Please do not start printing rumors. The Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, issue printed a Letter to the Editor by Bob Morton that includes “as the rumor goes” that sneers at various public people and things. Rumors have no place in a respectable newspaper, except maybe to debunk them, and lowers the paper's credibility. Printing rumors is a disservice to our community. Please don't.
Thank you for your time.
Seniors with severe chronic pain have two choices for medicine: cannabinoids and opioids. For severe osteoarthritis sufferers, this means those able to afford THC oil have it much easier than those who become opioid addicts because that's what Medicare covers. Poor people are left to suffer the side effects of opioids because Congress takes bribes from the pharmaceutical industry.
Twenty years ago, Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a Caterpillar bulldozer operated by an Israeli soldier, as she tried to prevent the home of a Palestinian family from being demolished.
Rachel believed that holding a United States passport would protect her from serious harm. Like Ben Linder, another native of the Pacific Northwest killed for supporting the victims of our foreign policy, she paid for that mistake with her life.
Twenty years later, Israel continues to be the leading recipient of U.S. military aid, to the tune of over $3 billion a year, which is a very convenient arrangement for our military-industrial complex, including Boeing.
The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is unequivocally illegal under international law — a fact reaffirmed the same year of Rachel's death by the International Court of Justice — but does not elicit the same national mobilization as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is enough to make one question the lofty pronouncements of all our politicians who proclaim that we are part of a worldwide commitment to “defend sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
A cynic might even come to believe that our foreign policy is not based on our professed ideals, but on the projection of power and control. But even a cynic would be moved by the fortitude, courage and steadfastness of Rachel’s parents, who have never stopped working for justice for their daughter and for the Palestinian people. For them, we are thankful.
Board member, Whatcom Peace and Justice Center
I’m writing in response to the editorial from Feb. 28 that Sen. Sharon Shewmake wrote regarding affordable housing. Shewmake, who sits on the Senate Housing Committee, made incredibly important points about the need for increased development of affordable housing and changes in zoning laws. She is right — the only solution to our current housing crisis is to build more housing. However, a piece that was left out of her editorial is how crucial it is to pass rent stabilization to help the renters in our state who are currently being priced out of homes and entire communities. Only rent stabilization will help current renters while the increased supply of housing is being developed. With HB 1389 failing to pass the House of Representatives March 8, we have missed a critical opportunity to prevent rent gouging and keep communities together. Rent gouging is not going away, but neither is our advocacy.
No, Sen. Shewmake, high housing costs are not “a problem brought on by our prosperity.” That is a talking point straight out of the landlord and developer lobbies. High housing costs are brought on because our state, like 31 other states, passed rent control preemptions pushed by [American Legislative Exchange Council] in the 1980s. The “market” doesn’t self-regulate toward affordability. Development by itself doesn’t guarantee affordability.
Only increased wages along with rent stabilization will lead to permanent affordable housing. Together, we can stabilize rents. This legislative session, we have an opportunity to directly address housing affordability with Rep. Alex Ramel’s rent stabilization bill, HB 1389. But in order for it to get through the House and the Senate floors, our own 40th and 42nd districts' elected representatives and senators must support it. So, Sen. Shewmake, support rent stabilization for tenants! Fifty-six percent of Bellingham homes are rental homes.
Today 19,565 homes are registered rentals in Bellingham. That doesn’t include unregistered rental homes, students living in dorms, workers living in employer-owned housing, friends couch surfing or temporarily unable to rent their own homes, or our unhoused neighbors living in tents, under awnings across town or in our parks. Fifty-eight percent of renters in Bellingham are cost-burdened. Rent stabilization would immediately be a welcome relief for over half of Bellingham renters. Leaving it out of your list of solutions to our housing crisis is unacceptable.
We renters deserve better. We door-knocked and contributed to your campaign because you said you would represent everyone in your district, including renters. Your recent guest commentary in the Cascadia Daily News doesn’t represent the vast majority of renters in your own town, or even in your own neighborhood, where over 800 households are renters. Your neighbors are renters. Stop privileging landlords and developers over renters. We expect you to be honest and to listen to your constituents. You said you work for the people, and not for big corporations. So, deliver on affordable housing today!
Tara Villalba, for members of Bellingham Tenants Union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Lettered Streets Neighborhood Association, Community to Community Development, WA Poor People's Campaign, Cascadia Deaf Nation, Community First Whatcom