Letters to the Editor -- September 09, 2004

Published on Thu, Sep 9, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
This fall, we will elect a new judge to the Whatcom County Superior Court bench when Judge David Nichols retires. As a member of the legal community, many people have asked me whom they should vote for in the upcoming election.
Before becoming a judge, a person should have experience trying cases in that court. Mac Setter has that experience with hundreds of trials under his belt. He has successfully handled many of the most serious and demanding cases presented in this community. He has done it with compassion, clarity of purpose and a commitment to a fair and objective application of law. It is not surprising that the law enforcement community supports Mac Setter for Superior Court Judge. They have seen firsthand his commitment to the citizens of this county. But even more telling is the support he receives from attorneys who have opposed him in court. They have experienced the fair treatment and professionalism he exhibits both inside and outside the courtroom. It’s this type of experience and character that makes him a good judge. So when people ask me who to vote for, I say Mac Setter!
Ann Stodola
Bellingham

The Editor:
I am writing in response to the recent letters to the editor condemning U.S. border officers. The level of vindictiveness of many writers who were denied entry to the United States or merely delayed in some cases is obvious. Here are a few facts worth thinking about when in the border environment.
U.S. Customs is granted considerable search and detention power. For example, since 1930, the law has stated in part, “...all persons coming into the United States from foreign countries shall be liable to detention and search by authorized officers or agents of the government..”
September 11 did not lead to border officials having more power. Nearly 3,000 people had to die to show us how weakly we enforce our existing laws. Criminals and terrorist already knew this and still do. U.S. officers must be conscious of threats every day and night.
This leads to the question a cousin of mine recently asked after being detained coming home from Canada. “Do I look like a criminal?”
When I hear someone ask a question like this I reply, “I don’t know exactly what a criminal (terrorist) looks like. What exactly does a criminal (terrorist) look like, details please? I want to write a book, save lives and make millions.”
Recent arrests of high school students in Blaine might give us some ideas. Perhaps the arrest of a mother in Columbia who used her five-year-old daughter to smuggle heroin could give us an idea. The woman was planning on sending her eight-year-old son on the next smuggling trip.
Maybe Timothy McVeigh’s mug shot shows us the unmistakable, perfect-every-time, answer to the question of a terrorist’s face. Maybe the terrorist template is Ahmed Ressam (captured in 1999 with bomb making materials on the British Columbia-Port Angeles ferry).
Regarding the frequent crosser who did not have her papers ready when arriving at the border at 11 p.m., I wonder, on her prior crossing when she had to wait an hour, how many people ahead of her, merely had to reach behind for papers with “perhaps a five second time lag?”
The border officers have a tough job, made tougher when they must worry about unsubstantial complaints. They have to protect against threats that most of us don’t even think about in our daily lives. They should not have to worry that they may ‘intimidate’ someone because they ask additional questions sometimes.
However, if you ever have a substantive complaint, take it to a supervisor. Recent events at the Rainbow Bridge in New York prove that such complaints are taken seriously by DHS.
The next time you cross into the U.S., try the Lynden port of entry and look at the name. It is properly called the “Kenneth G. Ward border station” after the customs inspector killed there doing his job.
The criminal and terrorist world is full of people who hide their intentions. Surprise, most criminals and terrorists look nothing like Osama Bin Laden. Yet the border officers must get within mere feet of every traveler regardless of intent.
And, if the sight of law enforcement officers wearing guns intimidates you, I strongly suggest you never visit nearly any other country in the world. Ever.
E. Stebbings
Lynden

