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Tuesday, October 26th

Disappointed With SJC Democrat Party Mailer


To the Editor:

I became disappointed upon receiving a San Juan County Democrat Party mailer that endorsed non-partisan candidates. Their egregious action was unprofessional and politicized non-partisan races in the county. Political parties should be involved with only partisan races.

Also, the mailer states "San Juan County Democrats endorse" and then lists the supported candidates. This is an untrue statement, not all SandJuan County Democrats support the list of the endorsed candidates.

Hopefully, the San Juan County Democrat Party will refrain from such endorsements and statements in the future.

Regards,

Ed Lutz
Orcas Island

[link]


Friday, October 22nd


To the Editor:

We want to sincerely thank the communities who hosted the League of Women Voters (LWV) Forums and the candidates that participated in the Forums this past weekend. We appreciated the large citizen turnout at the Forums on all four islands. All of you helped further the League's goal to give voters an opportunity to meet the candidates and learn where they stand on the wide range of issues facing our communities today.

We were disappointed, as were many of you, when some candidates chose not to appear. When a nonprofit organization such as the League of Women Voters sponsors a forum involving a Federal election, Federal regulations dictate some of what can and cannot be done. If only one candidate for a Federal office appears, and not his or her opponent, this is termed an "Empty Chair Debate" and the forum is disallowed. This regulation maintains our nonpartisan position.

State and Local races are not as highly regulated and our local League policy has always been to allow a statement to be read by a state or local candidate or a representative. Further, we do not allow a question and answer session with the candidate who does attend. Thus by choosing not to attend at the last moment the two absent candidates for state positions created "Empty Chairs" and denied the voters the opportunity for dialog.

We understand the difficulties of ferry travel and appearing four times, in four places, for one county. Given these restraints, the League strives to accommodate schedules to include the maximum number of candidates. Although the Forums this year had to go on without some of the candidates, most were there. The candidates were earnest. The debates were lively. The questions were thought-provoking. Again, our thanks to those who attended.

Please remember to return your ballot by November 2nd.

Ann Jarrell
On behalf of the League of Women Voters of San Juan County

[link]


Monday, October 18th

LETTERS ON BAN OF SAFE & SANE FIREWORKS



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Hodgkin & King Agree On A Safe & Sane 4th
To the Editor:

Helen King and I are agreed that the Fourth of July should be a time not only of enjoyment and celebration but also of safety to people and property, avoiding any injuries or property damage from the use of celebratory devices.

We disagree on whether the "safe and sane" fireworks which are currently permitted in San Juan County, but would be banned by the proposed ordinance to be voted on by the people, represent such a danger.

For those who are unsure about this, a quick search on the Internet will make clear that "safe and sane" fireworks can be and have indeed been responsible for both personal injury and property damage -- homes destroyed, children injured. These devices are not benign.

It's up to the voters, as it should be. Is the documented risk of property damage and personal injury worth the enjoyment some people, including children, get from letting off these fireworks? You know both sides of the issue. It's time to decide.

Christopher Hodgkin
San Juan Island
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Ban "Safe & Sane" Fireworks? No, Vote To Reject the Ban

To the Editor:

In the letter addressed to me, Christopher Hodgkin [see letter below -Ed] made three points, and I agree with all of them. I see no threat to any of his points in what is currently allowed by the State of Washington.

The County does not need to go further and ban sparklers, pinwheels, snakes and small cones, These things are not prohibited currently by the State but are NOT allowed in the new Ordinance for San Juan County. By the way, you live on San Juan Island. Not all islands have public displays on the 4th of July.

Please read my letter to the Guardian again [letter is below the Hodgkin letter -Ed].

I too want safe 4th of July displays
I too do not want to endanger anyone or anyone’s property
I too am opposed to anything that generates noise


This is the WA State law regarding fireworks:

RCW 70.77.126Definitions -- "Fireworks."

"Fireworks" means any composition or device designed to produce a visible or audible effect by combustion, deflagration, or detonation, and which meets the definition of articles pyrotechnic or consumer fireworks or display fireworks.

Except as authorized by a license and permit under subsection (1)(b) of this section or as provided in RCW 70.77.311, no person may discharge display fireworks at any place.

RCW 70.77.488 Unlawful discharge or use of fireworks -- Penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to discharge or use fireworks in a reckless manner which creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person or damage to the property of another. A violation of this section is a gross misdemeanor.

