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Monday, August 29th

Letters About Freeholders




Voters Will Select "Home Rule"

The Editor:

It now seems a foregone conclusion, San Juan County Voters will overwhelmingly select "Home Rule" when voting on November the 8th. The Freeholders, from both sides of the aisle, did such a good job, in such a cooperative, unselfish manner, they have produced solid solutions for the future of our county. There is a second element to the measure that you also must consider and hopefully support.

That second element gives one the choice of voting for the current system of three full time partisan Commissioners, or one can vote to overhaul the old system to be governed by six part time, non partisan, council members. They would be elected from their individual districts with no crossover voting, so that in fact, each district would have true representation and total control over their non partisan representation.

Now, here's the little bug I want to put into your thought process. Under the six Council Members plan, a citizens committee will determine the Council Members compensation. Critics of the Home Rule movement have only mustard one complaint. "It will cost more money!" This is not true according to numbers generated by the County Treasure and in fact, either plan offers savings but now get this!

Mercer Island Washington has a population of 70,000. It has an operating budget of Sixty Eight Million Dollars. We are presently paying our Commissioners, if you count benefits, etc, nearly $100,000.00 per year for each Commissioner totaling nearly $300,000 per year. Mercer Island pays their six Non Partisan Counsel Members $250.00 per month totaling $18,000 per year for the entire council or just 6% of what San Juan County now pays for our elected leadership. Need I say more?????

Pat O'Day
Disclaimer. My wife Stephanie O'Day is an elected freeholder. I'm proud of the work they have done.


Time to Act

The San Juan County ballot to be mailed to voters in October will contain a complete charter proposal for a Home Rule Charter form of government. There will be a Basic Charter, plus one Amendment which modifies the Basic Charter. It is not too early to start evaluating the charter proposal. One of the best places to get information is on the web at www.homerulesjc.com.

In the Basic Charter, key aspects include: a professional county administrator hired by the board of county commissioners to manage day-to-day county operations; opportunity for the voters to take an active part in government by establishing processes whereby they can initiate a new ordinance, overrule an action taken by the commissioners, or modify the charter; non-partisan elections for county department heads (assessor, auditor, clerk, treasurer, and sheriff); a full-time, three-commissioner board with legislative and policy duties. The commissioners will be prohibited from interfering with the day-to-day county operations.

If one casts an affirmative vote for the Basic Charter, then there is an optional amendment (the Amendment) that can be voted upon as well. The Basic Charter must pass before it can be amended. The Amendment would change the Basic Charter by creating a non-partisan, less-compensated six-member council with the same mandate as the three-commissioner board. In both the Basic Charter and the Amendment, commissioner compensation will be determined by a publicly-appointed salary commission.

Everyone should take the time to understand the charter proposal on the November ballot. The Freeholders have worked hard to present the voters with a charter proposal that gives San Juan County a firm foundation on which to meet the challenges of a vibrant and growing community. I strongly support the work the Freeholders have done.

Elizabeth Barth
Eastsound


Thank You Freeholders

Last November the voters of San Juan County elected 21 fellow citizens as "Freeholders" to review our current form of government and to determine if a shift to a Home Rule was in the best interests of the County.

The Board of Freeholders presented the Charter to the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, August 23. I was there and could not help but feel very proud.

As a Freeholder spouse, I have attended many of the Freeholder meetings -- yes, I went to Shaw, Lopez, San Juan and even Waldron -- and have witnessed the democratic process at work. Unlike an organization already established, the Freeholders had to start by defining their own organizational structure, process and procedural rules. It was rather remarkable given the very diverse backgrounds of the twenty-one Freeholders that they could agree even on procedure, let alone come up with a Charter that a super-majority would support.

The Freeholders spent an unbelievable amount of time doing extensive research--interviewing county employees (San Juan County as well as comparable others), reviewing law, reading other Charters, etc. They deliberated, dialogued, engaged in healthy debate and listened to their constituents. Even in the winter months when there was no inter-island ferry, they kept to their rule to meet alternatively on all the ferry-serviced islands. This required some maneuvering and many red eyes in the very early morning hours as those from San Juan traveled to Lopez in order to come to Orcas and vice versa. This was dedication. Since most of them had work during the week, they were giving up most of their precious weekend time to attend these meetings.

