The philosophy that each person has the right to do whatever they like on their own land has long roots in American history. That philosophy says that we should all have the right to maximize our own profit and interests without taking account of our neighbor’s interests or that of the community as a whole.
Rural Resistance tells us to “Trust Islanders” in their political literature, by which they mean do away with any regulation. Unfortunately, this would be the triumph of hope over experience.
We cannot afford to live with that philosophy any longer. All of us have seen examples of development that results from this philosophy — nationally, locally and elsewhere in our state (Hood Canal comes to mind).
Often, the environmental degradation is a cumulative impact of many decisions that many of us have made — such as the silting in of False Bay in my own neighborhood. The damage accumulates slowly, but surely.
This “libertarian” philosophy is from the past, but is no guide to the future. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify!”
The CAO and regulations must be our way of verifying that we will not be doing further damage in what we plan for the future, and it should be written to help us restore what has been lost where possible.
Our challenge is to work together to make it effective in doing the job of protecting the environment, not closing our eyes to the problems that exist. Rural Resistance is the wrong path for the future of our precious islands.
Rita Weisbrod/San Juan Island