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Letters to the Editor, Week of Nov. 8, 2023

Congress, fossil fuels, wagon ruts and scrap metal


So many letters refer to the “best candidates” to vote for in local races (CDN, Nov. 1, 2023). At the same time, let’s remember our members of Congress we elected work for us.  We can thank Representatives Larsen and DelBene, along with Senators Cantwell and Murray for their work to renew the expanded Child Tax Credit that cut child poverty nearly in half before it expired. Along with working to expand affordable housing across America, we need to encourage them to keep going.

Send them stories about why these equity initiatives matter to us and the difference they make. Our calls, emails and visits to those who represent us can make the difference between elections. Child poverty and homelessness are policy choices — let’s reverse them!

Willie Dickerson




For the last 10 years, the oil refineries and other fossil fuel exporters in Whatcom County have been disguising the source of donations by moving money through PACs on behalf of the Whatcom Republican Party, which as a racist institution that has opposed treaty rights, and as the home of the theocracy movement, opposes democracy itself.

So where is the public outrage toward these criminal enterprises that pollute our air and corrupt our elections? And why do local community service groups still take their dirty donations, helping whitewash their deservedly infamous reputation?

Jay Taber




Shame on The Hammer (Nov. 3) for continuing to advocate the paving over of the historical Pioneer wagon train ruts adjacent to the Samish Way overpass. Obliterating those will erase the last proof that the Oregon Trail indeed did terminate in Whatcom County, Washington — bypassing Oregon completely. All of us true believers know the history books got it all wrong. 

While on the subject of pavement, might The Hammer try subjecting his front-end shock absorbers to the paved-over trenches now gracing Woburn Street, going northbound along Bay View Cemetery? One might expect smoother passage following the many months when it was virtually impossible to even get from Yew Street Road to Barkley Village. Though the yellow excavators and orange signs and dirt piles and steel plates have yet to fully disappear. Making it still a challenge to get to Kulshan Brewery on Kentucky Street to refill a growler. 

Then again, things could be worse. And thank you to the boots on the ground and in the mud, out doing their thankless job of replacing water and sewer mains laid in when electric trolleys, along with horses and buggies, ruled the thoroughfares. 

Paul Kenna




I wish to log my sincere opposition to the proposed ABC Recycling activities on Marine Drive as an extremely poor choice in location of this particular industrial activity.

Entire neighborhoods of thousands of Northwest Bellingham residents will be impacted adversely with no benefit forthcoming except to those few benefitting from the land sale and possibly the 15 to 30 jobs that will potentially become available. Degradation to home values, noise, increased pollution and quality of life, due to what appears to be an administrative decision with little to no public notice, let alone a hearing, compels one to demand an accounting of traceability of those shareholders benefitting from these actions.

Although attempting to hold an objective mind, I find it ironic that none of the shareholders live within the projected area that would be both directly and adversely affected with this facility, its heavy haul truck traffic and the prevailing westerly onshore flow.

Galen Bliss




Narrow points of view seem to characterize the ABC Recycling debate, but I would like to see a more broad analysis centered on balanced livability in the city and county.

Balance is good for the economy and culture and life of the community. It comes when all are healthy but none dominate. No interest group — government, tourism/resort, industry, agriculture, port, fishing, retirement, university, nonprofit, etc. gets everything it wants, but everybody gets enough. 

I have lived in unbalanced communities and know they create intractable problems for themselves. An excess of resort/retirement leads to nasty housing and workforce problems. Too much university produces sprawl and transience and local resentment. Eventually, people flee from imbalance. The city/county strikes me as well balanced at the moment, but smarter people than I might know differently.

ABC and its neighborhoods need to be considered not only in relationship to each other but to their community sectors and all sectors. How does ABC fit, or not, into a balanced role for port/waterfront/industry? How is the larger housing affordability and availability picture affected by possible futures of adjacent neighborhoods? These and similar questions should weigh heavily in the ABC decisions.

