I have an image of firefighters in my head from the 1987 film Roxanne, a shift on the Cyrano de Bergerac story starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah and filmed in Nelson, B.C. Early in the film they have trouble rescuing a cat from a tree. Recently I didn’t know where to turn when my smoke alarm wouldn’t stop beeping.
My wife had just spent a month in the hospital and wanted to continue her recovery at our cabin, but the beeping prevented us from doing so. I tried many different things and asked for help from others. Nothing worked, so I headed to the fire station. They said they’d come by and take a look. Before I knew it, I had a number of smartly dressed, muscled calendar types with the nicest of manners at my door. Within five minutes they solved a vexing problem and left my wife and I elated.
We will consider ourselves lucky if we never need their service again, for who wants a fire or a reputation for not knowing how to fix a beeping sound? Yet we think that Point Roberts could not have a finer group of people in uniform looking out for us all. We are most grateful.
The Editor and Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu:
Thank you for attending the Point Roberts town hall on February 21.
Your comments on building “trust” with voters were welcome. However, trust in county government, particularly in Point Roberts, should be based on the citizen’s trust in the county making smart decisions.
On that score, the county’s track record is mixed in terms of Point Roberts-related issues over the years.
Two cases in point:
Whatcom County Council approved the resort development at Lily Point in 1994 to allow an 18-hole golf course, club house, restaurant, condominiums and a funicular that would allow club members to descend the cliffs at Lily Point to the shore below. Disneyland stuff. All of this development on an unstable cliffside that continually erodes.
Approval of the resort at Lily Point was a bonehead decision that the county should not have approved. It required time, effort and legal action by Point Roberts citizens to challenge the county on this boondoggle.
We appreciate that county council has changed over the years and is now seen as more pro-environment and less pro-development.
But questions remain in “trusting” the county to make intelligent decisions.
Fast forward to 2014, when Whatcom County Planning and Development Services approved a conditional use permit to build five 50,000-watt radio towers in Point Roberts, beaming South Asian programming across the border into Canada. This conditional use permit should have never been approved. And it took over two years, thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, and a decision by Skagit County Superior Court to reverse this bonehead decision by Whatcom County Planning and Development Services.
Since the planning department reports directly to you, the Whatcom County Executive, you are responsible for this department making sound and trustworthy decisions.
You and Whatcom County Council can blame the approval of the radio towers on an administrative error, as you alluded to at last night’s town hall. But that ignores the real issue.
The citizens gave you their trust to make sound decisions when they elected you. Not the bonehead decisions on Lily Point or the radio towers in Point Roberts, which should have never have been permitted by county government in the first place.
Point Roberts and North Vancouver, B.C.
(Ed. Note: Regarding the radio towers, the letter writer is mistaken. The planning and development services department (PDS) does not “approve” conditional use permits (CUP); PDS can only recommend approval or denial. In this case, it recommended approval in the belief that a height restriction did not apply to radio towers. The hearing examiner disagreed and denied the CUP; that denial was upheld by Whatcom County Council. The tower proponents appealed council’s decision to Skagit County Superior Court. The judge in that case sided with Whatcom County and upheld the permit’s denial.)
I watched part of President Trump’s address to his Las Vegas political rally.
From him, I heard name-calling and racial slurs, irrelevant anecdotes about how great a TV celebrity he was, and (worst of all) “kiss my ass.”
Question 1: To what base part of the American psyche does this man appeal? I will tell you what part: to the part that enslaved millions; to the part that slaughtered the native peoples they found here and systematically destroyed the resources upon which those people lived; to the part that still maintains women of all races as second-class citizens.
President Trump’s stage-antics reminded me of Benito Mussolini. The frightening thing is, the people of Italy pandered to Mussolini and allowed him to govern them right up to the point that their country was destroyed. Is that what we will do? I fear we may, which leads me to question 2: What benevolent conqueror will save and restore us in the manner we conquered, saved, and restored Italy? As the old Roman saying goes, “Who guards the guards?” For this question, I have no answer because there is no one. Of the great powers, we are the only hope. Perhaps, as Churchill warned of the Nazi regime, we will descend into a second dark ages more frightening and more malevolent than anything mankind has ever known.
Hailey’s Law was passed in response to 2007 accident caused by a driver who drove drunk twice in one night. After the first DUI arrest, the driver returned to her parked car and soon collided head-on with another car at about 50 miles per hour. The victim, Hailey French, suffered a collapsed lung and severe lower body injuries including a shattered kneecap and crushed foot.
It was a long battle to get Hailey’s Law passed by the state legislature and signed into law in 2011. Hailey’s Law required law enforcement officers to impound cars for twelve hours belonging to people they arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
But an October 17 decision by the Washington State Supreme Court overturned the law. Why? Representative Luanne Van Werven is working on a new bill, HB 2483, which will meet the court’s concerns so that a person who is still impaired doesn’t have access to their car. Nobody else should be injured or die because we didn’t fix this.
Hailey’s Law isn’t a political issue. It’s about protecting all of us. Please contact your state legislators and ask them to support it.
On March 10, we, the voters of Washington state, get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With our vote, we get to potentially change the course of history and select the next President of the United States. Which is why I am proud to cast my vote for Elizabeth Warren.
Of all the many choices this year, she is by far the most qualified, the most compelling and the most effective. She knows that our economy has been rigged by the wealthy and powerful and knows exactly how to fix it so everyone can have a fair shot at a good life. Whether it is her comprehensive plan for disabilities, her universal childcare program or her plan to inject billions of dollars into our small cities’ infrastructure projects, she has done the homework and will be ready on day one. Warren’s ideas are sound, her voice strong and I know that she will never stop fighting for us.
Ballots arrive in the next couple of weeks and it is time for Washington to weigh in. Please join me in voting for Elizabeth Warren for President and together, we can work towards a future that will make us and our children proud.
I am thankful for Representative Sharon Shewmake stepping up to tackle the issue of lack of childcare providers in the rural and suburban parts of Washington for families of children currently not old enough to attend school yet and for future families.
According to reports, Whatcom County has over 8,000 children under the age of five years old living in households where all parents work full-time. But there are licensed child care slots for just 45 percent of them, possibly leaving 4,462 Whatcom children of that age group without access to licensed child care when their parents go to work.
Representative Shewmake is sponsoring the Rural Childcare Access Act (House Bill 2619) in the state legislature. Not only will this bill direct state agencies to report on how to promote innovations in childcare licensing in rural areas, but it will also bridge the gap in matching market-rate costs for childcare with the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program for lower-income families in our community. This is commonsense legislation and I hope lawmakers around the state can take action for our rural families.