Letters to the Editor

Feds avoid dissent by making backroom deals | Letters

I read with amusement and dismay at Letter to the Editor comments published in the Dec. 4, 2013 edition of the San Juan Journal titled “Chorus of Critics Had Their Chance” by Christopher Hodgkin in the recent community debate about the placement of the new U.S. Customs office in downtown.

This is a classic case of blaming the victim by citing all local opponents for being late to object to a new lease arrangement impacting business, tourism and town image.

Most amusing was the blaming of local residents for not helping out the landlord to get more money and longer lease terms for office space in the heart of Friday Harbor. How can it be logical for anyone to expect the public to chip in to help a landlord make more rental income from an already leased property?

The facts are clear—the space was already rented, no substantial notice was given the public on availability of the space, and multiple suitable locations other than downtown were under consideration without public knowledge or input.

In my opinion, there was no community chance for intervention or input of any kind. In reading the reports in the Journal about the public outcry and hearings it seems obvious that a considerable degree of secrecy and intrigue surround this entire mess and it is doubtful that the underpinnings and process of selection of this location will even be known.

What is most disturbing is that regardless of public opinion or potential impact to the whole community, self-interest and closed dealings have so far prevailed. This will affect us all—including those that vocally and silently support the landlord and the federal government in this matter.

Truly, Friday Harbor and many in the community may never be the same.

Going forward it is best we long-remember where our local government and citizens stood on this issue. I imagine those most critically affected certainly will.

Gary Waters/Friday Harbor


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