Letters to the Editor -- September 13, 2007

Published on Thu, Sep 13, 2007
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Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Everyone knows by now about Bruce Wolf’s departure from the council. No one is really happy about it because Bruce was a highly valued member. His absence will be sorely missed; however, his departure is fully understandable and we wish him well and God speed throughout all his future endeavors.
Jack Kintner in his article pointed out Bruce’s value and did it very well; however, we wish to convey the council’s perspective of Bruce. Bruce displayed a keen perception of all issues and could look at all sides introspectively and intuitively. When he made his point it was just that – to the point. His point was always made in a selfless manner and it had the betterment and best interests of the city and its citizens at heart.
As has been stated, Bruce will be sorely missed and he leaves a big hole that will be very hard to fill.
Ken Ely, Charlie Hawkins, John Liebert,
Bonnie Onyon, and Jason Overstreet,
Blaine City Council members
Mike Myers, Blaine mayor

The Editor:
A thumbs up to the city of Blaine for recognizing those citizens in our neighborhoods who maintain their yards with the Blaine “Yard of the Week.” A huge thumbs down to the city of Blaine for not recognizing those “junk” yards in our neighborhoods that need to be cleaned up.
My family has had to look at this type of an “eye sore” of a yard across the street from us for many years now. We look at the piles of junk wondering when it is ever going to be cleaned up. What we see on a daily basis is: an old stove, an old microwave, an old sink counter, table, tires, truck canopies, a gutted out trailer and what looks like an old stackable washer/dryer. These are just a few of the big things in the yard by the house in full view.
We have made a complaint to the city along with other neighbors who have complained about either the condition of the yard or the odor that they notice when they walk behind this yard through the alley. I emailed two city officials in June to find out what was being done and I have yet to get a response from them or any city official.
Our neighbors put up a partial fence to hide the non-running car and dog pen, but we still look at the gutted out trailer and now we see the junk that was hidden behind the fence before they moved it along with all the other existing junk piles. There is still a partial falling down fence behind the trailer hiding who knows what.
So city of Blaine officials, when are you going to step up to the plate and help those people who need to have their yards cleaned or enforce penalties on those who just let their yards go. I am surprised and I find it unacceptable that this yard (I am sure there are others) in Blaine are allowed to get this far out of control.
Sheila Dalry

The Editor:
We are the players on the Blaine U14 Pony baseball team. We just finished our season and want to thank the people who made this possible. Our coaches, Al, Khalil and Kevin, for great instruction and always stressing sportsmanship and respect. Sheldon, for always being there, ready to step in when we were missing a coach and he also prepped the fields almost every game. Larissa, for managing the behind the scenes stuff, like booking fields and umps.
Our parents, for their support and being our best fans. Our sponsors, Beachwood KM Resorts; Sports Unlimited; Jasper Engines & Transmissions; Alley Auto; Cascade DAFO Inc; Breakwater Studios; and Matt's Gram, for their contributions of money, or uniforms or equipment.
Thanks for the opportunity to proudly represent Blaine! Andrew, Jesse, Jordan, Kaleb, Kyle, Matt, Scott, Sean, Tanner, Todd B, and Todd F.
Dustin Dhanani

The Editor:
Ms. Barnicoat’s letter to the editor on “peace” was interesting by omission. Among the religions listed, Islam was notable by its absence. There is a reason that we are not at war with Confucianists, Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. Rather we are at war with Wahabist Muslims who believe that the world is divided into two sections, Dar-Al-Islam (The House of Submission) and Dar-Al-Harb (The House of War). They believe that as non-Muslims we have no rights, including the right to live. Two interviews with prominent Muslims yielded the following quotes.
On July 19, 2003 Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi told a London-based newspaper: “It has been determined by Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb is not protected.”
Also, in an interview conducted in July 2003 by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Haqiqa, Dr. Sheikh Ali Gomaa said: “...it is permitted to kill him, because he is a Harbi and the Harbi spreads corruption throughout the face of the earth.” Until we recognize that this war is not of our doing but results from a fundamental conflict between radical Islam and the rest of the world, we will not be able to make the decisions that must be made in order to preserve and defend our way of life.
I would like to see peace between us as much as anyone, but the reality suggests that there will be no peace until the Wahabists are defeated and removed from positions of control in the Islamic world. There are more moderate Muslim sects but right now they have little influence in the Muslim world. Our job should be to destroy Wahabism as a viable religion and promote the dozens of other Muslim sects with whom we can live in peace.
Calvin Armerding

