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Letters to the Editor, Week of Jan. 17, 2024

Bellingham's Red Scare, school levies, student organizing and Gaza


History teaches us that knowing the past is essential lest we repeat our failings. It is disappointing, then, that years are passing since Ron Judd urged correcting the record of a shameful part of regional history: the unjust firing in 1939 of the President of Western Washington University, Charles Fisher, following a vicious smear campaign by influential local leaders (CDN, Jan. 11, 2023; The Seattle Times, Feb. 25, 2016).

Despite leading Western to become a renowned institution for shaping future educators, Fisher was hounded out of office for championing liberal arts values and humanitarian concern. This came at a time when the Ku Klux Klan held considerable sway.

Times have changed, yet institutional inertia has not. Western has a moral responsibility to right this longstanding wrong. Addressing this as a matter of restorative justice will also prove to be an invaluable educational opening for our community.

James Loucky



We are grateful to our students, families, staff and community for your ongoing support. As we enter 2024, we continue to come together, be flexible and support each other. 

On Feb. 13, school districts in Whatcom County are asking our communities to consider renewing our levies. There are three main types of levies: educational programs and operations, capital (includes technology) and transportation levies.  

Many school districts use the phrase “bonds are for building and levies are for learning.” Bonds are used to fund major construction projects. Levies are for learning, which provides funding for the day-to-day operations of our schools. 

K-12 education is not fully funded by the state, which is why districts rely on voter-approved levies to bridge the gap, ensuring all students have access to the resources they need to succeed.  

Every school district in Whatcom County will have at least one replacement levy on the Feb. 13 Special Election Ballot. Please find more information about each individual levy from your school district. Though our needs may differ, all school districts depend on the support of our communities to provide high-quality education for our students.  

Levy funding supports: 

  • School staff: Teachers, nurses, psychologists, counselors, behavior support teams and paraeducators, and other school staff 
  • Academic programs: Special Education, advanced learning, multilingual learners and smaller class sizes 
  • Technology: Laptops and necessary tools that ensure all students have access to learning resources 
  • Enhanced school safety infrastructure including door-locking systems  
  • Student services and opportunities: Athletics, arts, music, drama, clubs and after-school tutoring 

Your school district may be asking you to consider a levy for four years. Your school district will have more information about your local tax rate. 

We are grateful to live in communities that support our schools and understand the value of quality education for all students.  

Thank you for your continued support of our schools,  

Whatcom County public schools superintendents: 

Greg Baker, Bellingham; Christopher Granger, Blaine; Kristi Dominguez, Ferndale; David VanderYacht, Lynden; James Everett, Meridian; Phil Brockman, Mount Baker; Matt Galley, Nooksack Valley 


As a graduate of Western Washington University (B.A., journalism and M.A., political science), bravo to the student workers at Western.  

Also as the former President of UFCW Local 240, I recall Christmas 1977 when we struck the downtown Bellingham Pay-N-Save Store. We had full and enthusiastic support from WWU students — including banners at the Viking Union. Many of the strikers were students and not one crossed the picket line!

My grandson will be returning after break and is looking for student employment. He comes from a strong union family and will no doubt be a supporter and future member.  Best to student WWU workers and fight on!

Bill Johnston




As a Whatcom Democrat, I know from the media the long list of reasons I should not like [President] Joe Biden. But I DO like Joe, and I plan to vote for him with enthusiasm.

Joe Biden calmed a country traumatized by COVID-19. Joe selected a capable, accomplished woman of color as his Vice President [Kamala Harris]. Joe appointed a capable, accomplished woman of color [Ketanji Brown Jackson], to the U.S. Supreme Court. Joe has filled his administration with impressive Black, Latino and Native American leaders. 

Joe signed the most ambitious climate legislation in history, the Inflation Reduction Act. Joe’s economic policies have favored job creation, lowered inflation and helped to make costly prescription drugs more affordable.

Joe ended our failed forever war in Afghanistan.

Despite the Supreme Court, Joe has managed to cancel some punishing student debt. Despite the Supreme Court, Joe is fighting to defend and restore choice and reproductive autonomy.

Joe is doing the best job of any president in my lifetime, and I am proud to support him. Democrats and Independents of Whatcom County, be of good cheer! Vote Biden/Harris in 2024!

Edward Wolf




Any attack on Gaza was always going to be the equivalent of a gunfight in an overcrowded elevator; guaranteed to cause damage and kill people. However, it’s becoming apparent that Israel’s initial response to defend itself three months ago has evolved into something else — a pitiless and purposeful scorched earth strategy to make Gaza barely livable; leaving 2 million people trapped without adequate food, water, housing and health care.   

Without a cease-fire, the conflict will become a casus belli for terrorist groups to act as already evidenced in the Red Sea and recently thwarted plans for such attacks in Europe. Last month’s U.N. Security Council resolution, from which the U.S. and Russia abstained, was morally bankrupt in its diplomatic speak, offering empty words to a slow-moving human catastrophe. 

The United States must lead a move to call for a cease-fire. Even then, the human misery will continue. Many thousands have lost their homes and livelihoods; it will take a generation to rebuild.   

Klaus Wergin




In your previous edition (CDN, Jan. 10, 2024) a letter writer (Michael Waite) claimed that Republicans don’t know anything about economic issues and that [President Joe] Biden’s “economic record (is) one of the best in our history.” 

The writer cited no numerical evidence and named no economists or “experts” to support his claims. I will ask: Where did all the inflation of the past three years come from? Why are interest rates so high? Why is the national debt so high?

The letter was simply a written tantrum to exhibit the writer’s moronic, anti-empirical and irrational hatred for the best president of my lifetime (I’m 75), Donald J. Trump.

Rick Hannam



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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