09/30/2010: "Letters On Campaign Finances & Yard Signs"
An Open Letter
Please leave the signs alone. Although I have chosen to not use them, I do not want to interfere with other peoples’ right to them as part of their campaign. This morning a friend told me that that a number of political yard signs have been taken down in his neighborhood near Roche Harbor Road.
There is no one I know in my campaign who would do such a thing, and I would deplore anyone doing so.
Laura Jo Severson
San Juan Island
Dear Laura Jo:
I’m not sure you understand that my registered letter to you regarding campaign contributions is required by law. Dozens of generous contributors have supported my re-election effort and the total has now exceeded the $5,000 threshold at which reporting rules change and notification to opponents is mandated.
Campaign contributions are an expression of confidence in a candidate and I am most grateful to everyone who has donated to ensure that I may continue serving the Second District. I would not discourage this kindness and I am very glad to have it.
Fortunately, this great country encourages our freedoms as candidates in reaching out to voters in a variety of ways. One means of publicizing a campaign is signs. The law allows larger signs than I am using and more of them. You have only recently moved to the Island so may not have seen the numbers of signs we’ve had in the past during the election season, but there have been a lot of them - erected briefly and taken down as soon as elections are over- as mine will be.
During the recent primary, there were many signs but I don’t think you wrote “open letters” then, so it must be something about my signs that distresses you. There are lots of permanent signs on the roadways advertising various businesses. Do you want those removed too?
Our competition is not about signs. It is about making sound, reasoned decisions based on research, thought, and listening to residents. It is about distinguishing state mandates from alternative courses of action that also comply with our home rule charter, it is about resisting pressure to spend tax payer money unwisely, it is about all the issues facing San Juan County that candidates for public office must address, ideally with civility and reason.
I look forward to debating these issues with you.
County Council Member
District 2, SJC
Thank you for your Registered Letter informing me that you are changing your Campaign Spending requirements from the informal, under $5000 to the comprehensive, to the comprehensive, over $5000 category.
I would like to ask you to reconsider. We already are at the point of spending over $4.00 per registered voter on this campaign. Instead, we need to be discussing pressing issues one-to-one with the voters and listening to what they have to say. We live in a district of educated, informed and concerned constituents. They understand issues and will vote based on qualifications and positions, not the number of road signs or the size of newspaper ads.
The voters with whom I have spoken are concerned about solving the solid waste problem, the near death of the Farmer’s Market, the County‘s compliance with State environmental regulations and how we will balance the County budget while maintaining services. They see the need for the county to respond to its citizens’ advisory boards and respect the wishes of its voters. Also, many have told me that they want to see the County government take a proactive role in promoting sustainable economic development to help reduce unemployment and support local businesses.
You do not have to compete with me for road signs. I have decided to not use them because I do not like to see the beautiful landscape marred by their presence. I will continue to focus on making individual, personal contact with the residents of District 2.
Laura Jo Severson