Letters to Editor
To Contact the Editor
Sunday, July 31st
Ben White the Dad
I have always explained Ben to my friends as the only full-time activist since the sixties that I know. I have always envied and respected Ben doing whatever it took to follow his convictions all of which I agreed with, but didn't have the courage myself to give up "all else" to try to help talk some sense into the world.
I have to admit, I was critical of Ben leaving his children so much for the "fight", even though they were always left with wonderful caring families here on San Juan Island. His last trip to Mexico, however, changed my mind. He came home very sick, but the first words out of his mouth when I asked him how the trip went were, "I fell in love with my son." You see, he always tried to have his children join him on his travels. He showed them the world and opened their minds to many different cultures, economies and issues not just the ones in our neighborhood. His children, Julia, 19, and Ben, soon to be 16, have become amazing young adults. They are totally different. I think Julia will continue the passionate fight. Ben definitely has potential of becoming a major leader in our times in bringing consensus among those that are so close to agreeing but just need the right mediator in pointing out the obvious. He has gained incredible diplomacy and has an amazing understanding of how things truly work in this world.
If you want to do something for Ben, support his children. You'll see them in the community for at least another few years, and I think you just may hear of them for many years to come. Ben gave them more in his way too short years then any other parent I have ever known.
Finally, I cannot help but believe that the invasions on our natural environment which flow through to our bodies the issues Ben fought so hard for is what killed him killed my Husband killed my Father etc. etc. Too many people are still dying of cancer.
Friday, July 29th
Apologizes For The Confusion...However...
I want to apologize for the confusion our committee gave the public about the LaFarge donation. We simply took the original commitment letter from LaFarge at its face value. On 8/31/04 LaFarge wrote and pledged, "
to supply any non manufactured sand or gravel which may assist you..
.." We are now told the only commitment is a verbal commitment and it is for 1000 to 1500 yards.
In attending the Board meeting on Wednesday, I was dismayed at the Board's choice to make a decision without hearing the full input from those who wished to speak. I was cut off from my 12 minute presentation, even though I had about 300 petition signatures to give them. I also gave them letters from others. Sad to say, but their minds were made up before we got there. They did not read any of the letters, or even look at the petitions prior to their decision. They are tired, frustrated, and feel they have heard it all, as noted by their not allowing Don Galt to respond to the presentation by Mr. Soltman.
However, what struck me the most was the cavalier attitude toward risking losing some ball field commitments. That attitude helps explain why the $651,064, received as matching funds for the fields or development of the Carter Street property, ended up being spent over the years on other items. One Board member said, "Its only 7% of the fill. Let's not worry about it." I was also struck by the arbitrary way the Board controlled the speakers, and the reluctance to hear all the facts. For example, at one point the Board took a statement from a person (who had already spoken) about a fence requirement and its costs. Don Galt asked if he could respond. He was told he could not. The Board was left with false information about the fence from that speaker.
The Board made it clear that they want the CUP, the funds, and everything else in place before the ball field project starts. Their fear is that it will cost too much to develop. If the Board and the neighborhood group have their way, it will be a long time before anything starts. We have the plans and specifications in place. Over $30,000 in planning and surveying have been done and paid for. Moving ahead a stitch at a time, or as way opens, would be the fastest, most successful and inexpensive way to complete the fields. As each stitch was completed and as the community invested their time and energy, they would become more excited, encouraged and invigorated. This would be a real boost to the fund raising. To demand to have the CUP, funds etc first makes it more difficult and causes more delay in getting the fields done. The perception the Board gives is the same as Mr. Soltman's statement at the June public meeting: After Mr. Soltman said the District had no funds for the fields, he went on to say, "Furthermore, it was emphasized at that time that the schools had no need for additional fields which is still the case and that it was due to the community's needs that we agreed to engage in the process." This attitude is not helpful, and it is contrary to all the testimony at the June public meeting. The school and the community need these fields.
I am also sorry the Board chose not to respond to the two past School Board members who spoke. Dave Eden pointed out how conservative and pessimistic Mr. Soltman's presentation was. Dave Eden advised the Board to have more faith and to be positive. He recommended the Board complete the grading permit. Sharon Kivisto asked what harm would be done in moving ahead now. She too, advised moving ahead with the grading permit.
