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Home » Archives » February 2012 » Councilman Peterson Responds To Guest Column

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02/14/2012: "Councilman Peterson Responds To Guest Column"


(02-13-12))
Dear Editor:

Response to Alex Macleod’s Guest Column.
Alex Macleod’s guest column expressing his continuing frustration with the County Council now blames the Charter for being partly at fault. I don’t disagree with all of his statements but believe he is way off base in blaming the Charter for various problems we are facing.

• It is his perception that we have been “meddling” with the Fair Board and the Ferry Advisory Committee. If true (and I disagree) it is a person problem, not a government organization problem.

• He takes the Council to task for our “endless dithering on solid waste,” “ultimately sent back to the voters to resolve.” The “dithering” originated decades ago with the Board of County Commissioners, who did not have a funding structure in place, bought expensive property, and allowed the destruction of the San Juan Island tipping floor roof, causing major compliance challenges.

It was appropriate to send the funding question to the voters. It is called a “Home Rule” Charter. The solid waste solution will be put in place this year.

• His criticism of our alleged failure to “attend in any meaningful way” to ferry service seems to blame the Charter for lack of ferry funding rather than the recession and Initiative 695 (which reduced ferry funding by 50%) passed 12 years ago.

I agree with some of his criticism of the CAO process and what he perceives to be the likely outcome, but if he has specific, focused suggestions on how we might be more effective, I’m sure they would be welcomed and considered.

It was the BOCC that approved our county’s entry into the Growth Management Act, which requires the CAO updates. Had they attended to the requirements on time, the updates would have been completed in 2005.

The CAO update is just one of many legacy problems left over from the BOCC that we have either completed or are well on our way under the Charter structure.

Blaming the Charter for his litany of complaints is misdirected. Ultimately, it is the people who are elected who will make a governance structure work (or not).

In my opinion, the Council is making steady progress in providing effective governance under trying economic conditions.

Rich Peterson,
San Juan County Council Member, Second District, San Juan Island


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