Having fulfilled the purpose entrusted to them by the citizens of San Juan County, the Board of Freeholders were dissolved on September 4, 2005 per the same Resolution by which they were created.

Of Course, I am hoping that the citizens of San Juan County will VOTE YES for Home Rule and the Charter the Freeholders presented. However, today I am writing to thank each one of the twenty-one Freeholders for their gift of time, energy and thought.

Nanae N Fralick


Two Issues To Freeholder's Charter

The discussions about Home Rule seem to devolve to two main issues: voting for it will (1) give local voters a greater say-so in local government and (2) improve administrative efficiency.

There is no question that initiative, referendum and recall enhance direct democracy. And initiative and referendum is the reason that this voter will support Home Rule. Some of the supporters of enhancing direct democracy claim and a county administrator should be elected – and that appointing an adminstrator is reason to oppose Home Rule. This argument is a red herring. If greater voter control is an objective (as these folks argue) then the paramount objective ought to be to put in place initiative-referendum-recall. It is illogical to oppose Home Rule on account of the relatively minor issue that the administrator is not directly elected and be blind to the overarching fact that direct voter control is greatly enhanced by Home Rule.

The matter of administrative efficiency is more interesting. From day one virtually all voices were calling for a county administrator. Even the elected department heads have "come around" to recognize that the enterprise of running the county had become sufficiently large and complex as to mandate a centralized administrative entity. Many have taken the view that the county is, in fact, an enterprise that ought to be run according to best management practices, and that the absence of a county administrator was illogical.

Both of these arguments (size & complexity requires a manager and best management practices mandate it) are readily rebutted. Neither recognizes the fact that in America we have a tradition of limiting and dispersing government power, that by tradition we don't want to enhance the power of government any more than necessary. (Remember that there was initially widespread approval of Fascist and Nazi governments precisely because they were efficient – they could make the trains run on time.) Here in San Juan County, the deficiencies in the administration of county government were less attributable to organizational or management theory deficiencies, but instead were attributable to the poor leadership and administrative skills of the persons elected to office. And more especially to their focused attention on and devotion to narrow interests (as opposed to the welfare of the whole).

It is sad that the issue of a county administrator has consumed so much time attention and that the more important issue has received so little attention. Most important is the nature of county government and the degree to which matters are left to the citizenry. I have not heard the important questions, such as: what are the core activities that we expect county government to engage? And what activities should not be engaged? Do we expect that our citizens can be trusted with fundamental decisions about their work, welfare and stewardship of their property? Or do we expect our county government to be an overweening nanny?

Since we've come this far it is best to be positive about what has been done. Voters are urged to vote FOR Home Rule and trust that once it is passed we can tend to outstanding points of disagreement via the initiative and referendum process.

Albert B Hall
Friday Harbor



Robins Auditioning As Comedy Writer?

To the Editor:

It took longer than usual to read the Island Guardian this morning, because convulsive laughter kept knocking my laptop off my lap.

Reading a description of San Juan County Greens and Democrats as "political party machines" made me howl. (See letter below:"Special Interest" Politics Oppose Charter by Susan Robins)

I cannot speak from experience of the Greens, but as for us Dems, if we are a machine, its designer must be Rube Goldberg. Like any group, it seems to take us forever to decide anything, and even then no one is fully satisfied - such is the nature of compromise and consensus.

Anyone touting the "favoritism and rewards" and "special access" we supposedly "command at the expense of voters" must be auditioning as a comedy writer.

After every successful election - and we Dems have enjoyed a lot of them in recent years - our elected officials seem to become as distant from us rank-and-file Dems as the aurora borealis, and just as mercurial.

Perhaps we just get tired of looking at each other after a long election cycle; perhaps we need to learn some new jokes between elections; then perhaps we too can be comedy writers for the Island Guardian.

Steve Grandle
San Juan Island



San Juan Fat Cats?

