to apply for a permit issued by the federal government to bring firearms across the border into the United States. There are several problems with the new requirement.
First of all, there was no advance notice of the rule change. The rule is being adopted to implement a law passed by the Congress in 1998, yet is being adopted as the equivalent of an emergency regulation. If it took the agency four years to get around to the issue, we fail to see the sudden emergency. Secondly, the permitting process chosen by the BATF is administered by U.S. Customs. Customs has taken the position, appropriately, in our view, that the permit required by the BATF does not apply to the firearms in question. Consequently, anyone attempting to bring in a firearm using the process required by the BATF in all likelihood will result in the firearms being confiscated by U.S. Customs. Consequently, until this bureaucratic mess can be sorted out, none of our members can risk coming to our facilities to participate in our activities. For merchants, this means approximately 100 lunches a week that will not be purchased; it means 100 tanks of gasoline a week that will not be purchased; it also means that untold trips to the various stores and malls in the area will not be taken.
On behalf of the Custer Sportsmen’s Club I respectfully urge you to request our legislative delegation to prevail upon the BATF to remedy this egregious matter as soon as possible.
Joseph Alesi
Blaine

In defense of cooperation, not competition
The Editor:
I believe I understand some of the changes necessary to create and guarantee a worthwhile life for all of mankind. The first and most important need is to modify the so-called free enterprise system and
its resulting monopoly of human
necessities.
Competitive economics implies struggle, not with Mother Nature, but with other humans in supplying the needs of mankind. Therefore, the strongest and most ruthless are sure to come out on top and in control of millions of people’s lives.
Limits must be placed on ownership of land and physical properties. Government and co-operative guarantees must be established separate from private enterprise so that every person knows that the means to earn a living is available to him.
Cooperative enterprise can create a whole new attitude among people, when they realize they do not need to compete or struggle with others in order to have a good life.
We should not be subsidizing American corporations who move their activities to foreign countries, with the resulting damage to American families. Rather, subsidize cooperative wholesale and manufacturing operations that provide jobs in our own country and make it feasible for communities and areas to organize their own retail cooperative. These cooperatives would in turn be part owners of the wholesale manufacturing supply.
This is only part of the changes necessary to make our society responsive to the needs of the American people, rather than to corporations. We need to learn to respect others’ rights. Much of the time we don’t do that.
One real obstacle to world peace in years past was lack of food. Wars were fought, land was stolen, simply to produce more things to eat. Well, that’s no longer true. We have the capability now of feeding everyone in the world. Certainly in our own country there shouldn’t be anyone going to bed hungry, like so many thousands of children are doing today. We need to find a system that will convince people that it’s to their benefit to get along. To cooperate, rather than fight. Until we do that, things are not going to be peaceful or sensible in this world.
Trav Skallman
Blaine

Traps: a good idea?
The Editor:
I am writing this letter in support of SSB 5831 which calls for the complete repeal of I-713 (the trapping initiative). The reason for the reversal is that our state senators felt as though the Washington state voter was fooled into voting for a ban in trapping in which the extent and the repercussions of the ban were not thoroughly understood.
The problem with the ban was that it resulted in a population explosion of destructive animals. These animals have been responsible for a heavy loss of farm livestock, as well as destruction of some irrigation waterways. They have also exploded in urban areas causing some deaths of domestic animals and destruction of private and public property and added financial burden to our local, state and federal agencies. In fact, these destructive animals have actually killed some of the animals that most people in Washington were trying to protect.
The emotional campaign that convinced many to support this ban didn’t tell us that banning trapping may eventually put my dogs’ and cats’ lives at stake. I appreciate the good leadership shown by the Senate in supporting this difficult reversal and urge the House to show the same forward thinking.
Brad Otto
Blaine