We are inviting some of the Board members to meet with us next Thursday, to answer some questions. We hope they will give us the same courtesy they gave the opposition.
Letter On "So Who Needs A Committee" Dialog
You and Joanruth did attend the same meeting "So Who Needs A Committee Anyway?". You just observed it from very different points of view. You've explained your point of view in your response. Joanruth explained hers in her signature. She saw it from a "(Yes, Public Works)" point of view. From that vantage point the meeting was a great success. Public Works was essentially given control of drafting the ordinance that controls its expansion and operation. It is very much like the fox getting to guard the hen house. The citizen was relegated to a sideline observer/commenter role instead of an active participant.
The BOCC missed a big opportunity here. It had enough applicants to form a viable Citizens Advisory Committee. It could have included all those who expressed interest in working on this issue. And, it could have truly provided for the Public Process recommended by the consultant. Regrettably, they chose to minimize that process. County staff will draft the changes under the direction of present and former Public Works employees. These changes will then be presented for comment through the Planning Commission. We have come full circle. The previous failure of this approach is one reason a consultant was hired in the first place.
The question is if "all three commissioners called the applicants intelligent, well qualified applicants", why did the BOCC reject the applications it had solicited? Joanruth is right. This is an important project. Therefore, it is more important to do it correctly than quickly. I have asked that the BOCC reconsider its decision.
(Editor's Note: Dr. Clarke was one of applicants
for the for the Citizens Advisory Committee)
Click on link below right to read the Joanruth Letter:
Strong Enthusiasm for Bob Myhr for BOCC
I am writing to express my support and strong enthusiasm for Bob Myhr for
San Juan County Commissioner, District 3.
I first met Bob in he early 80's when he began to direct the fledgling San
Juan Preservation Trust. His ability to hold a broad vision and carefully
execute all the small steps needed to accomplish that vision earned my
full respect. His work with the San Juan Preservation Trust has achieved
a level of preservation and conservation in San Juan County I would not
have believed possible 24 years ago. Through that time he has exhibited
strong management skills and the ability to work with diverse groups
throughout the county.
I worked with Bob as a member of the Friends of Chadwick. Our efforts
began as an attempt to keep 120 acres of Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) forest on the north side of Chadwick Hill on S.E. Lopez from being
harvested. This area was important to Lopez Islanders as it adjoined
Chadwick Hill, a hiking destination on private property that afforded
Bob's contacts at the national level with the Trust for Public Land, The
Wilderness Society and U. S. House of Representatives and
Senate provided the key to what has evolved into the Chadwick Point
Colville Preserve. He returned from a trip to Washington DC and announced
that we did not have a large enough vision. We needed to express our
dream in words and photographs. We did, and over a period of 15 years 400+
acres of land, representing nearly all the ecologic and geologic features
of the San Juan Archipelago in one compact area, have been preserved.
Bob was also instrumental in placing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Area of Critical Environmental Concern management designations on the
Chadwick Point Colville Preserve and Iceberg Point. This designation
insures strong and protective management of these sensitive lands. With
Bob?s help the Lopez community has developed a good working relationship
with the BLM throughout the county.
Bob's resume is full of solid accomplishment and speaks for itself. On
Lopez and throughout the county Bob is know for his integrity and for
effective, straight forward leadership. It is worth noting that in this
county, it is rare to find someone who has been so involved for so many
years and received so little, if any, bad press!
Thursday, July 28th
Reader Critical of Story on BOCC
In regard to your reporting of the EPF "So Who Needs A Committee Anyway?" meeting yesterday at the BOCC, I'm not sure we attended the same meeting. You report a wanton disregard for public opinion, a casual discarding of the opportunity to form a committee; I watched both the CDPD and the Board agonize for over 20 minutes about the lack of response to their months of calls for a public committee. Your headline "So Who Needs a Committee Anyway?" misleads your readers, omitting 20 minutes of discussion about the desire to have a committee but the ineffectualness of going forward with one so small and non-representative. It also omits the reasons for the quotes you took out of context that the project has been delayed for over 5 months while trying to get an effective committee together. You leave out the reason there was concern about delaying even further on such an important project. You offer quotes that seem to denigrate citizen input but left out the quotes where all three commissioners called the applicants intelligent, well qualified applicants.