Dear Editor:

Regarding the Susan Robins editorial "Special Interest Politics Oppose Charter", whoa now! There should be some ground rules before we kick off the public debate about charter government. Getting the facts straight should be first on the list. Next, don't criticize what is said until someone says it. And hold off on the personal attacks and labels until the situation gets desperate.

Maybe the situation is desperate already. Anyway, my votes are a matter of public record. They include numerous votes for non-partisan elections. In San Juan County you would never fool anyone about where you stand philosophically or politically anyway. I personally favor non-partisan local elections. So the entire premise of the editorial is false to begin with.

The idea that voting NO on the charter in November betrays my mainstream political values is ridiculous. I believe strongly in fiscal responsibility. This is a mainstream American value. The proposed Charter is an unfunded mandate. It demands changes without identifying a source of revenue to pay for them. All the accounting tricks in the book can't hide that fact.




I admit I have "previously declared my unhappiness with county government". Guilty! Let he who has never criticized government cast the first stone. I mean really, has anyone been completely pleased with every decision made by elected officials?

Will a six-person council make everybody happy about his or her government? I doubt it. But if you like that idea go ahead and vote for it. I just think people should be careful what they wish for. I think a six-member council is a silly idea.

I have never "opined that the charter movement was started by ‘San Juan Island fat cats'. The goodgovernment.com committee started this process. I don't think that this group is from Lopez. Are they "fat cats"? I really don't know.

I agree with the "strange bedfellows" comments. Democrats, Greens, and Republicans don't often see eye to eye but we would never be in bed together except for the fact that we share a common concern for San Juan County. If it were about politics we would probably not agree. Please be patient. We will publish our statement in about 6 weeks. Perhaps then you can start criticizing what we said.

Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island



"Special Interest" Politics Oppose Charter

The recent coming together of "strange bedfellows" Steve Ludwig, Gordy Petersen and Stan Wagner to oppose the Home Rule charter is not so strange at all. (Related Story)

Elections calling for county government candidates to be non-partisan (as proposed in the charter amendment) would severely curtail the power of political parties to install and support their narrowly chosen party-loyal members in public office regardless of their legislative qualifications or abilities.

What should escape no-one is that these "strange bedfellows" perversely repudiate the core mainstream values that their respective traditionally opposing parties espouse. Green Party Ludwig should want a more direct democracy. Republican Petersen should want less government interference and greater fiscal responsibility. Democrat Wagner should want more "small-d" democratic representation in local government. Opining that the charter movement was started by "San Juan Island fat cats" completely ignores the wide spectrum of social and economic constituencies represented by the county-wide Freeholders and their success in generating a charter after months of give-and-take that reflects the interests of county residents as a whole.

When you look at what the charter gives voters in the county — power of referendum and initiative to assert greater control over the actions of government, professional management of the county's business that is so clearly lacking now, transparency in government operations, budgeting, and spending, and the flexibility to change when sufficient voters see the need to do so — it is easy to see why the alliance is not at all strange.

What worse for all the political parties than that elections would be non-partisan? All of these "strange bedfellows" have previously declared their unhappiness with county government as it is. That being the case, why would they not vote for change? Because the charter threatens to end the favoritism and rewards that political party machines command at the expense of voters.

Sorry, but despite claims that this unlikely union is "not about politics, it's about good government," it is ALL about politics. Voters should see through that clearly in November and vote for the charter and its amendment. The possibility of professionally managed government in the broad service and interests of county residents, not just those who have special access and know how to pull the strings to assure better outcomes for themselves, is clearly a threat to the dominance of "special interest" politics.

Susan Robins
[more..]


Thursday, August 25th

Kudos to John Evans



To the Editor:

Kudos to John Evans for calling out the Friends, our Democrat Commissioners, our County Prosecutor and our Planning Officials for furthering the GMA-facilitated agenda against guest houses and islanders' traditions of responsible stewardship of their residential property.
Sadly, these coerced changes to island traditions were entirely predictable. In spite of pious homilies to the contrary, the Growth Management Act intended (and continues to enforce) a one-size-fits-all mainland growth strategy that is incompatible with island living and island traditions.

