Letters to the Editor: April 19 - April 25, 2012

Published on Wed, Apr 18, 2012
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The Editor:

The Bellingham Herald’s April 11 business section headline read: Dow tumbles. Those who read beyond the headlines might have noted that while hedge betters were concerned with EU debt, Alcoa rose 5.3 percent because of cost-cutting by laying off a lot of people. Interesting that when stocks go up it is because jobs are lost. In this election, citizens are supposed to think the president has some control over job losses, one candidate supports women more than the other and that industry and municipal bonds will fail if the super rich pay the same rate of taxes as the rest of us. Ultimately, it is the people who “jiggle” the market who determine the Dow and employment. Who are the people who “jiggle” the market? The super rich who get deductions for their investments, and then they fund Super PACs!
While men lose jobs when construction and manufacturing cut jobs, women lose jobs when states cut budgets and jobs are lost in health and education. So now the question is, do we produce stuff and things or keep citizens healthy and educated? These are tough times for serious thinking.
Read beyond headlines. Don’t settle for sound bites. Become informed. Then vote!

Donna Starr

The Editor:

SSA Marine promises to bring our local economy lots of tax revenue; however, the taxpayers are going to take on huge bills for road overpasses, construction and maintenance required for the project. Each overpass costs $60 million-plus, and the taxpayers will foot the bill for at least 85 percent of that cost. The railroad is only required to pay a small percentage of the cost. Taxpayers may even pay for other costs as our federal government finds it appropriate to subsidize building deep water ports (SSA Marine) and rail lines (BNSF). Patty Murray cosponsored SB942, which uses tax dollars to help build the terminal and the rail lines. I think Warren Buffet (BNSF) and Goldman Sachs (SSA Marine) do not need our subsidies.
SSA Marine has stated that at full capacity there will be just over 200 full-time jobs, and that number has changed often over the past year. Most will be highly skilled jobs (probably not local hires for many of them). In return, hundreds if not thousands of jobs will be lost in local tourism, waterfront development, real estate, and fisheries, not to mention the lost tax revenue that would have been paid by these businesses.
In the long run this project will negatively affect more people than it will benefit, and isn’t that what democracy is supposed be about? Not whether companies can mitigate a horror in to a bit less of a horror while promising jobs and revenue.

Amy Glasser

The Editor:

Because of the great publicity by The Northern Light, capable and efficient staff at the Community/Senior Center, and countless volunteers, the “Giant Rummage Sale” held on Saturday at the center was a huge success! We were able to raise over $2,000, which will be used to help us continue to provide services, activities and classes for hundreds of seniors in and around Blaine. Thank you to all who donated their “junk” so that others could find their “treasure!”
With the help of major fundraisers such as this, and the wonderful support of the city of Blaine, we look forward to continuing and improving these services and activities.
Thank you again to all who donated and came to shop.

Carole Liebert and Ruth McBride

The Editor:

It was good to see a full house at our local city council meeting on March 26 regarding the future of our train depot and new train stop. Thanks for those who spoke favorably!
Things are looking better and better all the time. Support is growing from the ground level on up.
If you haven’t already seen our website, www.blainestation.com, please visit, read all the supportive letters, newspaper stories and listen to the CTV/CBC radio piece.
Post your own thoughts, and while you’re at it, submit that same letter to the city council, the local paper and local politicians. Your voices really matter.
We can do this if we all embrace and get behind this grand project.
All aboard to the future of boarding a train at Blaine and avoiding the headaches of I-5 lineups. Imagine relaxing on a diner car and watching the pretty scenery go by as you head down to points south for a day of shopping, sports or just a nice getaway to visit family or friends.
To the contractor who approached me offering a new roof for the depot, please come in to my shop (Horseshoe Coins & Antiques) and give me your contact info.
Thanks to all the supporters out there.

Bill Becht

The Editor:

Thank you to the Blaine School District and Blaine community for all the support, scholarship donations and condolences given at the recent memorial service for Deb Cummings. The service was a fitting tribute to an exceptional educator, great leader and wonderful friend. In honor of Deb’s memory and love of education, please consider donating to the Deb Cummings Scholarship Fund, c/o Blaine Dollars for Scholars, PO Box 4285, Blaine, WA 98231.

Denise Magnusson

The Editor:

Canada is the largest supplier of energy to the U.S. Canadian oil and natural gas sold to the U.S. is below world prices as a result of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Part of the oil used by the refinery at Ferndale is from Canada. Yes, some of that oil is refined to jet fuel, then exported to the airport in Vancouver, B.C. This creates added jobs and value-added profits at the Ferndale refinery. The Keystone pipeline project is estimated to create 20,000 U.S. jobs. If the pipeline is stopped, then the oil will go by rail cars to the Gulf refineries, again because of national security, lower price and assured supply. Oil and liquid natural gas will go to Asia via double-hulled tankers from Kitimat, B.C., 1,000 miles north of Washington state. Canada should be the U.S.’s preferred supplier of oil and natural gas to the maximum requirements of U.S. needs. There is no limitation of supply from Canada at lower prices than world prices.
In other words, the U.S. should reduce its dependency on oil and natural gas from rogue nations, especially those nations that are dictatorships and those that export terrorism.
The additional bonus would also be a reduction of currency outflow, and balance of payments, as Canada is not included in those figures because of the NAFTA Agreement.

Jay James
Birch Bay

The Editor:

With views of Birch Bay at my doorstep and eagles foraging, breeding and nesting in our yard, I am reminded daily of the unprecedented quality of life and rich biodiversity we all share in Whatcom County. From the Cascades to Puget Sound, we are able to play and thrive in a community that is relatively untouched by rampant industrialization. We must protect these resources by supporting green technology and maintaining a philosophy of sustainability.
Our environment cannot remain healthy or grow economically if we allow the construction of a coal-shipping terminal near Cherry Point, designed to ship 54 million tons of coal annually to Asia. Coal contains toxic chemicals; coal dust leaching into the water and ground will degrade the land, pollute the air and cause illness.
The few jobs created by this project will not offset jobs lost from decreasing tourist trade or home sales lost when prospective buyers decide not to live in a county that supports the largest coal-shipping terminal in North America. Nor will a few jobs offset the costs of increased health problems or the costs of building overpasses at key intersections.
Imagine 400 additional supertankers coming and going into the Sound each year. Imagine an accidental oil spill. Will the eagles, herring, salmon or orca whales continue to thrive and play in our waters then?
Kevin Parker, global head of asset management at Deutsche Bank, said, “Coal is a dead man walking.” This refers to the fact that the use of coal, a finite resource that causes enormous pollution, is a dying industry. To progress, we must move away from coal and replace it with renewable, clean energy sources.
We should not risk compromising our quality of life by allowing a huge coal exporting port to become an integral part of our community.

Christine Westland
Birch Bay

The Editor:

With all due respect to the “circus attendee” who attended the Gateway Pacific Terminal agency meeting, the opposition is an absolute majority. The fact that they may be so vocal is because nothing ever seems to get accomplished in our great society until people get so fed up with what is forced upon them that they push back with a message that is clear and with an elevated decibel rating. They are also attempting to clear the air for those involved in the decision-making process and whose judgement may somehow be clouded with a conflict of interest.
I don’t think that anyone needs to be convinced that the people of this country have the ability to build and create in many cases possibly better than anyone else in the world. And I can’t see anyone opposed to good-paying manufacturing jobs returning to our shores or any other type of work for that matter, unless it is work that is promulgated by and for corporate welfare interests. (For those of you who don’t know what these are, please don’t “Google” it on Wikipedia – you’ll just get more confused.)

M. Foubourg



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