Journal of the San Juan Islands


Friendly assaults on your neighbor’s rights | Letters

December 23, 2013 · 11:28 AM

Letters on the CBP lease of privately owned building space on Spring Street are appearing with increasing frequency.

In my opinion, some are very good in both advocating human rights and explaining the rationale for the lease. Others are disturbing.

Two letters authored by Lovell Pratt and Rikki Swin implore U.S. senators and other federal officials to intervene on behalf of “the community” to reverse a legally drawn and signed lease.

Swin says she “represents a large citizens group,” not identified, "Losing ground at 'home' for sake of more security", Journal, pg. 6, Dec. 18.

Pratt believes she speaks for a majority in the “community.” She suggests a new bureaucratic presence for which there is no demonstrable need and a potential location for the CBP in a structure that may or may not ever be built, "A more friendly face at First & Spring", Journal, pg. 7, Dec. 18.

We have nothing but her breezy assumptions, yet she argues cheerfully for her “win win” solution in a rhapsody of disregard for the losers.

Who loses? In my view, the lease holder/owner of the building on Spring and the lease holder/owner of the building on Mullis (where Pratt might like to move the CBP) would be big losers, not only for the disruption to their professional lives but also for the stunning realization that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights might be flabbier guarantees of individual freedoms than they imagined. In this regard we would all be losers.

The CBP would lose too. Wouldn’t it be inconvenient to have a border/port facility that is nowhere near the port? I’m afraid the individual members of our local CBP have already lost something in wondering how many others share the Swin description of CBP as “uniformed, armed, bullet-proof vested, jack-booted officers.”

I believe that San Juan Island is dangerously vulnerable to the coercive actions of groups and individuals who presume far too much in pronouncements that they speak for the community.

I support the rights of the Spring Street building owner to lawfully lease his property, I support the presence of the CBP in that location, and I support relief for all of us from the assumptions of a few that they can push us around with impunity.

Janice Peterson/San Juan Island



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