Letters to the Editor
My goodness, such fury over changing the name of our beautiful town! Who would have thought an innocuous letter from our excited new Blaine resident Andrea would command so much attention? I’m pretty sure the responses were indicative of sentiments that run much deeper than just mild disdain at a simple name change. However, I noticed in these letters disparity as to what is “wrong” with Blaine (I think Blaine is pretty close to perfect).
Point in case, Steve’s very well written letter pointed to a lagging local economy while Sidney’s letter critiqued the “expensive boutiques and waterfront cafes” as part of the demise of our town. Opinions regarding both the problems and solutions are diverse and wide-ranging.
Also noted was a somewhat elitist attitude regarding “residency longevity” and assumptions about newcomers. It doesn’t matter how long your family has been in the area. Sure, pride in your family’s history is important for your sense of self and belonging, yet what ultimately matters is what you do now to make things better for today and tomorrow.
Further, be careful with espousing too much of the “my family has been here forever and you have no rights” attitude. According to many historians, like Professor Keith Murray, Washington’s early settlers were opportunists seeking to ravish the state’s natural resources, and not the typical westward refugees fleeing poverty or oppression like those in other states. Your ancestral ties are not always favorable!
I can only hope that responses to Andrea’s letter sparked a fever for activism within the community. If you don’t like all the new construction, then take it up with those who sold their land or better yet, become actively involved with Blaine’s planning commission.
If you don’t think there are enough businesses in downtown Blaine, then actively lobby for the city to offer incentives for business (I agree wholeheartedly with Steve’s points). If you don’t like hoity-toity stores and cafes, don’t shop there or even better, start your own greasy-spoon joint.
The economic theory of supply and demand will tell if any of these businesses survive in the years to come. If you don’t want to see beautiful trees cut down or historical buildings torn down (like me) become educated on what you can do to save them and take action. If you don’t like the influx of new people, you could move to a cabin in the middle of Montana (a very nice state I would add) or find constructive ways to deal with your new neighbors. We do live in a free country and therefore, residents can move at will.
And finally, if you think Blaine’s name could be “improved,” then yes, write a letter to The Northern Light, as well as take it up with the city council. Maybe there are other residents who agree with either Andrea’s name change proposal or simply dislike our town being named after some 19th century politician from the east coast (FYI: I believe history should stand and as such, Blaine is the one and only name).
The main point here is to stop pointing fingers and become involved by fighting for what you believe is best for the future of Blaine. I would hope all those who commented on Andrea’s letter, to include the more sardonic and cantankerous ones, are actively involved in shaping their vision of Blaine’s future.
One last note, the same Secretary of State James Blaine, namesake of our beautiful town (though from what I can tell, never stepped foot anywhere near the Washington territory), was born and raised in a southern suburb of Pittsburg, not far from Andrea’s stomping grounds. Uhm – maybe Andrea has more “right” to Blaine history than previously thought!
First generation resident
What a joke. Kyle Snyder joins the military knowing full well that the job of a soldier is to fight wars. Along comes a war, he doesn’t like it, he runs away and expects us all to support his poor choice. He even claims that his decision was motivated by the lack of military medical care for his girlfriend. He should have known going in that the military wouldn’t provide benefits for his girlfriend. They never have and they never claim to.
Meanwhile John Mouayed dresses his 7-year-old son in a “freedom” t-shirt for an anti-war rally, knowing full well that the only freedom experienced by Iraqis in the past 30 years has come due to the actions of the U.S. government and its military forces.
When exactly did he immigrate to Canada? If he escaped during the Hussein regime, he should know better. If he left after the overthrow, one has to wonder what he was running from.
I have no patience with people in this day and age who join the military for the benefits or the money, then suddenly have an “attack of conscience” when they are actually expected to put their life on the line for their country.
Comparisons to Vietnam don’t wash here. During the Vietnam era we had a military draft. You didn’t have a choice. Now you are only in the military because you raised your right hand and swore an oath to obey the orders of the President of the United States. Serve honorably, finish your service, then get out of the military and say whatever you want to say about the country. But first, keep your word.
This letter is in reference to your photo of Richard Clark holding his hand held GPS unit and the accompanying comments on the accuracy of the original survey that established the international boundary.
First of all, I have a world of respect for Mr. Clark. His local knowledge was very helpful when the Land Surveyors Association of Washington Historical Society, together with the Corporation of British Columbia Land Surveyors re-established original boundary monument No. 5 in 1986 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the completion of the original International Boundary Survey.
