Close this search box.
Get 24 hours of unlimited digital access for just $1.

Letters to the Editor, Week of Oct. 19, 2022

Education, safety, politics, Daphne Scott, Ukraine, and workplaces


Your recent article and headline on the EMS levy (CDN, Oct. 12, 2022) need both clarification and education. First, this is a renewal, not a new levy. Yes, the dollar cost per home unit has risen, but so has the home value and population. Further, in parallel, so has the dollar cost to provide the life-saving care that EMS provides. Also, EMS is more than an “ambulance.” It is a coordinated system of trained dispatchers, responders and community health professionals. The system impact is far greater than the small cost increase; about one Starbucks latte a month. Let me close with a quote from the Whatcom County Medical Society’s Board: 

“To Whatcom County Voters: In the past few weeks, the Northwest Washington Medical Society (NWMS) has reviewed the objectives and plan behind the Whatcom County EMS levy that is being voted on in this upcoming November election. We support the Whatcom County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) since it provides essential services in life-and-death situations. The present levy will maintain these essential services, and for this reason, the NWMS unequivocally supports the 2022 Whatcom County EMS levy.”

The NWMS Board of Directors

Marvin A. Wayne, MD

Medical Program Director

Editor’s note: CDN’s story clearly stated that the levy was a renewal. It is our custom to report facts of tax levies in terms of whole dollars and percentages rather than lattes-per-month.


I am a lifelong resident of Whatcom County. This is where my husband and I chose to raise our family and plant roots. I have been grateful to be able to call this beautiful place my home. However, things have changed. Over my years living here, I have never witnessed the hopelessness I see today. My neighbors are afraid for their safety, afraid they won’t be able to continue to afford living here and afraid their kids and grandkids will never have a chance to be able to afford a home. The 2022 election is the most important election I can recall. We can’t continue to let the same politicians with the same ideologies lead us further down this path of hopelessness.

I’m full-heartedly supporting Tawsha Dykstra Thompson for the 42nd District House of Representatives. Tawsha is the best candidate for this position. I have seen Tawsha selflessly serve our community as a police officer for over 25 years, as an advocate for flood victims and as a loving and compassionate neighbor. When her husband was shot in the line of duty, she made it her mission to make a change for the community she serves. She doesn’t just talk, she walks the walk. She has a proven ability to advocate for everyone. A vote for Tawsha is a vote for a fearless, strong and compassionate leader who will fight to restore safety in our streets. A leader that will not back down. Our communities can’t take more of the same.

Please join me in voting for Tawsha Dykstra Thompson.

Natalie Seigman



We write to offer a perspective silenced in this week’s cover story “State candidates confront Whatcom’s crime problem (CDN, Oct. 12, 2022).” Contrary to what Ralph Schwartz claims, many of us remain committed to reducing the presence of policing in our communities and shifting those resources toward more effective and less punitive public services.

Many drugs have been criminalized for over a century and yet have only become more popular and dangerous. The reality is that criminalization does nothing to combat abuse and addiction. We applaud the Washington Supreme Court’s decision to decriminalize drug possession and seek elected officials who will work to address the problems related to drug abuse within a framework consistent with the state constitution. 

Furthermore, we applaud the state Legislature’s decision to limit reckless, high-speed pursuits by law enforcement, which are neither safe for our communities nor effective at preventing crime. We hope to someday have a sheriff in this county who takes responsibility for public safety rather than passing blame on to the Legislature after failing to address these problems for the 19 years he has been in office.

It is disappointing to see Cascadia Daily News forward the manufactured talking points of an unelected official rather than critically engaging these politically influenced claims about “crime waves” and “lawlessness.” Those of us who actually live, work and play in Bellingham see a vibrant community with a diversifying culture and many successful businesses, not the absurd picture of chaos that right-wing forces wish to paint.