This is what I heard. I hope you will share this reporting of the meeting with your readers.
(Yes, Public Works)
An Editorial Response by The Island Guardian:
With respect to the "non-representative" excuse for not appointing, Baumann is correct in stating there were no applicants from Lopez or Shaw. Also none from a number of other islands. The Board stated they wanted 9 to 15 committee members. The Board had seven to appoint. Miller started off with saying they would appoint only five of the seven. In the end they appointed none.
Seven can be a very effective number (that is how many were on the UDC committee that wrote all of the regulations for the Uniform Development Code).
The applicants were:
King Fitch, Representing the Town of Friday Harbor;
Teri Williams, Beatrice Von Tobel, Mike Stolmeier and Fred Klein from Orcas;
Jim Slocomb and Dr. Chris Clarke from San Juan.
Based on 30+ years experience in San Juan County, and knowing the applicants, and having worked on committees and boards with a number of them, we maintain that the balance, the representational abilities of the group, would be hard to match.
We have been involved with County government in one form or another for decades now, and in the last two or three years (that goes back to the last BOCC) we have seen a continuing sliding away from the BOCC asking for citizen involvement in Board actions, or asking the opinion of those that may be effected by Board decisions. Last Tuesday's actions by the BOCC is but another example of this: it is hard to buy the explanation or excuses that Miller and Ranker used for not appointing those experienced and hard working applicants. Others disagree with that assessment, while others do agree. And so it will always be.
Tuesday, July 19th
Appoint Bob Myhr To Fill Vacancy On The BOCC.
Board of County Commissioners:
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Having worked with Bob Myhr over the years both in the Lopez LIONS Club and within the Lopez community I am very impressed with him as a man who evidences a mature work ethic and a finely developed sense of fiscal responsibility. Additionally he is efficient, extremely competent and has excellent rapport with people on all the islands.
I am requesting that you appoint Bob Myhr to fill the current vacancy on the BOCC. He is organized, dedicated and a man committed to fulfilling his goals and responsibilities. He would assume this BOCC role in a desire to serve the community not to advance his personal objectives.
His participation on several countywide committees, along with service on the board of Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, has given Bob Myhr experience in working on issues of countywide significance. As a result of those roles you will find him to be experienced in County operations and issues. You may already then be aware from the work he has done in the past that his efforts have benefited both the county as a whole and Lopez in particular. I am confident that like me, you and others have found him to be thoughtful; well considered and deliberate in his decision making.
You can count on Bob Myhr to be an asset in the position of Commissioner as his ethical accountability and willingness to contribute to his community will support the reputation and efficacies of the BOCC.
Bob Myhr, with his wife Joyce, has lived at David Head on Lopez Island for over 20 years and has been a property owner in the San Juan's since 1967. Bob currently serves on the Board of the Davis Head Homeowners' Association where he has volunteered to manage the homeowners' association water system for many years and also is serving on the Boards of the Lopez Lions Club (as Treasurer), Lopez Library, and San Juan Islands Audubon Society.
Some of Bob Myhr's Active Involvement in the Lopez Community:
Ψ Active participant in the successful effort to Ban Jet Skis from our waters (1997-1998)
Ψ Created the ongoing Nature Lecture Series on Lopez in 1988 that lasted until 2001
Ψ Worked on Lopez Village Design Workshop and plan for Lopez Village Road (1991-1992)--resulting in new road plan, crosswalks, trees, and swales
Ψ Member of the original District and Steering Committees of the Comprehensive Plan representing Lopez and appointed by the BOCC (1993-1995)
Ψ Worked closely with the Bill Family to establish Sally's Garden and create its plan for conservation easement as Village open space and ultimate transfer to LCCA (2000)
Ψ A member of the Friends of Chadwick with successful efforts of making the natural landmarks of southeast Lopez--Iceberg, Point Colville, Watmough, and Chadwick Hill--into protected ACECs with the BLM, including extensive lobbying (1989-2000)
Ψ Volunteer at Lopez Library for over 20 years and currently a BOCC-appointed Trustee
Ψ Worked closely with Dennis Shaffer of the Land Bank on the strategy and tactics for the Upright Head and Fisherman Bay Spit acquisitions by the Land Bank on Lopez
Ψ Member of Lions Club (Treasurer); Trustee and volunteer, Lopez Library; supporter of Historical Society, Hospice, Community Land Trust, Catherine Washburn, Senior Center.
