Letters to the Editor, Week of July 5, 2023

PeaceHealth featherbedding, the jail and deceptive advertising
July 5, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.


Regarding the letter about a ballot initiative to cap hospital administrators' annual salary at $450,000, the same as the U.S. president makes: If PeaceHealth management thinks this possibility is a pipe dream, they should think again.  

Ever since PeaceHealth announced its cuts to various services — while lying to donors who gave over $2.25 million in seed money to launch an outpatient palliative care program by reneging on a commitment to sustaining it — community reaction has been swift and ongoing. PeaceHealth administration claimed the cuts were due to lost revenue during the pandemic. 

Charles Prosper, CEO of PeaceHealth's NW Network, sits on the PeaceHealth community health board as a “volunteer.” Under IRS rules, nonprofit organizations' 990 tax filings are public record. From 2019 to 2020, his compensation increased from $578,588 to $1,111,054. 

Is this situation akin to “the fox guarding the hen house?” Does the governing board pay attention to community concerns? Does the local community health board, whose members, according to the website “fully partner with PeaceHealth in making and supporting decisions based on Mission and Values ... [and] are also charged with setting policy," pay attention? 

PeaceHealth administrators apparently don't realize they are causing harm to St. Joseph Hospital's reputation. Their actions aren't fair to the frontline providers. There is a relationship between the social reputation and the perceived safety of a hospital, which can affect possible future litigation. 

It is past time for PeaceHealth management to face the people they serve and give straight answers. If they don't, health care consumers should file complaints with the Washington State Health Systems Quality Assurance Department.  

Delores Davies 



It is easy for candidates to list their areas of concern: the jail, homelessness, jobs, clean water. But how many candidates can readily explain what they have accomplished in any arena? Dig deep. Atul Deshmane is a candidate who has accomplished projects benefitting the county in many areas:

  • Broadband to Point Roberts.
  • Wind energy ordinance.
  • Job and environmental protection at Cherry Point.
  • Secured funding for a collaborative water rights settlement.
  • Challenging mass incarceration.
  • Promoting local resilience through business innovation.

With experience, knowledge and an optimistic view for what we can achieve together for all Whatcom, vote Atul for county council.

Mary Loquvam, campaign manager



While nominally nonpartisan, local elections are in reality very partisan. Rather than have to go through the voters guide, why not put the Ds and Rs next to the names on the ballot?

Jay Taber



As a former president of a small-town chamber of commerce, I have always championed local residents supporting local businesses. And, I have always valued the contributions local businesses make to local causes and groups.

I was very aggrieved when I, and many of my neighbors, received a slick card in the mail from Smith Kia of Bellingham on Iowa Street with an illuminated device saying that I had won $2,500 in cash and that I need only to come to the dealership to claim the prize. There was no caveat on the card. It said I had won. And that I only needed to “register.”

Despite similar complaints from my neighbors about the scam that I had read online, I nevertheless visited the dealership to confirm that indeed I had won nothing. “Registering” meant giving away all my personal information that could be sold to data harvesters. And, I was told that I did not read the “fine print” carefully enough. I won nothing, except an unwavering desire to never buy a Kia. 

Ken Dalena



Capital project development should be accomplished by getting the right people in the room: stakeholders, a consultant, an architect and other resources. The small group develops the details of the plan. Using this approach, it’s possible to move quickly to finalize scope and a preliminary cost estimate. 

Our “lead from behind” county officials did not depart from normal clumsy work process, which among other things, provides “plausible deniability” if something craters. The hot potato was farmed out to politically friendly committees (stacked against incarceration in this case), and a predetermined plan was delivered. The “jail plan” ballooned to 15 projects, boldly titled the “Justice Project Needs Assessment Implementation Plan” (JPNAIP) — the new “jail” and public safety hiding somewhere in the background as an eighth priority. 

County Executive Satpal Sidhu gassed, “Everybody got something really dear to them ...” What? Did we read the same report?

The JPNAIP is a Trojan horse. It’s a blank check, expiring in 30 years, of which $20 million a year is authorized. In the three years allocated for the first phase, $60 million could be spent on projects otherwise normally hard to justify, before the first yard of concrete is poured or a jail bond is authorized. The taxpayer pays for the jail twice: the “jail tax,” and retiring the jail bond.

All voters should read the report and not rely on public statements from proponents. This iteration of the plan doesn’t adequately address public safety, therefore, the proposed sales tax should be voted down and the JPNAIP sent back for rework.

Bob Morton



There is a critical need for voters to approve WCFD 4 Proposition 2023-1 in the August election. Whatcom County Fire District 4 provides Fire/EMS services to Van Wyck, East Smith Road and Northshore communities. The current fire levy rate cannot support the contract with North Whatcom Fire and Rescue to provide services. This service contract is the lowest-cost option for property owners.

Currently, Fire Station 12, located on Britton Loop Road, is staffed with Fire/EMS personnel 24 hours a day. Failure to approve the levy lid lift would result in the loss of this round-the-clock staffing, leaving the fire district with no staffed fire stations. Any 911 calls that require Fire/EMS response would rely on mutual aid from neighboring fire departments, which could increase response times by up to 30 minutes. This is far too long for your most critical emergencies.

Please help your firefighters continue providing the citizens of WCF4 with the level of service they deserve. Join us in approving Proposition 2023-1 in August.

Scott Brown and Chris Hollander

North Whatcom Unit, Local 106

Letters to the Editor are published online Wednesdays and a selection is published in print Fridays. Send Letters to the Editor to letters@cascadiadaily.com. Rules: Maximum 250 words, have a point, and make it clearly. CDN reserves the right to edit letters for length, clarity, grammar and style, and personal attacks or offensive content. Letters should be submitted with an address/phone number to verify the writer's identity (not for publication).

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