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Thursday, September 29th

Baby Boomer's Money Outweighs Loss of Lots



(Re: Ray Bigler's letter, A Response to Losleben & Garrison) I am not sure I can respond with absolute facts and figure regarding the relative impact of the rezoning which reduced the number of buildable lots by 15,000 as against the relative impact of the new money coming into the islands. I personally think that the baby boomers' equity coming out of urban California is having a far greater impact. I also don't know if the 15,000 is a real number of actual buildable lots lost, or some statistician's raw interpretation by looking at map plots. I suspect the latter. I do know, from talking to several dozen realtors in the process of gathering information for affordable housing, that the money pouring in is happening now, while the build out of these additional lots, including the necessary roads, water and sewer, had we not been rezoned, would have been a multi-decade operation. So, from a short-term cash flow point of view, I believe that the current rates of appreciation would have happened in any case.

But the larger question is, so what? We are attempting to deal with the real world which exists today. If another group wishes to gather and fight for upzoing, so be it. However, our focus will and must remain on attempting to house the service sector employees within the constraints that exist, be they regulations (good or bad), escalating home prices, and the minimal amount of buildable land that fits within our investment criteria.

You are certainly correct in that the absolute dollars being spent by the community on property taxes is increasing, even if the mil rate is low, again because of rapidly escalating housing prices. However, this is not just a San Juan County problem, but is happening all over the country, giving local property tax beneficiaries a windfall for spending programs, and driving poor and/or fixed income property owners out of their neighborhoods. Again, my suggestion is to "man the ramparts!" Fight for more efficient and hopefully less costly, government. I can assure you that you are no less frustrated with bureaucracy and regulations that we have been, trying to put this program together, and in attempting other economic development initiatives. In the meantime, however, we all must pick our battles, and ours is to be the most cost-effective builder of necessary infrastructure housing in the county.

As far as our costs are concerned, we are talking about one employee. All the rest are volunteers. We have put in well over 2,000 person-hours, with less than $5,000 spent from private anonymous donors. We have experience and skill sets which would have cost a fortune to contract for on the outside. We have commercial and investment bankers, contractors, architects, lawyers, scientists, and marketing specialists, all who have committed their time for free. How much more grass roots and "free enterprise" can we get? If we could find the seed capital from any other source than the excise tax on those who are bidding up the overall prices of real estate, we would take it! If you have any private enterprise sources that we have not scoured, please let us know!

Steve Garrison

[more..]


Jeff Bossler Disagrees With Ludwig



Editor:

As one of the Freeholders who worked with Steve Ludwig, I am deeply saddened by his opposition to the Charter (One Freeholder's Minority Report) that he himself has done so much good work on. Steve was an attentive and deeply present participant of the process. Although many of his views were squarely in a distant minority, we made every effort to hear him, and to accommodate his concerns where possible.

Many of us were shocked when he left The Board near the end. I, as a supporter of the six-member council, personally reached out to him to get him back for at least the last meeting, which he did attend.

That said, I have some real differences with his inaccurate portrayal of the charter, and troubling questions as to the manner in which his opposition is being expressed at this time. I will address only a few of them here.

First, he seems to have a misunderstanding of what a charter can actually address. "Protection from urbanization, campaign finance reform, restrictions on the ways the County incurs indebtedness", and other such issues are legislative issues for the legislative branch, not for the freeholders. A better functioning and more accountable and transparent county government will aid the public in tracking and correcting these issues.

Steve should refer to Section 1.50 of the proposed charter which states; "Although powers are delegated to the three branches, the right and obligation to oversee the functions of government shall be retained by the Citizens of San Juan County." That's right, the citizens have the "right and obligation" to oversee the functions of government.

As he desires, "to restrict elected representatives to discovering and obeying the will of the majority" is exactly what the six member council does. It ensures that a more representative, diverse and in-tune legislative body exists for the benefits inherent in a more accurate cross-section of the county's electorate. Why would he oppose this?

I know human nature, but am suspicious of someone like Steve who is wonderful at coming up with ideas on how everyone and their grandmother can pervert or corrupt the system. In fact, I always wonder about how far this type of person would go to fix this conundrum. What ends justify the means? Steve speaks so eloquently about the "will of the majority" yet he opposes the majority will of the duly-elected Board of Freeholders?! He seems to hold his minority position like that of a poor sport!

In the real world, being genuinely heard as the minority and getting it all your way are two totally different things. To oppose this charter because it isn't entirely what one wishes is somewhere between martyrdom and shooting oneself in the foot. This calls into question Steve's rhetoric, "the will of the majority", when compared to his unwillingness as a minority representative to work with the "will of the majority."

Steve is right when he says that "quick fixes" don't work. The proposed charter and its' amendment are big steps in the right direction, even according to Steve. It was not intended to be a "quick fix", but it gives ordinary citizens the ability to affect change in many ways which we now do not have. For a party member espousing inclusion, peace, and a green Earth for all, it's difficult for me to see a "my way or the highway" doctrine emerging from this candidate. Don't squander your vote in self-righteousness . . . . I know you can do better!

Jeff Bossler
Orcas Island
[more..]


Tuesday, September 27th

A Response to Losleben & Garrison:



In reading your response (note: letters are posted below) to Gordy Petersen's column, you both seem to be leaving out some important points in your analysis.

First, regarding regulations being a minor cause of increasing real estate costs: Just the fact that regulations removed over 15,000 buildable parcels from the inventory is a huge cause of increasing land costs. In King County 15,000 developable parcels is a small amount in the supply and demand equation, but in San Juan County it is a major factor, and has a direct relationship to costs and the rising prices of real estate.

Regulations have also created a situation where we can not have another project like the "Oaks" on San Juan Island. The Oaks is a model community for the rest of the country as to what the private sector can do -if allowed- and could easily solve our affordable housing problems, but "Regulations" prevent it. There are many other examples of regulations driving costs up, but to the most affluent these additional costs are minor, while for the less affluent these regulatory costs can mean the difference between affordability and not.

Second, "Taxes in San Juan County are the lowest in Washington State". Yes, we have the lowest mil rate (or the lowest percentage rate) per capita in the State. So What! I don't care what the mil rate is, but I do care what the dollar amount that I pay is. In San Juan County, the dollar amount that we all pay is the HIGHEST in the State per capita. That means that on April 30th and October 31st when we write our checks to the Treasurer we pay more than anyone else in Washington State per capita in real dollars. That is MONEY out of your pocket, not a tax rate, but a tax bill.

There seems to be two different points of view. One point of view is that the government should take care of us and solve all of our problems, and the other point of view is that we should take care of ourselves. Socialism or Capitalism, neither one is evil and neither is perfect, but they both come at a price, and you can't have both. You decide. In any event, if the government is involved you can be certain that it will be expensive, inefficient, wasteful, and cost all of us real dollars.

Ray Bigler
San Juan Island

[more..]


Delighted By Gordy's Criticism..sort of...



To the editor:

I was delighted to read Gordy Peterson's criticism of the affordable housing initiative, because it gives us an opportunity to correct several misconceptions about the effort. Overall, it is a good example of why we ask island residents to be informed.

