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Monday, January 18th

In Support Of SJI EMS Levy


Dear Editor,

As PeaceHealth’s project lead for the new San Juan Island hospital I’ve heard from dozens of islanders about SJI EMS. By all accounts your EMS is held in high regard for its expertise, quality of care and responsiveness.

I have also read about many real life stories of heroic, compassionate and at times life saving care provided by the EMTs and first responders. And I’m aware of national measures of performance for which the SJI EMS is rated amongst the very best in the country. To reach and maintain that level of peak performance your EMS requires professional, well trained and devoted staff, excellent and dedicated leadership and state of the art equipment. All of which require appropriate resources. That’s where your YES vote will make all the difference.

An outstanding EMS is critical for the life safety of island residents and it is essential for excellent ER and hospital care. I urge you to vote YES for the EMS levy.

Let’s keep the SJI EMS at its very best as we build to the future.
Sincerely,

Jim Barnhart

[link]


Funding Needed For Solid Waste?


"New Funding Needed For Solid Waste"? ...no problem! Sell the property the County Council bought for over $1,000,000 as a new transfer site without public consent or public hearings!

Use those funds to rebuild the present transfer site.

There is no point in holding on to that property as the decision has been made to keep the current location.

Helen King
San Juan Island

[link]


Saturday, January 16th

Theater Trumps Cause?


To the Editor:

Your piece about fledging Senator Kevin Ranker’s proposed “Marine Interagency Team” is at once sadly amusing and typical: see, the photo of Kevin, wearing a suit, powder blue tie in place, wading barefoot in some local tideland, does not elicit unquestioned support from me, whom I guess he represents; To me, it’s totally Hollywood, and contrived. Besides, from that angle, the coat is way too big!

Using a local photo op might be a worthy idea per se, but does anyone remember when presidential candidate Dukakis donned a tank commander’s helmet, or when Richard Nixon was photographed jogging on a SoCal beach, wearing a presidential blazer, all for theater?? Is it just me, or are we all watching the latest episode of a local politician being dragged away from us? Careful, Kevin, stay in touch!

And Kevin, please contact me, if you’re ever interested in feedback about your Interagency Team; I was a bureaucrat for longer than you’d believe, and I don’t feel particularly comfortable about this “spatial” thing. Can we talk? -

Carl Burger
Orcas Island


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Friday, January 15th

LETTER ON ROAD SIDE GARBAGE PICK-UP


Roadside trash collection means there will be roadside trash. Animals and wind will see to that. It also means there will be cans, bags, and some dumpsters out along the road, some cans for days before and/or after scheduled pickup, and dumpsters all the time.

So much for our “scenic highways”.

Because this is a small island, with Sutton Road near town, and we have relatively convenient self haul hours, most of us can make our dump runs an easy add on to a trip to town. It’s as if we have a civic improvement agreement-we haul our own trash so our roadsides aren’t lined with trash cans and bags, and are relatively free of litter (thanks also to Trash Masters and other volunteers).

Roadside trash collection will make things worse.

If self haul is really more expensive for the County, let’s try to find a way to make it more efficient and less expensive. Why not have a pre-paid or honor system for standard cans and bags and minimum loads? There’d be no reason for these vehicles to wait in line and cross the scales. (They don’t go to the tipping floor now.) Processing costs should be reduced. Wait times should be shorter.

If where you live can be served, at the house (not the road), by San Juan Sanitation, it probably makes sense to subscribe to their service. It’s pretty convenient, and it’s less expensive than paying the minimum charge at the transfer station.

Otherwise, let’s fix the problem and maintain convenient reasonably priced self haul-and keep trash off the road sides.

Please let the County Council know your views.

Allen Rosenberg
San Juan Island

[link]


Thursday, January 7th

"County Council Crafts Weapon Of Mass Destruction"


At the Jan. 5 County Council meeting the CC began writing one of the most potentially destructive bits of legislation ever. It’s a new "Essential Public Facilities" (EPF) Ordinance. Remember the days when people only needed air, water, food and shelter to live? Well now the CC thinks you need about twenty other things that are "essential," air, water, food and shelter ain’t even mentioned. It’s all about airports, roads, ferries, schools, equipment storage, the electrical grid, water systems, sewer systems, etc., etc. It makes you wonder how humans could have become the dominant species on this planet without all their "essential" stuff.

Here’s the destructive part: If the CC or any one with "influence" wants to bulldoze your house, or your neighborhood, or your island for something designated an EPF, pack up and move - cuz there’s no appeal process. Only thing you can do is go straight to Superior Court. Oh, haven’t got a spare $30,000? Sorry. Also, if they want something not on the EPF list they can add it, no problem.

That things like this can happen so easily in SJC illustrates how lopsided the power structure is here.

The things on the EPF list aren’t essential for residents - they’re essential for development. They’re essential for the real estate industry, the construction industry, local business, etc., in short, the growth industry. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. People and corporations in the growth field have every right, even a duty, to try to influence local government, that’s the way the game is played. The problem is, there is nobody on the other side.

There are more people in SJC who want to be a part of the landscape than those putting blots on the landscape. People who farm, garden, fish, make art. gather, who need quiet, clean air and water, low taxes. People living on pensions, social security, odd jobs, who can’t, as individuals, afford to go to court, hire lawyers, fund election campaigns or threaten the County government with lawsuits. Yelling man interrupts: "Hey! I’m talking to you! There’s more of you than them! You can organize! The powerful and privileged are scared of you! You can win! It’ll be fun! Oh dear, Oh dear, what am I saying! They’ll never do it, the lazy sods." Yelling man exits, weeping.

Now the good news. There is another public hearing on the EPF ordinance on Jan. 26. We can fix this.

EPFs that are proposed for areas where the zoning wouldn’t normally allow them should have to meet all the ten criteria of SJCC18.80.100 and administrative appeal process as would any conditional use.

Write a comment letter or show up on the 26th and make your comment in person. You can email me for more info.

Steve Ludwig
Lopez Island
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