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Island Guardian


Reader Praises Port Of FH For Shipping Money Off-Island


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(04-12-18)


To the Editor:

Let's give praise to our Port Commissioners for deciding that an off-island firm with a very sketchy proposal is a better choice to run Jensen's shipyard than an on-island group which has taken the time and effort to provide a very detailed plan for running the shipyard.

I'm sure we all agree that it is important for our publicly funded Port to send as many dollars off island as they possibly can. We all, I'm sure, agree that no islander can possibly run a local shipyard with any efficiency or competence, and that it would be a major error for the Port to support local businesses or employees or give them a chance to show their abilities. Although the off-island company may hire a few local residents, the profits and much of their payroll, along with much of the work, will be going off-island. After all, we are all aware that there is nothing that local businessmen can do as competently as those who are strangers to our island and its economy and workers. And, the idea, if anyone should be so foolish as to suggest it, that local tax dollars should be used when possible to keep employment and tax dollars local is contrary to all the principles of our local Port politicians.

So let's praise the commissioners for turning their backs on a local business and workers and putting the interests of mainland businesses and workers at the forefront of their thinking and their use of our tax dollars.

Christopher Hodgkin
San Juan Island




Open Letter On School Safety


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(03-26-18)


Dear Editor:

I would like to present some rational thoughts about misguided and wasted efforts to protect our kids and some alternate ideas. I have been in law enforcement for 30 years. I am a use of force instructor with training in empty hands, impact weapons, edged weapons and firearms and the science and psychology of violent actions, offenders and response.

I am also trained in threat assessment and mitigation. Threat assessment is looking at a building or facility and logically seeing and analyzing its weak points for a violent intruder or action and making plans to minimize that threat or risk. It does not matter if it is a corporate office, courtroom or a school, there are observable, factual weaknesses in any facility. There are logical changes and preparations you can make to overcome these issues and prevent or lower the risk of violence there.

Currently the most open targets in our country are our schools. We take our precious children and crowd them together in facilities totally inadequate to keep them safe, with untrained grown-ups to protect them. Here are some simple, proven measures to make our schools and our children safer.

Limit and harden entries to the building. Have only one or two entrances and exits in use. There should be trained door monitors, with the authority to search bags and backpacks or pat down suspicious individuals. Adding inconspicuous metal detectors would be even better. Make sure anyone who is not a student is identified and has a purpose for being there.

Make sure each classroom can be a ‘secure room’ that can be closed and defended from the inside. Make sure each hallway or open/common area can be secured and monitored. Make it so the outside perimeter of the school building can be secured and monitored.

Train all of the teachers and school administration how to respond to violence on the school property. Have the students trained in what to do and how to respond to these dangers. Have plans and assignments so that everyone is aware of what to do in a violent incident at the school. Have the teachers and students practice these responses and drills regularly, just like fire and earthquake drills.

Have at least one armed person on campus. This can be a school resource officer. It can be a teacher or administrator with firearms experience who is willing to take scenario specific training. It should be put on signs at the school entrances and the students should know that there are people in the school who will risk their lives to defend them. These are all factual, proven responses to threats to people in a building or facility.

On Saturday there were hundreds of people who spent time marching in the streets, with organized chants, large signs and matching clothing. If these people had spent their time volunteering to help work on the physical safety issues in the school or volunteering to work with teachers and students in the safety training, they might have accomplished something towards making our children safer.

What actually happened Saturday was large amounts of focus and energy was wasted on blaming a political action group and a specific type of firearm and our schools are no safer today for that effort. Even worse, this type of protest doesn’t just get ‘zero results’, it actually creates ‘negative results’ because the people and politicians who actually want to start right now to make our schools physically safer are ‘demonized’ for not supporting the idea of gun control and can’t get the necessary funding or help.

If you truly want our kids to be safe and you are able to step back and look at this topic factually and honestly, this should be clear to you. If the same amount of people that were at the march will step up and work to convince the school board to make these changes and get local contractors to volunteer their time and then help with the work, these proven safety measures could made over the summer and be ready go at that start of the next school year.

