Letters to the Editor, Week of May 3, 2023
May 3, 2023 at 5:05 a.m.
Thank you Peter Frazier for a cogent, comprehensive and positive survey of the jail replacement process (CDN, April 28, 2023). When the measure appears on the November ballot, we will know what exactly we are voting for and why.
Thank you to reporter Nina Walsh for her coverage of Blaine Municipal Court’s new “one-stop shop” to help people dealing with justice issues (CDN, April 21, 2023).
This program also helps defendants explore sentencing alternatives, as well as provide court-ordered monitoring. As someone who has followed local police and court issues closely, I am pleased that Bellingham and Blaine both are using diversion help from outside resources to improve the system. Prosecutor [Rajeev] Majumdar and Police Chief [Donnell] Tanksley understand that courts should be seen as places that help people rather than just punish.
I hope the other smaller cities in Whatcom County can explore similar options. And I am very glad Chief Tanksley is running for Whatcom County Sheriff. His life experiences living in other parts of the country allow him to bring new perspectives to improve policing and justice here.
Justice System Committee with Riveters' Collective
Thanks so much for covering Spring Reign in your newspaper. I know Cascadia is a regional paper, but I do want to highlight the fact that Bellingham Youth Ultimate won the Spirit Award (meaning they demonstrated the best sportsmanship) in their division. This is especially impressive, as this was their first time in this tournament in more than 10 years. Many kudos to the players, coaches and supporters of Bellingham Youth Ultimate.
In reference to Rainn Wilson’s book and appearance in Bellingham in his quest for exploring spirituality (CDN, April 24, 2023), I have just finished reading the most accurate and well-researched book on spirituality ever published. The title is “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets,” by Barbara G. Walker. It was published in 1983 and is difficult to find, but it covers all spirituality created by humankind since its very beginnings. [It is] alphabetically organized to make it possible to understand, with definitions to address all aspects of various languages and terms. All historical attempts to explain the wonders of the universe came from the minds of human beings.
Reading this book is an exercise in patience and fortitude as the topic demands. It should be required reading for every human being on the planet. Mostly, it debunks the modern-day acceptance of dogma of current religions from their beginnings and manipulation by their founders and the deliberate lies contained throughout. By the time Wilson and anyone else finishes it, they will be able to truly develop their own spirituality from within.
It's only smart to ask your most likely customers to weigh in on the details of a new product before you actually green-light it. Focus groups, they're called. Like the county is doing with new jail ideas, according to the Daily. “...Officials will conduct focus groups with people of color, formerly incarcerated people and members of the immigrant community.” That's swell they've already pinned down their future customers. Maybe let them design their own cells as a reward for participating?
Recent CDN articles on Nooksack water adjudication and growth management reminded me of the water resources inventory process initiated by the Washington Department of Ecology in Whatcom County 30 years ago, in the aftermath of the Growth Management war perpetrated by the Building Industry Association and Washington Association of Realtors.
Growth Management was a tax abatement act by the Legislature to prevent building in hazardous areas subject to flooding or landslides, as well as bankrupting municipalities unable to keep up with the costs of growth impacts on public services. The building industry and realtors organized opposition to the law with property rights front groups.
These groups engaged in malicious harassment and election fraud, and some teamed up with militias to engage in domestic terrorism. Christian Patriot militia members arrested by the FBI in Whatcom and Snohomish counties went to prison for making bombs to commit murder. As the senior water rights holders, the Lummi and Nooksack tribes will be targets of resentment.
A 16-year-old boy was shot when he was at the wrong address. A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed when her car turned into the wrong driveway. Two cheerleaders were shot when one opened the wrong car door in a parking lot. A 6-year-old and two others were shot when they went into a neighbor’s yard to retrieve a basketball.
All these incidents happened in a week, along with five deaths and 32 injuries from a shooting at a Sweet 16 birthday party.
Gun rights advocates have defended the use of the bumper sticker phrase: “An armed society is a polite society” for some time now. This means that any small mistake or transgression is met with bullets. The shooting of the little girl chasing a basketball is a case in point: As the homeowner emerged, cussing at the kids to get out of his yard, he was asked by one of the fathers to not use that language around the kids. He went into the house and returned with a gun and started shooting.
America is such an armed society. Incidents of deadly road rage are on the rise, as well. I pull into what you perceive as your parking space and lose my life over it? Because the true meaning of the bumper sticker phrase becomes clear. An armed society IS a polite society, because everything, no matter how trivial, has become a shooting offense.
“Stand your ground” laws are built on fear. Nothing else. Missouri’s law states that the burden of proof is on the state to show the shooter wasn’t afraid. Of course, he was afraid; that’s why he bought a gun in the first place! Our over-arming ourselves, with more and more deadly weapons than the founders could have imagined, is not making us safer or more free. I am not free if I live in fear of my armed neighbors. Nor are you.
The GOP House of Representatives’ national debt position of “do it our way” bears examination. Kevin McCarthy’s devotees yearn for the days of fiscal responsibility under Republican presidents and abhor the run-away spending by Democrats. However, the facts reveal a different story.
During the four administrations of Democratic presidents starting with Carter, the National Debt increased by $11.1 trillion. During the four administrations of Republican presidents, starting with Reagan, the national debt increased by $19.8 trillion. His two-term tenure set the record with a 186% increase in the national debt, while “W” Bush had a record increase of $8.5 trillion during his two terms. Since 1976, Democrats’ spending has accounted for 36% of the debt increase while Republicans’ spending accounted for 64% of the increase. Reagan entered the White House with tax cuts in mind and left office after at least four tax increases with the national debt increasing by 186%.
The House has voted 217-215 to pass McCarthy’s bill. That 217 is 49.9% of the House membership of 435 representatives. The GOP’s approach is in your face, “do it our way or else,” regardless of possible default consequences causing long-lasting damage to the economy, our country, veterans (I am one), marginalized groups and all Americans who the GOP purports to represent. The national debt is a critical issue that needs careful and thoughtful consideration by both parties in Congress and President Biden without predetermined conditions, which is a basic principle in negotiation.
H. L. Menken wrote that “for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, plausible and wrong,” as is the Republicans’ plan. A negotiations principle for both parties: “Never pass up a good solution in search of the perfect solution.”