Letters to the Editor October 2015

The Editor:

Thank you to our dedicated used book sale volunteers: Steve, Don, Dave, Jane, Chris C., Barb, Carolyn and Judy and to everyone who donated books this past year, and who came to the sale and bought over $1,000 worth of books this Labor Day weekend. With the garage sale and silent auction, we raised another $600.

Many, many thanks to all for your continued support of our new library building fundraising projects. We will hope to have a mini-book sale as part of the October Gift Faire, and used books are always for sale in the community center hallway when the library is open. Joyful Autumn reading to everyone!

Rose Momsen

Point Roberts Library

The Editor:

At the September meeting of the parks board, the Friends of the Point Roberts Library announced that they just broke the $500,000 mark in their capital campaign for the new library, which is amazing and wonderful.

There is little doubt that our library will be shifting location in the next year or two, which raises another question: What shall we do with the northwest quadrant of the community center, where the library is currently housed? It’s a prime location in the front of our venerable community center, comprising about 900 square feet of space. We, of course, want its use to enhance the community services and amenities supported by the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District.

So far, we have a long-standing expression of interest by the Point Roberts Historical Society to make this space the Point Roberts Museum, where they can store, catalog and exhibit their large collection of historical artifacts and photos. More recently, the food bank has expressed interest in using this space for its operations. Both groups have indicated their ability to share the costs of utilities in the community center, as the library has done over
the years.

What do you think is the best use for this space in the community center after the library moves next door? Your parks board welcomes all suggestions, ideas and proposals. Community groups and individuals can communicate these to us in multiple ways: Come to a parks board meeting (the second Monday of each month), speak to a commissioner, drop a note in the suggestion box (in the community center hallway), write a letter the old-fashioned way (P.O. Box 156), or send an email to CCsuggestions@pointroberts.net. Thank you.

Mark Robbins, chair

Point Roberts Park and Recreation

District

The Editor:

I will preface this letter with the understanding that laws apply to everyone. I am no exception. However a sense of humanity, education and common sense should apply when one is empowered to enforce the law. And said enforcement is a privilege, not an entitlement.

It was a Saturday evening around sundown and I was walking on the south shoulder of Marine Drive with my dog on my left. He was not on a physical leash. Behind me came the sound of a car so I promptly heeled him and asked him to sit, which he immediately did. The car that approached was the sheriff’s deputy, who quickly pulled alongside, asked if the dog was mine and advised I was getting a $74 ticket for “dog at large.” He made no effort to educate me or even explain. The proverbial chest thumping was obvious as this was clearly the largest priority on the Point at the time and clearly a well-intentioned use of the public’s funds – to stop a local out for a walk with his dog.

When I asked why he was deemed at large I was told it was due to the lack of a leash. I responded that the dog was on a verbal leash, as he sat this entire time. The deputy informed me that my dog was deemed a threat to society. As I tried to contain my disbelief and laughter, said deputy quickly called in a “Code 1,” yelling into his radio. To my surprise a second deputy showed up, for what purpose I do not know. In my head I fathomed the level of crime that could be taking place at this moment elsewhere while the Point’s only two police resources tended to my four-legged threat and me.

Upon receiving the physical ticket I motioned to the deputy’s vehicle and called my dog. I then asked him for a ride home. Perplexed and obviously confused, he declined. I asked, how then, is the best interest of the public being served and how is said sheriff’s deputy enforcing the law if my threatening canine friend is not removed? How do I now get home with no physical leash in hand? Do I swat my dog with the ticket if he acts out? How exactly is this deputy himself not guilty of the very same offense I was charged with in that he was in that moment an accessory to putting the public at risk by not actually resolving the issue?

His answer? “I don’t have to listen to this!” And then he promptly drove off.

Sound policing.

John Carinha

Point Roberts

The Editor:

I am very excited about the opportunity to elect Bobby Briscoe to our port commission. Making his living fishing for over 40 years, he understands the maritime economy up close and personal. He has worked in ports from San Pedro, California to Alaska. He has a wealth of knowledge about what a great working port can look like and how it can be a legacy we proudly pass on to all descendants who make Whatcom County home.

He wants to hear everybody’s ideas and will work for transparency as he participates in overseeing Port of Bellingham operations and providing policy direction and decisions in public meetings. He believes the port commission serves all citizens of Whatcom County.

He does not believe the port is in the business of making money. He does believe in putting ongoing infrastructure maintenance and improvements on the front burner, not passing the immensely larger bill on to the next generation. He is against selling off our land with no vision of the future.

