Letters to the Editor

Journal misses the mark, disappoints on Prop. 1 | Letters

We are disappointed by the Editorial concerning the Land Bank appearing in this paper (Journal; “No on Prop.1”, Oct. 19, pg. 6).

We think it presents a confusing and detrimental recommendation that would result in an impaired vision for our future.

We disagree that the 21-year investment in the Land Bank should be put in jeopardy by voting against its renewal just as we begin to appreciate the powerful benefits it has brought by protecting open spaces and scenic views, public access to our Islands’ special places, and the preservation of farmland.

The 1percent real estate excise tax, paid by the buyer on the sale of real property, is a fair and effective way for development to help pay for conservation. In addition, the Land Bank has brought over $23 million non-REET dollars into our community. Reducing the REET funding base would automatically reduce the Land Bank’s ability to successfully attract outside funds in the future.

And we all lose.

We decided to seek renewal early because, among other reasons, projects frequently have a long gestation period, and there are some in the pipeline that will take longer than 2014 to complete.

For example, the Land Bank is working on a project on San Juan Island (with $2.8 million of outside funds); a shoreline project on Orcas ($1 million of outside funds); and an important farm conservation easement on Lopez. Such projects require a willing seller, some delicate negotiations and enough time to ensure that they are done right.

The editorial touches on other issues with which we disagree, but the primary issue is our island quality of life and the future economic health of our communities. The Land Bank has a record of improving both. The San Juans remain a destination for those seeking what can be found here and what has been harmed, if not destroyed, elsewhere.

The Land Bank’s work is not done and our communities, our lives and our legacy will all be richer for its renewal. The opportunity is now.

Your “Yes” vote will allow the Land Bank to continue its work and keep what makes living in the San Juans so special.

Renew Our Land Bank Committee:

Pamela Gross/Harvey Himelfarb/Sally & Tom Reeve/Dave Zeretzke/Dave Zoeller




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