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Home » Archives » March 2006 » Gordy is Condescending and Mean

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03/20/2006: "Gordy is Condescending and Mean"

To the Editor,

This letter is in response to Gordy Petersen's Column in The Island Guardian, "To the Dump for a Laugh" . We have often questioned the journalistic appropriateness of the Island Guardian's disparagement of individual county government officials and employees, but Gordy Petersen's depiction of our county employees at the dump goes too far. Gordy Petersen may present his column as humorous, but it is nothing short of condescending and mean, and does nothing constructive to address any real problems that exist at the dump.

We enjoy our own regular trips to the dump because of the people who work there. Yes, the traffic flow and the delays getting trash unloaded are problematic, but the county employees are always helpful, courteous, and a pleasure to talk with while waiting our turn. And yes they do have a great sense of humor!

There is an important difference between addressing the problem itself and addressing the problem by attacking the people in the problem. Argumentum ad hominem is a weak approach to true problem solving. Let us solve our community's problems with thoughtful, constructive, and respectful discussion. And yes, with humor where appropriate!

We implore all the people of this small island community to remember just that - we are a small community. We interact with everyone in a number of ways day in and day out. In all that we say and do to each other, we must remember that we'll be seeing each other again soon in the grocery store or on the ferry, and will very likely be on the same side instead of opposing sides of another controversy in the future.


Boyd and Lovel Pratt
San Juan Island

Gordy responds with: "Please read carefully:
In defense of my column about the dump, it was not intended to be "condescending and mean" as the Pratts have said: they may have missed the point of it entirely. In fact if you read the column it states specifically:

"I dont blame the dedicated workers at the facility for clowning around. They are just following procedure. But the funny way this dump is managed is not all about safety."

And that is the point. The management, not the hard working employees, may have an agenda about the future of the dump and it is reflected in the curious and funny way it is run. That was the point. I apologize if it seemed demeaning to workers just trying to follow procedures. It is those procedures that give us all a chuckle.

-Gordy Peterson

Tom Bauschke
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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