Letters to Editor
To Contact the Editor
Thursday, March 26th
Save Mitchell Hill
Several years ago, concerned San Juan Island citizens banded together to urge the National Park Service to “save Mitchell Hill” by adding this beautiful acreage to the adjacent English Camp unit of San Juan Island National Historical Park. Wheels of government turn slowly, but we are now on the verge of seeing this 320-acre recreational jewel protected from development forever.
The U.S. Congress is now considering the 2010 federal budget. Among the budget items under discussion for the Interior Department, which has jurisdiction over national parks, is funding for the acquisition of Mitchell Hill from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. As DNR’s land sales are used to support public schools, this sale would have multiple benefits for the State of Washington.
I urge everyone to add their voices to the many encouraging Congress to authorize this funding. Please write our Rep. Rick Larsen, Washington’s 2nd Congressional District, 108 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. Or you can email Rep. Larsen through his website at www.house.gov/larsen/contact.
Please also contact Rep. Norm Dicks, Washington’s 6th Congressional District, who chairs the appropriations sub-committee responsible for the Interior Department. You can write Rep. Dicks at 2467 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515. He does not have an email address for those not living in his district.
Please tell Rep. Larsen and Rep. Dicks how important it is to our community to preserve this cultural and recreational asset by including the necessary funding in the 2010 appropriations bill for the Interior Department.
San Juan Island Trails Committee
Tuesday, March 24th
Letter On Affordable Housing
To the County Council:
The County’s Housing element is severely lacking in encouraging private sector participation. Efforts to encourage private participation have been sidelined. In the bank crisis, the Federal government has recognized the important role private sector investors and a free market plays in solving the problem.
Much of the energy behind the plan has come from those who are unwilling or unable to consider any solutions not government directed and funded by taxpayers. Their direction has been to seek authority from the Council to force current residents and a broad category of taxpayers to provide the future housing needs.
CREATION OF A LOCAL INDEPENDENT HOUSING AUTHORITY
An independent local housing authority has significant power, including the power of condemnation. This should concern the Council and our citizens.
To the County Council:
When a Housing Authority accepts Federal and State funds, there is little or no local control as to who actually gets the housing. Housing is available to anyone from anywhere who wishes to apply. We could find ourselves importing folks who think they would rather have their government housing provided in the islands than in a mainland city. This should concern the Council and our citizens.
The resources available for a Housing Authority are primarily directed toward very low or low income folks; those currently served by our non-profit housing organizations. A Housing Authority is generally not able to use public funds to address the housing needs of middle income working families such as County employees, OPALCO workers or those employed in the trades. This should concern the Council and our citizens.
Proponents believe that new taxes and fees can provide money for their projects. Increased fees and taxes will be opposed by local citizens in the current economic environment. This should concern the Council and our citizens.
HOME OWNERSHIP AND RENTALS
Home ownership is an earned responsibility, not a right. Ownership takes a certain amount of maturity, planning and savings. There are many people where rental is the most appropriate option. The County Housing Element should put more emphasis on the development of rental housing.
Summary: Collin has done a fine job. There is no doubt that appropriate, affordable and suitable housing is an important, well studied and well quantified local issue. A separate and independent Housing Authority could be problematic. More emphasis should be given to non-government funded solutions.
Relay For Life Kickoff
To the Editor:
The American Cancer Society has been an active member of Friday Harbor for many years, offering services and support to those battling cancer as well as lifesaving cancer information to the community. We continue our mission of eliminating cancer thanks to the help of generous volunteers and dedicated staff.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a community event in every sense of the word. It is a chance for the community to come together to celebrate those who have faced cancer, remember those lost, and empower everyone to fight back. Being a part of Relay For Life means being a part of a national grassroots movement to end cancer. Being a Relay For Life participant, means making life better for cancer survivors, patients, and their families.
We want you to be a part of Relay For Life this year! There are so many ways you can help. You can create your own team, join an existing team, volunteer at the Relay event, or donate to an existing team member. With the challenges of our day-to-day demands, time has become a precious commodity and many people are finding it more difficult to participate in community service. It is because of the community members who preceded us, however, that certain types of cancer are now highly treatable or even curable. With more help, we will continue to win the war.
The American Cancer Society needs your help now! Plans are under way for the annual fundraiser Relay for Life, held at the Friday Harbor High School Track on July 25-26, 2009, to support cutting-edge cancer research, help provide free transportation to hospitals, help prevent youth smoking, publish lifesaving literature, and develop a new generation of weapons to fight cancer.
Now is the time for individuals, families, organizations, schools, religious groups, corporations, and small businesses to build or join a team and help fight to reduce the burden of caner across America!
To sign up to participate or join a team, visit www.relayforlifeoffridayharbor.org .
Relay for Life 2009
Thursday, March 12th
Dragons Thank You
The San Juan Island Dragons Lacrosse Team would like to thank the community for all their support at our annual spaghetti fundraiser. The community once again came out in full force to support the youth in sports in this community.
