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Wednesday, July 16th


---------------Professor says "it is a load of crap"---------------

Dear Sir:

The 15 July 2008 Victoria Times Colonist reported that Victoria's sewage disposal has become a potential political issue in the San Juans as it has done here. It is solely a political issue. There are no pressing scientific or engineering reasons (other than possible energy recovery) to object to our current treatment- discharge of finely screened effluent into deep, cold, fast flowing, well oxygenated, saline water, a natural primary treatment system. Combined with current and effective point source controls, the system is effective and adequate and does not pose a threat to the environment. Any solid waste appearing on San Juan beaches does not come from the Victoria sewage system, but probably from local sources, possibly from boaters.

Political perception based on ill-informed public opinion rather than science and engineering frequently determines the system of sewage treatment. Through the 1980s, some 32 Washington State sewage treatment plants in Puget Sound and in Juan de Fuca Strait (Port Angeles across from Victoria) applied tro the Environmental Protection Agency for discharge waivers under Section 301(h) of the US Federal Clean Water Act. The waivers would have permitted less stringent treatment where local conditions allowed. All petitions were denied, not on scientific grounds , but purely on a regulatory basis. Politics and bureaucracy, not science.

San Juan residents may be assured, sewage treatment is coming to Victoria. Our politicians scent votes in our sewage, they love spending money, and they love photo ops. However, in the mean time, don't worry about the sewage it's not doing any harm. Frankly, the whole fuss is a load of crap. After all, it's politics.

M.R. Barr
Chemistry Professor Emeritus
Royal Roads Military College
---------------Wholeheartedly Agrees!---------------


An article appeared in the Times Colonist, " Victoria's sewage raising a stink on San Juans" (July 15th). While I find it a bit of a stretch to assert that Victoria's sewage is arriving on your shores, as a Victoria resident, I wholeheartedly agree with the import of your article.

As you may be aware, our Premier Campbell originally mandated that Victoria provide secondary treatment for it's effluent. However following research investigations in Sweden , firstly privately by a local engineer and subsequently by representatives of both the Victoria Regional District comprising a number of Municipalities and The Provincial Government, it appears that there is agreement that we should provide the latest in tertiary treatment, which will virtually remove all offensive sewage material from entering the Juan de Fuca Straits, and will be far superior to secondary treatment.

This will involve the establishment of numerous small plants, scattered throughout the greater Victoria area. The planning and execution of this project is obviously very complex, and as a lay person, I fully understand that it will be several years before completion.

I believe that in spite of the time lapse this is a good decision and one that will not be deflected by groups who have a " do nothing " point of view. While there are obviously more serious forms of pollution of our waters, the health of the ocean is critical to it's many inhabitants.

David Shillington
---------------"Noting Can Be Done About It??"---------------


I'm a little confused by the County Council candidates saying "there's nothing we can do" about Victoria's/B.C.'s raw sewage discharge.

1. We can ask our Congressional representatives -- 2 Senators and our Representative -- to lobby our State Department to intercede with the Canadians concerning this issue. We can also ask our state representatives to lobby our Congressional representatives in the same vein. We do have an Embassy and Consulates in Canada, don't we? It wouldn't be the first time a squeaky wheel got some grease.

2. We can make this a state gubnatorial election issue by asking the Governor to issue an executive order directing the Washington State ferries NOT to sail to B.C. during the tourist season; this would have a direct economic impact on Victoria and B.C. It also would have a more tangible sub-benefit of providing an extra ferry for service in the San Juans or in the ferry system at-large, during a time when we're short 4 ferries.

3. Provided we can PROVE that we have been damaged by the discharge of raw sewage, we can sue the Victoria/B.C. government in a U.S. Court. It will be expensive and take years, but probably not longer than the current Canadian time-table of 2016. U.S. citizens have in the past sued the Cuban government in U.S. courts and have attached Cuban assets within the United States, so this idea is not so far-fetched as it might first appear. We obviously can also sue them in a Canadian court, if we choose. Proving "damage" is the key, however -- not merely proving "disgust."

