Letters to the Editor
Mr. Gardner’s self-admitted aggressive response to my letter regarding the town council’s no to Pugwash as a sister city is a wonderful example of democracy in action. In the spirit of that freedom, I would like to comment on his comments:
Yes, admittedly, I am a “foreigner,” meaning a non-citizen of Blaine. I also live in a small town that doesn’t always welcome outsider’s comments to what are seen as inside-town concerns. It’s sad, though, that if communities only keep the discussion “inside,” there can also be a loss of perspective, fresh ideas, and, dare I say, growth.
I also admit to being a bit over the top with my finger shaking, “shame on you.” My apologies to Blaine council members, you made the decision you made, and as I said, you had the courage to look the issue in the eye and vote.
My main point regarding this issue is this: Sister city relationships are not political relationships; they are friendship and cultural exchange-based relationships with towns that have a few common geographical and some cultural/economic commonalities (hence LaConner is a sister city with Kenmare, Ireland, another rural tourist town).
I am, of course, fully aware that Tashkent is a town in a currently fascist state, but Seattle is still having cultural exchanges with the people there – and the difference it is making in people’s lives is this:
People from different parts of the world see that there are people of goodwill somewhere else in the world. Perhaps this gives Tashkent citizens hope for a possible democratic future.
I still maintain that Pugwash would have been an awesome choice to have an exchange of ideas and goodwill with.
Be at peace, Blaine and Mr. Gardner.
Rev. Elke S. Macartney
I feel compelled to write this letter as Blaine City Council has a huge decision to make on October 9 regarding the Blaine airport property. This decision will decide the future of our community for many years to come.
Blaine has been a great place to live. Raising my family here and teaching school for 30 years allowed me to get to know our community well.
I’ve worked on countless committees and have been an active participant in dealing with many aspects of Blaine’s growth and change. Blaine Marine Park at the harbor is the result of a vision I had in 1986. As we are an active and growing community we need to open our eyes to our future potential. It may be difficult to envision our growth 25 or 30 years away, but more than ever we need to do it now.
We have an opportunity to look at an alternative plan for the Blaine airport property that focuses on jobs and economic stability. Today we are seeing the expansion of SR 543 (truck route) increasing the accessibility to the airport property.
Light industrial firms and retail shops are looking to build in visible areas that are strategically placed. The airport property meets the criteria.
There is a huge discrepancy on the total economic impact of an airport versus a non-airport. Non-airport development offers many more jobs, a greater tax base and more direct business to our city.
What clearly speaks to this situation in a loud voice is that we have an international airport in Bellingham that is only 18 miles south and already has all the functional amenities an airport needs.
Let’s hope the Blaine City Council takes all of the above information to heart when making their decision on October 9. Call them with your opinion.
Sixty Five SisterHood Helping Hands (Sshhh) would like to thank the Blaine/Birch Bay community for its generous support of their annual garage sale event. This year, Sshhh donated $800 to the Blaine Family Service Center, $300 to the skateboard park fund, $400 to Stafholt, and $300 to the Blaine fire department.
Since its inception four years ago, Sshhh has contributed over $5,000 to local groups and charities.
Sshhh would also like to thank Russell & Delray Carleton, Fred, Andria, and Stacy Reid, Sato Okata, Norm Scheib, and Larry Tingley for their hard work before, during and after the garage sale.
We are already accepting garage sale items in preparation for our next sale. Please call 371-9165 to arrange for pickup.
Thank you, once again, to a very generous community.
Carrillee Fischer, Sixty Five SisterHood
This November, we will decide, by our vote on the deceptively titled Property Fairness – Initiative 933, whether our state and local governments can continue to protect the property values of the majority of us from exploration by reckless developers.
I-933 is not exactly homegrown. A New York City real estate mogul, Howard Rich, using for-hire signature gathering companies and consultants (Citizen Solutions, Inc. in Washington), launched a so-far successful campaign to overthrow land-use regulations in six western states, including ours. Rich’s Chicago group, Americans for Limited Government, has spent $200,000 to put I-933 on the ballot here and $934,000 elsewhere.
