I think there is an error on page 9 of your Aug. 9 issue. The picture of the proposed convention center was somehow replaced with a picture of Arizona State Prison.
People go to the rodeo, the fair or a ballgame to relax or have fun, not to listen to political commentary or advocacy. We escape, briefly, the political chaos boiling around us to have fun at the rodeo, fair or ballgame. A private party or promoter may preach their political values for sure, but common sense suggests they should consider the appropriate time, place and manner for a political rally. Keep politics outside the fun zone. I'm a conservative Republican type who loves discussing politics and public affairs, even worked for elected politicians, but not at the rodeo, the fair or the ballgame. When we visit Disneyland, we don't want to hear Biden, Trump or Putin over the public address speakers.
It has been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, but we cannot allow the importance of this decision to be buried under the onslaught of news we receive every day. Our laws here in Washington state still protect the right to an abortion, but we cannot take these rights for granted. We had to fight for these rights, piece by piece. An anti-choice Republican majority in Olympia could repeal these laws just the same way pro-choice legislators, largely Democrats, enacted them! Bills to protect and expand access will only have a chance to pass if Washington voters return a pro-choice majority this November. As we saw during the Kansas primary, high voter turnout works!
Our current state Rep. Sharon Shewmake is an avid supporter of women's rights and reproductive justice. In the state House, she has voted yes on bills to expand access to abortion and reproductive health care. Sharon is an economist and she understands that abortion is critical if we want women to be equal participants in our society. Additionally, she advocates for policies that actually support pregnant people and their kids, such as universal healthcare, access to pre-school and childcare for everyone, well-funded K–12 that supports kids with school feeding programs like Breakfast After the Bell, and support for labor unions that give working people a voice and a fair wage.
Sharon is running for the state Senate seat currently held by a Republican appointee who has refused to publicly support abortion rights. We in Whatcom have a chance to decide who to send to Olympia to represent us, and I think Sharon Shewmake is the best person for the job. A vote for Sharon is a vote to protect our reproductive rights.
I am impressed that Rep. Sharon Shewmake consistently supports investing in early education with the goal of breaking cycles of poverty. This is exactly how we should be thinking as a community. Investing in early education programs will give our children better opportunities to succeed in the future, just as investing in higher education will give individuals the opportunity to further their learning and contribute more to our community. Being both a teacher and an economist, Rep. Shewmake recognizes and understands this, which is why she consistently votes for education funding — investing in our future. It’s reassuring to know that I have an elected official who will always fight for her constituents to have equitable opportunity through education.
Lisa Van Doren
Thank you to the team at Cascadia Daily News and especially the author of "Follow the Money: A look at Western Salaries" (CDN, Aug. 18, 2022). My time span at WWU includes that of an alumni and an employee of WWU. I've had the absolute pleasure of working in the Career Services Center, supporting students, alumni and the larger Western community to learn about and prioritize options to utilize their degree, and I am so grateful to have what I consider the perfect "second career" working in the state system.
What catches people by surprise, though, is that it's not just the student population that struggles with the financial costs of maintaining "basics" such as food, shelter and medical, but often the very employees that are working behind the scenes to support student and alumni success have these same struggles. I've counseled employees who are struggling to balance financial priorities, and factor in the challenges of a pandemic, significant staff shortages, morale and mental-health challenges — there are more employees who are finding themselves at a breaking point. When I talk with state workers — many go into this profession because of the public service component — many are genuinely dedicated to their work and want the best for their communities. Despite efforts to remove silos, I think WWU Leadership remains largely isolated and unaware of the challenges that "lesser than" staff experience.
WWU has taken commendable actions to address inequities that students experience and provide resources to meet basic needs so that students can bring their best selves to classes. Recognizing and addressing the disparity of wages to meet cost-of-living increases, and addressing the lack of support services for staff, will ensure that employees can bring their best selves to their job, and retain and recognize employee contributions.
Attention all Fairhaven Middle School parents who drive students to school:
Please change your drop-off and pick-up behavior this school year! Consider dropping off and picking up students in the Fairhaven Park parking lot. Let your young scholars experience the joy of walking four blocks to the front doors of FMS. Remind them that you walked miles to school or used a crowded school bus.
Better yet, drop students off in downtown Fairhaven and have them walk across the 1932 Works Progress Administration Padden Creek Bridge and observe flora and fauna with their friends on the way to FMS. Socializing with other students can be fun. Fresh air and walking are good exercises for America's youth!
These small changes in your parental behavior will allow you to avoid the frustration of crossing the congested Padden Creek Bridge during the school's morning and afternoon rush hours. It will save you valuable time waiting in traffic and wasting expensive gasoline. It will relieve traffic congestion on Parkridge and Hawthorn roads. It will help allow the district school buses to stay on their schedules.
This plan of NOT dropping students at the schoolhouse door can be used at any local elementary, middle or high school in Bellingham or Whatcom County. Please make sure that your child understands how to safely cross a busy street.
Concerning the top headline in your 8/24 print edition "Whatcom Mayors to jail planners ..." (CDN, Aug. 23, 2022): I know we all are frustrated with the planning process, but incarceration of the planners is going too far. It's a difficult job involving managing uncertainty and many competing priorities.