Gordy cites "the law of supply and demand" as a significant factor. We agree with that comment, but the supply and demand problem is primarily coming from the thousands of wealthy non-residents bidding up a limited resource, that is land and housing, on the islands. He is not correct in the assumption that taxes and regulations are the primary reasons that the cost of housing is now beyond the reach of working families. Although they are a minor influence, it is the equity build-up of potential buyers in major metropolitan areas that is really bidding up prices. As for taxes, we pay the lowest property taxes in the state of Washington while we have the highest rate of property appreciation in the state. This is really supply and demand at work. We live in a highly desirable place with relatively low taxes, and there is significant demand by people who want to move here.

We also question the argument that regulations fundamentally change for the worse the affordability and desirability of housing. This argument is contrary to experience in other communities where regulations are virtually non existent. For example, the people living in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana have very strong conservative and anti government values. The county has neither a county wide building code nor county-wide zoning. The result has been a degradation of the beautiful natural environment and quality of life that they sought to preserve. Instead, properties have been subdivided into increasingly smaller plats that are sold at inflated prices that preclude working families. The absence of appropriate regulations has ruined one of the most beautiful regions of the northwest, and the old-timers who fought government intrusion are now the ones being forced out of the valley.

Instead, we are working to minimize the cost and time constraints of government regulation by making government more responsive and cost efficient to real public needs. If you are concerned about the cost of government today, imagine the salaries of public employees with critical skills if they have to purchase $400,000 homes when they are recruited to the islands. Our best shot is to improve the capability of the county government to efficiently regulate by investing in modern tools and training in the use of these tools that would improve the efficiency of our local government.

There seems to be some confusion as to who will pay these taxes. We are asking for a half percent excise tax on the purchase of property. This is a tax that is borne primarily by wealthy non-residents who seek to purchase property and move here. This is supply and demand. Our supply of land is limited and it makes sense to tax the demand. The problem should pay for the solution.

Finally, Gordy is making the assumption that land purchased by the Housing Bank will be removed from the tax rolls. This is simply not true. Every affordable housing effort in the county including the community land trusts require that the homeowner pay taxes at the appraised market value of the home and land. We believe that this is fair since these homeowners benefit from the services provided by the State and County in the same way as any other homeowner.

We have looked carefully at approaches to financing by the private sector and have concluded that our residents with moderate incomes (80% to 95% of median) are priced out of the current market and are not eligible for public assistance. No matter how hard they work and no matter how frugal they are, they will never be able to purchase a home in San Juan County. These residents include many of our most critical skilled workers including teachers, firefighters, EMTs, medical staff, law enforcement officers, utility workers and other service providers.

Rather, if we do not act, our community will increasingly suffer from reduced service in these critical skills. Other destination communities waited until it was too late to act and have had to resort to increased sales and property taxes. We have a small window of opportunity to act before we will need to resort to much more painful solutions.

This is an issue of sound economic policy that all of us, right or left, Republican or Democrat should support. Let's solve the problem now rather than wait until it will be much more expensive. Be informed. Visit our website at http://sanjuanhousingbank.org/ for information about this important issue.

Paul Losleben
Orcas Research Group
Olga, WA


[more..]


Monday, September 26th

Reader Responds to Gordy Column



Editor:

Just got back in town after a month abroad, so I apologize in being a week or so late in answering Gordy's column regarding affordable housing ( "Affordable Housing: Why does it cost so much?") but I would like to weigh in.

First, as an aside on Gordy's tongue-in-cheek regarding the "Bush Administration doing nothing." I wish that I had a few copies of the International Herald Tribune (owned by The New York Times) which we read in Europe to pass around. The Herald Tribune a) blamed Bush directly for Katrina (global warming and such), b) blamed Bush directly for the lack of National Guard response because of his "adventures" in Iraq, c) blamed Bush directly for the deaths and looting in New Orleans (bad dikes), d) implied he was racist (flooding targeted poor black neighborhoods), and e) of course, blamed him for not being compassionate enough. Almost no discussion regarding the infrastructure failures of the Governor, Mayor, Police and so on down the line, who of course, are all Democrats. Even had an Oliphant cartoon showing Bush dancing around the drowned body of a crippled black woman in a wheelchair. In contrast, the European papers, including the very left wing Manchester Guardian, who are used to reporting the earthquakes and tsunamis around the world which kill many multiples of non-Americans, were restrained and competent in their reporting. With friends like our own international editions, who needs enemies?

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Now on to affordable housing.

Of course, taxes increase the cost of housing, as do the cost and time requirements of regulations and the permitting process, and also the down zoning and "feel good" programs which severely reduce the available supply of land. Now that you have described the real world in which we have to operate, what do you expect us to do about it? Should we spend the next decade tilting at these windmills to the exclusion of building homes for our infrastructure workers?

Of course, the affordable housing group will seek to expedite the permitting process and make use of zoning upgrades for affordable housing in order to reduce costs. Would you prefer that we do not take advantage of these options and therefore build more expensive houses which would not be affordable for our infrastructure workers? We have a group which will be looking at speeding up both the permitting and the construction process and, perhaps we will be successful in creating models which will apply to all housing, not just our target group.

You discuss the "law of supply and demand" in the context of the rules, regulations and restrictions adopted in San Juan County, and I agree with your conclusion. However, your focus is extremely narrow when compared to the overwhelming demand created by the baby boomer generation, now retiring, and moving to the islands with real estate capital that is drowning the marketplace. Had you been able to waive a magic wand and remove all those onerous taxes and regulations, I believe it would have amounted to a minor blip in prices when compared to a 50% increase in population in the last 15 years and a 37% increase in real estate prices in the last year alone.

You have some misconceptions regarding taxes and costs. The houses and property will pay taxes at the same rate as any citizen. Those living in the houses will be the most productive members of our society, the teachers, EMTs, Public Works Engineers and Nurses. They will also be paying taxes, probably at a higher percentage rate than the retirees with their tax free municipal bond portfolios. As opposed to increasing demand for public services, these are the people who will be providing them. The bureaucracy that you fear will be one person, supported by Boards and committees of volunteers, one of the most cost-effective means of getting something done. We hope to build all the housing with island labor, including training for apprentices and, in the future, a modular building facility, also on the island. Hopefully we will actually increase employment and therefore the tax base.

Finally, one more comment from a letter to the editor by Al Hall, agreeing with Gordy's position and indicating that we should not worry about the problem because "service follows affluence." My response is perhaps, but at what cost? Service really follows the few who are affluent, not all the others those attempting to the keep family together on an hourly wage or on a fixed income. If increasing taxes is a problem for the non-affluent, then how about having them also pay $150 an hour for a plumber or electrician? Might that be the final straw that forces them off the island? Or how about the Narragansett Island "solution" of flying in their school teachers and other service workers each day? How many young parents could afford to pay for that alternative?

Steve Garrison
Goldeneye Farm
Olga

[more..]


Letters In Support Of Steve Ludwig



ig_LUDWIG-1 (15k image)



Greens Delight Voters

Editor:

Everywhere that Greens have been elected to public office, voters have been delighted with their honesty, their world-view and their environmental thoughtfulness.

Now we have our chance. We can elect Steve Ludwig to be a county commissioner - our own GREEN county commissioner.

Let's do it!

Edie de Chadenedes
San Juan Island



Ludwig Promises Open Govenment

Editor:

Steve Ludwig should have your vote for county commissioner. Steve
advocates open, ethical government and public involvement. He promises to
make sure that citizens and neighbors will know what the county is
planning to do that might impact them before decisions are made, not after
the fact. He advocates researching options and finding common ground
rather than defending lawsuits with your tax dollars. He offers a Moral
Compass that will guide his actions. He promises representation in an
open forum and not the "We were elected to make the though decisions" line
used by a former commissioner. He favors putting controversial issues on
the ballot.

