Letters to the Editor

Islanders respond to schools’ plea

What an awesome community we live in!

The San Juan Public Schools Foundation is tremendously thankful for the incredible community response to the Save Our Schools phone appeal, Thursday. We had an amazing group of volunteers we want to thank, including many parents, school staff, students and community members. And thank you to King’s Market for the refreshments!

Most important was the positive response from all of you who answered our calls. More than $65,000 was pledged, in addition to the gift of $10,500 for the Friday Harbor Labs Science Outreach Program!

The challenge gift of $275,000 has been extended and pledges can still be made on the SOS hotline, 370-7925, or donations can be made online at www.sjpsf.org. Your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

We want to thank the community for this initial response to the school funding crisis. We are inspired by this community’s resolve to save our schools!

The San Juan Public Schools Foundation

Give some change, make a change

By now, you have heard the rumors … the staggering numbers … the cuts and it’s time to take action before we lose what makes up our schools.

These shortages are going to continue if the economy continues to falter, and we can not depend on it to change overnight at the state level. We have to act at the community level today!

There was a gentleman that spoke at the May 1 meeting and he made a great suggestion that if every family invested $100 toward our children and the school district, that our shortfall would diminish greatly. We encourage those of you that can contribute that or even more to please do so.

We also realize there are a lot of families that are not in the position to contribute at that level and we are proposing this:

Change for Change

Everyone on this island has some amount of change floating in their cars, in their pockets or under the couch cushions. We are asking for you to find that miscellaneous change and donate to make a difference. We challenge families to start paying with cash and take whatever coin is left and deposit into the marked bins.

This change can make a change. You will find the bins at Islanders Bank, Friday Harbor Drug, Rocky Bay Café and The Market Chef.

Please give what you can. We are at a crossroads here and our children and their education are at stake. We believe the key is to pull together as a community which we have done so many times to make this a reality. You can mail any donations to:

San Juan Public Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 1452, Friday Harbor, WA. 98250; or to the

San Juan Island School District, P.O. Box 458, Friday Harbor, WA. 98250.

If you have any other ideas or would like to help join this grassroots cause, please feel free to contact us at 378-7291. We believe together we can make change happen.

Dan and Liz Seaton

San Juan Island

Such kind people in Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor is a wonderful place to live!

I moved here from Orcas Island two years ago and am filled with gratitude for the great kindness shown me by many San Juan islanders.

Wednesday, for instance, I was walking home from the Drug Store and must have been looking “weary” … which I was. A young man stopped his car to inquire if I’d like a ride. I gratefully accepted and wish to say, “Thank you, Mr. Whalen!”

Thanks, too, to the lovely young woman at Ace Hardware, Bobbie, who is going to deliver some potting soil to my apartment tomorrow. Such kind people!

Louise G. Smith

Friday Harbor

Which candidate will unite us?

Ideas do have consequences. But what ideas will prevail in a society that seems increasingly absorbed with material satisfaction — and less interested in long-term concepts such as “freedom,” “responsibility” and “accountability”? Immediate satisfaction seems to trump all, wouldn’t you say?

Are we approaching the ultimate contradiction in our constitutional system when we expect the political process to solve all the nation’s problems and meet all our individual desires simultaneously? Our attention span seems short, our interest in politics limited to the crisis of the moment. We seem unwilling to sacrifice personal comfort and convenience to achieve long-term goals. Wouldn’t you say we vote by our own interest more frequently: selling our loyalty to those that promise us the most at the time?

But history goes on. The challenges to our security, our prosperity and our position in the world continue to increase. And we must wonder if our ideals, our constitutional system and our people are equal to the task we face. Think about it.

Perhaps the time has come to ask the question which has lurked behind the American experiment in self-government since the days of America’s founding. Can democracy preserve our freedom? Who will find the ability, the strength, and the ingenuity to give a bright renewal to our destiny? Who will reawaken to give back our country its intended direction? Who will sacrifice, give up self interest for the well being of others? Who will secure a path, a brighter legacy for those to come as they work their way through the complexities of a changing world? Will it be you?

With these questions in mind, which candidate do you realistically think can best redirect our country and guide us as one nation united?

Sarah L. Brady

Lopez Island

There’s a bully on our porch

Lyndon Johnson had a saying: “Let a bully in your back yard, he will want on your porch. Let him on your porch, he will want in your house.”

The bully — Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Giuliano — is on our porch. His intention of adding road blocks and upping the number of stops, tells us he wants in our house.

Make no mistake. ICE/Giuliano is a bully.

The bully says he is only doing his job. So did Lt. Calley at the My Lai massacre: “ I was ordered to shoot anything that moved.” And Pol Pot whose job-doers murdered 1 million Cambodians who did not want to be resettled.

And, of course, don’t forget the Nazi final solution. Six million Jews. Murdered. People just “doing their job.”

The stain this bully puts on us shows up not just in families destroyed, lives crushed. It is a stain on our character, as well.

