Letters to the editor: October 3 - 9, 2013

Published on Wed, Oct 2, 2013
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The Editor:
I rarely write to newspapers, but today is one of those times I feel I need to do it. I am writing in support of Dan Robbins’ campaign for commissioner of Port of Bellingham. I believe extremism is no good in the long run. I believe relevant on-the-ground experience is paramount in execution. I also believe a coherent vision is key to a successful public administrator. Dan excels in all these attributes. I know Dan from my volunteer experience in the Bellingham chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), which is a national business volunteer organization, missioned to help small/startup businesses. I found Dan to be a rational, down-to-earth and smart business professional. When you know him better I am sure you will come to a similar conclusion.
Fred Wong

The Editor:
Why is it you no longer get an adrenaline rush when you attend a Blaine City Council meeting?
Why is it that things are calm, respectful and organized in these meetings?
What is it that makes today’s Blaine City Council meetings a pleasure to attend?
It is having a city council whose members have done their homework, are informed on the issues and possess the ability to disagree with dignity lead by our mayor, Harry Robinson, who possesses true leadership skills.
We have a winning combination that offers continuity not only to our community but also as a strong foundation for our new city manager Dave Wilbrecht to build upon.
Let’s not rock the boat. Re-elect Harry Robinson and Charlie Hawkins to Blaine City Council.
Nancy Hobberlin

The Editor:
With the Whatcom County District 3 position currently held by Carl Weimer up for election, I want to urge voters to cast their vote for Michelle Luke. Mr. Weimer has held this position for two terms or eight years. He has done absolutely nothing positive for Birch Bay in particular or few if any of his constituents. 
I have sent emails to him and Barbara Brenner over the past few years. Barbara replies to me right away and I have yet to receive any reply from Weimer.
His claim to fame concerning the 1999 Bellingham pipeline explosion 14 years ago is the only thing I can think of as a positive act on his part. He is an anti-growth advocate and consistently votes against any issue that would give Birch Bay more growth. 
Since we have not moved forward on incorporation we are stuck with him unless we support Michelle Luke, who has excellent qualifications and hopefully a positive attitude to support Birch Bay as Barbara Brenner and the late Sharon Roy have done.
He no longer deserves to represent Birch Bay as in fact he never has for the past eight years. He has earned the right to lose this election due to lack of interest in supporting Birch Bay.
Michelle Luke not only deserves an opportunity to serve us, but have faith in her to serve us much better then the non-existent support from Weimer.
Mickey Masdeo

The Editor:
Once again the voting season is upon us! As an individual and as a community we have the opportunity to cast our votes, to make a difference, to be heard. Today I am asking the Blaine and Birch Bay voters to consider the upcoming Northwest Park and Recreational District 2 tax levy on the November ballot.
I know, there it is, that ugly word tax – increased taxation, more property assessment taxes. It’s the one word that instantly shuts down support. 
I would like to offer another prospective – that of an investment. I believe this levy that would cost $20 a year for the average homeowner with a $200,000 assessed tax valuation is an investment! I see this as an opportunity for all of us to invest in our community and build recreational infrastructure for now and the future. As a community we can increase the value of our properties by the way of enhancing the recreational platform that many prospective buyers consider when they look to relocate. 
Ask yourself, would new property investors be more likely to buy a home here if there are bike trails, parks, playgrounds, ball fields, activity centers and community recreational classes? The answer is yes! We have made great gains in these areas through the volunteers and staff of the Northwest Parks and Recreation District 2 and it is all in jeopardy of closing down without your support. 
I urge you to consider the families who live here now and those who will be here for generations to come. Consider your own property value and what effects less area recreation in a waterfront community will have on your property values. Let’s think big picture and support the up-coming levy for Northwest Park and Recreation serving the Blaine and Birch Bay communities! 
Jeff Carrington
Commissioner, Northwest Park and Recreation District 2

The Editor:
The Alternative Humane Society of Whatcom County (AHS) would like to thank Pam Smith of Dakota Creek Golf Course and her trusty sidekick, Debbie, for providing such a great fun night to benefit the animals of Whatcom County. Divots for the Dogs was held on September 18 and was a big success because of their efforts.
AHS would also like to thank Dave and his crew from Signs by Tomorrow for creating and donating all the signs at the event.
Thanks also to Chris at St. Moritz Watches of Blaine for providing the watch as the prize for Puttin’ for the Pups.
This is an annual fundraiser. All proceeds go to AHS to help local pets and provide financial help for spay and neuter procedures, so keep your clubs polished for next year’s golf fun night.
For more information visit alternativehumanesociety.com.
Clare Nurre