Steve advocates conservation of San Juan's resources and life style and of
your tax dollars. There is an abundance of talent on these islands that
deserves a forum and representation, not three person rule. Check him out
at www.votesteveludwig.org and read his flyers. All of Steve's
advertising printing was done locally.

James Alfred Smith
2169 Fisherman BAy Road
Lopez Island, WA 98261
468 4550


Steve Ludwig Is Talking About Issues

Editor:

San Juan County faces a number of legal battles: those guest houses the GMA Hearing Board won't let us have; the barge landing at the gravel pits; the urban growth centers that have no infrastructure and now the Lampard Road acreage looms on the horizon?

The Green Candidate, Steve Ludwig is talking about County issues: let Eastsound and Lopez Village residents decide yea or nay on Urban Growth; really assess our aquifers and take steps to preserve them; $250,000 homes are not affordable to workers making $8 to $20 an hour; encourage business other than tourism; and get the County to start obeying state law including codes, and infrastructure.

This time around we do have a choice. Vote for Steve Ludwig for Commissioner.

Tom Odegard
Friday Harbor,

[more..]


Saturday, September 24th

The Mayor: I Don't Know Why We Can't Just All Get Along



I don't know why we can't just all get along. (See Visser Column: Why Can't We All Just Get Along? ) Nor do I know why we can't all live happily ever after, or why we don't just give peace a chance, or even why we can't all live long and prosper.

But I do know that the Town has tried on numerous occasions to sell the transfer station to the County, and not for the hyper inflated price that Mr. Visser suggests. There is a difference in opinion between the Town and the County regarding the value of the transfer station. The Town believes that the County's appraiser did not include the value of the improvements to the property: water, septic and power. Most importantly though, the appraisal did not include the value of a permitted use as a transfer station. Even as recently as March of this year the Town repeated to the BOCC its desire to continue to negotiate on the sale of the site.

The Town has always believed that maintaining the current transfer station would provide the most cost effective waste solution for all islanders, a primary reason why we lease it to the County for a dollar a year. At one time we were very close to trading the transfer station to the County for their Guard Street public works yard, until the County changed their mind.

The comment that the Town has somehow taken over control of parking at the County Courthouse is completely erroneous. The Sheriff requested that the Town include the Courthouse parking lot in the Town's traffic control area so illegal parking could be policed. The Town does not patrol the parking in that area, only the Sheriff's department.

I do know that elected officials will try to do what is in the best interests of their constituents, and there will be as many differences between governments as there is between those who are elected to office within those governments. We can't agree on all issues, but we can try to find cooperative ways to serve those on this small island.

Sincerely,
Gary Boothman
Mayor, Friday Harbor

[more..]


Friday, September 23rd

SJI School Board & Staff Says Thank You



Editor,

On behalf of the San Juan Island School District Board of Directors, our faculty and staff, and our students we wish to express our deep appreciation to our community for the support of our capital levy. Your affirmative support continues to be the foundation of our commitment to excellence in instruction, stewardship of our facilities, and accountability for our results. The success of each student is truly dependent upon the involvement of our community. Thank you for your partnership and trust.

Michael Soltman, Superintendent
Boyd Pratt, Board Chair

[more..]


Agrees With Gordy, Up To A Point..



Dear Editor:

I share Gordy Petersen's cynical knowledge that corporations generally base decisions on the bottom line, but we differ about which of those decisions really make us angry.

My fury goes to the tobacco pushers, the tax dodgers, those that pay their workers a pittance (or send their jobs offshore) while paying obscene amounts to the top brass, those that don't provide health insurance to their employees (leaving that distasteful responsibility to the taxpayers) -- and, yes, I could go on and on.

But Gordy's upset when motels post a discreet notice that you hang your towel on the rack if you don't need to have it washed, or drop it in the bathtub if you do.

Louise Dustrude
Friday Harbor


[more..]


Wednesday, September 21st

Service Follows Affluence



Gordy Petersen's indictments of "affordable housing" and those that support the nonsensical concept that county actions can actually lower housing costs were right on. While the net cost to a buyer might be reduced because of waived code compliance or permit fees or special financing arrangements, the overall costs (which include the time and effort of the officials engaging in this boondoggle) are higher – and ultimately reflected in the real marketplace.

This notion of government fiat to obtain relatively "more affordable housing" has been around for many years. Supporters of this notion are challenged to site where it has actually been accomplished.

Another challenge for these no-nothings is to site an example in which ever increasing affluence (including higher housing costs) has ever resulted in diminished levels of service. Service providers may end up not being able to afford to live in the community in which they provide services, and the cost of such service might increase; but the historical record is that levels of service consistently track levels of affluence.

Albert B. Hall
Friday Harbor


[more..]


Friday, September 16th

Letters In Support Of Bob Myhr



ig_BOB_MYHR-3 (9k image)


Upset With Larsen, Supports Myhr

Dear Representative Larsen,

I was very upset to open the paper yesterday and see your advertisement for Jamie Stephens for county commissioner of San Juan County. I can only imagine that you are not aware of the divisiveness of the current election and your part to further divide citizens and Democrats. I feel it was very inappropriate of you to make such an endorsement. As a supporter and voter of your own campaigns and a supporter of Bob Myhr, I was offended by your endorsement which I believe was ill conceived and lacking in the necessary understanding of the complexity of the current situation.

I am sure that Jamie Stephens' campaign people approached you and asked for your support and painted a picture that all Democrats must stick together for the good of the party. In reality the democratic process was almost aborted until the choice of who would serve as San Juan County's next commissioner was put to the voters. This is true democracy.

Bob Myhr, who you probably have not spoken to on this matter, is far more qualified to serve as commissioner. If this were not apparent to the Stephens campaign, then I can only assume that they would not be reaching far and wide to try and get endorsements to bolster their campaign.

I feel very offended that you allowed yourself to be manipulated in this way and have offended all of the Myhr supporters who are most likely (or were until now), supporters of you. Your actions will lead to further divide San Juan County Democrats at a time when we need to be pulling together. I believe that the responsible action would have been to support the democratic process and to keep yourself out of an election that you had no place stepping into.

I hope in the future you will get the facts before making such a decision and I believe you owe it to San Juan County voters to apologize for your actions.

Leave the decision to the voters - that is how democracy works.

Sincerely,

Liz Scranton
Lopez, WA 98261



If You Are A Republican, Green Or Independent, You May Vote The Democratic Ballot

I am voting for Bob Myhr for the position of County Commissioner. The September 20th primary deadline is quickly approaching and County management and direction are on the line. Your involvement is needed. No matter if you are a Republican, Democrat, Green or Independent, you may vote the Democratic ballot. If you haven't already mailed in your ballot, I urge you to select the Democratic ballot and vote for BOB MYHR for County Commissioner.

Bob is fiscally conservative, energetic and has the ability to bring people with differing views together. Bob's extensive education, his work experience in the private and non-profit sectors, his long term involvement on Lopez, his extensive County wide participation, and his knowledge of all of the San Juan Islands and many of its citizens, clearly make him the outstanding choice as our next County Commissioner.

Look at Bob's résumé. Look at his list of supporters and contributors. Bob Myhr has what it takes and he has across-the-board support for County Commissioner.

Carol Hendel
Lopez Island



We Cannot Vote For Stephens

Editor,

Bob Myhr is our choice for county commissioner based on his many years of experience in our county and community.