4. International Law is a complicated but fascinating subject. Historically around the world, it is amazing what has from time-to-time been accomplished via law suits across international borders. Rather than simply responding "nothing can be done," at least one of the council candidates ought to be saying "we should do a little research and see what can be done..."

5. There may already be a bi-lateral (Canada and the U.S.) or multi-lateral treaty (think NAFTA here) forbidding one country from allow noxious substances from industry or government to affect a neighboring country. It doesn't take too much of a stretch to define "noxious" as including untreated sewage

John Chessell
San Juan Island
---------------(Editor's note: The following courtesy copy was sent to us by a reader from BC)---------------


I have just read the article in the Victoria Times Colonist regarding where your local election candidates were questioned on the sewage problems of Victoria and Vancouver.

I would like you to know that some of us Canadians also feel the same way. To tis end I have attached a copy of a letter I sent to the Globe and Mail newspaper over the very same topic. It appears to have fallen on deaf ears. However, feel free to quote any part of it if it will be of use to you.

I just thought you would appreciate other people having the same concerns.

Thank you
John Wood

Patrick Brathour - Bureau Chief
Globe and Mail,
750 Burrard Street, Suite 300
Vancouver, BC
V6Z 1X5

2010 Winter Olympic Host - B.C.’s Deteriorating Public Health Protection!

Dear Mr. Brathour,

Please take a moment and read the enclosed material as it throws light on some very questionable records for British Columbia. What started out to be a relatively insignificant incident in the larger scheme of things (though not for me personally - I own a $25,000 condemned, failed new septic system), now looks to be a part of a very large environmental pollution problem.

British Columbia - Canada’s winter Olympics host has a slew of reports that they would not like to be known. How safe is British Columbia with this sort of track record? What does it take for another polio epidemic to start or get established?

British Columbia likes to portray itself as the perfect pristine environment - “the best place on Earth”, as being the perfect place to hold the winter Olympic games. What British Columbia does not do is tell the world about their very questionable environmental record - which will eventually lead to this province becoming a very real public health concern. A public health concern that the world should know about given that a very large number of overseas visitors will be attending for the Olympic games and very little will be done to address the problem by the games due date. These visitors will continue to visit after the games and will continue to add further to the already overloaded sewerage problem. These visitors will only compound the situation and make it worse - please read the enclosed material and you will see why.

British Columbia’s Provincial Government (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment) is down playing the local situation and acting as if there are no serious problems. The apparent lack of concern by many people including the Provincial and Federal governments (in law and regulation enforcement) as noted in the Vancouver Sun story, shows just how bad the situation has become - and it will continue to grow while the governments of the day do nothing. Serious environmental damage is also being caused by outdated forestry practices, increase in mining, increased oil exploration etc. Sea, lake, river and water pollution in general, continues to be a major health concern. From local leaking septic systems contaminating ground water, to cities like Vancouver and Victoria pumping raw sewage out to sea. Most of the serious pollution in this province is preventable if the government is interested enough to be concerned and get involved. The government is supposed to ensure “Public Health Protection” but instead, it is illegally gambling with the well being of all British Columbians by failing to enforce the rules to prevent pollution.

I would ask that you (Globe and Mail newspaper) give some consideration to this problem as there needs to be full public awareness before things get out of hand. Public awareness will encourage/demand the government(s) to take action and do something to prevent serious, irreversible damage.

Finally, given that 2008 is the United Nations International Year of Sanitation, British Columbia’s record so far has been a disgrace and an embarrassment for Canada.

Yours truly,
John Wood
Encl. Vancouver Sun Story
Victoria Times Colonist Story
PG Citizen Story - J. Wood
- D. Redford
Coalition Ministerial Address
Canada Wide Survey
Nathan Cullen MP - letter to Victoria
Letter to George Abbott 220508


Thursday, July 3rd

Reader Responds To Smoking Story

To the Editor

Re: "Tobacco Costs to Employers and Employees"

I don't really see what the point of the 25 foot law is if it is not enforced. If you look at the front door to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the tavern, almost anywhere I see people standing right in front of the door smoking away.

