Letters to the Editor, Week of Feb. 22, 2022

February 22, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.


I want to thank you for staying on top of important recent stories in our community.  In particular, I believe the Sehome football “hazing” story could have simply faded away with little or no action being taken or any consequences meted out to those who were in positions of authority and responsibility if your paper hadn’t kept this sad situation in the limelight. Other recent developments include the efforts by vax deniers who have sought appointments to the Whatcom Health Board and the problematic situation with the newly elected District Court Judge who has made statements which call into question his ability to impartially try cases brought before him.

These are but a few examples of why our community needs to continually support the work of a free and responsible press!  Keep up your good work!!

Frank S. Loulan



Our county's Public Health Advisory Board fiasco (CDN, Feb 1, 2023) could possibly have been avoided if our health department board was not solely comprised of elected county council members. 

Our Whatcom County Health Department Board should be more representative of our community — politicians (unless they have experience in the medical/health field) do not have the expertise to be the sole arbiters to oversee matters related to public health.  

We need some health department board members who are not elected officials. We need medical professionals, including an epidemiolologist, medical ethicists, community health workers, public health workers with master's degrees and higher or the equivalent in public health, hospital employees, physicians, registered nurses, dentists, and others with healthcare knowledge.

Additionally, the board should include consumers of public health who have self-identified as having faced significant health inequities with public health programs. Because Whatcom County includes tribal lands, the board of health should include a tribal representative selected by the American Indian Health Commission. 

According to RCW 70.05.030 "A local board of health comprised solely of elected officials may retain this composition if the local health jurisdiction had a public health advisory committee or board with its own bylaws established on January 1, 2021..." 

However, other Washington counties have reconfigured their health boards recently to make them more diverse and stronger than they've ever been. Whatcom County should do the same.  

Erika Lautenbach, health department director, and Satpal Sidhu, Whatcom County executive, who was instrumental in her hiring, should take the lead on reconfiguring our health department board to be in line with what other Washington state counties have done — represent core values of excellence, participation, respect, leadership, science and innovation.

Sheri Lambert



I can’t have been alone comparing the American years from Donald Trump’s 2015 golden escalator descent through his first impeachment trial to what happened on either side of 1930 as Hitler turned Germany from the Weimar Republic to National Socialism.  

Then came our Jan. 6, 2021. We don’t yet know how that will play out, what’s been achieved or averted, but we know the outcome will register on the domestic democracy-autocracy spectrum. And now, another point of comparison takes shape as the first anniversary of Russia in Ukraine approaches: Spain’s late-1930s Civil War. Franco’s army attacked a troubled but still constitutional republic, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany joined him, the international community responded weakly, an unequal arms race doomed Spain, a world war soon followed.

Post-1945/Korea arrangements, with imperfect forms of “trust but verify” peace among “the powers,” prevailed past 1989. Recent events and decisions raise legitimate controversies, like whether USA/NATO reneged on balance of power and sovereign border “understandings” about post-Soviet Europe. But Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, following 2014’s Crimean “annexation,” leaves no room for doubt about the need not to repeat Spain’s 1930s experience, and its consequences. The global democracy-autocracy spectrum is now in play, in “big picture” challenges to national sovereignty and strategic alliances, and in Russia-Ukraine details: prison-released troops as cannon fodder, mercenary soldiers, civilian targets, nuclear trash talk.

And of course, there’s a link between domestic and global democracy-autocracy spectrums. Whether events trend toward Putin’s Russia, Orban’s Hungary and other ethnocentric/authoritarian movements (in England, France, Italy, etc. and here) or toward what Ukraine’s resistance offers, as Spain’s did, we share parallel future options. American politics register who’s on which side, including who’s undermining elections. We need to pay attention.     

Milt Krieger



The Riveters Collective Justice System Committee believes that everyone deserves a safe community, regardless of where they live, the color of their skin or their income. We can have that without excessive punishment, excessive policing, our rights rolled back or fear-mongering.

Recently passed state laws reforming police standards and drug policy work. Fewer Washingtonians lose their lives to police violence or get cycled through the criminal legal system over substance use. These are causes for celebration, not a return to failed policies.

Decades of research show tough-on-crime approaches fail to keep people safe, and further criminalize communities. Our current punitive traffic enforcement methods impact people of color and low-income families the hardest, hitting many with financial burden for low-risk issues. None of this improves safety on the roads, the real issue.

Traffic Safety for All (HB 1513) creates a grant program to help drivers address vehicle equipment problems and prevents officers from making stops for low-level issues, such as broken tail lights or expired tabs. The bill will lead to fewer interactions between the public and law enforcement, which disproportionately impact people of color, who, more often than white drivers, are stopped and subjected to traffic fees.

Low-risk traffic stops are ineffective at preventing traffic accidents or fighting crime, and have escalated to violent encounters that put drivers and law enforcement at high risk of injury or death. Expired tabs aren’t the cause of deadly traffic accidents. Time wasted enforcing them has public safety consequences and places people in a poverty trap.

HB 1513, the Traffic Safety for All bill, offers drivers a path toward addressing car repairs in a way that doesn’t cause financial burden or trap them in the criminal legal system. 

We endorse passage of HB 1513 to support equity and public safety.

Riveters Collective Justice System Committee


Re: 'UFOs' shot down over U.S. and Canada

Strangely and sadly, what humankind may need to brutally endure in order to survive the very-long-term from ourselves is an even greater, non-humanoid nemesis than our own politics and perceptions of differences — especially those involving race — against which we could all unite, defend, attack and defeat, then greatly celebrate.   

Perhaps a humanicidal, multi-tentacled extraterrestrial invader, like that from the 1996 blockbuster movie "Independence Day." During this much-needed human allegiance, we’d be forced to work side-by-side together and witness just how humanly similar we are to each other.   

I've been informed, however, that one or more human parties might actually attempt to forge an allegiance with the ETs to better their own chances for survival, thus indicating that our wanting human condition may be even worse than I had originally thought.  

Still, maybe some five or more decades later, when all traces of the nightmarish ET invasion are gone, we will inevitably revert to those same politics to which we humans seem so collectively hopelessly prone — including those of scale: the intercontinental, international, national, provincial or state, regional and municipal — and so forth we slide downwards.  

Frank Sterle Jr.

White Rock B.C.

Send letters, maximum 300 words, to letters@cascadiadaily.com.

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