Letters to the Editor, Week of June 14, 2023

The jail, that loathsome Hwy 542 detour and the possible end of humanity
June 14, 2023 at 5:00 a.m.

Note from the editor: A friendly reminder here that CDN's letters limit is now 250 words. Many letter writers have adjusted accordingly and this policy seems to be accomplishing its intended goal of getting more letters into our print newspaper every week. Thanks for your cooperation.

Remember that CDN reserves the right to edit letters for length, clarity and objectionable content, which includes personal attacks and demonstrably false information. Every letter submitted also needs a telephone number and/or address to confirm the writer's identity. We will never publish this information. Also, double spacing after sentences makes the editor crabby. Thanks for contributing to your hometown newspaper's opinion page! — Ron Judd.


Thanks to the excellent series at Cascadia Daily News, we have finally gotten a full picture of the criminal justice situation in Whatcom County. Criminals are roaming the streets because there is no room in the present jail. Some of these criminals have mental health issues and/or substance abuse problems. They are not getting treatment on the street but would in a new jail that has adequate facilities and personnel. All elected executives in Whatcom County support a new jail in the 500-bed range. Rather than quibbling over that number, we need to get behind the ballot measure and end the current nightmare.

Jay Taber



My family has several reasons to be thankful to PeaceHealth St. Joe's. 

Dr. James Douglas and Dr. Don McAfee are two of them.

My dad had congenital heart defects, but that didn't stop him from having a life well lived! Eventually, however, he needed two emergency heart surgeries in a matter of three weeks, which Dr. Douglas skillfully performed.

Dr. McAfee, as my dad's cardiologist, respected his decision to avoid any future heart surgeries. My parents referred to Dr. McAfee as providing “one-man palliative care” that worked so well, that he was never admitted to the hospital for his congestive heart failure, which is very unusual.

My mom, as a caregiver, delved into the benefits of palliative care. After my dad died, she went full tilt to raise awareness about advance care planning and to encourage PeaceHealth to launch community-based palliative care.

She and many others in Whatcom County worked relentlessly to advocate for outpatient palliative care — successfully. Or so they thought.

I was shocked when she told me PeaceHealth management shut down its outpatient services on this compassionate care model, effective May 26.

How can a hospital group — that claims to treat humans with patient-centric, personalized care — justify that decision?

When our dog, Panda, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my husband and I were fortunate that a palliative care veterinarian was available to help us. He came right to our home. Veterinarians even send cards of comfort and support when a pet dies.

I hope for all the human patients in Whatcom County, PeaceHealth management will have a change of heart.

Kristin Jackson

Waynesville, North Carolina


Re: “Sharing the Table” article by Mark Saleeb, June 1.

This article is beautifully written and poignant. By the end, it moved me to tears. It reminded me of how much I miss my beloved mother, who died years ago. The accompanying photo is also adorable — you can see the lively, loving interaction between father and son.

Michele Menzies



This letter is a response to the Cascadia Daily News article of May 31: “Mount Baker Highway closure to begin June 1.” 

The purpose of the all-lanes closure is to replace a fish passage barrier box culvert with a single-span, approximately 150-foot bridge designed to allow fish passage in Squalicum Creek at state Route 542. The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is doing this project as part of its prioritization of fish passage barriers on all state highways to meet a court order to correct salmon and steelhead passage barriers at all state highways by 2030. 

The estimated cost of the project is $8.8 million. WSDOT did an earlier project at Interstate 5 and Fairhaven Parkway (state Route 11) to correct fish passage barrier culverts in Padden Creek at the two sites for costs totaling $31.3 million. Squalicum Creek and Padden Creek are small, independent drainage creeks (enter directly into the ocean) in Water Resource Inventory Area 1. 

WSDOT estimates a fish habitat gain of approximately 3 miles upstream of state Route 542 toward the creek’s origin at Squalicum Lake. Whether Pacific salmon and steelhead on their spawning migration ever reach state Route 542 in significant numbers is uncertain, especially as independent drainage creeks become intermittent as climate change affects stream flow at critical migration times.

Although WSDOT’s intentions are good, its prioritization is flawed when $40.1 million is spent on three fish passage barriers in two creeks with little, if any, predictable salmonid spawning and production above the project sites. Considering the lengthy traffic interruption, the state Route 542 project also has the elements of a boondoggle.

David Beatty



I'm not sure the people of Bellingham are ready for this, but according to climate expert Greta Thunberg, all of humanity will end Wednesday, June 21! That's this month! And I'm not talkin' about next year or last year. I'm talkin' about this year!

I know this to be 100% certified fact because Greta tweeted this on June 21, 2018: “A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.”

Well, we didn't stop using fossil fuels, and it's been five years!

The end is at hand!

Allen Peterson



The underlying reason why the Bellingham School District has a bloated budget is the fact that over the past 20 years, in the U.S., the rate of growth of school administrators outpaced that of both teachers and students by 10 to 1. 

These six-figure-earning figureheads are the implementers of education department malarky such as the concept of “agency.” It means that teachers are there to learn with students. Not to teach. Hmm, then why require teachers to have degrees? Well, actually, any educated person without an education degree would be a threat, believing as they would that they have something to teach students.

Administrators also break new ground in the New Age psychobabble movement. Slogans bombard children with how problematic life is, and even they are. The least racist sector of society, children, is expected to bear the burden of all of human history. Superficially, of course ... since real study produces understanding, not dogma. The real message our expensive blowhards are delivering is that learning is about memorizing slogans, and that their authoritarianism trumps innocence and privacy.

It would be great to teach Black history, likewise the amazing wonder of human biology, such as the fact that every cell in the body expresses one's gender. Then, students could make up their own minds about their values. But, that would require real teachers, not bureaucracy.  

Arie Lasal


Send letters, maximum 250 words, to letters@cascadiadaily.com.

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