Letters to the Editor

Criticism misplaced, opponents lack regard for rule of law | Letters

The brouhaha over Customs and Border Patrol leasing commercial space is quite remarkable.

Most sad is the personal and open hostility to Gordy Petersen. He has reported several threats to his person, and the vitriol is reprehensible.

This, in spite of Petersen’s actions having consistently demonstrated the very highest pattern of personal responsibility, both in the design and construction of his building, and in his active participation in public affairs.

Another less spoken-about aspect of the matter pertains to being a “port of entry.” If newly created today, our port of entry status would require considerable concessions, both in the terms pertaining to the location and particulars of a structure as well as the extent to which costs would borne by the community.

To the extent that Mr. Petersen’s lease with Customs merits criticism, such criticism ought to be directed to the Port of Friday Harbor. As has been abundantly evidenced in the proceedings related to the destruction of the Downriggers building, there is little or no evidence of long range or contingency planning.

While rightly the duty of the Port, our county and town should also have evidenced some appreciation of the value of being a port of entry... at least to the point of having engaged in on-going conversations with Customs to insure that their needs were understood and accommodated.

Perhaps most incredible is the nature of the protests—the belief that vociferous outcries might cause Mr. Petersen’s lease with Customs to be terminated. Unlike many other comparatively developed countries, our American tradition is not one of settling matters by griping.

America’s founders were motivated, in part, to avoid the pure democracy that they characterized as mob rule. The “community” claimed by opponents certainly does not include me. While I and many of my friends bemoan uniformed, armed and empowered guys in our midst, our concern does not overwhelm our beliefs about the rule of law and property rights.

If the intention is to “do something about this,” my proposal is that we ought to attach greater importance to electing county, town and port officials imbued with a high regard for our Constitution, for our rule of law, for vigilance in protecting property rights... and openly mindful that liberty is about individuals.

Albert Hall/San Juan Island


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