Letters: October 2018

The Editor:

Further to Dave Harris’ letter: We’ve only had the pleasure of having a cottage on the Point for three summers. Some of the main reasons of our decision to choose Point Roberts were the golf course and the boat launch at Lighthouse Marine Park. We purchased the cottage in the off season and didn’t get a chance to see the dock and boat launch in an operational state. When the floating docks went in this spring, I had to laugh. My first thought was ‘that’s not going to last.’ I was told about the fancy new docks by a full-time resident who bemoaned it was going to be a waste of money. And it seems it was. On one of the first days I wanted to launch my boat I was disappointed because it was too windy and the chop was pretty severe. I recorded footage of the docks, articulating like a caterpillar. It was quite spectacular and hilarious.

Why engineer such a thing when you have no breakwater? In subsequent weeks it had  basically the same issues. The ramp hadn’t been cleared, the tide was a little too low for the overly short length of the cement ramp and it was too rough to launch safely. You can easily get high sided if your trailer wheels go over the gravel bar that builds up on the ramp. In the end, I used the marina sling a few times but it gets expensive to keep launching that way. I ended up moving my boat back to Vancouver.

In my opinion, the only way that launch would work properly is with a sizeable breakwater and I doubt the Whatcom County parks department would budget for that. Unfortunately, the marina has no interest creating a boat launch at the far end of their property. Sell those aluminum rafts to some lakefront owners, they’ll make nice docks for them.

We still love the Point nonetheless.

Walt Vanderrijst

Point Roberts

The Editor:

In support of Dave Harris’ letter last month, I too have been wondering how on earth an aluminum dock was thought to be a good idea in such an exposed section of waterfront. Japan’s worst aviation disaster was on a Boeing 747 and centered on an aluminum bulkhead with a poor design which failed due to flexing, contracting and vibrating over time with each takeoff and landing. The parallel is with each passing tide, that dock is jarred, rocked and resonates from the collective effect of waves, currents and wind. Aluminum is not the solution here as installed.

What I would love to see is a county- installed breakwater much like the marina has to not only protect the dock, but its users as well. Launching and retrieving boats would be made much easier and safer and an aluminum dock would have a much longer life span as a result.

And before the environmentalists start wondering about the negative effects of a breakwater, think of how much damage the commercial fishing fleet does to the ocean bottom each August – not to mention the by-catch. Consider that a breakwater with time would create an artificial habitat that would eventually become home and protection to bottom-dwelling sea life.

Someone needs to own this. Admit it’s a flawed design and move on to something that is specific to the location in which it’s intended to function.

John Carinha


The Editor:

The U.S. government and the European Union pulled financial support for the Cambodian election after Cambodia dissolved the main opposition party last year. Neither the U.S. or EU sent election monitors for the election that was a landslide victory for Prime Minister Hun Sen, in power since 1985.

In an interview with The Seattle Times published September 23, senator Ericksen discussed his time in Cambodia, saying “Nobody is going to claim it’s a perfect Jeffersonian democracy … America’s not a perfect Jeffersonian democracy, you know?”

Four Republican legislators from Washington State decided to take it upon themselves to travel to Cambodia and watch the election, even though the Cambodian National Election Committee has been known to recruit fake monitors in the past to lend credibility to their elections.

Republican state representatives Drew MacEwen and Brandon Vick cut their trip short after meetings with the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia and hearing his concerns representing U.S. policy. Our 42nd legislators senator Ericksen and representative Vincent Buys stayed to praise the 80 percent turn out that international experts have loudly denounced as an illegitimate vote to support the strongman government that Ericksen admires. We do not need this kind of leadership in our county and district! Vote for Pinky Vargas to replace senator Ericksen and Sharon Shewmake (the agricultural economist professor) to succeed representative Buys.

Donna Starr


The Editor:

Senator Ericksen’s latest PR piece is titled “Senator Doug Ericksen’s environmental successes you may have missed in your local media.” This may be because they didn’t really happen.

As Ericksen’s piece claims, he did indeed co-sponsor SB-5939. But instead of “saving the solar industry in Washington” it was actually a tax incentive bill and provided a method of recycling renewable energy components. But it also ended the Renewable Energy Cost-Recovery Incentive program effective two years ago. This was a significant boost to the renewable energy industry in Washington, so instead of saving it, he actually helped curtail solar energy’s appeal.

The PR piece also claims sponsorship of SB-6248, that he says protects rate payers and workers at coal-burning facilities as they are closed down. But the workers are all in Montana coal mines.

Plus, SB-6248 actually has nothing to do with coal. Instead 6248 was a bill that allows community colleges and technical schools to award high school diplomas to qualified students.

I guess mistakes happen when people in Texas fund (and write?) your campaign material.

Jack Kintner


The Editor:

The days of Earth are numbered. And yet what emerges, grows, and blossoms here is immeasurable, a gift from the infinite journey of existence. What are Earth’s moods and expressions as it orbits the sun in a seemingly endless cycle of day and night?

Earth can be happy in sunshine and blue sky one moment and cloudy, wet, and cold the next. Yes, just like us, Earth can cry tears, can be icy and cold, and can be sunny and warm or darn hot! And Earth can be petulant beyond words in her earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and forest fires.

What care does Earth need from me, from you, from all human beings? How do we protect and honor all of Earth’s gifts to life? For example, how can we begin to appreciate the role of trees on this planet, the role of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and its effects in water, the effect of toxic human waste in Earth’s air, soils, oceans, rivers and lakes?

And do we appreciate the gifts of all of Earth’s other creature such as insects, spiders, worms, birds, fish, other mammals, flowers, trees and weeds – essentially the Tree of Life which also includes all human beings.

As summer ends and we experience a change of the seasons, reflect on the “gifts of care and renewal” you can give to Earth and to others.

Kay Burrough

Birch Bay

The Editor:

As the parks commissioners consider cashing in the district’s position as the lessor of the cell tower to a third party, it is time to look at what the community’s communications needs and desires are now and far into the future for what no doubt will be our only cell tower.

The district placed no performance conditions for cell phone service in their 2007 contract with Verizon. They did not consider any other physical usage of the tower and new technologies that are being developed and proposed like 5G small cell service in conjunction with existing tower installations.

Personally, I would like to see better cell phone coverage, better 911 coverage, an FM low power radio station, a ham radio repeater, back up internet, protections against unwanted or unauthorized data mining, locally owned media coverage, improved fire department communications, multiple providers, public WiFi, local TV, profit sharing, and a veto on new uses not covered in the lease.

Overall, the community needs to have a say in its own future and get what it requires to be successful when developments occur, by getting benefits from these developments.

Judson Meraw

Point Roberts

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