Vote to reject the current ban on all fireworks and allow only safe and noiseless displays allowed by the current Washington State Laws

Helen Chapman King
San Juan Island
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Give Me A Break

To the Editor:

Helen King asks "Do you really want to ban all sparklers, pinwheels mounted on sticks, or fountains types of fireworks for everyone in the San Juan Islands on the 4th of July?" [letter below -Ed]

Yes, Ms. King, I do. For several reasons.

First is the danger they present to my home and my family. Just last year there were several house fires started in Seattle by "safe and sane" fireworks. Families lost their homes, their belongings, their precious memories because somebody couldn't just enjoy the public fireworks but insisted on setting off their own legal whizz-bangs. I can only imagine the devastation if somebody inadvertently started a fire in our neighborhood of homes, tinder-dry trees and underbrush. I know, everybody says "I know how to set them off safely, I won't start a fire." But the fact is that every year they DO start numerous fires, and peoples lives are devastated. That's too high a price to pay for one selfish individual's momentary thrill.

Second is the danger to people, especially children. Every year children are maimed, blinded, lives ruined by fireworks. Oh, I know, you are sure you won't let that happen. But it does happen, and you know it and I know it and emergency medical personnel know it and, most important, the children and families affected know it all too well.

Third, I don't know whether you have any pets, but I do, and they have been terrified by the fireworks neighbors have set off in the past. I know of several pets in our neighborhood who in past years have been so frightened that they jumped over or ran through fences and escaped to try to find some respite. Fortunately none yet has been killed by a passing car, but it's only a matter of time. Is your little pleasure in setting off a firework worth terrifying a dumb animal who has no idea what is going on? You may think so; I don't. (And I can just imagine how fearful the deer in our neighborhood and the other animals are.)

Enjoy the fireworks shows that every island sets off for your pleasure, but support the ban and keep our homes, our children, our pets, and our animal friends safe from this totally needless threat.

Christopher Hodgkin
San Juan Island
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Give Me A Break: Reject The Ban on Safe & Sane Fireworks

To the Editor:

Come on folks! This is just too much intrusion of local government on our rights!

Do you really want to ban all sparklers, pinwheels mounted on sticks, or fountains types of fireworks for everyone in the San Juan Islands on the 4th of July?!

These types of fireworks are not noisy and a not dangerous with parental supervision. Don't take away this 200 year old patriotic tradition on the 4th of July. The current Washington State Laws outlining what fireworks are banned should be sufficient for the San Juan Islands.

Many who live here don't want to travel late at night to see the giant displays of fireworks at Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor Resort, or Lopez Island and simply want to celebrate at home or on a nearby beach as they have done in the islands for generations. For many years those on Blakely Island and other islands here gather on the beach for a 4th of July celebration at the end of the day with the magic of circling sparklers and cones in the dark with their children. "It's called a safe and sane 4th of July"

The previous ballot measure banning ALL fireworks was misleading in the wording and Superior Court Judge Don Eaton agrees and has allowed you to vote once again with the current ballot to lift that ban and let us have only those fireworks currently not prohibited by our State laws.

We want to restore our right to have safe, non-noisy, fun patriotic displays with our friends and families and to continue those memorable traditions.

Please vote to REJECT the current ban on fireworks Referendum 2008-2 on your ballot, (lower right corner).

Helen Chapman King
San Juan Island

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Reject the Ban

To the Editor:

It {Independence Day} ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore." -John Adams, 1776

Fireworks have been as much of an island family tradition as parades, picnics, barbeques, and baseball. The first Americans used fireworks displays to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1777. This was 6 years before they even knew the outcome of the Revolutionary War.

Voters should keep the celebration of Independence Day alive by rejecting the fireworks ban. The law now allows safe fireworks one day each year. This is not about exploding things. Firecrackers are illegal. It is about celebrating our independence with safe traditional patriotic fireworks displays one day each year.

We need leaders who will work vigilantly to protect our freedom instead of taking it away from us incrementally. We must remember that we are the creators of our own freedom not government. With our freedom comes the responsibility to use it wisely and safely. Islanders have always done this. We should teach our children the lesson of Independence Day so they will never forget where their freedom comes from. If we choose to illustrate this lesson with beautiful bright and safe fireworks displays on our private property we should not let our local government to interfere. Please vote to Reject the Ban!

Gordy Peterson
San Juan Island
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REJECT THE BAN on SAFE AND SANE FIREWORKS

To the Editor:

The bigger fireworks you buy at the reservation aren’t legal -haven’t been in quite some time, and are not the subject of Referendum 2008-2. Referendum 2008-2 is about the subsequent banning of safe and sane fireworks. You see, in 2008, an ordinance was passed banning all fireworks in San Juan County (without a permit).

