San Juan Journal Letters to the Editor | June 25

Have you signed up as a supporter of Judge John Linde yet? Judge Linde was appointed by the governor as our Superior Court judge for San Juan County because of his judicial experience and his unbiased application of the law during his many years of experience on the bench.

Supports Linde for Superior Court

Have you signed up as a supporter of Judge John Linde yet?

Judge Linde was appointed by the governor as our Superior Court judge for San Juan County because of his judicial experience and his unbiased application of the law during his many years of experience on the bench.

Please visit his Web site, review his qualifications and sign up as a supporter:

An informed electorate ensures continued freedom.

Maurice Liebman
Friday Harbor

Jan. 1, 2008 was an auspicious day as it marked the beginning of John O. Linde’s appointment by Gov. Gregoire as San Juan County Superior Court judge.

The depth of John’s professional and personal experience was a critical factor in his appointment. We need a man of John’s caliber to continue to represent us as our Superior Court judge. Indeed, when Judge Alan Hancock received the news of John’s appointment he recognized the wisdom and the thought that went into the governor’s choice as he said, “The people of San Juan County deserve the very best and John is the very best.”

I’m honored to be part of the team who recognize how fortunate we are to have Judge Linde as our San Juan County Superior Court judge and urge you to make Aug. 19 another auspicious day with the news that Judge Linde has been retained and will continue the excellent service and dedicated work that he began in January. Check out his Web site,, and when you mark your ballot think LINDE for his:

L — legal and judicial experience and his ability to listen

I — integrity and impartiality

N — name; it’s one you can trust

D — dedication and dependability

E — ethics, enthusiasm, excellence

Please join me in adding your name and vote to the long list of supporters who are pleased to work to make Judge Churchill’s prediction a reality as upon learning of Judge Linde’s appointment in January, she said, “John Linde is an excellent choice for the historic occasion, the first judge of San Juan Superior Court. John will serve the citizens of San Juan County with honor and distinction for many years to come.”

Carolyn Haugen
Retain Judge Linde Committee

I would like to voice my support for retaining John Linde as Superior Court judge.

Judge Linde and I have lived here for about the same amount of time. Judge Linde and I come from distinctly different sides of the political arena. With all this history, I am absolutely comfortable that Judge Linde is the best choice by a substantial margin.

Judge Linde has demonstrated expertise in the management skills necessary to operation of his “Department.” All of his years in private practice and continuous re-election as District Court judge provide ample demonstration of his managerial skill. This management skill and understanding of the law will not lead him to propose costly and illegal venue adventures such as those proposed by his opponent.

In the course of my residence here, I have had quite a few occasions to use the services of the legal industry. I have used a variety of counsel in these situations. I have yet to meet a legal professional who does not speak very respectfully of Judge Linde’s professional management of the District Court.

Law and Justice expenses in San Juan County are almost a runaway expense. We desperately need Judge Linde’s managerial expertise to keep these costs down as much as possible while still providing quality in this most essential service of our governance structure.

Our governor, being the ex-attorney general, has all of the qualifications to do a quality job of selecting San Juan County’s first Superior Court judge. There is a reason why Gov. Gregoire chose Judge Linde. I’m proud to support Judge Linde and to urge all of you to do your homework as you make this most important decision.

Superior Court is the primary venue where the disputes of society get their hearing and resolution. Judges are the embodiment of the third leg of the governance tripod that provides the system of law that allows our orderly society to exist. We must make the absolute best choice and that choice is Judge John Linde.

I am proud to volunteer on his committee!

Jim Slocomb
Friday Harbor

Study would answer questions

Please imagine for a few minutes that you are blindfolded. Imagine that somebody offers you an object that would improve our and your children’s life considerably. Would you take the blindfold off to see what the object is, or would you reject the new object outright without taking off the blindfold?

We are facing a similar situation regarding the unavoidable change to our medical center. We will have the opportunity to choose authorization to enter a “non-binding” agreement with PeaceHealth. The agreement will permit the San Juan Community Hospital Committee and PeaceHealth continue the ongoing feasibility study and answer questions asked by the island population.