We cannot vote for a candidate whose biography is missing his experience previous to moving to the islands. His experience as a small business owner on Lopez was short lived, and we have concerns about his shoreline use policy. The Stephens' new home site at the mouth of Fisherman Bay is a prime example of shoreline misuse. Their silt fences were inadequate, with plumes of mud washing into the channel from the removal of part of the high bank.

Bob Myhr is the only candidate as far as we are concerned.

The Flynns,
Lopez


Support Myhr

I would like to thank both Jamie Stephens and Bob Myhr for throwing their hats into the ring to become a county commissioner from Lopez Island. Both appear to be well qualified for that position. Also, I would like to thank Rhea Miller for her service to our county over the last few years - her leadership is truly being missed at this time.

This is the primary reason that I am supporting Bob Myhr for county commissioner - the lack of leadership on the board. I have known Bob for several years professionally and find him to be knowledgeable, compassionate, thoughtful, and inquisitive in our dealings. Bob is not afraid to ask a question in order that he gets a clearer understanding of all sides of a situation or issue. With these traits Bob would bring to the board of county commissioners what it seems to be lacking - the ability to discuss issues openly and to reach a consensus.

Bob is, and has been for years, immersed in the San Juan Islands. He has served on many boards, he has been involved in many organizations, and he has successfully administered the San Juan Preservation Trust until his retirement a couple of years ago.

He truly has the best interests of the county as well as the residents of the county in his heart as he runs for county commissioner. Please join me in voting for Bob Myhr for county commissioner.

Respectfully,
Kerwin Johnson


Republicans Can Be A Democrat For A Day

I want to express my hope that everyone in San Juan County will vote in the primary election that will end on September 20th.

This election is solely a mail-in ballot, which is the newly adopted system in our county. Ballots were mailed on August 31st, and all registered voters should have received one by now. If you have not received your ballot I would urge you to contact the San Juan County Elections Office. Everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, can vote for 1 of the Democratic candidates running for District 3 County Commissioner. You must fill in the Democratic ballot to do so. If you write in a Democratic nominee on the Republican ballot, it will NOT count.

The County Commissioners have many important issues before them, and the outcomes will have an effect on us all, across the islands. Keep in mind that all 3 commissioners make decisions for ALL the islands. I believe that Bob Myhr's county-wide experience over the past 20 years makes him the best choice to represent us all. His background in balancing complicated budgets and his openness to differing views qualify Bob to meet the challenges that lay ahead.

For more information on Bob Myhr, please visit www.bobmyhr.org

Please remember: Everyone can vote! Be sure to mail your ballot in before September 20th.

Fred Ellis Jr.


Bob Extensive Experience Conservationist, Business , Leadership

I have known Bob Myhr for 6 years. He and his wife, Joyce, represent
what makes communities like ours pulse with life. Bob's passion for
the San Juan Islands is contagious!

Bob has extensive experience not only as an avid conservationist, but
also as a man with substantial experience in business and major
project leadership in the San Juans. Bob is a very competent, highly
regarded advocate for prudent and sustainable natural environments.
And his clear and positive understanding of the crucial need for
affordable housing on these islands must be emphasized. He is an
approachable leader, an excellent listener and above all an
experienced, ethical humanist.

Cynthia McLachlan
Lopez Island



Bob Has Experience In Government & Non-Governmental Agencies

We in District three are lucky to have two fine candidates passionately interested in representing us in the county commissioners' office in Friday Harbor. Both are good people. However, I will be casting my vote for Bob Myhr.

In addition to his many fitting qualities and experience already delineated in numerous other letters, Bob has something ELSE we badly need in these turbulent times: broad experience in governmental and non-governmental agencies; the ability to work with those who disagree with him and a cool head!

Let no one doubt Bob's willingness to work for ALL of us -- kids and families, working people, retirees -- every one of us fortunate enough to live here in the San Juan Islands.

Sincerely,

Lorna Reese
Lopez Island



Bob Has Experience In County-Wide Matters

Dear Editor,

The San Juan Islands are fortunate that two strong candidates are running for County Commissioner in the upcoming primary election. In that sense, we are in a win-win situation.

But given the inexperience of the two current commissioners, what the San Juans most need at this point is a third commissioner with deep experience in county-wide matters and a proven track record in bringing disparate groups and points of view together.

By these criteria, Bob Myhr stands head and shoulders above his opponent. His level of county-wide involvement, concern, and accomplishment is unrivaled among recent candidates for County Commissioner. We are extremely fortunate that he is in the race.

Richard Fagen
Lopez Island


Bob Myhr Has Protected Working Farms In SJC

Dear Editor,

As a young, working family we have been watching the election this year with deep interest. San Juan county today is undergoing rapid and fundamental change. Much of this is entirely beyond the control of county government. Regardless of rhetoric, sloganeering or glossy ads, the county will continue to grow, property values will continue to soar, and working people will continue to struggle to maintain a foothold here. What can a commisioner do, really, to steer the county in a livable, economically diverse direction? Moreover, how can this be achieved in a way that does not sacrifice our quality of life and integrity of landscape? Of the two candidates, whose record better qualifes him to lead?

Fortunately, some trends offer new opportunites for islanders. We farm, commercial fish and are attempting to start a shellfish farm. Over the past five years, we have seen the economics of our pursuits change radically. Rising oil prices, rising ferry fares and greater awareness of food quality have made San Juan County food production competetive for the first time in generations. New, serious farms are springing up on all the islands, local fish are now available for much of the year, and increasing numbers of islanders are making livelihoods producing food. We can now realistically look forward to the county becoming a breadbasket, fruit bowl and meat locker again, at least for the local population. In order for this to happen we must protect the infrastructure of production in San Juan County. We must hold on to our fertile farmlands, rich bays and vigorous forests. We must maintain large enough parcels of land to allow for reasonable scale farming. We must not allow our irreplacable assets to be subdivided away and buried under a sea of retirement houses. Land conservation is often painted as an elitist project. This is false. Land conservation is a means to foster local food production for the long term, and offers the best hope we can see of building anything resembling a robust, varied economy in San Juan County.

Bob Myhr has done more than any single person to protect and conserve working lands in this county. He understands the deep ties that bind long time farmers to their land and the opportunities that today draw new people in. Many island farms owe their existance to the work that Bob Myhr and others have quietly done over the years. Many more will spring up, in years to come, thanks to these far sighted few. We are profoundly grateful for this, and wholeheartedly support his candidacy for county commisioner.

Nick and Sara Jones, Lopez Island.


Myhr Not Beholden To Special Interests

Dear Editor,

I want to express my enthusiastic support both for Bob Myhr and for
the democratic process (small "d") regarding the BOCC vacancy. I
first met Bob via the Lopez Audubon trips, but I am also aware of the
many important ways he contributes to our Lopez community. He is the
BOCC-appointed Trustee of the Lopez Library, a desk volunteer at the
library, and Treasurer of the Lions Club. Most important to me,
however, is his advocacy at the state and national levels
in favor of funding nature preserves on Lopez such as Chadwick Hill,
Watmough, and Pt. Colville, and his commitment to our county's protection of
natural areas amidst responsible development.


His qualifications are first-rate. He embodies all the things I want
in a county government. He is approachable, smart, qualified, open,
thoughtful, concerned, and industrious. He is his own man, not beholden
to special interests or party insiders.