The Editor:
Blaine voters soon will be choosing who will represent us on Blaine City Council. Harry Robinson is running for re-election as the city’s “at large” candidate. All Blaine voters can vote for the at large candidate. We strongly urge you to vote for Harry.
Blaine faces many issues that will have long-term impacts on our community. How these issues are addressed, and the decisions our council will make requires leadership to ensure that solid, factual information is the basis for decisions, that we all will have the opportunity to be heard and that true consideration will be given to our concerns. We want confidence in our decision-makers.
We have that confidence in Harry Robinson.
Harry has provided outstanding leadership as mayor/councilmember. His reserved, efficient manner and obvious respect for his fellow council members, city staff and citizens with interests or concerns to present to the council are admirable. He consistently sets a civil tone and requires the council’s business to proceed in an orderly, professional manner. He works to achieve consensus and ensure clarity of the facts. He welcomes input.
Harry thoroughly examines issues, and has life and professional experience to give him a broad perspective and foundation against which to consider the issues. He looks at the content of what is presented and beyond to see if there are additional relevant considerations, or possible unintended consequences. He searches for the best possible solutions to complex problems. He believes and respects that folks can disagree without being demeaning, disrespectful or divisive.
As an intelligent, thoughtful, thorough, respectful, considerate person, Harry has done an excellent job as Blaine’s mayor/city council member during difficult times. He has led with a view toward the challenges of Blaine’s future. We ask you to entrust him with another term to enable him to further guide Blaine on the brighter path we’ve experienced with Harry as mayor.
Please vote for Harry Robinson.
Bob and Lois Franco

The Editor:
I saw a sticker on a car that read “Ron Paul 2012: Restore America.” I am put to wonder when I see any sort of campaign slogan that urges a particular candidate because he will “restore America” in some manner. Restore America to what, a more benign or peaceful time? Were we ever benign or peaceful? First, we fought Native Americans with the help of some of the other Native Americans, because we came here uninvited and needed land. Then we fought the French and the Native Americans, with the help of some of the other Native Americans. Next, we fought George III twice, with the help of some of the Native Americans.
Next came the Civil War, fought because some of us thought we could own others of us. After that was settled (or was it?) we decided to kill all the Native Americans or put them in concentration camps and take away all their desirable land.
Then we fought Spain to take over what was left of its empire. WWI came along and we fought what was probably the first altruistic war in our history, followed by WWII, which was also a noble endeavor. Korea was an aftershock of WWII and it was neither benign nor peaceful. Viet Nam was worse. Through it all, the necessity in our national character for the civil rights movement should be a national embarrassment. It is a cultural disgrace, if not an outright sin. To what, in all this, do the candidates want to restore us? I don’t want to be restored to any of it!
I think our history shows we are progressing. I think it demonstrates we are learning, growing and becoming more humane benign and peaceful as a nation, despite our mistakes in the attempt. If I were a candidate, my slogan would be “Let’s continue to strive to be better: our history shows we can be!”
Ken Ely  

The Editor:
I walked in the woods today; first in rain, then in sun. I listened to the pileated woodpecker and saw a great horned owl. I remembered my dear husband, Dieter, once councilman and mayor of Blaine, who was proud of the vision and logic of those who worked and saved the woods for Blaine, like our current mayor, Harry Robinson, who also has shown his vision and is working to preserve the best for Blaine.
Dieter would be proud that Harry carries on the love and legacy of that vision. I’ve noticed, at city council meetings where sensitive issues and Blaine’s long-term interests are being considered, Harry has carefully and thoughtfully researched possible solutions.
This has included searching to see how other small cities, similar to ours, have resolved or worked with issues economically and politically. It reminds me of Dieter’s many late hours as a council member, mayor and volunteer pouring over information and details that might be relevant for making important decisions that would affect our lovely city.
Harry Robinson has a respectful and intelligent way of approaching the city council’s business. He has the vision to explore, simplify and work to find common ground in the concerns and issues for all of us. I am so grateful for his work to save Blaine as a beautiful small city where protecting and enhancing our quality of life is so important.
“Do you dream the same dream I dream,” for all of us in Blaine?
Please vote for Harry Robinson.
Barbara Schugt

