Letters to the Editor, Week of June 1, 2022
June 1, 2022 at 5:55 a.m.
Although Fred Likkel favors “a collaborative process” to resolve local water issues, he won’t return my emails or phone calls. How can we resolve differences and agree on solutions if he won’t even talk with me?
His May 25 response to my May 4 column attributes statements to me that I did not make and challenges some of my statements without offering alternatives.
He asserts that U.S. Geological Survey river-gauge data are “highly inaccurate.” But Fred offers no alternative. How does he suggest we determine flows through the three forks, mainstem Nooksack River and tributaries, and how those flows change over time? Even if the data contain errors, they accurately capture long-term trends, which clearly show declines in summer stream flows. And these declines in flow are getting worse and worse.
Fred says I claim that farmers use “70% of the water moving through the basin,” but what I actually said was that farmers “are the dominant water user in Whatcom County, accounting for 70% of the summer total.” The total refers to human use of water, which is quite different from the amount that flows down the Nooksack River.
Fred compares farm water use with total flows down the mainstem Nooksack. But most of the farms don’t take water from the Nooksack. Many farms are in tributary watersheds, which have much, much smaller flows than the Nooksack itself.
Fred claims that I classified “50% of farm water use [as] illegal” and “farmers are stealing water,” but I made neither statement. What I actually wrote is that “many farmers are not legally entitled to much of the water they now use.” Fred himself admits that “about half of our area’s farmers are affected by this challenge.”
Fred says that farmers have “fully embraced water use efficiency … .” But we have no way to know that because no publicly available data on actual (metered, not estimated) farm water use exists.
My key suggestions to farmers remain unchanged: they need to reduce water use by improving soil quality, shifting to crops that are less water-intensive and more profitable and increasing the efficiency with which they use water (especially by adopting modern irrigation scheduling methods).
What is happening to our society? How are we not recognizing these monsters before they commit their heinous crimes? Our lack of investment in the well-being of our people, of all our people, is reaping predictably horrific outcomes. We are scared because we all feel that our country of opportunity has been lessened, weakened. Politicians peddle self-interest and haunt us with ghost stories to keep us frightened and close to our fires. More and more we misinterpret the darkness of our ignorance for credible existential threats.
Gun violence is complicated, but if we let commercial interests like the NRA and arms manufacturers dictate our responses, then we are doomed to a vicious cycle of loss, distrust and sorrow. A government of, by and for the people depends upon regulation of constitutional rights to promote the liberty and happiness of its citizens. People who are dangerous shouldn’t be allowed to acquire deadly weapons. Those of us who suffer depression and other mental health illnesses should have access to appropriate medical care. Those of us who threaten violence or harm should be evaluated and monitored. When I Google "socks" on the internet, within minutes my inbox is filled with shoe ads. If someone admits to committing a crime on social media, where is the appropriate and timely response?
There are many things we can do to address this pandemic of senseless violence, and clear steps to mitigate the threat are within our grasp. If only we can overcome our fears, both real and imagined, and truly live up to the motto, “land of the free, home of the brave,” perhaps this will continue to be a country worth living in, and for which dying would be an honor, not a shame.
When looking at the candidates for the open seat in the 42nd Legislative District, I want someone who will be an independent voice for our community. Someone who has been here with us for years and knows our struggles.
For me, the choice is clear. Richard May for state Legislature.
He is a longtime volunteer with Teen Court, a local businessman and a Blaine city council member. He isn't tied to the politicians in Olympia or enmeshed in partisan politics. He's a clear-eyed advocate for our small cities, a labor supporter and will fight for affordable housing and good-paying jobs.
With so much at stake this year, we need someone who represents our values in Olympia. Please join me in supporting Richard May this August and onward in November.
A few Republicans would like to join Democrats in gun legislation and gun control, but when asked what would happen with his constituents, one replied that he would probably be thrown out.
I wish it could be put to that person: Do you really think your current career is more important than even one of the children’s lives lost in the recent school shooting?
If the answer is “no” then he has a lot of work to do — but it will be worth it.
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