Letters to the editor: September 19 - 25, 2013

Published on Wed, Sep 18, 2013
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The Editor:
After this week’s letter from John Breidford, regarding the 1949 American 
LaFrance fire truck, I was inspired to write regarding this important historical piece of Blaine’s history.
I was also a young boy of six when the 1949 American LaFrance was purchased by the city of Blaine. There was an enormous campaign to purchase this fire truck, and it was a great event went it rolled into Blaine. My father was a member of the fire department, and I followed in his footsteps. I spent 25 years on the department and served as its chief for 17 years.
I grew up washing and polishing that truck, and working as a firefighter on it. In my tenure as fire chief, Don Hrutfiord, Don Black and I worked on that truck to re-power and modify it. Many hours were spent doing this work at no expense to the city. I donated the space in my shop for several months while the work was being done.
Several years ago a decision was made to give the truck to the Blaine Volunteer Firefighters Association. Now, with no consideration or input from the community that paid for and maintained the truck for all these years, it was given away to an individual from Bellingham.
Residents and taxpayers of Blaine should have been given the opportunity to express their desire to obtain and keep this fire truck within the city of Blaine. This is a sad time for those who served many years as members of a department that provided a valuable service to the entire community.
In the years since this fire truck was given to the volunteer firefighters, it continued to be housed in the fire station that was paid for by the taxpayers, so all of the taxpayers have had an ongoing investment in this fire truck.
As well meaning as those individuals of the current firefighters association may be, they certainly lack the historical knowledge and the nostalgic significance that this truck has to the community. This indeed is a sad conclusion to a historical period for Blaine.
Jerry Joubert

The Editor:
Once again, all the volunteers at the Blaine Food Bank would like to thank all who have generously donated food, time and money this past year.
All the fresh produce from local gardens, farms and many food drives have been very helpful with our increasing demand to help feed the hungry in the community. Dollar donations are especially welcome, as we can buy in bulk from agencies that work with the government at much lower cost than the stores.
A further request at this time is for volunteers. With the increasing client volume every month, we need a few more strong backs to help with distribution and lifting heavy boxes. If you are looking for a way to serve your community, you can make a huge impact for only a few hours a week.
Please contact us at 332-6350 or drop by and check us out. We are located at 500 C Street, Blaine and are open on Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Thanks again for all the help.
Joan Smith

The Editor:
Past elections for port commissioners have been uneventful, and often candidates ran for office unopposed. This year is different. Two of the three commissioners are up for election and the candidates have significantly different views about critical issues that will impact the lives of all Whatcom County residents.
The critical issues that we face include waterfront development, airport expansion, and potential ramifications of a coal terminal at Cherry Point. In my opinion, Renata Kowalczyk and Mike McAuley have demonstrated that, as commissioners, they will approach these issues with the best interest of the residents of Whatcom County in mind.
“The point is, I understand what you are experiencing, I listen to you to determine what are the possibilities, and what are the solutions. I am committed to listening to you, and to work with you to find solutions.”                        – Renata Kowalczyk
“My job is to care about what you perceive as a problem in your neighborhood. I will reach out to the community, find out what are the issues, determine what are the possibilities, and commit to a solution.”
 – Mike McAuley
There is a clear choice in this election. If you want a commissioner who will listen to, and work for, the people of Whatcom County; if you want a commissioner who will balance economic growth with quality of life, vote for Renata Kowalczyk and Mike McAuley.
John Van Haalen

The Editor:
I am writing to express my support for Michael McAuley for Whatcom County Port of Bellingham, District 2. Those of us who know Mike know he is a rare and valuable politician – the kind of politician who listens and does his homework. And that is exactly the kind of leadership we need more of at the Port of Bellingham. 
Michael has been my builder on several remodel projects and the reason I hire him is not just for his excellent and careful craftsmanship, but because he is extremely patient and a good listener. He thinks through things thoroughly and finds the best solution to meet the needs of the customer. These are great assets for the port commissioner position as well.  
If you’re like me, you believe government works better when it’s transparent. And for too long, the Port of Bellingham has been a nebulous entity that conducts most of its business out of site of the general public. Mike has been the only commissioner who has consistently worked to change that. For the past four years, he has pushed against the grain to advocate for rescheduling meeting times from afternoons to evenings or taping them for the web or TV. Each time, his proposals were met with resistance from the other commissioners and staff. And yet, he vows to keep trying.
The port commissioners of next year will have a real, lasting impact on residents in terms of the type of development that occurs and the amount of public waterfront access that will be available. Mike has been endorsed by both labor and environmental groups. 
We need Mike’s experience and dedication to make sure our waterfront is redeveloped in the best interest of the community and Whatcom County at large. 
Michael McAuley has already proven he will work tirelessly in the community’s interest and for the kind of economic development that’s best for Whatcom County. I hope you’ll join me in backing him this November.
Art Spring

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