Letters to the Editor: September 20 - 26, 2012

Published on Thu, Sep 20, 2012
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The Editor:

Are we the only ones to have noticed our U.S. flag and the Washington state flag at our local H Street shopping complex attached by one grommet, looking old and faded? 
The only flag flying properly there is the Canadian flag. Then go down the freeway to Birch Bay Square, and you will find a similar situation. Again, the Canadian flag is in good shape and flying appropriately. The American flag is attached properly but is in absolute tatters. 
What gives? Have we no pride? We are respectfully requesting that the two shopping centers replace our American flags and attach them properly as soon as possible. 

Rein and Sharon Neem

The Editor:

The people of Whatcom County overwhelmingly do not want Peabody Coal and SSA Marine to build the coal shipping terminal. We all know the story: Rail cars spreading their dust and causing terrible traffic problems along with ridiculous railroad infrastructure costs to the citizens of Whatcom County.
Ships discharging their disgusting, filthy polluted ballast water from China (I have spent a lot of time in the Bahai Sea of China, where the coal is going) into our herring spawning beds at Cherry Point and then that water flowing into Birch Bay. That will be 500 ships per year at 17 million gallons per ship. It will destroy the herring and our salmon industry and ruin Birch Bay.
Coal dust blowing all over Ferndale, Birch Bay and Blaine. We will have coal filth all over our property and in our houses and lungs. Ask the people at Point Roberts about their coal dust problem from the Tsawwassen, B.C., coal terminal.
Do not trust your politicians, who get bribes in campaign contributions to protect you. Do not trust the environmentalists and EPA to protect you. They brought you the ecological disaster, ethanol, which reduces your gas mileage by 10 percent and raises your food costs. 
We in Whatcom County must establish a coal tax on all coal stored and transferred in the county of $20 to $30 per ton. At 24 million tons shipped per year, tax revenue at $20 will be $480 million a year. That will pay for all the railroad infrastructure problems and perhaps an underpass for the miserable intersection railroad problem at Peace Portal Way and Blaine Road. It will pay the fishermen who have lost the salmon catch, but not the Lummis who are bringing this disaster to us by their wetlands transfer deal. It will pay for service people coming to our houses and cleaning up the coal dust once a week and then the doctor and hospital bills after our lungs are destroyed.
If the county council will not pass this tax, we the people must, through the initiative process.

Arne Cleveland
Birch Bay

The Editor:

In reading Jim Agnello’s item on the young mother, I must inject some reality.  It is true that mothers would be devastated by bombs killing their babies, but where does Jim get the idea that the U.S. is dropping bombs in small countries around the world?
Let’s look at the Iraq war. The media has left the original aims behind in their more recent reporting of this war. They forget that it started when Saddam Hussein kept annihilating the Kuwaitis. He wanted Kuwait so he could have a seaport. The U.S. put out sanctions against him, no cargo ships delivering foods, etc.  Saddam didn’t care and kept slaughtering more Kuwaitis. Finally, since the U.S. had an oil treaty with them, we thought it appropriate to take Saddam out and put an end to this  murdering. All through history, countries with a pact of any sort have defended each other. 
Saddam was responsible for 25,000,000 deaths during his rule. I wonder how Kuwaiti mothers felt when their husband and sons were tortured to death? And their babies were thrown against stone walls? How did the surviving Kurds feel after Saddam used his nerve gas to slaughter 8,000 of them, shown on TV at the time? Is the U.S. not supposed to try to put a stop to evil?
Consider how we handled that war. We ran in some ground troops who were very careful and were often cheered by the residents. Our bombs consisted mostly of well-aimed missiles. These missiles were computerized and programmed to strike the ground at the right point to leave the civilian structures above intact while hitting the bunkers beneath them where Saddam’s armies hid, including his sons. My brother’s son, a brilliant man with a degree from MIT and a Master’s and Ph.D. in math, was the man heading the team figuring the quadrants programmed into the missiles. The way the U.S. did this was also on TV at the time.
If people don’t like the U.S. anymore, it is because people like Jim stir up emotions over things that aren’t there. Emotions create a wall guarding against intake of real facts.  