Unlike those who have stopped listening to the calls of organizations like the Movement for Black Lives, we still are calling to defund the police. Our suggestions may have been ignored by many elected bodies, and we are not surprised that those who call for more police continue to be disappointed with the lack of results generated by their preferred solution. We understand that our voices do not get welcomed into every venue in this county, but we are many and the future will be ours. We’d ask Cascadia Daily News to not be so one-sided in its reporting in the future.

Imagine No Kages

Birchwood Food Desert Fighters

Whatcom Human Rights Task Force

Whatcom Peace and Justice Center

Whatcom DSA


Last year, when Simon Sefzik was still an undergraduate student, he represented Patrick Henry College at the American Moot Court Association national championship. As one of the “truly elite Christian institutions of higher education … the goal of all that is done at Patrick Henry College is that of equipping godly men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values.”

Sefzik portrays himself as a friendly Republican who will work collegially with Democrats, but at a time when Republicans are working feverishly to deprive women of their right to choose and LGBTQ+ families of equal protection under the law, how much can we trust him? After all, Patrick Henry College is closely allied with legal advocacy groups focused on blocking rights and protections for LGBTQ+ people and preventing access to abortion and contraception.

Jay Taber



The Oct. 12 large print headline about a proposed 48% tax hike for EMS services admittedly is accurate and at the same time seems to be alarmist. That headline will remain in the minds of some voters and it will certainly add fuel to the fire of criticism that will flare up against the proposal. A softer and more reasoned touch, accurate as well, would have been to describe the cost of the proposed increase as 12.3 cents per day or $3.75 per month for property assessed at $500,000.

Having been transported three times by EMS responders and having called EMS responders three times for my 90-plus-year-old neighbor, I know the value … not just the cost … of the services. I urge readers, voters and the CDN editor to keep in mind [Hunter] Elliott’s [chairman for the Bellingham chapter of the International Association of Firefighters union] view as they fill out their ballot: The EMS levy is about the ability to save lives.

Jerry Hunter



Thank you for the striking picture and article regarding Daphne Scott (CDN, Oct. 12, 2022).

She is definitely an inspiration to we older and younger women. To discover she is also a math professor at the university, who uses her math and physics skills in her athletic pursuits, shows us how we can utilize all our talents. Keep us informed of remarkable women for us to emulate. Thanks again!

Belle Shalom



Shortly, you will receive your ballot in the mail. Now is the time to research candidates yourself and not be misled by the avalanche of flyers and advertisements. We, the people, should decide on these issues, not the corporations that are pouring money into this election. 

In the 42nd District, we have a strong, caring slate of candidates.

Sharon Shewmake, the only economist in either house, brings a wealth of understanding based on science and data. She will approach the dual challenges of inflation and climate crisis with reason. She supports lowering taxes on working people by making the wealthy pay their fair share. She has the education, life experience and wisdom of a wife and mother that her opponent lacks.  

Alicia Rule has a strong record of bipartisanship in the legislature. As a small business owner herself, she understands the challenges of running a business. As a counselor, social worker and parent, she supported legislation increasing counselors and establishing outdoor education in our schools. Locally she is working to restart Intalco, protecting jobs in our county while seeking other creative ways to protect our environment.  

Joe Timmons is well prepared with a master’s degree and 10 years’ experience in public service. A young father and renter in Whatcom County, he understands the economic stresses put on young families. He pledges to prioritize affordable housing, living wage jobs, high-quality education opportunities and equitable internet access for all. 

All three of these candidates support a woman’s choice to manage her own health care decisions freely without government intervention. The decisions you make could not be more critical. Please vote!

Nancy K. Sheng



As the grandmother of five, I have seen the amount of work it takes to find and afford high-quality day care and preschool opportunities for my daughters’ young children. It has been eye-opening to learn how difficult it is to find and secure spaces. Too often the search requires inside connections that many working families lack, often perpetuating uneven, unfair access for those who are not “in the know.”

