11/16/2005: "Thank You! Thank You!"
To the citizens of San Juan County who voted for the Basic Charter and for the Amendment in large numbers, we thank you for your support.
To those who wrote letters, signed petitions, publicly endorsed Home Rule, stood out in the rain to distribute informational materials on the charter, hosted neighborhood meetings, went to the League of Women Voters debates and seriously listened to both sides, thank you for participating in this great exercise in democracy.
To the service clubs who enthusiastically opened their meetings to Freeholder presentations of the charter, thank you.
To the media, who followed the story and presented both sides fairly, understanding the importance of their role as the Fourth Estate, thank you.
To our Freeholder colleagues who put in hundreds of hours of work at sometimes inconvenient times and places, who debated fully, freely and openly with admirable candor and took on what was akin to the writing of a Constitution, thank you again. This was a model of civic involvement for the young people on our islands.
The transition to charter government will not be easy. There may be bumps in the road, some degree of initial disorganization, and perhaps some frustration, but in the end we will have a county government that has new blood, new ideas, and a new way of operating. As citizens, we must retain our interest in government, ensuring that what we voted for is what we get. As Benjamin Franklin famously replied when asked by a woman what kind of government he had given us, "A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it." Our collective task as citizens is to keep the promise of the charter alive and well, and for that we need to stay involved and committed to the principles that brought us to the voting booth to make Home Rule a reality.