Yes, all fireworks in San Juan County -including sparklers, pinwheels and those crazy smoke balls and snakes. Remember the thrill you got as a kid when you got to hold your first sparkler? I do. And I remember the anticipation and excitement of all the kids and the cousins each year waiting for nighttime to arrive on the Fourth of July when the parents would finally say "okay now its time”. “now you can get the box”. “Let it begin!” Sure, its chaotic and crazy and the dogs go a little nuts. But this is America.

This is our one day a year when we can celebrate Independence Day with safe and sane fireworks. Of course it goes unsaid, we need to be careful, and we are. We teach the kids the rules of how to play safe. I believe in independence, freedom and safe and sane fireworks. Don’t let the County protect us from ourselves.

Please join me to REJECT the ordinance banning safe and sane fireworks on the one day a year it is legal -The Fourth of July.

Stephanie Johnson O’Day
San Juan Island
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Reader Supports a vote to REJECT The BAN on SAFE & SANE Fireworks

Dear Editor,

It's been a long held American tradition to light fireworks on the Fourth of July. If the current ban remains we won't be able to keep that tradition going through each generation.

My question is: why ban them if we haven't had any accidents or fires in San Juan County with personal fireworks?

Whenever I light my fireworks, I make sure the ground under them is pretty wet so no fire will start. I don't hold them in my hand or light them with my head over them. When I'm done I pick up the debris and throw anything that might be hot or on fire in a bucket of water. And my parents are always nearby.

I think fireworks should not be banned in San Juan County. Please vote to REJECT the ban and preserve our American tradition.

Connor Brown
Age 12
Friday Harbor
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"Join me in voting to REJECT the ban" on hon SAFE & SANE Fireworks

To the Editor,

This fall we will have our first chance to use the “initiative and referendum” portion of the county charter. We will vote to decide on use of “Safe and Sane” fireworks in the county. Currently, sparklers, snakes, and small fountains are banned by vote of the County Council. This was done in the name of safety but in doing so; I feel that the council has traded island family’s freedom of choice for the illusion of safety. We live in an uncertain and risky world. Along with celebrating a national holiday, children begin to learn to manage some of that risk by learning to use fireworks responsibly.

Precisely because fireworks are attractive and there is some manageable risk involved with using them, the lessons are more effective. The family fireworks also become a tradition and the smoke punctuates the celebration in a way more passive displays cannot accomplish.

Join me in voting to REJECT the ban on family fireworks this November and allow the sight and smell of patriotism and tradition to linger over our backyards and barbeques next 4th of July!

Greg Hertel
San Juan Island


[more..]


Saturday, October 16th

Initiative 1098: Not What It Seems


Dear Editor:

A State income tax (they are selling it as an excise tax because our Washington Constitution does not allow an income tax) is a bad idea.

Their pitch for this new tax is misleading. It is being sold as a tax on the rich. On Initiative 1098 people need to be aware that the excise tax is on the receipt of taxable income. This means all income, including capital gains on the sale of a house or any assets or investment, which will include families that are not rich.

If they were genuine they would propose eliminating the regressive B&O tax and would not imply the initiative is going to significantly reduce our property tax. It is estimated that property tax will be reduced by 4% not the 20% they are pitching and will probably be increased in 2 years.

Keep in mind this tax can be expanded to include all tax payers in 2 years by the legislators once it is approved by the voters.

This Initiative also requires; “employers would be required to withhold estimated tax and pay it to the Department of Revenue” I have to ask how is the employer going to know which of his employees are RICH (sold an asset) so the employer will know if withholding is needed under penalty of being liable for the tax or being charged with a gross misdemeanor.

This tax is a bad idea and I will be voting no on Initiative Measure 1098.

Ralph Gutschmidt
Orcas Island

[link]


Safety Fair Thank You


We would like to thank all of the individuals, organizations and businesses involved with making this year’s Safety Fair at the Mullis Street Fire Station last Saturday a great success.

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Kings Market, Friday Harbor Drug, the Toy Box and Osito’s.

Thank you to Francis and Rebecca Smith, Lainey Volk, Jerry and Michael Henderson and Robin DeLaZerda for organizing an informative and visual rescue demonstration showing us the great skill, cooperation and dedication our emergency workers use when we need them the most.