Recognizing the enormous impact that these early educational experiences have on brain development, I am very encouraged to see our local health care professionals, educators, citizens, business and public leaders come together to design and propose Prop 5. 

An investment in the education of our youngest is truly the smartest collective action we can take as a community to promote brighter outcomes for all children in Whatcom County.

I am voting YES for Prop 5, the Children’s Initiative, and urge our community to join me.

Cathy Fairbanks



Unfortunately, as a member of the Green Party, there is not a candidate running for the 2nd Congressional District in Washington state for me to vote for. This means that I must find, and vote, for the candidate that most represents my views and beliefs. CDN has endorsed Rick Larson for this position (CDN, Oct. 5, 2022). And though I realize that Mr. Larson will most likely win, I cannot vote for someone who has voted for every military budget and action over his career in Congress. My vote will be a write-in vote for Jason Call.

It’s time for Rick Larson to retire! 

Bill Walker

Maple Falls


It is this time before the election when I begin to search out the candidates whose stands reflect my own and Alex Ramel’s line up with my values.

The issues I feel strongly about include sensible and responsible gun ownership, reformed sales requirements and background checks. Also crucially important is the environment we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. We no longer have the luxury of kicking the can down the road. We need strong leadership at every level of our government who will act NOW, and Alex will bring this in spades! He also has strong relationships with the other legislators in our district, which empowers communication to move better responses to our issues, not to mention that he is a member of leadership as the deputy Whip for the House Democrats. 

The bottom line is Alex has brought my voice to the legislature and I want to see him continue in that role. I am very proud of the membership of our Democratic team. Alex is one of the stars!

Naomi Bunis



I am a proud resident of Whatcom County. My husband and I are raising two sons here, we work here and are active in this community. This is the first “letter to the editor” I’ve written. In fact, I don’t always pay a lot of attention to politics in general.

Whatcom County is not the beautiful place to live that it once was. Hard drugs are openly used and sold on the streets, homelessness everywhere, human feces on the sidewalks, increases in crime, increases in taxes and an impossible-to-maintain cost of living. We can’t go on like this. What will our kids face in the future?

I have known Dan Johnson since the third grade. I was excited when I heard that Dan was willing to run to represent us in the Washington state House of Representatives. I know Dan. He’s kind, hardworking, fair and honest. He is rational and calm, and someone able to see the “big picture.” He’s a problem solver and leads with common sense. I know he will work hard to represent us all. 

I was disgusted to see a “journalist” for a large local publication use their position to campaign for Dan’s Democratic challenger. The articles published by this individual were slanderous and opinion pieces with a clear objective to swing favor to Dan’s Democratic challenger. It’s incredibly frustrating that a journalist can use their own biased vendetta to attack a candidate on such a public platform. This representation is in no way who Dan is. Dan is a guy who constantly puts his community first, a loud champion for the underdog and public safety. You can look to his work on “Hailey’s Law” for a clear representation of this.

I’m asking you to join me in casting your vote for Dan Johnson. 

Sara Spreckelmeyer

Whatcom County


Candidate Simon Sefzik is out of touch with the everyday problems of many people in Whatcom County. He is especially out of touch with young people who do not have the financial security he has. He has not had to struggle to find a place to live. He does not worry about having enough money for rent, for food, for gas or insurance.

He is 22 years old and recently graduated from college. He spent four months in the Senate in an appointed position. In Olympia, he voted against every gun control measure. He voted to allow open carry of guns (and other weapons) at school board meetings (HB1630). Tell me what justifies bringing a gun to a school board meeting? I don’t trust a 22-year-old to do his own due diligence while being controlled by the powers within his party and told how to vote.

He comes across like a decent young man who’s starting life with every opportunity and no school debt. He has few adult responsibilities and he does not have to worry about children. He does not live with the everyday fear of parents that their child’s school might be the target of the next school shooting. Until he has matured and faced real-life problems that most people deal with growing into adulthood, he is not qualified to become the voice of our communities.

