I’m all for engaging the community in setting governmental priorities, but I think the current plan for “community conversations’ is ill-timed and wasteful.
The sitting 6-member County Council is actually a “caretaker” body. They will be out of office within four months, so any priorities they set will certainly not be binding on the new council.
Surely, there are legislative matters which can productively engage the council over the next few months. I would recommend that they take up and act on draft code enforcement regulations which have been in their hands for months.
They also have work to do on the Transportation Element of the Comprehensive Plan. They should hold hearings and engage the public on these specific matters and leave macro decision-making on the direction of the county to their successors.
We are in the midst of a campaign season; voters want to hear what candidates think. Asking them to be part of the audience at a dozen discussion sessions is not the best use of their next weeks and months. Conversely, there is a risk that the meetings could be hijacked by candidates and used for electioneering rather than meaningful discussion.
Also, this time of year is not a good time for such meetings — the snowbirds are gone, and even many of us stalwart year-rounders are off island.
Deferring these conversations until the new council takes office, or perhaps until the final election has been held and before they take office, makes sense. Going through this exercise now is not a good idea.
Susan Dehlendorf/San Juan Island