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Letters to the Editor, Week of Jan. 31, 2024

Death by EV, the big snow, Concrete's 'ugly' flag and Nikki Haley

Editor,

I own an EV stealth machine as mentioned in Ron Judd’s column (CDN, Jan. 19, 2024). I confess, I’ve accidentally come up behind people scaring the bejesus out of them. It gets worse though.

By 2018, I had accumulated a few loud man toys. Getting long of tooth, hearing gone, wallet thin and much to the relief of the neighbors, I sold ‘em all off. One was a car guy’s bucket list classic sports car. I sold it to a friend in the gun club.

A week later, in an atypical fit of environmental awareness, I bought a used 2015 Nissan Leaf for $14,000. The ‘boys’ at the gun club wouldn’t talk to me for a while. Hillbillies driving the jacked-up Ram trucks tailgate mercilessly, making unfriendly hand signs too. But that’s another story.

I’ve digressed. The Leaf costs me less than 3 cents a mile to operate, it’s engineered well and trouble-free. It even has a cutsie-sounding backup beep, contrasted to the ’50’s “Outer Limits” Theramin-style sound Teslas make. (Millennials, Wikipedia is your friend here.) So, it’s a wonderful little car. Except one thing: The windshield pillars.

Driving up to an intersection, anyone standing on the corner, on the right side quarter of the car is completely blocked by the pillar. So not only is it stealthily silent, it’s the ultimate pedestrian death car for those unfortunate enough to be crossing the street when I am attempting a right turn.

So, apologies to those I’ve almost run over to date, there will be more. Don’t take it personally, I’m insured.

Bob Morton
Bellingham
Editor,

Subject: What’s the deal with the ugly Concrete flag (CDN, Jan. 22, 2024)?

A hundred and 14 entries?!? Who votes for these things? I would like to see the original drawing for the Concrete flag. The computerized picture can’t possibly be right! The silos are taller than they are wide! This picture looks like the silhouette of a long building, nothing like the silos. Besides, why are they computerizing an entry anyway? I think technology can handle making it the same as the original entry drawing.

Faith Prough
Concrete

Editor’s note: We’re not taking sides, but for the record, here’s the image of the flag in question:

Concrete's flag
Concrete’s flag, designed by Becky Suttles, is a simple picture of Sauk Mountain with the town’s industrial silos in the foreground. (Graphic courtesy of the Town of Concrete)
Editor,

It is indeed disappointing that senior management of the Port of Bellingham has deluded themselves into thinking a 10-year lease on a containerized hot dog stand next to a dilapidated building is some kind of progress.

However, without a thorough house cleaning at the port, this perspective will continue unabated.  From all accounts, morale at the port is nonexistent. Employees with innovative ideas are shunted to the side, demoted or kicked out (i.e., the recent firing of their director of economic development).

Most remaining are “process” people who are only interested in pushing out project timelines for as long as possible while being advised by an ambivalent engineering firm the port engages to the tune of $2.5 million per annum. The CEO and de facto COO operate as a fiefdom, providing scraps of information to the port commissioners when it suits them.

All one has to do is drive past All American Marine, Corvus Energy or Bellingham Cold Storage to see that there are forward-thinking companies in Bellingham doing exceptional work in the maritime field. But alas, forward-thinking is not tolerated at the port.  Is an absolute scandal the port has evolved into insular cronyism with a perverse “put-up-or-shut-up” philosophy as its guiding principle.

Patrick Lee
Bellingham
Editor,

I have had the privilege of living in our fair city since 2019. In that time, I have heard two things from Bellingham natives every winter:

  1.  “Oh, it never snows here.”
  2. “Oh, I don’t own a snow shovel.”

I can’t help but find this amusing, because it has in fact snowed here every winter since 2019. Once again, climate change wreaks its havoc on us. Given this brave new (snowy) world, I would like to take a moment to address our dearth of snow shovels.

Please, hear me out: I know the snow is temporary, and that it’s a pain to suit up and go out in the cold. However, many of our neighbors need those sidewalks, including our letter carriers and folks using public transit. Even once the roads become passable, the sidewalks can remain snowy for days, turning to ice with every step.

It doesn’t seem like much, but clearing your stretch of sidewalk can make a huge difference. Twice now, I have watched as folks in wheelchairs made their way home down the middle of the street because the sidewalks were impassable. Ironically, both times were after having shoveled my stretch of sidewalk.

