Green Party Q&A: Gordy Petersen, candidate for County Council, San Juan South

The Green Party of San Juan County asked local candidates for their views on the following topics.

Gordy Petersen
Candidate for San Juan County Council, San Juan South

A living wage ordinance for San Juan County.

Answer: If employers want to have a profitable business, they need to figure out how to attract skilled workers. If that means they have to provide housing or pay living wages, then they need to do that and do it better than their competition.

I ran two successful grocery stores in the San Juans. I provided housing for several employees and paid living wages to all.

Carrying capacity analysis for San Juan County: What should be studied, when to do it, actions predicated on findings. For example, should the availability of water in the county be determined? Should the present and potential contamination of ground water by septic systems be determined?

A: I appreciate the idea here, but San Juan County has dozens of studies collecting dust on the back shelves of the courthouse. I don’t think spending money on this study and having it ignored is a good idea. As for the question of water availability, technology exists for de-sal and rainwater collection that can sustain a huge population here. I don’t want to have a study documenting that fact because I think that many people will destroy our quality of life.

The San Juan Initiative.

A: Good intentions, for what I predict will be a worthless waste of good people's time.

Critical Areas Ordinance.

A: I am not in favor of regulation for regulation sake. Excess regulation has been proven to destroy affordability in our county and resulted in a loss of freedom and opportunity for many.

I would have a litmus test for new regulation under this ordinance and would vote for regulations only if evidence supports that a new regulation will actually protect the environment.

“Smart Growth” controls in San Juan County.

A: I don’t know enough about what this means to give an honest answer.

Taxpayer subsidizing of local business. Example: the Tourist Bureau.

A: The Visitors Bureau is supported by a tax on visitors, not local residents. I stand opposed to subsidizing business in any way.

County garbage collection by Waste Management, Inc., an organization with an unsavory past record.

A: A contractor approved by the council is the only entity that can collect the county’s garbage. San Juan Sanitation is the contractor, not Waste Management. They are locals and they should be doing more to collect curbside waste and recyclables.

One garbage truck can pick up and compact the waste from 350 homes. Think about the trips to the dump, the wasted gas, the impact on the environment, and the cost to taxpayers for a new dump for self haulers if 350 trips to the dump per day were saved.

How to improve waste recycling.

A: Provide easier access and keep it free.

The proposed new San Juan Island waste transfer station.

A: Opposed! The existing site should be improved. Responsible citizens do not trash one site and then move on to trash another.

Local efforts to reduce global warming.

A: All this amounts to is installing hazardous mercury light bulbs in county facilities. More should be done using common sense.

Efforts to make the county self-sustaining.

A: We can be biofuel independent with low-impact algae farms. I grow more than half of my own food. Others can do the same. We need to plan for a day soon when the ferry service becomes scarce. We need to use our resources wisely.

Salaries of County Councilors.

A: I will never support an increase. I will support a decrease. I like the $85 per meeting of the Friday Harbor Town Council. They attract quality citizen candidates. That is the whole idea in my opinion.

Undocumented workers.

A: I frankly don’t want to be stopped as I get off the boat. Anacortes is not the international boundary.

Identifying marks (e.g. bar codes) on county ballots; will you end the county’s litigation?

A: I support the litigation by the Green Party of San Juan County.

Mail-in ballots vs. polling place voting.

A: More people vote in mail-in elections. Although I miss the polling place elections, I want as many people as possible to vote.

Give your views on the following national issues

Iraq War

A: The cost in blood and treasure must stop.

A military attack on Iran.

A: Ridiculous.

Causes of and solutions to economic downturn.

A: See Iraq War above.

Undocumented workers.

A: Employers must become sponsors of these hard-working people and be responsible for documentation, fair pay, driver's license, insurance, health care. Taxpayers can’t be expected to foot the bill.

Universal Health Care

A: I am in favor of keeping every option open for health care.

Gay rights.

A: I believe in equal rights for every citizen.

How much has your campaign cost to date?

A: Approximately $4,000.

Who are your top contributors?

A: I have not accepted any donations.

If you make the November ballot, what is your estimate of additional campaign costs?

I can only speculate that I will still be in the race. I hope I am because I think I have the experience and common sense it takes to lead the county at this time. We have got to get the runaway cost of this new charter under control before we turn these islands into Martha’s Vineyard!

I would appreciate your vote! Learn more at www.Gordyforcouncil.com

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