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Letters to the Editor, Week of Feb. 1, 2023

Editor,

I thought you might be interested in the global reach of Cascadia Daily News as reflected in a photo of me, a loyal subscriber, enjoying your outfit’s journalistic efforts. However, it also reflects a new low for CDN as the body of water in which I float, the Dead Sea, is 430 meters below sea level. It’s the lowest place on Earth, really, I wouldn’t kid a kidder.

Cheers, and keep up the good fight. 

L. L. (Buzz) Leake

Bellingham

Editor,

AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide service has been providing free income tax preparation in Whatcom County for over 25 years, and after a difficult couple of years due to the COVID crisis, the service is back in its pre-pandemic form this year.

Although focused on low-income and over 50-year-old taxpayers, the service is open to most taxpayers regardless of age or income, and can do most returns with the exception of farm income, rental income and some other more complicated issues.  This valuable service will be available from Feb. 1 to April 18 at the First Congregational Church of Bellingham at 2401 Cornwall Ave., Monday through Wednesday from 3–6:30 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. Service will be on a first-come-first-served basis and doors will open 15 minutes before the start time. Prior to the pandemic, the Bellingham site was the single largest site in Washington, serving almost 1,500 clients per year.

Carlton J. (CJ) Nathon

AARP Tax-Aide

Whatcom County

Editor,

If I were a flaming sphincter, like Mike Pompeo, Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Dingle Trump  —  just fill in the name of nearly any Republican these days —  I would not want to have any Joe or Jill shmoo voter be able to just drop me an email to say how much he or she detested the way I portend to be an authority on life, liberty, journalism, intellectual pursuits or, lord help us, the truth. I mean, really, where do folks get this crazy notion that politicians should be held accountable for what they spew out like silage being spread on the fields? This is America after all.  

Our so-called leaders of the pachydermal persuasion these days, have a constitutionally given right to be full to the brim of all manner of puckey and never have to hear any totally honest feedback about their nonsensically outrageous utterings. And, boy, do they take advantage of it.  

As I gaze out on a hillside of elephants in Africa —  these noble and magnificent beasts are actually extremely intelligent, dignified and a glory to behold — I can’t help but feel that if only they knew what kind of insane human rubbish uses their image to further their psychologically demented musings, they would rumble through every town of our country and trample them into the dust before covering them with their plentiful dung.  

But alas, that is the thing only dreams are made of at this point in history. Sadly we just have to hold our noses and allow these worthless human beings to continue to breathe free. 

But one can dream.

Michael Waite

Bellingham

Editor,

Like a broken clock … etc., the Port [of Bellingham] occasionally gets it right. Now that Corvus is on board, booking people into the “I’m Not the Titanic” hotel will be easier now, with additional value provided by the Port’s scrap pile art installation nearby.

Nevertheless, new manufacturing in the City of Subdued Excitement is welcome. However, this is severely complicating the mayor’s Climate Action Plan, likely throwing the world into permanent darkness.

We’re overwhelmed with emotion hearing that [Gov. Jay] Inslee is “joyous” again. Forced to give up his COVID emergency powers no doubt left him seriously traumatized.

In the meantime, I heard an unsubstantiated rumor in my travels around town. Well, actually, it was after a few pints of Clarks Point IPA at Stones Throw.

As the rumor goes, the word was out during the day of the announcement, in addition to the ribbon cutting, Congressman Larsen had a few special awards to hand out. 

One was to present Michael Lilliquist, chairman of the WTA, the “Almost Got It Right” Award. This was in recognition of the wise purchase of the “all electric” buses. Well … all electric except for the heaters. The buses require diesel-fired smudge pots to keep riders warm and toasty. 

Thus, when you see the shiny new buses sporting a raccoon tail of stinky dark smoke lumbering up Alabama Hill, wink and give a knowing smile, because as the mayor likes to say, “we’re doing our part.”

The last award was the presentation of the “Excellence in Execution Award” to the mayor. This award was to recognize the city council for its brilliant job of driving the cost of a straightforward sewer plant revamp to a billion dollars. Another opportunity for the mayor to brag about how “Bellingham is leading the way.”

The award meeting was canceled at the last minute though. The mayor doesn’t like his picture taken at the sewer plant anymore, so Rick’s gonna mail it in.

Bob Morton

Bellingham

Editor,

First, please continue to keep the time-honored pre-digital practice of addressing “letters to the editor” with the proper salutation.

That said, I’m gratified to have been a paid subscriber to the Cascadia for going on one year. Obviously, $12 a month is a bargain, the amount being only a little more than the cost of refilling a growler of Kitten Mittens. Receiving my first printed issue by mail last March was a joy — though later the joy was to be undone by the USPS under the questionable stewardship of postmaster general Louis DeJoy.

For the first time in my long memory, come December, the postal service failed to deliver the mail in a timely manner. At its worst, there was nearly a week of no mail delivery, even after the snow had cleared. Delivery only grew more sporadic. And so my wife and I became habituated to picking up the paper for free at one of several convenient locations. This of course was no fault of the CDN.

Adding to this — also no fault of the CDN — is that, being something of a technophobic and a Luddite, and having been a regular newspaper reader since the years when a likeable guy nicknamed “Ike” occupied the White House, I rarely look at the online edition and have been quite satisfied to read the CDN as a “print” weekly. And now we know it’s available for free.

Being on fixed income, one might be justified in paring back unnecessary expenses. One unattractive option is to cut back on one growler a month — supporting quality local journalism versus supporting quality local beer. Now if only free growler refills were as available as free copies of the CDN.

