Speaking out on Referendum 88

Martin Luther King, in his August 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech, emphasized that dream, stating: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This dream became Washington law when our citizens enacted Initiative 200 in 1988. I-200 in fact states that each citizen will be judged by their character, not by their skin color.

The folks in Olympia are trying to overturn our insistence that each of us be considered according to our character. Their Referendum 88 will reimpose discrimination. 

The Governor’s Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion would be given the power to decide projects, policies and so on. The politicians in Olympia already have the power to make these decisions. We need not extend power to an unelected, unaccountable commission to make decisions for which our politicians are paid and expected to make.

Discrimination is discrimination regardless of who discriminates. We need not place any more discriminatory power into the hands of unelected clerks and jerks.

— Richard E. Hartley, Ferndale


Supports Briscoe

Port Commissioner Bobby Briscoe has earned our vote for his reelection. He is the president and senior member of the commission that is successfully advancing downtown waterfront development. He supports our working waterfronts and the county’s maritime sector that support or provide 6,000 jobs.

In addition, under Bobby’s leadership this commission prioritizes a sustainability program that makes it a leader amongst the state’s public ports. The current three commissioners together contribute business acumen, environmental leadership and maritime experience that make this commission the most balanced and knowledgeable in recent memory. 

Port Commission elections are non-partisan, and Bobby is the least partisan person I know. He first ran at the request of port customers, so the commission is not his stepping stone. He is the go-to commissioner for staff about harbor facilities. He is a bulldog for transparency and constantly reminds us that all county citizens are owners of the port, and it should be managed for their benefit.

Please join companies and employees of your maritime sector and help reelect Bobby Briscoe to the Port Commission. 

— Jim Kyle, Deming


Supports Estes

For young families, Whatcom County is becoming a difficult place to live. The cost of housing keeps rising. Quality child care, if you can find it, eats up too much of household budgets — not to mention that many of us living in north Whatcom County have to spend more time and money driving to jobs elsewhere. I worry about the cost of living, the impact of all that driving on our environment and on my family life, and whether or not my kids will be able to stay in our community when they grow up.

Vague talk about “traditional values” of our part of the county doesn’t do a thing to address any of these problems. We need real solutions and fresh leadership on jobs, housing and child care. That’s why I’m supporting Brian Estes for Whatcom County Council. Vote for Estes for District 4 on Nov. 5.

— Linda Schonborn, Ferndale


Support Parks & Trails Bond

In this day and age of constant busyness and technology in our faces (literally), I feel it’s good for our city to continue to invest in the kind of infrastructure that gets us (and our young people) off our devices, off our couches and outside our homes. The expansion of parks and trails does this exact thing.

We have a network of trails and great parks in our city of Lynden, and it would be nice if the trails would start to connect to each other. I’m 100 percent behind the upcoming $3 million bond on this Nov. 5 general election ballot to expand the Jim Kaemingk trail and develop three newly acquired parks. It’s good for our kids, it’s good for our families, and it’s good for our city.

We need this type of space now more than we ever did before, especially as our city grows. Get off your smart devices and get out to vote this coming November to approve the Parks & Trails bond. Let’s do this, Lynden! 

— Ryan and Michelle Vandriel, Lynden


No new taxes, no new jail

This is a personal statement in support of Joy Gilfilen, Whatcom County Sheriff candidate. As founder of the Restorative CommUnity Coalition in 2006, I had gathered a mountain of information and suspicions about our “justice system” that did not make sense to me. In 2010 when Joy joined us she was unaware of the prison industrial complex that drives the over-incarceration of our citizens at an alarming rate nationwide and locally. Joy took my array of materials, identified patterns and trends, organized, made diagrams and became our president, allowing us to educate the public.

As we have continued to oppose the building of a new jail, we have become aware of many policies and actions that keep our community bound to an archaic and outdated system that keeps us, the taxpayers, over-burdened unnecessarily. We have testified at many meetings over the years, informing those in charge of our research and solutions that can save millions of dollars, lives and resources. Intervention, prevention, education and employment are the keys to a safe community, helping those who are not equipped for success to become functional citizens. Just $1,500 help with housing and case management diverts a former felon from a multi-million-dollar investment in prison for decades.

I am pleased to share that without the help of this courageous woman, we as a community would not have the information and solutions that exist as alternatives to the status quo in our “justice system’.” This is Joy’s expertise. She is a businesswoman, working in many fields where her unusual strategies have won the notice of her employers. Her default is solutionary thinking. She is patriotic and is eager to implement change that will allow justice a fair chance.

We don’t need a new jail. We pay enough taxes. We need common sense and a new 21st century vision, and Joy has that vision.

I urge you to vote for Joy Gilfilen for Whatcom County Sheriff on Nov. 5 for a safer, healthier community. Go to joyforsheriff@gmail.com to learn more or volunteer.

— Irene Morgan, Everson


Upcoming gun show

The Lynden Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9301 honor guard and color guard will be attending the gun show at the Lynden fairgrounds Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Oct. 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Powerful billionaire anti-First and Second Amendment rights forces are trying to destroy the National Rifle Association and our Boy Scouts and Eddie Eagle youth programs. Our forefathers fought to give us these freedoms and the Constitution. Where do you stand? Come talk with us at the gun show and together we can defeat these anti-American, anti-patriotic, anti-Christian organizations.

— Walt DeKraai (World War II Seabee), Lynden


On Bobby Briscoe

Given the historical importance, the economic impact and the overall flavor that the fishing industry has contributed to Whatcom County, we need to make sure that the fishing industry has a high priority in our ports. One way to assure that is to have a lifelong fisherman on the port commission.

Bobby Briscoe has fished since he was young and continues to this day. He will continue to support the needs of the fishermen and the ancillary companies that are vital to the port.

Stick with Bobby, he is doing the job right.

— Walt Ingram, Bellingham