Don & Susan E. Campbell
Lopez Island, WA 98261-8628
We Support For Bob Myhr For Commissioner
Dear Commissioners Rankin and Lichter:
We urge you to appoint Bob Myhr to fill the vacancy on the Board of County
Bob has the experience, ability, and dedication that will make him an
excellent Commissioner. He will do an outstanding job for the County.
Very briefly, Bob's attributes include:
. Learns quickly and already knows our community well, both District 3
and all of the islands, through his work with the Preservation Trust and
. Is a fiscal conservative. He has supervised balanced budgets in both
the private and non-profit sector.
. Understands the government planning process. He served on the
Comprehensive Plan Committees, initiated the Open Space and Conservation
Plan, and helped create the Land Bank.
. Been a strong advocate, in person, at state and national levels for
projects in the San Juans, i.e. ACEC status for Watmough and Chadwick on
southeast Lopez and Turn Point on Stuart Island, and BPA submarine
electric cable from the mainland.
. Dedicated to the preservation of our natural environment and the
quality of island life for the benefit of all citizens.
. Supports economic development that sustains our farming, forestry, and
marine industries and encourages business appropriate for the islands.
. Is a listener, works well with others, and is always open to diverse
opinions from persons of all walks of life. His is a person of integrity.
By appointing Bob Myhr, you will have a colleague who will work well with
you in meeting the challenges of county government.
Thank you for your consideration.
David And Cherill Perera
Enoch Weighs In On Ball Fields
I have read with interest some recent letters to the editor regarding
the land that was purchased as part of the school district bond measure
that was approved by the voters when I was superintendent. I have
attempted to stay out of the fray as I believe once a superintendent
leaves a district their involvement should only be at the request of the
district if they need assistance.
Because the recent letters have included derogatory and hurtful comments
about what occurred and what did not occur, I have decided to try to
shed some light on the matter. I've also decided to write this letter
because no one has had the courtesy to just call me up and talk with me
about the matter.
1. There was no secret agreement with anyone regarding access to the
land. Indeed, I believe you should be able to still find maps that were
widely distributed at several Board meetings, study sessions and many
public presentations, created by our architects that showed several
access points and a possible footprint of where the school and fields
were to be situated on the land.
2. There were indeed several meetings that included an acknowledgment
that Larson Street is of such poor quality and narrow width that the
off-site improvement costs made it impractical for it to become a major
access route for buses and cars. These meetings sometimes included
Board members and sometimes did not. We always acknowledged that this
was an issue for the Town of Friday Harbor. They have been seemingly
unwilling to make the road the arterial that it is slated to become.
It is a Catch 22 for the school district----until the Town improves the
road, it is basically impossible to use it as a major access route for
the school property, unless the school district is prepared to pay for
3. I do not remember the same level of concern regarding Carter Street.
(Although it seems that no matter where an access point was proposed
there was most likely some local resistance.) There may have some
concern about access off Carter because of the location of the retention
pond, but I am not certain. As I recall, this street has been improved
near the apartment complex, while other sections are still quite narrow
without sidewalks. Am I correct?
4. A few Village Grove folks expressed some concern about access
through their development, but I believe every map still showed us using
one or both of their access points to get onto the land. These maps
were developed by an engineering and land development firm that was
contracted by the school district. They should still exist somewhere.
What I do know is that the district attempted to be good neighbors by
granting these homeowners a buffer of 50 feet (or was it 75 feet?) of
land between their homes and the school property. To hear about plat
restrictions is interesting. I was always under the impression that
these were public roads. Who granted the plat restrictions? Are these
5. I do not recall any specific discussions with Mr. Galt or the few
residents of Foxhall regarding limiting access through his development.
(There were very few people who lived in the development at that time.)
