Letters to the Editor -- April 23, 2009

Published on Thu, Apr 23, 2009
Read More Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The Editor:
Let’s get the facts on the issue!
A clarification of the article pertaining to the elimination of parking along Marine Drive in front of the Subway building (in the April 16-22 issue of the paper), needs to be made. Mr. Steve Banham indicated that, “Schrader was never entitled to the parking spaces.”
The city of Blaine, in 1992, required me to remit $6,000 to the city to satisfy a parking requirement, and required me to construct a five-foot sidewalk along the edge of my property line (but not on my property) a distance of over 100 feet along Marine Drive. Both of these conditions were necessary to the issuance of a building permit. The question that begs an answer is: How could the city of Blaine legally “extort” money to meet a parking requirement and insist on the construction of a sidewalk on property which they did not own?
It would appear that the city of Blaine was not entitled to charge for the parking requirement as well as demanding that a five-foot sidewalk be constructed on property over which the city had no jurisdiction.
As far as working with Burlington Northern to secure parking across the street, two issues need to be raised. Firstly, according to community planning expert Brad O’Neill, this would present a safety problem for customers of Subway crossing an uncontrolled roadway – because traffic will be free-flowing up to and through the roundabout. Secondly, an agreement with the railroad, according to attorney Roger Ellingson, would almost certainly contain a “revocable clause,” in which the use could be terminated with little or no notice.
Another question needs to be addressed: Does the city of Blaine want an abandoned building at the entrance to the city from the Peace Arch crossing? This will most-assuredly be the result – if the parking spaces along Marine Drive for customers of Subway are eliminated with the completely unnecessary construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Peace Portal Drive and Marine Drive!
Dale Schrader
Blaine Subway owner

The Editor:
Reference the letter to the editor of Ms. Elle Tracy in the April 9-15 issue of The Northern Light.
I repeatedly hear and read of folks quoting the “free speech” component of the First Amendment to the Constitution as though it applies to interactions between private citizens or between private citizens and a private establishment. And yet, the first five words of the First Amendment are as follows: “Congress shall make no law...”
The First Amendment applies to interactions between private citizens and the United States Government and not between private individuals. If a newspaper or I don’t want to hear what you have to say then the First Amendment is not the vehicle to force us to listen. Thank you.
Richard A. Marks
Blaine

The Editor:
In your Apr. 16 - 22, 2009 issue, the article on Birch Bay speed limits quotes Officer Langley as suggesting that “having a uniform, year-around speed limit would eliminate any confusion...”. While driving the route from Birch Bay Village to Harborview Road many times over the last 12 years with the present system, I have never had nor noticed anyone having any “confusion” with the changing speed limit; however, I would be very happy having a uniform, year-around speed limit of 35 mph. Further, Officer Langley suggests that “most traffic he observes travels well under 35 mph”...I suggest that if Officer Langley sees you, you see him and would obviously be extra careful about staying under the speed limit. Officer Langley says that, “he’s found few opposed to a lower speed limit.” Who did he ask? Did any of them live in Birch Bay Village? We who live here all year round must use this throroughfare as our only access to jobs, stores, businesses, schools, services, etc. Until a connector road to the Birch Bay-Lynden road and from there to I-5 is available, we have to endure the lower speed throughout the summer but do so with the knowledge that once the temporary residents leave after the summer is over, we will have a 35 mph to look forward to. Of the few year-round residents on this stretch of Birch Bay Road, children are in school, parents are at work and no one feels an urge to walk or bicycle in the wet and cold of winter. 
Linda Clark
Blaine

The Editor:
Carol Choulochas, speaking for many Birch Bay Village residents according to the article in the April 16-22 issue of The Northern Light, said, “ ...don’t slow me down before I get to Harborview Road.” Where on earth could you be going in such a hurry that you are willing to risk the lives of children in order to save less than two minutes driving time? 
Do the math, folks! I live on Birch Bay Drive near the entrance to Birch Bay Village, and it is 1.3 miles from my driveway to Harborview Road. However, for the sake of argument and round figures, let’s call it 1.5 miles from Birch Bay Village to Harborview. Also for the sake of argument, let’s say you hasty commuters are, right now, going 5 mph over the speed limit, or 40 mph (a reasonable assumption in my opinion, since you seem to be in such a bloody hurry to get wherever it is you are going). Finally, a worst-case-scenario: let’s assume there is a police speed trap on Birch Bay Drive after changing to the proposed 25 mph speed limit, forcing you poor unfortunate villagers to go a full 15 mph slower. Ok, we’re ready to crunch some numbers: Right now, going 40 mph with no speed trap, it takes you only 2.25 minutes to travel the 1.5 miles between the Village and Harborview road. However, after the 25 mph speed limit is enacted and a speed trap set up, it will take you a whopping 3.6 minutes to travel the same distance. 
Oh, my gosh! That means it will take you a full 1.35 minutes longer! No wonder you are willing to risk the lives and limbs of bicyclers and pedestrians! I had no idea!
Get real, Village people! Why can’t you just leave the house two minutes earlier? Relax and enjoy the scenery. We’ll all be a lot safer and happier.
Jeff Sterling
Blaine