Thank you to the Red Cross kitchen team " Diane Ludeman, Liza Westphalen and Laura Jo Severson - who kept the food coming and everyone fed as they would when needed in an emergency.

Thank you to Brad Creesy, Johnathan Marler and the San Juan Island Firefighter One Recruit Class who kept very busy teaching the kids Fire Safety. And most of all, thank you to the community for showing your support for our emergency services. We always welcome suggestions on how we can serve you better from public education to emergency responses.

From Your Dedicated Team,

Anacortes/San Juan Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross
San County Amateur Radio Society
San Juan County Sheriff’s Office
Friday Harbor Fire Department
San Juan Island Fire Department
San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services
Firewise Communities
San Juan County Fire Marshal
San Juan County Department of Emergency Management

[link]


Wednesday, October 6th

Letters On CAO Process


Still Jumping To Conclusions

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to a number of letters regarding our Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) published in the Island Guardian and other papers last week.

Mr. Kaill ("Open Letter to County Council") complained that those asking questions during a recent CAO workshop were just property owners concerned about their "economic interests" and natural resources "need to be protected from property owners and their by-products." Ms. Alderton ("Bellies or Buffers") elsewhere argues that big buffers are needed to protect us from non-ionic surfactants.

I do not understand how the questions that are being asked about the CAO will somehow result in a "loosening of protections." Although property owners are rightly concerned about the value of their homes, because for most families the home is their principal investment, most islanders are also vitally interested in protecting the environment. Why should property owners be expected to roll over and accept-without any question-any environmental protection regulation proposed by those whose jobs depend on finding more problems and imposing more regulation.

We have been asking "What is the connection between a house built to County standards, and pollution in Puget Sound or the Salish Sea?" Instead of a direct answer, however, we are told that 500,000 pounds of non-ionic surfactants are produced each year in the United States, or that 150,000 pounds of toxins spill into Puget Sound daily. Neither of those data relate to San Juan County.

Mr. Kaill dismisses good stewardship in San Juan County claiming the rest of Puget Sound was also "seemingly developed in a responsible way." Equating the decades of mismanagement and neglect down Sound with our situation is ridiculous. Finally, while he urges putting the burden of establishing whether additional regulation is needed on property owners, under current law, the government must show that there is a problem that can be solved by proposed restriction that is roughly proportional to the harm that would otherwise be caused.

I encourage all islanders to participate in this complex policy-making process seeking reasonable, just, and defensible decisions protecting our environment and our people.

Tim Blanchard,
Orcas Island
More Work Is Needed To Determine If There Are Really Quantifiable Human Impacts On Our Shorelines


To the Editor:

I read with interest the article on human impacts in the latest Friends of the San Juan’s “FOSJ” publication. I was amazed at the amount of incorrect information that was presented in this article. The FOSJ have done an adequate job in identifying the shoreline modifications, and locations or potential locations of fish forage and eel grass sites. However, they never mentioned how these shoreline modifications affected or threatened that habitat. On what basis can they say shoreline structures are one of the greatest threats to coastal systems? It is just plain speculation without any valid Best Available Science “BAS” to back up these outlandish claims.

The Puget Sound Partners “PSP” funded a study of over 700 Kitsap County shoreline modifications. This report was analyzed by Dr. Flora, who found very minor negative impacts due to shoreline structures. As a Geotechnical Engineer who has lived and worked on the shoreline, I have yet to see any negative impacts due to shoreline modifications.

We keep hearing about all of these problems on our shorelines raised by Ecology, PSP, and the FOSJ. But yet, I have never seen any scientific reports that spell out real actual problems to our shorelines. They have not identified what they think the actual problems are, or what causes them.

There is concern about the affects of shoreline modifications on our salmon runs. The reality is that last year we had record runs of Pinks, and this year Sockeye appear to be even more abundant, the most in 100 years! Also, over the last decade our Orca pods have increased in population. It appears as if we are coming up with solutions without knowing if we have any problems. Purely political decisions are being made without considering the potential unforeseen consequences.

We have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to come up with these solutions. These solutions are almost always based on conjecture and pre-determined theory. No money has been spent to test the affect of modifications on our shoreline and upland habitat. Last year, at the panel discussion put on by the County Council, Dr. Fralick asked Ecology: “what affect does a shoreline house have on the shoreline?”. They could not answer that simple question.