Don and I met often, but that had to do with the purchase of his land.
Again, I believe we assumed that these are public streets and that they
could be used for access if needed.
It seems that San Juan Island is not immune to the "not in my back yard"
phenomena that so many communities struggle with. It appears that is
what happened with the gravel pit park project and now is happening with
this project as well. Quite frankly, I would not blame the school
district for basically saying, ?forget it?. They are in the education
business, not the recreation business. (Remember, this land was
primarily for a future school site.) Perhaps the district should
consider selling the land to a home developer, which is what the land is
zoned for. Interest from the revenue of the sale could create a capital
improvement income stream for the school district. Perhaps the city or
the developer would step forward and include playing fields or a park as
part of development?
I hope this information is helpful as the community works to resolve
issues and to meet the needs of students. I have confidence that the
community of San Juan Island can come together and make decisions that
support their public schools, while also supporting kids, their
families, and the quality of island life by providing needed athletic
Friday, July 15th
Concerns on 4th of July Fireworks Safety
July 11, 2005
This letter is written to ask for some help from your office in regards to what transpired from July 2 to July 5, 2005.
I live in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. I have 27 years of service with the Sacramento Fire Department as a professional firefighter so I feel I should know a little bit of what I am talking about.
My property basically borders Roche Harbor Resort so I am quite concerned as to what has gone on here in the past few years. Let me also state I am not alone. A number of my neighbors are concerned as well. Since "legal" fireworks are associated with the celebration of 4th of July I would expect to be exposed to them. What has gone on this year is absolutely gross negligence on Roche Harbor's part. In the enclosed flyer you will read that a person can go to Roche Harbor to set off their "legal" fireworks. What the flyer doesn't tell you is that you could set off any kind of fireworks, legal or illegal, since there is no security to overlook the process! The Harbor and surrounding neighborhood is in a forested area. The fire department is of volunteers and the closest unmanned fire station is close to being closed since there aren't enough volunteers to man the equipment.
Since the law states "legal" fireworks can be displayed on the 4th then I would expect a reputable resort to go by the law instead of ignoring it! I observed bottle rockets, Roman candles, firecrackers, M80's and numerous other "illegal" fireworks including large sky rockets, other than their professional display, all being set off on Roche Harbor property!! Their flyer states that you can use their pool beach for personal fireworks. I personally observed fireworks being set off in the forest and various locations all within their property! This went on from early morning of the 2nd to the morning of the 5th of July all without supervision and no security to help stop violators! It was pretty obvious to me that this type of action was condoned by Roche Harbor.
The tourists that had come here for the holiday were obviously under the assumption that this was a "free zone" for illegal fireworks. You have to also understand that the harbor is packed with tourists and boats on the 4th. I would guess that there is close to 200, or more, boats all moored to Roche's docks and other boats moored on their own. There are numerous boats that carry well over a 1000 gallons of fuel that are all exposed to these hazardous activities. You will also have to understand that once a fire breaks out here in San Juan Island that there will be no stopping it, since we really have no fire protection. This is an all too dangerous activity, since there is a great possibility that there will be fatalities if a fire should happen. We live in a area of no fire hydrants and yet we, as a neighborhood, are exposed to the going's on of Roche Harbor. Obviously they don't care!
I am asking for help from your office to please look into this matter before it is too late. Please reply to this serious matter as soon as possible. Thank you.
Daryl and Vicki Boulton
350 Afterglow Drive
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
cc: State Fire Marshall, Mount Vernon, Wa.
Fire Chief, Friday Harbor, Wa.
Brent Snow General Manager Roche Harbor
Roche Harbor Neighborhood Association
Commissioners San Juan Island
The Island Guardian
San Juan Journal Newspaper
Monday, July 11th
Penwell & Galt Are Leaving Out Key Issue
Both Mr. Penwell and Mr. Galt are leaving out the key issue that brought our "emotional" presentation to the school board:
We firmly believe that if Mr. Galt is allowed to put in a "temporary" entrance to the ball fields at the corner of Larson and Carter, (and run in one or two hundred loads of material this summer through our narrow child-filled streets) that that entrance will become permanent. All other possible (and more appropriate) entrances have been written out of any solution. Those other neighborhoods have been "protected" by the developers who sold the land to the schools.
