2016 endorsements | Editorial

The staff of the Islands’ Sounder and Journal of the San Juans held a meeting last week to discuss the candidates running for San Juan County Council. Read below for our endorsements.

Watson for council

In the race for San Juan County Council District 1, we are endorsing Bill Watson, who is running against incumbent Bob Jarman.

Watson has a had a long career in the tech industry as a software engineer and manager. His background will help in researching complicated issues, and bringing together the many facets of county government. He believes strongly in clarifying land use regulations fostering year-round employment and encouraging long-term affordable rental housing.

Watson was also endorsed by Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, Local 1849 (San Juan County employee’s union).

Jarman spent 30 years with the local phone company before going out on his own and becoming a small business owner. He is involved with the San Juan Island community through his volunteer work. In his time on the council, Jarman has been a part of some major headway in county government (approval of Shoreline Master Program and Critical Areas Ordinance), but at the recent forums he has conveyed a lack of fresh ideas when questions arose about current problems and future county operations.

Hughes for council

In the race for San Juan County Council District 2, the Islands’ Sounder and Journal of the San Juans are endorsing incumbent Rick Hughes, who is running against Michael Durland. Since his election in 2013, we have been impressed with Hughes’ ability to accomplish important county projects and maintain open communication with his constituents.

We aren’t the only ones who think Hughes should continue his great work. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, Local 1849 (San Juan County employee’s union) endorsed him this summer for re-election.

Hughes and his wife Marlace own and operate Ray’s Pharmacy in Eastsound. He is still passionate about economic development, affordable housing and renewable energy and, if re-elected, says he hopes to make more strides in those areas.

Durland, a long-time Orcas Island resident, has been in the Islands’ Sounder pages previously for his tangles with the county and the Orcas Fire Department over a water resource. He says he has been mistreated by both the department and the county.” We don’t think Durland is the best person for the job. His adversarial relationship with the county could make it difficult for him to form positive relationships. Hughes understands the complexities, thinks big picture, looks to the future and has positive ideas to improve our communities.