Letters to the Editor: June 7 - June 13, 2012

Published on Wed, Jun 6, 2012
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The Editor:

During the recent financial crisis and bank bailouts, who took advantage of our deregulated financial structure? Who made billions off what some financial experts call a giant “Ponzi scheme” on the American public, in which many average folks lost their homes, jobs, retirement and savings? Goldman Sachs, that’s who.
Here they are in our backyard funding a significant portion of the Gateway Pacific Terminal. SSA Marine is 49 percent owned by Goldman Sachs. I trust the slogan “Good Jobs Now” as much as I trust all other marketing tactics by a corporation who will make billions of dollars by using our community as a big, cheap, dirty energy corridor. Trusting, once again, a corporation with a track record of poor business practices seems crazy to me. Whatcom County is our home and we deserve better. I plan to do everything I can to protect our health, safety, recreational areas, economy, jobs, farmlands and image by participating in scoping and supporting the Community Bill of Rights – ‘Yes’ on Prop 2.

Suzanne Ravet
Birch Bay

The Editor:

This letter is in response to Jeanne Halsey’s letter in May 24 issue. Canada bashing again! What’s new? The letter confirms there is still an undercover of resentment toward Canadians by some Americans in Whatcom County. Canadians are not stupid as the letter implies, they know the difference between kilometers and miles. A simple solution is to have the state put up more signs to remind all drivers: Washington’s RCW4 6.61.100 is a ticketed violation. Contact your police departments to enforce the law for all drivers.
The comment “someone must be getting revenue from your shopping habits” is absurd: Whatcom County has the highest sales tax revenue in the state (other than the Seattle area). Canadian shoppers provide that extra revenue, and it comes back to the county to help all citizens in the area. NEXUS was not set up “completely geared to Canadian shoppers.” NEXUS was set up by both countries for increased security for both nations – “trusted travelers” from both countries have special entry and a high level of security clearance, and less than 2 percent of Canadians and Americans have a NEXUS pass. Travelers from both nations can also use NEXUS for air travel, and that’s sure not for grocery shopping in Bellingham!
Here are some tips to slow down the irritating Canadian shoppers at your malls in the Bellingham area: You and some of your Canada-bashing friends target the malls, especially in the parking areas, post signs on your vehicles that say “Canadians, go home,” “not welcome,” or “stupid drivers get out.” Try being even more insulting, even threatening to get charged by your own police on an assault - 3rd degree felony, then forever denied entry to Canada. Have fun.
Why do Canadians shop in the U.S.? Same reasons as anyone would shop – lower prices, better quality, more selection, less taxes. However, the offset is Canadians have free universal health care, hence more disposable income (to shop) and less health worries than Americans.
Last point, you should be careful with whom you make “enemies.” Canada is the largest supplier of all energy to the U.S. – oil/gas/electricity. Canada has the largest, proven oil and natural gas reserves in the world. The largest supply of fresh water in the world, the largest supply and reserves of potash (fertilizer), largest reserves and supply of uranium, second largest supply and reserves of diamonds – all in the second largest land mass on Earth – all managed by a 40 million (like California) population stretching across more than 5,000 miles from Pacific to Atlantic.
Well, Jeanne Halsey, as a result of your letter, I am going to help you. Your letter in the May 24 issue is being circulated in the B.C. media – newspapers, radio, TV, chambers of commerce and boards of trade, to encourage Canadian shoppers to skip Whatcom County and shop elsewhere. It will also encourage Canadian businesspersons who want to expand their companies in the U.S. to bypass Whatcom County and create jobs elsewhere in the state.
Congratulations, Jeanne, a well done community effort of yours to help rid Whatcom County of Canadians.

Jay James
Birch Bay

P.S. Who is your symbolic “Uncle Lee?” Or is that just a racial slur against Chinese Canadians? (I will also circulate your letter to the Canadian Chinese community.)

The Editor:

I fully understand  Ms. Halsey’s frustration at having to live in a community where a great deal of people seem not to be from the community, but are rather “guests” here. And some seem to have forgotten what the meaning of the word is.

When I travel north of the border I have no “right” to be there, but am allowed into Canada as a guest. As such, I feel obligated to actually behave in a manner at a higher level then I would in my own country. I am after all, a ambassador of my country when I travel. I do not believe that when I see a Canadian breaking the rules (read laws) that it is then OK for me to do so. I personally see more Canadian-licensed cars speeding than going too slow on the highways.
Trust me, it does not work to argue by saying “sure some of us break the rules, but by in large you should be happy we are here because we bring our dollars down.”  (An attitude I have seen U.S, citizens employ while traveling abroad; very un-cool.) Most of us benefit very little if at all from your dollar. Any benefit we do incur is probably wiped out at the gas pumps by paying some of the highest prices per gallon for gas of any county in the state. We pay this high price in part because Canadians are willing to pay more because it is still a great buy compared to north of the border.
While it might make you feel good to tell me that you’re bringing your money here benefits me, I am curious what you tell your fellow Canadians who work at the Richmond, B.C,. Costco?
Another behavior I have experienced while waiting in line to buy something is a Canadian who felt obligated to tell me what is “screwed up” in my country (it doesn’t seem to take a lot of Canadians very long to get to this tiresome subject). The irony is not lost on me that here you are in the U.S. Costco instead of the Richmond store.
If you are reading in “letters to the editor” that your behavior is starting to fray nerves, maybe there is some truth in it.