Of course we want to get together with anyone proposing a reasonable solution. This is the 2nd time that needed ball fields have been planned on this island without prior negotiations with the neighborhoods that would be heavily impacted. Surely we should all learn from this.
Regards, Lee Sturdivant
Letter to The Editor & Survey Questions on SJI Ball Fields
By Frank Penwell
My first involvement with the ball field issue was to go to the June meeting. At that meeting I said, "The athletic fields are being supported at the grass roots level. It is something that would not be possible if it were not for thousands of dollars of volunteer money and labor being offered to make it happen. Since the district is currently in such a financial bind, this is an opportunity the district cannot afford to pass up." I listened to the community have its discussion about the ball field needs and I also heard a willingness of the neighbors to let the stockpiling of materials begin. I believe all supporters of the fields left the meeting feeling the Board supported the community need for a field, and that the neighbors agreed to let material stockpiling begin. However, that turned out not to be the case. Lee Sturdivant led a group into the next School Board meeting. It was a very emotional and intense meeting with no supporters of the ballfield in attendance. An individual who was there on another issue said to me, "I would not want to be a Board member and have to take the abuse they do from groups like that" (referring to the group led by Lee Strudivant). What troubles me most is the fact that Lee and her group misled the proponents at the June meeting into believing they would not oppose the hauling of fill. In fact, Lee Strurdivant wrote a letter to the Town of Friday Harbor stating, "Do we need to get an attorney on this?" Mike Bertrand, of the Town of F. H., responded by saying that the school has a legal right to use the roads. He also wrote, "I am surprised that you are opposed to going ahead with the clearing and grading permit since at the public meeting two weeks back you stood up and stated that you would not oppose the hauling of material from the gravel pit to this site"
While I am troubled by the lack of candor, I do not think it is on purpose. I think it is more a case of selective hearing and wishful thinking. How we solve our differences are what is important. I am interested in helping find what is fair and to help the community work toward building a consensus in a timely manner. The taxpayers should not lose thousands of dollars in donated materials and labor to benefit the few while denying the majority. This issue is not rocket science. I am collecting information in the form of a survey. Please have everyone you know fill it out and send it in. I will share the results with the School Board. The Board needs to pass the next levy. They cannot afford to displease the majority of voters, or to be fiscally irresponsible by letting large sums of grass roots donations fall by the wayside.
In an effort to help the community build a consensus, I am asking for volunteers from both groups to join in a committee to work on forming a consensus and maybe finding a way to limit the impacts this growth will have on the ballfield neighborhood. The committee members must be willing to be open, honest, tolerant and willing to move ahead in a timely manner. We will share all information with the School Board. I would like to personally ask David Eden to be the chair of this committee. He has been a School Board member and he has had experience with tough, emotional discussions. If you can help by being on this committee, please phone me at 378-6473. I would like to schedule the first meeting on July 14th.
For those of you who have no knowledge of what has or is going on regarding the ball fields, I have reviewed a lot of documents on this issue and below are some of the historical facts I have found:
1997 the voters of San Juan passed an 11.5 million dollar capital improvement bond to modernize the schools and to purchase 30 acres for future development of a high school and athletic fields.
In 2000 Hart Pacific Engineering provided preliminary engineering services for development of the fields. A projected field opening date was to be in 2002 or 2003.
In 2001 the District became a partner in the gravel pit project and put the planned fields on hold.
In 2003 the Gravel pit levy failed.
In 2004 Don Galt, President, Friday Harbor Athletic Association, asked the District to let volunteer time and money finish the promised athletic fields. The Board emphasized they had no money to devote to the project, and they had no immediate need for additional fields. Some of these comments were met with comments and confusion from the public about the District's past comments and commitments to co curricular activities, and how our fields compared to other districts fields, as well as how academics are affected by co curricular activities.
A coalition of community groups (Island Rec, the Town of Friday Harbor, Little League, Lacrosse, San Juan Soccer, Tiger Football, and a multitude of adult users of softball, soccer, ultimate frizbee, etc), helped the District come to a consensus regarding field specifications for the user groups.
