Herald story on Safety and Gooseberry Pt

Here’s the Bellingham Herald‘s latest story on Gooseberry Pt, reflecting Cultee’s, chair of the Lummi Indian Business Council’s plan (as stated in his memo linked to in yesterday’s Ferry Forum story) to ‘tell the Lummi story’ to the Herald editorial board. (Most of the comments are a bit better than usual, some long and with information, not just hot air. But still, read them at your own risk.)

Thanks to John Stark, the story’s author, providing a balanced reporting of this issue.

4 thoughts on “Herald story on Safety and Gooseberry Pt

  1. (posted for Jim Strong by the editor)

    Hello All;
    I have never written anything to the Forum because I am not particularly politically perfect. But I am going to try.

    First a few observations that are not particularly new or unique:
    The island is isolated in its ferry fight for survival because;
    (a) not a single politician needs to court our votes to be re-elected. Most of the politicians do have to avoid being too sympathetic to the island’s problems.

    (b) based on various public utterances by people not specifically known ( talk radio, Seattle and Bellingham news comments, etc.), it seems the general population of Whatcom County would just as soon someone open the scuttling valves on the island and have us disappear. This is based on numerous comments that indicate ——->

    (c) mainlanders view islanders as a population of spoiled, wealthy people who do not wish to be inconvenienced. Further the islanders are basically isolationists who may or may not welcome one day visitors. These one day visitors need to drop some cash with artists, store or restaurants and then get back on the ferry. I have wondered if the hostile mainland folk have any personal experience or are playing from
    hearing a friend or neighbor who was treated with “get off my beach and stay off”. If we destroy the island visit of one person we make 100 enemies and now it comes back to haunt us.

    (d) some significant part of the county population believes that the “Nation” holds the basic right to demand all it can get and that those best suited to pay the “Nation’s bill” are those who live on the island.

    I have tried to find hard and reliable data on the following issues with not much to show for the efforts.
    (1) How much fiscal support is received by the “Lummi Nation” from the various agencies of the Federal Government which have responsibility for seeing to the welfare of all the indigenous peoples of this country? This support includes competitive(?) grants and outright support. That is our money and yes, also the Chinese’s who bought the Treasury Notes.
    (2) In a typical year how much fiscal support, both cash in hand and services in kind, is received by the Lummi Nation from the various tax monies collected by Whatcom County? An example is the “golden pathway” (Haxton Road, casino to Kwina).
    This project reportedly required the county to provide over $300,000 in real money. This was a number made available weeks before the project was completed. The federal stimulus support certainly makes 2010 a non-typical year. Does anyone have simple sources that are reliable?
    I continue with two other questions.
    (3) Does anyone have a sense of how many current island residents, including those who own island property and do weekend visiting, would really support the creation of a wealthy only, gated community? In other words these people would support any ferry change that would reduce the number of ordinary folk who are currently here.
    (4) Over the last five to ten years, have the political and personal attitudes of the general population of the county, and especially
    the elected county officials, hardened toward the island and its inhabitants? It oft times seems that any mention of the island or our difficulties
    results in an attempt to pour a bucket of guilt on newbie and old timer alike. ” You made the choice to move to the island, don’t bother us!”
    I don’t have answers. I do have fears. I am furious that the entire issue was all so covered up going back at least ten years.

    Jim Strong

  2. The statements that have appeared in the news and by the Lummi Nation have prompted me to review the actual safety improvements that occurred over the past years that I can remember.
    1. Widened and repaved Haxton from Kwina to Smokehouse. Shoulders widened for pedestrian and bicycles, as well as providing space where cars can get out of the driving lane when they run out of gas or break down.
    2. A 4-way traffic light was installed at Slater & Haxton. This was at the request of the Lummi Nation and the Lummi Islanders. Including me.
    3. Rumble strips on Haxton between Kwina and Smokehouse. This helps keep cars on the road when drivers are sleepy or DUI. It works!
    4. The speed limit from Slater to Kwina was dropped from 50 to 35 to protect walkers and bicyclists since there was virtually no shoulder along this stretch of Haxton.
    5. In cooperation with the L.N. obtained a grant from Obama’s Stimulas funds. The County contributed $ 300, 000 from the Road Fund, while the balance was from the Federal Govt. L.N. share of this improvement is unknown. The L.N. says that needed safety improvements are not being. How many traffic safety improvements has the Casino made?
    I would like to suggest 4 possible improvements to safety that could and should be made as soon as possible.

    1. Smokehouse and Haxton intersection:
    Move the posted 35 mph sign 100 yards North so that the speed limit at the intersection
    would be 35, not 50 as now posted.
    2. Kwina and Haxton intersection:
    Move the beginning of 35mph 100 yards South so the speed at the intersection would be 35, not 50 as currently posted.
    3. Put in a left turn holding lane for south bound traffic at this same intersection. I know that the L.N. wants a roundabout at this intersection but this is overkill and just not the best solution. This would make pedestrian traffic on Kwina very dangerous. Perhaps a pedestrian activated traffic light for crossing Kwina.
    4. On Slater Road put in protected left turn holding lane at Imhoff for west bound traffic. I know that this offers no protection to East bound traffic when cars on Imhoff pull out into the path of oncoming traffic. but see no easy solution to Idiot drivers.
    5. On Slater at Ferndale Road put in Left Turn holding lanes on Slater.
    6. Provide a traffic activated Left Turn Arrow for West bound traffic.

    These last suggestions are the most expensive of my suggestions but would provide added safety for L.N. traffic, Lummi Island traffic, and for the traffic going to the Casino.

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