None of us seem willing to stand up to this bully.

Some lawyers, me among them, believe herding people like cattle into a corral, demanding proof of citizenship, lacks the required geographic relevance here.

The Fourth Amendment requires probable cause. Since 1971, a citizen may sue a public official INDIVIDUALLY — that’s right, personally — for violation of a person’s constitutional rights. Imagine what the bully might do if someone hauled him into Federal Court in Seattle and made him tell it to a federal judge.

There are hundreds of cases where citizens have done exactly that. Other bullies have paid dearly. Not just in dollars but also the embarrassment of court-mandated restraining orders.

But not here.

Years from now, after our long neo-con nightmare is over, when someone asks, “But what did you do?,” what are you going to tell them? Nothing?

Tom Evans

Olga

Time to exercise right of saying ‘no’

The Seattle Times of April 22 reported that “the Border Patrol says terrorists could be next” and “a terrorist could easily use the maze of waterways and islands …,” thus their reasons for the spot checks.

Could their reasons be more disingenuous? If they honestly thought that the San Juans were a hotbed of terrorists, then they would also be doing the following:

They would be checking every Kenmore Air and private flight off the islands. They would be checking the Victoria Clipper and perhaps even the Guemes ferry. They would have the Coast Guard spot-checking private boats plying the maze of waters. Hopefully, they’d even check every whale-watch boat — especially the ones from Canada where terrorists originate!

The real reason it is being done is the same a male dog has — because they can! The cage exists in Anacortes, so let’s use it! I’d like to know when they’re going to be doing spot checks on the I-90 and Tacoma Narrows bridges. When will they begin spot-checking domestic flights from other hotbeds (say, Detroit) which land at SeaTac?

I have the impression that most of us are just answering the Border Patrol’s question with “American.” Since they have the “right” to stop and question us, then I think we should all exercise our “right” to not answer their questions.

It’s called civil disobedience — let’s do it!

Dick “Mr. Tennis” Barnes

San Juan Island

Flowers missing from grave

A young man placed a beautiful bouquet of red roses in a vase, for his mother, at the Valley Cemetery.

Three days later, there were only two roses remaining.

Was it rabbits?

Was it deer?

Or, was it a two-legged animal that stooped as low as they could go?

No evidence was left behind.

Cookie Tuck-Lowe

University Place

Want to save gas? Call a cab

Your recent editorial regarding how to beat the high cost of gas was timely and informative but neglected to mention another option for saving gas and relieving traffic congestion in town.

When family or guests arrive on island by ferry or plane, call one of San Juan Island’s taxi companies. This will allow you to stay home to tend to those last-minute details and keep one more vehicle off the road. Classic Cab Company also offers discount cards for frequent users.

Now, if we could only convince the Town of Friday Harbor to re-install taxi zones in key locations in town, it would even be more convenient to visitors, help eliminate the congestion when the ferries arrive and save gas by not having the taxis driving around looking for parking every few minutes.

Dana L. Rice and Zeus

Classic Cab Co.

Friday Harbor

Thank you to the San Juan Eagles

I have recently been the beneficiary of the unique service that the San Juan Eagles provide to this island.

The San Juan Eagles is that organization of local private pilots who volunteer their time, aircraft and fuel to fly cancer patients to the mainland who need daily treatment.

My radiation treatment for prostate cancer consisted of 42 treatments, five days a week, at Bellingham. After calling Vicky Thalacker, who coordinates the Eagles, these pilots volunteered, day by day, to fly me to Bellingham for my treatment.

These volunteers reduced what would otherwise be an eight-hour daily trip via ferry to two hours, over a period of eight weeks and two days. These pilots, who have my undying gratitude, are: Art Miller, George Mulligan, John Geyman, Carlo Franciosi, Brian McGlynn, Dick Babbitt, Greg Gerhardstein, Lanny Carver, Jared Segebartt, Bob Trip and Dennis Willows.

This island is indeed blessed to have the San Juan Eagles and the special service they provide to cancer patients.

I would also like to thank Fred Knutzen of Texaco Fuel Services at Bellingham airport for the daily use of their courtesy car to get from the airport to St. Joseph Hospital.

Dan Sorgen

San Juan Island

Walkout sends a strong message

I wanted to share a letter I wrote to Bob McEllrath, the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, commending the May 1 walkout of work by more than 25,000 workers to protest the Iraq War:

Dear Mr. McEllrath,

I read in the New York Times this morning about the action yesterday of more than 25,000 longshore workers in organizing a protest to the Iraq war.

The action brought tears to my eyes, and I wanted to thank you and all the workers who took the day to send a powerful message to President Bush and Washington lawmakers.

Longshore workers are the backbone of our West Coast economy and materials bound for the war. By stopping goods moving in and out of the ports, you have given notice that this illegal and immoral war can not go on, while our nation’s citizens go with out health care and a proper education.

Thank you!

Eric A. Kessler

Friday Harbor