The Editor: The spirit of Giving is in the air and you could see it in action on Saturday night at the PasTime Bar. We put on a fundraising dance to benefit the Blaine Giving Tree Program and the Crystal Tricycle played their hearts out. The dance floor was full for the majority of the night and the winners of the “Dessert Raffle” were walking away with their hands full of sweet treats. Once again the Crystal Tricycle donated their time and music and without them we just couldn’t do it. Many thanks go out to the folks who baked and donated the homemade pies, cakes, cookies, and pastries used for the raffle. Also thank yous go to Theresa, Billy, Brandy, and Wayne who worked the doors and sold raffle tickets. Bless you. This year has been a hard one financially for everyone in our community. We have seen a sizeable increase in requests for gifts this year. As of November 23, 2009 we have received requests for 2169 gifts. Last year in 2008, we ended the season with requests for 2001 gifts. We currently have a shortage of sponsors. There are 460 gift tags waiting for a sponsor. Our funds are severely limited this year and we are in great need of sponsors and/or cash donations. If you, or your company, or organization would like to help please contact Good Samaritan Society-Stafholt at 360-332-8733. Ask for Marsha, Laurie, or Natasha. Laurie Hart Stafholt Good Samaritan Blaine
The Editor: The United States Canada Peace Anniversary Association (USCPAA) would like to thank the general public, artists, exhibit sponsors and regional and state officials for supporting the 12th Annual Peace Arch Park International Sculpture Exhibition. Thanks to the voices and efforts of many, the exhibit will remain in the park through the 2010 Olympic Winter and Paralympics Games. Because of this, residents, visitors and international guests will be treated to a unique outdoor sculpture exhibit as they visit Blaine or as they traverse the newly constructed border facilities. The Washington State Parks Commission and the regional park management made this determination based on the broad public support for the exhibit shown from across Washington state. We continue to be very proud of our exhibition and our ongoing partnership with Washington State Parks and the Peace Arch State Park and our new exhibit presenting partner Allied Arts of Whatcom County. We believe that the Washington State Parks Commission and management should be applauded for their efforts in coming up with a creative solution supporting the exhibition. Additionally, we want to thank the city of Blaine and our state legislative representatives who assisted in making the extension possible. Christina Alexander USCPAA Blaine
The Editor: Let’s review what happened: County council candidates were advanced by tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the building industry. Mysteriously, all shared a primary plank in their platform in the idea that the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) should not be enforced in Whatcom County. County executive PeteKremen publicly endorsed the campaigns as if his office could give willful breaking of law legitimacy. The mayors of the various cities jumped on board seeking to expand their Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) beyond the standard set by state law for urban density. Some farmers also joined in to ask that their land, initially purchased as rural, be rezoned urban by their county council representative, so that it could be sold for a hundred times more than it was purchased for simply by virtue of that valuable “urban” planning designation. It seems as if everybody wants to turn the clock back to 2007 so we can all get in on the missed real estate boom. People confuse more real estate speculation with actual growth. Unfortunately for Whatcom County taxpayers, almost 70 percent of Americans already own a home, 40 percent own two or more, and 25 percent of homeowners owe significantly more on their mortgage than their home is worth. The remaining 30 percent are obviously better off renting. The reality is 48 of 50 states and hundreds of U.S. cities are currently experiencing massive budget deficits as increasingly sales tax receipts vanish as a direct result of property devaluation caused by reckless over-speculation in real estate. For taxpayers, the vicious cycle of urban sprawl followed by increased taxes and further devaluation will continue until local governments realize that the GMA was designed to prevent this exact situation. I am optimistic that the 50 percent of the voters who were too apathetic to vote in this last election will quickly figure out that the 26 percent of voters profiting from urban sprawl are in fact causing property taxes to increase and housing market valuations to decrease, by their government policies, policies indicating a complete lack of understanding of the principles of municipal finance. Lincoln Rutter Blaine
The Editor: Margaret Stock’s comments are so true: “We (Americans) are not defending the border from the Canadians. Americans trust Canadians with the keys to the castle.” Both governments work together in the North American Defense Command, a joint military command to protect against threats to Canadian and U.S. airspace. Other Canadian facts: Canada was first to enter WWI and II (before the U.S.). Canadian forces fought alongside U.S. forces in Korea. Over 5,000 Canadians volunteered to serve in U.S. forces in Vietnam. Canadians are fighting with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Our R.C.M.P. was originally commissioned as an Army (and still is). Other facts, Canada is a member of the “Commonwealth of Nations,” comprising over 50 democratic nations in the world, including Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Canada is the largest supplier of all energy to the U.S. Canada has the second largest proven/ recoverable oil and gas reserves in the world (one hour by jet from B.C. or WA). Canada has 15 percent of the world’s fresh water. Canada is the world’s largest supplier of potash (fertilizer), uranium, and gold, and the world’s second largest supplier of diamonds (in less than 10 years). Our universal health plan provides Canadians with the second highest longevity in the world. Our teeth are good. We only have one weakness, we speed and still can’t figure out the difference between miles and kilometers! As we zoom across our country 5,000 miles from west to east and 2,000 miles north. We drive new vehicles across the border, and we don’t swim across rivers to get to the good ole U.S.A. So trust us as we trust you. Jay James Vancouver
The Editor: Well, people of Blaine – you get what you voted for – rampant stupidity by this council. In these tough economic times these jokers of democracy don’t have enough common sense amongst all seven of them to realize that you don’t raise rates when the economy is in the worst shape since the great depression. This administration and council has thrown away more money on useless things, to the point where they are just as bad as the idiots in Olympia and the dummies that sit in D.C. The administration in D.C. is ruining the country, and the administration here is ruining the city. We need to confront these pinheads and demand that they make cuts to the budget and their spending habits and not put the burden on the people, or we the people should form in mass to collectively ban together to not pay our utility bills to these people until they get their heads right. What are they going to do throw us all in jail like the idiot Obama and his overdosed botox Peloise [sic], and dingy Harry Reid. If we all stand up and fight this we can beat it. Dave White Blaine
The Editor: “Cut $50,000 in costs” to the city of Blaine’s budget instead of raising taxes. The position of community development and tourism is not producing results. November and December it costs citizens $8,000 for one event to light up a Christmas tree? Raising property taxes by 1% is not necessary if this position was eliminated. Taxing citizens to support a non-needed, non-result producing position at a cost to the city of $50,000 a year is not logical. Increasing costs to you and I because the city is being poorly managed is ridiculous. No events in Blaine costs you $4,000. Lighting a Christmas tree costs you $8,000? To promote Birch Bay in January 2010 (not Blaine) the total costs to you grows to over $12,000? Logically good city management would cut non-producing positions wasting citizen’s funds before charging you higher taxes? Cut $50,000 today, and there is no need to raise taxes. Tell city council to professionally manage our city, not raise taxes and cut non-result producing, non-needed overpaid city employees. When needed hire qualified temps, it won’t cost $8,000 to put lights on a Christmas tree – call city hall (332-8311) and let them know. John George Blaine
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