Letters to the Editor -- October 23, 2003

Published on Thu, Oct 23, 2003
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Letters to the Editor

Can the plan
The Editor:

The Semiahmoo Master Plan (MP) calls for periodic updates. To date, there have been none I know of. The planning commission has not taken an active role in requiring these updates.
Trillium has missed the milestones called for in the original MP. Therefore, Trillium should be considered in violation of the original master plan and it should be rescinded.
The city should arrest further development in all of the Semiahmoo development until a new plan is approved. Further, the city should demonstrate to the citizens of Blaine that it intends to enforce conformance to the new plan�s activities and restrictions.
Phil Roberts
Blaine

Thanks for support
The Editor:

A big thank you to the community for once again supporting the homecoming chili feed. With many helping hands we raised $1,275 to benefit Blaine high school art, band, choir, and drama students.
Thank you to the many parents who made and distributed posters, called for food donations, donated food, took tickets, and helped with setting up, serving, and cleaning up. Thank you to Sheila Connors who organized the kitchen and food, and to Dorita Gray who took care of endless details, ensuring that the evening would be a success. Thank you to Corry�s Fine Dry Cleaning for donating their services to keep our tablecloths looking clean and professionally pressed. Thank you to The Northern Light for highlighting school activities. Thanks also to Bob Gray and Andy Harmening and their respective band and choir students who performed for us that evening.
It was a fun event and if you weren�t able to attend this year you will definitely want to look forward to being there next fall!
Kristi Galbraith
Blaine Fine Arts Association President
Blaine

Rare quality here
The Editor:

I recently came to stay in Blaine for a few months with my parents as I am transferring colleges. Through my time here I have been blessed with a great volunteer opportunity as a costume designer and make-up artist.
At your local high school I came across an amazing group of students, technical crew and director of this fall�s production of �A Servant of Two Masters.� I have been involved with film and theater for as long as I can remember, but never before have I witnessed a more endearing group of performers.
Not only is this group of young adults dedicated, but they are equally eager to work as a team and have no egos when it comes to competition for the spotlight. This is a rare quality among this group and it applies to the director and technical crew as well. The effort and positive attitude that this group puts forth still amazes me. I have never worked in a more friendly environment. This group of high school students has made Blaine a community for me and I am eager to see if the Blaine community will keep up my now high expectations and turn out to see these performances.
There is no greater feeling than having an audience to watch and applaud the hard work one has put forth and these kids deserve more than a standing ovation.
Casie Ernst
Blaine

Oppose EMS levy
The Editor:

Vote no on the EMS levy! The proposed Medic One levy is a tax increase. We are already paying for Medic One with our taxes. Why do we need to pay again?
This is a pure tax increase which gives the city of Bellingham and county an extra five million dollars a year. The city and county are currently paying $2.8 million with your tax money. We should not give them five million more in taxes.
When we have an emergency, our local fire department arrives very fast and gives excellent emergency care. Then, they call Medic One from Bellingham which takes a half hour to arrive. They transfer the patient from our fire department�s stretcher to the Medic One stretcher and drive us to the hospital. Our local fire department has aid cars, so why don�t they drive the patient to the hospital? They could be at the hospital much faster and cheaper than using Medic One.
If the new property tax is approved, there will be a shift in who pays for the service. Whatcom County will pay 62.5 percent of $5 million because payment is based on the assessed value of real property and Whatcom County has 62.5 percent of the assessed value of real property. There is also a shift to the taxpayers and away from users. Taxpayers currently pay 50 percent (25 percent city/25 county) of the tax subsidy of Medic One. Under the proposed plan taxpayers will pay 65 percent of the total costs. Users will pay only 35 percent of the costs, down from 50 percent. Whatcom County has 17 fire districts and two fire departments. There are 35 fire district ambulances sitting idle most of the time in the fire districts. Paying for ambulances that are not being used to capacity is costing Whatcom County taxpayers a lot of money. A strong no vote on the EMS levy will send the message that we want our fire officials to consider more effective and efficient methods of delivering services to the Whatcom County citizens.
In fact, they could turn the whole service over to private enterprise and let a private ambulance take us to the hospital. When you use Medic One, they send you a very expensive bill for their service besides being funded with your tax dollars. Private enterprise always does things cheaper than the government and I am sure your cost would be less. In fact the government could lower our taxes by the $2.8 million they spend on Medic One. Vote no on the tax increase!
Arne Cleveland
Blaine

I fully support...
The Editor:

I would like to add my strong support for Jim Jorgensen who is running for the district 3 port commissioner position.
Jim and I have worked closely together on salmon enhancement issues for a number of years. During his long tenure as a science teacher at Blaine high school, he distinguished himself in many ways. He has been a leader not only in his local community, but also, in the entire county. He readily volunteers when assistance is needed. Jim is a clear communicator and expresses himself with conviction in a courteous manner.
His science background on environmental issues combined with his many years of running a salmon charter business makes him uniquely qualified for this important position. He will make an outstanding port commissioner.
Harlan Kredit
Teacher, Lynden Christian high school
Lynden