The Editor:
Following issuance of a temporary occupancy permit on August 17, we moved into our newly-constructed Blaine home on August 18. On approximately September 1, we received a city of Blaine utility bill which included a charge of $59.80 for sewer.
When I sought clarification, a city employee said that Blaine actually gives consumers a break: some cities [allegedly] start charging for sewer as soon as the water main is installed. I asked how this could be, and was told that it’s all based on a city’s charter. By this logic, one could pay for sewer usage months prior to toilets and sinks being installed, based only on exterior use of water, none of which would utilize the sewer.
Yes, it’s only one time we’re paying for a service we’ve not received, but we’ll remember this for a long time, wondering about our decision to build in Blaine. This is particularly unpleasant because, during the two years we lived in Birch Bay, our water and sewer bills combined averaged $36 per month. Thanks, city of Blaine, for being so accommodating.
Marcie Toby

The Editor:
The letter by Richard Clark in the September 6 edition of The Northern Light was interesting but inaccurate. Evidently his lack of understanding about how and why local church congregations are formed led him to some erroneous conclusions. (By the way, I do not attend North Bay Christ the King (NBCTK); they are a sister-church to my home-church of North County Christ the King in Lynden.)
The mandate for all Christ the King churches throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties (there are 20; see www.ctkbellingham.com for more information) is to meet the spiritual needs of people.
The “research” to establish a new church is done by going door-to-door and asking people what would make their lives richer and having a home-grown church family is usually high on that list.
So the “big box” analogy really doesn’t apply, and could be considered an insult. Also his skewed understanding of what a “small group” entails (“a congregation split up like an apple pie”) is peculiar, because no one is obligated to belong to any small group (the Greek word “koinonia” meaning “fellowship,” not “piece of the pie”), and neither are they restricted to 10 members. Most Christians find the close relationships and mutual spiritual support in their small groups to be very encouraging and strengthening, not opportunities for indoctrination and brainwashing.
What was most absurd about Mr. Clark’s letter was his invitation to “half a koinonia” to come to his house for a discussion completely set by his personal, political agenda. Christ the King churches are not politically oriented, and to expect five “Kingpins” (another insult, a phrase not encouraging to genuine conversation) to show up (with such incredibly little notice) and pander to his whims is unrealistic. Since I did not even read his letter until Friday, even if I were a part of a NBCTK’s small group, I could not have met his deadline. And I doubt anyone else would be eager to play to his tune.
Finally, I encourage any small group from NBCTK to invite Mr. Clark to attend one of their weekly meetings ... or he is welcome to come to any of NCCTK’s 87 small groups. He sounds lonely to me.
Jeanne Halsey

The Editor:
With the last of the dusty baseball bags being put away for the winter the 2007 Blaine Youth Baseball season is officially over. With over 250 kids ranging in age from four to 12 we saw everything from kids running backwards around the bases in tee-ball to boys playing their hearts out in state tournament play in the majors. The girls softball teams were hard to beat and the rookies made big improvements in their skills. The minors proved to be very competitive against teams from around Whatcom County also.
The list of people that volunteer their time and energy to coach and help out is almost too long to name so to all of them, “Thanks a bunch!” You guys are the reason that the season even happens. To Tracey Doll thanks for feeding us and bandaging our scrapes. To Paul Aguirre, our exiting president, thanks for the years of hard work.
Many thanks to Jim Kenoyer and the Blaine school district for the use of the fields and gyms. We are very grateful, because without the fields there would be no season.The biggest thank you I have to give out, however, is to the businesses that support us. Some have given every year for over 10 years without fail. Because of these people we are able to provide equipment for all to use and sponsorships for those that can’t afford it. No child was denied the privilege to play because of their generosity. We have taken out an ad in this edition of the paper and we hope that you will take the time to look it up and remember to support them as they do us.
Thanks again to everyone and hope to see everyone out again at the fields next season.
Christie Rector, BYB Secretary