My favorite is the people who set their lit cigarette next to the door while they go in and shop so they can recover it off the ground when they come back out.

25 feet has become a nominal 25 inches at most. I watched my mother die a horrible death, stuck in bed for 10 years thanks to smoking and I sucked in second hand smoke for the first 20 years of my life. If people want to smoke that is their choice - just don't make me or my children have to "enjoy" it with you.

From what I can tell the State leaves it up to local Health Departments to enforce the law. My questions would be how many citations have actually been issued in San Juan County since the law was passed? Has the County Health Department made a concerted effort on all islands to get signs posted about the law in places where violations are frequent - the signs are available from the State website?

Tom Tillman
Orcas island


Tuesday, July 1st


Good Reasons To Vote For Petersen!

To the Editor:

San Juan County is in a pickle, but here’s how you can help: Vote for Gordy Petersen for County Council!

I have personal knowledge of the interest Gordy has taken in the County and its governance. When I was pursuing the Stormwater Referendum, Gordy was at the County Council meetings participating and making his voice heard. Unlike his opponent who expects a paycheck for participation in community groups,* Gordy has, over the past 25 years, served on numerous uncompensated committees and boards that have played a huge part in shaping the way that we live here in the Islands.

Now Gordy is running for County Council for District 1. Gordy recognizes that San Juan County government is spending tax revenue at an unsustainable level that threatens our ability to afford homes and property on the Islands. Gordy recognizes that boilerplate ordinances and off-island regulations adopted by San Juan County create unnecessary and unsustainable roadblocks and financial hardship to Island residents. Gordy recognizes that a good relationship between the citizens and their local government cannot be sustained without openness and communication.

San Juan County has a challenging future. Vote for someone who has the common sense and experience to put our County on a sustainable path. I have learned more about Gordy and you can too by checking out his web site at

Thank you,
Alexandra Gavora

* Lovel Pratt has requested $35.00/hour for up to 80 hours per month [$16,800 every six months] for her time spent on the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild. -item number ‘5’ in minutes of June 3, 2008 Ag Guild meeting

Enthusiastic About Petersen!

To the Editor:

We are writing with our enthusiastic support of Gordy Peterson for county council. The following are just a few of the reasons we support Gordy.

1) Gordy has been a small business owner and employer in San Juan County for over twenty-five years and knows intimately what it takes to make ends meet in the islands. As a small business owner Gordy knows what it takes operate within a budget.

2) Gordy cares passionately about the livability of our island communities not only from an environmental stand point but from an economic stand point. We believe that special interest groups have far too much influence in creating land use regulations that are often detrimental to the average “working family”.

My family has been blessed by being able to start and maintain a successful business headquartered on our own property back in the seventies. Hopefully we can pass the business on to one or more of our four kids……otherwise with the regulatory climate facing our type of business today there is virtually NO chance of creating a business like ours from scratch. Gordy understands that in order to protect working families’ ability to live here the San Juan County Council needs the balance that understands small business.

3) In the wake of San Juan County’s current budget issues Gordy’s experiences as a small business owner will help keep our property taxes in check while still providing the services essential to our County citizens.

Join us in support of Gordy Peterson for county council.

Mike and Julie Carlson
San Juan Island

We Support Pratt!

To the Editor:

We are writing to voice our support for Lovel Pratt as San Juan County Council representative, District 1.

Whether working in leadership position or as a team player, Lovel has clearly demonstrated an unwaivering commitment to community service and an ability to get things done. Her thoughtful and inclusive approach to issues of education, affordable housing and local agriculture will serve our community well.

During her 17 years as an islander she (with her husband, Boyd) has reared her children and been active in the schools, raised produce and livestock for a CSA on her Mulno Cove Farm, and served in many volunteer positions. In 2003 she was named “Citizen of the Year” by The Journal for her work as Executive Director of the San Juan Community Home Trust. She has proven record of productive and fair service to our community.

