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Past Issues

Whatcom Watch Online
Claims, Water and Praise

October-November 2014

Letters to the Editor

Claims, Water and Praise

Legal Claim Questioned

To the Editor,

This basic letter was written the day I received the August issue of Whatcom Watch and read the editorial, “Legal Claim Withdrawn” on page 2. I have hesitated to send it, with the idea of “moving on,” but I feel now that overlooking incorrect or unclarified things does not tell us where things really were so we can now know where things really are.

First, since to “claim” also means to assert, placing the header over the editorial, “Legal Claim Withdrawn,” may have unwittingly misrepresented the facts. But since “legal claim” refers to a law suit, it must be noted that none was ever filed by Craig Cole against Whatcom Watch regarding Sandy Robson’s article (referred to below) and, therefore, no legal claim can ever have been withdrawn.

Next, Cole used the word “libel” in a general way regarding the article, “What Would Corporations Do? Native American Rights and the Gateway Pacific Terminal,” printed in the January 2014 issue. Articles are made up of words and phrases, to be sure, but to say that Cole “took umbrage at some phrases,” implies that particular phrases were identified by Cole. He identified none. In his February 5 letter, Cole complained about some specific phrases posted by an entirely different writer on an unrelated web site but did not identify for WW any examples of inaccurate or defamatory phrases or words in Sandy’s article, even after he was requested in writing three times to do so. Cole failed to provide WW with umbraged phrases, or—any phrases at all. Therefore, to say that Cole “took umbrage at some phrases in the article” may leave readers with a wrong impression.

The last sentence was removed from the online version of the article as a symbolic move toward closure, and, as it says under the online article on the Whatcom Watch web site, it was removed “in the spirit of community collegiality.” There was no request to remove it, nor did it contain anything that needed removal. I regret that we removed it.

Let me end with a preposition. Prepositions tell us where things are. Moving on is good when we know exactly what we are moving on from.

Ellen Murphy


Ellen Murphy resigned from the Whatcom Watch Board of Directors on February 27, 2014.

Water Fees Aren’t Free and Bite

To the Editor;

I beg to differ with Eric Hirst [“Pricing Can Solve Whatcom Watch Problems,” September 2014] on his “average cost” Bellingham residents pay for water, as well as your assertion that the water is really free. 

I pay $95/month for water/sewer, and I am a single person. I quit watering my landscaping four years ago when I lost my lucrative job, and got a major pay cut. I take most of my showers at my gym, and wash all my dishes by hand. I only do two small loads of laundry per week. My bill reflects this, as the cost of just being hooked up to the water and sewer in the Whatcom watershed area is $195 every two months, or $92.50 per month. The extra $2.50 is water I actually use.

I am an avid kayaker, and love to paddle around Lake Whatcom. As I paddle past large homes with impeccable, green golf-course-like lawns with not a weed in sight, at the end of August, I can assume the owners are watering, fertilizing, and putting weed killer on their lawns.

I also pay a fee to put my kayak in our drinking water source, Lake Whatcom. I assumed that fee was to help get the lake cleaner?

I resent having such high water bills, the need for which seems to be created to a large degree by those who insist on living right on the lake, having manicured, perfect lawns, and those who run power boats on it. I know they say it is fear of an invasive species, but I wonder, really?

The ultimate solution for me personally, is when they raise the water rates even more (I am a low-income senior), I will sell my house and move.

Future ex-bellinghamster

Janet Senour

Enjoy Whatcom Watch

To the Editor.

Thank you to you and your staff for Whatcom Watch.

I enjoy reading Whatcom Watch, and find it to be a critical source of news and information about the environment and governmental affairs in Bellingham and Whatcom County.

I was pleased to find and read poems by Bob Markey and Vincent R. Landi in your September 2014 issue. Landi’s poem had me laughing out loud.

I’m including my poem “Admonishment” [on the right] for your consideration for the October issue.

Thank you for considering my work.

Best wishes to you, the staff of Whatcom Watch, and yours.

Andrew Shattuck McBride


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