Letters for the week of June 03, 2020
A Frog’s Moon
Last night I looked out my east window and behold, a beautiful moon looked back at me as if I sat on the peak of Mt. Baker. I could only see a tiny top of it as it was behind a tall tree. As I watched, it climbed to sit on the top of the tall tree between us.
A short time later, I stepped back onto my deck to watch it move higher and to the south. Suddenly I heard the Heavenly Chorus of Frog Pond singing in full voice from their unseen pond.
Were they praising the moon or courting? I had to laugh. At least something was well in the world today!
—June Pierce, Bellingham
New approaches to justice
The tragic death of George Floyd is only the most recent flagrant example of racial injustice in our society. It is undeniable that there is a different justice system for black people than there is for white people.
We keep seeing unarmed black men forfeit their lives for nonviolent offenses like passing a bad $20 bill, selling untaxed cigarettes, or jaywalking. Meanwhile, armed white men storm into state capitol buildings and do not receive so much as a ticket.
While we have lots of work to do to reform our unjust system, one thing is clear: We must elect prosecutors and judges who are independent and reform-minded.
This year, we will elect two superior court judges. One of the candidates is a deputy in the county prosecutor’s office. He is supported by Eric Richey, Dave McEachran, Sheriff Elfo, and much of our local law enforcement community. He appears to be a decent man, but I strongly believe our judges must be independent from the prosecutor and law enforcement community, much less be handpicked by them.
I will be voting for James Erb for Whatcom County Superior Court judge. Erb demonstrated both his independence and commitment to justice when he ran for prosecutor in 2018. He recognizes that our justice system needs reform and he is committed to doing the hard work to achieve it.
—Pat Britain, Bellingham
Nature knows no borders
While I am interested in recognizing the importance of, and responding to racism, climate change and pollution, I’m disturbed by the implication of a letter in the May 27 edition of Cascadia Weekly that COVID-19 may be caused by the ills of Chinese manufacturing. That feels too close to Donald Trump calling it the Chinese virus despite the United States leading global counts of both infections and deaths.
Climate change, globalization, air travel and tourism all increase the risk of pandemics. They are also not problems that are exclusive to any country, and the United States has led in these categories as well.
Attempts to address climate change should embrace global solidarity and global solutions. Scapegoating one country is counterproductive and lazy, especially when the U.S. produces more than twice as much CO2 per capita than China (15.5 metric tons versus 6.6).
It’s also worth recognizing the reason why China has built so much manufacturing. According to Our World In Data, “In 1990 two-thirds of the Chinese population lived in extreme poverty. According to the latest estimates, extreme poverty has declined to less than 1 percent in China.”
Part of the sense of global solidarity that I appeal to is not demonizing people for putting food on their table—that will not build allies.
—Nicholas Scholtz, Bellingham
Gloom of night
I’m concerned with the appointment of Louis de Joy, a Republican fundraiser and Trump donor, to be the Postmaster General at a time when voting by mail is gaining traction. I am particularly concerned that his appointment will lead to privatization of the 235-year-old department, per the President’s desire.
“Oh well, who cares about the post office,” you say. “l only get junk mail and I never write letters.”
But here is the thing—mail-in voting eliminates long lines at polling places, it eliminates the disparity in the number of polling places based on arbitrary formulas that impact minority voting. It eliminates unreasonable voter ID laws from affecting your vote. The post office reliably sends your mail and more importantly, your ballot, in a safe fraud-free system.
Contrary to right-wing claims, the post office runs efficiently, but they are saddled with a requirement in the Post Office Accountability Act to fully fund their benefit and health care funds for current and future employees.
Sounds like a good idea? Then why is the USPS the only government agency required to do this?
The post office, among other things, delivers mail, pension checks and prescription drugs, not to mention ballots for local and national elections at a reasonable cost. Are they losing money? Probably—but do you think Fed EX or UPS would do the same service for the same fee or at all, especially in our hard-to-reach rural areas. Heck no, there is no profit here.
How much, do you think, a privatized system would charge to get those ballots back to be counted? How many of the 600,000 jobs, a huge percentage of which are veterans, would be cut in the name of efficiency?
Please join me in supporting funds in the next CARES Act that will keep our 235-year-old national treasure at work for us. Call, or better yet, write your representatives today. Just think, you can buy forever stamps online to be mailed to your home.
—Jayne Freudenberger, Bellingham
From the cartoonist’s pen
I was delighted to see last week’s issue of Cascadia Weekly back on the stands, and have made note of which local businesses have stepped up to continue their advertising support—especially those such as Pepper Sisters, Pizza Time, Pure Bliss Desserts, Bayou On Bay, Great Harvest, and Village Books (to name a few), that are themselves facing very difficult restrictions on their operations (and thus revenue streams) during the lockdown.
I hope other readers will make an effort to show their gratitude by patronizing them, especially now.
Lastly, one request: I’m guessing that the print edition has scaled back on comics due to the reduced page count. If you can only print one, my vote is for Jen Sorensen’s “SLOWPOKE,” followed by Reuben Bolling’s “Tom The Dancing Bug.”