The question and subsequent inadequate answer has since bothered me. Recently, the Common Sense Alliance authorized a study to try and answer that question. At several shoreline locations throughout San Juan Island, the soil was sampled between the house and shoreline. Each soil sample was tested for chemicals that would normally be expected from normal residential use. Also sampled were two vacant sites. The test results, which were within background level (acceptable), can be seen on the CSA web page. Also tested was Lawson Lake, the heaviest industrial site on the island. This area was found to be clean.

These test results are not conclusive, but stress the need for more studies to show that there are really no major problems on our island due to human habitation. The thousands of dollars spent to-date should have been used to see if we really have any environmental problems at all, rather than coming up with empty solutions.

Bob Levinson
Friday Harbor
[link]


Tuesday, October 5th

LETTERS ON SHERIFF'S RACE


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Rob Has Small Town Experience
To the Editor:

I have read letters from both sides stating the writers’ minds regarding the race for Sheriff of San Juan County. Many of those letters came from people who were not here when I began my career as a San Juan County Deputy Sheriff, nearly twenty years ago.

Both of the candidates have qualities I like and respect. I’ve heard both speak in open forum and during personal conversations. They both have their own views as to where the department can or should go for the future. And, as some have said, they seem to be nearly equal in abilities and experience. I want to outline the difference as I see it.

While Johnson does have more than 20 years of policing, it was with the big city police department of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which had approximately 400,000 inhabitants in 2000, almost thirty times the size of San Juan County. He supervised a team of officers which was likely larger than the entire San Juan County Sheriff’s Office patrol staff. He reported to a shift Lieutenant and a Sector Commander. He brings with him all those beliefs of how to maintain order in a large city.

In contrast, Rob was most recently Police Chief for the rural city of Burns, Oregon. There he administered a department of four to five officers and a regional communications center. Prior to being Chief in Burns, he spent more than 20 years with the Yamhill County, Oregon, Sheriff Department, reaching the level of sergeant. He also built and administered their “Crash Team”, which responded to critical collisions with five to twelve on call officers.

Rob has an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice, from Los Angeles Valley College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Oregon College of Education. He was also selected to and attended the FBI National Academy, achieving the highest level of education for law enforcement command individuals. He regularly attends ongoing update education with the academy.

Having worked side by side with Rob Nou for a little over two years, I’ve observed him scold, council, teach and learn. He has integrated himself into the Lopez Island community on several levels, often wearing his various hats of deputy, fire fighter, and EMT, and because of this, and because of his personal nature, he has earned the support and respect of the entire community.

A little over two years ago, Rob came for a visit at the request of his Orcas Island friend, Deputy Bruce Distler. He fell in love with the islands and the lifestyle. He has made the commitment to give the islands everything he has, and he has done that every day. He is not from a huge agency in an immense city. His professional life has been spent in smaller communities and rural surroundings. He is dedicated to making and keeping the islands safe, as we have known them to be.

I firmly believe Rob Nou IS what it takes to be our next Sheriff of San Juan County.

Jim Tyrrell
Deputy Sheriff, San Juan County
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Vote for Brent Johnson For Sheriff

To the Editor:

We are writing to urge you to vote for Brent Johnson for Sheriff. As current and former Victim Advocates in the Prosecutor’s Office, we have personally witnessed three solid reasons to elect Brent. As an investigator, Brent has been:

1. Professional. Brent will NOT be a “good ol’ boy” Sheriff. He is well trained and does the job of San Juan County lead detective with a high level of competence, confidence, and integrity.

2. Thorough. Brent is aware that the tiniest detail can make or break a case, and he is willing to go the extra mile to do the most complete investigation possible.

3. Kind. Brent consistently conducts himself with respect, whether dealing with defendants, victims, witnesses, or other professionals. We have often requested Brent be assigned to conduct victim interviews because he is so consistently professional, thorough, and kind.

San Juan County needs a Sheriff with these qualities, and, in our experience, Brent is the person for the job.

Sandra Burt
Susan Kimball
Eastsound
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Sgt. Brennan Supports Johnson For Sheriff

To the Editor:
Our local papers say both of our Sheriff s candidates are pretty equal, when it comes to their answers to questions put to them at forums or by the papers, so let me tell you why I think Brent Johnson is the clear choice for our next Sheriff.

I have been with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office for 22+ years. I have had the pleasure of working with Brent Johnson for the last 8 years. I was immediately impressed with Brent when he first moved to the San Juans. Brent had just completed a 20 year career with the Albuquerque Police Department. He was loyal to that department and community and continued to work his way up the ranks and work hard to make his community a better place to live.

