Posts Tagged ‘Bellingham’

For or Agin’ Coal Trains

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Do I have to admire RE-Sources dedication to the envirionment even if I feel like they are lyin’ through their teeth?

According to BNSF we already have 6 coal trains per day coming through our county on their way to Point Roberts and RE-Sources says that when the SSA Gateway Terminal is opened then the coal pollution from the predicted 18 trains per day will be intolerable.

…these 15,000-ton trains will lose three percent of their load in transit or 1,780,000 short tons of coal dust spread annually from the Powder River Basin to the terminal.  RE-Sources

If the number of trains we see running through here triples then we will be seeing triple the pollution also right?  And that’s got to be really bad, right?

Well, no not exactly.  I just checked along the tracks and see no evidence of coal pollution, nothing dead or blackened.  Things were mostly green and spring like from all that I could see.  So three times no pollution to speak of  is still no pollution to speak of.  So I’m left with no alternative but to believe that it is RE-Sources and not the trains that are blowing coal dust.

However, regardless of how much I feel RE-Sources is blowing coal dust to the public regarding coal pollution, I find myself somewhat on the same side of the SSA terminal proposal.  I’m in favor of a cargo terminal at Cherry Point and I’m not opposed to it’s primary cargo being coal.  But I am opposed to this proposal because the primary customer for the coal is not within our nation, it is China.  Run a coal train right out to Cherry Point on their  way to Alaska, Oregon, California and I’ll happy wave to them as they rumble by,  but don’t ship US coal to a foreign nation.

…a lumbering BNSF coal train for you viewing

Because we live in a world currently powered primarily by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, and because a good portion of the suppliers of crude oil are unstable and openly hostile towards our nation, I consider all US fossil fuels to be strategic reserves.  If and/or when the Middle East becomes too unstable or radioactive to supply us with oil, I for one, would like to still be sitting on a large pile of coal. Our national leaders haven’t come to this realization yet, and started addressing it with legislation, but they will. 

I’m not in favor of a coal port to China, but neither am I in favor of the RE Sources environmental political speak. 

What is the Scariest thing about the Northwest Avenue Bike Lane Project?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

carlaneWe all know that the City of Bellingham is considering doing away with parking in favor of bike lanes along portions of Northwest Avenue.  Whenever I hear about projects I think dollar signs and that is pretty scary since much of the money for these Bellingham projects comes from sources other than the Bellingham.  Sources like taxes you pay to the County, State and Federal government whether you live in Bellingham or not.

Yes, the same Federal Government that is running a deficit, is digging an even deeper hole funding do good projects in Bellingham and to be fair also in every other city, county, and state in our nation.    Anyone driven through the new roundabout in Blaine?  Well give it a whirl and as you’re going round and round about think about the $13.2 million that was added to the Federal Deficit.  Oh, and if you go round more than once think about the other 119 roundabouts round our state that the WSDOT is so full of pride about.  I’ve not investigated the cost and funding of every roundabout.  However to better orient yourself to the magnitude of the issue, consider that $13.2 million x 120 = $1.6 billion which is a lot of added deficit so that we can drive round in circles.

Nickel & Diming is a simple and time proven concept and it is hard at work growing our national debt.    Our nation’s debt isn’t from one big ticket item, it’s from millions of little projects.   In Bellingham they have adopted a Six Year Transportation Improvement Project which from the looks of it is just a list of many of those millions of little Nickel & Dime projects.