(Other Rich funds, based in New York City and Virginia, have contributed $1,962,000 for similar initiatives in other western states, according to High Country News, July 24, 2006.)
I urge your readers to get a copy of the initiative, which is available at www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/initiatives/text/i933.pdf, and read it carefully. It actually requires
that governments pay for suits against themselves for attempting to enforce restrictions on property use.
I also suggest your readers consider the bad experiences of Oregonians with their all too similar Measure 37, enacted in 2004.
John Erskine said we have a moral obligation to be intelligent. We also have an intelligent obligation to be moral. In his own subtle approach last week, Philip Gardner demonstrated the wisdom of both obligations by placing them in a context of ignorance rather than anything intelligent. Reverse psychology. Educational excellence.
Tongue in cheek, he tells Macartney to mind her own business, while knowing outsiders also live inside their own communities. He knows we are one – one nation under a whole bunch of gods. He knows community means communication.
Do you think Dick Clark, among many, is a city council insider? Hardly! Many outsiders – and outcasts – are marginalized. Outsiders, like prophets, are unacceptable to those interested in profits.
Newcomer Andrea Fisher suggested renaming Blaine Peace Harbor. I suggested “The City of Peace” three decades earlier, and I’ve lived in Blaine most of my 76 years. Do you think for one moment my idea was worth a second? Most people thought it was a nutty notion, and I’m sure that’s the current position, too.
Gardner invites us to think. He endorses the council’s decision to ban Pugwash as a future sister city. He too knows it’s political. But, like the council, he doesn’t tell us how. Or why. I had a high school teacher like that. He would never tell. No hints.
That’s great teaching. Like professional educators, Gardner and our council expect us to do our homework and find the answer for ourselves. I’ve failed to find it myself.
I’ve never believed in peace marches, either. I think they are ineffective. But there’s always that June march through the Peace Arch. They march to a different drummer. The veterans remember the war dead; children swap pins and badges. I can excuse kids for trivializing the portal message of peace. I can’t excuse anyone else.
Neither can Gardner. He demonstrates that widespread tendency to trivialize peace by adding a note of hilarity in the closing paragraphs of his letter. I could hardly stop laughing! I’ve exhausted my 350-word limit. I have more to say at www.vigil4peace.com.
The Blaine Fine Arts Homecoming Chili Feed was a festive evening filled with music, food, and good company. There were 559 people served netting $1,800 to the art, band, choir, and drama students. Thank you to all of you who came to support these important programs for our students. Thank you to all the families who donated food and time helping to set up, prepare the food, serve, and clean up. The chili feed is always a fun way to start the homecoming evening!
Once again, Mr. Hill would astound us with dazzling figures, projections and opinions regarding the airport. And again, how foolish we’ll be if the airport is kept.
Also, once again, it remains unanswered in his calculations, where any payment of closure and clean-up fees would come from and just what impact (negatively) those would have on the city proper and taxpayers therein.
Surely Mr. Hill would offer his expertise in selling the property, with his real estate connections and living outside the Blaine taxing district, it would be a win-win for him.
Too bad for the rest of us taxpaying citizens who would have to deal with all that a major truck stop would bring; not the least being low end motels, diesel eaten blacktop, driver bottles around and the drone of refrigeration units running all night.
Lest we forget, too, that area is in, or borders on, the only zoning for adult businesses in Blaine. Wouldn’t we all love to see that specter raise its ugly head once more, after it took so long to get rid of it downtown?
Thanks but no thanks, Mr. Hill.
Mike W. Smith
I am still puzzled – Blaine schools seem to have great eyes on watching kids before school and accusing them of things they didn’t do.
Where’s this person now? When students are jumping out in front of moving vehicles before and after school and endangering themselves and others, why isn’t something being done?
