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Island Guardian

The Citizens Of San Juan County Deserve Better


Dear Editor:

There has been a lot of ink spilled regarding the sign ordinance and the fact that the County has unquestionably been violating the First Amendment rights of all citizens since the day it was enacted in 1998.

Most distressingly, the County has known that it has been in violation of the First Amendment since at least 2003.

That’s not a typo, 2003 - for 15 years the “powers that be” have been intentionally flouting the Constitution. My opponent, Prosecutor Gaylord, recognized that that this ordinance was unconstitutional in 2003 yet took no action to fix it and has benefitted by it as an incumbent for 15 years.

Yesterday the County finally publicaly acknowledged that the ordinance is unconstitutional and issued a moratorium temporarily freezing the effectiveness of ordinance.

The County has tried to make me the villain in this drama and I am compelled to respond.

County Auditor Milene Henley - who plays an essential role as a neutral representative of the government to oversee elections - has published a statement acknowledging that the ordinance is unconstitutional but makes judgments about what type of speech is appropriate for candidates and the public at large to make. This statement is still on the County’s website today and you can see it for yourself at

It is basic First Amendment law that the County government should not be making statements judging what speech is good speech and what speech is bad speech. It is not for them to decide - that is for citizens to decide.

I have also been accused of promoting “roadside spam,” which entirely misses the point.

I want our community to remain the special community that I moved my family here to live in and that we all appreciate so much. Those who live here will know that I have not put up any signs yet.

But the County is still sending a clear message to candidates that they should follow the County’s unconstitutional ordinance and that challengers should remain silent and not publicize that they are running against incumbents.

The Supreme Court has long held that ordinances which limit speech too close to the election favors incumbents. That’s why the ordinance is unconstitutional and that’s why the County wants challengers to stay silent.

The point here is about accountability and compliance with basic and important laws at the foundation of Constitutional law. Both the Auditor Milene Henley and Prosecutor Gaylord took oaths to protect the Constitution - their actions however demonstrate that they might need to reflect on how well they are upholding their oaths.

This County has been run for far too long by elected officials who seek to preserve their position, status and wealth by fighting transparency and accountability. This needs to change. Why? Because the citizens of San Juan County deserve better.


Nicholas Power

Another Successful LEO Club Golf Scramble


Dear Editor,

Another successful LEO Club Golf Scramble!We couldn’t do it without the SJ Golf Course giving us
the course for a day.

The LEO Club, sponsored by the Lions Club, gives the money earned back to the community in the
form of community project grants and donations to worthy causes. This year, we provided $600 for
a 2nd grade reading program for the elementary school and $350 for the high school arts program.
As well, the LEOs provides toys for children at holiday time.

LEOs volunteer hundreds of community service hours every year helping with the Community
Thanksgiving dinner, winter events, beach clean-ups, Island Rec events, and the FANS Carnival.

We thank the local businesses that generously gave to our auction: Harbor Rentals, Williams
Enterprises, Browne’s Home Center, ACE Hardware, The Cheesecake Café & Bakery, Mike's Cafe
& Wine Bar, China Pearl, Blue Water Bar & Grill, Mi Casita, Friday Harbor Drug, The Pebble, Friday
Harbor Espresso, Hayley’s Bait Shop, Sweet Retreat & Espresso, & The Bean Cafe. Golf pro Connie
made the event so much fun and Micah was indispensable. Much appreciation goes to our
hamburger chef, Lion Brian Brown and wife, Laurie, and the many volunteer LEOs and Lions.
Thanks to Lion Stacey Rustad-Smith and Lions Sheila & Bruce Martin for serving up the burgers and
hot dogs.

Please encourage your high school children to get involved in the LEO Club in the upcoming school

-Lion BJ Brandli & John Bostrom
FHHS LEO Club advisors

Visitors Bureau Responds To "How Much is Enough?"


In response to Mr. Kaill’s June 7 Guest Column , we’d like to correct some inaccurate information about the lodging tax. We’d also like to thank him for asking the important question regarding visitors to the San Juans, “How Much is Enough? And, we’d like to relate what the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau (SJIVB), along with other islands organizations, are doing to address this timely question.

In his letter Mr. Kaill stated, “…it is mandatory that all proceeds from the lodging tax go into tourist promotion in one form or another.” Not accurate. More than half of the lodging taxes collected by the County and Town of Friday Harbor are invested in places other than pure marketing or promotion. Historically, these funds have been used to support local organizations and special projects such as:

County Parks & Fair
Orcas Island and San Juan Island Film Festivals
Performing Arts Centers
Island Stage Left
Master Gardeners Foundation
San Juan Islands Ag Guild
Summer Arts Festivals
Environmental Organizations, for signage
Glen Wood Springs Hatchery
County Public Works, for Visitor Education & Parking
Chambers of Commerce

.... and many more

This year over 30 entities received lodging tax funds. Uses for these funds are limited per Washington State RCW 67.28.1816. Lodging tax funds also have been used locally for infrastructure such as parking, operations and public amenities. This tax comes from visitors who stay in our hotels, inns, B&Bs and campgrounds.

Only 31% of County and 40% of Town lodging tax funds go to the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau for promotion of visitation to the islands, focused on our shoulder seasons, and visitation to the museums, theatres, festivals and events on the above list.

The SJIVB is part of the ‘over-tourism’ dialogue with local land managers. SJIVB encouraged San Juan County to include a Tourism Master Plan as part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan Update. The plan will solicit important public input regarding the future direction of tourism in the islands. This plan, along with a lodging tax funded Visitor Study, will help our various communities answer for themselves the pressing question “How Much is Enough?”

Deborah Hopkins Buchanan, Executive Director
Barbara Marrett, Communications & Stewardship Manager

Jensen Letter To The Community

Letter to the Editor,

Since Benjamin Jensen came to San Juan Island in the mid 1880’s, the Jensen’s have been involved in the marine industry. The first boats were built for transporting goods and people. Then the commercial fish boats and finally the pleasure boats. From sail, to steam, to diesel and gas, oh, the changes we’ve seen. From Benjamin, to Albert and his brothers, Pete, Frank and Joe, then to Nourdine, what a legacy they have made. The last boat was built in 1984 and since then we’ve been concentrating on maintenance and repair, moorage and storage. It has been an honor to serve our islands and we have been blessed with support from family and friends, customers and community. There is little joy in the leaving but we are confident the Port of Friday Harbor will do an excellent job taking our shipyard into the future.

With our sincere thanks,

Mike & Jeri Ahrenius

Reader Praises Port Of FH For Shipping Money Off-Island


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


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.

Scott Brennan
Friday Harbor

Letter On Being A "Sanctuary County"

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 Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards,
Danna Diaz, PhD

John Evans
Greg Hertel
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Teresa Smith
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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