Respectfully,
Scott Brennan
Friday Harbor




Letter On Being A "Sanctuary County"


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(08-22-17)
Open Letter To SJ County


Dear Editor:

The County Council has denied its constituents the right and privilege to vote.
The County Council has declared that selected laws may be broken with impunity.
Illegal immigrants okay here as long as they follow all other laws.
(Related Story

It appears that this San Juan County is led by a troika and kept in legal check by a County Prosecutor who take their Oath of Office with more than a grain of salt, who have an obvious disregard for the laws they are charged with upholding. They display little proof of chauvinism, no appreciation of sovereignty, no pride in country and the sanctity of the uniqueness, indeed the exceptionalism of these Unites States in the global community.

Seemingly, those same borders that define and identify this great country are considered by them little more than lines on a printed map. At least the southern one can, according to the wisdom of those mentioned in the opening paragraph, be crossed without documentation or approval, at will and with impunity. Allow me to mention here that it must be understood that this crossing of the line is unidirectional; traversing same in a southern direction without documentation is not advised!

The following culled from an article by ACRU, the American Civil Rights Union, April 13, 2007:
"When the police, of all people, are told by politicians running the city (county, in this case, ALH) to look the other way at illegal immigration, what message does that send? If elected officials pretending to be leaders (emphasis intentional ) can turn their backs on laws they dislike, where does that “principle” stop? Are such leaders also free to disregard federal laws against heroin and LSD (for example), on the theory that drug penalties are too harsh and these drugs have “mind-expanding” qualities? And after the drug laws are tossed overboard, what next?

Democratic self-government presupposes fidelity to law, even when one disagrees with it. Were it otherwise, self-government would dissolve into anarchy. All are free to attempt to change the law by persuasion and argument - in other words, by making their case to the electorate. But they are not free to thumb their nose at the law, much less to tell police officers that they must follow the same grossly irresponsible, and dangerous, path."

I make the assumption that those involved with this 'official policy of the County Council' were born in the USA, with little or no appreciation for the uniqueness of this country; that their immigrating ancestors did not take the opportunity to share with them what great privilege it is to be allowed to set foot on North American soil, what determination and effort, not to mention cost, are involved in obtaining the permanent visa and the depth of emotion that floods through the immigrant upon seeing Lady Liberty in New York harbor at the time of entry. Having gone through this process myself, having suffered through the tests, interviews, physical exams and the numerous documents, the agonizing wait and anxiety, what the local powers-that-be have just done is a slap in my face, an insult to my integrity, ridiculing me for having been so stupid as to subject myself to all the legalities required for legal entry into the United States, in the same way every civilized country expects its immigrants to conduct themselves. How uncivilized do you want this great country to become?

It also seems safe to assume that this same trio that has just thrown away the keys to the county it was entrusted to safeguard, has nevertheless securely locked homes and cars when they came to the Council Chambers to take away the right to vote from those who are privileged to do so. More than a little hypocrisy in this, I'd say

As it is highly unlikely that this one letter, written with utter disgust, I must add, will make even the slightest impression and surely will not bring about a reversal of the policy, I am forced to accept that the three (not so esteemed) Council Members and the County Prosecutor have the self-adopted power to pick and choose those laws, rules and regulations that must be obeyed, witness the fact that entering the country illegally (across the southern border, at least) brings out the welcome sign in San Juan County as long as no heinous crimes are committed.

I have no plans to commit any crimes, heinous or otherwise. However, as immigrant, a legal one, I request to be granted the same right as was just afforded the law-breaking ones, albeit on a smaller scale, and that is to be exempted from just one minor offense, a traffic infraction. Please grant me the right to disobey the posted speed limit in the county, so long as that will not endanger others. It is not my intention to be facetious with this, merely to illustrate the ridiculousness of your actions.

Ary L. Hobbel
San Juan County




Re: A Male-Only SJC Planning Commission.