I also want to voice my support for the decision to let the voters
decide the BOCC vacancy. It's the right thing to do. The
appointment/recommendation process was defended by those involved as
"open and ethical" but it's more important that it be democratic. I
am very glad that the voters will be able to express their support for
the candidate of their choice.

My choice is Bob Myhr.

Christi Carter
Lopez Island


Bob Myhr Is A Community Leader

Letter to the Editor:

My brother Steve Hoedemaker, my sister Linda Cline, and I have known
Bob Myhr as a family friend and a community leader for decades. We
support him fully for San Juan County Commissioner. It seems his
opponent in this race is touting certain virtues as if they were his
exclusively, with which we take issue.

We know Bob Myhr to have worked tirelessly as a community leader and
consensus builder here in the San Juans and nationally through the Land
Trust Alliance. Locally, in addition to his contributions to the Lopez
Library, Lopez Village planning, and the Lopez
Lions Club, it is through his efforts with the San Juan Preservation
Trust that nearly 9,000 acres of land in San Juan County have been
protected voluntarily-- without cost to taxpayers.

We hope San Juan County votes and voices will follow ours by supporting
Bob Myhr for County Commissioner.

Sincerely,
John Hoedemaker


BOCC Needs A Ph.D. In Public Law and Government

Running for public office is not easy. Those who chose to do so are often subjected to personal scrutiny, criticism, financial strain and more. So we are lucky, as San Juan County voters, to continue to have talented, competent and well intentioned candidates from which to make our selections.

In the current race for Rhea Miller's vacated seat on the BOCC, Bob Myhr is our choice. Here's why:

Bob has the background in education: B.A. (cum laude) in Economics—Amherst College; M.I.A in International Affairs and Economics—Columbia University; Ph.D. in Public Law and Government—Columbia University; Fulbright Scholar.

Bob has the practical experience: Assistant Professor, Political Science, U of W; Manager, International Group, Weyerhaeuser; and we all know of Bob's amazing results as Executive Director of the San Juan Preservation Trust for 17 years when he had the opportunity to visit most of the islands—big and small—and understand the interests and needs of islanders throughout San Juan County.

Bob has managed the water system for the Davis Head Homeowners' Assn for many years and serves on the board of Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, giving him additional experience in working with issues of countywide significance.

And, Bob has proven his integrity and ability to forge compromises between groups that don't always see eye to eye.

To sum, Bob Myhr has the knowledge, the experience, the proven track record, and the dedication to join our Board of Commissioners in making our county government the efficient and responsive body we'd all like it to be. Vote BOB MYHR in the September primary!

Jim and Shanley Lett
Lopez Island



Bob Is The Person We Need To Represent Us

Editor:

I want to urge everyone to support Bob Myhr for County Commissioner. I
have known Bob since I first came to work for OPALCO in 1988. I have
worked with Bob in a number of situations, working with state and
federal agencies like the Bonneville Power Administration and lobbying
with both our state and national congressional delegations on OPALCO
issues. Bob presents our local issues well to these groups and is well
respected by them.

He is a leader, not just at OPALCO but also in other
state and regional electric power organizations with issues that effect
our county.

He is effective. He makes things happen.
San Juan County is undergoing a dramatic change today and the future
will see even bigger changes. Bob is the person we need to represent us
in these challenging times.

Doug Bechtel



Myhr: Consensus Builder, Fiscally Responsible

Dear Editor,

I have known Bob Myhr for many years and admire and respect him. I first
met Bob many years ago on a San Juan County Audubon field trip that Bob had organized. Bob is an avid birder and is known for the many field trips and

lectures that he has organized. Bob has always cared passionately for the San Juan Islands and in his job for over 17 years as the Executive Director of the San Juan Preservation Trust (of which he is now retired); Bob worked hard to protect open space and farmland for generations to enjoy. Many of the vistas and open space we appreciate today were in a large part created because of Bob's hard work and perseverance.

When attending Audubon functions Bob often offered to give me a ride. These trips gave me the opportunity to really get to know Bob as a person who is much bigger in life than the hat he wore as the Preservation Trust director. What I discovered about Bob is his passion for life that has led Bob to be active in many community organizations and what I believe has led Bob to pursue the county commissioner seat. Bob is dedicated to community and to service.

Bob and his wife Joyce have children and grandchildren and therefore they know the difficulty of working families. Over the years Bob has volunteered and been active on many community organizations and committees. Most recently, Bob has been a member of the Lopez Lions Club where he has served for 18 years and is currently the Treasurer. Bob is both a volunteer at the Lopez Library and a Trustee of the Library Board. Most notable has been Bob's involvement on the OPALCO Board where he has been an important leader for 18 years. As an OPALCO Board member, Bob set policy and oversaw a budget that is similar to that of the San Juan County budget in size and scope. Bob has become known on the OPALCO board as a consensus builder and as being fiscally responsible. He can relate to all kinds of people and is able to listen and compromise in order to reach consensus. Bob is a person who studies the facts, talks to people involved and makes educated decisions.

The past 6 or 8 years in county government have been fraught with bickering and negativity. This environment has made it difficult to develop positive strategies and to move forward on important planning. Bob is most qualified to develop positive working relationships with the other commissioners and with the various employees and agencies related with county government. Bob will be a leader in creating an environment where consensus is the norm and divisiveness is a thing of the past.
Bob has a proven record and is knowledgeable about the complexities of county government. Bob cares about San Juan County. He cares about working families, the environment, individuals and community. I cannot think of a better person suited to fill this public office. Please join me and in voting for the man I believe to be most qualified, a man I greatly admire - Bob Myhr.

Sincerely,

Liz Scranton
Lopez WA 98261



Bob Has Good Insight Into County Operations & Problems

Dear Editor:

We feel Bob Myhr is the superior candidate for County Commissioner because he has been involved in county-wide organizations for twenty years.

In his years as Executive Director of the San Juan Preservation Trust he demonstrated great management and political skills; these are just the skills needed by our Commissioner. His time as an Opalco director and with the San Juan Preservation Trust have given him good insight into county operations and problems.

We both feel that Bob is by far the best qualified candidate for this position from any party!

Charles & Nancy Givens
Lopez Island


Bob Myhr Is The Better Candidate

Dear Editor:

We are fortunate to have two such good citizens as candidates to serve as one of our Commissioners. Here's why we have decided that Bob Myhr is the better candidate at this time..

Bob Myhr has worked for the entire San Juan County community for many years. His work with OPALCO and The San Juan Preservation Trust has had a critical long-term impact on the entire county. His responsibilities required leadership and an understanding of complex systems with very large budgets. These organizations, both serving the public good are very different and Bob was intimately involved with each. OPALCO is essentially a business able to charge for its services and is thereby accountable to its owners--us. The Trust required Bob to persuade people to help preserve our beautiful island environment. Both countywide experiences involved weighty issues affecting our everyday lives and our future together. He has demonstrated here, in our county, his ability to bridge the many differences of opinion in our diverse community. We can trust him to be independent and fair.

Bob Myhr has also played a full part in the Lopez community and is respected and liked. He is man of many parts and we strongly endorse him. He has balanced many political concerns in both his recent major tasks. He will bring to the BOCC intelligence, experience and commitment to the common good and will spend our tax money wisely.

We elected Bob to OPALCO and benefited from his leadership. Elect Bob Myhr again as our COUNTY commissioner.