After retiring with his 20 years in, he bought a home in the San Juans and moved here with his wife and daughter. He tried to be retired but loved police work too much. He became our lead detective and has worked tirelessly for our community.

Brent has been involved in or personally solved 90% of the major cases in the San Juans in the last 8 years. People ask why they don't know don't know who Brent is, it's because he is in his office working hard or out following up on a case. He doesn't make a big deal out of it or try for any glory or headlines. His office is next door to mine and I have watched him work tirelessly on cases, not just in solving it, but in convincing the Prosecutors office it needs to go forward with it and getting what they need to win the case in court.

Brent is already familiar with everyone in the main Office. He works regularly with our deputies, dispatchers and evidence techs. He already knows and works personally with our Prosecutors, Superior Court Judges and staff and our District Court Judges and staff. He already works regularly with our Corrections Officers, Adult Parole and Probation and Department of Corrections. Oh, and he really understands how our Detective division works and what it needs to be better.

When it comes to dealing with outside agencies Brent already deals with our local Customs, Border Patrol, D.E.A., Coast Guard, F.B.I. and is on a first name basis with people from most of these agencies. He is a local volunteer firefighter and works with the local Red Cross, as well other numerous local volunteer groups. As the father of a teen age daughter he is totally committed to making the San Juans the safest place possible to raise a teen.

Over the years I have know officers who moved from department to department as higher positions or ranks became available. Brent Johnson is not that officer. He worked hard for Albuquerque for 20 years doing his best to improve the department and community. When he is elected our next Sheriff he will give us years of dedicated service, improving our department and community ... and that's the difference that makes Brent Johnson the best candidate for Sheriff.

Sgt. Scott Brennan
San Juan County Sheriff s office
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Supports Nou For Sheriff

I believe it is time for long overdue change within the Sheriff’s office and that is why I am supporting Rob Nou for County Sheriff. There are divisions within the department that have been encouraged by the current leadership (as evidenced by the letter wars waged during the primary) that need to be repaired to ensure that the citizens of this county receive the kind of service they deserve from the men and women whose focus should be on serving the public they have sworn to protect. I believe that the candidate best suited to do this is Rob Nou.

There are some who believe that because Rob is relatively new to the area he is not ready to be our County Sheriff. I believe that it is precisely because of this that he will be able to bring a much needed new perspective to this office.

San Juan County is faced with decreasing revenues and the Sheriff’s Department will be challenged with finding ways to deal with this. I believe Rob has the background and management experience to be able to find ways to work with these diminishing resources and still provide the level of service this county deserves.

After spending time talking with Rob and listening to his ideas I am convinced that he is the best candidate for the job. I will be voting for Rob Nou and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Morris
Orcas Island
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Reader Supports Johnson For Sheriff

To the Editor:

Ballots have been mailed and I strongly recommend voting for Brent Johnson.

Like you, in weighing the candidates, I try hard to make the best judgment.

Marketing slogans, advertising, position papers, well-honed stump speeches and carefully crafted press releases can only tell us so much and, many times, steer us from the real issues.

I look for sincerity, community commitment and experience in both academic training and the real world workplace. Brent Johnson demonstrates that he has honed his training working with prosecuting attorneys to investigate cases and prepare them for Grand Juries, supervising in a large-city police department for 21 years, serving as lead detective for San Juan County for the past eight years, handling budget and supervisory responsibilities for a 17-member sector of deputies and amassing important experience in dealing with drug abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence issues.

Brent is a “what you see is what you get” man, both personally and professionally. I know him as a caring father and as a sensitive, insightful detective who I watched handle delicate issues with minors with grace and sensitivity but also with strict attention to his duties.

He is a modest man who demonstrates commitment to family and the community every day. He is a strong advocate for women’s rights and neighborhood watch programs. He is a dedicated professional who has clear ideas on how to improve our community’s drug and substance abuse problems, particularly with our island teen and preteen students. He has been forthright about the problems facing the Sheriff’s department and has shown that when he doesn’t have all the answers, he is not afraid to admit it and welcomes dialogue from various avenues of support.

Please join me in voting for Brent Johnson for Sheriff.

