Letters to the Editor, September 24-30, 2020


The Editor:

With the presidential election taking most of our attention, it is important not to shortchange the “down ballot” races. There is nothing “down” about them. Who we send to the state legislature has huge impact on our daily lives.

The races for the state house from our district offer clear choices. It all depends on what kind of Washington you want to see. All four candidates are good people with sincerely held beliefs. There are, however, big differences on the issues. How they vote will shape what Washington will look like.

I hope you have the time to compare the candidates’ positions and the voting records of the two incumbents for yourself. Here is my take.

If you want state government that cares and is working on reasonable ways to make people’s lives better, protect the most vulnerable, if you believe that government has a legitimate role in setting reasonable boundaries and rules of the road for all and should work to protect us against the Covid-19 pandemic, you should vote for the Democratic candidates, Sharon Shewmake and Alicia Rule.

If on the other hand, you believe that government has little or no role in protecting the vulnerable and to help find affordable housing for low-income earners and homeless, that all regulation is by definition unnecessary and bad, that taxes should be cut further even when the safety net is fraying – in other words, everyone for themselves – their opponents are for you.

I cannot find what the positions of Sharon’s and Alicia’s opponents are on climate change. This is an important issue in itself, and more so now, with fires burning all along the West Coast. Given their apparent adherence to Republican doctrine, I fear they do not see any role for state government while the federal government takes us in the wrong direction.

It is clear what kind of Washington I prefer and why I strongly support Alicia Rule and Sharon Shewmake. If you agree, please join me in sending them to the state House to represent our district.

Arthur Abercrombie



The Editor:

I have been so ill from suffering through having the virus. It is not just an attack to your body that is very scary, but the loneliness from not being able to be around others. It has been a wakeup call for us all, as we live our lives and something like this happens and we realize how well we all had it. I am sure everyone wants to get back to work and a routine for our children and grandchildren back in school. I am a writer, author and poet. Writing poetry gives me the courage to live my life. I hope that this poem finds meaning in your life.

The Editor:

I have been so ill from suffering through having the virus. It is not just an attack to your body that is very scary, but the loneliness from not being able to be around others. It has been a wakeup call for us all, as we live our lives and something like this happens and we realize how good we all had it. I am sure everyone wants to get back to work and a routine for our children and grandchildren back in school. I am a writer, author and poet. Writing poetry gives me the courage to live my life. I hope that this poem finds meaning in your life.

The placeholder fades … the beauty within glows

There is nothing beautiful about pain.

Nothing pretty, watching a healthy body deteriorate.

The absolute heartache, of it all.

Some can display an ocean size of courage

The beauty can come from one’s mind of wisdom

Words from a masterpiece quoted for all to hear

The wonder that comes from someone who survives illness

The person who shows such astounding bravery

When losing so many pieces of themselves

Witnessing their vulnerability

Turns into the most beautiful sight of all

Through the depths of their struggle

Radiates light for all to see!

The beauty of life is not found

In the vain way humans look at one another.

It is the brightness from within

That gives the bravery to someone

To share their scars.

It is found in the face of people showing

How resilient and courageous they are!

To me that is living life

Bringing me to the depth of everything I know.

Who we are as we evolve

Is something you can’t buy, or find, or duplicate.

It’s watching someone suffer on the outside

As the beauty pours out of every cell.

The placeholder fades … but the beauty within glows.

The power of the element is all that is left

An utter undeniable awe of true beauty.

Julie Hanft

Birch Bay


The Editor:

On September 18, 2020, this nation lost a loved and revered civil rights, women’s rights, and human rights icon and leader, Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She may have been tiny in stature, but stood tall and was a powerful force in her lifetime battle for justice and equality.

Even though the country knew she had been gravely ill, we have been left stunned by the gravity of the loss at this most perilous time in our country’s history. I personally was brought to tears by the news. My admiration for this great lady was unbounded. This feeling of grief is supplemented by a cold fear and dread at the effect her loss will have on our democracy.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s last and dying wish was to not be replaced until a president had been chosen by the people of this country. To honor her memory, her last wish should be granted. This is the least this country can do for a woman of her great stature, who gave so much to her country.

Joyce M. Menard



The Editor:

When I read the letter submitted by Dave Berry last week I saw that it left out a lot of inconvenient truths about Donald Trump’s racist behavior and actions. I think most of us can agree that racism is when a group of people is treated unfairly because of their race.

Individual racism refers to an individual’s racist assumptions, such when Donald Trump tweeted that several Black and brown members of Congress (representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib) are “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and that they should “go back” to those countries.

It’s a common racist trope to say that Black and brown people, particularly immigrants, should go back to their countries of origin even though three of the four members of Congress that Trump targeted were born in the U.S.

Racist behavior does not have to include explicit mentions of people’s race or nationality to be racists. Although Donald Trump has done this as well like when he argued in 2016 that judge Gonzalo Curiel – who was overseeing the Trump University lawsuit – should recuse himself from the case because of his Mexican heritage.

There is also the fact that David Duke, a neo-Nazi anti-Semite and white supremacist who founded a Ku Klux Klan chapter in the 1970s, supported Donald Trump both in 2016 and is now supporting him again in 2020.

I wanted to write in, not to defend Biden, because the issue of racism in the U.S. is larger than a single election or candidate but because it’s truly upsetting to see people in my hometown succumb to a single story rather than listening to people who have different life experiences than them.

People seem more worried about being called a racist than they are about the fact that so many people are standing up and saying the racism that still exists in the U.S. is hurting them and their loved ones.

Martell Hesketh



The Editor:

These are hard times. As a hospice nurse, I’m fortunate to have a job that I love and have been able to remain healthy to do it. It is rewarding, hard and emotionally draining work. In my time off, it is crucial to do what I can to recharge my batteries. One way I do that is to walk with my dog in peaceful places.

