Compromise: things get done | Editorial

Congratulations to closing the deal on the Sutton Road transfer station. The way that everyone worked together shows that negotiation and compromise are possible.

Transferring operations at the Sutton Road facility is the third and last piece of a puzzle set in motion in 2011 when voters defeated the proposal to pay for solid waste collection and handling with a new parcel tax.

Although county Public Works Director Frank Mulcahy deserves credit for getting the job done, it’s the citizenry who in the end are responsible for ending decades of mistrust and animosity. It was the group on Lopez who led the way, followed by Orcas islanders who then stepped up to deal with their trash.

Mulcahy and Friday Harbor Administrator Duncan Wilson worked hard to have Lautenbach Industries invest in facility improvements that will hopefully make collection and disposal of waste and recyclables sustainable.

Nobody got everything they wanted, but everybody got something, and without lawsuits.

Comparing solving the garbage problem to litigating charter revisions or the critical areas ordinance is probably a fool’s errand, but perhaps as the multiple, and very expensive, lawsuits are finally adjudicated (and that may be a year or more away), people on both sides should ask themselves if its worth spending many thousands of dollars, much of it tax money, just so one side or the other can say, “See! We got better wetland buffers!”

Everyone should pay close attention to what the lawsuits accomplish. As the county moves onto the issues of broadband deployment and a revised shoreline management program, can’t we follow the path of compromise rather than conflict?


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