Letters to the Editor - July 2 - 8, 2009

Published on Wed, Jul 1, 2009
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The Editor:
I’d like to tell everyone about the Seventh Street Blaine community garden. This is a great space that has been donated by the city of Blaine, located on G Street, between Sixth and Eighth streets. It has been subdivided into plots that can be rented each spring.
This year, due to the economic hardships some families might be having, there are four plots being donated back to the community and the residents of Blaine. The four plots are open for everyone to enjoy and to harvest.
We have planted lettuce, onions, chives, radishes, beets, cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, carrots, spinach, squash, zucchini, beans, and basil. You can also find oregano, pineapple sage, rosemary and dill.
The plots are located towards the compost area, between the pinwheels. Signs indicate what vegetables have been planted.
We are always looking for helpers to weed and water, but are also ready for lettuce to be thinned and eaten.
We ask that people be respectful of the hard work that goes into creating a garden, and that they take only what they need. Happy gardening!
Mira Swiecicki

The Editor:
St. Martin’s Clothing Bank in Blaine once again needs volunteers. In the last nine months since St. Martin’s has been open two days a week, Tuesday and Friday mornings, 9 a.m. – noon, the number of clients we have served has easily doubled.
Donors have been most generous in giving good, clean clothing and bedding frequently, although we never have enough bedding, pillows or towels to meet the needs. The economy has gone downhill even more from last year, while the community needs have risen. To meet those needs, we must recruit more volunteers. If you are willing to work for three hours one or more days a month, please call Ann Spooner, Coordinator, at 425/681-3736. St. Martin’s Clothing Bank, 500 C Street, is next to the Blaine Food Bank.
Ann Duvall Spooner

The Editor:
“All the other kids are doing it.” And your Mom would ask if all the other kids are going to jump off a bridge would you want to? Evidently some people would.
We are being told Blaine must enact the proposed Critical Areas Ordinances (CAO) because numerous other cities have or are enacting such legislation.
Does that mean it is the right thing to do? I don’t know. I do know, historical legalese is quoted for the CAO’s right to break contract and take property for the ascetic good of the community – possibly without just compensation. And I do know a contract or promise is a moral obligation.
We are not only talking about an individual’s right to his or her property, but contracts. An individual’s word was once honored and considered a strong contract, a promise, a moral obligation. Today, a contract must be written. And from local to federal government, a contract or promise means nothing.
Is the proposed CAO the right thing to do? Most of us don’t know. Put the issue on the ballot – either as binding or advisory. Get feedback from the public. Spend time debating the pros and cons. This is not an emergency.
And of course there is the carrot held out, the potential of losing grants if the proposed CAO is not enacted immediately. Using someone else’s money brings out the looting mentality in some people: “If we don’t get the funds someone else will.”
The taking from one through government force to financially or ascetically benefit another is thievery – an attack on our treasure. The breaking of contract, an attack on our right to life, liberty, and property.
Michael E. Odell

The Editor:
I’d like to thank everyone who supported Peace Arch State Park by attending the benefit concert on Father’s Day, featuring Victoria Ebel-Sabo, the Washington State Music Teacher Association Composer of the Year.
Special thanks to Richard Clark for organizing and sponsoring the event and Peace Arch State Park staff and numerous volunteers who donated much of their time to help with the event.
Donations were generous and much appreciated. Although the dollars needed for a new playground remains large, we are confident our goal will be reached.
Jason Snow, manager
Peace Arch State Park

The Editor:
I owe planning director Terry Galvin an apology for my letter dated June 11 which criticized his preparing a plan to conform to the Growth Management Act (GMA: 36.70A.035-045). I spoke before reading the GMA’s many newer amendments concerning inclusive county size and growth provisions. The original act included only three urban counties which made sense.
While reading the present version of GMA, it struck me that the 20-year planning horizon and low population growth objectives are out-of-date for Whatcom County and certainly don’t address local growth issue patterns and economic exceptions.
Additionally, this over-reaching law was based on a 1991 growth projection plus “best-available-science” which is almost 20 years old. Planners cannot realistically lock in a strategic plan for growth on a 20-year horizon. A three to five year plan horizon is more realistic, given rapidly changing economic conditions.
The GMA has now been court tested and has been upheld by the Washington Supreme Court. This ruling specifically sates that Washington State Government has precedence and jurisdiction over counties in laws and in governance.
In my humble opinion, this state Supreme Court ruling overlooks substantial state infringement on the constitutional right of counties, towns and citizens to own and dispose of property without state interference.
I am also disturbed by the limits of this law on economic growth for the city of Blaine. Conformance to the GMA will impose unreasonable restrictions on property uses, especially considering that the GMA may later be combined with future passage the Critical Areas Ordinance which further restricts land use.
I hope that there is an exception or loophole that can be exploited by the city to stop the GMA and the state of Washington from further encroaching on our personal freedoms of local government and private land use.
Charles Robbins

