Letters to the editor: March 13 - 19, 2014

Published on Wed, Mar 12, 2014
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The Editor:
When Albert Einstein stopped looking for solutions to the puzzling behavior of light in the framework of Newtonian physics, he created a new concept of physical reality: the theory of relativity. Paradigm shift is how humans make progress.
While stuck in traffic in Seattle, I noticed the color, purpose, makes and destinations of vehicles. It occurred to me that they represent differing people. All were driving on one infrastructure, the highway system we all use and pay for. Despite differing destinations or purpose for their usage of the system, it is there for their use, as needed.
Our road system is like needed medical coverage; everyone needs it, but for individual needs, at different times, for different purposes. Washington state offers more than 300 different kinds of insurance entities and plans. Imagine a road system with more than 300 different roads with different destinations and allowing only certain vehicles or auto makes on specific roads. Some roads would be gravel, some muddy tracks, some one lane, some super highways. How inefficient, complex, redundant and cost ineffective!
Whatcom County and our state have an opportunity to be leaders in demonstrating to the rest of the country how cost saving and efficient a single-payer system would be. Let’s get to work!
Donna Starr
Blaine

The Editor:
Is your mail safe?
I foolishly thought worrying about your mail being stolen was only in the “big cities”! Sadly, I have been a victim of rural mailbox theft. I hadn’t received some important papers in January and recently received several past due notices which confirmed we weren’t getting all our mail. We had our credit card canceled since someone took one of those blank checks that come in your credit card envelopes and wrote a sizeable check to himself. 
I have now opted out of getting those blank checks, and you may want to consider calling your credit card company and ask to opt out of receiving these checks in your mail. We have a locked mailbox now, and fortunately for us, our credit card company is liable for the large check that was written. 
Please watch for anyone that drives around your neighborhood opening mailboxes and contact the authorities. Mail tampering is a crime and identity fraud is big business, even in our beautiful Birch Bay.
Anne Freeman
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Birch Bay is trying to reinvent itself into something more than just an afterthought in the minds of the citizens of Whatcom County and visitors who come from far and wide.
Back in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, Birch Bay was teeming with activity. Families came to rent the small cabins that lined the bay for their annual vacation and day users came to picnic, swim and enjoy the bay’s beauty and entertainment possibilities. Thousands of teenagers cruised the bay, and people came to dance at the Palms. Birch Bay had an identity as a place to enjoy some of the best entertainment available in Whatcom County.
Following that period, Birch Bay began to lose its special feel. Many of the attractions such as the amusement park, skating rink, public pool, family vacation resorts and dance halls disappeared. Condominiums were developed with their own private amenities. The family resorts, many of which had convenience stores, soda fountains and bicycle and boat rentals no longer catered to the visiting public. Public restrooms on the shores of Birch Bay also disappeared.
There is an earnest attempt being made to acquire a Birch Bay community center and beach park on four acres on what was formerly Edgewater Resort property in the heart of Birch Bay. This is an ideal site, with 400 feet of public access to the saltwater shoreline available and ready to become a gathering place. The physical characteristics of the property are ideal for development. The community center and beach park would provide a space where public events could be staged and families could picnic.
Things will never be the way they were, nor should they be. Birch Bay is the second fastest growing community in Whatcom County and this endeavor to acquire public open space and access to the shoreline is an investment in the future. It is truly a once in a lifetime chance to make an investment that cannot be replicated in any other place in Whatcom County, bringing economic revitalization to Birch Bay and additional revenue to the county. The opportunity exists now, to be seized upon or lost forever.
Doralee Booth
Birch Bay

The Editor:
Since 2008, the U.S. has used less oil because of more efficient vehicles. But we have also increased rail shipping of crude oil – from 10,000 train cars to over 400,000 per year. So if we can’t use it all, why is there such a push to ship it to the west coast? Where’s it all going and who is profiting from it? It seems that Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and oil companies can get higher prices for this toxic product on the international market.
What is the cost to our communities? On-site drilling rigs and tar sand extraction process destroys ecosystems, causing climate change, illness and death. 
Along the oil transport path, the cost can be anything as annoying as heavy traffic congestion (of which the taxpayer is expected to alleviate through millions of dollars of infrastructure), to exploding oil trains (four in the last six months). One spill from a tanker transporting oil in the Salish Sea could push orcas to extinction and cost our economy 10.8 billion dollars and eliminate 165,000 jobs.
This problem is growing. Six new rail track and terminal projects are being proposed, increasing potential throughput from 183,600 barrels per day to 601,300. This spells a drastic increase in safety and environmental concerns for our communities.
We need a statewide moratorium on permitting new oil transportation infrastructure, at least until an environmental impact statement can be 
completed.
Nancy Orlowski
Bellingham

The Editor:
San Francisco just took a commendable step to save the environment – it banned the sale of single-use water bottles in city buildings and parks and at city events, making it the largest city in the nation to phase out plastic water bottles. While this will help conserve resources and combat climate change – because the production, packaging and delivery of plastic bottles squanders oil and generates harmful greenhouse gases – there is an even more effective way to protect the planet: Try vegan foods.
It takes approximately 10 times less fossil fuels to produce vegan foods than to produce meat and dairy products, and research shows that vegans have the smallest carbon footprint, generating 41 percent fewer greenhouse gases than meat-eaters and 13 percent fewer than vegetarians. And speaking of water, a nationalgeographic.org report shows that the average vegan indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water a day fewer than the average meat-eater.
We can all help save the environment – and animals – just by eating tasty vegan foods rather than meat, eggs, and dairy products. Visit PETA.org for free vegan recipes and product suggestions.
Heather Moore,⨠
PETA Foundation
Norfolk, Virginia

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