I have watched, over the past three decades, as a several people have tried to change the name of the city of Blaine. All of the people involved, although sincere, had not spent many years in Blaine. My family has been in Blaine, or the surrounding community, for five generations. We have a lot of history with the city of Blaine, and would not like to see any change to the name of the city. Blaine has so much meaning to our past. Over the years we have seen all types of idea put in place, to supposedly put this city on the map for recognition, and for more people to come shop and visit. There was the black-and-white theme, paint all buildings black and white. You remember, many were done, even the city hall. Then there was require all new buildings and remodeled buildings to be done with the colonial-style features and then put flower pots on all the street lights in the downtown area and the harbor. Then there were the parklets and the boardwalk. There were maybe more, and these were all proposed and supported by well-meaning people, but all of these did very little if anything to increase the businesses, or visitors to Blaine. In fact we almost have a ghost town on the main street, as a compared to what it used to be.
The bottom line is, you can put lipstick on a pig, but you still have a pig! This is just an analogy, I'm not saying that Blaine is, or resembles a pig, in any way.
What was the result in the loss of businesses to Blaine is a result of what has occurred by the actions of our city's elected officials. Back in the early '70s Breidford Ford car dealership suffered a severe loss as a result of a fire, it was destroyed. They wanted to open their dealership across the street from where they had been. But no, that side of the street was not zoned for dealerships, and they were not allowed to do that, so Breidford Ford moved to Ferndale. Did anyone realize how many loafs of bread would need to be sold to be equivalent to one car sales, in tax yield to the city of Blaine? Over the years, I have watched the over regulation that took place when businesses wanted to come into Blaine, and the result is that they located somewhere else. McDonald's in the downtown area is another example. Now more recently, Ken Imus has left town, after starting a wonderful redevelopment in the downtown area, because of his dissatisfaction with the city's dealing with him.
I have seen other cities offer tax incentives to the businesses to locate, or relocate to their areas. They will return the city's share of collected sales tax for one, two, three or four years, and there are other incentives, such as the city participating in street improvements, or other infrastructure improvements. These are the things that need to be done. Over the years, these new businesses will pay many taxes; employ many people, and other contributions that benefit the entire community.
I agree with Kim Freeman, in his letter to the editor, in the Northern Lights. There is no "Blaine Harbor" in Blaine. It is called Drayton Harbor. Let's not waste time thinking that changing the name will change the real problem. My family is proud to say we are from Blaine, that we graduated from Blaine High School and that our roots are in Blaine. Don't take that away from us, and the many other people who call Blaine their home town.
Leave our city's name "Blaine" and address the real problem.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Joubert has lived in Blaine for 53 years and served as fire chief for 17 years.