Letters to the Editor - October 29 - November 4, 2009

Published on Wed, Oct 28, 2009
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The Editor:
On June 16, 2008 James Leonard Cain passed away. James was a grandson of James and Lucretia Cain, two of the founding homesteaders of the city of Blaine. Errors were made in his obituary, which I and other members of his family contributed to and submitted to this newspaper as well as the Bellingham Herald. The names of several of James’ grand children were accidentally omitted. Unfortunately, this has caused a rift in the family. I would like to take this opportunity to formally and publicly apologize to Randy and Nick Cain as well as to Theresa Cain and her children Kristen, Kaylee, Peyton and Sydney as well as Jason and Dakota Cain. I am sorry that I did not take extra time and effort to ensure the accuracy of the obituary as it was written before I submitted it. I never would have intentionally left anyone out. It was a very unfortunate mistake and I am sorry that my mistake hurt anyone.
DeAnna Brown-Cain
Blaine

The Editor:
We face challenging times in Whatcom County and I think this election for county council will prove to be a pivotal time in our history. Agricultural land continues to be threatened by new development that creeps outside our urban areas. Many of our waterways remain polluted, which poses a threat to our own health and our ability to benefit from the bounty of natural resources that are supported in Whatcom County. There is intense competition for limited resources in the county budget and no shortage of needs. Most of the problems we face are complex. We need leaders who have shown the ability to study the issues, respect the best available science, and make informed and balanced decisions. The candidates for Whatcom County Council who have shown a commitment to public service over the past several years are Carl Weimer, Dan McShane, Laurie Caskey-Schreiber and Ken Mann. They’re not perfect, but if you ask any of them what experience they bring to the county council, they will be able to answer the question. They are not propped up by any special interest group. They represent us and our grandchildren. They will balance individual rights with the rights of the broader public. They have my vote this fall.
Geoff Menzies
Ferndale

The Editor:
I know every summer that people decorate their yards and they have acknowledgments as to the best yard of the week. As I walked my dogs today, it was beautiful with the leaves changing colors and I came about a house on F Street where a mom was diligently working on her yard with her two - three-year-old boy decorating it for Halloween. I thought I would email The Northern Light and suggest we do the same for Halloween. Although people do it for their children and their fun, it’s enjoyable for others to see as well. I think this would be a great tradition.
Carmen Clark
Blaine

The Editor:
It’s obvious that Ken Mann is the more experienced of the two candidates vying for the District 2 county council seat. It’s also obvious that his love of this county is what drives his willingness to serve on Whatcom County Council.
Ken’s six years on the county planning commission have given him experience and first hand knowledge of the issues our county is currently facing. He is and has been in the trenches, and he says county residents agree on 80 percent of the issues. He says that he will listen, and work hard to find a consensus concerning the remaining 20 percent. We are in this together.
Let’s say no to candidates whose tactics reek of blame, divisiveness and rights without responsibilities.
Let’s elect a candidate who is willing to listen and to work to ensure that the Whatcom County we all love endures for both its current and future residents.
Larry and Virginia Watson
Bellingham

The Editor:
Rural issues: Septics, lot consolidation, down zoning (land grab) critical area designation and rules, etc.
There they go again. The county council and the planners are using the excuse that “the state is making us do it” to massively reduce the value of rural lands and heap more onerous regulations upon landowners and farmers.
Of course septic tanks should be working properly. But forcing every septic owner to pay a huge fee for some “professional” inspection creates hardship and really doesn’t direct the effort where it will do the most good.
Of course growth in rural areas should be contained; there should be clear lines drawn around areas of more intensive rural development so they don’t sprawl toward farmland. But that doesn’t require down-zoning those properties that are already being used at higher levels, making existing uses “non-conforming,” which means that they eventually will go away by attrition. We need to maintain existing business, not drive them out of business.
And if it’s important to protect agriculture, why are many farmers being driven out of business by overzealous enforcement of the Critical Areas Ordinance through expensive “farm plans?”
It’s time to elect council members who can see the big picture and that’s why I’m voting for Mary Beth Teigrob for county council and hope you will too.
Liz Moore
Deming

