Thanks to the Lynden Lions Club

  I read your recent insert on our veterans and want to thank you for recognizing all our vets.

  I am disappointed, however, that you did not mention another organization that supports our vets as well. The Lynden Lions Club prepared and served 98 free meals to our vets. Because of COVID-19, the meals were all to-go this year rather than the usual sit-down dinner. The Lions also placed over 300 flags on the streets of Lynden in support of our servicemen.

  We want the community to know the Lynden Lions Club is proud of all who had the opportunity to serve in our military. Thanks to them, we stay free.

— John Edmunds, Lynden


Criticizing Ericksen’s bill

  Dear Senator Ericksen, The Free and Fair Elections Act 2021 you are proposing is shameful.

  Mail-in voting allows voters to take time in researching candidates, to vote when it is easy and convenient for them, to avoid long lines and to not have to take time off from work to vote. The five states that have used exclusively mail-in voting for some time have seen no substantiated examples of voter fraud, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

  It is clear that polling stations have been used as tools in a continuously aggressive effort to disenfranchise voters. Whether that is making ID requirements more difficult, reducing polling stations and hours, eliminating early voting or same-day registration, some in the party you are affiliated with have been reckless in implementing these barriers to voting.

  In the 2020 general election, Washington State had 84.7% turnout. The nation is heading toward the largest turnout in a century, at 67%. This is fantastic news for our democracy.

  Perhaps if the 2020 turnout (Whatcom 88.3%) had occurred when you were up for reelection in 2018 (Whatcom 77.13%), you would have lost your seat, given that the difference was 45 votes. Is this your motivation?

  Surely we can agree on the need for access to the ballot box. Instead of returning us to a system where you increase the difficultly for people to vote, perhaps we recognize the need to appeal to a broader coalition of us. People of color, immigrants, progressive thinkers, the working class and the LGBTQ community aren’t going anywhere. We are increasingly diverse and tired of the antics used to suppress our voices.

  Shame on you.

— Jennifer Weeks, Bellingham



  As Yogi Berra said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again!” As we head into this particularly uncertain holiday season, our country is in a third wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections. In western Washington, though better than many places, we’re seeing rates that are surpassing case highs seen in the spring. 

  During my career caring for chronic kidney disease patients, I know that COVID-19 poses serious challenges for them. Now we know that non-elderly adults, with no underlying medical conditions, infected with COVID-19 can develop acute kidney injury, a sudden loss of kidney function. Although with proper treatment, including dialysis in severe cases, it can be reversible, it carries a high mortality rate. If we all collectively increase our efforts to keep the virus at bay, we can help save lives and avoid a fourth and fifth wave. 

  COVID-19 is increasing across every age group, currently most frequently in people over the age of 8, and those between 20 and 29. 

  It is so important that we rethink our traditional holiday plans. Public health and medical professionals are encouraging Washingtonians to voluntarily comply with masking and social distancing directives and not gather with those they don’t live with.

  It’s not likely we’ll go “cold turkey” on socialization, but please consider everyone’s health and well-being as you find new, safe ways to celebrate the 2020 holidays. 

  This is the societal challenge of our times.

— William E. Lombard, MD, Bellingham


Ericksen should accept the truth

  I am writing in response to the proposal of state Senator Doug Ericksen to return to voting booths. Ericksen states that his Free and Fair Elections Act is prompted by “the uproar over national by-mail voting that has raised doubt regarding the legitimacy of ballot counts in other states.”

  The overwhelming consensus from election boards and certification processes throughout the United States concerning these type of statements is that there is no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities in the recent round of national elections. Ericksen chooses to spread this lie to pander to his own delusional denial of the reality that the current president lost the national election both in the popular vote and in the electoral college. Telling and retelling a lie until it seems to be acceptable truth is a tactic that has been tried and, in the short term, succeeded in many instances throughout our recent history. However, in all circumstances the truth will prevail.

  Ericksen also brings up old sour grapes about the outcome of the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election as proof of his “deep suspicions about the legitimacy of the result.” The fact is that Washington went to all mail-in balloting in 2011, so casting dispersion on mail-in voting in the 2004 election doesn’t hold water.

  Senator Ericksen should accept the truth that his candidate lost fair and square and stop wasting time and energy by continuing to spread lies and misinformation.

— Jon Salisbury, Ferndale


On Ericksen’s plan

  I read with interest the article in the most recent issue of the Tribune about Sen. Ericksen’s plan to change voting in our state. He states “Washington has gotten off lucky for a decade. But the disarray in other states ought to teach us that we are vulnerable too.”

  Question: Why do other states’ problems make us vulnerable when for nearly 10 years our Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, a Republican, has managed successful mail-in ballot elections without evidence of fraud? It seems that if other states would have followed Washington’s practice of verifying mail-in ballots when received, they would not have had the troubles they did.

  He mentions “numerous security gaps and other problems” with the current system, but given all the recent scrutiny why haven’t these been reported? The article goes on to quote him as saying “This season, our worst fears have been realized — not in this state, but others.” No argument there, but why is it that other states’ lack of planning and preparedness for voting during a pandemic should mean that Washington needs to change its procedures? 

  Sen. Ericksen, Washington has many problems that need to be addressed in a bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of its citizens. It does not need to spend time and money trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

— Bruce Smith, Lynden


Lynden Community Senior Center

  It was with honor I read about the inclusion of the Lynden Community Senior Center in the 15th annual Readers Care Fund drive this fall.

