Letters to the Editor
I agree with Billy Frank, Jr. that protecting salmon habitat is the key to saving Northwest salmon. While fishing opportunities and runs have decreased in Northwest waters I believe runs are still healthy in Alaska.
In September, 2007 the L.A. Times, followed by the Seattle Times, ran an article concerning threatened salmon habitat in southwest Alaska. A Canadian company is hoping to mine the watershed for copper and gold. If allowed to happen it “would destroy one of the planet’s last sustainable fisheries…”
If our children’s children can only buy farm raised salmon one day, it will be our own fault for not protecting what we have now for their future.
Whatcom County spent $100,000 of taxpayer funds to convince residents they could afford to create a city government for $3 million, the cost the county currently charges to fix local roads. Don’t be fooled by the report’s conclusion since anyone can see the author’s assumptions were wrong:
1) There are not 6,000 people living in Birch Bay; I estimate 1,700 live here year-round.
2) The occupancy rate for the 1,500 building permits recently issued isn’t 50 percent as the report assumes; I estimate less than 5 percent of some real-estate developments appear lived-in.
3) The countywide occupancy rate is less than one person per household due to the high vacancy rate, so I challenge the 2.75 density figure the report used. That error overstates population by 2,062 residents.
4) The report projects 5 percent increased property values each year, yet the Northwest Multiple Listing Service indicates area home values in fact declined by 15 percent last year, and values are forecasted to decline similarly in 2008.
5) The report assumes Birch Bay’s average “taxable assessed value” is $180,673 or 43 percent higher than Blaine’s! If this assumed number is wrong the unfortunate Birch Bay city taxpayer will pay substantially higher taxes.
6) The report predicted $149.5 million dollars in additional new residential construction. If this does not materialize the taxpayers will make up the difference by paying hugely more taxes.
I recommend interested readers drive through local subdivisions (like Malibu or Horizons, etc.) simply to count occupied homes and for sale signs to get a sense of the current market for yourself. All six of these assumptions in the Berk Report are bogus. Therefore, the report’s conclusion is nonsense.
If Birch Bay incorporates, those who voted for it, as well as those that do not, will all pay significantly more property taxes than experienced today. The simple reason is because the report predicts that the speculative bubble phenomenon that we have experienced locally in real estate prices will continue, while markets all across the nation are telling us otherwise, and Birch Bay has no commercial sales tax revenue base that a normal city would use to fund itself.
This is in reference to the letter regarding having ever heard of “the war on bathtubs, potatoes or the street,” by Jean E. Male (is this your actual name?). This was the most uneducated and misguided attempt at an analogy that I’ve ever heard. I find it quite sad that someone would read such drivel of a publication and decide to use it as an attempt to insult men and women who are doing an important job in protecting all of us, especially those of us living in a border town.
Terrorism aside, the men wearing the Homeland Security badge are also preventing drugs and weapons from being smuggled in to be used against citizens and being sold to our children.
To accept a form of terrorism like what happened on September 11, 2001 as just something that happens and since it’s statistically irrelevant we should ignore it is quite frightening.
With this analogy we could turn the tables and say if the war protesters that claim to want to stop our young men and women from dying in Iraq and Afghanistan are truly concerned about young people losing their lives they would be better suited to turn their efforts and attention to teen drinking and driving, which kills far more people per month in our country than have died in five years of fighting.
The fact is that people die in accidents, whether it’s in their bathroom, backyard or in their car, but our bathtub does not actively seek to kill us, potatoes haven’t written out plans in detail of going into our children’s school in a rural area, cutting down trees to block the one road entrance to it, and killing our children. Nor have they proven their intent by actually succeeding in slaughtering 6,000 American citizens like cowards. It is letters the likes of this that will make me go out of my way to thank our men and women in Homeland Security, and you’d be wise to do the same Ms. Male.
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