6 — Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Opinion Letters to the Editor
Tribute to Sen. George McGovern
Former senator and presidential candidate George McGovern is under hospice care at this writing. Senator McGovern is a decorated combat veteran, a college professor, a three-term United States senator, and a humanitarian. Senator McGovern ran for the presidency against former President Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War. His passing occurs as we are once again about to elect a president, this time after a prolonged, undeclared war in Iraq, during a prolonged, undeclared war in Afghanistan, and under the hysteria of a war against Iran. The passing of Sen. McGovern will be the loss of an exceptional politician that this nation can illafford. We pay tribute to an honest man, an exceptional statesman, a spokesperson for the futility of war, and sadly, the often corrupt foreign policies of the United States government. Senator McGovern, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 1972, directed his talk on his opposition to the ruinous war in Vietnam: “I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan. And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt a senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day. There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out
schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North. And within 90 days of my inauguration, every American soldier and every American prisoner will be out of the jungle and out of their cells and then home in America where they belong. “And then let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves.” Senator McGovern, you were right, but we did not listen. May the time come when we do listen and we act accordingly. Roger/Carolyn deRoos Friday Harbor
It’s the bathwater, not the baby
“Save Our Charter” is sure catchy — and rhetorical. It is intended to convince people unsure of the issues that voting “Yes” is a return to the old commission form of government. I don’t buy it. I plan to vote “Yes” for the charter amendments and here’s why. A three-member council elected countywide will best represent the interests of the entire county, not just one island. It gives each of us a stake in the outcome of all the council seats. It will prevent a minority of
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the council from dictating policy and governmental actions contrary to will of the majority and the people they represent. Electing three full-time council members, each paid a living wage, will open the door to a wider constituency. It will provide reasonable access to those with the necessary intelligence, skills and dedication, people who might not otherwise be able to juggle a job or business and family obligations with the demands of the council. Paying a living wage in recognition of a full-time job is not feasible with a six-member council. We have seen too many seats go unopposed lately — when this happens we don’t get the best leadership, we elect the person that shows up. More seats did not result in better representation. Amendment No. 2 tasks the county manager with assisting the council. It doesn’t give individual council members the right to direct staff or make personnel decisions. Elected department heads retain autonomy as mandated by state law. In the last six years under the current charter (with the hoped for separation of executive and legislative powers), was the outcome stronger administrative leadership? Let’s face it, unless elected by the voters, the administrator serves at the will of the council and will never be fully autonomous. The second charter amendment language is realistic and strategic. As for the third proposed amendment (language to ensure public access to all council meetings,) the opposition does not dis-
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agree with transparency per se, rather, they ask the voters to vote “No”, “to send a message.” Seems to me that “Yes, Yes and Yes” is the right message. Sandy Strehlou Friday Harbor
Swapp needed now in Olympia
What are the needs of our county and state? Improved economy, education reform, conservation and property rights lead the list. John Swapp is looking forward to taking the reigns from Kevin Ranker to address these issues. John is a manufacturing business owner and resident of Decatur Island. John has balanced budgets, dealt with state agencies, written paychecks and sailed the pristine waters of San Juan County. Ranker can’t seem to “Discover” how his legislation has hurt SJC residents.
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We need to be represented by a senator who has the common sense not to bring senseless legislation into law that would bully pregnancy centers. Give Washington what she needs.Vote John Swapp for Washington state Senate. Michelle Loftus San Juan Island — Editor’s note: Michelle Loftus is chairwoman of the SJC GOP
Grange 966 says ‘No’ to GMOs
The members of San Juan Island Grange No. 966 voted at their membership meeting Oct. 3rd to endorse the “No GMO” Initiative 20124, on the San Juan County ballot this November. If passed, the initiative would ban the cultivation of genetically modified plants and animals throughout San Juan County. Members heard a presentation by Elaine Kendall, Grange No. 966 member
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and proponent of Initiative 2012-4. Ms. Kendall’s presentation focused primarily on rebutting the issues outlined in the opposing viewpoint statement found in the Voter’s Guide. Viewpoints on both sides of the issue were aired prior to the vote. For the wording of the Initiative, Grange No. 966 encourages voters to go to: https://wei.sos. wa.gov/county/sanjuan/ en/Documents/SOS-%20 San%20Juan.pdf. Submitted by 966 Grange Master Roger Ellison San Juan Island
Coal project puts San Juans at risk
I am very pleased that San Juan County was granted a scoping hearing for the Gateway Pacific Terminal — the proposed coal export facility outside of Bellingham at Cherry Point. See LETTERS, Page 9
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October 24, 2012 edition of the Journal of the San Juans