10/15/2005: "Former Freeholder Objects to Story on Appel Letter"
Letter to the Editor:
When you published Bill Appel's recent letter to Randy Gaylord, you may not have been aware that Randy Gaylord had already responded, debunking Bill's "academic smokescreen." It's unfortunate, then, that you ran it as a news story, rather than an opinion piece.
As Randy points out in his response, Mr. Appel's entire premise regarding the residency requirement for Commissioner candidates is a non-issue; it has no basis in law, is not supported by any AG opinions, and there are no legal precendents supporting his contention.
This leads me to conclude that Mr. Appel's letter is merely a political move designed to obfuscate through intentional misinterpretation of the language in the Charter, rather than any valid claim of a "flaw." In fact, none of the several lawyers involved in reviewing our Charter language expressed any such concern, and those who've seen Mr. Appel's letter remain completely unpersuaded by his suggestions.
Giving credibility to this diversionary tactic does a disservice to the community by shifting the discussion away from any issues that might represent legitimate concerns. Far better is to focus on facts worthy of discussion, and avoid the fiction of letters like Mr. Appel's.
San Juan Island
(Mr. Johnson is a former Freeholder).
The Appel letter was sent to all of the former Freeholders -and others- by Mr. Appel. It was not sent to us as a letter, or as an opinion piece. We became aware of it as a correspondence to the Freeholders and the BOCC; that is to say, it was not, and is not, a letter to the Editor. We consider correspondence from lawyers questioning the legality of proposed governmental actions to be a news item.
Mr. Johnson is correct that The Guardian was not aware of an official response from Gaylord, for the simple reason that none of the Freeholders felt it helpful to the public dialog to share copies of the two letters, even though many, if not all, of those same former Freeholders had copies of both the Appel letter and the Gaylord response.
One of the former Freeholders told The Guardian that they "Hoped the whole thing would just go away if no one brought it up". We at The Guardian find the holding of such views by former elected officials to be disturbing and patronizing -at best.)