It is just a few days before the election and watching the negative bombardment of TV ads of Smiley’s campaign against Murray has left me emotionally and physically drained.
These ads, while aimed at instilling confidence in their candidate, for me, are crippled by their distortion of issues and negativity.
As a senior with a limited income and awareness of the many issues facing our local community that can be solved with positive input, the thousands of dollars spent on negativity is soul-destroying.
A few weeks ago, you published a letter which began “I see that the Bellingham Public Works Department is back on the task of making our city streets safe — for no one!”
That letter caused me to look at the Bellingham dream. A pipe dream, as the letter writer suggests? While the dream may appear to facilitate our battle against climate change, the information on the city’s website seems more like a totalitarian nightmare.
One, it envisions three modes of personal transportation: walking, bicycling and public transportation. A resident will not need more than this in order to work, recreate and meet necessities. This seems quite limiting of one’s freedom.
Two, the plan assumes the presence of most of the resources within each of the neighborhoods to be created throughout the city. First, very few of the stores selling the necessities can afford to provide sufficient locations. Second, most health care providers cannot clone themselves to be all over the city.
Three, infrastructures to support such a development have yet to be built, much less planned, with the exception of bicycle lanes. As to public transportation, unless you are a student, there is virtually none. The city dreamers seem to have little, if any, inclination to impose upon Whatcom Transportation a demand for more bus services.
Perhaps we are witnessing a subtle erosion of our local freedoms — kind of like a dictatorship by the minority.
James E. Weaver
So you want to be tough.
So you want to be rebellious.
So you want to be a bad ass.
Then show your heart to everyone.
When I read this many years ago, my first reaction was that “tough” is what it takes to have an open mind. Open your heart to everyone sounds like you want to be, or are, mentally ill? This unease niggled at me until I was drawn back for a second look. That’s when I saw it's “show (your heart)” and that’s rather different. A showroom is open for everyone to see, with something being displayed to catch your eye. To draw you closer and take a second look. Let you imagine having this in your life. While a good example of the word “show,” a human heart is more than a mere object of commerce.
At a more personal level, I have a 1973 Dodge Dart I’ve taken to car shows. There it is for everyone to see. This doesn’t mean we’re going anywhere or I’m tossing you my keys. I like my old Dart, and my old heart, too much for that. Sadly, I stopped driving my Dart as everybody who saw me with it was drawn to tell me they had one too. The problem was their sad eyes, as I saw them remember a time before everything became so broken. And that was years ago now.
Showing your broken heart, at this point, is merely more cringeworthy carin’ that’s worse than worthless. Showing how to live in your heart, instead of your head-gut, now that’s really rebellious! Yet maybe too sublime, subliminal for mere text?
John C. Ruth
I attended the Nov. 3 Planning Commission meeting at City Hall because the commission has reportedly recommended eliminating the city's owner-occupant requirement for homes with ADUs.
That same morning, NPR had coincidentally reported on outside institutional investors buying homes to rent; some excerpts:
Institutional investors are buying a record share of single-family homes — more than a third of sales in some cities. “[Institutional investors] are taking a significant amount of inventory off the table and saying people don't get to own homes anymore. So they're really capturing them as renters.”
She says large investors are also more likely to raise rents, evict tenants and let houses fall into disrepair. She accuses them of treating local properties “like a cash cow,” extracting profits but not investing enough to properly maintain them.
Cincinnati took over such an investor which owned 194 homes there and is trying to enable the tenants to buy the homes — an innovative approach.
Eliminating owner-occupant requirements for Bellingham properties with ADUs seems certain to lead to increased rents and home prices, putting homes here out of reach for even more working families. It also seems destructive of neighborhood communities, as landlords become distant corporations instead of neighbors. And for whose benefit? Certainly not desperate tenants on limited incomes searching for desirable housing. Already, some Bellinghamsters are facing rents that have nearly doubled in less than two years, as another speaker that night testified. (I counted only three other observers at the meeting on these critical policies.)
Bellingham ought to be able to think up a better plan to increase housing and help stabilize rents than inviting in the Wolves of Wall Street.
Please ask your City Council member to retain the owner-occupant requirement for homes with ADUs.
We applaud the Bellingham City and Whatcom County councils for budgeting to create a Racial Equity Commission (WREC). Additional thanks for the hard work done by Kristine Martens and Shu-Ling Zhao, with support from the Chuckanut Health Foundation, along with 32 residents who met over the last year to make recommendations.
A positive step in the right direction, this commission will include 31 voting members, including 12 representatives from tribes and other people of color, and 19 appointed by the county executive and mayor.
With so much division and discord, it is refreshing to see a commission whose purpose is to gather, evaluate data, and make recommendations to eliminate racial inequities. We believe this will be a place for all voices to be heard. We encourage people to roll up their sleeves and apply once that process gets started.
In the meantime, there is still much work that can be done through organizations such as our justice system committee, Whatcom CARE and Community to Community. Make it a point to attend some of the county’s many cultural events, or reach out and help people through tutoring or volunteering at the Food Bank.
Imagine how enriched our community will be if we all help to achieve WREC’s vision: “People of all races in Whatcom county live, thrive and belong for who they are, without fear. Every day.”
Justice Committee, Riveters Collective
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