Letters to the Editor -- April 10, 2003

Published on Thu, Apr 10, 2003
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Letters to the Editor

Songbird extinction
The Editor:
Over the past several months, I�ve conducted a campaign which I dubbed �Save the Songbirds.� The reason for this is that the second major cause of songbird extinction are free-roaming pet and feral cats. The number one cause has been habitat destruction.
I have passed out about 200 flyers to folks at the mall explaining the issue. In addition (with Colleen�s help, bless her!), we�ve placed over 200 phone calls (at random) to local residents; we asked a series of questions on the matter to gauge public opinion.
Let me revisit the issue. There are over 100 million cats in the U.S., 40 million of which are feral; about 30 percent of their diet are birds. Of the 60 million pet cats, roughly 40 million roam freely.
In our phone conversations with local residents, we asked six questions of pet cat owners and two of non-cat owners. Of pet cat owners: 1. Sixty-four percent allow their pets to roam freely; 2. Ninety percent of pet cats have been neutered (a Blaine ordinance requires this by law); 3. Only 40 percent favor licensing; 4. Roughly 75 percent would favor humanely trapping feral cats. Now a crucial question. If requested, would you keep your cats indoors? Sixty-two percent say yes.
Now to those folks who do not own pet cats; only two questions were asked: 1. Have roaming cats been a problem on your property. Sixty-four percent said yes. 2. Would you favor ordinances to restrict roaming cats? Eighty percent said yes.
Quite a number of non-cat owners were really upset with their neighbors on this point, but a majority would not complain; they wanted to be a �good� neighbor!
The city of Ferndale has passed very restrictive laws on; no more than four cats per household; they must be neutered; they must be licensed; and they must be kept indoors. Let me suggest something much simpler; keep your cats indoors (I do). What would this solution accomplish? Your cats would be saved from the danger of coyotes, stray dogs, birds of prey, disease and traffic; your neighbors would perhaps be oh so grateful; and songbirds will be saved.
Lest you think this a bit arbitrary, consider dog owners; their pets must be leashed. Many were not happy with this law (dogs are still running around) but civility and neighborliness demanded it.
It�s crucial that feral cats be humanely trapped.
In my ignorance years ago, I fed a cabal of semi-wild cats and found homes when I could for the offspring. I watched as most of the young died of some obscure disease. I watched these flea-bitten critters suffer from every imaginable affliction. I picked up carcasses in nearby empty lots, killed by stray dogs, raccoons, or whatever. Better to trap these forsaken critters and find them homes or end their misery by euthanasia.
Then there�s habitat destruction, the number one cause of bird extinction. Why does every �empty� lot have to be butchered when the brush and other vegetation can provide nesting, food and protection to a variety of creatures, including birds? In our parks and waterfront areas, why not choose trees and shrubs that are not only beautiful but harbor wild birds. Value the wild, broken, undeveloped islands of wildness within the community? Does every section of the land have to look like a well-kept golf course?
Our country is now in another �age of anxiety.� We�ll all, I�m sure, reevaluate what really counts in life, simple things we may once have taken for granted. Each spring morn I hear the songs of the finches, melodies that stir my soul, lighten my existence. What a pity if, in our indifference, those melodies by degrees are heard no more.
Ken Knutsen

Artifical spit?
The Editor:

I can not allow the article about the development of the Seagrass Cottages on Semiahmoo spit to go by without a comment. It�s just too good of an opportunity to pass.
Jonathan Syre has suggested that when Trillium cuts down the old eagle roots snag that they will install a new artificial snag. I think that is a great idea and I think we should build on that theme.
For instance, the new navigational marker in the channel near the hotel doesn�t allow as much room for the cormorants to dry their wings. So, how about an artificial cormorant roost? Then, maybe he could scatter artificial oysters and artificial clams in the sand. Drayton Harbor residents could have artificial clam bakes at their family reunions!
When the master plan changes and a casino is operating, perhaps we could use those clams in the slot machines. I love it when a plan comes together like this.
Joe Rieg

Opinion is not everyone's
The Editor:

After watching the news Monday night on King TV, we decided that we as Americans need to apologize to our Canadian neighbors, especially to the lady and her daughter who received that cruel, ridiculous note on her car windshield while shopping at Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham.
We do not condone thoughtless, insensitive jerks putting forth their infectious cowardly opinions insinuating they are ours also. Among the thousands of us living near the border, I hope the acts of one misguided individual won�t be taken seriously.
Ed and Pat Albrecht

Many support U.S.
The Editor:

I am a Canadian who was born and raised in Canada. Having said that, I spend many months each year in the United States.
I spend my time and money in the U.S. as I find the weather in Arizona and elsewhere to my liking, but more importantly I have a very deep respect for the country and its people.
We would be hard pressed to find anyplace else in the world where the people were more open and friendly than the U.S. Yes, there are idiots like everywhere else but get used to them, they are an international breed.
I just want to tell my American friends that there are many, many thousands of us in Canada who support President Bush and the stand you are taking in Iraq. When you listen to the atrocities, rape rooms etc. that exist in Iraq, and comments from the people of Iraq, we have to feel blessed that there are leaders like Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair and some others in the world who are trying to stop this tyrant.
I recall that Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain was unpopular and faced considerable opposition in Britain and elsewhere prior to World War II but thank God for him or we all would be speaking German and Japanese. This was a time in history where Britain and Canada and other nations were fighting a tyrant like Saddam without the help of the U.S. which fortunately came later. Throughout history there are a few great leaders who do the right thing rather than the popular thing and Prime Minister Blair and President Bush may be in that category.
The UN is supposed to be an organization created to deal with the ills of the world but has to some extent been the vehicle of promoting and maintaining these regimes. With France and others being significant customers of Iraq�s oil while along with the Russians selling them arms, and with the Germans having built Saddam�s bunkers for him, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure where their priorities are.
The stand my government has taken and the ignorant comments of some of the elected officials are an embarrassment to any rational person, and their opinions do not represent a large number of us in this country. There have been numerous rallies held across Canada in support of your president and the coalition and more being planned, most of which receive very little play in the press but nevertheless support is here. Do not tar us all with the same brush.
God Bless America and Canada.
B. E. Biggs
Surrey, B. C.

Thanks to everyone
The Editor:

We would like to thank all of you for your prayers, cards, flowers, calls, food and donations in our time of grief over the loss of our beloved son and grandson, Christopher Walsh. Thank you to the volunteer fire department and medics.
A special thank you to our neighbor, Virginia Wampler, whose daughters, Peggy and Vicky, prepared and served all of the wonderful food at the services.
The Walsh Family

Freedom, freedom
The Editor:

I would like to respond to �Saddened, Fearful,� a letter in last week�s paper written by Stephanie Jeffery.
Ms. Jeffery, I would like you to know that I have had my car vandalized while parked in Canada on two occasions. The first time I was 18 and my car was spray painted with anti-American slurs. The second time I was in my 30s and my car was keyed with similar slurs. During the infamous Vancouver hockey riot a friend of mine was assaulted and his car heavily vandalized simply because it had American license plates.
The reason you are not aware of this is that when these incidents occur they don�t make front page news in the Vancouver papers! Ignorance is not exclusive to one side of the border. Should I be fearful to travel in Canada?
Ignorance is alive and well in your letter. Please, pick up a dictionary and look up the word �democracy.� I can assure you that there is no mention of compliance with anything coming from the United Nations.
The United Nations was formed shortly after World War II, so are you suggesting that prior to this democracy did not exist? Despite the confusion in Florida during our last presidential election the United States of America is indeed a democracy.
Freedom of speech is also doing just fine. I know of no case where the U.S. government has stopped any American citizen from expressing his/her views. One thing that people don�t seem to understand in both of our countries is that in the U.S. freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from consequences. Think about it!
There are any number of things a person can say that will cause them to be fired, ridiculed, criticized, and/or shunned. Freedom of speech protects American citizens from censorship and prosecution by the government. A perfect example of this is what happened to Peter Arnett. Mr. Arnett did something that his employer found intolerable and he was fired. He will not face criminal charges because he broke no laws.
In my opinion our constitution is fine without your suggested footnotes. I�ll take our system over any other in the world.
Scott Claymore
Olympia, WA