Allegedly no women applied for any open position on the Commission.

Now the San Juan Island Women's Group, formed by the organizers of the Women's March complain (should 'whine' be used here?) that women should be appointed…..!?!? Is there some irony in here? There must be, because logic is wholly absent.

The complaining group asks for the appointment of "women and other members of the community ….etc." Has DNA research discovered a gender other than female and male?

Excuse me for being confused; it must be old age.

Ary Hobbel
San Juan Island




Greetings Teachers, Staff, Parents, Students, and Community Members:


On Saturday, June 10, I participated in the graduation ceremony of the Class of 2017. They were rising juniors when I started my position two years ago. The accomplishments of these talented young men and women are obvious and highlighted by the number of scholarships that were distributed by our community organizations. As the superintendent of schools, I am proud of each and every graduate. Congratulations on your success!

I would also like to personally thank the community organizations for their dedication by helping finance our students’ college careers. You are amazing!

The following are just a few of our accomplishments for the 2016-17 school year:

• First year for K-5 Science specials w/ Sue Kareken
• Art instruction with Leisha for grades K-5
• The Board adopted the Balanced Literacy curriculum
• Sixth grade will re-join FHMS
• K-12 Science teachers met to ensure they align instruction with the Next Generation Science Standards
• FHHS completed their accreditation process with flying colors
• Community health committee recommended a health curriculum pilot, which we completed with great success
• Our new websites and ParentLink communication tool are up and running smoothly
• Twenty-one instructional technology courses were offered to our staff
• Fifty-seven staff took five hundred and twenty-four hours of professional development in Instructional Technology
• New School Bus added to the fleet
• Turnbull Gym Remodel
• Regular updates on our Facebook page. (Don’t forget to like it!)

Congratulations to our fifth, sixth and eighth grade students on their transition to middle school and high school, respectively. I know you have a bright future ahead of you!

On June 30, 5:30 pm " 7:30 pm, we will have an Immigration Workshop at Friday Harbor Middle School. The Immigration 101 session includes an overview of the immigration system and immigration status as well as which resources are available in the community. Katie Loring, local attorney, will provide information regarding Durable Power of Attorney documents.

Finally, I would like to thank every student, parent, teacher, staff, and community member for making the 2016-2017 academic year an extraordinary one! I appreciate you and I hope you have a restful and joyful summer!

If you have any questions, you may contact me at 360.370.7905 or email dannadiaz@sjisd.wednet.edu. Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards,
Danna Diaz, PhD
Superintendent




Open Letter re: Vacation Rental Proposals


Dear Councilmen & Staff Persons,

Several Reasons I oppose further regulation:
• There are a finite number of dwelling units in SJC. Additional steps to push more of those units into lower cost housing will have several adverse effects. You can divide a finite pie only so many times. You still have the same pie differently sliced.

• If we have fewer rental units and more low cost units, the units available for vacation renters will decrease; off-island revenue to county residents will decrease; lodging tax revenue will decrease.

• It seems that San Juan County officials are prone to blame owners of vacation rentals for the problem. However, since 2007 the county will not permit construction of additional dwelling units for vacation rental purposes. If this is the case, it is county regulations exacerbating (or causing) the perceived problem.

• When I recently visited the SJC County Permit office it was remarked by a staff member that the real problem is absentee owners who either leave their house empty all year making it available for their occasional use instead of renting it on a long term low cost basis or, alternatively renting it out part of the year as a vacation rental without proper lodging tax collection and associated permits. It was mentioned that these owners or properties are difficult to identify. When I told the staffer I have lived here fulltime over 26 years and am having an increasingly hard time remaining in SJC on a relatively fixed income; that we love it here, and would love to stay, but we might have to leave because of increasing costs and regulations along with advancing age, the response was, “That’s too bad.”