Lovel listens carefully, considers different points of view, does her research, and works toward equitable solutions that preserve the unique integrity of our community. She has our enthusiastic support.

Peter and Christine Chan
Paula West
Joe Cooper
Shann Weston
Steve Porten
Ruth and Walter MacGinitie
Toni LoBue

Look At The Responses!

To the Editor:

The recent barrages of online negative comments on Commissioner Candidates are attempts to promote a specific candidate by throwing dirt.

The candidates’ sometimes respond emotionally, and that shows they are human and care. I have had to endure similar attacks due to the ideological positions that I have taken in our community over the years. What is important in elections are the issues and how the issues affect the voters.

When you read or hear the answers to the Journal questions, CAPR San Juan questions (, the League of Women’s Forum answers, and the answers to the Islands Community Church questions (Oct. 22nd), you get a solid basis of where each candidate stands on the issues.

In addition, what a candidate’s life experiences and talents are also plays an important role. I favor candidates who are honest, have business experiences and show a propensity to be thrifty and careful with finances. I support Gordy Petersen, Fay Chaffee and Richard Fralick because of their historical actions, business and life experiences, and because of their answers to CAPR San Juan questions make it clear that:

* They are against the County fireworks ban. They favor appropriate regulations.
* They are not in favor of a blanket 200’ shoreline setback or wetland buffer.
* They are against putting regulations, or a tax, based on a person’s house size.
* They are not in favor of a special tax for low income housing. The taxpayers spoke on this issue and these candidates favor the Homes For Islanders approach-a hand up over a hand out.
* These candidates favor keeping the transfer station where it is, due to the fairness and cost issues.
* These candidates favor more cell towers because of safety issues.
* These candidates recognize the current financial situation, and will best hold the line on County spending for special interest causes.
* These candidates have not sought political endorsements from political parties, and are running on issues rather than associations.

As a result of the above reasons, I hope you will join me in supporting Gordy Petersen for District 1, Fay Chaffee for District 3, and Richard Fralick for District 4.

Remember, Clarence Darrow said, “To think is to differ.”


Frank M. Penwell
San Juan Island

We Support Pratt Too!

To the Editor:

Our community is fortunate to have a candidate of Lovel Pratt’s caliber running for county council. We have known Lovel for many years, both as an involved parent in the school system and as an active member of the agricultural community. We have been consistently impressed by her open mindedness, intelligence and grasp of the facts.
She is a good listener and a careful researcher who is concerned with getting the real facts about issues, not just supporting her own opinions. She is an effective communicator and a consensus builder, both qualities that are essential for efficient and responsive government.
In her 17 years of living on San Juan, she has an impressive record of community service in the areas of education, public safety, affordable housing and agriculture. She has a thorough knowledge of local issues and we know that she will be an excellent member of our county council. We urge you to join us in voting for Lovel for County Council, District 1 .

Mark and Mary Jane Anderson
San Juan Island

Gordy Is My Choice !

To the Editor:

Given the possible outcomes of the November 4, 2008 elections; locally and nationally,
it is indisputable that we will be in need people in Government with a sense of levity, of irony.

It is equally indisputable that locally, Gordy Peterson is that person.

Please vote: Gordy for County Council ,

Donna P. (Pauli) Gavora
San Juan Island

Had disagreements, But Support Pratt !

To the Editor:

I have served with Lovell Pratt for several years on the County Planning Commission. During that time, while I have had disagreements with some of her positions, I have grown to appreciate her ability to craft careful compromises that honor the opinions of people on all sides of an issue. She is thoughtful, intelligent, diligent, and does her homework.

While I believe I stand on the extreme opposite side of the political aisle from her, I am honored to serve with her, and offer her my unqualified recommendation. I think the people in our County would be well served with her as one of our representatives, and I offer her my unqualified support.

