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Wednesday, September 26th

Loss Of Local Control Is Appalling


To the Editor:

A few years ago San Juan County citizens were successful in stopping the loss of local control to the federal government on the stewardship of our county waters and shorelines to a National Marine Sanctuary. It was through the federal government’s considerable hearings to inform the San Juan County general public that the proposal was rejected by the locals. The effort by most of our county council to once again give up local control to a bigger bureaucracy is absolutely appalling. This is a true under handed back door route to putting more layers of red tape and COST in front of any project around our county and our local county politicians won’t have to take the heat for the future layers of restrictions since it will be “OUT OF OUR HANDS”.

The three former county commissioners in particular are hand picked puppets of the “Friends of the San Juans” and I would speculate that if they weren’t so blatantly serving this special interest, the voters would not have been so disgusted as to have desperately adopted a new Home Rule form of government.

Thanks Alan, Kevin and Bob!

Mike Carlson
San Juan Island

[link]


Monday, September 24th

Ballot Tracker Is Still With Us


Dear Editor,

Recent headlines have left many readers falsely impressed that San Juan County Elections has finally abandoned Ballot Tracker, the paperless system that electronically “audits” your vote by linking your name to the barcode on your ballot.

While our lawsuit and policy challenge to ballot barcodes is succeeding in re-securing the Secret Ballot across the state, our own local officials have declared their intention to turn the discredited encryption scheme “ON” for our November Election.

Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord, chief litigant, has made multiple trips to the mainland promoting Ballot Tracker, and defends it with a slick 65-slide PowerPoint presentation. He even circulated his own draft legislation to change State law to allow unique ballot barcodes. While this could be considered due diligence, pushing a failing product that compromises voter trust is discouraging.

Plus…it’s a lonely, losing battle. No new counties have followed SJC’s lead. The Secretary of State’s Office has withdrawn support for SJC’s Ballot Tracker. Alerted State Legislative Elections Committees are preparing strengthened prohibitions against this product. Last week King County explicitly forbade any expenditure for VoteHere’s Ballot Tracker in any form.

And, by the way, VoteHere and parent shell Dategrity have apparently closed shop: Websites down. Phones dead. Offices empty. Their sole, orphaned product, Ballot Tracker, has resurfaced under a new logo, “Election Trust.”

What kind of technical support for Ballot Tracker’s glitches would YOU count on?

We’ve been sold a bill of goods.

If the County is putting in anywhere near the effort in retaining Ballot Tracker that our team has in fighting it over these last two years, we fear the cost paid by County taxpayers and the price paid by County voters is staggering.

We appeal to Auditor Milene Henley, who inherited this mess, not to ruin her first term by running her first election using fatally flawed Ballot Tracker. It’s high time we followed its engineer and conductor and jumped this doomed derailing train. The last stop is right around the bend.

For more, sjmedia.org
Tim White, Orcas 376-5851
Allan Rosato, Orcas 376-2158
Green Party Elections Working Group (Tom Munsey, SJI) 378-5196

[link]


Wednesday, September 12th

Response to Sturdivant Letter


( The Sturdivant letter follow this letter)

To the Editor:

My 12-year-old son and I make our home on Sunday Drive; a property that abuts the Buck family property. I also own my own marketing consulting business and busily work from my home during the work week. I love this neighborhood - enough so to own two properties in it - and I am seriously concerned about the efforts underway to annex the Buck property to the Town of Friday Harbor and build a high-density urban area on said.

I have specific concerns on two areas: 1) the current Town proposal for the Zoning and Location of Road/Trail access to Island Rec Property; and, 2) traffic impact of this development to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Proposed Zoning: Per the attached map, the plan includes developing multi-family housing right next to my property and others in the Islanders Phase 1 development. I respectfully request that you reject this proposal. I respectfully request you consider an alternative plan that includes a natural 'beltway' or 'nature easement' between the existing and proposed new construction.

Also attached is a map of an alternate plan that includes using the property line to build a park or a 'beltway' of sorts between the Islanders Phase 1 property and the proposed new construction. Not only will this proposal work to preserve the privacy, territorial and water views, feeling of sanctuary and safety and privacy of the current Islanders Phase 1 residents, it will also serve to offer a feeling of privacy, nature and sanctuary to the new families who will be occupying this proposed new construction. Additionally, island wildlife make their homes in this area and we often see many types of birds, raccoon, fox and deer meandering through our property and the surrounding neighborhood. Ensuring a degree of natural habitat remains will preserve some of this existing wildlife ecosystem.

Building new construction that has the most negative impact on the existing homes is quite simply wrong when equally-profitable-yet-less-impactful alternatives exist. I would hope that an alternative would be developed, considered and ultimately chosen because it would have the least negative impact on those existing homes, families and wildlife. I cannot stress enough that this is my family's HOME as well as my place of business; I urge you as fellow members and property owners of our community to assist in this matter.

Neighborhood Traffic Impact: I understand that Grover Street will open to accommodate traffic in to and out of this new development. At this time, Grover Street, Sunday Drive and Hunt Street are quiet, peaceful streets that accommodate the families and numerous children that live, play and thrive in these neighborhoods. With the potential of literally hundreds of additional vehicles and drivers added to this traffic, I fear for the safety of our neighborhood children and those attending the Friday Harbor Elementary School. Are alternate access roads being considered and created? And while I am not familiar with all the roads surrounding the Buck property, I urge you to consider arterial traffic options that drive traffic to existing main roads and away from the afore-mentioned streets, neighborhoods and the Elementary school.