The Editor:
I encourage parents to re-think free/reduced meals at school. Many parents feel as though it was like when they were kids. Different line or a big fluorescent card that puts a stigma on your child and may cause embarrassment. This is untrue and I feel it is important to share the benefits of this program.
Privacy and equality: The Blaine school district (BSD) has a “debit system” where all kids are assigned an ID number. Regardless of how the account is paid, your child only uses their ID number when getting lunch. Your child’s status does not show on the computer, that private information is kept in the district office only. There is only one line for all children. Your own child does not even need to know they are in the program.
Cost and savings: With free or reduced price meals, parents can save up to $60 per month per child. With 10 months of school that is $600 per year. For a household of four, your child may qualify if the household income falls at or below $1,569 every two weeks.
Health and learning: Quoting from the BSD calendar, “Numerous studies have been done on the correlation between eating breakfast and lunch and higher test scores. Each study has shown that the provision of a nutrient breakfast and lunch allows a growing body to feed its mind in the classroom.” Each meal is tasty and nutritious, with variety. There is a menu sent out each month.
School funding: BSD currently has a “lower” enrollment in the lunch program. Did you know, the more children enrolled in the program, the more federal funding the school gets for other educational programs? Also, since it is low we do not qualify for a school-wide milk program. Currently children have to pay $0.50 if they want just a milk.
I think these are all great reasons to see if your child qualifies. For more information refer to page six of the BSD calendar or call food service director Laurie Pike at 332-0348. You can also get an application with the income guidelines at all the school offices.
Kay Thomas
Blaine

The Editor:
Here are six reasons why the county council needs changing.
Critical areas rules, policies and enforcement is causing severe reduction in usable land forcing farmers to sell off the their animals.
Over the top septic tank rules that raise the costs to rural citizens more than needed.
Negative attitude toward economic development like the obstruction of BP’s co-gen proposal in 2002, which met all legal requirements and would have provided good jobs and about $900,000 in county taxes by now.
Poor attitude at buildings and codes. There should be a new sign on the employee side of the counter stating, “How can we help you?”
How will the lack of maintenance on dykes along the Nooksack aid property owners and farmers?
It looks like the UGA and LAIRD reviews are unplanning rather than planning with down zoning.
Lets elect common sense candidates: Michelle Luke, Bill Knutzen, Mary Beth Teigrob and Kathy Kershner.
Bob Wiesen
Ferndale

The Editor:
This election is important to taxpayers. As of 2007, 70 percent of Americans had purchased a home. However, apparently that ratio for our population was too high to be sustained by our economy, because by 2009, 25 percent of those homeowners had a mortgage that was substantially greater than the market value of their home. Now, the real estate development, building materials and real estate brokerage interests have put forward a slate of county council candidates that would wrongly like us all to think that the Washington state growth management act (GMA) is the problem.
They clearly desire more urban sprawl. However, the true campaign question should not be, are property rights attacked but rather, should more urban sprawl be allowed to continue to destroy our local economy, as it has? County unemployment currently stands at over 10 percent while 65,000 building industry jobs have already been lost throughout our state because of the obvious lack of regulation of the banking/mortgage finance industry.
The multi-trillion-dollar global financial meltdown is the evidence that what funded local urban sprawl was market hype and poor lending standards, not real “demand” for housing.
The fact of the matter is that, to date, Whatcom County has never enforced our state’s GMA laws, yet our property taxes have definitely increased by over 200 percent while many properties have been devalued by over 40 percent in recent years. The mismatch of supply versus demand is self-evident.
I ask the property rights advocates: What about the average homeowner’s right not to have his property taxes raised every four years to cover the developer’s unfunded infrastructure, like roads, schools, and fire districts, and what about the right not to have one’s property devalued because of reckless over-speculation by a handful of professional real estate developers?
If you own your own home but are not lucky enough to own a whole subdivision, then please vote for McShane, Weimer, Mann and Caskey-Schreiber as they are the candidates trying to revive our entire economy, protect our farming industry, our marine industry, our forest products industry, etc., from more fiscally-destructive urban sprawl.
Lincoln Rutter
Blaine