We do have a qualified, honest and experienced candidate for state senator: Sharon Shewmake. She is a mother of two school-age children. She is a college professor in economics at Western Washington University. Her experience in the field of economics guides much of her thinking related to government spending decisions that affect Whatcom County. She has served as our elected state representative for the past four years. Sharon is a strong and determined person who pushes herself to be a voice for middle- and lower-income people. She works hard to promote ideas and legislation to help people’s lives. Her mission is to see our communities improve and become safer for us all.

Open your ballot and vote for Sharon Shewmake for all of Whatcom County.

Margen Riley



Russian President Vladimir Putin’s increasing threats to use nuclear weapons in the war with Ukraine have seized attention worldwide and reawakened fears about a nuclear war. Even without a war, our arsenal of nuclear weapons and the cost of securing and maintaining them deprives our nation, state and city of spending the money on local needs, as well as distracting us from the needed task of replacing fossil fuel sources with renewable ones. 

Go to the National Priorities Project ( and check out how your tax money is spent. In 2021, Bellingham residents and businesses paid $4.6 million in taxes for our nuclear arsenal and associated costs. Is this the best way to spend this money? Instead of nuclear bombs and cleaning up their waste, that $4.6 million could have provided over 12,000 households with solar electricity for one year, or 3,474 jobs paying $15/hour with benefits for one year, or 2,649 children for four years in Head Start for Bellingham residents. 

It is never an easy fix.  But it starts with knowing what is going on and speaking up to the people who represent us: Call Sen. Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen. Let’s chisel away to cut funding for the nuclear weapon industry.

Demand and support the Biden Administration to open up a new round of disarmament talks before these nukes destroy all of us.

Barbara Sardarov



Success in the workplace comes from a good team.

One that is coordinated, sharp, and effective at their work. As a former volleyball player and now head coach at Mount Vernon High, I can also attest to the necessity of good health for players.

I love my job. However, being a head coach of a high school volleyball team does not put me in the highest tax bracket. Most of our hardworking pillars of the community join me in this reality. That is why it is so essential that a program such as employer-provided coverage exists for hardworking Americans and their families.

Health care provided at work has the benefit of extending to the loved ones of the staff. If it were not for this benefit, it would be almost impossible to buy into coverage by other means. It would affect my savings and overall capacity to establish economic security.

Our current health care marketplace can be daunting to navigate alone, and when a business makes it easier for its staff to stay healthy, it makes our community a better place to live in. That is why employer-provided coverage is so essential for all of us.

Saylor Anderson 

Mount Vernon


We talk so much about “new normals.” Are heat waves, wildfire smoke and flooding really locked in as some of them? Climate change is real, man-made and worth addressing, and everyone needs to be included in our transition to a green economy. During her time in the state House, Rep. Sharon Shewmake has been the climate champion we need, sponsoring bills and supporting policy that is good for our environment and for people. This past session, Sharon wrote and championed a bill, HB1988, that will create more green jobs and develop new technology by providing eligible companies with tax deferrals. She also wrote and passed HB1814, allowing everyone to benefit from solar power through “community solar” projects, not just the wealthy. Sharon has always been a climate advocate; her first bill to receive a vote required utilities to break down their electricity mix on bills so consumers know where their power is coming from. 

I’m in my mid-20s. On most days, the climate crisis seems overwhelming, but it gives me hope to know that we have someone in the Legislature who advocates for practical, economic solutions. Sharon Shewmake has my vote.

Cole Harvey


Send letters, maximum 300 words, to

Latest stories

CDN's reader-powered election coverage takes shape
July 19, 2024 10:49 a.m.
Citizens Agenda program adjusts to encompass stakes of national election
July 18, 2024 10:00 p.m.
The science is clear: Investments in children pay dividends for all
July 16, 2024 10:00 p.m.

Have a news tip?

Email or Call/Text 360-922-3092

Sign up for our free email newsletters