Brian A. Ehrmantraut
Orcas Island

There Is Only One!

To the Editor:

In my mind there is only one candidate for County Council, District One that has the breadth of experience, the collaboration skills, and the commitment to our entire community required to lead us through the inevitable future challenges. Lovel Pratt will receive my vote and I am asking for yours, too.

We face huge challenges -challenges that her opponent’s single-minded rhetoric for a smaller government will not solve. We need someone with compassion, wisdom, and a strong voice to guide us. Lovel’s experience as a planning commissioner, Home Trust Director, and very active community volunteer (firefighting, schools, Farmer’s Market) gives her a unique sense of our community’s needs and goals. She understands and appreciates ALL parts of our community; the business owners, the parents, the farmers, and the retired. These groups often have conflicting ambitions but Lovel has a collaborative style that engages all parties, listens with care, builds on her own research, then respectfully presents and explains her views.

Her position on the proposed relocation of the transfer station is most illustrative. One proposed site, off Beaverton Valley Road, is near my home and the issue therefore affects me greatly. Gordy, on the one hand, is adamantly opposed to moving the transfer station. I appreciate this and his position benefits me personally. However, standing above the NIMBY attitude and thinking more of our entire community, I much more appreciate Lovel’s evolution to a position. Regarding this transfer station she says, “…I think it is wrong to pre-judge a decision before all the information has been provided, before the public has had an opportunity to have their concerns addressed, and before recommendations from the citizen advisory group and county staff have been heard”.

Lovel puts as much weight on the decision making process as on the result and I strongly believe this is intellectually more honest and leads to a better community.

We will face many challenges in the next few years. Our goal should be to emerge stronger with a less divisive community. Only Lovel can take us there.

Larry Wight
San Juan Island

Gann, Turnbull & Guard Come Together For Petersen!

To the Editor:

As you're aware, the United States is entering a time of serious financial trouble. We won't be immune to its effects in San Juan County. It's vital that the members of our Council have the skills and experience to help bring us through the next four years as painlessly as possible.

This isn't a time to turn to a candidate whose only experience lies in the non-profit world of grants and special interests.

We need a leader with significant practical experience in business, and in dealing with financing, taxes, budgets, banks, insurance companies, and all the rest.
That's why we're putting aside our political differences to support Gordy Petersen. In this time of declining revenues and financial difficulty, we believe that Gordy is the best candidate for County Council.

ig_3-Signatures-1 (40k image)
Dodie Gann Tireless community volunteer

Kathy Turnbull SJC Treasurer 12 years

Lisa Guard 6th Generation Islander

Fay Chaffee Best Choice!

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of the election of Fay Chaffee to the San Juan County Council District 3.
Having been involved in assisting the private sector with permit applications for over the past decade and a half, I have come into frequent contact with Ms. Chafee in her capacity as permit coordinator with the SJC Permit Center (now Community development & Planning).

While requiring that applications meet the standards of the land use codes, I have always found Ms. Chaffee to be solid in her understanding of the parameters of her job, and flexible to non-rote means of accomplishing it. When assessing a site for proposed development she has often been able to assist the applicant in developing the project in ways that not only satisfy code requirements, but result in a more aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sensitive result than mere strict code enforcement would provide.

Fay Chaffee’s experience with regulatory mandates, and the often idiosyncratic language in which they are proposed, will make her a valuable asset to the County Council.

Perhaps if we had had someone of her experience in place, the County would not be in the process of trying to extricate itself from storm water policies, which it adopted and has been trying to implement for the past fifteen + years, that were designed for the King County urban area.

Please elect Fay Chaffee, San Juan Council District 3.

Donna P. (Pauli) Gavora
dba Gavora LLC

Join Us In Support !

To the Editor:

We support Gordy Petersen in the District 1 County Council race.
We appreciate Gordy’s firm resolve to not move the waste transfer station--nor to spend any more money on studies and land purchases that presume to move it.

