Letters to the Editor

Swing at charter misses the mark | Letters

Alex Macleod expresses continuing frustration with the County Council, now blaming the charter for being partly at fault; (“String of feeble decisions, poorly made”, Feb. 15, page 7).

I don’t disagree with all of his statements but believe he is way off-base in blaming the charter for various problems we are facing.

It is his perception that we have been “meddling” with the Fair Board and the Ferry Advisory Committee.  If true (and I disagree) it is a person problem, not a government organization problem.

He blames the council for our “endless dithering on solid waste,” “ultimately sent back to the voters to resolve.”

The “dithering” originated decades ago with the Board of County Commissioners, who did not have a funding structure in place, bought expensive property, and allowed the destruction of the San Juan Island tipping-floor roof, causing major compliance challenges.

It was appropriate to send the funding question to the voters. It is called a “Home Rule” charter. The solid waste solution will be put in place this year.

His criticism of our alleged failure to “attend in any meaningful way” to ferry service seems to blame the charter for lack of ferry funding rather than the recession and Initiative 695 (which reduced ferry funding by 50 percent) passed 12 years ago.

I agree with some of his criticism of the CAO process, but if he has specific, focused suggestions on how we might be more effective, I’m sure they would be welcomed and considered.

It was the BOCC that approved our county’s entry into the Growth Management Act, which requires the CAO updates.  Had they attended to the requirements on time, the updates would have been completed in 2005.

The CAO update is just one of many legacy problems left over from the BOCC that the council has either finalized or is well on the way to completing under the charter structure.

Blaming the charter for his litany of complaints is misdirected. Ultimately, it is the people who are elected who will make a governance structure work (or not).

In my opinion, the council is making steady progress in providing effective governance under trying economic conditions.

Rich Peterson, San Juan Island

— Editor’s note: County Councilman Rich Peterson San Juan Island’s District 2, North San Juan



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