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Letters to the Editor, Week of Feb. 14, 2024

Hate speech, Greenways, PeaceHealth, nukes and orca death

Editor,

Why is it that when bad actors get involved with vulgar or hateful speech during public comments at council meetings (CDN, Feb. 12, 2024) it is the public at large that gets punished by ever more restrictions, searches, silencing, etc.? There are technical solutions such as kill switches and transmission delay equipment. It ain’t rocket science.

Dick Conoboy
Bellingham
Editor,

As a taxpayer in Bellingham for nearly 30 years, I found the Greenways commentary (CDN, Feb. 1, 2024) frustrating.  Why not identify the need before the vote so people know what they are voting for? It’s apparent the committee has a large amount of money they are excited to spend without a plan and it’s unfortunate that voters didn’t ask these questions before they voted. The need does not need to be identified in Whatcom County for people to vote for Greenways, I get that. It’s a feel-good vote and, unfortunately, voter education is reduced to two to three paragraphs in a pamphlet.

My primary form of exercise is lap swimming. Because Arne Hanna Aquatic Center is so crowded, I drive to Mount Vernon three to four times per week to swim, which is a shame. Instead of hopping on the bus or walking to swim in the middle of the day, I’m forced to burn fossil fuel. 

I wish some of those millions of dollars we will be paying for outdoor recreation could go to more aquatic space.

Lance Wilson
Bellingham
Editor,

My husband has Alzheimer’s disease. His diagnosis is considered “early onset” because his decline began in his late 50s.

I am profoundly grateful for the invaluable resources available in our area to help dementia patients and their caregivers. The painfully protracted period from diagnosis to death from Alzheimer’s is often called “the long goodbye” — for good reason. Family and friends become strangers to their afflicted loved ones, and in a sense, vice versa. 

Last spring, PeaceHealth announced it would close its outpatient palliative care (OPPC) program claiming, in part, due to lost revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. That announcement dashed my hopes that the local OPPC program would eventually include Alzheimer’s patients.

Because of a barrage of pleas and entreaties, PeaceHealth reconsidered and said it would reinstate OPPC in a new model. My understanding is that the reinstated program will be predominantly for cancer patients, with other diseases included at some future date.

In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimer’s disease. In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimer’s were estimated at up to $215 billion annually. Unlike declining heart disease and cancer death rates, Alzheimer’s death rates are increasing.

Whatcom County urgently needs representation on the PeaceHealth System Governing Board. The system board includes five seats, of a total of 11, for people who live in communities where PeaceHealth has no facilities — three in California (Fairfax, Newport Beach, San Francisco), one in Denver and one in Chicago.

If our region had a seat on the system board, I believe we’d have improved educational, awareness and support services for people with all life-limiting or terminal diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Kathy Sitker
Birch Bay
Editor,

We are not safe in a world awash in nuclear weapons. Our conventional military power can protect us. Instead, our federal government is planning on building more nuclear weapons with their delivery systems in the next 30 years at the cost of over 2 trillion dollars.

A group of Bellingham citizens affiliated with Washington Against Nuclear Weapons (wanwcoalition.org) is asking the Bellingham City Council to join 76 other American cities in asking our national leaders to join a global effort to prevent nuclear war. We have crafted a resolution to that effect. 

We think this is a local issue because the power of these weapons will affect us all if used, and the money being planned to build them is needed locally to address many serious problems. 

John Repp
Bellingham
Editor,

On Feb. 6, I received an email reply from my State Rep. Alicia Rule in response to my query about any state rent control legislation, stating, …“Earlier this month I introduced HB 2425, the Housing Sustainability Act, which I believe would be so helpful in this scenario. It received a public hearing but did not make it out of committee.”

Unfortunately, it made Kerri Burnside’s essay (CDN, Feb. 6, 2024) on the same topic moot. One more example of the failure of the two-party system controlling the state and the nation. Two peas in the same pod serving the wealth over any concern for wage earners, senior citizens or any others in the bottom reaches of society. These two parties have hijacked the electoral system in order to ensure control by the wealthy elite.

The Democrats are fully satisfied with the status quo just as they are at the national level. Regulators rubber-stamp increases without any auditing or proof of justification. The same landlords are exempted from local and state property taxes based on the senior status of the occupants. Seniors are required to maintain an income below the national poverty scale to qualify to be occupants.

Meanwhile, the national COLA-skewed computation model falsifies the true nature of COLA. Minimal or no increases for Social Security recipients based on the false COLA model. At the same time, the same legislature and governor went into special session to award massive tax breaks for Boeing, whose executives live or retire in opulent splendor with millions in compensation.

Both parties are led by two senior citizens barely cognitive, whose twin philosophy is greed and forever war. Time for a revolution! Deep-six both parties and the electoral college to revive true human democracy with every vote counting.

Richard L. Morgan
Bellingham
Editor,

While I can sympathize with letter writer, Dianne Foster (CDN, Feb. 8, 2024), and her concerns over the tragedy unfolding in Israel and the Middle East, I can also easily sympathize with the Israelis who were the targets of a brutal attack by Hamas, which is only too happy to use the Palestinians they purport to represent as human shields. 

I also have little sympathy for the Iranian government, which supports some of the most evil actors in the Middle East and uses any excuse it can dream up to attack American soldiers and interests.

The situation in the Middle East is complex, and to so trivially refer to Biden’s rock-and-a-hard-place choices as “with a wink and a nod” or talk of the Biden administration as being bought off by AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] is a patently shallow characterization. 

Most Israelis, not just a handful of rabbis, do not support [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s policies.  The hundreds of thousands who took to the streets of Tel Aviv made that clear. But neither can they be expected to not react to bloody attacks on an equally innocent population coming from Gaza.

Also, the complexities of trying to arrive at important policy decisions when one party of our system is led by irrational, so-called leaders, who want to link Ukraine to the Palestinian conflict, makes the situation even more disturbing.  To refer to the solution as ” pulling the Benjamins, baby” is an embarrassingly thoughtless characterization.

To conveniently forget to mention this or understand the situation Biden finds himself in while trying to act as a sane leader, rather than acting like the insanoids on the right, is unfair and again a trivialization that does not do the complexity of the situation justice.

Michael Waite
Sedro-Woolley
Editor,

I think that all of us were devastated to hear about the death of the J Pod’s new baby orca, J60, because it represented the hope of the possibility for our orca populations to recover. But now that J60 has died, it shows us how much we have polluted our local environment. I feel that many people think about climate change in other places, like the Pacific garbage patch, or the rising temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona.

Because Bellingham is so lush and green, it is easy to forget that the ecosystem is struggling here, too. I think that J60’s death has been a kind of “awakening call” to the people of Bellingham, and I think it should also make us realize that it will take a lot from each and every one of us to actually make a change.

Julia Wolgamot, eighth grade
Fairhaven Middle School

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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