The Editor, Blaine mayor and city:
We have recently chosen to settle in Blaine mainly because of its surrounding natural beauty and small town atmosphere. We are delighted with our decision.
While we applaud the city politicians for their foresight in building the boardwalk as a means to increase tourism – no man made structure can ever compete with the natural beauty of Blaine as a tourism draw, only enhance it.
We are appalled at the Trillium Corporation’s proposal to further develop the Semiahmoo spit and their use of a very outdated comprehensive plan as a justification for the construction of Seagrass Cottages on the spit. The spit is not only Blaine’s most valuable asset but it represents an extremely environmentally sensitive area.
One reason in particular that spits such as Semiahmoo spit are deemed so sensitive is that they generally provide good protection from wind and waves, allowing organic and fine mineral sediment accumulation and wetland development in the shelter embayments. Large, recurved and compound sand spits may also enclose swales or lagoons which offer protected habitat for emergent vegetation. The integrity of this area must be protected now for the future. Environmental protection of sensitive areas is very different now than when these plans were originally presented. The public has a greater understanding of the impact of development in environmentally sensitive areas. It is our responsibility to ensure that zoning changes keep abreast of our knowledge and realization of the importance of preserving rich wildlife habitat.
This new awareness is not reflected in the comprehensive plan. Surprisingly, Blaine’s comprehensive plan has not been updated to take these environmental sensitivities into effect as has occurred in other places such as Sequim, Washington, home to another extensive sand spit. Sequim’s spit, although longer and narrower, is so highly regarded that dogs are not even allowed on it, let alone a housing development.
Please, Blaine, let’s learn a lesson and protect our spit for all to enjoy including wildlife and not let the demands of large corporations dictate the needs of the environment and compromise the area for all of those who currently enjoy it and who otherwise would have enjoyed it in the future.
Darrel & Joan Clark
Blaine

The Editor:
I met Mac Setter a number of years ago when I worked for the crisis center. Mac was volunteering his time by training volunteers for our sexual assault program. I was impressed with his willingness to devote time to our program and the community. That was in 1989,
I know that he had been doing this work for a number of years at that time and continues to volunteer today. I know that he has invested hundreds of hours helping our program better serve this community.
I support Mac Setter for judge because he has been willing to take on the tough issues of domestic violence and sexual assault with compassion and commitment.
Many years ago, Mac Setter helped create multi-disciplinary teams that met on a weekly basis to better prepare cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence. He still chairs those groups as time allows. He’s spent 26 years protecting and serving victims in the Superior Court.
Mac Setter has earned my respect and deserves our support.
Pauline Reynolds
Ferndale

The Editor:
I’ve known Chuck Snyder for 20 years and had the pleasure of working with him while he was Whatcom County hearing examiner. I can attest first hand to his exceptional ability to assess the facts of a matter and make fair decisions based on legal issues. He is a man of integrity who is dedicated to improving the justice system and has shown his commitment to that end in many ways during the 14 years he has been Superior Court commissioner. In addition, by establishing teen court and the juvenile drug court he has demonstrated innovative thinking and a sincere desire to help the youth of our community succeed. Chuck is an honorable man for whom I have great respect.
I believe he is exactly the kind of person who can and should carry the responsibility of a position as important as Superior Court Judge.
Carol Ortner
Bellingham

The Editor:
Recently our History Day program at Blaine middle school was given a generous donation of $200 from Blaine Bay Refuse. We are very appreciative of their support, and it further demonstrates the amazing community support given to the Blaine school district.
Our community should feel proud of their commitment to excellence. The money was used to help send Joyce Khoury and her coach, Antoinette Villa, to the Oregon California Trails Association national meeting held in Vancouver, Washington, August 11 and 12.
Joyce, a recent state History Day contestant, was chosen to display her exhibit on Sacagawea that denoted Sacagawea’s contribution to the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06 in which she functioned as an invaluable guide, interpreter and ambassador.
Again, I commend Blaine Bay Refuse for their thoughtfulness in making Joyce’s journey a valuable educational experience.
Jack Nighbert, History Day coordinator
Blaine

The Editor:
As a long time public servant, I know what courage it takes for someone to run for public office the first time.
Robin Bailey is one such new comer, running as a Democrat for the state House of Representative seat in the 42nd district against incumbent Doug Ericksen. I think Robin’s beliefs and core principles are more attuned with the majority of voters in that district.
Robin is currently working with displaced homemakers through a program at Whatcom Community College, helping people with major life transitions. She has overcome such obstacles in her own life. She is also a passionate fighter for quality of life issues and the environment.
We need more people like her as Whatcom County continues to grow and change. Please join me in voting for Robin Bailey, state representative, Position 1.
H.A. “Barney” Goltz
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:
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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