I cannot dictate the use of this specific Buck Family Property and truly wish the project much success. I love living in this community and welcome others who wish to do the same. I respectfully request that every effort be made to preserve the home life of current and future Islanders Phase 1 and Buck Property residents. Approving zoning/building plans that preserve the privacy and natural surroundings of existing and soon-to-be residents and planning for the increased traffic in ways that keep our streets safe is my plea to you.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. I welcome questions, comments and/or feedback; and would encourage the opportunity to speak with you in person or by phone about my concerns.

Respectfully Yours,

Charlyn and Kaleb Warner
Friday Harbor
Residents, Home Owners, Business Owners
and Active Community Members

[link]


Respnse To Guest Editorial


To the Editor:

I write in answer to the woman intending to move here and build on Sunday Drive in Friday Harbor, and her worries about the impact of development nearby on her possible view and property value. ( "referenced Guest Editorial)

As someone ever active in trying to keep my own Friday Harbor neighborhood safe, walkable and livable, I can appreciate her concerns for her future here.

I note that the Home Trust is holding a pubic meeting Thursday evening, 9/13, at the Grange to show their tentative plans for part of that area. I also note that this property is not even actually purchased or annexed yet – so whatever plans are out there for us to look at and comment on are obviously still very tentative, even though community input is already being welcomed.

Our genuine problems here from the total lack of housing priced for island working people seem closer to at least a partial solution with this Buck property annexation. It would be a shame to focus now on non-existent problems – such as a potential for a single view loss, or the potential for a single property value loss when it is far too soon to know those details.

As a former Home Trust board member, I see the hard work and long, long process now required by the Town, the County, and many local volunteers to try and solve this housing problem I encourage all islanders to pay attention, let the process move forward and find comfort, as I do, in living in a place that is working hard to overcome a seemingly insurmountable problem that has become a plague for all ‘great place to live’ communities. Who wants stay and work in a community where you can NEVER afford to own a home? And where you cannot commute? That is our enormous problem as a community.

Let’s keep working on this. We can solve it.

Lee Sturdivant
Friday Harbor

[link]


Monday, September 10th

The Removal Of Illegal Signs


Letter to the Editor:

It is a delight to see in our local media that the County intends to go after those perps who place illegal signs along our roadways. There are, after all, very specific rules for identification and advertising of businesses or services!

While this enforcement of County Code is going on, might it be appropriate for me to mention that there are some other rules, regulations and, yes, even laws that are being broken and wholly ignored by enforcement agencies? In this context, I think of illegal aliens (you may prefer the phrase 'undocumented aliens' as long as you will also refer to a drug dealer as an 'undocumented pharmacist'), the broadly ignored seatbelt law in force in this state and, even though I personally do not recognize them, the drug deals that appear to go on 'en plein publique' anywhere and any time (as reported to me by a retired undercover narc who now resides on this island).

If the Sheriff were to take the cruiser's key away from one of its deputies and make him or her take position on the corner of Spring and First, a lot of $101 tickets could be written for disobeyance of the seatbelt law. At 90% to the state and a mere 10% to the local department, this action would still more than pay for the deputy's time and, one might think, put some money in the bank.

Many a website will provide data on the cost to the legal tax payer of the support for and maintenance of the illegal alien (the criminal, in my way of thinking). Whatever the correct numbers, the amounts are astounding and disgusting! The politically correct legislature and populace tends to change the subject on this one when that subject comes up, at least in this country, in this state and certainly in this county. Having stated that, I contend that entering the country without the proper documentation, taking or providing a job without the legal requirements and making use of the services that are funded by my tax dollars virtually demands that local law enforcement be pro-active, i.e. work more closely with the INS, even when no other laws are being broken.

I would not know how to get hold of drugs, other than the legal variety to be obtained by prescription and at the drug store, if my life depended on it. Others on the island, however, are, or should be, better versed in the observance of actions involved in the dealing of drugs. Perhaps this, too, requires prying a deputy out of the Ford Police Cruiser ....

Signed,
A local, a conservative, an interested party, a cynic and a Resident Alien (YES!!!!, I DO hold a so-called Green Card)

Ary L. Hobbel
San Juan Island


[link]


We’re all in this together


Dear Editor,

The recent letters by John and Kevin along with the editorial in this week’s Journal regarding storm water “fees” have profoundly moved me. I am a little embarrassed by my own selfish belief that development should pay its own way, and “fees” should be based on actual services provided.

When all is said and done “We’re all in this together.” If we keep that in mind, we will be able to embrace the greater community and the greater good. We will develop the model storm water ordinance. We will not selfishly regard ourselves as individuals or small enclaves or even different islands, but will create a beacon that draws the community together. We will recognize that we should be “one for all, and all for one.”

To that end, let us not limit ourselves. San Juan County is part of the State of Washington, which is part of the greater United States of America. We should design our storm water “fees” to address the storm water problems of the entire country. We should share the costs for every part of the larger community and eliminate any disparity based on use or benefit. Gosh, this could be just the beginning. The world awaits our embrace!

And let us make sure we keep calling it a “fee” not a “tax.” This is such a clever ploy and avoids that pesky problem of taxpayer approval.

Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!

Chris Clarke
San Juan Island
[link]


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