I have lived here since 1974 and have witnessed the tremendous changes of these years. Nobody can assume that the situation here will stop to change now.

Trudy Ahbel-Dallas, M.D.
Davison Head

Islanders need accurate info

Having attended the June 11 public forum for the proposed integrated medical center, I was disturbed to read James Krall’s article on the content of that meeting (“Hospital study vote June 25,” page 1A, June 18 Journal).

Where was “accuracy and fairness fundamental to good journalism” as stated on The Journal’s editorial page?  The errors, omissions and bias in that article were blatant and did a disservice to our small community in need of accurate information.

Why were concerns of two individuals, opposed to this project, given 12 paragraphs in print, while positive comments of St. Joseph’s Hospital CEO Nancy Steiger and Dr. Denise Jensen given only two paragraphs?   Why were none of the audience participants’ favorable comments quoted?

PeaceHealth is an organization of unquestionable integrity that has successfully operated health care facilities in the Northwest for more than 100 years.  Together with Tom Cable and Charlie Anderson of the San Juan Community Hospital Committee, and Jim Cole of San Juan EMS, PeaceHealth gave a thorough and comprehensive report detailing the acute need to update our island medical facilities.  We are very fortunate to have them partnering with the hospital committee in the pursuit of better health care for the San Juan Islands.

The reasons this has become an acute situation are too numerous and complex to detail in 350 words or less.  In the best interest of our community, perhaps The Journal should interview those that thoroughly understand the issues and publish substantiated facts regarding what is really happening and what we face in the future if this issue is not addressed.  The members of the hospital committee have spent countless volunteer hours to bring our county a health care system to meet today’s growing demands. Our current medical center simply cannot stay status quo. We either go forward or backward.

In the end, our island residents need to know that this proposal will not affect their wallets but will significantly affect their future health care and quality of life on this island. Please allow the process of due diligence to go forward with fair and accurate reporting.

Jill Karr
San Juan Island

Hospital would mean more taxes

I have experience with treatment at Inter Island Medical Center and with hospitals in more populated areas: Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Everett and Seattle.

The quality, specialization of personnel and equipment is vastly superior in the urban hospitals. They draw patients from surrounding areas whose populations are measured in hundreds of thousands and are better enabled financially and geographically.

Expensive equipment for many procedures requires significant use per month to be economic. Repair, service or calibration of equipment requires technicians to travel from Seattle or other more-populated areas who charge time from portal to portal, time spent on the road, ferry waiting and travel and actual time on the equipment.

As an example, the charge may be two hours on equipment plus eight hours travel and ferry time at $100 per hour for the island, versus nominal travel time for nearer more-populated mainland facilities. Any equipment, services or supplies requires extra ferry expense. We cannot be low-cost.

Then, qualified staff and technicians are needed to operate the equipment and perform by the equipment. Now, such information is mailed off-island and requires five to seven days for the results to be received. Yes, we have some specialists that come one day, week or month, such as a podiatrist. However, to get an appointment requires a six-month wait.

The above are unsatisfactory for our health needs. If you have a serious health issue, you need to leave the island and be where the facilities and equipment are and the specialists and technicians reside and practice. How can we procure highly accredited specialists and technicians who reside and practice here? How can we procure highly accredited specialists who are being sought by larger and superior hospitals and how do they maintain their own and their team’s performance?

A surgeon here may do 40 surgeries per year, while in a larger facility they perform 40 or more per month. A surgeon with a rusty memory and a rusty scalpel is not desirable.

Last is the required cost for 24-hour staffing of the 10 rooms. Hospitals on the mainland utilized by hundreds of thousands with hundreds of rooms still require donations to cover their costs of operation, constant upgrading of equipment and training or hiring of trained and qualified personnel. How can an island with a population of less than 10,000 support a nominal facility with nominally used equipment that will become obsolete and lack the required full-time staff?

It seems a zealous group is bent on doing this and we as taxpayers will be taxed and taxed and taxed for something that nominally serves our health requirements.

Gene Wilkinson
Friday Harbor

Wow. If PeaceHealth honestly thinks that its reimbursement will be “cost-based” in anything near 100 percent of costs, it is deluded.