In closing, I encourage all your gentle readers to purchase a snow shovel before our next snowfall. If nothing else, you’ll spend $20 to gain moral superiority over your friends in Seattle.

Warmly,

Grant Dobbe
Bellingham
Editor,

I’m a newcomer of three years after visiting my family for 15 years. We are drivers from northern Maine. I have remarked on how bad the drivers are around here. There is a long list: onramps are for reaching speed, what yield/merge means, what a zipper merge is, the right lane is for all the Teslas who drive 10 mph under the speed limit, you can turn left on a red light when one-ways are involved, turn lanes in the middle of roads are also for entering traffic safely, you do not need to come to a stop to make all turns, you should not stop randomly, and are we ever going to talk about near-nightly accidents on I-5? Snow is just the tip of a poor-driving iceberg! We have assumed it is the legal pot; WA adults are all spending a few hundred dollars a year on it; each.

Being new can’t be the only excuse!

Let’s be honest: how things are managed during storms is embarrassing, which is to say, they aren’t managed. One exception is the road to Baker. The new mayor (who you also poke at) should ask for a few tips!

Last year, the folks who clean the roads posted that it is false that there are no snow plows here. They said there are five. We laughed, saying, “That isn’t the flex they think it is.”

My road warrior mom said, “… it melts … where do people have to be?” She has a wise point!

Nathan Tableman
Bellingham
Editor,

As a 13-year-old, I am on the brink of my future, it spans out before me, possibilities as vast as the starry night sky. But these hopes and dreams are dampened by the ever-increasing threat of climate change.

I find it immensely foolish that those who will be our future don’t have a say in what the future will look like. At the speed we are burning fossil fuels that trap heat in our atmosphere, it looks bleak. Melting glaciers are rapidly increasing global sea levels, CO2 is being absorbed into the ocean making its waters more acidic and animals are going extinct from destruction of their habitats. We are overusing earth’s resources for our own material gain and not blinking an eye. I often wonder, what will my future actually look like? Are we doing enough to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? How long do we have before it’s irreversible?

CO2 emissions are at their highest in millions of years. Our time is running out. Bellingham has already experienced some of the severe effects of climate change. School has been canceled and buildings have been destroyed in the flooding. I have suffered from two bouts of heat exhaustion during abnormally hot summers in Bellingham, and have had to stay inside because of dangerous wildfire smoke. What worries me the most is that we simply might not have enough time to reverse this. We need immediate action; big things need to be done. For our planet. For people. For our future. 

Jonna Gillham, eighth grade
Fairhaven Middle School
Editor,

Some may think I am a broken record on the ignorance and corruption of MAGA Republicans, but in fact, weekly they provide tons of pure fodder to the never-ending supply of pachyderm-sized eruptions littering the road to solutions.

This year is a crux point, and no other issue but the election is more deserving of attention than rejecting this disturbing bastardization of Republican values.

Not only do they not understand the federal banking system and international monetary policies and how they, more than any other factors, cause the economic issues they simple-mindedly kvetch about; but they also speak with forked tongues on any issue where Biden tries to bring them into the fold of good governance.

After whining for years about border issues, not only are they willing to toss their own ideas onto the monumental heap of nonsense they continue to pile; they are also willing to back international criminals like Putin and toss those challenging him, like Ukraine, in the gutter because they perceive it will give Biden a reason to point out that he, and he alone, is the only party leader trying to hold this free world and our union together. The truth hurts those who are clueless and shallow-minded.

This year, either some of their loathsome ilk will come out of their stupors, or we will be at Civil War, and these fools have no clue what that would really mean.

Michael Waite
Sedro-Woolley
Editor,

My husband and I moved to Bellingham from Anchorage, Alaska in 2012, to be near our son and his family. I quickly became an enthusiastic volunteer in my granddaughter’s classrooms for six years at Geneva Elementary.

I continue to volunteer in the community in support of education, the arts and the library. As a former superintendent and longtime educator, I know firsthand how important the successful passage of the two renewal levies is in order for our students to be able to learn successfully in well-maintained and safe schools.

