Letters to the Editor: November 1 - 7, 2012

Published on Thu, Nov 1, 2012
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The Editor:

It is saddening to see the contrived urgency and cunning myopia of the “Good Jobs Now” campaign receive any support. In 1626, a representative of the Dutch West India Company, one of the very first transnational corporations, reportedly acquired rights to Manhattan Island from the Lenape Indians for an assortment of beads, cloth and trinkets. It is troubling that a bit of slick marketeering might similarly sway Whatcom County to trade away the priceless blessings of its rural nature and enviable quality of life. 
Big coal, like big tobacco before them, sell their industries as not only benign but actually beneficial when in fact their single-minded mission is to simply reap the greatest profit possible regardless of consequence to anyone or anything. Goldman-Sachs, Peabody Coal and SSA Marine could not care less about the welfare of Whatcom County. 
Their scheme would create a massive carbon contagion at Cherry Point with tentacles of diesel-powered locomotives and super-freighters wrapping halfway around the planet, both spewing absolutely stunning amounts of lethal gases and tiny carcinogenic particles all too efficiently trapped by lungs.
Current Whatcom County rail traffic numbers 14 trains per day. The Pacific Gateway Terminal proposes another nine and BP Cherry Point now wants an additional one too. That would total 24 trains daily. Coal trains generally need a minimum of four engines, and depending upon circumstances, can go up to six, eight and even 12. Since there is a mix of train types, a figure of three engines per train is conservative. So three engines times 24 times two for coming and going makes 144 diesel exhaust blasting engines per day. The yearly tally comes to 52,560 giant diesel engines relentlessly dispersing diesel particulate over 60 mile treks (30 miles back and forth) through Whatcom County. Dump on top of that all the diesel trucks operating in the county and the thousands upon thousands of trucks on Interstate 5. Then pile on an estimated 900 annual transits of 450 super-freighters belching tons of diesel exhaust as well.
You really better take a long deep breath and think wisely Whatcom County.

Sonny (Leslie) Meehan
Custer

The Editor:

I am a retired firefighter and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. My wife and I have lived in Whatcom County almost 10 years. We have three children and two grandchildren. We are active in local organizations and volunteer our time with nonprofits. We have many friends and get along well with our neighbors.
My wife and I went to another country to get married because the laws at home didn’t allow us to do so. We are both women.
Our children are productive, well-adjusted heterosexuals, and our grandchildren are, well, typical teenagers. None of our neighbors has filed for divorce since we moved here, despite the negative effect our marriage supposedly has had on theirs.
In fact, nothing seems to have fallen apart because two women have married. Which is exactly what has occurred in Canada and Massachusetts and other places where same-sex marriage is legal. Nothing. The sky has not fallen, the divorce rate has not skyrocketed, the children are not suffering, institutions have not crumbled.
Good friends of ours, a deeply religious lesbian couple, adopted two children who were born to a drug-addicted relative. They are doing an outstanding job of raising those kids, despite the problems they came with. Our friends got married in Oregon when it was briefly legal there, but their marriage was voided when the law changed.
Referendum 74 is hugely important for our friends and many Washington residents like them. It would affirm their right to marry, to express their deep love for each other, and to provide their children the added security of knowing that their family is recognized by society and the law.
Remember them when you vote. Please approve Referendum 74.

Michele Kämmerer
Bellingham

The Editor:

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for this round of elections and referendums to be over! Political rhetoric has hit an all time low. People use the words “freedoms,” “rights,” “liberty” and “equality” with very little insight into their meaning. We talk about the freedoms of speech and religion, about liberty and justice for all, but rarely do we mean all. “We, the People” means all the people – not a select few based on race, socio-economic status, gender or sexual orientation.
Take for example Referendum No. 74. Some say that our existing law, ”Everything But Marriage Law of 2009,” is good enough. But throughout our history we have shown that in all areas of our culture “separate, but equal” is never equal. It’s really prejudice masquerading as equality. Until all people in our democracy have the right to marry the person they love, none of us have “liberty and justice.”
It is the job of government to guarantee liberty and justice for all citizens, to protect the rights of all, to allow all citizens the right to marry the person they love. If you are against same-sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex; but don’t deny that right for others. If you believe in freedom for all, justice and liberty for all, then you must approve Referendum 74 so that all people have the right to marry the person they love.

Gretchen McFarland
Sumas

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