Letters to the Editor -- March 15, 2007

Published on Thu, Mar 15, 2007
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Council’s vote to close Blaine’s airport is like jumping off a cliff before knowing how high or what lies at the bottom.
The only way a voter could possibly decide intelligently would require first knowing, 1), how much liability the city can expect from breach of contract and, 2), how much the FAA will charge Blaine for closure?
Without knowing this information, how could voters be expected to make the best decision? The shortfall between what the developers ultimately offer and what the city’s expenditure becomes will result in a windfall profit for the developer at the expense of taxpayers.
You can bank on that, because the 416 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) recently (the seventh largest single day drop ever) was the result of the fact that the “sub-prime” mortgage market has reached a level of default that regulators felt merited mandating significantly higher credit standards.
The financial impact of this “tightening” by banks is widely believed to be capable of abruptly recessing the entire U.S. economy through reduced consumer spending patterns.
Economists are seriously concerned defaults and the spiral effect created when banks collectively move to quickly unload huge numbers of foreclosed properties will cause this phenomenon to spread to “prime” borrowers, or middle-income-bracket America.
This situation has serious implications for Blaine’s economy, because the local economy has experienced the most aggressive speculation compared to all other regions. Bellingham was ranked the 16th “most overheated” real estate market in the entire U.S.
Therefore, it is essential that our city council act to curb even more speculation by protecting Blaine’s assets; yes, the airport is a financial asset, one of Blaine’s largest.
In 2001, 5 percent of all mortgages were “sub-prime” or considered risky due to the borrower’s unstable financial condition, by 2007 that situation had grown to 20 percent of all mortgages nationally.
Thirty-six large national mortgage lending firms have recently declared bankruptcy due to this rapidly expanding problem. In the face of this kind of real estate market, ask yourself what kind of offer the city can expect for its airport property?
Shame on our council.
Lincoln Rutter
Blaine

The Editor:
The Healthy Youth Act (SB 5297) was voted out of the Senate Education Committee and I want to personally thank Senator Brandland who voted for it!
John Chadwick
Birch Bay

The Editor:
I was utterly disgusted when I read the story about the mudslides that closed the BNSF railway tracks near Crescent Beach during Sunday’s torrential rains.
BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas stated that after the mud and fallen trees were cleared the line was re-opened for freight traffic but not for passenger trains as it wasn’t considered safe. 
He went on to say that it would remain closed to Amtrak trains for 24 hours and that passengers would be taken by bus instead. Am I wrong in thinking that if a train track is too risky for passengers, it is unsafe for 100 car freight trains carrying tankers of dangerous goods and toxic chemicals?
The entire bluff above these tracks from White Rock to Crescent Beach is geologically unstable and has a long history of landslides.
There have already been nine derailments across this area all caused by mudslides during heavy rains. Almost a hundred slides or slumps are visible from the rail bed and there is mud between the rails in over a dozen locations. Four mudslides actually hit the tracks during the storm with two occurring in White Rock and the two reported in Surrey.
The landslide detector fence located along this bluff is useless as it does not run the entire length of the hill to where a passing freight train ran into a wall of mud.  Most of the previous derailments were caused by mudslides triggered by the vibrations from passing trains. 
When this happens they fall from the tracks onto the rocky beach below. The risk of polluting the water or releasing toxic clouds poisoning people cannot be overstated.
When heavy rains are forecast, the BNSF line should be closed to all rail traffic. It should not be reopened until the saturated ground has been given time to drain. While protecting Amtrak passengers, BNSF is putting peninsula residents and the marine environment of Boundary Bay at risk by running loaded freight trains across this hazardous stretch of track.
This is not a local issue. A spill into these waters would destroy beaches in both Canada and the United States. 
There are many people who are working to have this railway relocated to a safer inland corridor capable of supporting planned high-speed rail. 
They are tired of the railway playing Russian roulette with human lives and the waters of Boundary Bay. We believe that beaches are for families, not BNSF freight trains.
Don Pitcairn
South Surrey, B.C.

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