The Editor:
It is with sincere gratitude that I want to thank the many donors, businesses and volunteers who have participated in the complete renovation of St. Martin’s Clothing Bank, a program of the Community Assistance Program (CAP). The former cargo container, located adjacent to the Blaine Food Bank, has served the community since 2004. 
Over the years, the cargo container had settled, doors had warped, and the facility was in need of major repair. Since July, the container has been set on a firm foundation and insulation, paneling, lighting, and HVAC have been installed. Along with new doors, ramps, railings and a fresh coat of paint, the container has been transformed from a raw metal box into a welcoming and functional working facility.
We are especially grateful to the following businesses that donated time, materials, labor and expertise essential to the success of this effort: DVT Engineering, Goodsell Construction, Simple Box, Pacific Building Center and Upright Fence.
To all the donors, we are grateful that you have shared your treasure with us to help make this renovation possible.
And to the dozens of volunteers who gave of their time and talent, we are indeed grateful for your dedicated commitment and many hours and days of work.
In the past year there were more than 2,700 client visits to St. Martin’s Clothing Bank. A hard-working team of 25+ volunteers under the leadership of Ann Spooner distributes clothing, blankets and linens each Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon to those in our community who need these items. People wishing to donate clothing, blankets, and linens may bring items to St. Martin’s on Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Jerry Williams, executive director, CAP

The Editor:
Many families are hurting now in Whatcom County. One or more people in many households have either been unemployed, had hours cut or been forced to accept other jobs with significantly lower pay.
The results have been devastating. Many families have lost their homes; others can’t begin to think of buying one with their current income. Parents can’t afford to help their children obtain a college education. Farmers are shutting down or moving to other counties that are more supportive. Nonprofit organizations have seen donations by individuals and businesses slashed, cutting their ability to help those in need and in some cases forcing them to close.
Now we learn that Whatcom County is going to gain 70,000 more residents in the next 30 years. Where will they work?
We need elected officials who recognize the importance of business and farms for our quality of life – not politicians who give lip service to “good jobs.” We deserve officials who will strengthen our economy while protecting our land and water – not candidates backed by environmental extremists from outside our county.
Please vote in the November 5 election for Kathy Kershner, Bill Knutzen, Michelle Luke and Ben Elenbaas for Whatcom County Council and Dan Robbins and Ken Bell for the Port of Bellingham. Their backgrounds, knowledge and skills will do much to improve the quality of life for families and our entire county.
Chet Dow

The Editor:
I was privileged to attend the recent welcome and blessing of the Kwel Hoy Totem Pole as it returned to traditional Lummi lands before heading to its final home in North Vancouver. Lummi tribal members had accompanied this totem pole on a 1,700-mile journey, visiting native communities along the proposed coal train route that would end at Cherry Point. 
What impressed me most about this event was the scope of the issues that were raised. We heard from Northern Cheyenne women whose lands, culture and futures are threatened by the Otter Creek mine, one of the largest proposed coal strip mines in the nation. The Otter Creek valley in Montana’s Powder River basin is home to valuable agricultural land, wildlife habitat and sacred native sites. Burning of coal from the proposed mine would spew 2.5 billion tons of pollution into the atmosphere. 
We also heard from chief Rueben George of the Tsleil Waututh Nation, “the People of the Inlet” in North Vancouver. His tribe has joined with more than 130 First Nations in banning tar sands shipments through their territory. 
All who spoke at this event invoked our responsibility to consider the impacts of our actions on the seventh generation. Vanessa Braided Hair, Northern Cheyenne, stated, “We want a different future for our children. Coal is a dead end for us.”
That same day, a report released by the world’s top climate scientists (the IPCC report) confirmed the accelerating impacts of climate change, describing them as “unequivocal” and “unprecedented.” Fossil fuels must stay in the ground in order to have any chance at reversing this. Coal is a dead end for all of us. Native people are leading the way, and we must support them and join with them before it is too late.
Wendy Courtemanche

The Editor:
I am very impressed with county council candidate Rud Browne. Rud and his family have lived here for more than 20 years. He has been heavily involved in community activities. He has extensive business experience, founding a company that grew to over 300 employees. He also stresses positive action, emphasizing good economic decisions that affect the quality of our environment. Whatcom residents should be proud of our environment and maintain its high quality to attract investments and jobs.
There are many important issues facing the county council including the need for compliance with state law and managing the financial impact of a much-needed new jail. Water quality is also critical. Unlike his opponent, Rud supported the Lake Whatcom reconveyance, which proves his ability to make good decisions.
Rud is intelligent and willing to listen to all sides of an issue. I am sure that he will make thoughtful decisions on the many issues important to our community.
Ann Berntsen

The Editor:
I want to tell you about Rud Browne, who is running for Whatcom County Council  against incumbent Bill Knutzen. Rud has lived in this community for more than 20 years. Having run a company that operates in multiple countries, he brings an international perspective that I find informative. He has significant business experience creating more than 300 21st century jobs as well as a proven track record of community service and involvement. 
He would like to see resolution of the county’s long-running court battles that have created needless waste, delays, administrative burden and expensive compliance costs. Quality drinking water for all will be a priority for him. Rud grew up in Australia where he witnessed significant environmental degradation. That experience guides his care for the environment and for the good of the community. I invite you to you to join me in voting for Rud Browne for the at large county council seat.
Annie Welch

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