The Editor:
Carl Weimer knows how to listen, and how to communicate. During his term on Whatcom County Council, he has alerted us to upcoming hearings and decisions affecting our lives so we could participate and be heard.
He has worked to improve our water quality, preserve farmland, restore Lake Whatcom, protect our forests, provide basic human services in short, to make our county a better place for everyone, not just those who stand to profit from development.
Carl’s got it all. We’re lucky to have him, and if we’re smart, we’ll make sure we keep him on the council. His re-election matters. A lot. To all of us.
Myra Ramos
Lummi Island

The Editor:
Whatcom County has a choice to make this year, do we want to follow state law on channeling growth and protecting our farmlands and watersheds or do we like the sprawl on the Guide Meridian enough to spread it to the Canadian border?
At a recent planning commission hearing one of the property owners along the Guide said she thought the county should make the Guide more like Aurora Avenue in Seattle. Is Aurora Avenue your vision for our main north-south state highway? You only need to look south to see what not to do.
If we have learned anything from this downturn it is we cannot trust developers, speculators and lenders to do what is best and right. I’ve been listening carefully to the team of property rights candidates complain about the state rules requiring the stopping of sprawl on Meridian.
While their positions are vague their complaints indicate that they want the entire Guide to be commercial development. Do we need more strip malls, paved parking lots, and traffic jams?
I voted for four people with a vision that fits mine, my farm protected and a county with cities with clear edges surrounded by rural land.
Join me and vote for Ken Mann, Dan McShane, Laurie-Caskey Schreiber and Carol Weimer. Let’s keep the rural character of Whatcom County.
Kathy Hopkins
Ferndale

The Editor:
I had to read Robert Fisher’s letter a few times to get what point he was trying to make. I understand that he was in support of R-71, but I couldn’t see where abused children or religious freedom fit into it all.
Then it dawned on me, Mr. Fisher was taking a page straight out of the Progressive’s playbook, that is, in the face of opposition make an accusation that dredges up the taboos of our society and shame your foe into submission. For example, disagreeing with the President, once called healthy, patriotic dissent is now called straight-up racism.
Against government sponsored healthcare? You’re un-American. Now I guess if you don’t vote in favor of R-71, not only do you advocate child abuse, but you’re also a Nazi.
This is a flawed and lazy argument. It requires no real thought or discussion from the accuser, and the level of arrogance it takes to make this assumption far outweighs any moral obligation to provide a shred of evidence to support the claim.
My concern is that if everyone with an opposing view is labeled a closed-minded bigot who only wants poor people to starve, people will learn to ignore it. Then, when we are confronted with true evil and hatred, it will go unnoticed by a public gone numb from a steady barrage of name-calling.
Steve Berndtson
Blaine
   
The Editor:
I have known Ken Mann for eight years. I first met Ken at a function for a local non-profit organization. Subsequently, I bumped into Ken at events for many local volunteer and charity organizations.
His involvement and dedication to our community is amazing. I have followed his work on the planning commission and was happy that he was elected chairman. I am thrilled he is running for county council. We need people who are willing to work hard and represent the people of the county. I know that Ken Mann is running for office because this is his home.
Ken is running because he cares about the future of the county for all of our children. I trust Ken to make the right decisions based on what is best for all of us. Please vote for Ken Mann and ensure a bright future for Whatcom County!
Jaylia Lewis
Bellingham

The Editor:
This is addressed to all Birch Bay voters. I believe and recommend you vote for Michelle Luke. I do not know her but have reviewed her qualifications. I believe she will better serve the Birch Bay community than our incumbent.
Mr. Weimer’s organization recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Blaine.
More importantly, I do not believe he has shown any interest in our community and has not attended or rarely attended any Birch Bay steering committee meetings.
He seems only interested in his own personal agenda to the detriment of our community.
Mickey Masdeo
Birch Bay

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