Green Party Q&A: Lovel Pratt, candidate for County Council, San Juan South

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

Lovel Pratt
Candidate for San Juan County Council, San Juan South

A living wage ordinance for San Juan County.

Answer: I support an economically diverse community where wage-earning families can afford to live and thrive in San Juan County. To support and enhance an economically diverse community, we must have a comprehensive approach that includes economic development and affordable housing, in addition to the living wage issue.

If elected, I would carefully weigh the long-term community costs and benefits of any proposed living wage ordinance. An unintended consequence may be increased outsourcing to the mainland for goods and services.

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 support a carrying capacity analysis for San Juan County, and the use of this analysis in addressing many of the issues San Juan County is currently working on.

The carrying capacity analysis should address the availability of water. For example, Island County has conducted a study that has determined the areas of highest probability for saltwater intrusion and has subsequently implemented regulations to specifically address and mitigate this threat to freshwater aquifers. The information on the availability of water would be important to use in determining how water usage is allocated for new construction such that the water rights of existing homes are protected.

I would also support an analysis of present and potential contamination of ground water by septic systems.

The San Juan Initiative.

A: I support the work of the San Juan Initiative. This is an amazing opportunity for local, state and federal agencies to work with San Juan County citizens on the challenges identified and the protection of our ecosystem.

Critical Areas Ordinance.

San Juan County’s Critical Areas Ordinance must be updated and I support and applaud the hard work of the Critical Areas Ordinance Advisory Committee. I appreciate that San Juan County’s ordinances must be updated on a regular basis to take into consideration the evolving needs and goals of our community as well as changes in state law.

“Smart Growth” controls in San Juan County.

A: San Juan County has an opportunity to examine the work of other communities who have proactively addressed growth through “Smart Growth." There may be Smart Growth components that would be appropriate to implement in San Juan County.

If elected, I would encourage staff resources, citizen input, and County Council time be spent in examining Smart Growth options.

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

A: Under state law, hotel/motel tax funds must be used for promotion of tourism or construction and operation of tourism-related facilities.

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

A: A previous County Commission (Darcie Nielsen, John Evans and Rhea Miller) signed a 10-year contract with Waste Management, Inc. in 2002. If elected, when the current contract is due to expire, I would work to identify the most cost-effective means to deal with our trash and recycling (including ways to reduce and re-use what we currently pay to haul off-island; see below), take into consideration the business practices of all the organizations San Juan County considers contracting with, and consider the environmental impacts of how our trash and recycling will be handled by all the organizations San Juan County considers contracting with.

How to improve waste recycling.

A: If elected, I would encourage composting facilities, recycling re-use equipment (e.g. glass crushers that convert bottles into road material), and “trash to treasures” facilities on each island where there is citizen support.

The proposed new San Juan Island waste transfer station.

A: A solid-waste transfer station on San Juan Island is an Essential Public Facility that must be located in someone’s "backyard."

In addition to the criteria included in the thorough evaluation process being conducted by the Public Works Department, the most important priority in determining the location of San Juan Island’s solid-waste transfer station is public participation. We as a community need to work to identify the best possible site and the best possible means to mitigate the impacts.

Local efforts to reduce global warming,

A: I would encourage San Juan Clounty to conduct a cost benefit analysis to determine what can be done on a local level to reduce global warming.

Efforts to make the county self-sustaining.

A: Emergency preparedness is even more important in San Juan County due to the fact that we are a remote island community. Every step we take to become more self-sufficient makes us that much better prepared in the event of an emergency, as well as that much better prepared to deal with external economic factors such as increased fossil fuel costs.

Salaries of County Councilors.

A: I agree with the San Juan County Salary Commission’s determination of a half-time salary for half-time council members.

I think that it is essential that our elected officials work with our state Legislature on county issues – such as ferry transportation - that must be addressed at the state level, and that county councilors should be compensated for trips to Olympia. However, I have pledged to go to Olympia at least once a month when the Legislature is in session, regardless of compensation.

Undocumented workers.

A: We are a nation primarily made up of the descendants of immigrants, myself included. The issue of undocumented workers must be addressed at a federal level.

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

A: As citizens, it is our Constitutional right to vote confidentially. Even the appearance of a means to identify a voter’s ballot should not be allowed. If elected, I will support a resolution to this issue that ensures a confidential vote for San Juan County voters.

Mail-in ballots vs. polling place voting.

A: I’ve always enjoyed voting at the polling place on Election Day, however, I appreciate that voting by mail is more convenient for some voters.

I support the vote-by-mail for voter convenience and also because a vote by mail is more cost effective, reducing that expense for San Juan County and for junior taxing districts.

Give your views on the following national issues

Iraq War

A: While I appreciate the service and sacrifice of our military, I have been opposed to this war from the start. I support foreign diplomacy and other non-military resolutions to international conflicts.

A military attack on Iran.

A: See above.

Causes of and solutions to economic downturn.

A: A major source of our nation’s debt is the Iraq War. It is ludicrous that our government has written a blank check for this war while reducing or eliminating essential spending on public infrastructure and services such as education and health care.

Focusing federal expenditures on the needs and goals of our country instead of foreign wars would be one solution to our economic downturn.

Undocumented workers.

A: See answer to undocumented worker question above.

Universal Health Care.

A: I support affordable health care for all.

Gay rights.

A: I believe in equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

How much has your campaign cost to date?

A: $1,705.20

Who are your top contributors?

A: I believe in campaign finance reform (for more information, visit www.electlovel.com/campaign.html). I have received 67 contributions of $25 or less and have contributed $337 (the filing fee) of my own money.

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

A: I filed with the Public Disclosures Commission under “mini-reporting” and will abide by that requirement to keep total campaign costs under $5,000.

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