Special thanks to the Masons for use of the Masonic Lodge, Kings Market and John McBride for their help with the food, Master spaghetti makers Lisa & Justin Johns, Barb Ellis, Arlene Taylor, Ryan Bennett, Belinda Hedin,Laurie Connelly and Chris Michaels. Dessert & Work auctioneer Jim Skoog.Thanks to Susan Williamson for help with shirt sales and Chris Brown and Printonyx for printing. Many thank also to Cindy Chevalier Sundberg for co-coordinating the fundraiser.
Thanks to all the players parents for the exceptional desserts made and bought. We achieved our financial goal thanks to the caring parents and community support. Thank You!
Rob Cuomo, Head Coach and all
Friday Harbor Dragons Lacrosse Players
Tuesday, March 10th
Letter To The Community From Michael Soltman
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
My appointment to the Vashon superintendency became official at last night's Vashon school board meeting. As you can imagine, the joy in living again with my sons in their last few years of high school helps to balance the sadness I contemplate in leaving you wonderful people in this amazing community. I have thrived professionally and personally here and have cherished the relationships we have built, the challenges we have faced, the progress we have made together, and the opportunities we have created for the children in our community. Thank you for these incredible seven years, for your trust, and for your partnership in serving our kids.
Our school board meets Thursday to plan for the future of leadership in our district. I applaud the foresight and leadership of our Board Chair, Boyd Pratt, and I'm confident that our board will act wisely and quickly to find a capable person to lead our district into the future. I'm sure that community, faculty and staff will have opportunities to provide thought and input into the selection process.
And, I'm here through June and there is much to be done over the next four months. We must implement our financial plan with flexibility to deal with any additional challenges. We must pursue a strategy to find alternative funding to support programs that can no longer be funded through the general fund. We must plan carefully to reorganize and restructure programs within the resources we have. And, we must maintain the integrity and excellence in our schools despite the current economic conditions by preserving our foundation in anticipation of better economic times ahead.
You have my continuing promise and commitment to apply all of my energy and focus to these challenges over the next several months.
Monday, March 9th
On my refrigerator is an excerpt from an Inuit song:
// “I think over again my small adventures, my fears. These
small ones that seemed so big. For all the vital things I had
to get and reach. And yet there is only one great thing, the
only thing. To live to see the great day that dawns and the
light that fills the world.”//
I thank the good people of San Juan Island and elsewhere
for their prayers and multifaceted support that allow me
to continue to experience the dawn.
Sincerely and with love,
San Juan Island
Friday, March 6th
LETTERS ON BUCK PROPERTY
--------------------------------------- Patience = Affordable Housing
To the Editor:
Our community needs affordable housing but the houses don't need to be built. They already exist. Patience is all that is required. If the housing market continues to slide at the current rate some very nice homes will be available cheap. We may find that people looking for an affordable home may prefer a view or perhaps even waterfront.
Anyone with a government job such as teachers, nurses (soon the entire health care industry), and county workers could potentially have many housing options to choose from as they replace the last few people employed in the private sector. Anyone who looks objectively at the present trend should be able to see the writing on the wall. When everyone is riding
on the wagon and nobody is pulling, the wagon stops moving.
San Juan Island
--------------------------------------- Buck Property = Affordable Housing
To the Editor:
An affordable home is one that can be purchased for around $140,000. The minimum income needed is about $48,000 / year which = $24/hour. A $200,000 home requires $69,000/year which = $34/hour.
How many homes do you see advertised for $200,000? How many homes do you see advertised for $140,000? Property prices in Town are much too high to build a 1400 sq. ft. 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home for anywhere close to $140,000! We need to attract families to live here! What is happening to school enrollment?
Do you want to live in a community without children and the vitality of their parents? People who buy a home are committed to the community. To attract teachers, nurses, firefighters, management, etc., and their families to our community, we must find a way to provide quality affordable housing for them to purchase.
Annexation of the Buck property is the only means that I know of to create that will always remain affordable so we don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel.
San Juan Island
---------------------------------------Buck Property Will Create Local Jobs
To the Editor:
Congratulations to all Friday Harbor employees and Home Trust representatives who have worked so hard recently to complete the development agreement on the Buck property. The agreement means that this property, after annexation by the town, will eventually provide both affordable and market rate housing.
An especially exciting aspect is that the Home Trust has already raised millions of dollars in grants and donations that can be put to work in our local economy, which has obviously slowed considerably. Let’s get this project going soon, and put local people to work!
Another exciting aspect is the introduction of sustainable, low-impact development, which will both protect the environment and people’s pocketbooks. No costs will be borne by existing town residents!
Hopefully, this project can now begin, putting some islanders back to work, spending big dollars in our local economy and leveraging this project into something worthwhile for all islanders. Yes!
Come and support this annexation at the public hearing on March 19,
5:30 pm at Mullis Community Center.