Planning is the hand maiden of socialism; and a free society is ill advised to buy into any plans that are not clearly a manifestation of the popular will. That San Juan Island residents, in spite of a 73% majority, cannot effect a common sense guest house policy is but one battle in a war that will eventually brush aside most of what distinguishes our islands from the mainland.


Albert B. Hall
Friday Harbor WA 98250


[more..]


Friday, August 19th

Knowing John



I first met John Dallas in a tiny room at the SJC Courthouse where a handful of folks had squeezed in to witness the commissioners sign something about jetskis. I knew of John from his spirited letters to the editor; shortly, it became clear he knew of me from mine.

Fate sat him next to me. We introduced ourselves.

"Uh oh," he exclaimed for all to hear, "I don't think I better sit next to you!" He hadn't agreed with one of my libertarian-sounding letters, I supposed.

I assured John that I was an Independent rather than a Republican. He accepted that with minimal skepticism, and we became fellow crusaders, then friends. From the outset, I was drawn by John's lack of guile and quirky charm. I relished his zestful humor and his appreciation of the absurd. His almost childlike glee for his activism was infectious, although there was nothing childlike about his deep commitment to the islands.

We fell into the rollicking habit of sharing draft letters to the "Flounder" and the "Urinal," so as to fine-tune how best to ridicule and outwit the enemy, the enemy being anyone who would exploit SJC. Our opinion pieces and our causes drove our days!

John had boundless enthusiasm for community issues, and he aired his opinions unabashedly to whomever would listen. He expressed himself in such unique and entertaining ways, one might pass him off simply as a local character. But once you knew John, you knew better. Oh, he was a character, alright -- an independent-thinking, courageous, delightful character of wide experience; a complex character of consequence and intuition who was adept at lampooning those who played fast and loose with the public trust. In this role, he was an important friend of the islands, a citizen superintendent who influenced county politics and heightened public awareness.

There will never be another John Dallas. He was the one and only. The islands were lucky to have him for as long as they did. Likewise his friends, who now have the solace of their memories of him. Fair winds, Sailor.

"The" Jim Skoog
Maggie Valley, NC

[more..]


A Good By To My Friend and Fellow Activist, John Dallas



Upon learning of the passage of long time Islander and well-known activist John Dallas, I was compelled to share my tribute to a brilliant man whose courage was boundless.

John had an extremely lively and outgoing personality which many times was displayed in his appreciation of the ridiculous. He often called me about his disapproval of the in-effectiveness of our local political scene and was always eager to read me his latest "Letter To The Editor", chastising the BOCC for failing to make sensible decisions that would be in the best interest of the Islands.

Always impassioned about critical island concerns, John worked tirelessly trying to enlighten the County Commissioners on serious environmental issues. When the BOCC balked at endorsing the San Juan County Jet-Ski Ban, he spend several years testifying at public hearings, writing letters and talking with his fellow islanders. John campaigned against the BOCC's purchase of the gravel pit, the meat slaughtering plant proposed at the end of the Friday Harbor airport and the now defunct "experimental" aquatic septage system. Not once did John falter in his beliefs. Being skeptical of politicians, John told me many times that he loved a good fight.

True, John often became excited; would flare up into a momentary rage against the "establishment" and pen a wicked retort to The Journal, stating his views with emphatic enthusiasm. But, in John's mind, his letters were the eyes and ears of the Island.

I will miss my friendship with this wonderful and iconoclastic gentleman, and, as I write these concluding lines to my friend, I think of those far worthier lines of Edna St. Vincent Milley:

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light.

John Dallas was in a class by himself.


Mary Ann Anderson
Friday Harbor


[more..]


Letters About The School Levy



"yes" Vote Strengthens Community

To the Editor:

Many voters are altruistically predisposed to support every school
levy -- always have, always will. For us, schools are the
community's cornerstone, and universal access to quality public
education is a fundamental human right, and indeed a critical
prerequisite for democracy.

Some voters are skeptical and require a needs analysis and a costs-
benefits calculation. The needs analysis has already been prepared,
and it cites acute problems due to declining enrollment and other
challenges. Contact the SJISD for your copy of the fact sheet.