We appreciate Gordy’s caution over an annexation plan that includes unquantified financial commitments to promote affordable housing. Similar good intentions and financial carelessness hatched our present economic crisis.

We appreciate Gordy’s concern for the environment. No other environmental activist has so effectively cast light on Victoria, BC’s shameful raw sewage discharge.

We appreciate Gordy’s practical business experience. Gordy overcame many challenges over twenty-five years to build a successful business in San Juan County. The whole current Council has less practical business experience. His opponent has none.
he County’s financial outlook has changed drastically in two weeks and today it is downright frightening. Now is not the time for well-intentioned but inexperienced leadership. Gordy will bring deep understanding of the issues, directly-relevant experience and a commitment to financial restraint. Please vote for Gordy.

Rosalie & Scott Webster
Marni & Bill Gendron
Kathryn & Everett Clary
Deanna & Gordon Banry
Kim Bertrand

Pratt Seeks Consensus !

To the Editor:

Lovell Pratt is a consensus builder, not an ideologue, which is a refreshing attribute this political season. In recent months I've been privileged enough to follow closely her examination of a critical issue for some islanders. Her method involved reading widely (and in depth), and gathering information from multiple points of view in the community. While her goal was to seek a solution amenable to all, it was also clear that she would not shy away from taking a stand.

I have for years appreciated Lovel's calm demeanor and thoughtful insights concerning the future of our fragile island homes. I was pleased to learn that she at last was seeking public office and will feel more hopeful about the future if she wins.

It's the right choice of the right person at a critical time.

Mike Vouri
San Juan Island

Stakes High In District 1 Race!

To the Editor:

The world has changed. Our retirement funds are smaller. A large number of island homes are for sale and are not selling. Property values are dropping. Everyone feels and is poorer.

But County government will not suffer. We are borrowing from next year’s budget to fund today’s well-intended projects, and the list of attractive new projects, and new taxes, keeps growing.

We'd ask the County to practice fiscal restraint reflecting the times.

We have the chance to elect another well-intentioned, popular and free-spending Council Member. Or we can support a real change. Gordy has the practical experience and deep commitment to fiscal restraint that will help the County find a good path forward. T

he political establishment and the papers are out to defeat Gordy, but this race could still go either way. In fact, the new attacks suggest that the other side is getting nervous. A few votes really could decide it. Please vote for

Gordy. Scott & Rosalie Webster
San Juan Island

Why I Do Not Support Lovel & Kayl!

To the Editor:

On May 31, 2008, I sent an email to Mindy Kayl asking her viewpoint on five enumerated items. She responded on June 2, 2008 with:

“Hello Dennis,
You have asked some good questions! …
I will respond soon - hopefully by Wednesday AM
Thank you for your time,
Mindy Kayl”

I have heard nothing since. If she fails to respond to a constituent as a candidate, how will she will respond if elected?

Howie cannot stop spending our money -even in time of economic crisis. He pushes for a storm water tax to solve a problem that remains undefined and in spite of overwhelming negative voter response last year. He leans to a noxious weed tax that was to be voted on their last session but has been put off because of voter opposition.

Now the State Ferry people are want to levy a tax on island residents to make up the transportation budget shortfall.
The SJI School District might sue the State for full funding. How much would we spend for the county and state to fight each other -all on our dime? Why does the SJI School District or the County Council refuse to study consolidation of the four districts into one and save hundreds of thousands of dollars?
It would be nice if we could have all of the things we want but sometimes we cannot afford them. Elect representatives who will show financial responsibility instead of spending and taxation.

We need proposals to reduce taxes and spending rather than constant increases.

Vote for Faye Chaffee and Gordy Peterson

Dennis R. Hazelton
San Juan Island

Thank You For The Alert!!

To the Editor:

Thank you, Gordy, for your latest column alerting us taxpayers that the
Council still intends to implement that Storm Water Tax. That's the tax
we all voted down 62 - 31% last year.

We need people on the Council who will be careful with our tax dollars.

Jill Meyer
San Juan Island


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Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
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