Transit: how 'bout that?
The Editor:
The W.T.A. is going to need our help if it is going to continue as a growing, vital part of our developing community. Presently, our community – Blaine and Birch Bay – is served by W.T.A.’s fixed route 70X Express bus, Dial-A-Ride service and specialized transportation for the disabled and elderly. The 70X bus provides four runs daily and three on Saturday. Dial-A-Ride will get you to the 70X bus from your door if you can’t otherwise get to the bus. Specialized transportation will take care of your county transportation needs if you have special transportation needs. W.T.A., in addition to Bellingham, also serves the eastern part of the county – such as Everson, Sumas, Nooksack and Lynden. Ferndale and the rest of western Whatcom County are also part of the system. All this for just 50 cents a ride.
Last year, W.T.A. boarded two and a half million riders in the entire system – second highest ridership in the state. The 70X bus boarded 28,000 riders alone. Dial-A-Ride in Blaine-Birch Bay boarded almost 9,000 riders and specialized transportation in northwest Whatcom County served almost 2,000 riders. As our county continues to grow and develop, W.T.A. will need to expand its service. The transportation demands will continue to grow and an expanding W.T.A. will need to keep pace with that growth. If the election to support W.T.A. with an additional 3/10 of one percent sales tax fails on March 12, service will be drastically curtailed. Once the service is cut back it will be difficult and time consuming, if not almost impossible, to get it back as the expanding needs of the county determine. Three-tenths of one-percent is just three cents on ten dollars – a small price to pay to keep a great service running. Eight of nine counties have already passed ballot issues to keep their transit systems running. Let’s keep ours running too – please vote yes for transit on March 12. Even if you don’t normally ride the bus on a regular basis yourself, please help support your neighbors who don’t have a car or can’t otherwise drive but need the W.T.A.
Mike Myers
Blaine city council
Blaine

The Editor:
I object to the state government’s large proposed gas tax increase because it is inflationary. Individual vehicle owners pay the tax for their own use and continue to pay as truckers and businesses raise their prices to consumers to make-up for increased expenses.
It should also be considered that the better wage rages of highway construction workers, engineers and bureaucrats are in effect being subsidized by people on fixed incomes and by people whose jobs do not pay as well.
Washington state ranks fifth in its level of taxation among the states. The government was apparently unable to address transportation issues during bubble economic times, and it is not business-like to expect taxpayers to pay more in the hope that they can succeed as the economic bubble continuous to burst. Also, I believe that we were repeatedly promised by the governors during the last election that we would have the opportunity to vote on any gas tax increases.
Lucy Chambers
Blaine

Spineless, brainless
The Editor:
Will somebody please explain? Just what is it our schools do? If one pays attention to our local papers and radio stations it seems that our hard earned dollars are spent so that a bunch of jumping jocks can waste their youth playing silly games.
The utter lack of any worthwhile knowledge is further exemplified in the legislator from Snohomish who wants to change the name of a road that nobody knew had a name in the first place. Did anyone ask: “Why was Jefferson Davis elected to head a country?” Because he was a statesman of note in mid-19th century America, not just a self-serving political hack, the like of which we are now inundated with. As a far-seeing secretary of war he had promoted the interests of Washington Territory.
It is interesting to note that old Jeff, like Lincoln, was a moderate. In the time of crisis the people of both north and south pushed aside men of extremist views to elect middle-of-the-road leaders.
I will now put in a shameless plug for the Washington Civil War Association. They will be holding another reenactment at Hovander Park this Labor Day weekend. This event will be new and improved and more spectacularly friendly. There are many knowledgeable people in the W.C.W.A. who would be delighted to share their knowledge with you.
I am constantly hearing of how we must prepare “our children” for the future. How can a nation know where it is going when it doesn’t know where it has been? If you wish to understand why we are the greatest nation on the face of the earth today, please do not consult politicians or clueless college professors.
Dunshee is a Democrat, not a Republican as reported in the article. It is hard, I know, to distinguish the twain. Always remember, gentle reader, the great handicaps they labor under to serve us. Repulsicans (sic) are gutless. And spineless. Dumbocrats (sic) are merely brain-less.
Mark Aaron Aamot
Custer

A beautiful bite!
The Editor:
This years Bite of Blaine was successful beyond our wildest expectations. On behalf of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce, I want to thank the 17 participating Blaine and Birch Bay entrants for serving up a bounty of offerings from which to choose.
Thank you again this year to the Resort Semiahmoo for providing the perfect venue for an evening of this caliber, and a special thank you to all those people who came, sampled and had an absolutely great evening.
Also, I want to encourage all those who attended this years event, to support those fine eating establishments that allowed you to sample their offerings while helping our chamber of commerce raise funds for ongoing community events.
Pam Christianson
President
Blaine Chamber of Commerce

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.

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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