Re: costs-benefits ratio, please consider:

- the monetary costs are short-term; the human benefits are long-term
and are measured in numbers of successful community members and
taxpayers;

- the monetary costs are greatly exceeded by the potential long-term
costs of ignorance.

Schools can remain strong only when they have the resources to do
so. On Sept. 20, your "yes" vote strengthens the cornerstone of our
community.

Scott Schwinge
Friday Harbor


Levya Request Reasonable & Required

Quality instruction, safe and sound facilities, it takes both to maintain excellence in our schools. The school district's capital levy proposed for the September 20th ballot is a reasonable and required source of funding to preserve our investment in our schools. Capital funds are required to conduct the major maintenance of equipment and repair and replacement necessary to ensure that the quality of our schools will be sustained into the future. Thank you for joining my family in voting YES in support of the school levy.

Samantha Garl
Friday Harbor


Vote "YES" On Levy

I urge your support of the capital fund levy on the ballot September 20th. It is a small cost to each homeowner and a reasonable investment necessary to sustain the quality of our schools and community. Please join me in voting "YES" for this levy. Our schools are the future of our community.

Mary Frances McElfresh
maryfran@interisland.net




Let's Support Our Schools

I am one of those people who follows what's going on in our schools, from academics to athletics, even though I have no school-age children of my own. Maybe it comes from having grown up in a small town, where what was going on with the kids in our community spoke volumes about what was going on in the community at large. I especially like to see where our seniors are headed after graduation.

I have been impressed that our graduates get into some of the most competitive colleges and universities in the country, and recent graduates are pursuing careers in fields as diverse as engineering and culinary arts. We should all be proud of these young people.

This fall, we voters will be asked to approve a levy that will allow our schools to make repairs to our school buildings and to provide essential technology upgrades, among other things. Let's support our schools in continuing to provide our kids with an excellent learning environment so that they leave here with the competitive edge they need in this fast-paced, ever-changing world.

Denice Brown
Friday Harbor


I Want To Support Our Schools, But...

I've just read the Capital Projects Levy Fact Sheet that the school district mailed out this weekend, and it makes me think we ought to have a "Herb and Jill Meyer Capital Projects Levy" on the September ballot as well.

For example, we've never replaced our stove since building this house in 1993, and now one burner won't work and we're getting strange beeps when the oven heats up. We need a new stove, but we cannot really afford one because we are still paying for the new roof we had to install two years ago. Moreover, when we built this house we didn't have the foresight to run phone lines in all the rooms, and now that we've got computers all over the place we're stuck. A technology upgrade would really help. And we just got one of our cars serviced, which means we cannot afford to buy a new sofa that would make our home more comfortable.

If the voters would approve the "Herb and Jill Meyer Capital Projects Levy" our home would be nicer and more comfortable – and you have my personal assurance that every single item I've listed is essential to maintaining our quality of life.

Unfortunately, in the real world you cannot always afford everything you want – even things that make sense -- so you must make do. At a time when so many of us are pressed financially, it's a bit off-putting for the school district to come asking – again -- for more money for capital improvements. I love technology myself and use it extensively in my own business. But it looks to me like our schools are investing far too much in technology – and not nearly enough in books and in teachers. And is it really critical for the middle school "to replace blinds throughout the building (to darken rooms for video presentations)" as the levy proposes? Personally, I would either ban videos from schools entirely – or ask parents to donate old bed sheets.

I want to support our schools, but I'm very much afraid that this levy is going down to defeat. May I respectfully ask the school district to take a second look at the proposed levy, and to cut it back sharply before putting it on the September ballot.

Perhaps the best lesson we can teach our kids is that you cannot always have what you want, when you want it – and that sometimes you must just make do with what you've got.


Herb Meyer

[more..]


Wednesday, August 17th

Regarding Stan Wagner's Praise of Ranker



To the Editor:

Stan Wagner was very generous with his praise for Kevin Ranker and his support of Stephens ( Wagner Commends Ranker).

