Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “The time is always right, to do what is right.” On this, nearly all of us agree. Where we tend to drift apart, is what we think is “right.” It should be no surprise, that what most concerns the League of Women Voters (LWV), is the right to vote, as that is the cornerstone of our democracy. In the U.S., over the past 233 years, we have seen more access to voting for more of our citizens. But it has been a tough road with many potholes.
The members of the LWV recognize that the source of our power, compassion, conviction, brilliance and resilience, as a country, lies not only in our representative democracy but in the diversity of our citizens. As we begin a new year, it is essential that we guarantee the right and access to vote to all through the Freedom to Vote Act (S.2747), and restore and strengthen the bipartisan Voting Rights Act of 1965 by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA).
King said, “No one is free until we are all free.” LWV has been fighting for the right to vote for over 100 years and voting is the foundation of a strong democracy where all can enjoy the richness of an engaged, diverse society. I urge you to raise your voice and be a voter.
Joy Monjure, League of Women Voters branch president
My husband and I are Texas transplants who visited Birch Bay for the first time in 2015. We were on summer vacation and never expected to fall head-over-heels for a community, but that’s exactly what happened. We loved walking to the beach, restaurants, the corner market, hearing live music and forming new friendships.
At one of several festivals, we learned that a community library was in the works. That clinched the deal for us. We made plans to leave the Lone Star State and to make Birch Bay our home. That dream came true in 2018, but today, the community library is still in the planning stage.
As a retired educator, I’ve witnessed the difference a vigorous library can make to a small community. True, it provides invaluable services to citizens of all ages, but a library is more than a building with books. It also makes a statement about what a community deems to be important. On February 8, our residents will have a chance to vote for a library in the heart of Birch Bay. Please don’t miss this opportunity. Vote yes!
The phrase, “Meet me at the library” has a nice ring to it, eh?
We get to choose: Yes to our historical heritage and identity, yes to a safe gathering place and neighborhood value, and yes to saving the $2 million, which lessens our assessed tax.
Please vote “yes” for proposition 2 in the February 8 special election for the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library.
We need 26 “yes” votes plus the “yes” votes received in November.
Thank you, Birch Bay, for your “yes” vote and support.
Our Canadian family has owned property in Birch Bay for 45 years. We have seen this wonderful ocean community grow significantly over time. Having a library in Birch Bay would be very convenient and beneficial to all, as it would enhance one’s enjoyment of reading, love of learning and growth of knowledge.
For an area that currently has no central hub, the Birch Bay Vogt Community Library will be where neighbors gather. Even though we can’t vote, we are excited to give back and invest in the community we have loved for so many years. We sincerely hope Birch Bay will vote yes on February 8, in order to bring a much needed community resource to our growing area.
Bob and Carol Ogilvy
First let me say how much I appreciate The Northern Light as a community newspaper. Your communication is clear, straightforward and interesting. I like reading the paper. Thank you for your work.
So, the other day I stuck my hand into my mailbox and felt a newspaper. Expecting it to be The Northern Light, I withdrew it eagerly. Instead it was a paper called The Flame. I was disappointed.
I read some of the articles and began looking for indication of who is responsible for this content being placed, unwanted, into my mailbox. There is no place in the paper that states who publishes and who is responsible. I went to the website, theflameusa.com, and found a few names. One of the names of a writer was Jeff Jared, a candidate for Washington State Assembly in the 48th District. He represents the Libertarian party. But none of the writers listed on the website actually wrote anything in the paper.
I am relatively sure that you have seen a copy of The Flame. I found myself thinking that I would love to see what a good reporter would be able to discover about the sources and the people involved.
Would The Northern Light possibly be interested in writing about this? I’m interested.
Thank you for your good work.
We purchased a house out here in 2013 with a view to relocating from Illinois. Our town there opened the Gail Borden Public Library 20 years ago, demolishing the old one that was generally seen as and designed to be a book depot. The new library was quickly embraced by all as a crowning community asset with expansive reading areas looking out over the river.
When school was not in session evenings or breaks, the library was teeming with young people continuing their learning in a safe space with supports. Many families lack the hardware or internet access or familiarity with technology to help their children do their schoolwork, the library stepped up. Seniors also went there to get help with all kinds of tech challenges. Additionally, here was always a room available for any community organization to meet.
When we heard that a similar space was planned here in Birch Bay, we were thrilled.
Birch Bay would be the fourth largest town in Whatcom County if it were incorporated. There are dedicated library buildings at Point Roberts, Lummi Island, Sumas, Everson, Blaine, Deming, Ferndale, Lynden, Maple Falls and two locations in Bellingham. Birch Bay residents contributed over $600,000 to the library system in 2018 yet we don’t have a library.
The proposed new library will be located centrally at the Vogt property, accessible to most of the community on foot or via a short, safe bike ride. The location is spectacular and if the library fails to get the nod in the upcoming ballot, there is every chance that this site will become another high-rise condo development benefitting nobody but the owners.
There is a lot of confusion about what we will be getting, please go here to see for yourself: bit.ly/3fwZNBx.
Please, oh please get out your special ballot being mailed to you this week and vote “yes” for our community library. We all deserve it.
Ciaran and Glynis Roe
Architecture and construction costs for a library building in Birch Bay are not a wise use of taxpayer funds.
At the purchase price that the Whatcom County Library System (WCLS) paid the Vogt family, the site was a gift, and a state support grant was offered. However, that was then and this is now.
Although housed in some of the finest architecture in the world, the importance of libraries is not the building. The WCLS is a treasure of efficient management, and provision of information services. Their collections could use more funding support.
There are folks in the Birch Bay area that say the limited access to the bookmobile and the inconvenience of driving to Blaine and Ferndale is justifiable reason for a costly building. Both of these concerns can be solved by the location of two semi-permanent portables. Not as attractive, absolutely, but affordable and flexible for the future when, and if, all activity becomes easier to manage and predict.
The current climate of unpredictable supply, staffing and public works support within all the industries related to construction, makes it unimaginable that the budget of a large project such as this could be managed and controlled successfully. In fewer words, it is bound to go way over budget.
The county and state are facing some tough times to help many citizens who are struggling to pay their bills, feed their kids, rebuild their homes and farms, and trying to stay healthy while earning a living. The county and the state cannot meet this basic responsibility with just federal government aid and institutional borrowing. Think Sumas, Everson, Ferndale … and spring run-off is just around the corner.
Not the right time for the design and construction of an unneeded library building. I urge your readers that cannot afford this project as proposed, to vote “no.” If those who think it is a wise way to spend your money, they will vote “yes.” If they outnumber you, get your checkbook out and keep it handy for several years.
Projects like this reach in your pocket indefinitely, and can be never-ending.
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