Tom Horton

Sudden Valley


Too often we encounter unexpected challenges at the end of life. Mr. Royal’s account of the death of his aunt (CDN, Aug. 8, 2023) is a relatable situation. However, removing safeguards from our state’s assisted suicide law is not the answer and would put vulnerable people at greater risk. As someone living with a disability that is often misunderstood as “terminal,” this topic is personal. 

Too often, the concerns of people with disabilities are dismissed, and as a result, we are devalued. We have made progress, but there is still much to be done to achieve an accessible and inclusive society. Assisted suicide laws exacerbate real danger to our lives by putting pressure on those living with disabilities to end their lives, not as a right, but as a duty. 

In Canada we are witnessing the expected natural outcome assisted suicide laws present. People with disabilities, which now include the houseless and those seeking services to assist them in their daily living needs, are instead offered euthanasia as an equal option. Eliminating the requirement of less than six months left to live and/or self-administration mirrors Canada’s euthanasia model.

We cannot eliminate minimal necessary safeguards. We can do better. For Washington’s most vulnerable, we must do better.

Conrad Reynoldson, Attorney at Law, Washington Civil & Disability Advocate



Although numbers are fuzzy in the fog of war, it is instructive to compare what we are hearing and reading when considering the appropriateness of Israel’s actions in Gaza. According to The Atlantic (“The Cost of War Will Be Counted in Children’s Lives,” Oct 26, 2023), at least 30 children were among the 1,400 Israelis brutally murdered by Hamas on Oct 7.

The same source reports that of the 240 hostages extracted that day by Hamas gunmen, at least 20 are children. As I write this, the AP reports that Israel had killed at least 3,600 Palestinian children (“More than 3,600 Palestinian Children Were Killed in Just 3 Weeks of War,” Nov 1). These data are from reputable sources, and they speak for themselves.

Perry Parsons




We are heartbroken by the recent violence in Israel and the Gaza Occupied Palestinian Territory. We deeply mourn the loss of all lives and pray for those who have lost loved ones over the last few weeks. We unequivocally condemn Hamas’ attacks and inhumane treatment of civilians and call for their immediate release of all hostages. We also condemn the indiscriminate and violent Israeli response.

Hamas killed more than 1,300 Israelis in the Oct. 7 attack and took 200 civilian hostages into Gaza. The subsequent Israeli military attack on Gaza has killed more than 9,000 Palestinians, almost half of them children.

The Israeli government has restricted food, fuel, and humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip resulting in devastating humanitarian consequences.

It is beyond sad that decades of systemic suppression of the Palestinian people have led to this latest debacle. A military solution will never be a long-standing solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The humanity of the other side must be seen.  In the long run recognition of Palestinian human rights will support Israeli human rights. Love thy neighbor. Hate and killing only return the same.

We urge Rep. Rick Larsen to support House Resolution 786 which urges President Biden to immediately call for and facilitate de-escalation and a cease-fire in Israel and occupied Palestine. On the Senate side, Sen. Durbin is requesting a cease-fire and we ask Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Murray to join him.

Charles Janeway, Lopez Island, for The San Juan Islands Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Team



Your article on independent expenditures (CDN, Oct. 27, 2023) should have put them in perspective with past elections. The last time the current City of Bellingham and Whatcom County races were on the ballot was 2019.

Your article referenced a total of $110,792 in independent expenditures this year. Through Dec. 10, 2019, a total of $242,273 was spent supporting and opposing candidates. So far this year, a total of $879 has been spent by independent committees to support and oppose candidates for Whatcom County executive. Through Dec. 10, 2019, a total of $154,168 was spent by them for Whatcom County executive candidates.

Independent expenditures this year will be around half of what was spent in 2019.

Bill McCallum



Letters to the Editor are published online Wednesdays; a selection is published in print Fridays. Send to by 10 a.m. Tuesdays. Rules: Maximum 250 words, be civil, have a point and make it clearly. Preference is given to letters about local subjects. CDN reserves the right to reject letters or edit for length, clarity, grammar and style, or removal of personal attacks or offensive content. Letters must include an address/phone number to verify the writer’s identity (not for publication).

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