Here’s the funding resources for Bellingham’s Transportation Improvement Project:

    1. City Street: Public Works Street Fund comprised of motor vehicle gas tax and 42.5% of
      the total sales tax collected by the City of Bellingham.
    2. Real Estate Excise Tax (REET): Comprised of 1/2 of 1% of the total real estate revenue
      for a given year. REET funding is divided into first ¼ and second ¼ and can be used for limited types of transportation projects.
    3. Federal: Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Authority, or U.S.
      Department of Transportation administered grant funding programs.
    4. Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA): One-time federal
      economic stimulus funding provided for transportation projects.
    5. Federal Highway Bridge Program (HBP): Provides federal funds for structural repair
      or replacement. Project oversight at the State level by the Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee (BRAC).
    6. Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP): Provides federal funds to maintain
      and expand eligible arterial street systems.
    7. Federal Surface Transportation Program Enhancements (STP-E): Provides federal
      funds to enhance facilities for alternative transportation modes on eligible street systems.
    8. State: State administered grant funding programs or State educational institutions such as Western Washington University (WWU), Whatcom Community College (WCC), and Bellingham Technical College (BTC).
    9. WSDOT: Washington State Department of Transportation biennium budget – State
      Funding administered through WSDOT.
    10. Washington Transportation Improvement Board (TIB): State grant funding for
      arterials, sidewalks, and safety measures.
    11. Private & Other (Partnerships): Transportation Impact Fees, Whatcom County,
      Whatcom Transportation Authority, private business investment, private mitigation, etc.

    That’s eleven sources of funding.   I got bored reading the word “Federal” over and over, but I think I found 1 or 2 that were Bellinghamish sources.  The rest of the list shows the way that Bellingham transportation projects add more burden to our already broken state budget and pile on more and more to our nation’s deficit problem.  It is scary how many of these projects are out there in cities around our nation just waiting for city officials to pull the trigger on some matching federal funds and push local overspending right up to our nations suffering bottom line.

    As if this situation isn’t scary enough as it is repeated around our nation, it’s even scarier here in Bellingham because amongst the whoopla over whether or not to trade parking for bicycle lanes on Northwest Avenue, the Bellingham City Council is considering allowing Dan Pike’s personally appointed Transportation Commission the power to implement these changes in an unprecedented fashion.

    The City Council on Monday, Dec. 13, will consider approving a resolution that:

    – Asks staff to conduct a community meeting as soon as possible to discuss how to install the bike lanes.

    – Asks staff to install them along the Northwest Avenue-Elm Street-Dupont Street corridor as soon as possible.

    – Authorizes the advisory Transportation Commission to make decisions of this sort in the future, with the council having 45 days after the commission decision to reject or change it.

    Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/12/13/1460400/bellingham-council-to-consider.html#ixzz189PMPsQ8

    Really?  They are going to allow an appointed Transportation Commission to implement programs like this without prior Council approval?  Why exactly is there a Bellingham City Council again?

    And there it was, the scariest thing about the Northwest Avenue Bike Lane Project is not the loss of parking, nor just the piling on of debt.  The scariest thing is that we could be stuck with the bill when Mayor Dan Pike’s  commission pulls the trigger on any of these Bellingham Projects. 

    Bellinghamsters are big on Buy Local, when are they going to start the Pay Local campaign?

    Wrong choices for our kids

    Saturday, December 11th, 2010

    reapersantaTed Bundy spent much of his youth baby sitting his younger siblings, would you let him watch you children? 

    Would you hire Dr. Jack (Death) Kevorkian for in home care of your mother? 

    Knowing what we know now about these people, I think the answer would be a widespread resounding, NO!  

    If that is the case then why are we not only allowing, but welcoming and paying Planned Parenthood to come into our schools and counsel our kids?

    Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood hopes to reach out to 200 to 250 teens in Whatcom County over the life of [Teen Outreach Program] TOP’s implementation here, Dahlstedt-Rienstra said.

    Mount Baker High School will partner with Planned Parenthood for the project in Deming. TOP also will be launched in Ferndale – possibly at Ferndale High School – at a later date.

    "There’s a lot of enthusiasm about it," she said. "I think that, in light of so many other budget cuts that are happening right now, people see this as an opportunity to pick up what some have had to cut in terms of youth programming.  

    www.bellinghamherald.com

    As TOP’s is described by Planned Parenthood it is “an evidence-based program proven to develop the positive potential of teens by reducing unintended teen pregnancy and increasing school success.”  I’ve yet to find the exact program curricula, but I do think that the cause as stated is noble and much needed.  Who wouldn’t want more success in schools and less unintended pregnancies?  The problem with the situation is that we are hiring the wrong people to deliver this message to our kids because they have other less noble messages that may also be delivered.

