Letters to the Editor

Vote 'Yes' for the Land Bank | Letters

As a mother, worker, tax payer and land owner in San Juan County I am writing to those who haven't voted yet, to encourage you to find your ballot and vote yes for the Land Bank renewal.

Those with strong opinions about this issue have already voted. However, your vote, and those of others like you who don't have a political axe to grind or doubt that your vote will make a difference, you may actually decide whether or not the Land Bank continues to be a voice for preserving the unique and increasingly rare sense of place that has brought us all here.

The Land Bank's job is not done.

The local population will continue to grow and the pressure to develop will continue. The Land Bank's job is not to obstruct development, but to be an advocate for thoughtful planning and conservation of those areas and resources that define who we are and make this particular place in the world special, worth visiting and worth the considerable dedication required to live here.

The Land Bank has not lost focus. I have watched as the members of its citizen board of directors has carefully weighed its stated mission against each easement and acquisition, respecting the sometimes differing viewpoints of board members internally or members of the community, to reach a decision about which few parcels to preserve for the benefit of the greater good. Today, less than 3 percent of county lands are in some way being preserved and protected by the Land Bank. We still have much to lose if as citizens we do not balance future development with thoughtful and effective conservation efforts.

A previous writer implied that the Land Bank is responsible for the decline in real estate sales prices and that promoting renewal of the Land Bank at this time fails to appreciate the contributions of resident land buyers and sellers. Selling real estate is a longer, less profit-inflated proposition today; it is ludicrous to associate the Land Bank with the downturn in the economy and lagging real estate sales. In the rational light of day, it is clear that the Land Bank has, and will continue to play an import role in supporting the local economy for property owners, renters, workers and business owners.

I work for a living and like many, I worry about being able to afford to live here. But this hasn't stopped me from supporting the library, the schools or any other important local social program and institution that enriches my community. In hard times we have to hunker down, work together and stay the course on those things that have long term benefits for us, our children, and those to come after.

I am voting yes, I hope you will too.

Sandy Strehlou, District 1

San Juan Island



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