Letters to the Editor – December 2020


The Editor:

An abundance of thanks to Sheena Durflinger, Tracey Aiken, Linda Hughes, Dina Lynka and many, many more volunteers who made the Point Roberts community a Halloween event not to be forgotten.

The pride in this community during a multitude of boundaries has been beyond stellar. On behalf of the Wallaces, our deepest thanks and gratitude.

Ailish Wallace

Point Roberts


The Editor:

After seeing some comments on Point Roberts Marina Race Week, I need to clarify some facts.

1. Point Roberts Marina, unlike some venues, paid additional sponsorship fees of $45,000 for this event.

2. There was no refund or discount
offered for next year on the sponsorship fee of $45,000. All we got this year was a lawyer’s letter stating our sponsorship fee was spent and if we wanted to sponsor it next year, we would need to pay an additional $45,000.

3. Point Roberts Marina did not get any funds from local or any other sources for this event.

I understand some folks are upset about not having the race week, and we are sorry about this. However, please know that the marina is not particularly in a good position and does not have endless cash bags, especially during this Covid-19 time. With our budget gliding on thin ice this year and the unforeseeability of next year’s border situation, Point Roberts Marina would be taking on too much risk to just say, ‘Oh, this year’s sponsorship money is all gone? Here, take another $45,000, and maybe we can have it next year.’

Although we love Point Roberts, Point Roberts Marina is not a governmental or charity business. We sincerely apologize for the disappointment, but please consider our position as a struggling Point Roberts business that would rather ensure paychecks for employees and taxes for the government.

Zihao Ding

Point Roberts


The Editor:

I am writing to support the proposal put forward by [Whatcom County Councilmember] Tyler Byrd to reduce the minimum garbage service for Point Roberts to 12 cans per year.

I am a seasonal resident and I will never use the 12 cans mostly because I work very hard to reduce my garbage footprint. I support this amendment regardless because I [believe] any step towards meeting the state mandate to reduce garbage and work toward zero waste is important. 

I was told last week that garbage is like power; I should just pay for it because the community needs the service. Interestingly, this week I had a free energy audit. Why does this matter? Puget Sound Energy offers customers the ability to reduce their energy consumption and reduce their monthly bills. They offer free homeowner assessments and they offer rebates on new energy efficient appliances. They also offer to pick up old energy inefficient equipment. 

Point Roberts garbage should be like Puget Sound Energy. Cando and the garbage service level should encourage customers to reduce garbage. The current model does not encourage customers to reduce their garbage like Puget Sound Energy encourages its customers to reduce their energy usage. I believe that the 12-can model would provide a much-needed incentive to reduce and I think that is important. It follows the state mandate and would incentivize heavier users to work to reduce their bill.

According to the article in the paper last month, 512 homes use the service. (Ed. note: The article discussed usage levels during the period of January – September 2020 when the border was mostly closed to seasonal visitors.) Unfortunately, the article missed that 1,910 homes pay for the service every month. Loosely, this means that 75 percent of paying customers do not use the service. Yes, the border is closed. But in another article, it says that in comparing the 2020 over the same period in 2019, the collection only dropped 13-14 percent. That means 75 percent use less than 14 percent of all the service that is currently being paid for. That shows the usage is too high for the large majority of households.

We need to reduce the garbage in general and to that end, I strongly support the 12 can solution.

The silent majority – the 75 percent who don’t use the system – have said this isn’t the right system for our community. Now is the time to reduce the service minimum. The math supports it and our planet will thank us.

Samantha Scholefield

Point Roberts and Vancouver, B.C.


The Editor:

I now understand why my father, Ron Calder, called you “Paperboy.” Instead of reporting, you should stick to delivering the papers.

You’re [sic] obviously biased view of reporting on the garbage issue is laughable at best.

You have quotes from one side of this issue but no quotes from the “Hateful Eight.” You named me, my wife and my sister but don’t bother to contact any of us for a quote or answers to any questions that you may have had. You wouldn’t be attacking people if you had facts to support your story. You should buckle down, be a reporter. Give all sides of a story. Not just one-sided gossip.

The “Hateful Eight” were named by the deceased owner of Cando. The fact is we are the “Hated Eight.” We are hated because we did the research and spent the time at all of the meetings and continually presented the facts. You failed to name all eight. Why is that? Because those other five names do not fit your narrative of a family feud.

Please check your math on how many customers are being served at what levels. Right now, 26 percent of the 1,910 customers use the service that 100 percent are paying for. That means that 74 percent are not using all of their 26 cans a year. The property owners that do not use all 26 cans of garbage are being overtaxed on every can that they don’t use. No one should have to pay for more garbage than they produce. Garbage should be pay-as-you-throw to incentivize people to have less to throw away. 

When the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) worked with Cando in 2018 to get the tariff revision done because of the ordinance, it was planned for all 1,910 customers to be picked up in three eight-hour days. That is 637 customers per day. Cando stated that they are picking up from 512 customers and yet Cando’s reportings to the WUTC in 2020 for this new rate adjustment state that they spend eight hours a day, three days a week while only picking up from 512 customers. Thank God for Covid-19 as there aren’t enough days in the week to pick up from all of the 1,910 customers. It would take Cando 11.5 days at its current stated pace to provide service to all 1,910 customers.

It is no wonder that most people keep to themselves and don’t stand up for what is right when they can be slandered by a local rag that’s disguised as a newspaper. I understand why they remain silent after reading your article. There are many more facts available but I am only allowed 450 words here. Facts over fiction. People lie, numbers don’t.

Ken Calder

Point Roberts

(Ed. Note: For those residents of relatively new vintage, the writer’s father, Ron Calder, frequently sent letters (often co-written by his friend and former owner of Cando, David Gellatly, now deceased) to this newspaper.

What Ron called me was actually more colorful than described above – it contained three words, the first beginning with the letter F, the second a homophobic slur, also starting with F and the third being Paperboy.

This was usually yelled through the open window of his dump truck with the company name of KKK Trucking and sporting a Confederate flag. I remember my 5-year-old son asking me what those words meant.

As far as the rest of his letter goes, there’s too much to bother unpacking other than to say there are facts and then there are alternative facts. For the former, I refer readers to the original article and the WUTC Q & A contained in this issue. Pat Grubb)


The Editor:

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” As we head into this particularly uncertain holiday season, our country is in a third wave of Covid-19 infections. In Western Washington, though better than many places, we’re seeing rates that are surpassing case highs seen in the spring. 

During my career caring for chronic kidney disease patients, I know that Covid-19 poses serious challenges for them. Now, we know that non-elderly adults, with no underlying medical conditions and infected with Covid-19 can develop acute kidney injury, a sudden loss of kidney function. Though with proper treatment, including dialysis in severe cases, it can be reversible, but it carries a high mortality rate. If we all collectively increase our efforts to keep the virus at bay, we can help save lives and avoid a fourth and fifth wave. 

Covid-19 is increasing across every age group, currently most frequently in people over the age of 80, and those between 20 and 29. 

It is so important that we rethink our traditional holiday plans.  Public health and medical professionals are encouraging Washingtonians to voluntarily comply with masking and social distancing directives and not gather with those with whom they don’t live.

It’s not likely we’ll go “cold turkey” on socialization, but please consider everyone’s health and well-being as you find new, safe ways to celebrate the 2020 holidays. 

This is a societal challenge of our times.

William E. Lombard, M.D.



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