11/08/2010: "A Victory For Non-Partisanship"
The Council District #2 voters have spoken, and they’ve re-elected Rich Peterson.
Challenger Laura Jo Severson’s endorsement letters and her campaign website made every effort to exploit our island’s largely Democratic majority for partisan advantage. While this strategy was understandable, the fact is our Home Rule Charter clearly requires all elected races to be non-partisan. Old habits die hard.
So even though our island voted almost 2-1 for Democrats in Congress and Senate races, we nevertheless voted to re-elect the more conservative candidate. Why?
At the end of the day, it’s not about Party labels; it’s about local issues.
Depending upon one’s point of view, Peterson’s vote against the Land Bank/Farmer’s Market funding was either a courageous decision demonstrating prudent fiscal restraint in uncertain economic times or a betrayal of process and precedent. His decision clearly cost him hundred of votes.
On the other hand, many District 2 voters have been extremely concerned about the CAO review for shoreline setbacks and wetland buffers, and were convinced that Rich understood the need for balancing environmental protections with the rights of property owners. The unintended consequences resulting from waterfront and wetland adjacent homes becoming classified as “non-conforming” is too significant to ignore. Most voters also applauded his leadership in expanding cell phone coverage.
We collectively weighed these issues and made our choice. Congratulations, Rich!
San Juan Island
(Mr. Bailey is a former Freeholder -Ed)