Letters

Letters to the Editor, Week of March 16, 2022

March 16, 2022 at 5:55 a.m.


Editor,

I’m writing to express my appreciation for your reporter Ralph Schwartz’s article “Hell and high water: Whatcom County is a case study for climate change.” The reporter took the time to explore the issue of recent extreme climate events in our area, and their relationship to global warming trends.

When it comes to the topic of climate change, most media seems to assume cause-and-effect connections without question. The CDN reporter, however, took the time to talk to experts on several sides of the issue, and to present the evidence in a balanced and simple-to-understand article.

Thank you for this example of excellent journalism!

Sam Crawford

Bellingham


Editor,

When I first heard about the formation of the Cascadia Daily, I had high hopes that finally we would have a real newspaper that would compete with the pro-business, pro-development and anti-transparency editorial policy of The Bellingham Herald. So far, I have been gravely disappointed in the editorial policy of the new Cascadia Daily.

Rather than do investigative journalism and present an editorial view that runs counter to The Bellingham Herald, our new newspaper has sadly given us more of the same. A case in point, in today's issue (March 9, 2022) the paper ran an article titled “Hell and high water: Whatcom County is a case study for climate change,” which certainly did not live up to its headline nor present a coherent and science-based approach to climate change.

While the article at first seemed to be analyzing the recent severe weather events that the county has experienced over the past year, the bulk of the article contended that extreme weather events could not be connected to climate change, and the article concluded that such events might be a way to predict “future” events. Neither of these positions is supported by serious climate researchers. We do not need any more climate denial in Whatcom County. 

The old Cascadia Weekly had a regular column called “The Gristle” that provided a clear editorial counterpoint to The Bellingham Herald, but I have yet to see anything in the Cascadia Daily that is even near that column's position and its investigative perspective.

We desperately need a newspaper that will lift the veil of non-transparence that hangs over every aspect of public and private decision-making in Whatcom County. I implore the editors at the Cascadia Daily to spend less time and space on local sports and more time on issues that are underreported and distorted in other local media. Please, step up your game. Our community deserves it and will pay good money for it.

Randall Potts

Bellingham

Editor’s Note: Cascadia Daily News stands by the reporting in the aforementioned climate-change story.


Editor,

Please consider publishing this comment as a response to recent letters by Abe Jacobsen and John Holstein about PeaceHealth’s DCE. It’s important that people get the facts straight: The Direct Contracting Entity (DCE) is under PeaceHealth’s nonprofit umbrella. While we believe that this new way of providing care will save money, it's possible that it won't — in which case the costs will be borne by PeaceHealth and participating organizations. 

If the DCE works as expected and lowers the overall cost of care, any savings — after all expenses — are allocated among the DCE’s participating provider organizations. In PeaceHealth’s case, any allocations would be used to continue providing enhanced healthcare for DCE participants. 

It’s also important to note that the federal government announced on Feb. 24, 2022, that the Global and Professional Direct Contracting (GPDC) program will be relaunched on Jan. 1, 2023 as “ACO REACH” (Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access and Community Health). Although the program rules are still evolving, we believe the changes announced to date are good news for our community. Consistent with PeaceHealth’s Core Value of Social Justice and our commitment to health equity, which are already embedded in our DCE program, these changes will help to: 

  • Ensure health equity remains a core principle;
  • Further integrate social determinants of health in the program;
  • Protect the rights of Medicare beneficiaries, including the freedom to choose their providers; and
  • Ensure enhanced benefits are available for those who are most vulnerable among us.

Scott Foster, MD

Chief Medical Executive, PeaceHealth Medical Group


Editor,

Regarding the CDN article: “Grassroots effort addresses Birchwood food desert:”

The Birchwood Food Desert Fighters perform great work, offering fresh produce and basic staples at Saturday Share Spot. 

The neighborhood hasn't had a supermarket since Albertson's shut down in 2016. That closure created what the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines as an urban “food desert” — a low-income tract with a substantial share of residents who do not have easy access to a large grocery store, typically within one mile. One mile is a long way to travel for groceries if you have mobility issues, don't own a car or a bike, or are disabled.

The Western Front calls the Birchwood food desert another policy failure by the City of Bellingham, writing that “the approach shown since 2016 towards the food accessibility crisis in Birchwood is indicative of a larger problem in the City of Bellingham's approach to problem-solving.”

There are many problems for residents living in food deserts. They often experience food insecurity which is associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a program designed to assess the health and nutritional status of children and adults in the United States. The two top causes of CKD are diabetes and hypertension, conditions that can also be associated with poor nutrition.

Another study also found that food deserts create a greater likelihood of hypertension, diabetes, and CKD due to adverse impacts on diet. A project in Chicago aims to mitigate food deserts, as well as improve outcomes for patients with CKD by improving access to healthy foods, nutrition programming, support groups, and educational resources to help guide community members in making better food choices that can help improve disease, with a specific focus on CKD.

CKD is called “the silent epidemic” because it is typically not diagnosed until it is advanced and more difficult to treat. The Mount Baker Foundation launched a kidney health awareness initiative intended to bring kidney health knowledge to the forefront. Addressing disparities in health requires effective, comprehensive efforts that cannot be achieved by one organization. 

I encourage the cities of Bellingham, Ferndale, Blaine, Lynden, our small towns, the Whatcom County Council, school leaders, health department officials, primary care physicians, and other community partners to help solve the disparities in our community that lead to food insecurity. We must empower those who have been overlooked with the resources, support and services they need to live healthier.

Micki Jackson

Bellingham


Editor,

An open letter to Senators Murray, Cantwell and Schumer:

Honorable Senators, with all due respect,

It was bad enough when it was Mitch McConnell refusing to govern and no outcry came that might’ve roused the public to whom he was denying service. His conduct was a betrayal of the people. You should have raised hell.

Now you are asking us to accept a self-serving and corrupt stonewall on behalf of the 1% by two of your own. Your “colleagues,” Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema, require an intervention that will elicit good sense. Turn up the heat! They are putting themselves above the party and the people. They feign principle but are without it. 

These two wannabe Giants of the Senate will not change when you “agree to disagree and keep talking” while they pretend preservation of the filibuster is more important than voting rights and the chance of a lifetime to substantially reduce poverty in the nation. Call them out! Outrage is what your constituents are feeling and it is with that you must confront Manchin and Sinema. Take the gloves off and FIGHT DAMMIT!

Sy Schwartz 

Bellingham 


Send Letters to the Editor to letters@cascadiadaily.com. Rules: Maximum 400 words, have a point and make it clearly, no personal attacks. Include your full name, address and telephone number(s) for verification; only your name and city of residence will be published. Letters may be edited for length, grammar and clarity.

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