Respect neighbors
The Editor:

Tensions between the United States and Canada have been strained due to the Canadian government�s position to not actively support the U.S. in the Iraqi war.
Last week this was evident through the misguided efforts of an individual who placed notes on Canadian vehicles telling the owners they were not welcome and to go home.
We hope that this type of anti-Canadian activity does not occur again, but we can�t be certain. Here are four things you can do to welcome Canadian visitors and discourage this type of behavior:
Be good hosts: Treat all your customers and clients the best you can. Quality service will go a long way to dispel any notions that Americans do not appreciate Canadians or any other visitor segment.
Be watchful: If you have public parking for customers, look for suspicious activities in the parking lots or streets. Take responsibility for your guest�s safety. Promptly report anything to the proper authorities.
Be ambassadors: If the subject of anti-Canadian sentiments comes up with your Canadian friends, relatives, customers and clients, let them know that they are appreciated and welcomed in America.
Keep us posted. If you hear of any actions against Canadians, drop me an e-mail or call with details, especially names and contact information of the affected party. We will pursue the issue. Likewise, if it is a criminal act, be sure to contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
Canada is our greatest ally, friend and business partner. Let�s show them that we in Washington care about our relationship.
John A Cooper
President, Bellingham/Whatcom County CVB

Nutty, nasty people everywhere
The Editor:

I believe I can top Surrey resident Stephanie Jeffery�s pretty self-righteous letter to the paper of last week; wherein she criticized U.S. efforts to topple a cruel, dangerous dictatorship in Iraq and our lack of freedom and democracy in the U.S.
A difference is that I did not rush off to my local TV station at the time, with �news� of my experience, but attributed it to the fact that nutty and nasty people live in many places.
A few months ago, a Canadian friend and I were having coffee at New Westminster Quay, a man at an adjacent table overheard our conversation about September 11 and began to berate me for being American, saying that we �deserved� September 11. He yelled at us that we must be Ashkenazi Jews.
We said that we were not, but would be proud to be so. We felt that we had gotten a whiff of Hitler�s Germany with this exchange and further deduced that the man must be a member of a Canadian hate group to even be familiar with who Ashkenazi Jews are � the descendants of Noah who settled in Europe, according to my bible study group.
We lived in B.C. for 25 years. It is my experience that Canadian news and opinion broadcasting tends to reflect an undifferentiated Canadian official world view rather than the variety in viewpoints and factual sources of information that we have in the U.S. I would imagine that the fact of large and long term French, Russian and German business interests in Iraq, including involvement in illegal weapons programs is not portrayed in Canada in any detail, as well as those countries� role in keeping Saddam Hussein in power in the Gulf War and in the course of the U.N. inspections in the 90s. Hussein�s atrocities in Kuwait, like beheading members of families and raping women and children, along with the particulars of his current rule of fear, murder and torture in Iraq, are also probably not much remarked upon in Canadian media. The role of the U.N. probably also needs more accurate media investigation, considering that its role in stopping human rights abuses in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Kuwait, Cambodia and other places around the world is not one in which it is possible to place one�s confidence.
Lucy Chambers

Thank you for all your help
The Editor:

I would like to thank all of the merchants in town who gave to the raffle for the Walsh family. I could not believe the response. When I went around last Wednesday almost everyone gave without hesitation and with such generosity. I know that most of you had already given so that made it even more appreciated, but that is what living in a small town is all about. When someone is in pain, you help.
I have never done anything like this before and in such a short period of time. But thanks to the help of my two goofy elves, Carrie Ackerman and Judy Furmen, we managed to get together by Saturday night.
And the really amazing thing was when we arrived at the bar there were more things waiting for us to raffle off. I would also like to thank the young man who has the car detailing that ran around town and sold tickets and to the young lady who gave us another gift certificate she had, as well as went around and sold tickets.
And to all of you who bought tickets thank you so much. Because of your generosity we raised $673 from the raffle alone.
Connie A. Hawkins

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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