Opinion

The Journal endorses Nou for Sheriff, Morris for state House, Larsen for Congress | Editorial

Rob Nou for San Juan County Sheriff
The San Juan Islands are fortunate to have two very qualified candidates for sheriff. Each is a good, solid, experienced cop.

Deputy Rob Nou and Lead Detective Brent Johnson have had similar career experiences — Nou in an rural environment, Johnson in an urban environment — and both are involved in the community. Nou is 51 with 29 years of law enforcement experience; Johnson is 55 with 35 years of experience. Both have undergraduate degrees in law enforcement-related fields. Both have been administrative sergeants who led special assignments and details.

But Nou has more advanced education and relevant management experience — as an FBI National Academy graduate, as a de-facto police chief in two communities that contracted for sheriff’s services, as a municipal chief of police, and as director of a 911 center serving one of the largest counties geographically in the U.S.

Nou would bring fresh leadership and a fresh perspective to a job that has been held by the same occupant for 24 years. We urge islanders to vote for him on Nov. 2.

As sheriff, Nou wants to build camaraderie, cohesion and teamwork in the department. He has solid ideas for training and building deputies’ familiarity with all of the islands. One idea we like: a five-year strategic plan that sets out the improvements the department expects to make and the goals it intends to achieve. Such a plan, Nou said, would be developed in consultation with oither agencies and with input from the public and would be a yardstick by which to measure the department’s performance. Nou will bring an administrator’s know-how — and, as he puts it, a “fresh set of eyes” — to the job and the challenges the new sheriff will face.

Nou has been a resident of the county for two years. But in that relatively short time, he has served as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and as a member of the Lopez Island Prevention Coalition helped win a $125,000 a year for five years for the coalition’s drug prevention programs. A Lopez Island resident, Nou said he will move to San Juan Island if elected.

In his career, he’s managed or supervised drug-abuse awareness programs, a multi-agency traffic accident investigation team, and traffic safety enforcement grant projects. He’s lobbied for state funding for Healthy Start and Early Head Start programs, saying tough law enforcement is essential “but we’ll win a victory over crime only when our commitment to putting dangerous criminals in jail is matched by our commitment to investing in our children.” As an administrator, he knows the challenges of running a tightly-funded and tightly staffed department.

In an earlier interview, Burns, Ore., Assistant Police Chief Brice Mundlin said of Nou, “He was very thorough … He strived for everyone to do better, and you came away realizing it was worth doing.”

Nou is right for the job.

Jeff Morris for state House, 40th District, Position 2
Many candidates are talking about government’s need to spend less and save more. But Jeff Morris is in the trenches fighting that battle.

Morris has been an effective representative for our district in Olympia. He has the right combination of clout, experience and ideas. He is House speaker pro-tem and a member of the Audit Review and Oversight; Ecology and Parks; Rules; Technology, Energy, and Communications; and Transportation committees.

Morris has pushed to improve energy efficiency and facilitate investment in green technology in Washington state. He supported legislation that allows towns and cities to adopt — with voter approval — a sales and use tax of 0.1 percent for public safety. He wants to get back to “Price of Government” budgeting, in which each state government agency identifies and funds its priority services and drops the rest.

In reducing positions, he supports saving positions that provide face-to-face service, while putting other positions on the table for debate.

Regarding the state ferries, Morris and Rep. Christine Rolfes of Bremerton recommend contracting management of the ferry service to the private sector, putting it back up for contract consideration every six years; and getting new 144-car boats in the water as soon as possible to replace the Super Class ferries, “which would save us fuel and crewing costs that currently impact ferry fares.”

To help protect K-12 education funding, Morris proposes a constitutional amendment requiring that initiatives balance the budget with cuts or taxes they propose.

Return Morris to the Legislature.

Rick Larsen for U.S. House, 2nd District
Rick Larsen has served our district well in his five terms: the Wild Sky Wilderness Act; a Veterans Administration outpatient clinic for veterans in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties; the transfer of Mitchell Hill to San Juan Island National Historical Park; funding for pedestrian and vehicle traffic improvements at the Friday Harbor ferry terminal.

He worked for accountability on Wall Street and for consumer protections. He supported our troops. He’s a member of key committees: Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Budget.

He’s done an effective job and we don’t see any compelling reason to change representatives.

Return Larsen to Congress.

Endorsement Schedule
— This week: Sheriff, Congress, State House Position 2.

— Oct. 27: County Council District 2, State House Position 1, Fireworks ban.

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