Mike and Margaret Ellis



No Task Too Small Or Too Large For Bob Myhr

To the Editor:

For County Commissioner Candidate Bob Myhr no task is too small or too large. He is competant. He listens to all sides of issues.
He scopes out the long and short term results of decisions. He has vision. We are fortunate that Myhr is willing to put his energies
and experience toward the care and keeping of every feature of these precious islands.

Morry and Floy Dalton
Lopez Island


Bob Understands The Interests & Needs Of The People Of All The Islands

It's not often that all the people of San Juan County have an opportunity to
be so well represented by a candidate for public office. Bob Myhr has served
San Juan County in many capacities for the past twenty years and understands
the interests and the needs of the people of all the islands.

Bob's experience in management, both in the private sector and as Director
of the San Juan Preservation Trust, as a director of Orcas Power and Light
Cooperative, his work with the Housing Options for Seniors, Lopez Hospice
and Home Care, Lopez Senior Center, Lopez Community Land Trust, and many
other local organizations over the years, uniquely qualify him to represent
all islanders. His years of experience working with all levels of management
and government is an invaluable asset that Bob brings to the position of
County Commissioner.

I've known and worked with Bob Myhr for the past twenty years and know him
to be an ethical, capable person who listens well and will well represent
all of us, regardless of political affiliation, as our County Commissioner.

Diane Robertson
Lopez Island



Bob Myhr Most Impressive

Dear Editor:

One of the most impressive people I met after moving to Orcas Island over
12 years ago was Bob Myhr, then the Executive Director of the San Juan
Preservation Trust. Over the course of subsequent years I observed how
effective he was in dealing with the full diversity of residents of ALL of
the islands of this fragmented county. His accomplishments are almost as
numerous as his friends. I am delighted that Bob has chosen to run for the
open County Commissioner seat. The breadth and depth of his experience and
his unselfish service to a broad variety of organizations and causes,
ranging from the Board of OPALCO to his homeowners association, from the
successful and ground-breaking effort to ban jet skis in this county to the
breathtaking expansion of conservation easements overseen by the
Preservation Trust, make him an ideal candidate to serve his fellow
citizens as a County Commissioner.

I am confident that Bob will become a superbly effective County
Commissioner if you join me in voting for him.

Jan Zehner

Orcas Island



Bob Myhr Has My Support

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


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


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

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


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






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Letters In Support Of Jamie Stephens



ig_JAMIE_STEVENS-3 (11k image)


Wagner Endorses Stephens

Editor

I am happy to join Rick Larsen in endorsing Jamie Stephens. Rick is not someone who is manipulated. He knows the personally knows the elected PCO's who serve the party and tries to meet with us as often as he is in the District. Knowing us he respects our judgment. I know he has met with Jamie and talked with the PCO's about the selection and he firmly believes that the party's choice of Jamie Stephens by a very wide margin was the right one in this case. It is not he who has made this race divisive.

Jamie Stephens is the right candidate for commissioner. He has shown a willingness to take on important, current and controversial issues and the skill and perception to bring them to successful resolution. Three recent issues important to the Lopez Community have been: the Lopez Village Urban Growth Area, the Lopez Village water study (both required by the Growth Management Act) and a proposed skateboard park, wanted by the kids, but a possible source of contention with neighbors. In each case Jamie took a crucial leadership role in sorting out the complexities and then bringing the various, sometime contentious, interests together to produce excellent results. The Growth Management issues required a deep understanding of planning and Growth Management Act, while the proposal for a skateboard park required an ability to work both with youth and with neighbors concerned about the disruption that such a park might bring.

Jamie's empathy and concern for those less fortunate is clearly demonstrated in his work with the Lopez Family center where he volunteers. Because he has children in the Lopez Schools, Jamie has a deep and personal understanding of the problems confronting our youth and schools that has been lacking on the BOCC.

From my participation in the Democratic Party selection process and my own inquiries of people who have known and worked with him, I find that he brings the energy, level headedness emphasis on preparation, and consensus building skills to make an outstanding commissioner to serve all of San Juan County.

Stan Wagner
Waldron



Jamie Is The Right Person For Job

I am writing to support the candidacy of Jamie Stephens for San Juan County Commissioner. Jamie's opponent is a man of considerable ability and would be a good choice for many jobs. Just not this one, and especially not now. Jamie is the right person for this job, with this particular board of county commissioners, at this time, and for our islands. Read the candidates' campaign literature, check out their web sites, get to know them, and then make an educated choice. You'll find out why eight of the Democratic Party precinct committee officers favor Jamie after extensive review and interviews of both candidates, but only two support his opponent (see the candidates' answers to the precinct officers' questions at: www.sjdemocrats.org/CandidateQ.htm). You'll also find out why four current and former county commissioners support his candidacy. What do they all know that you might not yet know? Well, this guy is the real deal. That's what they know.

I wasn't in Jamie's corner at the outset when I began examining the two candidates. Before I knew much about either of them, I favored Bob Myhr. Over the past two months, however, I've studied both of their positions, read their literature, and been involved in lengthy private and public group interviews with them. The more I learn about Jamie, his positions and his vision for our future, the more strongly I favor him as the next commissioner. This is based on his track record of involvement in the community, his expertise, experience, beliefs and personality. The man I support does not make assumptions without information. He has an open, not a closed, mind. He has real-world experience. His vision for the islands is of a vibrant, whole place where families and people of all ages thrive, not an affluent retirement community that somehow supports itself. He is humble, inquisitive, intelligent and energetic. He is learning all the time --- talking with individuals, and contacting community organizations, non-profits, and business associations alike. He has consistently requested in-person visits to learn more about the missions of these groups, their needs, and their hopes for the future of our community. I've run into him on several occasions away from interview situations and have enjoyed getting to know him. He has my vote.

Barry Jacobson
San Juan Island


Jaime Acquainted With Island Issues

Editor:

We San Juan County Democrats are positively tripping over each other lately, disoriented by Rhea Miller's sudden departure and weighted by conscientious concern over nominating a replacement. Commissioner Miller deserves a generous measure of thanks for her hard work and committment to public service over the years. Her leadership in passing a resolution in defense of the Bill of Rights stands out as one fine example of that service, as does her recommendation of Jaime Stephens as a member of the Board of County Commissioners.

This might seem strange bedfellows indeed: someone with a strawbale house supporting a graduate of the Wharton School of Business. I too wondered what politics these two might find of common interest, until I looked closer at Jaime's experience and had occasion to meet him, as well as his eloquent wife Lauren. Jaime Stephens and family seem firmly enmeshed in this community; Jaime is acquainted with such perennial island issues as affordable housing, water-use, public school districts and social service administration. When you consider that roughly half of the county budget helps fund public health services, this kind of experience will be priceless in a member of the BOCC.

It would be a mistake for voters on San Juan Island and Orcas Island to assume they "have no dog in the fight" just because the open position is a different voting district, or seems to involve only Democrats. Whether it is support of local public health services or of national services such as the Bonneville Power Administration, our various levels of government can literally bring power to the people, but only if we elect someone who knows how to make it work for all of us, someone like Jaime Stephens.

That is why I am campaigning here on San Juan Island for Jaime Stephens: if we work for Jaime now, come election day he just might have a chance to work for us.

Steve Grandle
Friday Harbor



Jamie Committed To The Whole Community

Dear neighbors and fellow islanders,

I have resisted expressing my political opinions in letters to the editor. During election times it seems as though there is a competition to see which candidate can get the most letters of support. I sincerely doubt that a letter to an editor ever changed a vote.