The Editor:
The players, families and coaches of the Blaine Boys 4th and 6th grade basketball teams would like to extend their sincere thanks to the following local businesses and individuals who supported the teams with sponsorships for the 2008-2009 basketball season: Donald L. Rathe DDS; Border Cargo Services Inc. and Scott Freeman; Mike Kent, Windermere Real Estate; Joel R. Junker & Associates; Neighborhood Mortgage and Janell Kortlever; Bella Hair Design and Chrissy Nichols; Roger Ellingson, Attorney at Law; Kristin Hunt, Coldwell Banker Real Estate; and Steve and Mike Dodd of Blaine Marina. The support of these businesses was essential to an enjoyable season for the kids as they worked hard, developed as athletes and did a great job representing our community through good sportsmanship. Congratulations to the boys, and thanks again to our sponsors!
Bill Baldwin
Blaine

The Editor:
I was astounded at reading deputy sheriff Langley’s comments regarding traffic speeds in Birch Bay. Daily (and for many years) using the same roads of which he speaks, I rarely experience autos traveling under 35 mph, often just a bit above. And while there may be “confusion” in some people’s minds at the speed changes, it is hardly an earthshaking event and we all get over our annoyance at the ridiculously low speed mandated in the warmer seasons.
Reducing it still further, as Langley is recommending, to 25 mph would serve only three purposes. 1. An incredible increase in fuel usage since most vehicles don’t get out of first gear until 25 mph. 2. Higher pollution since auto engines are at their worst at slow speeds and 3. A lovely chance for Langley to write lots more tickets since most people going to work or back home will be frustrated beyond belief at such stupidity. Me thinks the latter argument might be a major motivation for Langley’s illogical comments.
Eric Barnes
Birch Bay

The Editor:
The Fisherman’s memorial committee invites you to attend the Blessing of the Fleet celebration on Sunday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. at Blaine Harbor Boating Center conference room. It’s not only an opportunity to remember those whom we’ve lost at sea but to also give our blessing to the fishing fleet that is about to embark on a new season in the Pacific Northwest waters and Alaska.
Gary Dunster
Blaine

The Editor:
Wings Over Water Northwest would like to thank all of our volunteers, sponsors and supporters who helped to make the 7th annual Wings Over Water Northwest Birding Festival a great success!
Hundreds of people attended the festival on Saturday the 18th to enjoy the activities in downtown Blaine and at Blaine Harbor. Some of the highlights of the festival were live raptor presentations by Sardis Wildlife Center sponsored by Bob and Lois Franco. There were also expert wildlife presentations during the day by David Drummond and David Hancock as well as Kathy Stauffer of Windermere sponsored an outstanding evening presentation by award winning photographer/author Paul Bannick. Wildlife and geology field trips to Semiahmoo were led by Jim Jorgensen. Port of Bellingham sponsored wildlife viewing trips aboard the Plover Ferry. North Cascades Audubon provided bird viewing stations as well as naturalist Dick McNeely aboard the Plover. Kid’s games and activities were provided by Sterling Bank; Tennant Lake Interpretive Center, Carol Fuglestad’s 2nd grade class and Stafholt Good Samaritan Center provided face painting as well as shuttle service between downtown and the harbor.
BP Cherry Point Refinery, the Port of Bellingham, and the City of Blaine were this year’s festival sponsors. Please take time to see the complete list of our sponsors and supporters in our thank you ad in this issue of The Northern Light.
We not only have a beautiful location to hold this festival, but also a supportive community that makes it happen!
We look forward to an even better festival next year!
Debbie Harger
Wings Over Water

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, fax 360/332-2777 or
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