Letters March 3 - 10, 2010

Published on Wed, Mar 3, 2010
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Editor:
Habitat for Humanity has recently completed its third house in Blaine. Blaine residents pulled together through their labor and donations to complete this house. This was such a wonderful expression of community and the residents can be proud to see what pulling together as a group can accomplish.
Habitat for Humanity wants to build once again this year and is looking for a building lot in the Blaine-Birch Bay area that can be used for our fourth house in the area.  I am hoping that someone will step forward with a economically priced lot that Habitat for Humanity can use for another affordable home for a family in need. 
This family will need to partner with Habitat for Humanity in the building of the home and when completed will pay a monthly mortgage to Habitat for Humanity.  This is our way in building community, building hope and helping the family with a “hand up” rather than a “hand out”.
Being a registered non-profit organization, Habitat has the ability to offer various purchase/sale options to the seller that  would help both them and us. 
If you are aware of a lot in the greater Blaine-Birch Bay area that has all services available in the street and is ready to be built on, drop me an email or give me a call at the Habitat office at 360/715-9170 or drop me an email at terry_mateo@habitat.org.  I look forward to talking with you soon!
Terry Matson
Bellingham

Editor:
What transpired in our town on the February 22 council meeting was a travesty.  Over 500 signatures have been presented against the roundabout project, including 95 percent of your local main street businesses. Not one person from the public spoke in favor of the project.
The mayor wanted to have the city staff speak to help to clarify the misinformation presented by the “anti-group.”  Unfortunately the city presentation was full of misinformation!
The bid for the project is not $2.7 million as stated; it is $2.8 million. The total cost is currently at $7.8 million (we had actually under reported on this, not over reported as claimed by staff).
When pressed on these numbers, staff then said that larger number includes other things like the freeway delay signs. Those signs are fully operational and were paid for with their own budget ($2 million for the electrical contractor alone). To Gary (city manager):  we have not had 19 public meetings about roundabouts since 2001 as you stated at council. There were two council meetings in 2006 when DOT officials first presented information on roundabouts.  All the public sessions with “input” were in 2009-10.  “We” have been talking about this for a year.
Citizens, we report to you of special packages of information to council members, that no one took credit for (no signatures or author specified). No one in the public was allowed to see this information ahead of time as required by the city’s own rules.  This information was used to support the project, information no one knows where it came from or who wrote it. This is not fair, just or right.
Do you know the roundabouts are currently being redesigned?  This is to meet the needs of trucks, trucks the designers have for months told us were accommodated.  WSDOT, you expect us to trust you after this?
Let us not forget, no one knows what the final design will look like.  The city votes to support that?
Don’t let this lay the way it is, call your mayor.
Thomas Bridge
Bellingham

The Editor:
The request for the much needed playground in Birch Bay was approved by county council last Tuesday.
I supported the project very much. However, the Birch Bay playground project request was buried within a very big budget amendment request that contained five items totaling $1,464,253.
One of the items was a new park maintenance facility for the Hovander Park area in Ferndale that was not critical and would have taken $489,475 – almost a half million dollars out of a finite fund that could be used for stormwater prevention facilities which I believe are a much higher priority, especially in the Birch Bay area.
The county administration responded that constructing the maintenance facility would be an excellent way to provide work for laid-off workers to do the construction. I pointed out stormwater facilities also need to be constructed using many of the same type of workers.
The administration also said the money can be replaced when we sell the park property on the Mt. Baker Highway where the maintenance facility currently sits. But we need whatever money we get from the sale of the parks property for very critical projects, not for items of convenience but not absolute necessity.
I made a motion to remove the maintenance facility from the budget request. My motion failed. So I was unable to support the budget amendment even though it included the $100,000 for the Birch Bay park that I did support.
I am disappointed that an extremely expensive and non-critical item contained within the same budget request prevented me from showing my support for the Birch Bay playground, which I do believe is important even in (especially in) tough economic times. I was very impressed that the Birch Bay community was able to obtain some matching funds to help fund the park in addition to county funding.
Whatcom County government is currently in a very precarious financial situation. I cannot support unnecessary, expensive projects in order to support a modest and beneficial one. I prefer having these types of items voted upon separately but that was not the case. Whether you agree with my position or not, if you have any ideas to assist the council in prioritizing our expenditures you can either e-mail me at BBrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us or phone me at 384-2762.
Barbara Brenner
Whatcom County Council
Bellingham

The Editor:
Hearing Mr. Toyoda yesterday made me wonder if congressional members are aware of Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s role in Japan’s post-war industrial revival. Deming’s model was perfection in production and service meeting the needs of the consumer, rather than acceptable margin of error with an eye to increased production and quarterly dividend.
Some of us “oldies” remember when toys from Japan were cheap, dangerous and laughable. After the war, with Deming, an American as the revival guru, products from Japan became the high bar of perfection. Perhaps Toyota has unfortunately developed a more American view of the bottom dollar. They should re-read Dr. Deming’s Out of the Crisis. It is about management for perfection and profit not sucked out by re-do and waste, the model Americans tolerate and pay for so willingly.
During the current time of political posturing for upcoming elections, I wonder how much money is coming from the U.S. auto industry to pay for hearings and recall publicity. How many of Fords and GM vehicles have been recalled over the years, quietly, by letter and individual dealership?
Follow the money; it can lead to interesting insights.
Donna Starr
Blaine


The Editor:
I am writing in support of Blaine elementary school and the need to address the proposed programs cuts to physical education, library and music classes. Every parent knows and does not need explaining about the importance of these classes.
However, to those who believe these classes aren’t essential may not see the significant impact of how they improve our children’s lives in regards to health, education (library) and enrichment of their lives through music. Although beautiful, most of us realize it rains in the Northwest a lot during the school year. Many kids get the necessary physical activity needed to live healthy lives through just school physical education.
Not every parent can afford to enroll their children in sporting activities outside the school district. Obesity and the cost of health care in relation to poor physical health is staggering.
It should not even be a question that physical education is a necessity. Library and music are also key programs that shape our children’s lives to produce well educated and talented adults, which is the point of the entire public school system. Our children are our future! Please keep this in mind when considering cutting costs.
What we cut today, we will lack for tomorrow. We need to invest in our children now so our futures will have promise and hope.
Kristine Monogue
Point Roberts

The Editor:
On behalf of the school directors, our staff and the students of Blaine school district, we are pleased to join Governor Gregoire in acknowledging the contributions of two very important groups of school employees.
March 8 through 12 is Classified School Employee Week. These employees serve in a variety of positions, including those seen by the public such as bus drivers, playground supervisors, crosswalk guards and secretaries. They are also busy behind the scenes handling such duties as cooking, cleaning, repairing and maintaining.
March 15 through 21 has been designated as School Retirees’ Appreciation Week. We are pleased to have the opportunity to officially thank all of our past certificated and classified personnel for the many contributions they have made. In many cases, our staff and students continue to benefit from their experience because these past employees are on campus as volunteers.
To all of you during your special week of recognition, thank you from our community!
Ron Spanjer, superintendent
Blaine school district

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