Regarding Stan Wagner's Praise of Ranker: Too bad Mr. Wagner doesn't look at Ranker before dolling out all the praise. Ranker as the Head of the BOCC working under the guise of Executive Session met and planned a huge purchase in what looks like 51 minutes. One week later he moved for (a Consent Agenda Item) the purchase of the $1.8 million dollar lot for Public works without ANY public discussion. To quote Mr. Wagner "What does count (in a BOCC candidate [sic]) is an ability to take on hard issues, complete them successfully in the political context by building consensus and seeing the larger picture."

Perhaps his current candidate demonstrates these skill, we shall see. The sitting chair of the BOCC has spent last few months trying to bypass the public disclosure process completely. He worked to close the deal so fast that any meaningful consensus building was not possible. That is just the down payment on a total project in excess of $8million. Would you like some control over the expenditure of your tax money? Me too!


Piet Visser
Friday Harbor


[more..]


Tuesday, August 9th

Bob Myhr's Qualifications



The"race" for County commissioner is very odd. Bob Myhr's qualifications, which include many years in the county, are so superior that it's hard to understand why there is a "race". While not obvious in the record, his diplomatic abilities also are outstanding. I've personally seen him settle difficult situations amicably on several occasions. He has the skills, experience, & background to be a superior commissioner & we would be lucky to have him.

T M Green
Lopez

[more..]


Open Letter To Alan Lichter



Alan Lichter

Board of County Commissioners
350 Court St. #1
Friday Harbor WA 98250
bocc@co.san-juan.wa.us


We very much appreciate and admire the position you haven taken in selecting the new BOCC Commissioner. We whole heartedly support Bob Myer and feel that his back ground in, years and roles; contributing to the spirit and health of the islands; make him the candidate that most fits the criteria that you have set for choosing the Commissioner:

"My ideal commissioner would have the following characteristics:

--he should be an experienced consensus-builder
--he should have issue-related experience at the County level, and beyond
--his educational background should fit, in some important way, with a commissioner's work
--he should possess interests and values publicly recognized as befitting a commissioner
--he should have considerable experience working with diverse individuals and groups
--his experience should make him a fast learner in the commissioner's post
--he should be a committed environmentalist and an outstanding steward for our land"



As you can see from the following excerpt (from Bob's resume) Bob exceeds your expectations

Bob serves on the Board of the Davis Head Homeowners' Association where he has volunteered to manage the homeowners' association water system for many years. His participation on several countywide committees, along with service on the board of Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, has given Bob experience in working on issues of countywide significance. Bob also currently serves on the Boards of the Lopez Lions Club (as Treasurer), Lopez Library, and San Juan Islands Audubon Society. He is a supporter of the Lopez Island Historical Society, Lopez Housing Options for seniors, Lopez Hospice and Home Care, Lopez Senior Center, Lopez Community Land Trust, and other nonprofits on Lopez.


Some examples of Bob's involvement in countywide affairs include the following:

. Initiated, in cooperation with the county Planning Department, the creation of the Open Space and Conservation Plan (1990-1991) that ultimately became part of the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan

. Member of the committee to establish the San Juan County Land Bank (1990) and to support successful renewal of the Land Bank (1999)

. Member of the San Juan County Comprehensive Plan committee (1993-1995)

. As Executive Director of The San Juan Preservation Trust, negotiated with private property owners for the protection of the open-space values of more than 8,750 acres of woodlands, open farmland, and natural shoreline on 15 islands throughout San Juan County (1985-2002)

. Worked with Washington State Department of Natural Resources and US Bureau of Land Management to create natural preserves on government lands throughout the county (1985-2002)

. Member of San Juan Valley Heritage Plan Committee, San Juan Island (2001)


Current and Recent Board Experience:

Board of Directors, Davis Head Homeowners' Association, Lopez Island, 1986-

Board of Directors, Land Trust Alliance, Washington DC, 1990-1996

Board of Directors, Land Trust Alliance-Northwest, 1995-2002

Board of Trustees, Lopez Island Library, 2004-

Board of Directors, Lopez Lions Club, 2003-

Board of Directors, Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, 1986-

Board of Officers, San Juan Islands Audubon Society, 1988-

Board of Directors, Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association, 1990-

Board of Directors, Washington State Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, 1999-

Advisory Council, Spokane District, US Bureau of Land Management, 1989-1991


Work Experience:

