Letters to the Editor: January 26 - February 2, 2012

Published on Wed, Jan 25, 2012
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The Editor:

I read with enthusiasm Jeremy Schwartz’s article in the January 19 issue of The Northern Light concerning community efforts to save the Blaine train depot and to establish Blaine as a regular passenger train stop on the north/south rail corridor. Our town is uniquely situated to offer passenger service to both Vancouver and Seattle to residents of our area.
As one who grew up living around New York and Boston, where riding the train to the city is a way of life, a train stop in Blaine appears to be a no-brainer. Ask people why they don’t go to Vancouver more often and they will tell you that the border is too great a hassle, and that traffic and parking in Vancouver are a nightmare. Seattle is an additional hour away and involves even greater traffic snarls and parking charges that are outlandishly high. Offering train service from Blaine would draw people to our community, would offer them a relaxing and stress-free travel experience, and would ignite their interest in using Blaine as a launch point for further visits north and south.
Additionally, as we look for ways to energize Blaine’s economy and “put it on the map,” our “Borderite” location offers an opportunity that no other city can claim. Add a rail line and a depot waiting to be refurbished and reopened, and you have a recipe for community growth. Not only will area citizens use Blaine as departure point, Blaine will become a destination, a place to visit and enjoy, or a launch point for vacations in neighboring communities. Either way, the impact on Blaine would be significant and positive.
I urge our city council members to support this effort, and for all Blaine citizens to recognize the benefits of a functional train depot in our town and regular passenger rail service north and south. Please contact your elected officials and ask them to support this project, an undertaking that will be a winner for the residents of our community and for Blaine.

Bryan Johnson

The Editor:

All aboard!
Wouldn’t it be nice to catch the train right here in Blaine at the historic Blaine Depot? Imagine relaxing along the water to points south, visiting friends, business, a sports event, entertainment, shopping or a romantic night out on the town.
Why fight traffic? Just sit back and enjoy the view, just like in olden days – it’s less stress and better for the environment.
Please show your support. Join the many others who feel this would be a great asset for our community and for all citizens!
Write a letter or make a phone call. You can make your voice heard by going to www.blainestation.com. It’s very easy to type your thoughts and add it to the list of other supportive letters.
Also, copy and paste your letter to the Blaine City Council members at bccouncil@cityofblaine.com, the Blaine mayor and city manager at gtomsic@cityofblaine.com, and to the letters to the editor section of your local paper – Blaine’s paper at editor@thenorthernlight.com.
Now is the time to voice your thoughts, support this just, much-needed project!
Our community has a chance at having its train depot restored and turned into an operating depot once again. This has to be one of the most important possible successes this area may see in many years.
Our politicians want to hear from you! They are listening. This is a win-win for our citizens, our businesses, our visitors and our northwest!
Write that letter!

Bill Becht

The Editor:

Just a quick note to clarify a situation we run into routinely. In a December 13 article the following statement was included:
“Two terminal opponent groups in particular, Salish Land Policy Solutions and Communitywise Bellingham, claimed SSA Marine had had a hand in developing the mitigation fund language, which county officials and SSA Marine representatives have denied.”
There are two problems with this statement: (1) Communitywise Bellingham is not an opposition group; and (2) we made no such claim.
To be clear on these points:
(1) Communitywise Bellingham by explicit and unanimous board of directors and advisory board action has from its inception decided to take no position on the proposed terminal or on any of the global issues that attract so much attention. We are focused on Bellingham/Whatcom impacts of the terminal project and what might reasonably be done to avoid or mitigate those impacts. We dedicate our resources to carefully vetted factual information to “inform the conversation,” and we watch over the public and private process. Because we refuse to take a position for the terminal, the SSA PR machinery tries to cast us as “opponents,” which is using the old “if you aren’t for us you must be against us” arguments that have served our policy debates in D.C. so well in recent times.
(2) We made absolutely no claim about the subject at hand. We reported on the Salish Law position and the fact that there was a meeting the public could attend. This is exactly the same news treatment we grant to Northwest Jobs Alliance and other proponents of the project. People in the community who frequent our site or join our mailing list do so because they understand that we will be presenting news from all sides, that we will be developing factual information, and that we will let them know how they can be involved.
We are of the opinion that if the project is going to generate impacts that will require hundreds of millions of dollars to adequately mitigate in order that our future has as much economic prospect as it did pre-project, then we should work to insure those impacts are identified for study and possible mitigation during the EIS process. We do not demonize SSA Marine – we expect them to behave like any business and maximize their profits by externalizing as many costs as they can. Looking out for the pocketbooks of taxpayers is hardly “opposition.” Working toward ensuring the EIS process is as good as it can be is in everyone’s best interest.
You can understand a lot more about our organization by checking the broad range of community members on our board: www.communitywisebellingham.
We do understand that SSA Marine works hard to paint us as opposition. It is convenient for them. It is not true. If you have any questions feel free to contact us.

Jack Delay, president
Communitywise Bellingham

The Editor:

Your Blaine Coast Guard Auxiliary recently held a “Suddenly in Command” (SIC) class for women boaters in Point Roberts.  Suddenly in Command is a one-day class which teaches women boaters the necessary skills in the event the “Captain” becomes ill and they need to be suddenly in command.  A big thank you to Kathryn, Nancy, Darcie, and Sherri for delivering a wonderful course that was enjoyed by all! Attendance was at capacity, and a waiting list has already started for our next course.  Please contact Kathyrn at 360/220-3872 or k.wellington28@gmail.com to join the list for our next class.

Andrew Breiteneder
USCGA Public Affairs Officer

Letters Policy

The Northern Light welcomes letters to the editor; however, the opinions expressed are not those of the editor. Letters must include name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Letters must not exceed 350 words and may be edited or rejected for reasons of legality, length and good taste. Thank you letters are limited to five individuals or groups. A fresh viewpoint on matters of general interest to local readers will increase the likelihood of publication. Writers should avoid personal invective. Unsigned letters will not be accepted for publication. Requests for withholding names will be considered on an individual basis. Only one letter per month from an individual correspondent will be published.

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