In response to letters
The Editor:

In response to the recent letters written by Jim Hunter and Ray Davidson, past and current firefighters associated with fire district 13, the Blaine fire department, and now North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services (NWFRS), I would like to offer my opinion based on information I have gathered. There was nothing wrong with the services offered by fire district 13 prior to the arrival of Dave England. I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer firefighter for 12 years under retired fire chief of district 13 Jerry Joubert, and one year with Chief England.
England was focused on building an empire, and had no concern of who was going to pay for it, or how it would be paid for.
The city of Blaine had nothing to offer district 13, except that England saw it as a way to create more cash flow into the fire district.
The city�s lack of equipment, and facilities, which had been underfunded for years, was not a responsibility of the fire district. The city needed a ladder truck to meet its service responsibilities, and the fire district had this resource. The city needed a new fire station, and the fire district purchased the property for the city for this facility. Was this a proper use of taxpayers� money from district 13?
The Blaine firefighters wanted to join with district 13 because they could see that under the city, things were going nowhere, and the future was dismal. The district offered a light at the end of a very long tunnel.
The statement by Davidson that the retirement system was illegal is not true. That same type of retirement system is in place in several other areas around the state, and doing well. The district was audited by the state and there was no fault or findings found in regard to the retirement system, or the contributions made to it. The real truth is that England wanted to use the monies contributed to this retirement system for other pet projects that he had in mind. The letter written by England begs clarification. I thought he resigned because the board of fire commissioners refused to agree to his demands, and he said, my way or the highway, and the commissioners agreed to his taking the highway. This is not retired, it�s let go, dismissed, resignation accepted, or maybe fired, but not retired. Regardless, the past two chiefs, England and Campbell, have made a real mess out of a perfectly well run operation.
It�s really a disgrace to see what�s happened to the fire departments in this NWFRS operation. The past two fire chiefs have brought a great deal of embarrassment to the fire service in Whatcom County. It�s time the elected officials in the districts, and Blaine, got their acts together, and went back to their individual operations of providing fire and medical services to their individual areas.
It�s also time the citizens were informed where their tax dollars are really going, and maybe if the word illegal needs to be used, then it should be determined if there has been any illegal use of tax dollars from one area, or district, to benefit another?
Charlie Hagin
Birch Bay

Ode to the spit
The Editor:

The Semiahmoo Spit is a beautiful site which could easily be ruined in the names of profit and progress. I felt I ode it to the community to speak out. Ode to The Spit:
There was once a company
called Trillium,
Whose math
was extremely silly-ium.
They presented a plan,
But the stuff hit the fan,
S o they waffled and tried
to backfill-ium.
Then the new plan they took
to the floor.
Wasn�t less homes, t�was
actually more,
So it made matters worse,
but would fatten their purse,
If we�d only just please be
still-ium.
So rise up! Now�s the
moment to act!
Make our council folk
aware of the fact,
That we don�t want this blight!
That we�re ready to fight!
And to heck with the
dilly-ing Trillium!
Brent Brentnall
Blaine

Come out and see
The Editor:

In my capacity as drama coach of Blaine high school for the last two years, I have been increasingly impressed with the caliber of Blaine high school students.
The 18 students involved in the high school�s current production of �The Servant of Two Masters� have shown me through their dedication, hard work, and talented performance that high school theater can, indeed, be quality theater. I have also been awed by the support that their parents supply. Thank you to the drama students and their families for making this such wonderful experience.
I encourage the whole town of Blaine to turn out and see an amazing show this weekend and next weekend in the Performing Arts Center. You will see the wonderful things that student directors can do - wonderful technical work (done entirely by students) and brilliant acting. Do I praise too much?
Come and see for yourself � support the community arts!
Erin Walcon
Blaine high school drama coach
Blaine

$250,000 should go elsewhere
The Editor:

I read about the city council�s decision to�pass a $250,000 bond ordinance to be spent for Blaine Municipal Airport, and I am compelled to make some comments.
These days, many cities try to juggle to put the money where it�s the�most necessary with an ever shrinking city budget. In my humble opinion, to spend the money to improve the airport is not a priority.
First of all, the�airport is too close to the school, border truck crossing, downtown businesses and�government offices. It would not be the first time that a plane would crash into occupied buildings.
It is city�s most urgent priority to�build a new, well functioning wastewater treatment plant to insure�the health of the citizens,�the health of the shoreline and�marine life.
Recently, Blaine�put much efforts into improving the aesthetic side of the city to attract more�tourism. This�should be an on going process which will bring�better economic results than eliminating 485 trees. Keeping 485 trees will enhance the cityscape and help to eliminate pollution from the truck traffic.
Kay Schuhmacher
Birch Bay

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:
225 Marine Drive, Blaine, WA 98230 or fax 360/332-2777.
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