Thursday, December 17, 2015
Point Roberts Ups and Downs
The Up, Way Up! Last night was the local elementary school (K-3, 15 kids) performance of their annual Christmas play. It is always a home grown performance (one of the teachers, Deb Wilkowski, wrote this year's play, which lasted about 45 minutes). The 15 kids, in their dress up clothes, with added costume touches (especially elegant headgear) showed us how Point Roberts got to be here, from about 1701 (even before cell phones, the kids noted) to 1870 or so. There was a prodigious amount of memorization required to carry off this feat, and the kids were more than up to it, even handling microphones with considerable skill. There was scarcely a moment when anybody needed a cue. The older girls, i.e., 8-year-olds (for awhile, there was a dire shortage of boys in the school, and as a result we now have a lot of older girls) did much of the heavy lifting, and they were without flaw. There was a newly configured sound system that made it almost easy to hear what they were saying, although the inherent accoustic defects of the space are still major.
Turns out, getting to be Point Roberts, once beyond Captain Vancouver's naming it for his dead buddy, Lieutenant Henry Roberts, was the usual historical mishmash (at one moment, one of the actors says of one such event, "Does anybody care?") of how things happen: do we have any decent maps that tell us exactly where the 49th parallel intersects the land at issue? What about the Gulf Islands and the woeful dead pig that provided an opportunity for a shot heard around the neighborhood, at least? And, ultimately, you have to love the most the fact that some nameless bureaucrat in the Buchanan Administration thought that the U.S. should grab the peninsula apparently named Point Roberts City or something because it might have some kind of military use at some time. One can only imagine launching a war from Point Roberts. (And unfortunately, nowadays, one certainly can.) But one can also imagine provisioning a Yukon/B.C. gold rush from the Point, as they did.
All round a spectacular evening provided by spectacular kids and spectacular teachers of various sorts. We're lucky to have them.
On the down side, the December All Point Bulletin included a news item about the Fire District's need to add to its reserve fund of more than $700,000 in case the District is, due to some catastrophe, unable to access its regular yearly income (which comes from the County). I wonder exactly what Chief Carleton is thinking of? That there will be a nuclear bomb set off in County Treasurer Steve Oliver's office? If so, we doubt that Oliver keeps the money there. Or that the entire banking system, including electronic/digital transfers of funds, will cease to exist? I trust everyone in Point Roberts will take this to heart and immediately ensure that they have the equivalent of their yearly income in cash somewhere (perhaps under the bed?) should their present source of income cease to exist as a result of some catastrophe. We note in passing that the Fire District already has over $700,000 in reserve funds as compared, say, to the Park and Rec District's maybe $50,000. So, the Fire District voted to take $20,000 more from Property Taxes to increase its reserve fund. The Park District got a 1% increase in its budget, which probably amounts to about $600.00.
Do you keep in mind how much of your property tax payment goes to local government? For the median household, the median householder (on a property whose assessed value is $115,156) yearly pays $103 to the Fire District, $47 to the Hospital District (the Clinic), and $16 to the Park and Rec District. There is some kind of disconnect between those numbers and what we need for a vibrant community. (The APB story on the Fire District budget is on page 8 of the December issue; I'd give you a link if I could figure out how to do it. Maybe the APB could help; or maybe you still have a copy of the December issue at home, folks. )
And a Happy first Snowstorm of December. Big flakes falling as I write this.