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Letters to the Editor, Week of Nov. 29, 2023

Food reviews, burial grounds, speed freaks and a new 'jailibrary?'

Editor,

Just want to say thank you to Mark Saleeb for his consistently enjoyable and thoughtful restaurant reviews. He does a great job of providing background, setting the scene and making the reader feel like they are along for the meal. But there is one problem. Upon reading his descriptions of the food and drink he dutifully devours on the reader’s behalf, I start to salivate, experience hunger pangs, and then frantically strategize as to when I can soonest conjure time for a meal at the establishments he spotlights. Not a bad problem to have!

Sam Donohoe

Bellingham

Editor,

Of course the Port of Bellingham should encourage economic opportunities, e.g., “a working port.” But why choose an activity (the scrap metal shipping) that has reduced the value of nearby developments, such as the condo buildings and future conference hotel — in which the port is named (by Harcourt Developments) as a  “partner”? The likely value of those properties has surely been reduced by millions of dollars, and more than the port projects to earn from the scrap metal lease and fees over the next five years. 

Who will pay a half million dollars (to more than $1 million) for a home so close to a noisy, dusty operation? If the planned 94 condos fall in value by just $50,000 each, that’s a loss of $4.7 million — and further losses of yearly revenue from higher property taxes. And these calculations do not include potentially larger shortfalls: the diminished value of the retail components of the condo buildings, the hotel conference project, and the cleanup costs for potential pollution from toxic substances in the recycled metal. So while the port boasts about increased harbor income, it has also set fire to a huge pile of private and public money. 

Like other elected officials, the port commissioners are expected to work in the public interest, and keep the public (and other public agencies, such as the City of Bellingham) informed of their plans. The port’s mission statement claims “an open, decisive atmosphere” in which “public involvement is highly regarded” — promises ignored during three years of quiet discussions with ABC Recycling.

The commissioners owe us an explanation of their reasoning and motives regarding other investments in Bellingham’s harbor.

Donald Case

Bellingham

Editor,

Now that the new jail levy has passed, I can only hope logic and reality will be used in the process forward.  

My reason for voting no on the proposition had nothing to do with the “blank check” aspect of the thing and everything to do with siting. Building a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility in a swamp 10 miles out of town just defies logic.  

I seem to recall years ago, when the downtown library was in a state of need (they always are and always will be), there was some thought given to building a new facility in the downtown area and using the vacated site for, gasp, a new jail.  

I would suggest the “new jail crew” and the library board sit down together and discuss the possibilities of a joint venture in real estate swapping. I am quite confident there are several sites that are more than adequate to meet the needs of a new library, today and into the future, in the general downtown area. (Imagine off-street parking!) Perhaps some funding from the “Take the perps to court from Ferndale” transport account could be diverted to help in procuring the site.

The benefits of building the new multipurpose facility on the old library site are too numerous to mention. I will, however, suggest an all-weather skybridge between the new lock-up and the courthouse would be a nice touch.

So, c’mon library users and justice/treatment advocates, let’s get it done.

Ken Lingbloom

Bellingham

Editor,

The “Raven and Salmon Woman” totem in front of the Alaska Packers Association (APA) cannery lodge at Semiahmoo County Park — carved by Lummi artist Morris Alexander — reminds us that a native burial ground is nearby, which was disturbed when Blaine attempted to expand its wastewater treatment plant on Semiahmoo Spit. It was subsequently relocated to Marine Park as the result of a federal lawsuit.

A little more than a hundred years ago, APA employees confiscated Lummi reefnet sites at Legoe Bay on Lummi Island and at Point Roberts by threatening Lummi fishermen and destroying their villages.

Today, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians — that includes Lummi Nation — have announced their intention to usher in a new era of cooperation based on restoring the Salish Sea, after two centuries of environmental destruction by European immigrants has left the chinook and orcas on the brink of extinction. 

Jay Taber

Blaine

Editor,

So with all the mayhem in fhe world right now, this may seem a perpheral issue, unless you are one of the unfortunate people injured or even killed by reckless drivers in this county where some believe it is their given right to ignore every traffic rule ever passed to keep people safe and the roads sane.

On any given day, the double yellow-lined road outside my home is the site of yahoos from the east county exercising their ignorance by passing on the double yellow even when oncoming traffic has to veer onto the grass of homeowners to avoid them.  

Calls to the sheriff have never resulted in anything but excuses about how undermanned they are [and] that they can’t do speed patrols.

On any given day, the freeway between Lake Samish and the airport is a drag racetrack for yahoos from the north and south who see 75-80 [mph] when the sign says 60.  

It takes the occasional patrolman so long to write a ticket that their time hardly covers the fines, and a trooper with someone pulled over is a green light for everyone to speed up after passing them, because it is very unlikely there will be any others nearby.

Speed cameras on Interstate 5 alone could pay for themselves and a new freeway in about two years, but that sort of efficiency seems to be antithetical in these lead-footed days. 

Michael Waite

Bellingham

Editor,

The city council brain trust is at bat again considering four “innovative solutions” for the sewer plant. 

After reviewing the options, maybe CDN would consider starting a new feature called “Ya gotta be kiddin’ me”?

First up we have the Connell “Sludge Lake” option, an all-time environmental favorite, converting wet sludge into rolls of Costco’s finest; next up is the Sedron Technologies mysterious rotating disk sludge slinger that will be tested to know if the technology sticks to the wall (including an iconic on-site photo op for Mayor Lund rivaling that of Mayor Fleetwood).

Then there’s the “374Water” bomb that operates at 2,940 psi and 700 degrees Fahrenheit, leveling half of Fairhaven if a process vessel fails; and finally, the Bioforcetech [BFT] pyrolysis thermal unit. (It was ruled out in the last debacle because the heat source was burning.) There was a recent decree from someone smarter than us that for pyrolysis, the kryptonite term, “incineration” is not incineration at all, even though the heat source is a form of incineration. So, it’s back in the herd. Whatever.

“All four companies promised (for a price) to help Bellingham meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions” … treating the sludge, well, not so much.

The city council, by experience and training, more qualified to approve roadway paint striping, will now “debate” these options at the next city council meeting. Do they even know what questions to ask, much less debate them?

This looks like another expensive city boondoggle.  

Will someone please pass the popcorn?

Bob Morton

Bellingham

Letters to the Editor are published online Wednesdays; a selection is published in print Fridays. Send to letters@cascadiadaily.com 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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