Lincoln Park has been a place of peace for me. It was distressing when they cut down many ancient trees and placed hideous day-glo orange fixtures throughout the park for frisbee golf. However, not wanting to be an old fuddy-duddy, I continued to enjoy this special park while ignoring the eyesores. Without exception, folks playing the course have been polite and I’ve not been beaned yet.

On Saturday, after an especially rough week, I was enjoying a walk with my dog. Because it is an off-leash park, and he is a friendly and well-behaved dog, he was not on a leash. At one point, a couple walking two dogs on leash began berating me loudly for not having him on a leash and when I said that it was an off-leash park, they repeatedly insisted that it was not. The man said sarcastically: “Strange how just because there is no sign saying dogs must be leashed, you assume that it is an off-leash park.” I replied that I did not assume this, but had believed it to be so for years.

I found this interaction very upsetting and checked to ensure I was correct as soon as I got home. This was confirmed to be so on Blaine’s parks and recreation site. To be clear: My dog did not bark at, run at, or in any way threaten them or their dogs. Just a reminder: 1) Know your facts before you accost someone and ruin their peaceful afternoon and 2) If your dogs are poorly behaved or unsocialized, please stick with parks where all dogs are leashed. Thanks.

Erika Werdal



The Editor:

The Semiahmoo Residents Association (SRA) homeowners will soon be receiving their annual SRA ballot. It includes candidates for election to the board, and possibly other initiatives proposed by the board. However, this year is different because a group of independent SRA homeowners have placed an initiative requiring that any future SRA debt and loan obligations be approved by a vote of the homeowners. Board leadership does not favor this initiative.

The sponsors of this initiative believe that taking out debt should be avoided whenever possible. For 30-plus years the SRA operated without taking out any significant loans or debt. None of the neighborhood homeowner associations have ever taken out loans. Both the Gleneagle and Beachwalker HOAs have taken on major improvement projects without loans, not to mention other Semiahmoo HOAs. These HOAs are in excellent financial condition today.

The SRA is another story. The SRA Board was caught off guard when their office space agreement with the fire district was terminated. They ended up agreeing to paying a “healthy price” for land on Semiahmoo Drive before they had even finalized financing. Then they erected a building that involved multiple change orders and cost increases.

The result? A facility that cost about $750,000 and a loan with an interest rate of 5.5 percent. Ouch.

SRA homeowners, you are on the hook for this debt.

Now if all of this is not bad enough, we come to today. The board hired a consultant to make recommendations for improving the SRA. One recommendation is to institute a “buyer paid” real estate transfer fee of 0.5 percent of the sale price any property plus $250 to help retire the debt on the building. Problem is the recommendation does not restrict what the fee can be used for, and there is no provision for eliminating the transfer fee. It can just go on forever and be used for anything. Double ouch.

Justification? Lots of other HOAs have a transfer fee. Our response? Well good for them.

This is the tale of one single loan. Do I want them taking out any more loans without our approval? Absolutely not. I suspect you agree, so vote accordingly and vote yes.

Joel Green



The Editor:

Our “Say No to Socialism” sign beside our Trump sign has been trashed three times, obviously by someone who opposes the First Amendment and has no idea of what a socialistic government would be like. Ask anyone who has immigrated here from a communist country (I see my sign as a “public service announcement”).

Ayn Rand, raised in Russia, wrote: “There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: Communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism – by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.”

The Democrat Party has shifted farther to the left and has stopped denying that they advocate national and global socialism. They pretend to “protect” the average person, but have been successful in keeping them needy, victimized, dependent on the state and “on the plantation.” They have been successful in re-writing U.S. history to fit their ideology, beginning in elementary school and continuing through college. America’s history has had regrettable periods, but people in both parties have made great progress in improving our citizen’s lives. Great opportunities are open to those with self-determination and are obedient and law-abiding.

Many Democrat governors and mayors have over-exercised their powers during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep schools and many businesses closed and keep us regulated, more for political expediency, at this point, than for protection, in my opinion. They have done nothing to end the urban violence, looting and killing, but to pin the blame on entire police departments by defunding them. Criminals are immediately released into the neighborhoods, innocent people have been forced to move and the economy is reeling.

Our border walls are regulated to admit those who wish to enter legally. Communist countries use walls to keep people trapped inside. Think about it.

Nancy Breitbarth



The Editor:

I love this town. When I go for a walk in the morning with my dog, on leash, and my wife, not on leash, people wave and say hello. When I wave at a police cruiser, the officer waves back. Many of the greeters know my dog’s name, Willie, but not mine. That’s OK. I’m the same way about names.

I love the view along Peace Portal Drive with eagles perched alongside the road, boats tied up in the marina, trains going by. I even like the views of the high-rise buildings in White Rock.

I love the way that guy with the fancy lawnmower keeps grass along the sidewalk into town looking so good. I’ve heard his other ride is a Rolls-Royce. Not sure about that, but I do know one of his lawnmowers runs by remote control.

Back to my love affair with this town. I love what the downtown landowners are doing with new and older buildings. For example, taking an empty parking lot and creating a beautiful lighthouse coffee shop, transforming an older waterfront building into a classic structure with apartments above, businesses below. One of the businesses serves oysters harvested right here in Drayton Harbor. Try to top that.

I love how folks help out with the school kids backpack program, the Blaine Food Bank and more. Neighbors helping neighbors.

I love watching all the activities in our beautiful Peace Arch Park, seniors practicing taiji, fancy dress weddings, Canadians walking across the border just to visit family and friends.

I could go on. And I know I’ll think of more after I send this. But I think you get my drift. I love this place. Don’t you wish you lived here too? Hey, wait ... if you’re reading this, you probably do live here.

Bern Miller





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