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Letters for the week of September 20, 2017

Long history needs resolution

Water is a hot issue in this county and has been for a long time. In 1917, “first in time, first in right” become Washington State Surface Water Code. In 1945, the “hydraulic continuity” concept established that groundwater is not a property right. By 1985, it was recognized that certain streamflow was needed to preserve wildlife, fish, scenic, aesthetic and navigational values, as well as recreation, industry, agricultural, home needs and water quality.
The state Legislature can make some decisions about water: what constitutes quality streamflow, basic water availability for vested interest needs. On the federal level, basic rules are sometimes best interpreted and applied by the state.
Each county needs to be in control of specifics based on their differing interest needs. Omak in Okanogan County has very different needs from Ferndale in Whatcom County.
The Hirst ruling mandates that Whatcom County be responsible for their own water decisions.
We don’t know who is using what continuity water and how much. Should we meter? We don’t know where drilling most affects surface streamflow, hydrology studies and specific permitting? We do know that the days of just drilling and sucking up “private water” must come to an end. While we may not like it, we must address this county’s dwindling water resources. Now!

—Donna Starr, Blaine

Here we go again

Here we are again—with yet another version of the Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The Graham-Cassidy bill says it is more moderate approach to health care, but do not be fooled by false promises. Like all the other plans, this one eliminates the individual mandate, effectively eliminates protection for preexisting conditions and slashes funds for Medicaid and subsidies, effectively throwing millions off the health care rolls. And once again the burden would fall on the most vulnerable.
After hurricanes Harvey and Irma, millions of people are struggling just to survive. Imagine how Texans and Floridians are going to feel when they find out their health care has been decimated too. All this while massive tax cuts for the wealthy seem baked into the administrations and Congressional leadership mindset.
Do not be complacent. Call. Write. March. We have until Sept. 30 to make sure this bill never reaches the Senate floor.

—Jayne Freudenberger, Bellingham

Plenty of blame

There is plenty of blame that can be shared all around for slavery. The Northern states may not have held slaves and worked them directly but many investors benefited from their holdings of Southern slaveholders debt.
Those interested should Google “northern investors in Southern slaveholder’s debt.”
It should come as no surprise since capitalists have only one moral value and that is to make more money from what money they have.
The existence of monuments to the southerners of the Civil War should be a nice reminder of the venal base for much wealth of the North as well as the vice of slaveholders in the Southern secessionist states.

—J.Kaye Faulkner, Bellingham

Silence equals complicity

The Rohingya people and other Muslims in Northern Myanmar are the victims of a government campaign of terror and murder and forced deportation. The military, which controls the government with the assent of the head of the civilian branch of the government, Ang San Su Chi, has upped their decades old campaign against Myanmars Muslims in ways that violate international law and morality.
If the victims of this genocidal campaign were Christian victims of Muslim terrorists, we would likely see a tweet storm form President Trump about the horrors of “radical Muslim terrorism.” All we have seen is a mild statement from a ‘White House source’ in response to media questioning on the subject.
President Trump should specifically speak up for these victims and use whatever pressure he can to try to stop this pogrom. Please consider writing to your federal lawmakers and the President to urge action. Lack of effective action on the part of our government equals complicity.

—Michael Chiavario, Bellingham

Credit where it is due

Kellyanne Conway is a senior advisor to the President. Sarah Sanders is the press secretary. Mercedes Schlapp is coming into the White House as a communications advisors. Hope Hicks is now in charge of the communications shop in the White House.
The media will probably ignore this. I would not be surprised. But you shouldn’t. The left bashes President Trump on a daily basis, in part for his supposed treatment of women, but the man has put women in charge of the single most important daily operation in the White House, i.e. communicating his message.
Credit where it is due—this is a big, bold move by President Trump.
Though he is ultimately his own communications director, that he would put women in these prime positions is impressive. It is an act that, if Barack Obama did it, feminists and abortion activist groups would be heralding as forward thinking and—dare I say it—progressive. They will give no such credit or praise to President Trump because though they claim to be all about equality, they’re really only interested in the ability to kill children, which these women, thankfully, do not support.

—Wayne Farber, Bellingham

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