Donna Robbins

The Editor:

It is with complete confidence I’m supporting Deborra Garrett for Superior Court judge because she is the best candidate for the job based on her professional qualifications and life experiences. Over 18 years, I have watched her weather some tough times with grace, perseverance and a wonderful sense of humor. No matter what your political affiliation is, Deborra will do what is in the best interest of the individual. She has a unique ability to see past political agendas and put personal interests aside to do the right thing. 
I have spent a lot of time with Deborra (or Llama Debbie as we all know her) and her family as the llama 4-H club leader that she and her two children were members of for many years. While in my group, Deborra’s husband John became seriously disabled, and he died several years later. During this whole time, Deborra not only stepped up to the care demands of her husband but also maintained a successful law practice and managed to hold together a family in crisis. She has raised two very productive and well-rounded children as a single parent through this life-altering event for the family. 
I know it wasn’t easy, but she worked very hard to be with her children and give them what they needed, while meeting her responsibilities to the clients and partners in her law practice. She has done all of this with the most amazing sense of humor and “can-do” attitude. With balancing all of these demands, she always found a way to complete her obligations. Sometimes, she would work all night before a show or a fair, finishing her work for her clients and then preparing for the 4-H event. It should also be pointed out that Deborra has been a longtime volunteer for the county Mock Trial Program, giving selflessly to promote her career to young individuals. How she ever found the time and energy to do this just shows her deep commitment to others and her strong character. 
Deborra is the most experienced, fair, compassionate, hands-on, well-rounded individual for this job. I am so proud of her and pleased to be able to write this letter of support for her! 

Nicole M. Kuklenski√ʬ®

The Editor:

For over 30 years I worked as a locomotive engineer for the Sante Fe Railway. During this time I serviced the Kaiser Steel Mill in California with coal from York Cannon. I personally transported over one million tons of coal through the dry desert. All those years hauling coal I never experienced coal dust. These statements that coal dust will all of a sudden be a health risk due to the possibility of a few more coal trains is unfounded. These scare tactics by Sierra Club founded groups of spreading false truths through our community is reminiscent of why I dropped my membership with their organization. This strategy of throwing inflammatory false truths in order to progress their political agenda is a far cry from the founder’s intentions.
I moved to Whatcom County in 1979 because of all the wonders it has to offer and coal trains have always been a part of that experience. Now with improved technologies and environmental conscious practices, coal transportation by rail has never been safer. This is a great opportunity to bring employment to Whatcom County and improve our struggling economy. If nothing else, consider GPT an upgrade to the existing process.

Francis Post

The Editor:

Returning back to Bellingham in 2007, it was clear that the local economy here is struggling. As a young professional, opportunities to grow are few and far between here in Whatcom County. I believe the Gateway Pacific Terminal will aid in providing career opportunities to all of Whatcom County. The GPT is a first step in the right direction. This is an opportunity to demonstrate how communities and corporations can coexist both economically and environmentally. This will bring family wage jobs to Whatcom County while at the same time safely utilize our natural deep water port.
Traditionally, when it comes to opposing industry, opposition groups build walls to start ideological wars; this is clearly happening in Bellingham. This is not only highly unproductive but it can come at the cost of social and economic stability for many family, friends and community members. It takes the power out of the community and puts it at the will of the political interests. I find it troubling when powerful outside influences interject and force themselves into local issues. Funding misguided local opposition groups to harass our elected officials and pressure them to implement a hostile ideology suppresses the voices of the community. Join me in making a stand for Whatcom County!

David McKim

The Editor:

As resident of Bellingham since 1976, and the spouse of Robert Biederstadt, an employee of a Cherry Point industry for over 35 years, I can personally attest for the family wage jobs that are created by having a strong industrial base here in Whatcom County. It is jobs like the ones that will be created by the Gateway Pacific Terminal that will lead this county into a vibrant and strong future.
Historically; Cherry Point has been the main source of safe, environmentally conscious, and economically secure jobs for Whatcom County. I believe that the Gateway Pacific Terminal will be a great addition to the Cherry Point family as well as a cornerstone for all of Whatcom County. I say this because of SSA Marine’s commitment to a thorough environmental study as well as their history here in Whatcom County as Bellingham Stevedoring.
There are so many great benefits to this project that are overlooked by the hysteria that is generated by outside opposition groups. I encourage supporters to join me and enthusiastically voice your support for the Gateway Pacific Terminal. As for my family and I, you can consider us Another Family Voting for Coal!

Janet Biederstadt

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