I voted no but now I’ll vote yes – letters

There is a cohering effect in participation, in questioning authority and speaking one’s mind in public discourse that always rewires the community mindset. No one person always gets it right. Nor can one often be on the “winning” side. At some point you have to support a thing that is right for the greatest number of residents.

For the third time in so many years we are wrestling with the EMS levy. One thing should be beyond debate: emergency response and rapid medical treatment can seriously affect the life of every resident or visitor, in any given moment of need.

When my family and friends visit, our shared yet unspoken expectation is that we are reasonably protected. One must have a chance to make it to see another day should tragedy or accident strike. I voted no in the last two EMS levy efforts because I grew to have serious, factually informed doubts as to the bureaucratic efficiency of EMS and the quality of the information conveyed to voters. I didn’t doubt the integrity of the individuals involved nor entertain any notion that we could live with a 1970s-era EMS.

A couple of things way outside of our control limit our options in this decision. First is the outrageously expensive for-profit American health care system. Second, we must by law fund our EMS from property taxes, which are based upon assessed values that inflate or deflate over time in no predictable manner.

With fresh faces and talents in place at the hospital district (some previously critical of the medical services status quo) and EMS, greater transparency, a clearer justification for the levy increase and a readable 2017 budget posted for public scrutiny, we should now step up to rebuild trust and retain excellent local employees (and volunteers) by voting yes on the new six-year EMS levy.

A thriving community is a collective expression of the values of each one of us who cares enough to vote. Let’s not throw out the good in a futile search for the perfect. Vote YES for EMS.

Steve Ulvi

San Juan Island