Medicare, for example, will disallow lots of costs, never paying 100 percent. Private payers have no obligation to pay “costs.”

I’m happy I’m not in that tax district!

Peg Manning

Help defeat polio once and for all

I was pleased to read Mary Kalbert’s article on polio last week (“Rotarians are helping write polio’s final chapter,” page 9A, June 18 Journal).

In the early ’50s, just months before the introduction of the vaccine, my cousin Van was exposed to that virus and became one of the last in our part of the world to become symptomatic.

“Symptomatic” is an inadequate term to describe devastation to his body. As a boy, I was fascinated by the scar left by the large circular hole that had to be cut into his larynx so he could breathe. I and my friends were terrified by the pictures we often saw of paralyzed children our own age lying in iron lungs unable to do anything a child might remotely consider fun.

I clearly recall, as a first-grader, entering the school gym, steeling myself and resolutely marching to the front of the inoculation line for my shot. I knew I wanted nothing to do with this disease.

Van recovered, more or less, growing up to become a truck driver on the North Slope. However, this spring he died at age 59 of polio-related complications.

Rotary has been chasing down this disease for many years — raising and spending enough money to inoculate two billion children ­— and now has polio cornered. However, high birthrates provide a continuing supply of victims for the virus and the fact that it spreads like fire in dry grass makes the outcome of this effort uncertain. As cases decrease, the intensity of the inoculation effort must increase in the few remote regions where the disease survives.

There is a simple and fun way you can provide significant help. Get your friends and family together on the Fourth of July and come to Rock the Dock. You will have a great time, and every penny of profit will go to Rotary Polio Plus and help the world be rid of this disease once and for all.

Jack McKenna
Rotary of San Juan Island

‘Jazz’ raised $14K for K-12 program

The eighth annual U.W. Friday Harbor Labs “Jazz at the Labs,” an event that raises funds for our K-12 Science Outreach Program, was a tremendous success thanks to the support of the community and our many sponsors.

This year, we dedicated the evening to Dr. Carolyn Haugen for her leadership, involvement and support of the program.

More than 160 people attended “Jazz at the Labs” and all greatly enjoyed the music of the San Juan Jazz Quintet +1, led by Dennis Willows; and from Seattle, Jazz Coalescence, led by world-renowned Jay Thomas, just back from a very successful tour of Japan.

Support from those attending and from our wonderful sponsors enabled us to raise more than $14,000 to support this important program that pairs students in the Island’s schools with scientists, grad students and professors from Friday Harbor Labs.

Under the leadership of Jenny Roberts and Alana Hysert, the K-12 Science Outreach Program reaches more than 900 students here on San Juan Island.

I would like to particularly express our thanks and appreciation to our sponsors:

Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, Countrywide Home Loans/Julie Corey, Friday Harbor Drug, Islanders Insurance, Island Petroleum Services, Chita Miller at Windermere Real Estate, San Juan Interiors, San Juan Masonic Lodge No. 175, San Juan Propane, San Juan Vineyards, Alex Shapiro and Charles Richardson, Dr. Susan Kiraly and Spring Street Dentistry, Libby Thompson and Morgan Stanley, Ruth Offen and Waterworks Gallery, Wells Fargo Bank, and Wilson Motors of Bellingham.

People who weren’t able to attend “Jazz at the Labs” can see a short video of it at by clicking on Activities/Events.

And last by not least, we would like to express our thanks and appreciation to The Journal of the San Juan Islands for your ongoing support of the K-12 Science Outreach Program by your year-round coverage of its many activities.

Bob Schwartzberg
U.W. Friday Harbor Labs

Great memories of Vic’s Drive-In

Kudos on the write-up on Vic’s Drive-In (“Vic’s Drive-In celebrates 50 years on June 28,” page 11A, June 18 Journal).

Well done, with quotes and photos … brought back many memories to Kip and me. As a young couple, we used to go to Vic’s after public dances and have a burger. Dances would end about 1 or 2 in the morning and Vic and Margaret would stay open for everyone to come and have something to eat.

Wonderful times!

Kitty Roberts
Friday Harbor