’Team Holman’ nets Classic grand prize PAGE 10
As I See It
Poetry, prose, film: passion at play for the holiday
Failing the ‘fairness’ test: three ways to make San Juan County’s property tax system more equitable PAGE 7
The 75¢ Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Vol. 107 Issue 7
of the San Juan Islands
Discipline applied; details unreleased Cameras for patrol cars follow traffic stop dispute By Scott Rasmussen Journal editor
Journal file photo / Steve Wehrly
Sidewalk serenade: workers with Lawson Construction put finishing touches on a new sidewalk near the intersection of Spring and Mullis streets in early autumn. The street improvement was funded by the Town of Friday Harbor.
Sales tax hike for roads?
Bump in sales tax would net $220K a year for road projects By Steve Wehrly Journal reporter
Big plans loom for Friday Harbor, if the town council response to Administrator Duncan Wilson at the all-day council retreat is any indication. On Saturday, Wilson made what amounted to a “state of the town” presentation to Mayor Carrie Lacher and the council, complete with a long list of current projects and a plan for the future repair and renovation of many city streets. The highlight is a proposal in which the council would create a Transportation Benefit District for the Town of Friday Harbor,
which could include a two-tenths of one percent sales tax hike to partially fund up to $15 million in street projects. The “major projects list” for completion this year includes fourteen construction projects and three design and planning projects, costing over $3.5 million. “The current revenue will maintain town services,” Wilson said, “but there’s not enough income to maintain the streets.” The sales tax increase will provide $220,000 per year to start, increasing gradually over 10 years, when the tax will either expire or be renewed by voters to fund more projects. The most expensive: Blair Street Reconstruction and Sidewalks, $1.5 million (90 percent paid by a Transportation Improvement Board grant); water and sewer line replacement on Spring Street, between
First and Front, $210,000; water and sewer line replacement on Spring Street between Second and Argyle, $140,000; Street and Park Department buildings, $600,000; and the Linder/Nelson/Franck/ Nichols streets stormwater project, $450,000. These projects are in the current budget and underway, but the long list of deteriorated or substandard streets that need repair or reconstruction will need funds from several sources including money squirreled away in the town coffers and some form of tax increase to provide seed money and matching funds necessary to attract state and federal grants, according to Wilson. Wilson helped North Bend, Wash., create a TBD in 2011, funded by the statutory sales tax of 20 cents per $100 of spendSee ROADS?, Page 4
Deputies involved in the now infamous Christmas Eve hayride in Friday Harbor have been disciplined in a manner appropriate to policy and rule violations that occurred during and in the wake of that controversial traffic stop, according to San Juan County Sheriff Rob Nou. A small body- Sheriff Rob Nou worn camera used for sometime last year by one of the deputies involved in the traffic stop has been turned over to the sheriff and is undergoing a forensic examination. In a Feb. 3 press release, Nou did not describe the disciplinary action but said it is consistent with county personnel rules and the collective bargaining agreement that applies to labor-and-management relations. He said conclusions were reached and action taken to address community concerns about the traffic stop after a review of information available, interviews of several witnesses and with those involved, and discussions with other law enforcement agency executives. Nou said the department would begin equipping patrol cars with cameras, as funding allows (reportedly $5,000 each), and also defended the traffic stop as a necessary precaution. “Deputy Menjivar was right to stop the pickup and trailer,” he said. “The inherent safety concerns of having up to 30 people
2011 Special Award; Second Place: General Excellence from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association
riding on the trailer, even at low speed, without taillights, signals or brake lights are obvious. Undersheriff Bruce Distler last week said he is uncertain about what disciplinary steps have been taken. He did say, however, based on prior discussions with the sheriff, violations of department policy would involve rules of conduct with the public, use of the radio, and media relations, such as submitting a letter to the editor for publication. (Nou was attending an off-island conference last week and did not return messages prior to the Journal Monday deadline). Distler said department policy calls for a courteous, professional, patient manner in dealing with See UNRELEASED, Page 4
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February 12, 2014 edition of the Journal of the San Juans