Letters to the Editor: October 3-9, 2019


The Editor:

Given the daily changes in our economy and climate that we all see, this is not the time for business as usual at the Port of Bellingham. Did you know the port’s impacts extend far beyond their immediate responsibilities for the waterfront district, county marinas and the airport? Their policies and decisions have a large impact on our local economy, environment, housing equity and infrastructure (including installation of fiber optic lines county-wide).

Anthony Distefano, candidate for port commissioner, thoroughly understands this. He appreciates the need to address a future dominated by climate and economic change. He is determined that the Port of Bellingham be fully prepared, including creating living wage jobs, apprenticeship programs, durable public infrastructure and low and moderate income housing.

I am supporting Anthony Distefano for port commissioner because he has the maritime experience, grit, determination and insight to ensure that the Port of Bellingham will serve all of our community far into the future. I urge you to join me and vote for Anthony Distefano for port commissioner.

Dr. Scott Josiah

Lummi Island


The Editor:

Voters in Whatcom County are fortunate to have a slate of great candidates for Whatcom County Council and I’m particularly impressed by Natalie McClendon, running for the district 5 position. This area is also known as the coastal district – reaching from the U.S.-Canadian border to Bellingham and from the coast to roughly I-5.

Natalie’s entire life experience has prepared her for this position, most recently as a two-term county planning commissioner. She has been a teacher and is a business owner, volunteer, activist and leader. She recognizes the many issues facing district 5 and the county as a whole, and has strategies to remedy them, such as dealing with climate change by transitioning to a clean energy economy. This would save jobs and the environment. She is ready to go to work for residents of district 5 and the rest of Whatcom County.

Exercise your precious right by voting for an ideal candidate – Natalie McClendon.

Ruth Higgins



The Editor:

What better time to “make your wishes known” about your end-of-life healthcare choices than at your Thanksgiving gathering?

Advance care planning (ACP) for end-of-life healthcare wishes and the holidays go together. Seize the opportunity when grandma and grandpa, Aunt Mary and Uncle Jack, you, your kids and your friends are united at the table, and “talk turkey over turkey” about your wishes, goals and values. A little known fact: advance directives are intended for all adults 18 years of age and up.

You might want to order the card game “Go Wish,” available in English and Spanish at gowish.org to ease into your conversations.

Accepting death’s inevitability lets us sort out the significant from the trivial, the spiritual from the material, to better focus on the time we have to live and love.

Given today’s medical landscape, the less prepared we are, the more unpleasant, traumatic and protracted our last days are likely going to be. Preparing, to the extent possible, to lessen stress and gain greater peace of mind when a crisis hits that may signal end of life is a gift to those we care about.

Community volunteers offer the presentation, The Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions, which is followed up about a week later with an ACP workshop. This model supports good decision-making before accident or illness occurs. The presentations and workshops are free, including notary service for those who complete their advance directive.

If your service organization, book club, employees/employer, faith community, union membership or other group would like to schedule these presentations, contact micki98226@aol.com.

The outcome of this important activity is to say to those you love, “I care about you.” So, let’s talk turkey over turkey while we can still speak for ourselves.

Micki Jackson



The Editor:

Climate change has now become a climate crisis. Hardly a day goes by that there is not a new scientific report detailing melting sea ice and permafrost, rising ocean temperatures, disappearing glaciers, faster than expected sea rise, catastrophic fires and more deadly weather events.

This November, Whatcom County voters will have to make a choice. Which candidates are most ready and able to negotiate the changes needed to address our rapidly changing climate? Will we be on the forefront of new technologies in response or pursue business as usual?

Natalie McClendon has my vote. She is running for a county council seat in district 5, the new coastal district which includes Point Roberts, Blaine, Birch Bay, Ferndale, Lummi Island and the Lummi Nation. Currently serving a second term on the Whatcom County Planning Commission, Natalie has gained valuable insight into the complexities of balancing economic growth with a healthy environment. She gets it. We need to be preparing for the inevitable transition to a clean energy economy. She also wants to ensure adequate water resources for fish, farms and families; provide rural access to broadband; create new family wage jobs; and build the protective infrastructure needed to meet a rapidly changing climate.

Accomplishing these goals will not be easy. I believe Natalie has the temperament and experience to meet these challenges. She is smart, thoughtful and respectful. She will listen to all the stakeholders in making decisions. Natalie has my vote because I think she will be a hard-working and effective addition to our county council as they take on these urgent issues including the need for affordable housing and a new jail.

I urge my fellow coastal district neighbors to join me in voting for Natalie McClendon for a seat on Whatcom County Council.

Meredith Moench

Lummi Island


The Editor:

Regarding the article titled “Canadians increasingly subject to five-year bans” written by Jami Makan in the September 26-October 2 issue, it seems this article was pro-Canadian and didn’t offer insight as to the true issues.

Firstly, Jami Makan mentioned “U.S. border guards.” The U.S. does not employ “guards” to perform law enforcement duties. This is an inappropriate characterization. The men and women of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are highly trained and qualified law enforcement personnel. They are not “guards.”

Second, Canadians are subject to laws enacted by the U.S. Congress. Under U.S. immigration law, they do not have a “right” to enter the U.S. When they present themselves for inspection, they are asking permission to enter the U.S. That permission may or may not be granted. That is determined by the inspecting officer who must view that person as an intending immigrant until the applicant for admission provides sufficient information to establish that they are not an intending immigrant. The burden of proof is on the alien to establish his or her admissibility, period.

Okay, now let’s talk about the five-year bar. The legal name for it is an Expedited Removal, or “ER.” Previously, when officers determined an alien was inadmissible, they more often than not allowed the alien to “withdraw his application for admission.” The government is under no obligation to allow the alien to withdraw his application.

If you look at the immigration situation nationwide you see a more stringent enforcement of existing immigration laws. This reflects on the increased training, proficiency and professionalism of CBP officers. Their inspections are more thorough and their knowledge of the grounds of inadmissibility and how to apply them has increased greatly.

When immigration attorney Hayes said, “You are guilty and have to rebut that presumption,” he should remember that just about every country in the world has the same basic tenet to their immigration laws: You ain’t coming in until you prove who you are, what are you going to do here and how long are you going to stay. Not so difficult is it, Mr. Hayes?

Joel Helle, retired CBP officer


(Ed. Note: The letter writer was separated from CBP in August 2011 after pleading guilty to felony harassment following an April incident where he forced a 17-year-old driver to pull over on I-5, grabbed him by the throat and threatened to shoot him, according to a Washington State Patrol report filed in the court case. The following month, Helle’s record of expedited removals was reviewed after a petition signed by 26 immigration lawyers questioned his actions. In court, Helle had bragged that “he generated thousands of adverse actions against aliens, more than any other border officer,” according to a report by the CBC.)


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