Letters to the Editor -- December 18, 2003

Published on Thu, Dec 18, 2003
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Letters to the Editor

Open communication
The Editor:

I can understand the concern regarding the retreat spa getaway I am proposing to build on Birch Point Road, and would like very much to allay people�s fears. I welcome the Whatcom County planning commission�s public hearing on this matter. �
The community does not yet know me and I hope that by keeping the lines of communication open, people will let me know what they are thinking and feeling. I encourage those concerned with the project to contact me. I am available at 371-4106 or e-mail at eshea1953@yahoo.com.
The retreat spa getaway would significantly reduce the amount of potential development on this 10-acre site, which would mean less construction and traffic in the area. We are creating a retreat for individuals and groups to truly get away from the stresses of everyday life and rejuvenate in quiet surroundings. The secluded, tranquil nature of this property makes it ideal for this purpose.
Greater density would be the antithesis of the tranquility I seek. This getaway will be of great benefit to the county in terms of jobs and economic gain, while having little impact on the land, environment or the neighborhood. It seems clear to me that this project is consistent with the Birch Bay plan for long term growth, without creating damage to its pristine seclusion. �
Please join me in supporting this project and I look forward to hearing from the community. Thank you.
Ellen Shea
Birch Bay

Cat or dog behavior...
The Editor:

It doesn�t matter if you own a dog or if you are owned by a cat, the majority of their behavior comes from their own natural instincts. Although many think we can change that, we can�t. The rest of the behavior comes from the people who care for them.
If you are the type of person who allows their dog to roam around without a leash and fail to pick up after them, get upset because you get fined for it or think it�s �cute� when they do their business on another�s property, you are encouraging that behavior, showing your own disregard for another as well as lack of respect for another�s property.
As a person who is owned by a cat, I can honestly say that he knows he isn�t allowed to do his business at the neighbor�s, he has his own area; however, I do encourage him chasing off the dogs and cats who come onto our property, which he has done many times. Yes, that shows my disregard for others coming onto our property, especially when they have no reason to be there. And yes, he does stalk, kill, will occasionally eat birds or bring them to me. This was only after he had a taste of pheasant that I cooked for him and yes, he does get fed very well at home. For those who claim they put up bird feeders in order to watch the birds � especially if you know that cats are around � it seems to me that there is the unconscious thrill of watching who will outsmart who, which is human. If you don�t want the cats to bother the wild birds, put the feeder on top of your house.
The life expectancy of any animal ranges, including us humans. It mostly depends on the environment lived in and the treatment received. If a human is stuck indoors all the time, like some cats, will they live longer? Will a dog who stays outside all the time have a shorter life? I just know that my cat is both indoor and outdoor, and he will be 13 in 2004, yet, he still acts like a kitten. Where does that leave him on this �life expectancy?�
Some members of this society tend to forget that all life forms have their own unique instincts. Not all cat, nor dog people are inconsiderate, it�s the same with us humans, not all are inconsiderate. So please �Name withheld by request� in Birch Bay - ease up - chill out - and enjoy. It may help if you went to the library and learned more about natural instincts, not only in humans, but in all living creatures, you may learn that we humans are not on top of the food chain. It�s pure nature, kiddo.
Monica Kerr
Birch Bay

Thanks for the support
The Editor:

I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make the �Battle at the Border� wrestling tournament a great success. Our tournament has grown into one of the most prestigious in the state and this year featured 24 teams, two defending state championship teams (4A Heritage and 3A Sedro Woolley), and 32 individual returning state placers.
Running a tournament of this magnitude requires a huge effort and much cooperation on the part of so many, including the parents of Barracuda, middle school and high school wrestlers, the wrestlers themselves, school administrators, friends and family members, Blaine school district staff and students and wrestling managers and coaches. To all: thank you so much. I would also like to thank those who were gracious while being inconvenienced by this event, as it tends to dominate facilities and time over the course of two days.
Finally, special appreciation goes to Carolyn Fakkema (hospitality manager), Jeri Foster (concession manager), Alice Mortenson (product manager), and Dave Fakkema (tournament matchmaker). These people went about and beyond - as they say.
Craig Foster
Blaine Wrestling Coach
Blaine

