Monday, September 24, 2007

Who Gets to Speak on the Issue?

The following anonymous comment was left on the Bellingham Herald site yesterday in response to my column, a copy of which I posted below.

"Yeah, you probably just moved here with the hoardes (sic) of outsiders escalating home prices, bought a house, and now expect the rest of the population to try to find an affordable home? News bulletin: college students do not have the purchasing power of retired people who have prior equity. If they are lucky, mom and dad bought a small house or a condo near the schools. Someday, these students will be homeowners. For now, they need to live somewhere.
native Whatcomite"

My response:

My Dear Native Whatcomite,

The purpose of my column was to initiate a constructive dialogue about a severe problem facing all of us in Bellingham regardless of origins. Your ad hominem remarks are not helpful. [An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to an irrelevant characteristic about the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.] If you read my blog at, you will find that I am fully supportive of the students finding affordable housing. In fact, it is they, who often have to live in cramped, unhealthy, uncontrolled, de facto rooming houses. They deserve much better. As for native Whatcomites, we all came from someplace else: recent retirees like me, your family, the waves of nomads into the Americas 30-40,000 years ago. Perhaps the salmon are the true natives.

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