For some apparent reason, some kids seem to think that it is okay to continue threatening and harassing the lives of others – even after a conversation with one of the parents, as well as the local police department. I don’t feel that I should have to follow my son around with a video camera and tape to get all this to stop.
There’s been a positive help though, and some day maybe there should be a parent/child meeting at the police department or somewhere to resolve everything. Blaine is supposed to be better than Nevada for families and for living.
At the Blaine Family Service Center we rely heavily on our community for donations throughout the year. We want to thank Cost Cutter for preparing the bags of school supplies that they put up for sale and for all of the community members who purchased them for us.
We also had many private donations of school supplies for which we are thankful. Close to 200 students benefited from this generosity. We will also be able to help students as needed through the school year.
This month you will see that Cost Cutter is helping us once again with our Kid’s Coat Drive by having a bin available for drop off of good condition kid’s coats. Meridian Cleaners has generously offered to clean them all for us before distribution.
Thanks to this supportive community our students will be coming to school warm and ready to learn.
& Andree Marcus
Blaine Family Service Center
Blaine City Council lacks one significant part of the economic puzzle when it comes to deciding the future of the airport. They have not explored with the public the increased capital and maintenance costs of an FAA regulated airport that Blaine would incur long after an expanded airport was built.
The costs are included in numerous pages of regulations that need to be addressed. FAA regulated airports in small tax base cities like Blaine place them in the financial red forever and they can’t bail themselves out.
We would place ourselves at financial risk for serving as a refueling station for Canadian airplanes and for a few hobby pilots. A real vision would be for Blaine to work with other Whatcom County cities to find a more appropriate location for private pilots.
There will be a new pilot license that will reduce standards for certain pilot certification. New technology on the horizon will also allow turboprop engines in smaller planes.
A future vision of uncertain safety and increased noise will make that part of Blaine more undesirable to retail and schools.
The independent airport study by BST Associates and Makers indicated the strategic location of the airport property makes it a more valuable resource to the city if it was converted to non-airport uses.
The recommendation of an enticing greenbelt city entrance on the north with retail and commercial and industrial areas to the south was convincing. The BST job forecasts and tax benefits for alternative uses were significantly higher than for the airport commission plan.
The vision of Blaine’s future will best be served by using the airport land for non-airport uses – many of which were offered by the independent outside consultant BST. In that, we citizens are not allowed to vote on this issue. I urge you to let your councilperson know your views.
I would like to thank the Semiahmoo 9-hole ladies golf group who recently held their member and guest tournament earlier this month and sold mulligans and a ‘drive by the pro’ to their members and guests to benefit the Blaine Boys & Girls Club.
Nicole Harr, Blaine Boys & Girl
Club branch director
Methinks the good Philip Gardner should be spending his spare time tending to his sense of humor and study.
Our city motto, known as the “Peace Arch City” was coined for the monument celebrating the political will of two countries proud of their shared border. International politics intruding in our back yard.
The city of Pugwash has an organization based there, which, if you read the first five lines of its purpose, bring together influential scholars and public figures as individuals (nor representatives of governments) concerned with reducing the danger of conflict, to see solutions for global problems. (Should they march while they are working?) Sounds like our monument, but a work in progress.
Your perception of the good Reverend Macartney’s comments escalated into words of mass rebukes, bringing on terrible images of carpet bombing and defoliation of thousands.
At least you are willing to keep the possibility of the words ninth nuclear sub off the floor of our waters – as if we don’t have enough going on right now.
So while we are at it, let’s have a little fun between work locally, and keep in mind the big issues close at hand, for we all have a lot to do.
Working to be the good neighbor worldwide.
I was surprised to read in Dennis Hill’s letter his quote from Harry Truman regarding “facts.” The employment and income numbers he so cavalierly tosses out are not facts; they are projections of what may happen over the next 20 years.
These estimates were generated by a forecast that used multiple assumptions, all of which are open to error and over time, may be wildly off base. To assert that he is quoting facts is equally off base.
