Letters to the Editor: May 3 - May 9, 2012

Published on Wed, May 2, 2012
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The Editor:

In response to an April 22 police report incident appearing in The Northern Light: Well, of course, a man walking in the county park on Semiahmoo was armed. Really, one can never be too careful on the spit. Sea stars, sand dollars and lions manes could all suddenly develop spines and attack humans. We’ve even encountered a beaver which, fortunately for us, was dead. A friend took pictures of a large octopus in Drayton Harbor. She, too, was fortunate, in that the octopus remained in the water. And then there are the runners, walkers, picnickers and kite fliers. There’s no end to potential life-threatening dangers encountered on the spit.
The only actual danger I perceive in this situation is a total liquefaction of the spinal column of sane people in the face of NRA’s apparent resolve to arm the nation. Will this liquefaction extend north to the brain?

Marcie Toby

The Editor:

Last spring, amid protests against food-service provider Sodexo, Western Washington University’s decision to end its 50-year relationship with the infamous human rights violator seemed ethically sound. But after seven months with Sodexo’s replacement, Aramark, one group has continued to suffer: campus dining service workers.
These workers – including several with decades of service – have long contributed to the well-being of Western’s community. Yet over the past year, Aramark has denied seniority to established employees, announced additional layoffs, and premised employment on compliance with petty and unpredictable procedures. Worse, Aramark attached a letter to employees’ paychecks, warning that unionization “can cost you your job.” (More information on this classic – and disgusting – attempt at intimidation is available in the Western Front’s exposé on Aramark’s bullying tactics at www.westernfrontonline.net/aramark_letter.pdf).
Under the circumstances, workers’ decision to file for an election to organize with the Service Employees’ International Union makes perfect sense. We hope that this community will support workers and protect their right to unionize. As the taxpayers who fund Aramark, patrons benefitted by its services, and friends of campus workers, we have a responsibility to condemn the mistreatment of dining service workers – as does the institution that signed workers’ futures over to the low bidder.

Cory Atkins
Julie A. Helling

The Editor:

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and TransCanada claim that the Keystone XL Pipeline project will create 20,000 jobs in the U.S. This is inaccurate and misleading. The U.S. State Department examined this issue when drafting the Environment Impact Statement. They found that only 5,000 to 6,000 temporary construction workers would be hired over a three-year period. The API number is expressed as “man-years,” by multiplying the actual number of jobs times the number of years. Only 10 to 15 percent would be from local labor markets, which means 500 to 900 local jobs over a three-year period.
The Keystone XL Pipeline will not bring more oil into the U.S. or lower the price of our gas. This is also misleading. While the U.S. is currently the major importer of Canadian crude oil, our consumption has been steadily declining. Canada’s plan is to diversify and sell crude on the international diesel market. TransCanada president Alex Pourbaix confirms that the tar sands oil transported by the Keystone XL Pipeline is not for U.S. consumption! Refineries in the Gulf, which are in foreign trade zones, will export it internationally tax-free. Canada’s plan to increase profits will be at our expense.
The U.S. uses more than 25 percent of the world’s oil supply. The U.S. Energy Department states that decreasing demand through fuel efficiency is the best way to reduce mideast oil imports and improve energy security. Clean, renewable energy and conservation is cheaper than carbon-emitting fossil fuels and will supply more and better jobs. Extracting and refining tar sands bitumen is expensive and will produce enormous quantities of atmospheric CO2, causing accelerated climate change. To boost Canadian oil profits, we will endanger our land, our air and water, and our people. As I see it, this is a bad plan for everyone.

Christine Westland
Birch Bay

The Editor:

As I’m sure most folks are aware, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on February 26. He was an unarmed African-American 17-year-old boy.
No one should be killed because of the color of their skin, their clothes, or simply because they look “suspicious” to someone else. Killing someone based on a suspicious appearance is an act of racial profiling, and while we live in the Northwest, these issues still pertain to us.
Laws such as Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law (also known as the “shoot first” law) should be repealed because they encourage the killing of other people without consequences.
As a member of the community I think it important to examine how such laws correlate with the inequalities of the legal system.
I ask that our community look at the impact of the Trayvon Martin case and what we can do to prevent it happening here.

Christina Canton



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