Letters to the Editor: September 8 - 14, 2011

Published on Wed, Sep 7, 2011
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The Editor:
Any reasonable person must conclude that SSA Marine’s clearing of nine acres at the Cherry Point Gateway Pacific Terminalsite is a conversion of land in preparation for the coal terminal. Inasmuch, Department of Natural Resources and county regulations require a moratorium on any further work on the project for six years.
Because SSA Marine did not have a permit to actually clear that nine acres, they now contend that they did not intend to use the cleared acreage for the terminal project, but supposedly for an environmental impact study. So, no plan, no permit, no conversion, no accountability. They just forgot to submit the paperwork to ask for permission to destroy those nine acres of forest and wetlands that in a few years will coincidentally be part of the terminal project. By that time, it will be too late to hold them accountable.
If any landowner cleared their nine acres of property that included forest and wetlands, I must assume they would be banned from any development on their property for the required six years. Why else is there a rule if not to deter clearing of land and to punish those who do?
We the people must look at this inherently dishonest manipulation of the rules and see that SSA Marine is not interested in the welfare of Whatcom County or anyone but SSA Marine. They do not care about the environment and they do not care about our jobs. They only care about making money.

Amy Glasser
Custer


The Editor:
As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Water’s Edge Church family would like to invite the people of Birch Bay and Blaine to remember and honor the first responders to emergencies in our community. This Sunday, September 11, at 10 a.m. we are holding a special worship service in our new home, the gym (activity center) at Bay Horizon Park.
Please join us as we hear how the greatest act of love is to lay down our life for another. After the service at about 11:30 a.m., we will show our sincere gratitude by serving lunch to the firefighters of Birch Bay, Blaine and the surrounding communities. Please join us as we say “thank you” to these special men and women.

Pastor Jim Carberry
Water’s Edge Church


The Editor:
Keeping inmates idle in the county jail is expensive, does little to turn lives around and often leads to institutional violence. Under Sheriff Bill Elfo’s leadership, Whatcom County’s jail alternative programs have expanded and are among the most robust in Washington.
A new jail alternative center opened. Through contracts with various local, state and federal agencies, minimum security offenders assigned to jail work crews develop a work ethic and gain valuable experience through salmon habitat restoration and forestry projects, grounds maintenance at public parks and even operating a nursery that raises trees for public projects.
Offenders gain a sense of pride in this meaningful work and are less likely to re-offend. At the same time, revenues derived from these programs help defray the incarceration costs.
Sheriff Elfo’s enlightened forward thinking and experience is what we need to rebuild and improve our criminal justice system. I will be voting to re-elect Sheriff Elfo.

Alicia Jonsson
Bellingham


The Editor:
The Northern Light’s headline “H street irks one Blaine couple” exposes the arrogance of Blaine’s city hall – again. No, it is not just one Blaine couple.
We also put up with the noise, the dust, the unnecessary destroying of trees, the frustration of getting out or not getting out of our cul-de-sac again and again as the unneeded H Street fiasco went on and on and on.
We were misled – lied to? – during the hearings on the project. Every citizen there expressed concern about the speeding already on H Street. Oh no, we were told, no need for speed bumps, etc.
Today we are assured from an arrogant city hall we will be pleased in a few years by the improvements – improvements for what, speeding and endangering school children waiting for their bus and anyone trying to enter onto H Street?
I am sure those who are trying to develop a multi-unit building program just east of the H Street improvement are pleased. As to the couple ridiculed by city hall who no longer can get their RV out of their driveway, it is not city hall’s job to attack and belittle them. It is city hall’s job to solve the problem, that they – city hall – created.
First the questionable bid for the project, now the very, very questionable contractor over-charge, and now the dangerous increased speeding problems.
We moved back to Blaine eight years ago to enjoy the small-town concern and warmth we experienced several decades ago. Instead we found a city hall of special interests and arrogant minions.

Michael and Marie Odell
Blaine


The Editor:
Regarding last week’s article in The Northern Light, “H Street improvements irk one Blaine couple,” here’s a quick update. We are in the third week of a promised driveway fix, and the contractors are still no-shows.
Our small 1992 Winnebago RV was built in Forest City, Iowa. Winnebago has been making RVs to acceptable codes for many years.
Ours is street-legal, licensed and insured, and we have enjoyed many miles of traveling the scenic byways since 1999. And until this spring we never had any problems getting in or out of our driveway. But when the road workers began to lower the street elevation in front of our driveway we voiced our concerns about clearance.
That’s when we were told by the city and the engineer of Reichhardt & Ebe “no problem” and “optical illusion.” We beg to differ with Mr. Bill Bullock who said that our driveway apron was “built to city code:” that steep slope is unacceptable – period.

Ted Angell
Blaine


The Editor:
I am humbled by the trust and confidence expressed by your vote in the recent primary election. Thank you!
As sheriff, I have sought to serve our community not only by enforcing the law and holding criminals accountable, but also by emphasizing strategies to prevent crime and improve our quality of life.
Our focus on crime prevention and community partnerships successfully reduced crime by over 40 percent to a level that is 56 percent below the state average. We eradicated meth labs, dismantled criminal organizations and coordinated law enforcement’s response to gang problems. We operate one of the most successful and robust jail alternative programs in Washington and have enhanced jail-based mental health services. However, we are not done yet. There is more that we need to do.
Our existing jail is literally falling down, unsafe for staff, inmates and the community and very inefficient to operate. It needs to be replaced within the next four years with a new “right-sized” jail that is efficiently designed and capable of being operated without substantial increases in staffing. The new facility must contain sufficient space for education and substance abuse programs that can prevent recidivism and be constructed with existing revenues.
There is a correlation between access to mental health services and violent crime. We need to work aggressively to support our partners in the mental health system to ensure the availability of adequate community based mental health services and alternatives to incarceration.
We need to continue our focus on ridding our community of the violence caused by criminal gangs and use new and creative solutions to ensure all available resources are maximized and efficiently applied, to keep our community a safe place to live, work and raise our families now and in the future.
Thank you! I ask for your continued support, and vote in the November general election.

Bill Elfo
Whatcom County Sheriff

 

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