The Editor:
The Blaine Planning Commission will make their recommendation to the city council whether to expand the role of a hearing examiner for the city of Blaine.
The planning commission members are scheduled to make their recommendation on Thursday, September 13 at 7 p.m. at city hall. As proposed, the planning commission would no longer be hearing land use decisions.
This role would become the hearing examiner's. Any appeals of the hearing examiner's decisions would be heard by Whatcom Superior Court.
The Blaine City Council will have the final say as to whether the role of the hearing cxaminer will be expanded. The concern that was expressed by members of the community is that local officials will no longer be conducting public hearings on land use issues. The majority of those testifying would prefer that the planning commission retain their present role.
Since this is a legislative issue, the public can contact city council members, planning commission members and city staff regarding their concerns on this matter.
Information, in the form of the proposed amendments, is available on the city of Blaine website. I would strongly urge members of the public to read these documents and make your reactions known to the aforementioned.
Dennis M. Olason

The Editor:
To address the problem of three “dead zones” in southern Puget Sound, the state has required that all counties bordering Puget Sound adopt regulations for on-site sewage systems (septic tanks) to require that gravity flow systems be inspected every three years and more complex systems get annual inspections. The state does not mandate who is to do these inspections.
Whatcom County is considering a proposed regulation that would shift the burden of those inspections from the health department to private enterprises. The proposal specifies that the septic system owner would be required to hire a qualified private inspector to examine and report on the condition of their system.
Those qualified inspectors are employees and/or owners of septic system design and installation companies are self-interested in finding a need for repair or replacement, all at the property owner’s expense!
If the problem is really that drastic of a public health risk, the inspections should be made by the Whatcom County Health Department. Otherwise, an owner inspection verified by a check-off list and a condition report made as part of every septic tank servicing would more than satisfy the state requirements.
One proposal provides for owner training and self-inspection but requires initial inspection and an inspection every seven years thereafter by a for-profit inspector.
The health department admits that there are not enough private sector inspectors to cover the estimated 30,000 septic systems in the county but suggest that it would be so lucrative that many people would enter the field.
So on top of all the other scams, the county is going to mandate the opportunity for a septic system scam?
I can accept the need to grant access to my property to a public health officer based on probable cause but not mandating that I must invite and pay a private enterprise onto my property to further his own enterprise.
The Whatcom County Health Department reports that out of the last 250 inspections, 16 systems required repair – less than a seven percent problem rate. So where is the major danger?
Do we really need this full assault with private enterprise “security” operations? Have we learned nothing from our recent federal governments’ misadventures?
The regulations governing on-site septic system inspection are not finalized. Whatcom County Board of Health will be meeting again in September to consider further amendments and clarifications of the proposed regulations. I urge the owners of septic systems in Whatcom County to contact their county council representative and let them know that they need to evaluate the real risk and regulate accordingly and that mandated private enterprise inspections of your property is not acceptable under any circumstances.
Hopefully The Bellingham Herald will prominently announce the date and time of the next meeting on this subject so that more concerned citizens can attend.
Patrick Grover

The Editor:
Hello. What’s happening at the county treasurer’s office that we haven’t been told about? How is it that Joe Elenbaas seems to be the only one upset with the report from the state’s auditor regarding the operation of the county treasurer’s office?
Why is it the office management does not adequately monitor employee access to the computer system?
And, how is it that the treasurer’s employees have open access to mail and billings processed without double checking the $32.2 million coming in from property taxes, gasoline and gambling revenue?
How is it mail is opened by one person at a time with no log or record of what is received, or other compensating controls to insure accountability that funds are safeguarded at all times?
And, when told that the man who has been responsible for the operation of the treasurer’s office opposes Elenbaas, it makes me wonder what’s been going on in our county courthouse.
This information comes from the July 12 state auditor’s report. Elenbaas as treasurer should give us reasonable accountability. As for me I’d like a fresh start.
Martin Van Buren

Send us your border stories!

With long line-ups, testy drivers, NEXUS cards being confiscated or not renewed, road construction, it seems the problems of crossing the border is one of the main topics of conversation for residents and visitors in these parts.
We’re interested in learning about your experiences with the border, good, bad or indifferent.
As well, let us know what solutions you might offer to improve the situation. What do you think about the plans to shut lanes down during construction of the new Peace Arch port? Should there be a statute of limitations on prior misdeeds preventing NEXUS membership? Should there be an appeals board for NEXUS? Have you had difficulty in renewing your NEXUS card? Should there be a border ombudsman?
Please send us your stories and suggestions to: publisher@thenorthernlight.com. Requests for confidentiality will be strictly observed.

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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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