Journal of the San Juan Islands


A fig leaf for the islands? | Letters

April 11, 2013 · 12:55 PM

Lets look at the CAO from a metaphorical point of view. Most of us think of our islands as living art and wish to preserve and protect it.

Imagine a new Washington legislative body by the name of Citizens Art Organization, or CAO. The CAO mandates how all artwork in the state is to be preserved. One of their requirements is that all art must be kept clean and that the procedures for cleaning must be updated in writing every five years.

Now lets assume that our islands are Michelangelo’s marble sculpture “David”. Our recent County Council took very seriously the cleaning of the sculpture and under the cloak of meeting the CAO requirements, they also decided to have its genitals removed.

When asked why this was necessary, we were told that their presence might offend somebody. When asked for evidence that somebody had been offended, we were told that they had to use the “precautionary principle”—just in case someone in the future might find the genitals offensive, they have to be removed.

The decision of the council was quite controversial. When critically questioned about their course of action, they proceeded to talk about how simple the procedure would be and that they had hired the best “restorationist” in the world to perform the removal. They always directed the conversation away from the act that was about to take place and the consequences to the island body that it would bring with it.

In a very real sense, the recently passed CAOs will have a similar effect on the “charm” of the islands. Many of the buildings, landmarks, harbors, and businesses that draw people here would not be allowed under the new CAOs. Examples are Doe Bay restaurant and resort, Orcas Pottery, Orcas ferry landing, the old cannery at Jackson beach, Snug Harbor, Roche harbor, San Juan County park, Shipyard Cove, Rosario Resort, Duck Soup restaurant, many small home businesses, art studios — you can all add to the list.

An alternative to the fast approaching amputation is a community with "trust" as its foundation. I urge all for my island neighbors to vote for a county council that actually trusts you.

For more information: www.TrustIslanders.org.

Royce Meyerott/San Juan Island



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