Complacent, I think
The Editor:

Mr. Dieter Schugt should not flatter himself on his re-election. The only reason he was re-elected is because the majority of people in this town have become so complacent about the way this town is being run, that those who are a lot smarter and richer than Mr. Schugt would not run because they don�t want to deal with a tax and spend council that would always vote six to one on every issue.
Second, when I said send the sewage to Canada, it was after I watched this council completely dismiss an engineer from Bellingham who came to the council meeting and said he could design and build a sewage treatment plant down on Marine Drive for five million dollars and the council would not even listen to him. This is after he has successfully built two plants, one in Washington and one in Delta, B.C.
Third, when you have people in this town like Richard Clark who, after four years of work has written a book on the history of the Peace Arch which is the symbol of this town, and this council has done nothing to support his efforts or allocated any funds from the hotel - motel tax money to get this book published and have it put into our library as a memento of this town.
Fourth, Mr. Schugt talks about all of the increase in business licenses. Well, that�s great if they were businesses that provided jobs, but I suspect that they are businesses that are home based or family businesses.
Instead of patting yourself on the back, Mr. Schugt, why don�t you do something that will increase the tax base of this city instead of robbing the people that are still left here to fund your tax and spend council.
Dave White
Blaine

Don't drink and drive
The Editor:

During the holiday season, we are constantly reminded not to drink and drive. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Mother�s Against Drunk Drivers and law enforcement officers committed to keeping our streets safe amplify this message through campaigns of public education and heightened enforcement.
All of this is for good reason. As the Bellingham Herald pointed out in its editorial of November 15, between 1993 and 2002, 102 people in Whatcom County died as a result of drunk driving. In fact, 52.6 percent of all traffic fatalities are DUI related. Statewide during the same period, 2,821 people died in traffic accidents involving DUI. That number rivals the number of innocent people who were killed during the September 11th terrorist attacks.
The chance of being killed by a drunk driver in Washington is far greater than the chance of being murdered. The killers who are behind the wheel of a car are also less selective about who their victims are. The grim statistics are that in 2002, 178 people in Washington were murdered while 262 were killed by DUI drivers. A very recent Whatcom County case reminds us that DUI death victims include innocent young children.
Our law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts are committed to attacking this problem. Our officers place their lives on the line every day to try and bring drunk drivers to justice. Sadly they are frustrated in their efforts because even when they catch repeat drunk drivers, they cannot place them behind bars.
Many Whatcom County residents are unaware that when a person is arrested for DUI in this county they are issued a citation and are released. Usually they are still under the influence of the intoxicants that caused their arrest. We have had cases where individuals were arrested multiple times on the very same day for drunk driving.
Why are they being released? The jail is so woefully undersize that there is not room for them. I know of no county in Washington state or elsewhere that labors under such severe booking restrictions.
This problem is not limited to first time drunk driving offenders, but to those repeat offenders who know they can continue to drive under the influence without fear. They know the most that will happen is that they will be issued another citation that they can rip up and ignore. As there is little in the way of deterrence, neither courts nor treatment providers can be effective in changing their behavior.
The jail problem has persisted for years and booking restrictions have been in place for over a decade. We desperately need a jail that is large enough to meet our needs. County consultants have provided a time-line of five to seven years before such a facility can be sited, designed, funded and constructed. Our community cannot wait that long, and an interim solution such as that proposed for the Bakerview industrial area must be found. The interim solution will not solve this critical problem but will certainly help alleviate many of the described problems.
How long will it be until the county is sued because an officer releases a drunk driver who goes out and kills some innocent person? At that point we will not only be paying huge compensation to the victim�s family and estate, but will also need to immediately proceed with the cost of building a jail under terms and conditions for which we have little control.
Nearly everyone supports tough laws against drunk driving and other serious traffic offenses. However, these laws are hollow and ineffectual if they cannot be enforced.
If we are to going maintain the quality of life we enjoy in Whatcom County, we are going to need to be serious as a community in dealing with drunk driving and other crimes that endanger our safety.
Bill Elfo
Whatcom County Sheriff
Bellingham

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