Hope you are doing well. Last week Ralph [Schwartz] clearly pointed out the divide we have in this county and, sadly, it took our children to point it out.
How do we fix this? It is fixable, and the passing of this initiative may now give us an opportunity. Perhaps one of the reasons for this divide is that there are systems, relationships and — one might even say — shady deals that many of the larger nonprofits in our urban community have learned how to navigate. This creates better access to the funding that helps push their programs (some good, some are failing).
With the passing of this initiative, it’s time for these larger organizations in our county to extend the olive branch to the rural communities who might be less hesitant to vote for this type of initiative if they saw the work of these organizations in their own neighborhoods.
Whoever will be in charge of these newly collected funds would do well to prioritize building relationships right now with the rural public school districts, alternative education, smaller day cares, tribes and after-school programs. Since the initiative was intentionally brought to the whole county for a vote, we as a whole county community should all benefit from this levy. Having these children grow up in a community knowing they are supported wherever they live is a great place to start.
Bellingham (but East County has my heart)
There are two matters relating to Prop 5 on which I’d like to comment.
The first is in response to Delores Davies’ letter in the Nov. 30 issue. Like her, I had my doubts about the plan, which is broad in scope but short on detail but, unlike her, decided, after doing what research I could, to vote in favor. This seemed likely to be a once-only opportunity to implement such a program, and to vote against could condemn it for several years when there is thought to be a real need to achieve its objectives.
One detail I particularly wanted but couldn’t find, either on the website, the election material or the Bellingham City Club discussion (was there a source I missed?) was what is in the expenditure numbers? These must exist in order to determine the funding requirements. Are those numbers available? Regarding Ms. Davies’ concern about the funding source, I do agree that business owners should contribute and hope the Whatcom County Council see it as their responsibility to make that happen. Additional, or substitute, funding would surely be welcome.
The other matter concerns the report by Ralph Schwartz (CDN, Nov. 29, 2022) that “organizers made a conscious decision to put their measure on every ballot in Whatcom County …”
Surely any measure that affects all of us is required to be presented to all Whatcom County residents and passed by a majority to be binding. Perhaps the organizers were contemplating at some point that Prop 5 would only apply to Bellingham. If the need is demonstrably countywide, and the expenditure numbers confirm this, then perhaps the vote in favor outside Bellingham would have been larger and the winning margin greater.
Thank you, voters, for the fantastic turnout for this mid-term election! Whatcom County had a 71% turnout of registered voters. In the past, midterm elections have been as low as under 50%.
Every vote has now been cured and counted. Curing is the process of individual visits to get missing dates and signature verification on ballots. The original, reported results of the Proposition 5 Children’s Initiative showed that kids lost. However, the cured votes enabled the Proposition to pass by 20 votes!
Whatcom County voters turned out in a volume seldom seen. We CAN turn out as responsible citizens when we want to and are motivated by the issues. It is wonderful to see so many citizens taking our voting privilege seriously.
On the Proposition 5 issue, The Seattle Times reported that homeless students who graduate from high school are more likely to become taxpaying, contributing citizens; a solid start can make the difference.
It is also known that early starts reduce juvenile-behavioral problems and potential unemployment and incarceration as adults. Kids are the future of the nation, and passing this proposition says that this county values a good start for kids. Thank you all!
Re: Joe Biden vs. rail workers union.
There’s an imminent point at which the status quo — where already huge corporate profits and untaxed superfluous wealth are maintained or increased while many people are denied even life’s basic necessities — can/will end up hurting big businesses’ own monetary interests. I can imagine that a healthy, strong and large consumer base — and not just very wealthy consumers — are needed.
Or, could it be that the unlimited profit objective/nature is somehow irresistible, including the willingness to simultaneously allow an already squeezed consumer base to continue so — or even squeezed further?
Maximizing profits by risking the well-being of people will likely always be a significant part of the nature of the big business beast.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
Assistance League of Bellingham: Our Care Center Support is one of our most heartwarming programs. This year, 120 residents from care centers in Whatcom County who have no family or friend support were identified by their activity directors to receive Christmas gifts. Requests for clothing, footwear, music, art supplies and books are among the items that will fill their gift bags. Not a sleigh but autos filled with Christmas cheer will find their way to brighten the spirits of the residents of the local care centers in time for Christmas Day!