  Our board of directors has assured we remain a viable resource for our community’s seniors during this strange year of 2020 and we will continue to be so in 2021. Our meal program serves a hot lunch every weekday via take-out, or home delivery for those in need. Meals may be ordered in advance or up to 10 a.m. the day of service, and we do have a variety of frozen meals available for purchase as well. Just call 360-354-2921. Many thanks are due to our loyal volunteer meal delivery drivers who ensure we serve those who need us most.

  Thank you for recognizing the importance of our organization to the well-being of Lynden’s residents. We take this responsibility seriously and appreciate your support.

— Joe Branion, president, Lynden Community Senior Center board of directors


Accepting the hyphen

  If the white privileged snowflakes that are running the Marxist BLM really cared about black lives, they would be protesting: Margaret Sanger’s Planned Parenthood, which is murdering black babies; the National Education Association, which has dumbed down education in black inter-city public schools; the open border crowd that has decreased wages and upward mobility for blacks; MS-13 and the drug dealing gangs that are murdering blacks; the liberal politicians that need an underclass to win elections; and the  BLM members that are destroying black-owned businesses.   

  Being 80 years old, I was around when we started giving groups hyphens. By accepting the hyphen, those groups self-admitted that they needed government to become equal. So sad in this great country.

— Gene Goldsmith, Ferndale 


Show your evidence

  If you have evidence of election fraud, I urge you to take your evidence to the county prosecutor right away. Free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy and it’s up to all of us to support them. But baseless claims of fraud undermine our democracy, and that’s exactly what State Sen. Doug Ericksen is doing with his proposed legislation to return Washington State elections to in-person poll voting.

  Washington’s Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican like Ericksen, vigorously defends the security of Washington state’s election and rejects claims of voter fraud in our all-mail-in system. Her office found a whopping .002% percent of the 3.36 million votes cast in Washington in the 2016 Presidential election to be possible fraud, and these were prosecuted. Just because other states with little history or experience with large numbers of mail-in ballots struggled in the midst of a pandemic doesn’t mean our system needs to be scrapped. 

  So what’s really going on here? In the last two years, the 42nd Legislative District voters turned out two Republican representatives and Ericksen squeaked to victory with only 54 votes to spare. More people are voting because they care, and we have made it progressively easier to vote, including online registration, election-day registration and mail-in voting. 

  But there is a dark history in this country of suppressing the vote, starting with the voting privileges given only to free white men who owned property. Now that all adult citizens have the vote, efforts to keep certain groups from voting take the form of voter ID laws, closing neighborhood polling places, forcing voters to stand in line for hours, limited and cumbersome absentee voting procedures. 

  Washington State law, and its people, support the principle of one person, one vote, and that everyone is eligible to vote.

— Natalie McClendon, Bellingham


Don’t trust Ericksen

  Last week, the Tribune reported that state Sen. Doug Ericksen is proposing a bill to do away with our secure mail-in voting system and instead chart a return to voting booths. 

  Ericksen cannot be trusted when it comes to running elections. Let’s remember, Ericksen was invited by the Cambodian prime minister to be an unofficial observer to the country’s 2018 election. Ericksen reportedly judged their election to be “free, just and nonviolent.” He’s quoted as saying, “the election process itself was very good.”

  The U.S. federal government could not have disagreed more, severely condemning the election. A statement from the Trump White House said that the “elections were neither free nor fair and failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people. ... In the months leading up to the vote, the Cambodian government placed ... restrictions on independent media ... dissolved the main opposition party, jailed the opposition leader, and banned that party’s senior leaders from participating in the political process.”

  Let’s also remember that the prime minister who won that sham election in 2018 then turned around and paid $500,000 to Ericksen and his business partner to become lobbyists for the prime minister’s illegitimate government. 

  And now Ericksen is back stateside, asking us to trust him on how to run secure elections here in our own community? Sorry, senator, we’re not taking the bait.

— Michael Peñuelas, Bellingham


A message to the governor

Governor Inslee,

  I can choose to kill the baby in my womb;

  I can choose to protest in the streets and spit in the face of a police officer, expecting him to come to my aid when I call 911;

  I can choose to tear down/deface statues honoring heroes who fought for and died for my freedom;

  I can choose to go to a casino and gamble away my family’s livelihood;

  I can choose to smoke cigarettes and die of cancer;

  I can choose to drink alcohol and have major health issues;

  I can choose to misuse drugs and lose my home;

  But I cannot choose to invite my family over for dinner for fear of fines and imprisonment?

  Something is terribly wrong with this picture!

— Bev Honcoop, Lynden


On the closures

  As a means of restraining rising COVID-19 cases, the state issued extensive business closures beginning Nov. 16. My local gym in Ferndale is a victim of this sweeping order even though they carefully followed all state protocols, and contact tracing demonstrated not one viral infection due to their operation. They played by the rules imposed on them and should be allowed to operate if they do not contribute to viral cases.

  This broad closure order results in punishing all businesses, not merely those that measurably contributed to viral cases, but also those businesses that proved success in following state health protocols. When a medical doctor violates their oath, their license is suspended, not the license of every doctor. When a driver speeds on the interstate, they are given a citation, not every driver. Why is our state not more flexible and accommodating to those businesses that follow the rules diligently, while reserving punishment for those who create harm?

  And when we knew the trend line of new cases began to increase in mid-September, why did our state wait two months to take any action until the trend of new cases is at an unprecedented high?

— Jerry Rudy, Ferndale