Contributed photo/Kristy TG

‘Alternative facts’ on PHD | Letters

Well, “alternative facts” have come to San Juan Island. I refer, of course, to your recent guest column by Kellyanne Conw…oh, sorry, I mean Kathleen Bartholomew.

Ms. Bartholomew asserts that “the three newest commissioners campaigned as a group and have continued to vote…as a group, effectively reducing the board to three voting members.” Fact No. 1: the three commissioners did not campaign as a group. A group of citizens, who was fed up with the actions of the former commission, decided to launch a campaign to support all three of them as a group. It was a separate campaign organization. All three candidates had already launched their own campaigns. Fact No. 2: a 3-to-2 vote requires five voting members; three out of five is a majority. That’s the way democracy works.

She argues that the 3-to-2 votes on controversial issues prove that the commission is “dysfunctional” and constitutes “authoritarian rule.” Fact No 3: the community had a robust discussion during that 2015 campaign. It was one of the most hotly contested and heavily debated elections in some time. The choices were clear and the voters spoke. The three newest commissioners captured 60 percent of the vote. What they are doing now is trying to fulfill their campaign promises.

Also, the EMS levy had been defeated twice under the former commission and we were in danger of losing the program. When the newly constituted commission presented a responsible levy proposal, the voters demonstrated their trust in the new commissioners and approved the levy overwhelmingly.

Finally, Ms. B significantly misrepresents the duty of the commission as spelled out in its code of ethics. The code does not mention the Community Needs Assessment, as she suggests. Fact No. 4: the closest the commission comes to a mission statement is contained in its bylaws, which state that “…it was created in 1989 to provide health service for residents of the district and other persons.” And that is exactly what the new commissioners are doing in trying to fund the services that PeaceHealth can’t or won’t provide.

Richard Grout

San Juan Island