The Editor:
We would like to thank your newspaper and Richard Clark for the article in last week’s paper about the Father’s Day concert to raise funds for new playground equipment at Peace Arch Park.
We had just arrived from Phoenix to spend the summer in beautiful Blaine and we were looking for some special way to celebrate Father’s Day.
We have enjoyed other concerts at the Blaine Performing Arts Center and this concert was the answer to our quest.
As children and music are priorities in our lives we were delighted with the program Victoria Ebel-Sabo and her husband, Dan, provided for us.
The majority of the program featured original compositions by Victoria dedicated to children and family and it was especially exciting to be in the audience for the premiere performance of “The Legend of Silverheels” her most recent composition.
We are so fortunate here to have such gifted musicians and people like Richard Clark who so generously sponsored the event. I hope the next concert finds every seat occupied.
Thank you all for a lovely, very memorable evening.
Dottie & Barney Barnicoat

The Editor:
Thank you for your photo in last week’s edition of our recent sandcastle contest in Birch Bay.  I am so pleased to say that we were able, through the generosity of our members to award 13 category winners this year.  I wish to thank our wonderful volunteers at the event, and the businesses who donated prizes - Sandcastle Resort, the C Shop, Birch Bay Waterslides, Sea Links Golf Course, Miniature World, Horizon Bank, CJ Wijns, Bay Cafe and Birch Bay Hair Care.
Next up for Birch Bay – our Discovery Days Arts, Crafts & Family Fun Festival and Parade Saturday and Sunday, July 18 & 19.
This year we have a new fundraiser as well – a chance to win “The Ultimate Birch Bay Getaway Experience Package” – which will include everything you would want or need for a fabulous weekend getaway in Birch Bay including a luxurious condo at the Sandcastle, go cart rides, mini-golf, waterslides passes and more!   Details on when and where to buy tickets will be announced soon. For more details on the event visit our new website at www.BirchBayChamber.com.
Thanks again to the hundreds of folks who came out and participated at “Sandcastles” and thanks to The Northern Light for both promoting the event and publishing such a fantastic photo of one of our winners!
Lisa Guthrie, president
Birch Bay Chamber of

The Editor:
Thank you to Wayne Weinschenk and Ron Miller for their kind words in last weeks letters section regarding the CAO. I would like to take this opportunity to quote one of our founding fathers:
 “Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.” Samuel Adams.
Eminent domain comes from the 5th Amendment “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” and is usually invoked for infrastructure. When talking about taking peoples property without compensation, it strikes a nerve with some.
Let’s talk alternatives – grandfather existing property owners, adopt something like Sumas’ fluid boundary lines for CAOs, work with the county assessor to streamline re-assessing any affected properties ... there are many ways to compromise. What is sad is throwing up your hands and saying “yes, we may be doing wrong to some, but the state says we have to so o.k.”
As for my intent and background, since Mr. Miller was so kind to ask about it – here it is. I am not even a property owner yet, but am about to be one in this area. I am buying my first house – to live in and call home.
I graduated with a 4.0 from Columbia College in Columbia Mo. In 1997 with a BA in History/Government. I worked as a programmer for five years before being able to afford to quit my job and enlist in the Army in March 2003 (as soon as I could after 9/11).
I spent the next five years in 2nd Ranger Battalion, three of them as a Line Team Leader. My motivation is to have a home and be secure in it.
Rusty Welch

The Editor:
Ron Miller stated that the previous week’s letters opposing the adoption of the Critical Area Ordinance (CAO) were written by locals with a political ax to grind.
Perhaps 20 years in the future Ron when it is time for an updated CAO and the ordinance now says your house and your lot are too big and negatively effect the environment, you might understand how local property owners feel about 100-foot increases to setbacks on their property.
Thankfully, city council listened to area residents and sent the CAO back to the planning commission where it needs some serious revisions.
Also, your comments about Jason Overstreet and Charlie Hawkins were totally off base. When Jason defeated “airport hugging” Bob Brunkow a few years ago, Blaine was fortunate to get a council member who thoroughly researches all city issues, listens to both sides of a dispute, and makes what he feels is the best decisions for the citizens of Blaine.
Charlie on the other hand is running on borrowed time at city hall. There are hundreds of residents that supported Charlie and were very disappointed when he voted to keep the airport open after receiving official news from the FAA Blaine was not going to receive anything close to $16 million in grant money.
Thankfully, we have some new talented young blood up at city hall led by Jason and Scott Dodd. It’s good to see them stand up for citizens and not roll over by threats from the state if we don’t do what they want with regards to their CAO.
As for Ron Miller, I suggest he get back to writing science fiction and worrying about David Syre’s new 300-unit condo development at the end of the spit!
Dennis Hill

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