However, as I hear misinformation and inflammatory rumors being spread about Jamie Stephens, I feel compelled to appeal to my fellow islanders. I sincerely hope that we all can be conscientious when seeking information about candidates in the upcoming commissioner race. It is so easy on our islands to listen to someone we trust and make a decision based what we are told is "fact". As I have talked to those I know on other islands about Jamie, I have learned that there are a lot of misleading statements being made about him and accepted as fact.

I have known Jamie and worked with him for many years. I have observed the commissioners in their process to decide whether to follow the democratic process and nominate Jamie. I have talked with Rhea Miller who served us well for so many years.

I have carefully chosen my vote to go to Jamie based on these experiences.

I know Jamie to be committed to the whole community. He absolutely understands and works well with many diverse groups of people of different ages, is able to listen respectfully and act based on what he hears. He is willing to seek information about any issue he may not know about and look thoroughly into all sides of a question. I have seen him in the midst of conflict situations and found him to be quite capable of zeroing right in on priorities and find common ground. He has never been someone who thinks he is better than anyone else. He has worked tirelessly for children and families on Lopez in the school, for the Skateboard Park and serving on the board of the Lopez Island Family Resource Center. He has a working knowledge of the issues facing families living in the islands.

It is crucial when looking at the future of our county that we have someone who has Jamie's level of energy, experience and willingness to learn.

I have watched Jamie with the other two commissioners and I feel strongly that he is the one to provide an ideal balance among the three. Until I went to the hearings, I did not understand how significant this issue would be.

I urge each of you to go to the forum on your island and ask questions and decide for yourselves based on your own experience. We have a chance here in these islands to rise above the mudslinging that has become common in political races. Let's take that opportunity now.

Nancy Ewert
Lopez Island



Democrats Support Stevens

As a Precinct Committee Officer from Orcas Island, I was very involved with
the San Juan County Democratic Party process of interviewing candidates for
county commissioner as required by the WA State Democratic Party. I
participated in developing a questionnaire and reviewing the candidates¹
answers and resumes, I read letters from the candidates¹ supporters, and I
observed the candidates in public forums. From this process I was one of
the eight of twelve PCO volunteers from four islands who selected Jamie
Stephens as the most qualified candidate.

After Alan Lichter¹s announcement of his support of Bob Myhr, I carefully
reconsidered the qualifications of the remaining candidates. I re-read
questionnaire answers, resumes and letters, investigated further by talking
with people from Lopez and from other islands who had familiarity with the
candidates¹ contributions to their communities and by watching video of the
commissioners interviewing the candidates. I talked briefly with the
candidates, and even visited Lopez to see in person what was happening in
the village. What I found only deepened my support of Jamie Stephens for
county commissioner.

While I feel great admiration and gratitude, as do many county citizens, for
Bob Myhr's many years of work to preserve local forest and farm lands and
for his other substantial community contributions, I am not convinced that
he is our most qualified candidate for county commissioner.

Jamie Stephens is entering this campaign actively engaged in maintaining a
diverse population in the county by contributing to the well-being of
children, working families, and small businesses on Lopez Island. He has
recent and successful experience with challenging issues that are directly
related to county governance, acting as co-chair to negotiate a location for
a skateboard park and as chair of a group creating a coordinated water
system plan for Lopez Village. He has generously shared both money and time
with the public school, the community center, and the family resource
center, and worked to improve village infrastructure for small businesses,
and he is currently engaged in plans to secure affordable senior housing in
Lopez Village. In addition, in response to written questions, in public
interviews, and in personal conversation, it is evident that Jamie has been
actively studying current county government process and structure by
attending county commission hearings and meeting in person with county
department heads.

I find Jamie Stephens¹ leadership style to be open, engaging and dynamic.
In conversation I get a sense that he is truly listening and considering my
perspectives, and he is able to make reference to current county government
programs and opportunities that are relevant to my questions.

I am more convinced than ever that Jamie Stephens is the most qualified
candidate for county commissioner. Jamie Stephens is entering this campaign
with momentum from current involvement in challenging community issues,
responding to the needs of his community, and he has demonstrated a working
knowledge of our current county government. Please take the time to review
Jamie's resume and community involvement at www.jamiestephens.com. I trust
that Jamie Stephens will bring competent, responsive and dynamic creativity
to the position of county commissioner.

Rena Patty
Eastsound


Stevens Man Of Intergrity & Compassion

Dear Editor,
I am supporting Jamie Stephens' bid for County Commissioner. I have known Jamie for several years. I am so impressed with his passion for and the energy he gives to our community. I watched Jamie give many hours to the skate park on Lopez( by the way neither of his children use the skate park). Jamie has been on many boards where his generosity of time and spirit has gone well beyond anyone's expectation. He is a man of integrity and compassion. His actions demonstrate his support for families and small businesses. He is someone I trust to make decisions that will affect all of lives directly. He will continue to be a steward of our environment and help to promote an economy that can support families to live here. Some people say all the right words… Jamie does all the right things. Please join me and support Jamie to be our next County Commissioner.

Sincerely,

Alice Campbell
Lopez Island


Jamie Stephens Leads the Way

Jamie's active involvement in San Juan County and especially in the Lopez community is well known and appreciated. He is a leader in many organizations. One of the community services he has participated in for the past five years is taking the leadership of the Lopez Lions famous Fourth of July parade. He has shown his ability to organize and bring together many diverse groups. Furthermore, this task takes time and a good sense of humor in addition to bringing order out of chaos to produce a very successful event.

The above is just one small activity in which Jamie has shown his skills of leadership, volunteerism, concern, and thoughtfulness for all walks of life in our community. While he invests some of his time in local island activities he also addresses many county-wide concerns, such as planning for affordable housing, water issues on the islands, and the environment.

I have seen and worked with Jamie in many projects over the years. I trust his ability to focus on the issues and take leadership.

Tytti Langford
Lopez Island




Writes To Support Jamie Stephens For County Commissioner

I have had the privilege of knowing both candidates for several years and am pleased to consider each a friend. Each has qualities that can serve this county well.

However, I favor the election of Jamie because of the persistent depth, breadth, and effectiveness of his commitment to serve our island community.

For years Jamie has given his time, energy, and talent to enhance the lives of so many. For example:

He filled a key role on the board of the Lopez Community Center during the critical time soon after its opening. As chair of the Operation Committee he was most instrumental in formulating and implementing procedures and policies which have helped to make the facility the vital part of the community it is today. In this capacity he often dealt with state officials and regulations. He was even willing to remain in this position an extra year beyond his scheduled time of retirement from the board.

Jamie was also extremely dedicated to meeting the needs of the youth. He was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of Lopez's skate park. He helped plan the project; he used his considerable interpersonal skills to find a solution to the "NIMBY" resistance; he assisted extensively with the fund raising efforts; and he showed up when sweat equity was needed to complete the project.

His commitment to youth continues with his service on the board of the Family Resource Center. And he is also demonstrating his concern for the needs of senior citizens and those with limited income through his active involvement with the Lopez Housing Options (LOHO) project.

Because of these, and many other endeavors I am less familiar with, I urge a vote for Jamie Stephens.

Mac Langford
Lopez



Jamie Stephens Has My Unwavering Support

I would like to let people know of my personal discovery of what a
thoughtful and generous person Jamie Stephens is. The Stephens purchased an
old run down home in the village with the intent of tearing it down to build
themselves a new house. Knowing that as an artist I was building a studio on
a limited budget, Jamie offered the old house to me for all that I could
salvage from it. This included the apliances, mahogony cabinets, doors and
frames, trim, entrance panel, framing lumber, etc.

