Letters for the week of September 15, 2021

City of lost souls

“The very soul of the city is being lost,” forewarned the Gristle, regarding the abdication of public interest by appointed and elected policymakers. I wonder, though, if the soul may not already have been lost.
As upmarket housing eliminates the last vestiges of urban forest, it also exacerbates constraints facing young and less affluent people hoping to reside here. New buildings evoke lifeless Soviet architecture and bleak urban renewal projects from decades past. A treasured pedestrian trail on Douglas Avenue has been relinquished for a paltry sum. The unique and beloved heron rookery in Fairhaven has yet to be adequately protected.
Amid challenges and changes, learning from others is vital. Fortunately, there are numerous examples worldwide of duplex, triplex, and shared creative models that provide access to affordable housing without squandering beauty, neighborhoods and communal values. Perhaps most critical are land and housing trusts, having visionary planning personnel, and acknowledging that prioritizing public investment is long overdue here in Bellingham.

—James Loucky, Bellingham

Marine parking lot

We’ve all seen the shipping monstrosities mooring in Bellingham Bay of late.
The physical/biological realities of having some the largest man-made ships sitting right out there may not be pretty, but I’m way more ticked off about the sound of a mammoth diesel engine, grinding day and night, throbbing and blasting out 50 hertz and below, for miles and miles all around.
The bay is shallow and delicate. It’s already lost at least 75 percent of sea life in the last 25 years or so because of silt and pollution. Do we really need to add this noise pollution to the equation?
What can we do about it?
I tried calling the Coast Guard, who have jurisdiction, and apparently I was the first one to speak up.
Let’s step it up, Whatcom County, and get these things out of here!

—Mark Nichols, Whatcom County

Paid parking in Fairhaven

The Fairhaven parking Task force is meeting on Sept, 15, apparently to give their final approval to a paid parking plan which has been in the works since 2015 or earlier.
Fairhaven has been the terminal to Sea to Ski for many years, where folks come after the teams have arrived to eat or have a meal and celebrate. It has been the place where parents of young families can safely bring kids to trick-or-treat at Halloween, or just a place to stroll, shop and eat on a summer evening.
Many of us who live here wonder if paid parking will be a real benefit.
Will it be easier to come, shop, and then suddenly decide to stay for a meal? Have the meters in downtown Bellingham really made it easier to head into town and find a parking spot? Is this really the best solution to folks overstaying time in one spot? What about just ticketing cars that have stayed too long?
This seems like a fine solution to a different problem. I wonder if it is worth changing the quaint and inviting ambiance of Fairhaven for such questionable results.

—Elaine Woods, Fairhaven

Unprepared for office

Watching the port commission forum at City Club, as well as some of the other races this fall, I have been astounded at the lack of preparedness of some of the candidates.
One of rhe most astounding has been the race between incumbant Michael Shepherd and challenger John Huntley.
Mr. Huntley claimed at the forum that he had never met the incumbant. That begs the obvious question—did the challenger not do his homework of attending any port meetings and getting to know the issues and the people involved?
He also mumbo-jumboed about permitting, which the port plays no part in.
He called the Lummi Nation an enemy in development and spent a lot of time convincing me he is not prepared for the job and is just running as a lark. He may be a nice man and business owner, but he is not up for the level of the job he seeks.
If he were the only one running for office this year who totally lacks not only experience but a basic understanding of the office for which he is competing, he would be one too many.
I just hope the voters will use some common sense this election and choose people who make coherent arguments for their candidacy, especially exhibiting some knowledge that they even have an inkling of what the office and the job ithey are hoping to fill is about.

—Andrea Van Horn, Bellingham
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