2003-present Part-time business and non-profit consultant

1985-2002 Executive Director, The San Juan Preservation Trust
Box 327, Lopez Island WA 98261-0327

1974-1985 Manager, International Group, Weyerhaeuser Company
Tacoma WA 98477

1966-1974 Assistant Professor, Political Science
University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195


Education:

B.A. (cum laude) Amherst College, 1960 - Economics

M.I.A. Columbia University, 1962 - International Affairs and Economics

Ph.D. Columbia University, 1968 - Public Law and Government


Fellowships and Awards:

Charles W. Merrill Scholar, 1956-1960

Scholar of the School of International Affairs, 1960-1962

National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship, 1964-1966

Fulbright Scholar (Brazil), 1963-1964

Fulbright-Hayes Fellow (Chile), 1970-1971

US Department of State Executive-Diplomat Seminar, 1976


Business and Non-profit Management Experience:

. Management of successful land conservation organization in the San Juan Islands WA

. Management of international academic, economic, and environmental projects in Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines

. Public testimony before local governments, state legislatures, and US Congress

. Author of numerous articles on economics, trade, and land conservation

. Consultant to private companies, non-profit organizations, USAID, and Asian Development Bank

. Member of numerous local community service organizations"



Don and Susan Campbell
Lopez Island

[more..]


Monday, August 8th

Bob Myhr Is A Consensus Builder



I am writing this letter in support of Bob Myhr in his candidacy for the open position on the Board of County Commissioner.

I have gotten to know Bob on a working basis when I was a board member of the San Juan Preservation Trust. Over the years, I have been amazed by his knowledge of the land in the county. He knew where there were ponds, meadows, open rocky knolls, shoreline and farmland. He knew the history of ownership, the owners themselves and of course, the kinds of birds you would find there. I realized he knew everyone – key players in political arenas, the environment, social issues; farmers, everyday people; and most importantly, the neighbors. His office door was always open. He demonstrated how his balanced opinion brought people to consensus, which is not an easy thing in a county with such outspoken opinions. Bob managed a large budget with the Trust and helped the organization grow into a major private land conservation organization. The bottom line is he got things done.

As the current president of San Juan Islands Audubon, I have found Bob to be an outstanding treasurer. He has always responded to our chapter's financial questions in an efficient manner and managed our money well. Not only has he served as Audubon president a time or two, he leads many field trips, is the main birding contact for Lopez Island, helps line up classes and speakers and he is one of the people I rely on for feedback on various birding and Audubon issues. He has created great interest in the nature world for the folks on Lopez and the San Juan Islands. These things he does as a volunteer and continues to demonstrate his commitment to our community.

Barbara Jensen
San Juan Island

[more..]


Myhr: Head And Shoulders Above The Rest



Bob Myhr is without a doubt the only qualified candidate running for the position of County Commissioner. It is simple, a real no brainer, Bob has a BA Degree in Economics, a Masters Degree in International Affairs and Economics, a PhD. in Public Law and Government and has lived on Lopez for the past 20 years.He has served on numerous boards throughout the County and State and received a host of Fellowships and Awards.

If qualifications and ability truly matter and you want the best person available, then the only choice is to vote for Bob Myhr. The voters of San Juan County are blessed to have man of Bob's caliber willing to serve our community and I urge everyone to support him in his campaign,

Ray Bigler
San Juan Island

[more..]


I will be supporting Bob Myhr



Dear Editor and Neighbors,

I have just woken up to the fact that regardless of who is appointed to fill the Lopez County Commissioner position this month, we vote on a replacement candidate in early September, just over three weeks from now. Every voter in the county may cast a ballot for this position.

I will be supporting Bob Myhr, who I have known for many years. Bob is a thoughtful and fair person of discretion, with long experience in business, managing budgets, and mindful of the details that really define any project. Bob is a man who cares deeply about the environment and associated social issues including affordable housing, trying to maintain the life style that many of us treasure as peculiar to the San Juans and worthy of our protection.

Bob has demonstrated his ability to work with others on committees as well as in positions of leadership for decades in this community and I believe that he would serve us well and with great care and wisdom as a County Commissioner.

