Fire Ericksen

Would you still get paid if you didn’t show up for work? If you were the boss, would you still pay your employee who took a second job and then didn’t come in to work because he was working for someone else?

Well, good people, we are the boss — and our employee is Sen. Doug Ericksen. Sen. Ericksen believes he can work his new job as director of communications in Washington DC for the Environmental Protection Agency and still represent us in Olympia. Yet earlier last week he did not even attend a hearing for a bill on which he was the sole sponsor, which not one single person spoke in favor of, wasting committee time and taxpayer dollars.

We need to fire Sen. Ericksen and have a representative that shows up for work.

— Megan Noet, Bellingham

Ericksen double duty unacceptable

Two weeks ago, 42nd District Sen. Doug Ericksen accepted a post in the new presidential administration, but he did not resign from his current job of representing the people of northwest Washington. He claims he will do both jobs, flying back and forth across the country.

Already last week he failed to attend a hearing in Olympia for his own bill. At that hearing, 51 citizens made the effort to show up, yet he did not. Sen. Ericksen chairs the state Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, but is not present to run the meetings. And we, the taxpayers, are still covering his $45,000 salary plus a $120 per diem.

This is unacceptable. As a constituent of the 42nd District, I demand Sen. Ericksen resign immediately so that his seat can be filled by someone who will fulfill the duty of representing me and my neighbors.

— Eowyn Savela, Bellingham

Communicate without vitriol

A phone call from a friend reminded me of the severe depression and conflict that has enveloped this country. We seem to have become polarized to the point of constant angst.

For perspective, think about the election’s 42 percent turnout. Of that embarrassingly small turnout, less than 50 percen actually voted for our President. This small percentage is far less that one-fourth of all citizens, just counting registered voters!

Most people in this country are people of goodwill who, if looking at the economic consequences of knee-jerk policy, understand that citizens all share our Ship of State.

The Women’s March demonstrated the larger will of the majority, showing once more that a vocal, active, well organized 3 percent of any population can actually move the total.

Lift your spirits, and remember that this country is populated with steadfast, courageous, caring people. Unfortunately, many of whom did not vote.

As a country, most of us are more concerned with terrorists than immigrants, jobs more than competition for those jobs, and the environment more than a quick, short-term, comfortable answer to habits of lifestyle. Take heart, if we will communicate without vitriol, we can do this country and ourselves the justice of the American Way.

— Donna Starr, Blaine

Ericksen corrupt

I went to school with Doug Ericksen. I thought he was a nice guy. Unfortunately, it appears the nice guy grew up to be a corrupt career politician veering into fascism.

Per Webster’s, a corrupt politician is one who has begun questionable practices. Doug Ericksen was the legislator found to be the biggest beneficiary of lobbyist expense accounts in 2013. Rather than listening to constituents for policy ideas, he has a history of attending out-of-state conferences where special interests and companies give legislators their ideas. I have to say both are questionable practices.

The definition of fascism encompasses forcible suppression of opposition and criticism. Doug Ericksen meets this definition as well. In November he proposed a bill which would severely penalize any protest disrupting economic activity, a violation of First Amendment rights. We would still be a British colony, women would not have the right to vote, and segregation would still exist if protests were confined to polite strolls on the sidewalk.

Now Doug Ericksen has been appointed to the EPA transition team in our area. Trump has issued executive orders gagging federal agencies from communicating with the public unless their information has been vetted by his political appointees.

Doug was not in the advanced science and math classes. His major was political science (apparently he always intended to be a career politician); he has no qualifications to evaluate scientific information. Being party to forcibly suppressing information and proposing legislation that forcibly suppresses opposition are fascist tactics. The U.S. went to war to stop such governments; it is absolutely un-American to be party to them.

Shame on you, Doug.

— Karen Dolphin, Custer

On the Portage Bay Partnership

As a fine example for us all in the new year, seven Whatcom County dairy farmers have joined with Lummi Nation in the Portage Bay Partnership, with the shared goal to lead by example, working together to improve water quality in the Nooksack River watershed.

These seven farmers were arguably already leaders in their community. The unusual step they take now sets them apart as role models. It is likely uncomfortable for some of them, perhaps even risky. Undeniably, it is bold. For all these reasons, we applaud their action.

The Partnership holds particular promise as it shows one path to cooperation on many tough issues facing our region. With this agreement, the parties will work together to review farm activities, confirm best practices and seek improvements where they can be found. There is possibility for other farmers to join as partners to share the work.

We hope to see wide community support for their challenging tasks ahead. Achieving clean water goals requires ongoing pollution prevention actions from other farms, septic system owners, pet owners and cities. Together, these will reduce human health risks, reap cultural and economic benefits for Lummi shellfish harvesters, and set an important example for other local improvement efforts.

We are members (and officers) of the Tenmile Clean Water Project, a citizen group seeking water quality improvements in the Tenmile Creek watershed, a major lowland tributary to the Nooksack. Since 2015 we have collaborated with the Laurel Watershed Improvement District in this effort. We salute the role Laurel WID members played in helping make this agreement happen.

— Bob McWhorter and Hank Kastner, Tenmile Clean Water Project

Standing up to America’s sickness

I am old school and what President Trump is doing is in old school line. There are many Muslims in our country. The thought pattern is to over-populate America, control the vote and do away with Christians, making Muslim rule be the only rule for America. For Trump to put a hold on an invading personnel is great. Just because the rest of the world is turned upside down is no reason for tribal wars to enter our sovereign state.

Isn’t it funny that Muslims cannot live amongst themselves, but relocate to bring their problems to the shores of our United States?

The protestors, movie stars, government people, college kids and welfare people have this way out of whack. Who gave you the right to interrupt in the name of free speech or tear up the neighborhoods in protest? You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is not what our forefathers gave us as America.

Ask yourself, do those who protest or defend wrong have a job? What is their motive? America has a sickness that will destroy us all unless we stand up.

— Darryl Ehlers, Lynden

I used to think

I used to think elections were about politics. Looking back, I have a post-modern perspective. Elections are about theatre.

The Trump regime is masters at creating an unholy alliance as they skewed the facts and mixed them with just enough church doctrine. They added unrealistic promises (also known as lies) to those in economic and ideological fear. Everyone drank the Kool-Aid and jumped on board.

The pirate crew had enough swagger to seem real. And off they sailed into a dark night, towing the rest of us behind in a sinking tall-masted ship.

A deeper look shows that while Barnum & Bailey is closing, their act is just beginning. A cabinet of billionaires and crazies, some of whom deny the need for the department they run, have a vision askew from the majority of Americans. Steve Bannon, with Nazi ties, roams the White House. Minorities quiver.

Let’s face it: fake news, Russian intervention and a derelict FBI director’s actions clearly put this crew in power. And the almost 3 million voter advantage for Hillary supports that opinion.

What do the downtrodden majority do? Create a big tent. Make sure that love and hope trump fear. Organize.

— Harvey Schwartz, Bellingham