Obviously, one can be beset by far worse quandaries. Looking forward to a year from now, to see a photo of the well-deserving staff and another mouth-watering layer cake, only this one bearing two candles.

Paul Kenna

Bellingham

Editor,

I am glad to see you celebrating one year already and I have no regrets about jumping on board with my subscription from the get-go. It seems I know how to pick a winner. Just like years ago when I passed up buying stock in a company that let you order books on the internet and they would mail them to you. Lucky me, I saw that train wreck coming and passed.

You have my permission to pat each other on the back for a job well done and then to get right back to work. We expect year two to be even better.

Thanks for being my ‘Ham Connection.’

Scott Thompson

Puyallup

Editor,

We are barely 20-some days into this new year of 2023 and already there has been much to break our hearts: multiple violent mass murders, catastrophic weather events, continued devastation in Ukraine, and a divided U.S. Congress. But there are opportunities to do good.

This year, Congress will vote to reauthorize the Farm Bill, which includes international food assistance programs and happens every five years. Once Congress works out committee assignments and duties, the latest Farm Bill will be sent to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. Members will spend the next several months pinpointing priorities and drafting new legislation to be voted on and passed no later than Sept. 30, 2023.

Due to the present divided Congress, there is a strong potential that the traditional Farm Bill timeline may well be delayed. This will be a travesty for communities across the globe experiencing life-threatening levels of conflict, climate change, COVID-19 and rising costs. Inflation of food prices has put people under tremendous strain, while supply chain interruptions have slowed humanitarian operations, disrupting local and regional markets.

As a former educator in a high-poverty school located in a food desert, I care about hungry children and their families. If this situation doesn’t improve, 330,000 children are at risk of dying. This heartbreak doesn’t have to happen.

As a Catholic and a supporter of Catholic Relief Services, it is my gospel imperative to both pray and advocate for those in need. Please join me in asking the 118th Congress to prioritize the timely passage of a new Farm Bill that reauthorizes essential international food assistance programs. Call, write or visit in person your member of Congress; ask for their support so all have access to the nutritious food they need.

Annie Welch

Bellingham

Editor,

“Reasonable suspicion,” si!

“Probable cause,” no!

I would like to compliment Representatives Alicia Rule (42nd LD), Joe Timmons (42nd LD), and Debra Lekanoff (40th LD) for their sponsorship of HB 1363 in Olympia:

This new bill would correct the unwise and ultimately disastrous artificial restraint on police pursuit of criminals on our roads, which was started in 2021. Car thieves and perpetrators of other major felonies have acted with greater impunity since that artificial restraint was imposed. We need the police to be allowed to make a reasonable decision on whether pursuit will enhance overall public safety.

Abe Jacobson

Bellingham

Editor,

According to your Jan. 9 story about security upgrades at the Bellingham Police Department, upgrades will include changing 6-foot chain link fences to 8-foot, replacing a 6-foot courtyard wall with an 8-foot metal panel wall, and putting concertina wire atop all fencing, gates and walls. I have no doubt that the police have legitimate concerns about security, but they need to reconsider these changes. Higher walls and concertina wire do not lend themselves to enhancing the community’s trust, cooperation and regard for the police. They are off-putting and suggest more of an “us vs. them” mentality, both for citizens and for police officers themselves.

Alan McEwen

Bellingham

Editor,

There is a reason Washington’s recycling systems don’t work well. We are overwhelmed with a product that basically cannot be recycled since less than 17% of the plastic that is manufactured is actually recyclable, and that includes all the plastic we ship overseas, hoping it is out of sight and out of mind. 

Think about it – for years we have been righteously filling our blue bins with plastic while our beaches, our landfills, our air and our water have been filling up with the plastic we thought could be recycled.  The truth is plastic producers have sold us the myth that plastic is recyclable so we just keep using the miracle material. 

It is not hard to use — it is everywhere and virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form. Scariest of all, our bodies are being polluted by it. Plastic has been linked to neurological diseases and cancer. It is found in fetal tissue and mothers’ milk.

Please urge your legislator to support the WRAP [Act] (SB 5154) which at last, mandates producer responsibility.  As fossil fuel plants go offline, producers hope to convert these factories to make the worst possible poison for our planet. A huge purveyor of greenhouse gas in its production, plastic also produces methane forever. 

Tell your legislators to pass this small step and immediately start working on getting rid of the scourge of plastic 

Jayne Freudenberger

Bellingham 

Editor,

CDN mischaracterized affidavits of prejudice in the Jan. 27 article about broadly disqualifying Judge Rands. The article states “[f]our days after Rands took office, the prosecuting attorney’s office began filing affidavits of prejudice — used in cases where it is believed a defendant cannot have a fair and impartial trial under a judge.”

While that is technically true, a defense attorney typically files an affidavit of prejudice when a defendant’s right to a fair trial is concerned. The prosecutor’s office is not filing these affidavits while pearl-clutchingly bemoaning the lack of fairness to the person they’re seeking to incarcerate. Instead, they have broadly disqualified Judge Rands on every DUI case in district court because they are concerned that Judge Rands — himself a former defense attorney who largely focused on defending DUI cases — will not give the state favorable rulings on DUI cases.

I don’t know where CDN got this characterization of affidavits of prejudice, but it smells to me like it came from the prosecutor’s office. Claims like these may seem technical and inconsequential, but if CDN is repeating them without first scrutinizing them, it signifies a deeper issue. I certainly hope that CDN will not fall into the trap of law enforcement stenography on criminal justice issues that plague so many other news organizations.

Matt Mearns

Mount Vernon

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