Claudia Mills
San Juan Island

[more..]


Bob Myhr Has My Support



re: Bob Myhr.

Bob Myhr has my support for the position of San Juan County Commissioner. I have known Bob and his wife Joyce for 15 years. He has the qualities the job requires: knowledge of each of the Islands and of the people living there, applicable work experience inside and outside of San Juan County, enormous energy, wide ranging education, broad understanding of local politics, and ability to work with all groups. He has the support of people from diverse political and social organizations. Best of all, Bob has the ability to calmly analyze complex problems under fire and bring diverging points of view into perspective.

Bob is a team player and has served these Islands in numerous capacities for many years. I believe that he will bring this County's fiscal problems under control without emptying the taxpayer's pocketbook. Bob Myhr is well known and respected, has a broad base of support, and will be an extremely effective County Commissioner.

Larry Hendel
Lopez Island

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Saturday, August 6th

Mr. Meyer's Response Needed A Response.



Dear Editor,

I read Mr. Meyer's response ( Meyer's Guest Editorial ) to Mr. Weissinger's column and felt that it needed a response.

I guess it's a sure sign that it's a connected world when the GOP talking points make it into the Island Guardian. And it's a sad intrusion of GOP tactics into our island when the name calling starts. Why is it that the self-appointed "adults" of government are the first to resort to the most childish of tactics when discussing their opponents?

I take exception with most of what Mr. Meyer claims to be fact. Facts taken out of context can be misleading, and we have some fine examples of that in Mr. Meyer's writing.

While I'm sure that Mr. Meyer knows a great deal about the CIA, he seems to have willfully ignored much that is in the public record. I was disappointed that Mr. Meyer toed the GOP line in trying to claim that Plame was not a covert officer. There seems to be little doubt, at least if you believe what the CIA says, and by that I mean pretty much all the public CIA sources other than Mr. Meyer. If the CIA didn't believe that she was a covert officer, then they wouldn't have referred the case to the Justice Department. Several former CIA officers have also come forward to say that Plame was a covert agent and that "outing" her put her contacts in jeopardy. Sounds pretty covert to me.

Mr. Meyers attempts to fabricate some kind of political definition of "covert" by insulting the agent's spouse (again with the name calling and slander!) and by citing the fine points of a specific piece of legislation. That might work for the GOP faithful, but hopefully thinking people will see right through it. This was political retribution against a covert CIA agent for political comments made by her spouse. We don't know all of the details yet, but something is seriously amiss.

I was further disgusted by Mr. Meyer's attempt to downplay the importance of the Yellow Cake issue and how it ties into how our President sold the public a war over WMDs. The Yellow Cake incident that President Bush cited during the prime-time State of the Union speech was used to scare the population into invading Iraq to save ourselves from Iraq's WMDs. That it was a false claim seems important to me. Generally speaking, I expect my President to present valid arguments to the public, containing information that has been scrutinized and vetted at the highest levels. The fact that President Bush decided to include the false information about the Yellow Cake incident says a lot about the "grownups" in our White House and how they work.

Granted, this is just one piece of the giant WMD deception pie, but it was a big public relations effort. And it worked. Big time.

Mr. Meyer mentions the Niger trip report, but he fails to give you the entire picture. This claim that Iraq sought Yellow Cake is far from fact. Even the CIA didn't put much faith in the Yellow Cake story. Wilson did report some contact between Niger and Iraq, but the CIA felt that the contact was not significant, and they could not verify the authenticity of some of the documents, some of which turned out to be forged. The CIA, had they been consulted, would have removed the reference to the Yellow Cake from the State of the Union speech.

And finally, about Karl Rove. While it's true that grand jury testimony is secret until released, it is also true that the witnesses are free to discuss their testimony outside of the court – there is no gag rule. What we have heard from many of these witnesses and what we have gathered from the public record indicates that this administration leaked Plame's name. Granted, some details are yet to be revealed, but it's only the GOP faithful who are able to maintain the notion that somehow, Karl Rove did not act dishonorably (if not illegally) in all of this. Reality based folk see Rove's actions for what they were: underhanded and traitorous.


Mike Harrington
Friday Harbor



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