Dear Congressman Larsen;
We have a bit of a problem here in Friday Harbor. As you know, Friday Harbor is about as far north and west as you can get in the contiguous United States, being one of the last issues in resolving the boundary between the British and Americans in the 1860s.
Almost “Canadian” we joke, or that we are going to America when we take the ferry to Anacortes.
Friday Harbor, the county seat of San Juan County, was once the business center for a farming, fishing and forestry community, now tourism and retirement.
The problem seems to be that the Customs and Border Protection had the General Services Administration negotiate a 4,500 square foot lease of a prime location in the middle of town.
Friday Harbor is a small town and the use by CBP is out of scale with the rest of the downtown. The building being leased was previously a real estate office and is currently a second hand store.
Okay, you might say good, brings federal money to Friday Harbor, but wait, do we want a big federal law enforcement agency in the middle of town?
A lot of us say no, we are as patriotic as any American, but do not want to see a large federal law enforcement office to greet every visitor.
What bothers me is that neither the CBP or GSA made any effort to solicit community input. Indeed, representatives from both agencies were surprised at the push-back at a meeting last week and professed to know little on how the decision was made.
It smacks of “Big Government” or maybe “National Security” or both, and a lot of us moved here to get away from this kind of intrusive presence.
My request is that you have someone in your office look at the leasing process to insure it was done properly or have the CBP/GSA consider an alternative use.
Richard Anderson/San Juan Island