I love his belief that we can do the best for all citizens and he is committed to finding the best plan. We could again see a working port most of us have no memory of. Bobby does. We live in a special place and I hope you will join me in electing Bobby Briscoe for port commission.

Peggy Borgens

Ferndale

The Editor:

Everyone in Point Roberts, Birch Bay, Custer, Ferndale and Blaine who opposes the GPT Coal Terminal needs to write a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, P.O. Box 3755, Seattle, WA, 98124-3755. One line will suffice: “No Coal Terminal at Cherry Point in Washington State.”

USACE has had enough time to study the issue. The Lummi have spoken forcefully in opposition to GPT at Cherry Point. We the people have made it clear we do not want this environmental mess in our neighborhoods.

Just to make it clear, the five piles of coal from Montana, six stories high and half a mile long each will not be covered. Eighteen 1.5-mile-long coal trains will enter and leave Cherry Point, making noise and blocking traffic every day and night. They will share the tracks with three oil trains a day.

We have two oil refineries and an aluminum plant at Cherry Point. That is enough industrial risk in a “protected” aquatic reserve and fishing grounds. Along with Lummi there are American Swedes, Finns, Greeks, Norwegians, etc. who are in the business of fishing, processing, boat building, repair and fishing supplies. So you want to trade 247 coal jobs for 2,700 fishing jobs?

Whatcom County has a water allocation problem already without spraying 5.33 million gallons of Nooksack River water a day on the coal to keep the dust from blowing around the neighborhood. Fish and irrigation get first priority. Food comes first.

Alice Brown

Birch Bay

The Editor:

I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I would violate the so called “leash law” as a matter of course because it is just a fascist law that deserves no respect!

The last time I had a dog was a few decades ago; he was an albino golden retriever named Bog. We lived in Eastport, Maine which is Point Roberts’ counterpart on the other coast in that it, too, is a geographical anomaly. In Moose Island, Maine where Eastport is, you can look south into Canada (Campobello Island, New Brunswick is just across the channel, south of Eastport.)

Bog used to love to run free as the wind chasing ducks, seagulls, crows and other birds. Dogs should be allowed to be dogs! He had a soft mouth and we went hunting in the marshes of northeast Maine. He was a great retriever but it would have broken his spirit if he’d ever been subjected to the tyranny of a leash. He loved to retrieve huge logs that I’d heave out into the Bay of Fundy, and it was amazing how strong his jaws were and he had a massive head!

He was about 120 lbs. of solid muscle from exercising all the time and from eating nothing but wild game. I was a bow hunter in those days and he’d always come hunting with me. I see people here all the time at the beach throwing balls out into the ocean for their dogs to retrieve. If I ever see a sheriff fining any of those people I will have angry words with him in defense of the dog owner, and if I were a dog owner who got fined for not having a dog on a leash, I would refuse to pay the fine, full stop.

I agree with the complaints about speeders, as a cyclist I can’t even count the number of times some yahoo almost hit me going at speeds in excess of 50 mph around here. One time I was almost brushed by a car that had to be doing 70 mph on Johnson Road. I always slow down to the speed limit or even lower when I see cyclists or pedestrians when I am driving because I try to live by the Golden Rule. It would be great if the sheriff’s deputies here also tried to live by the Golden Rule rather than go into the realm of fascist dictators imposing absurd tickets just to meet some ridiculous “quota,” because we just don’t need that here in Point Roberts.

Dave Scott was an excellent deputy. He struck the right balance most of the time, and he had a great sense of humor. That’s an important trait for any law man to have because it helps in Point Roberts situations to diffuse tension and avoid conflict, and there are plenty of situations like that for any deputy. When the rubber met the road, deputy Dave was highly respected by most people here because he treated people with the proper respect and dignity and he didn’t abuse his power as a law enforcement officer.

It would be great if deputies Loreen and McCarthy could learn from his great example and just get off the backs of the dog owners unless a dog is actually posing some legitimate menace to society because most of the time, they’re not!

John Hammell

Point Roberts

The Editor:

Lily Point Park is a beautiful quasi-
wilderness. To have dogs on a leash in this area is just silly. Laws need to be reasonable to the populace or you risk destroying the basis for rule of law. Police cannot really enforce the rule of law, the citizens collectively enforce it.

The off leash law is good to have in situations where there is a problem but to just blindly enforce this law risks destroying the environment in Point Roberts that everyone here enjoys.

Pat Capozzi

Point Roberts

  1. […] Letters to the Editor October 2015 – Thank you to our dedicated used book sale volunteers … of knowledge about what a great working port can look like and how it can be a legacy we proudly pass on to all descendants who make Whatcom County home. […]

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