Our congressman has had two terms to do many things for the voters in the second district. What we have seen is Rick Larsen popping up like a mushroom for photo ops. Has he really helped the veteran’s hospital like he said he would?
The veteran’s hospitals are overloaded with veterans and understaffed to serve us. What has he really done for the border? Is it through his efforts or was it actually a congressional effort because of 9/11 that we have more border and homeland security agents?
Ask yourself what has the incumbent really accomplished for this district? Not much. I say we need new blood. We need Doug Roulstone, a veteran and a businessman who has already proven himself by running a successful business. Effective leadership is what is needed.
Fred Holton, Vietnam veteran,
Our father, George Rome Borden, Jr., built Blaine Central Airport in 1945 with vision, determination, and civic pride. Dad broke ground in 1943.
He leased the land from Mr. Dierks, Sr. He tore down barbed wire fences, cleared the land, put in a culvert, and brought in dirt to build an 1,800 foot runway. He built five airplane hangars, put in an underground gas pump, airplane tie downs, and built a maintenance shop and snack area.
He put all his own money into this project, which we believe to be about $25,000, because he foresaw an airport as being a vital part of Blaine’s future growth.
He then received funds from federal government agencies, to expand and improve the airport to the tune of some $60,000. Dad’s lease with the Dierks was a gentlemen’s agreement; when the lease was up, he would buy the property and be the owner.
However, in 1947 the city bought the property from the Dierks family, waited for our father to get all the improvements done and then terminated the lease.
Our father was devastated, but continued on as airport manager until 1955. He did so without pay from city hall, still with the hope to buy the land. He left this position, sold his remaining airplanes and never flew again.
With a decision forthcoming on October 9 regarding the closure of the airport, we feel it is time to again remind the people how important this airport is to us as a community.
The customs service use the airport, as do delivery planes. When fog closes in Bellingham for these deliveries, the planes use Blaine.
With all the beautiful work that has been going into reinventing the downtown core, the marina area and the streets, Blaine is hoping that we create a tourist revenue.
The Olympics are coming in 2010 and we are sure that many private planes will be staying here. In the event of a national emergency, having an airport here is vital.
Let’s not forget that the airport costs nothing for the city to maintain. It generates its own income primarily through the sale of fuel to aircraft and lease revenues from businesses that operate there.
The airport contributes money each year to the general fund to cover its share of the city’s overhead costs.
If the city decides to close the airport, my sister, brother and I, are going to seek legal counsel to find out if we are eligible to reclaim the monies, plus interest, which our family spent in starting, building and solely financing the airport, which has continued to run successfully for 61 years.
Billie Border Rowell, Dianna
Borden, and George Rome
The summer reading program, “Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales,” at the Blaine library was another great success this year.
The final tally of books read was an astonishing 4,700 – an additional 1,000 books over the previous year!
In an effort to further encourage the kids to read, community members and businesses agreed to donate funds based on the number of books read.
Keeping with the animal theme, donations were then split evenly to be given to the Whatcom Humane Society and Sardis Wildlife Center. Every book read equated to over half a cent being raised for these organizations. The final total – $80.
The library would like to extend a big thank you to the following donors: Blaine Insurance Agency Inc., Hagen’s of Blaine, Doug Freeman Real Estate, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Billie Squires and Marge Henry. Your generosity inspired our young readers and benefited animals in need.
Additional thanks go to Birch Bay Waterslides and Miniature World for supplying weekly prizes. And thank you to all who donated stuffed animals for our “adoption” program.
Each child, upon reading at least five books, was able to free an animal from the cage, take it home and encouraged to read to it over the summer.
There are 110 stuffed animals currently enjoying new homes!
Debby Farmer, Blaine library
First, I didn’t know Dennis Hill was such a mathematician.
Now if our learned council votes to chose the airport, hope they return the land back to the family from whence it came, and also give thanks to the old timers who donated their time and equipment to help build it, with the stipulation when they sell the land, Dennis Hill gets the listing.
Now he can ride out of town with check in hand on his braying donkey.
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.
Please email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org