Recently you may have noticed on our byways new faces who seem less involved with their direction and having a destination than are most of us. I’ll suggest that’s due to their need for direction in life and holding a sense of where they’re headed. Beginning about a year ago Whatcom County Opportunity Council began relocating people they serve to Blaine Manor. As a resident I’ve welcomed our new neighbors, however what I’ve noticed in making their acquaintance is an absence of focus for their day or life.
It was Tagore, East Indian Nobel Literature Laureate who in three lines said it all about time and life for me, which are, ‘I slept, dreaming life was joy; awaking, I realized life was service; acting, I beheld service is joy!’
Volunteering, as I do on committees and in civic organizations, is my pay off about life here in Blaine. I meet friends at every corner and know I belong!
I’m suggesting a volunteer coordinating office, staffed by volunteers, offering orientation for our relocated friends about volunteering opportunities. All within a 15-minute walk from Blaine Manor are Blaine Food Bank, St. Martin’s Clothing Bank, Stafholt Assisted Living and Nursing Facility, Blaine Library, Blaine Community Center and Blaine schools. Also, assisting our Blaine Manor landscape maintenance and community gardens at Stafholt and 7th Street in which to grow their diet, are volunteer opportunities to provide self worth through inclusion, connection and contribution to their community.
A hand down is often all that’s needed for getting “bootstraps up,” as the old saying goes with our churches being excellent volunteer resources for community connection to our relocated friends in making their day!
Very early Sunday morning I awoke to a big boom. My first thought – was that a gun? Somebody got shot? Then I noticed that all had gone dark and realized that a transformer across the street had blown. Boy, was that loud!
I thought for a second or two about getting up and calling to report it but it being the weekend, I went back to sleep, confident that all would be well by morning. Sure enough, it was.
Thanks to the city crew, who not just Sunday morning but as we approach the fall and winter storm season, do get up in the middle of the night to keep our lights on, and our streets plowed. You are appreciated.
About 15 percent of mortgages are classified either 90-days past due or are in foreclosure. Thirteen percent of American families are receiving food stamps indicating annual incomes of less than $18,000. Sixteen point nine percent of our work force is still unemployed.
The state of Washington had a budget deficit of over three billion dollars. Our state legislature is seriously deliberating whether Washington can keep teachers on its payroll, whether needy school children can continue to receive a hot lunch and whether we can afford to keep convicted criminals in jail. Yet in the face of these economic statistics and their corresponding fiscal problems, the Whatcom County Council recently spent $4.7 million dollars to put three-foot-wide asphalt shoulders on a seven tenths of a mile stretch of Lincoln Road. This expenditure represents $1,271 per linear foot.
Although only residents of the county will be asked to pay for this direct subsidization of private real estate developers, because Semiahmoo residents, for example, are part of the city of Blaine and do not contribute to the county road fund. Such subsidies violate the principles of both the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) since both laws postulate that developers should be held financially responsible for the cost of the public infrastructure required by their speculative investment projects.
If you feel that government funds could be spent more intelligently at a time when so many people are in need, then please vote against the Republican majority on our council that announced its own county budget deficits at the same meeting in which they obviously wasted nearly five million dollars. Similarly, in the federal election, please vote against the Republican delegation that announced plans to transfer $650 billion dollars of U.S. treasury funds to individuals whose annual incomes are greater than one million dollars. Locally, one can tell Democratic candidates because they do not often have corporate special interest groups buying them so many campaign signs.
Please seek out the candidates that do not have so many fancy and expensive signs and you will likely find a candidate that represents the needs of the average citizen.
In the current campaign season I value candidates with experience. These folks have been in the “trenches” and have learned and earned our trust. Patty Murray has defended Boeing contracts against Airbus and some southern Senators who’d like to take Boeing from us. She has worked very hard to keep jobs in the USA and our state. Veterans everywhere are better off because she is a powerful voice on the Veterans Affairs Committee.
Senator Murray has never been anti-gun ownership but she has listened to police officers, sheriffs and citizens who are concerned with the abuse of gun sales and ownership. We cannot deny that we see the result of gun violence on TV news daily. Gun owners and the NRA are in a position to work on a solution. We have the right and expectation to go about our business without the threat of gunfire in coffee shops, parks, malls or streets. Gun owners have the right to go to the range and fire at will. You have the right to compete in any legitimate match and be the best you can be. I hope gun owners will be a part of that well regulated militia named in the Constitution.
We pay taxes and elect our representatives to get our money back. It provides jobs at Boeing, Bremerton, universities, schools, farm subsidies, research, the Blaine border crossing. Senator Murray brings it back to Washington. She didn’t vote for the Iraq war but once we were in it she became dedicated to funding better equipment, pay and medical care for our military.
With a budget surplus the Bush administration cut taxes. The wars have been funded with borrowed money because of the tax cuts. It will take years to pay back and like WWII, Korea and Vietnam, we will have to get it done. Patty did not create or approve of the debt. As a member of the loyal opposition she had to make hard decisions in order to support the military and other programs vital to our country. Her service has been ethical, honest and responsible to her duty as our representative. I’ll vote for her again.
We all hope that the people that we have elected will look out for the best interests of all of its constituents, not just the ones who have backed and funded their elections.
Governor Christine Gregoire is ensuring that the few remaining commercial crab fishers will no longer be able to continue to make a living bringing crab to your table for your family to enjoy. This will affect the local fishers here in Blaine, fish/ crab processors and all the businesses that rely on the commercial fishing community. What we will start to see will be tantamount to what is happening in the south with the commercial fishing industry. Unfortunately, unlike the disaster in the south, where oil has taken away resources that have made this industry close due to the oil spill, we have allowed our governor to do this to our economy willingly.
Commercial fishers should be given equality with those that they have had to split their quotas with for years. Sports fishers have a very sketchy way of calculating how many crab they have caught, as we all know.
Fish and wildlife have said that they know that there is at least 20 percent poaching going on right now that they know of with sports fishers, but it is difficult to control with just a couple of fish and wildlife officers to control what is happening on the water.
Commercial fisherms are scrutinized and their quota is controlled more than any other group that has to share their division of the crab quota. Every crab that crosses the dock is measured and checked and the documentation is sent to the state for verification and counting to make sure the commercial fishermen quota has not been exceeded. Does this kind of scrutiny happen with the tribal fisheries and sports fishermen? No.
When it comes to tribal fisheries they not only get to have a longer season, they get to count their own crab and are not regulated by the fish and wildlife department.
Every year they never reach their quota even with an extended season and more is added to their quota for the following year.
Help our economy and let Olympia know your thoughts.