    Regardless of the stated intent of this program as well as the number of people Planned Parenthood has helped with contraception, cancer screening, STD treatment and pregnancy tests Planned Parenthood still performed over 300,000 abortions in 2008.  I don’t think Planned Parenthood can keep quiet on their preferred method of dealing with unborn kids anymore than the once recognize real doctor, Dr. Kevorkian can help himself from treating the elderly to an early death. 

    My intent was to carry out my duty as a doctor, to end their suffering. Unfortunately, that entailed, in their cases, ending of the life.  Jack Kevorkian

    Dr. Death felt he was doing his duty as a doctor by killing his patients with a “medical procedure” in the same way that Planned Parenthood seems to think they are doing a service by performing a “medical procedure” which ends the life of a child.   I think that in both cases labeling death as a medical procedure is just an easy way for them to feel better about what they are doing and who they really are.  If I thought that Planned Parenthood could administer this program with just deference to protecting life, I’d be ok with the program.  But their track record when confronted with a pregnancy reminds me too much of the Grim Reaper when confronted with souls to harvest.  He will swing his scythe, they will perform their procedures and people will die. 

    In 2008, the last reporting record I find, Planned Parenthood showed that they administered just over a million pregnancy tests.  Now it may be private information how many of the test came out positive, but for perspective it should be noted that Planned Parenthood also performed about 1/3 of a million abortions during the same time period.  To put that another way, every 3rd pregnancy test resulted in Planned Parenthood performing an abortion thus ending the life of a child.   And another fast fact is that during the same year which Planned Parenthood performed the 324,008 abortions, they gave only 2,405 adoption referrals.  That’s more than 99 times that Planned Parenthood counseled an expectant mother to abort their child, for every 1 time that they referred them to an agency that would help the child live and potentially be adopted. 

    I’ve also read so many times that Planned Parenthood is all about reproductive healthcare and that abortion is such a small, almost insignificant part of their program.  But almost never do I read in the media that in the cases of actual pregnancy, ending the life of the child is the much preferred service at Planned Parenthood.  The pro-abortion moniker is so easily applied.

    Ted Bundy would not be the best choice in babysitters and Jack Kevorkian would not be the best choice in rest home buddies for your parents.  Asking Planned Parenthood into our schools for a long term relationship building program with our teens is just as wrong!   It’s like putting a Santa hat on the Grim Reaper.

    Another thought or two on Red Light Cameras

    Monday, November 22nd, 2010

    Habitual running of red lights and speeding through school zones is dangerous, no doubt. But if paying a traffic camera fine takes the place of traffic cops and judges, then the fines become just another sin tax. How many people really quit smoking because it cost too much?

    And like other sin taxes, if people really quit running reds and speeding, or whatever the taxable sin might be, wouldn’t the tax revenue dry up?   The City of Bellingham has budgeted continuing income from the cameras so they must be expecting the red light running and speeding to continue for at least the foreseeable future.  So really, by not actually getting dangerous drivers off the road and merely deriving an income flow from them, isn’t the City just selling peoples safety to fill a budget line item?

    People say that because these tickets will not be on your actual driving record, then you insurance rates won’t be effected by them.  Insurance companies already look at several factors that aren’t dings on a person’s driving record such as age, sex, marital status, credit rating and distance to and from their job.

    Parking tickets represent a relatively benign act while the acts caught by automated traffic cameras generally represent a dangerous situation.  Call me a cynic, but I think that if a vehicle registered to me starts racking up red light camera tickets, my insurance company would find a way to cover their risk by increasing my premiums or canceling my policy.

    I don’t want to blog I told you so, when somewhere down the line another life is taken at an intersection and we find the driver has a nice stack of red light fines on their “vehicles” record.