Bill Morin

The Editor:

Did you notice? There was a “disturbance in the force” Saturday morning, May 26 when Blaine author, historian, minister, newspaper editor, musician, thinker, humanitarian and peace advocate, Richard E. Clark passed away. He died as he lived – quietly and peacefully.
Dick left specific instructions that there be no service or obituary, but no one should think his passing is not worthy of recognition.
Clearly, the best words I can find to pay tribute to the life of Dick Clark are his own. In his last book, “Riding the Carousel with God,” Dick left us with many points to ponder about life, death and religion including this;
“Be kind. I believe that pair of single-syllable words should become our universal creed. The world needs kindness. We need kindness more than faith and hope. Even more than love. Kindness transcends happiness. It’s a decision. If and when we mortals allow kindness to transcend happiness, our psyches generate the very happiness that kindness transcends.”
Simple words from a complex man who faced life’s adversities with dignity, purpose and above all, kindness.

John Yirak

The Editor:

The closing of the Blackberry House in Blaine has left a distinct “hole” in the world of coffee drinkers.  I would like to commend Aaron Tuski, the owner-operator for his long service to the community and note how much he will be missed. Aaron provided, on a consistent basis, some of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had. Another patron said it must be the water and Aaron revealed that was true and that he also triple filtered it. Along with the coffee, his wonderful soups, sandwiches and – oh! – the scrumptious baked goods! - added a great deal to the homey feel of the establishment.  He also quietly provided free hot meals to those less fortunate every Thursday night. Along with Aaron’s quality staff – Jacqui, Carly and Summer, to name only three, who provided superb service, great smiles and always upbeat attitudes – he will be sorely missed.   The possible good news is the rumor that he might consider reopening elsewhere. If true, may his coffee be as good as it has been. His neighbors miss him!

Eric Barnes

The Editor:

How amusing that people took umbrage with my letter of two weeks ago. Humor is sadly lacking in our society today, and political correctness rules over common sense. The ubiquitous “crazy Uncle Lee” could easily be referring to a “Leland” or a “Leonard” or a “Leroy” – why would anyone immediately assume it was a racial slur? Too many prickly people are looking for offense and have forgotten how to laugh at human frailty.
My first driver’s license was issued in British Columbia. The rules of the road were taught clearly, and I was a careful, accident-free driver. When my family moved to Washington, I obtained a Washington state driver’s manual, learned a few new or different rules, and subsequently passed that driving test perfectly.
Later, we moved to Texas, where driving rules were not that different than Washington’s, so again I successfully obtained a driver’s license. When we lived in Colorado, I discovered distinctly new rules – especially regarding snow conditions – and it took two tries to pass that test.
The point is: each state (or province) may have slightly different rules regarding safe driving, and it is incumbent on all drivers who use the roads in places other than their homes to know those differences and adhere to them appropriately.
I expect long-haul truck drivers are well versed in these differences and practice them accordingly. My main complaint refers to the improper use of the passing lanes; “Slower traffic keep right” or “Keep right except to pass” is the law in Washington state. It may not be the same in Canada, but once you reach our roads, you need to correctly practice our rules. The “right lane law” may be difficult to enforce in Washington (or B.C.), but that is no excuse for careless drivers plodding along in the passing lane below the speed limit and not yielding to faster cars. You can be fined for driving too slowly.
We have Canadian relatives who have taken the tiered driving plan, and many “N”-signed or “L”-signed cars have parked in our driveway. I applaud the “prolonged steps to a driver’s license” B.C. requires of her drivers, and hope it produces smarter drivers who obey the laws, are considerate of fellow drivers, and have accident-free driving careers because of a more mature perspective.
As for Canadians massively flooding our little Whatcom County, it is possible our daughter the busy realtor sold the home in Birch Bay to that Canadian citizen.
But the question remains: why is it so many of Canada’s lovely shopping centers have ample parking spaces and the stores are more empty than populated with customers, while Whatcom County stores are maxed with Canadian customers (you can usually tell because Canadians tend to have better haircuts than most rural Whatcom County denizens – be realistic, Whatcom people, and don’t take offense) and our parking lots are overwhelmed by B.C.-plated vehicles? The rampant consumerism “plaguing” North America is not confined to U.S. citizens.

Jeanne Halsey



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