However, in fairness to the original surveyors and to help avoid further misunderstanding, I feel I have to make the following comments.
The international boundary is not “off” at all. It is right on the astronomic 49th parallel of north latitude just as the 1846 Treaty of Washington between Great Britain and the U.S. instructed.
The misconception comes from using the incorrect datum when referencing the 49th parallel today. The original datum was astronomic (the only datum available in this area in 1857-1862). Astronomic was the datum that the original surveyors were instructed to use when establishing the boundary and placing the monuments.
Practically all of today’s maps (and GPS receivers) are on a different datum, i.e. geodetic. The geodetic datum used for mapping North America has changed over the years from the New England datum to the U.S. Standard datum to the North American datum of 1927 (NAD27) and finally to NAD83. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will undoubtedly change it again someday. Most GPS receivers now operate on WGD84 (World Geodetic Datum of 1984). The difference between NAD27 and NAD83 (nearly identical to WGD84) is about 59 feet in the Blaine area so if Mr. Clark’s GPS receiver was set to read NAD27, he would be standing about 59 feet south of his house.
Both countries assigned the best surveyors and astronomers they had to the project. After all, they were charged with monumenting the border between two nations. Both the British and American commissions were provided with the very latest in surveying and astronomical equipment. Their observations for latitude and longitude were sent back to their respective countries for further checks. In 1997 the director of the U.S. Geodetic Survey admitted they probably could not come any closer to determining the astronomic positions of the monuments using today’s equipment and methods than the original surveyors of 1857-1862.
I wish to again thank Mr. Clark for his efforts to preserve the public’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of our local history. I remain one of his biggest fans.
PLS, Northwest Surveying &
The city of Blaine council and our community has another opportunity to affirm the sister city relationship with the Village of Pugwash, Nova Scotia. I am sure that after several months to reflect upon the pluses and minuses, the city council has found that our two communities with a shared promoting peace affiliation create many occasions and situations to the betterment of both.
In the end, we can see that our own “the Peace Arch City” historically significant slogan (on all official city stationary, publicity and prominently placed on major arterial sign age requires a unique fit with any sister city applicant we might want to consider.)
The documented Pugwash history reveals a community that has equaled the encouraging peace efforts on the globe as much as our own Peace Arch monument and related civic events have attempted to do.
As far as the timing issue for this particular project, I can see no better moment in the near or distant future that would be worth postponement of this issue. This city council endorsement merely officially condones the major efforts and benefits the lie ahead for many of us to bring the yet imagined benefits to reality. The patiently waiting community members are equal to the task of coordinating, planning and implementation of all needed civic actions to create this highly visible and viable relationship.
In advance, I applaud the city council’s affirmative vote and look forward to their thoughts and suggestions to bring many promotional advantages and beneficial shared civic projects to the table.
Peace Arch City ambassador
Terrorism alarms are broadcast when Bush needs political boost.
There is a strange smell about this latest “intercepted terrorist plot.” It’s more and more apparent that there is little real evidence of bombs or plot.
Of course the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld associates are delighting in and taking advantage of the latest terrorist threat just as they did following the September 11 attacks, trying desperately now to link it to countries they are eyeing for conquest and empire in the middle east. Immediately our red alert goes up and our newspapers and TV news are broadcasting and developing fear, the thing they do best and profit from the most. I ask you, why does this story come right on time, when Bush and Blair’s policies are so unpopular and they have dipped to their lowest ratings and need to bolster themselves politically? Why is the coverage so inchoate and nondescript? And why are the terrorist plots never traced and solved but rather covered up?
The answer is in plain sight.
The first annual Blaine Boardwalk Festival held on August 12 was a resounding success. We would like to express our gratitude to those who helped make it happen: the city of Blaine; Blaine Chamber of Commerce; the downtown merchants; Aaron, Kelly and Glenn Tuski from the Blackberry House; The Northern Light; Kelly Renoud from the Blaine Conservatory; Blaine fire and police departments; Peace Arch Assembly of God church; and all the participating street vendors.
Special thanks goes to John Paradis, Kim Shea and the staff at Sterling Savings Bank for organizing and operating all the children’s activities, Carroll Solomon with the Chamber of Commerce for handling the vendors. The biker’s Show ‘n Shine was organized by Mary Lee Hill of the Pastime Bar with generous donations by Bend Bike Ltd. and Coca-Cola.
Thank you to all who came downtown and enjoyed this event. We hope to see you again next year.
Northern Meadows and
Blaine boardwalk chairman
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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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.
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