I enthusiastically support the operations and technology renewal levies on the Feb. 13 ballot for the Bellingham School District. All of our students and staff are direct beneficiaries in the classrooms, in using technology services and equipment, enhanced opportunities in music and the arts, and needed support services. Please join me in voting to approve these levies to allow our schools and district to continue to provide an excellent education to all children in Bellingham.

We must invest in our future — our students are depending on our YES votes!

Carol Comeau
Bellingham
Editor,

The Washington VOICES Act, a bill now in the state Legislature, would make our elections — already among the nation’s best — even better. It would provide consistent statewide standards for ranked choice voting (RCV) and make implementing RCV easier and more efficient for local jurisdictions choosing to adopt it (as Seattle did in 2022 for city primaries). Sponsors include 42nd District Sen. Sharon Shewmake, 40th District Rep. Alex Ramel and 10th District Rep. Dave Paul.

In RCV elections, if no candidate has a majority of first-choice votes, the one with the fewest is dropped and the second-choices of that candidate’s voters are distributed to those remaining (if your first-choice is dropped and you didn’t make a second choice, your ballot is considered “exhausted” and not counted further.) If necessary, this repeats until one candidate has a majority. There are arguments both for and against RCV. Several points, however, are irrefutable.

A vote for your top-choice, but unlikely, winner won’t be wasted or benefit a candidate you oppose.

RCV favors less extreme candidates. Those supported broadly do well; those opposed by a majority do not.

RCV encourages civil issue-focused campaigns. Excessively or unfairly attacking opponents could reduce second-choice support.

RCV, especially combined with open primaries, lessens the control political parties have on elections.

RCV is another step toward better elections. The Washington VOICES Act (HB 2250, SB 6156) would help localities take that step effectively and uniformly. Our state legislators should be strongly encouraged to support it.

John Whitmer
Bellingham
Editor,

Recent editions of the CDN letters page have included debate about the economic track records of President Biden and former President Trump. Michael Waite led off (CDN, Jan. 10, 2024) with a frivolous defense of the economic record of the incompetent Biden. Waite provided no empirical evidence at all to support his claims.  On Jan. 19, 2024, I critiqued the Waite letter and asked where all the inflation of the past three years comes from.  Why interest rates are so high?  Why the national debt is so high?

Jerry Hunter answered the national debt question (CDN, Jan. 24, 2024) with numbers indicating that recent Democratic presidents had added less to the debt than recent Republican presidents, on average about $1 trillion less per term. And he followed up his argument with the de rigueur, leftist trashing of [former] President Trump.  But there is a sleight-of-hand here! Hunter did not include Biden’s two-and-a-half-year addition to the national debt. That’s $4.8 trillion (see Self-Credit Builder or research the amount yourself). With Biden’s addition, the Dems close in on the Republican debt record. 

More importantly, Hunter did not answer the questions about inflation and high-interest rates. I will. The funny money put into the economy by Biden and the Democrats, plus their opposition to increased energy production, caused inflation. High-interest rates have been imposed by the Federal Reserve to combat Biden’s inflationary policies. Furthermore, the Trump-GOP tax cuts most benefited middle-income and lower-income Americans. Yet Hunter is correct: please vote! Defeat the destructive, fascist Democrats in 2024. 

Rick Hannam
Bellingham
Editor,

Nikki Haley was educated in South Carolina and received a Clemson University degree. After being a past governor of South Carolina, she couldn’t admit that slavery was a cause of America’s Civil War until after her lapse was widely criticized. Could it be that South Carolina’s educational institutions didn’t include the Confederate States Constitution in required civics curricula? While the Confederate States Constitution was in large part modeled after the United States Constitution, seven references to slaves and slavery were included in the Confederate Constitution.

Ms. Haley also has asserted that racism does not now and has never existed in our country. One has to wonder why she is unaware of the U. S. Constitution’s Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 that, for the purpose of representation in Congress, specifies that enslaved blacks were considered 3/5 of the number of white inhabitants in each state. At the time of our Constitution’s approval, James Madison stated “… the States were divided into different interests not by their size but … from their having slaves or not having slaves.” She also must be unaware that segregation and redlining existed during the majority of the 20th century.

Indeed, one must wonder when deciding about which 2024 Presidential candidate is willing to acknowledge the good and the bad of our history and to seek that which is better in the future. Even when considering Haley’s “lapses,” I find her to be better than our previous president but inferior to our current president. Please vote!

Jerry Hunter
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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