We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and goodwill of the Lynden Pieceable Quilters, who donated over 100 beautiful and creative lap quilts. How rewarding it will be for the residents to run their hands over their quilt and feel not only its warmth but imagine the story it tells. The impact of these quilts cannot be measured in dollars — it can be measured in love.
We thank all of our supporters. Funding for this program is made possible by fundraising, donations and revenue from our Thrift & Gift Shop. What we earn in Whatcom County stays in Whatcom County.
Happy holidays to all!
Recently, Editor Ron Judd (CDN, Nov. 30, 2022) described the indignity and frequent physical suffering of Rocky Mountain goats being airlifted and transported by helicopter from the Olympic Mountains to banishment in the North Cascades wilderness.
Growing up in the not-so-mountainous state of New Jersey, one could be excused for romanticizing the faraway Pacific Northwest and the goats that inhabited its mountains. Along with the railroads that traversed them. But distance lends enchantment. It was the railroad lines beyond the Mississippi, reaching another ocean, that might best pique the imagination of those who grew up confined to the Atlantic Seaboard.
It was the faraway Great Northern Railway that had special allurement. I credit that to its emblem since the 1890s, Rocky the Mountain Goat. His image adorned the front of locomotives and the sides of lowly boxcars and magnificent Pullman sleepers and dining car menus and company stationery and timetables and matchbook covers.
In the late 1990s, I worked in Rocky’s shadow over the Great Divide, on what’s called the “Highline” of the BNSF Railway. The onetime Great Northern route still skirts the peaks of Glacier National Park, a segment of the line linking the Midwest to Seattle. And it’s still traveled by a passenger train called the Empire Builder, named for the railroad’s legendary founder, Jim Hill. Though Hill’s moniker endures, two corporate mergers since 1968 have all but eliminated the image of Rocky the Goat. I doubt any of the trackworkers with whom I labored under the Rocky Mountain summer sun took the time to ponder the demise of a once-popular company logo. Rocky’s distant cousins, the goats out near the Pacific Coast, are now seen as little more than menacing intruders.
Times change, tastes change. And then there are the musings of sentimental old men. A subgroup to which I might claim kinship.
The recent editorial, “Educating yourself about my need to Educate Myself” (Ron Judd, CDN, Nov. 30, 2022) was very timely.
In the LTE section, I’ve been picking on some guy with a faded blue Volvo that has black smoke belching from the back, while sporting an “Earth First!” bumper sticker on it.
Right after the LTE was posted, one of the more excitable of CDN’s readers came back the next week with a totally indignant reply (probably the owner) extolling the virtues of Volvos and my ignorance thereof.
Thus, the LTE confirmed the CDN column pointing out the perception that liberals are more likely to use the “you need to educate yourself” approach. In fact, the LTE even had a few of the requisite negative labels liberals always use. Adding further insult to injury, the piece was allowed to run a full 385 words. Holy smokes!
A cynical mind would have thought “Ah-ha!” that overage was allowed because the editorial staff must have thought running it would be further punishment on the perception that I might be a Republican. (Nope, gotcha, I’m an Independent.)
So, as of today, I’m claiming a credit of 85 words for any future LTE I write, with the option of using up to four labels, negative or otherwise, of my choice.
Although a bit spendy, Volvos are nice cars. Volvo even offers the option of picking up your new car in Sweden, driving it around for a while and then shipping it back, all the while sporting a foreign license plate. This option no doubt impresses your rich friends with your understated sophistication.
Having paid my penance, further reference to bumper-sticker warriors will now be directed to that noisy diesel Volkswagen Jetta in town. It’s the one that smokes like an orange grove smudge pot, sporting an “Al Gore for President” bumper sticker.
Editor’s note: Mr. Morton’s 85-word LTE “credit,” minus the five-word overage for his letter claiming said credit, minus the 70 words used to respond to his overage claim, leaves a credit of 10 words, which will be honored at a future date by the LTE Editor if Mr. Morton is not first run down by a faded blue Volvo.
Send letters, maximum 300 words, by 10 a.m. Tuesdays to email@example.com.