Jerry Riley
San Juan Island
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Alan Lichter Supports Johnson

To the Editor:

As a former County Commissioner and a member of SJC’s Veterans’ Advisory Board, I’ve worked with Brent Johnson and witnessed his leadership qualities, his personal and professional integrity, and his ability to deal with high-pressure scenarios. Brent’s work in law enforcement over three decades -the experiential side of his college degree in law and justice- is both broad and deep: working with prosecuting attorneys to invesigate cases and prepare them for Grand Juries; supervising in a large-city police dept. for 21 years; Lead Detective for San Juan County for the past 8 years; budget and supervisory responsibilities for a 17-member sector of deputies; expert experience in dealing with drug abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence issues; Instructor for the Albuquerque Police Academy; and service with the Joint Chiefs in the Pentagon.

This experience is matched by Brent’s commitment to our community, where he’s the Chair of the Veterans’ Advisory Board, a volunteer fire fighter, a Trustee for the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Services, a member of the Island Red Cross, and a strong advocate for women’s rights, school drug and alcohol abuse-prevention partnerships, and neighborhood watch programs.

We have two good candidates in the current race for Sheriff, but I’m convinced that Brent Johnson is, by a very wide margin, the best qualified to become the next San Juan County Sheriff. Please join me in voting him into this office.

Alan Lichter
Orcas Island
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Nou Has Leadership Skills

To the Editor:

My wife and I have known Rob Nou since 1990. My wife was working as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher at the Yamhill County Communications Center. Rob was a Patrol Sergeant at the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office. He was the one Sergeant who all of the dispatchers preferred to work with because of his thoroughness and leadership.

In 1993 I was hired as a Deputy Sheriff and was assigned to the West Valley Station, working with Rob as my immediate supervisor. During my early years I was able to observe Rob handling “day to day” contacts with the public, elected city officials, victims and suspects. The one thing that I enjoyed and learned was the constancy Rob displayed with his even, quiet approach to each situation. Rob’s ability to recognize and utilize the strengths of those around him to bring about a positive outcome was refreshing.

Rob realized the need to have the necessary information to determine the cause of, and who was responsible for, fatal and serious injury collisions and developed the Multi-Agency Traffic Team (MATT) in Yamhill County. The team responded to and investigated numerous fatal and serious injury collisions, providing vital information used by the prosecutor in legal actions. The MATT team took their involvement to the next level by stressing prevention through presentations to the local high schools during prom and graduation times. The team was so efficient and successful that neighboring counties began requesting the team’s assistance.

Rob's concern for his deputies and their families was strong. He came with Bonni to the office on Christmas Eve, on his own time, to assist in telling me that my father had passed away. Rob was well respected by his supervisors, peers and the deputies who worked with him. We asked Rob to come visit a couple of years ago. We were hoping to get him interested in coming to work in San Juan County.

Rob is a man who has spent his adult life in the pursuit of his calling in law enforcement. We believe the citizens of San Juan County will be well served with Rob Nou as our next Sheriff.

Bruce & Bonni Distler
Eastsound
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Undersheriff Will Vote For Detective Johnson

To the Editor:

The big showdown for Sheriff is fast upon us and we are very fortunate to have two well qualified candidates to chose from. I am endorsing Brent Johnson for the Office of Sheriff, as I did in the primary. I support Brent for several reasons and would like to share a few with you.

I have supervised Brent for the past eight years and consistently assigned him the most difficult and sensitive cases we have investigated, including child molesting and abuse,fraud and murder.. He has never let us down. Brent consistently produces detailed / accurate cases to forward to the prosecutor and shows compassion and fairness to both victims and suspects. These are charismatics I am sure he will instill in the people he supervises and mentors.

Brent is well prepared for the office of Sheriff by his experience and training. He was a supervisor with a large metropolitan department and holds a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. He has also received a great deal of training in the area of management and supervision which he put to good use as a supervisor in Albuquerque. Brent has been an active member of our community and volunteers for many local organizations; including the Fire Department, Red Cross and domestic violence.

I believe Brent Johnson is the right person to succeed Bill Cumming and be our first new Sheriff in twenty-four years. I urge you to join me in supporting and voting for him.


Jon Zerby
Undersheriff
San Juan County
---------------------------------------
Deputies Who Support Deputy Nou

To the Editor:

Now that the primary is over we have two candidates left in the race for San Juan County Sheriff. Both men bring a great deal of experience and law enforcement background to the campaign. It is our opinion that Rob Nou should be the candidate elected to the position of San Juan County Sheriff.

As sheriff’s deputies, we all have experience working with both candidates. Indeed the challenge of this choice is that Deputy Nou and Detective Johnson are well liked and respected members of the San Juan Sheriff’s Dept. For this and other reasons we do not cavalierly endorse a candidate; this is not a decision to be made with casual consideration.