Needless to say, it was a great help to me, and Jamie was delighted that
nothing would go to waste. He even staved off the demolition crew for a
couple of months so that I could have time to work. Once demolition
began, Jamie spotted some deck railing material that I had overlooked,
loaded it into his truck, and delivered itto me. I am aware of similar acts
of kindness and generosity on his part that have benefited other Lopez
families and individuals. He has my unwavering support.

Sincerely,
Daniel Lystrup


Jamie Stephens Best Person For BOCC

I want to offer my support to Jamie Stephens as District 3 county
commissioner. I cannot imagine a better person than Jamie to take up the
challenges facing San Juan County.

I first got to know Jamie while working on Rhea Miller¹s 2002 campaign.
During that campaign, I saw first-hand his managerial skills and innate
knowledge of the process. I was particularly impressed by his ability to
turn Rhea¹s friends and supporters into an effective campaign staff. And we
had a great time doing it, in no small part because of Jamie¹s outstanding
leadership skills, a great sense of humor, and plain old hard work.

Since that time I¹ve had the opportunity to get to know the Stephens family,
and feel myself lucky to be considered a friend. When Jamie told me he was
throwing his hat into the ring for the commissioner¹s seat, I said, ³Just
tell me what you want me to do, and I¹ll do it.²

I urge you to see for yourself. Take a look at Jamie¹s record and his
experience on his website, www.jamiestephens.com. I¹m sure you¹ll come to
believe, as I do, that Jamie will make an outstanding county commissioner,
and will represent our people and our islands with grace and respect.

Lynne Keeley
Lopez Island
[more..]


Thursday, September 15th

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


[more..]


Open Letter To Rick Larsen



Dear Representative Larsen,

I was very upset to open the paper yesterday and see your advertisement for Jamie Stephens for county commissioner of San Juan County (Subject Story) . I can only imagine that you are not aware of the divisiveness of the current election and your part to further divide citizens and Democrats. I feel it was very inappropriate of you to make such an endorsement. As a supporter and voter of your own campaigns and a supporter of Bob Myhr, I was offended by your endorsement which I believe was ill conceived and lacking in the necessary understanding of the complexity of the current situation.

I am sure that Jamie Stephens' campaign people approached you and asked for your support and painted a picture that all Democrats must stick together for the good of the party. In reality the democratic process was almost aborted until the choice of who would serve as San Juan County's next commissioner was put to the voters. This is true democracy.

Bob Myhr, who you probably have not spoken to on this matter, is far more qualified to serve as commissioner. If this were not apparent to the Stephens campaign, then I can only assume that they would not be reaching far and wide to try and get endorsements to bolster their campaign.

I feel very offended that you allowed yourself to be manipulated in this way and have offended all of the Myhr supporters who are most likely (or were until now), supporters of you. Your actions will lead to further divide San Juan County Democrats at a time when we need to be pulling together. I believe that the responsible action would have been to support the democratic process and to keep yourself out of an election that you had no place stepping into.

I hope in the future you will get the facts before making such a decision and I believe you owe it to San Juan County voters to apologize for your actions.

Leave the decision to the voters - that is how democracy works.

Sincerely,

Liz Scranton
Lopez, WA 98261

[more..]


Friday, September 9th

BOCC Should Follow Law



Once again, the BOCC illegally uses executive session, this time to try to make a deal with Friends of the San Juan's on the ADU issue. Executive session in this case is supposed to maintain Attorney Client privilege, not to try to make some kind of deal or settlement. When the opposing parties meet, Attorney Client privilege has already been waved. So what is the BOCC hiding from us?

Without taking sides, lets ask another question. Why has this reached this point? Friends may have an unpopular position, but the reason that they are winning is that the BOCC once again has ignored State Law. The job of the Prosecutor is to provide legal advice on these matters. Either the BOCC got bad legal advice or chose to ignore the advice that was given. Result, faced with another potentially costly loss in Court, they must now try to make a deal. Their position is weak, so it will most likely be a bad one. Most sensible negotiators try to make a deal before they are on the ropes, and have spent lots of money in court.

If the BOCC wants to help its constituents, they could start by following the law. I would be interested in finding out the current and potential cost of litigation as a result of acting illegally. I would guess that it is a pretty big number. The second thing they could do would be to use executive session for what it is intended for, as opposed to making secret deals and spending tax money without public dialogue.

Piet Visser
Friday Harbor

[more..]


Why Exclude candidate?



Steve Ludwig, Green Party candidate for District Three County Commissioner, was not allowed (by the Journal) into the forum on SJI.

In subsequent fora, perhaps the following questions should be asked of the candidates early on when questions are solicited from the floor:

Why is Mr. Ludwig not allowed in this forum? We know that at least one of the candidates at the speaker's table (Mr. Myhr) has requested it. We know that on SJI, the Senior Center Board had voted to allow Mr. Ludwig in Tuesday' nights forum. We know that they were worried about their non-profit status, should an obviously partisan presentation such as this were to go on. Did the Journal take advantage of the current lack of a Senior Center director to push their desires through in spite of the Board's opposition? We know that the League of Women Voters invited Green Ben White to participate in its pre-primary forum in 2004 August 2004, even though he, like Mr. Ludwig was not on the primary ballot in 2004. What conceivable rationale could the Journal have in keeping Mr. Ludwig from speaking?

Tom Munsey
Friday Harbor
[more..]


BOCC Ends Controversy



Dear Editor,

The Board of County Commissioners ended a 7-year controversy over detached ADU's on September 6, 2005. The commissioners have offered the citizens of this county a compromise based on the historic rate of ADU development. The county estimates our rate of ADU development to be 16.7%, including internal and attached ADU's. The county has not been able to separate the types of ADU's in its analysis, but if detached ADU's outnumber the other types, then a fair estimate of the historic rate of detached ADU development would be 10 to 12%. This is the percentage used by the BOCC in the new ordinance. This is basically a proposal to maintain the "status quo" for numbers of detached ADU's.

So why is the Friends of the San Juans supporting this new ordinance? A good compromise gives all parties something that they need, but gives no party everything they want. The Friends of the San Juans is supporting the BOCC's new ordinance although it includes a number of things that we have argued and litigated against during these seven years. We are supporting this because (1) it includes, for the first time, significant environmental restrictions on detached ADU development and (2) it includes practical incentives for affordable housing.

We are ready to end this controversy. We believe that the ordinance contains some affordable housing incentives that will actually work. The main incentive in the new ordinance is the allowance of a detached ADU on small inland lots in rural areas, where folks are most likely to be able to afford to build additional housing for affordable long-term rental. We intend to support this in a compliance hearing before the Growth Management Hearings Board because one of the goals of GMA is affordable housing. We believe that the increased residential density that will result is offset by the gain in affordable housing.

The ordinance put forward by the BOCC includes some of the provisions of the Island County ordinance, like the one acre minimum lot size, which were found to be compliant with GMA. Our ordinance has more environmental protections than the Island County ordinance, while also allowing a limited number of detached ADU's on lots as small as one acre in some rural areas of the county. The Island County ordinance has been working for nearly 5 years, so we are confident that this new ordinance will not only be found to be compliant with GMA, but also will work in our rural county.

Lynn Bahrych, President of the Friends of the San Juans
Shaw Island

[more..]


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