Letters to the Editor -- July 06, 2006

Published on Thu, Jul 6, 2006
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
On Saturday, June 24, we attended a Haynie Grange Grand Ole Opry concert put on by Matt Audette and his Circle of Friends band. This was truly a wonderful evening of good country music and several local talents singing and playing music with Matt.
Matt had plans for two more concerts, one on July 22 and another on August 26, which will feature different talents each time. He hopes people will come out and join him and his band for a good evening of Haynie Grand Ole Opry. We think it is well worth the price of admission and this one was a worthwhile benefit.
Marvin & Joanne Morrow
Deming

The Editor:
Everyone realizes, on some level, that the fact that people can’t afford homes in our community is a problem for all of us. The Affordable Housing Incentive Program that county councilmember, Seth Fleetwood proposed last week is a creative and workable solution to this problem.
The un-affordability of homes affects us all in many ways; by increasing the number of cars on the road as people “drive until you qualify,” in some cases being able to afford homes further from where they work.
This increased use drives up the cost of road maintenance and in numerous more subtle ways this un-affordability of homes weakens the fabric of our community. Even those homeowners who are seeing an outrageous increase in value of their “investment” are affected by the negative consequences of this problem.
I strongly support councilman Fleetwood’s proposal and I challenge each of us to find our own role in a collaborative approach to solving this issue so that your adult children or aging parents might be able to afford to buy a home in our community.
Justin Craig
Bellingham

The Editor:
The affordable housing program proposed by Whatcom County councilmember Fleetwood seems like a reasonable approach for a community facing the kinds of growth challenges we experience here.
Mixed income housing programs like this are quite common throughout the United States. Many have been in place for decades. Regarding whether such a program should be voluntary, the research on this topic shows quite conclusively that voluntary programs do not produce significant amounts of affordable housing.
For example, in California, where there has been a considerable amount of research, out of 107 local jurisdictions with inclusionary housing policies, only six percent have voluntary programs. Some started as voluntary, but switched because developers were choosing not to participate in the incentive programs.
Local administrators in these communities blame the voluntary nature of their inclusionary housing program for stagnant production of affordable units even during market booms.
The experiences of communities in California and elsewhere also show that the best programs result when citizens, local government and developers all participate in their design and implementation.
Greg Winter
Bellingham

The Editor:
I am a new reader having just moved to this sweet little town called Blaine. I want to commend you on publishing a wonderful local paper. I have enjoyed it in my short time here. I bought a house on June 19 having moved from Pittsburgh, PA. I’m in my 30s and although I’m surrounded by retirees, I feel very much at home.
All of my neighbors are reaching out in ways that seem more customary to Mayberry! Pittsburgh is also a very friendly town where generation after generations of Polish, Italian, Jewish people, all nestle in claiming their own little suburb to call home. I’m not quite sure how I landed clear across the country to continue my sales consulting business but I do find this town to be incredibly warm and wonderful. The only part of this wonderfulness that I’d like to change is the plain name – Blaine!
My goodness, it doesn’t describe the essence of what exists here at all. I admire history and having come from a town that cherishes its history I can appreciate the legacy of the Blaine name; however, that will always be preserved. Changing the name of this town won’t take away its history. With the Olympics on its way, this town will receive recognition instantly and whether it has long term affects is yet to be seen.
If the world gets to hear about this small town on its way to the Olympic games in 2010, we can make sure of one thing, that the world knows what this town is about simply by its name. What name would that be? Well, I’m glad that you asked.
We live on a harbor, the Peace Arch is the tallest standing structure and we are off the Peace Portal exit so let us be called what we already are, Peace Harbor. That describes what this town embodies. In less than a month, living here as a plain Blaine resident, I can tell you one thing that I know for sure, this is a peaceful town. So, as a plain Blaine resident I propose a name change.
I did hear that the town name was up for discussion a couple of years ago and it was almost a 50/50 split. So half of the town is primed and ready for a new name. The right name just wasn’t available or suggested at the time. If you’d be so kind as to let your readers ruminate over this Peace Harbor I’d certainly appreciate the kind gesture. Let us honor this oasis we have here and let us name it for what it is, Peace Harbor.
Oh, that just sounds so fitting. Don’t you think so?
Andrea Fisher
Blaine

The Editor:
My daughter and her two daughters were camping in the state park over this last weekend. This may be of interest. They are the fifth generation to camp in what is now the state park. My grandmother Alvaretta Everett Aitken lived near Ferndale and was camping in Birch Bay with her three daughters.
My mother, Lois Aitken McGhee, was nearly six at the time which was probably August 4 or 5, 1905. My grandmother said to her oldest daughter I think we had better go home. Granny and aunt Alberta made up a bed in the back of their wagon for my mother and her sister Leila who was three. They headed for home and my aunt Vera was born that night or the next day as she was born in August 1905.We camped many times in Birch Bay before and after it became a state park. Bill McGhee, the first superintendent, was a distant relative of mine.
Mildred McGhee
Halfmoon Bay, B.C.

The Editor:
On April 10, 2006, the Blaine town council was approached by fellow citizens to consider Pugwash, Nova Scotia — waterfront town, and fellow peace-oriented town — to be its official sister city. Yet, how is it that the nomination did not make it to an actual vote?
According to a Blaine town council member, Pugwash was seen as having “…really serious political overtones.” As commented by one of the sponsors of  the proposal, “I guess peace is controversial.” 
About Pugwash: A scenic village on the Atlantic Ocean, it was home to the 1957 International Peace Conference. Twenty two international scientists attended the conference, representing only themselves — nary a politician in sight.
The conference based much of its work on a 1955 peace-through-nuclear disarmament declaration by famous scientists: the Russell-Einstein Manifesto. Pugwash continues to have peace conferences on the anniversary of the first one, and the conferences have also been held around the world. 
So why is this kind of peace so controversial? Perhaps one answer lies in another waterfront town, about 90 miles south of Blaine in Bremerton, home of the Trident Base at Bangor. The eight Trident submarines carry 1,760 nuclear warheads — more nuclear weaponry than all of Britain, France, China, Israel, India and Pakistan combined, and enough to represent 1,000 Hiroshima bombs per submarine.  
The military base employs soldiers, civilians, and surrounding neighborhoods full of people supporting the military complex. Perhaps this contributes to the “political aspect” of the peace equation: housing weapons of horribly massive destruction equals jobs in a fragile economy.
If this sounds a bit crazy, let me remind us: The human race is quite talented in the art of self-deception. We can convince our selves of anything, if we speak the right language and use convincing enough terms. So we have convinced ourselves that an industry involving a high concentration of WMDs in our neighborhoods is a good thing, both economically and politically. We have also convinced ourselves that peace can only be waged through harboring the threat of nuclear strikes. But here is another view: We are self-deceiving ourselves into a world-wide grave that can come with the push of a button.
In Blaine, having a fellow peace city as a sister city seems fitting for a border town of civilized peoples. Politically speaking, it would be an honor to uphold the values of world-wide peace that the conference attendees of Pugwash, and the architects and builders of the Peace Arch were trying to promote.
To the people of Blaine, Pugwash and Bremerton, I wish you peace.
Rev. Elke Siller Macartney
LaConner
www.inspirationu.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 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