• The situation does not have an easy solution. We do not want to overdevelop the island and lose our rustic character. But we have tourism as our major industry and as long as we remain seasonally maladjusted in terms of economics the problem will continue. Just as a local business owner dependent on tourism cannot provide year-round jobs at summer employment levels, so vacation property rental owners cannot afford to charge winter or long term rates over the summer with little hope the renter will stay all year when his tourism dependent job goes away.

• The steps under consideration opt to pick the low-hanging fruit by aiming ill-considered remedies at those compliant property owners who can be readily identified because they have appropriate permits, pay the lodging tax and comply with existing legal parameters instead of tackling the harder job of identifying violators and aiming possible (partial) solutions their way. Not only that, but many of the new considerations are said to be retroactive and most will cost owners money, time and vexation.

• It also appears that recommendations are to charge compliant vacation rental owners to hire another code enforcement person to nab violators. How is it fair or just to charge the compliant persons for the costs associated with enforcement among the non-compliant?

Sometimes I feel as if San Juan County is not my friend and that it thinks it can manage my property better than I can. Proposed elements under consideration are that the owner must conspicuously post all of the new SJC rules about property use and explain to SJC how we would handle violations by our customers. I told the SJC staffer that I have learned in my sixty-three years of work is that there is no successful cookie cutter approach to handle every problem we may encounter with differing backgrounds, situations and personalities. Therefore, I would just call the most available SJC Councilman to handle the problem. The response from the staffer was “Just kick them out!”. If I were to use that simple rule, would the staffer assume responsibility to handle the ensuing suit over breach of contract when it was a “he said, she said.” situation any court might consider trivial contingent on the totality of circumstances?

I believe the staff writing these proposals really does have the best long-range interests of our beautiful county at heart. It is a difficult balance to maintain " especially when every loss to our natural rustic charm could probably not be regained. At the same time, I believe micromanagement is an issue and that the proposed targeting of compliant owners is misplaced.

Dennis R Hazelton
San Juan Island




'Thank You' From The Family of David Hall


We would like to express our sincere 'Thank You' for helping us through such a difficult time.
Perhaps you sent a lovely card, or came to visit while Dave was in hospice care, perhaps you sent flowers, made dinner or made a donation to help with the medical expenses. Perhaps you sent us prayers and positive thoughts. Perhaps you helped with his Celebration of Life event.

Whatever you did to console our hearts, to ease our pain, we 'Thank You' so much whatever the part. You gave us a gift and your kindness has made such a difference and will always be remembered. We hope you know how much you and our community means to us.

Thank you & much love from,

Nadine Hall, Jacob & Relissa Hall, Ian & Jessie Joujan, Katie Hall & Cory Parsons




Annual LEO Club Golf Scramble was another success


We wish to thank the local businesses that generously give to our annual Golf Scramble: Harbor Rentals and Saw Shop, Friday Harbor House & Bluff Restaurant, Williams Enterprises (gravel), Friday's Crabhouse, The Cheesecake Café, Mike's Cafe and Wine Bar, China Pearl, Blue Water Bar & Grill, Sweet Retreat & Espresso, The Bean Café, and Joe Crisanti Glass.

We had beautiful weather for this event! We give thanks to the enthusiastic golfers and the staff at the SJI Golf & Tennis Club. Much appreciation goes to our hamburger chef, Lion Jeff Neely and his wife, Gail and the many volunteer LEOs. Thanks to Lion Lisa Brown for helping me before the event. Thanks also to soon-to-be Lion Stacey Smith (auction set-up), Lion Dan Sorgen, the Urbach family, Lion President Jon Zerby and his wife, Kris, for coming out to support our event.

The annual Golf Scramble and auction earns money which our high school LEO Club gives back to the community in the form of community project grants, donations to worthy causes, and the most fun donation of all: the Santa Ship event over winter holiday, where LEOs provide a toy for each child who visits our Lion Santa!

Lastly, my deepest gratitude goes to my co-advisor, John Bostrom. Without his experience, optimistic attitude, and non-stop involvement in the LEO Club, this event would not be possible.

-Lion BJ Brandli
FHHS LEO Club advisor




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