The county services and the programs we pay for with our taxes are in the midst of trying times. Over the next few years it is going to take seasoned experience and well reasoned insight to simply stabilize the Sheriff’s department we have today. As Deputy Sheriffs, we hope for the opportunity to be forward thinking and progressive; enabling us to deliver the kind of policing service the county needs and wants well into the future. For these reasons it is critical that you cast your vote for Rob Nou. At this juncture, for San Juan County, Rob Nou is simply the right choice for our Sheriff.

Most communities have the ability to attract high caliber candidates from outlying areas. We do not have that luxury in San Juan County; the geographic boundaries make the recruitment of highly qualified and successful individuals difficult at best. As a body of concerned voters we are in an amazingly fortunate position to elect just such a candidate.

Rob Nou’s resume includes decades of supervision and management experience which will be available to San Juan County. He has thousands of hours of advanced training and education in the field of law enforcement; much of it through the prestigious FBI National Academy. This fact speaks of a continuing and unparalleled commitment to a goal of personal and professional excellence. We feel this is a real opportunity for San Juan County; for today as well as far into the future. We would like to see the force of Rob Nou’s commitment at work in San Juan County.

To quote Rob Nou,” I don’t think of this as a job. It is more of a calling.”

Please vote to elect Rob Nou for the next Sheriff of San Juan County.

Deputies:
Sgt. Steve Vierthaler
Jim Tyrrell
Herb Crowe
Scott Taylor
Jeff Patterson
Bruce Distler
Nikki Rogers
Doug Maya
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Undersheriff Supports Brent Johnson

To the Editor:
The ballots are in the mail; so it is time to make a decision on who should for be our next Sheriff. It was a difficult decision because those running have a lot to offer.

I have decided to endorse Brent Johnson for Sheriff. I have worked with all the candidates and consider several friends.

I reviewed their qualifications and statements and feel Brent is the right choice to replace retiring Sheriff Bill Cumming. He has been in law enforcement for 35 years and been a supervisor, of police officers, for thirteen years.

Integrity is an essential qualification for Sheriff and Brent has it and the respect of his fellow officers. Brent will work with the community in providing quality and responsive law enforcement to San Juan County. If you haven't already done so go to Brent Johnson For Sheriff" , or just go talk to him.

Jon Zerby
Undersheriff
San Juan County
---------------------------------------
Brent Johnson Is Proactive On Busting Drug Dealers

To the Editor:

As I have watched and listened to the response from the community regarding the candidates running for Sheriff, it has become apparent that other than budget issues, the most common concern being expressed is the use and trafficking of illegal narcotics in our county. This is understandable considering the residual effect that both illegal and prescription drug abuse has had. Perhaps a greater understanding of battling this issue is in order.

As a detective with the Sheriffs Office for the last five years, and the one primarily responsible for executing all operations involving narcotics, I can attest to the Detective Johnson’s clear understanding and proactive approach to the problem.

We, the public, are informed by headlines. The operations conducted by Brent and myself are necessarily confidential and fly well below the public’s knowledge. If one is to look closely, the significant activity is on a relatively low level compared to larger communities.

As a member of the Skagit County Drug Interdiction Unit, this office is continuously sharing information and ideas with our counterparts. This is a complex issue and unlike in larger communities and police departments, detectives aren’t able to simply disguise themselves and walk up to a drug dealer to make a buy. We must therefore depend on long term undercover operations that are both costly and difficult.

Brent has had countless years of experience with these issues and as a result we have successfully completed nearly twenty wired and controlled narcotics purchases in the last year, resulting in several dealers being arrested. The public is often extremely helpful in sharing confidential information with us regarding suspicious activities taking place.

Information is good and needed but direct involvement goes much further. Brent has been working with informants longer than any of his counterparts in this election have been on the job, and he knows how to get results.

Detective Lachlan Buchanan
San Juan County Sheriffs Office
---------------------------------------
Retired Chief On Johnson For Sheriff

To the Editor:

I highly recommend and support Brent Johnson for Sheriff. I have known Brent since 1979 when we started our law enforcement careers together at the Albuquerque Police Department. Brent is very committed and dedicated to the community he serves, has high ethical standards and integrity, and understands community policing. Brent is always willing to take the time to listen to the community he serves and collaboratively work to solve any issues. He brings experiences of working in a large and small police agency.

Vicky M. Stormo
Retired Chief of Police
Consultant

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