Prior to the June 16th Board meeting for public input, a letter was sent to the School Board from Steve Enoch and Cal Johnson. It stated that they had more questions than answers regarding what they read as statements attributed to them by Lee Sturdivant. They denied the factual basis of Lee Sturdivant's comments, and the School Board records support Steve's and Cal's recollection about the history of the property and roads.
On June 16th the Board held a community meeting to get input from the public. The Board wanted answers to two questions: 1.) How much does the community want additional athletic fields? This comment was clearly and quickly answered when after testimony from many coaches, parents, students and users of the current fields testified. The audience was then asked if anyone felt we did not want or need the fields. No one stood up to dispute the need and desire to have fields. 2.) How much can we resolve the issues about access? At the start of this question the District stated, "
we simply cannot afford to become embroiled in neighborhood controversies about the development of athletic fields." The translation to this is that they have a Bond levy that needs to pass and they want all the votes they can get. However, if the School Board does not act in the affirmative to the majority of citizens, or it does not recognize the importance of these fields to the quality of our educational and co curricular programs, then it will surely alienate and dishearten many citizens. It probably will lead to apathy and a very low voter turn out, or outright rejection of the next levy. It may also lead to replacement of several Board members at the next election. I am also a bit confused as to why the Board was even asking the second question about access. The District paid for an access study prior to purchase of the property, and the road plan has been on the Town of Friday Harbor plans since the 70s. The question should have been: How can we be good neighbors and help limit the impact on the residents?
Testimony and comments at the meeting included:
From Proponents: * Statements of the urgency of getting the donated materials for the fields, as the materials would not be available in a few months. * Many users of the current fields commented on the conditions of our fields and how they compared to other schools fields. * Many coaches commented about difficulties of scheduling and use of the fields. * Soccer parents commented about lack of fields and no available times, and no times before 7:00pm. * A student asked why our fields were so substandard to other school's fields. * The neighborhood opponents are putting their personal interests above community interests. * Several people pleaded with the opponents to work with the proponents by giving suggestions of how to make things work. * The opponents issues will be addressed at a CUP hearing, and that is where their testimony should be heard and considered. * All costs for the field construction and maintenance will be by private donations and billboard advertising, like at the Catholic Church site. * It will increase local property values.
From Opponents: * The roads cannot support the traffic. * I can't even imagine how trucks or buses can come down the roads. * It is dangerous because of how people speed and drive on the roads. * There is a drainage issue. * The school district cannot afford the costs of the fields or maintenance of the fields. * Lee Sturdivant stated that she was lied to by Steve Enoch. (Comments from the Board stated there was no record of Steve making promises that she has attributed to him, and Steve Enoch stated he had no reason to make such a comment.) * The neighborhood simply cannot support the traffic. * Find another access into the site, our street access is not an option. * It will lower our property values. How will they deal with the lighting of the fields?
The School Board then held a Board meeting in early July, wherein no proponents showed up and a bunch of opponents to the Ball fields appeared and gave very emotional input.
On 7/10/05, I heard about how the emotional plea swayed the Board on its decision not to move forward with the hauling of materials. I feel the actions of the Board revolved around trying not to offend anyone, because of political worry about the next levy. From what I hear now, I feel the upcoming levy will fail unless a consensus is reached, or the majority get what they want. With that I am offering my services to help gather together the opposing groups. It is important that everyone becomes educated on the issue and rights each group has, and to come to a resolution in a timely manner that will not endanger the loss of the donated labor and materials. If you are a proponent or opponent and want to be heard, please volunteer to be on our committee. Call 378-6473.
Sincerely, Frank Penwell : )
Please circle Yes or No for each opinion.
Count my opinion, but keep my identity private and confidential Yes No
It is OK to share my identity and my opinions. Yes No
I vote at most elections. Yes No
I favor putting in the Ballfield materials on site right away. Yes No
I favor holding back on placing the ballfield material on site. Yes No
I am for putting in a ballfield. Yes No
I am against putting in a ballfield. Yes No
I want to have progress reports emailed to me at:
Please return this survey to: Frank Penwell, 545 Rose Court, F. H.
Phone: 378-6473 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Make any comments or suggestions below: