Digest our local news: strike ends, county settles on court case, hunting season arrives, Reichart retires

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Greetings Conservatives!


Picture: central washington on fire


This week is short and sweet. I have no announcements to make, and no issue to spotlight.


Local News Digest

San Juan County settles with alleged assault victim.” (Journal) The county admitted no fault, and settled for a very small amount of money. If there was really a case, the settlement would have been much higher. The county risk pool apparently decided to settle.

  • Whatever else he may be, Ron Krebs seems a very decent person, so it would take quite a bit for me to believe allegations of wrongdoing — and there seems to be very little evidence to convince me otherwise.

San Juan Island School District teachers’ strike ends” (Journal) Now school can start.

League of Women Voters holds comp. plan forum.” (Journal) It will be on Sept 11th. From the text: “The comprehensive plan update will set the growth policies and goals for the county for the next 20 years with updates to the plan being required every 10 years.” It would be good to have conservatives at least observing what is happening, and if you attend please send me a report.

Hunting season is here. (Journal) We have a very serious problem with deer right now, their numbers are high, and as a result they are in poor health. They also pose serious hazards to human health via diseases that transmit through the vector of animals like deer (e.g. Lyme Disease), and as direct hazards to motorists.

Be careful of the wildfire smoke, especially if you have compromised health and/or are elderly. This article has helpful guidelines and resources. (Sounder) If you want to see some footage from around the state, Seattle Times posted some footage here. Apparently ash was actually falling like snow in Seattle.

There have been a couple of letters on housing: David Gow in the Guardian and Gay Graham of SJ Community Home Trust.

Even as Tim Eyman’s initiative to reduce the car tab tax to $30, Washington state is planning to test a pay-by-the-mile scheme to cover lost revenue due to improving fuel efficiency. It’s like a game of wack-a-mole.

There have been a few articles and letters following our signed statement on harassment at the fair.

  • As I circulated last week, Martha Fuller commented (Sounder).
  • This week Gretchen Allison commented (Journal). Gretchen was polite enough as a person when she came to our booth to protest, so despite how… crazy (dare I say it?) her letter sounds please be polite in return and keep it about the issues.
  • What is worrying, though, is that as unhinged as her article may seem, it is actually pretty mainstream for liberals right now and many echoed her sentiments in comments. I was amazed by this at the fair.


State and National News Digest

Havard: Washington’s Online Voter System Secure” (Guardian).

  • I feel I should note that no electronic system is totally secure. Skilled hackers can break into any network given enough time, even military and intelligence agencies.
  • Even supposedly totally offline networks get compromised from time to time, as in the Stuxnet case — since human error always adds a element of insecurity.
  • Still, this was reassuring, and an indicator that our sole Republican in statewide office (Kim Wyman) has done well at her job.

Republican Dave Reichert has announced that he is retiring from congress and will not seek reelection in 2018.

  • In a rare moment of praise for a conservative, the Seattle Times said “It is Reichert, though, who deserves praise for his leadership spanning four decades of public service — as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, a King County deputy and sheriff, and as a congressman.”

President Trump has ended President Obama’s executive order on dreamers.

  • While this is the subject of much furious invective, the actual statement was, to quote a friend “both sobering and responsible” in his approach. It’s worth reading the actual text, which can be found on the White House website here.  The gist of it was that he wants congress to solve this issue rather than resolving the issue by executive fiat.
  • It does, however, set a bit of a timebomb if congress cannot resolve the matter, so I doubt we have heard the last of it.
  • AG Bob Ferguson has joined other states in suing (Ferguson has never found a trendy liberal cause he didn’t want to support), though I’m not sure how he has grounds for that. It was an executive order, which can be reversed with an executive order — which is why it’s so important that congress deal with this issue in a legal matter.
  • It was unkind of President Obama to give such temporary and unstable status to dreamers rather than learning to work with congress and resolve the issue in a more legal manner. Now, President Trump must deal with it.
  • The people affected by this deserve a permanent solution rather than a shaky executive order, or at least deserve to know that they will have to leave. They should not be left in limbo, so I hope congress will act on this to decide the matter one way or the other.


Do you agree or disagree with anything you’ve read? Check our media contact links, and submit your own letter!  You may also email me (see below). 


County calendar here



Nathan Butler

Chair, San Juan County Republican Party

Email: sjcrpchair@gmail.com


“No matter how conservative your views may be, unless you do something about it you really aren’t that conservative.”

SJI strike, ferry drama continues, locals on harassment of Republicans and more

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As residents of an island, I think we know better than many how vulnerable one can be when things go wrong. We express our sincerest condolences to those in harms way as Hurricane Harvey causes untold devastation and trauma. You are in our thoughts and prayers. The Houston Chronicle lists some ways you can help.

Locals Respond to SJCRP Statement on Harassment of Republicans

This week our press release regarding harassment Republicans received in the county fair was covered by all of Sound Publishing’s papers. It was posted online in the Journal, the Sounder, and the Islands weekly. Islands Guardian chose not to cover it. It went online well in advance of the print version, so there has already been plenty of response.

  • It was interesting to see how it was handled differently. For instance, the Sounder states “alleged harassment” (despite 12 signatories), while the other two simply state that we were harassed. They made some modest edits for length, but fairly represented it. The original statement can be found here.
  • This ignited a firestorm of discussion. I’m told the number of comments on Rant and Rave exceeds several hundred. Certainly the message threads on the articles themselves have been extensive.
  • Many have said that we deserved it because of Trump, others have been supportive. It never ceases to amaze me the philosophical gymnastics made to justify very bad behavior when it’s “their” side. Case in point: Martha Fuller’s full length article on this subject in the Sounder. I’ll let you read it and decide for yourself.
  • Even so, plenty of people have been supportive and we thank them.

Local and State News

As previously circulated, last week the Journal published an editorial criticizing the speed with which the county council passed the “sanctuary county” measure, and the fact that they didn’t allow the public to vote on it. We also published several letters criticizing the measure.

  • In response, the reporter was attacked (in print, I should say) for publishing an opinion piece, despite also covering it in the news. It seems more likely that it was because she dared take a position that was vaguely conservative, I’ve seen their reporters take liberal positions on issues they previously reported on many times.
  • The Chairman of the Democrats, David Turnoy, published a letter defending the sanctuary county measure and the way it was handled. I thought his letter was an articulate defense of immigration, but I couldn’t figure out how it justifies illegal immigration.
  • I think his letter was at least in part a response to letters published by myself, Barry Cave, and Katherine Schwartz (see last week), which may provide some context.

Although it has no real political significance for this newsletter, please note a general burn ban, including campfires.

There is some news regarding health care services on Orcas and Lopez. For one, UW has named a chief for their Orcas and Lopez island clinics. For another, a group calling itself “Coalition for Orcas Health Care” has petitioned for the establishment of a public hospital district.

Some school related news. Orcas Island School district hired a new para-educator. In San Juan Island School District the teachers are striking.

If you want to vote for a custom SJC license plate click here for guidance.

Regarding ferries, the Hyak has been pulled, and its slot is being filled by the Kitsap from the Mukilteo/Clinton route. During routine maintenance on the 30th it was discovered to have more serious problems. It will be out for two weeks.

Last week the news covered the release of farmed Salmon from a damaged pen. Legislators are seeking review of the industry.

New rules governing public records requests are being considered in WA State. The Seattle Times didn’t run an article on this that I could find, but they did have an editorial.

In an article giving plenty of space to her challenger, the Seattle Times noted that the US House’s most high ranking Republican female is facing a new opponent.

The League of Women Voters is starting a “County Comp Plan” program, to be held on September 11th.

In the last couple months I’ve been published at least a dozen times. I can’t possibly respond to them all. Please consider speaking up. Thank you to those who have done so. Links to local media here.

Last, but not least, I think this headline is emblamatic of how hysterical the left has become: “Last straw: Flyer on campus calls for banning veterans from attending class.” Horrifying. Truly horrifying. If the “common sense” of the left is that Republicans are all racist (an assumption I encoured over and over again at the fair), we will see more of this. It is genuinely frightening to see how something so patently untrue and damaging could be assumed true by so many.



Nathan Butler

Chair, San Juan County Republican Party

Email: sjcrpchair@gmail.com


“No matter how conservative your views may be, unless you do something about it you really aren’t that conservative.”

Unfair Fair (can’t help it), Immigration Measure Pushback, and Local News Updates

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Greetings Conservatives!


Fair Debrief

Fair results posted in the Sounder here.

A statement by SJC Republican Party, passed as a resolution of the Central Committee, and signed by 12 conservatives myself included, was published in all three papers (here in the Sounder). We received more harassment at the county fair than in any year previous. It will be in the print versions this coming week.

The paper also ran a short peice about the protestors at our booth, which was the most commented article I’ve ever seen. Thank you to Michelle Loftus for standing up on that thread. I was there working alone the night the protesters came, along with my girlfriend who didn’t want to be home on a Friday night (a decision she regrets I think). I went out and talked to the protesters, introduced myself, shook hands, smiled, laughed — afterwards I noticed a blogger taking footage looking pretty disappointed.

Still, one man did get in a shouting match with a Republican walking by, and another was pretty mouthy despite the organizer’s stated wish of a quiet protest. Most were polite, even accomodating me by telling me that they wern’t coming back the next day. Overall I didn’t particularly mind, though it was in bad taste. It was the daily harassment from random people that was the biggest problem.

You may have seen our car tab price reduction initiative petitions in our fair booth, backed by Tim Eyman. When discussing whether we would make this initiative available to people coming to our booth, I asked Mr Eyman what the service being cut would be if we reduced the tax. He said it would be Sound Transit. Sure enough, this week I saw the headline “Sound Transit’s Lynnwood extension running $500M over budget.” Bloated budget, inefficient routes, Sound Transit is indeed a disaster. But while they get plenty of funding, our Ferries go ignored.

Shockingly, Sound Transit actually does political advocacy. Yes, you heard that right. A public entity that receives tax dollars actually gives to political campaigns. Washington Policy Center analyzes it here.
In any case, many of you came by and said hello. We met with hundreds of conservatives. There were also many polite liberals who stopped by. Overall, it was a good week, despite feelings somewhat embattled.


Immigration and the “Sanctuary County” Measure


Even as the Trump administration moves to expand deportation dragnets, he also moved to push for immigration reform — which he actually got criticized for anyway — our own county has passed a measure (Sounder) designed to oppose the application of our country’s immigration laws.

Many of us did oppose it. We had very little time to do so, literally two weeks from the time it hit the news to the time the county council passed it. I know that people in liberal circles had heard about it, but it just shows how divided American political life really is that I never heard a peep about it — nor did any other conservative.

Hayley Day, in her editorial for the Journal noted this failure of the media, and also noted that the substantial objections and reasoned concerns by many, most notably County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord, went entirely ignored. You can watch the Aug 15th meeting here.

Originally the press was reporting that there was no opposition, but this was changed after we called them on it. Overall, the local media has turned out to be pretty critical of how the county council handled all this. Many locals did speak out:

We also had a small committee to put a “con” statement in the voter’s guide, which turned out to be unnecessary, and several people at the county council meeting (thanks to one couple, you know who you are!).

It might be worth looking at the County Council Update: “Over the last month, the San Juan County Council has discussed issues including population projection, a local immigration initiative and protection of Southern resident killer whales.” (Island’s Weekly)

You can read the text of the resolution on the County Council’s website here (pdf download), from this page.


Housing Markets in the NW

“King County home prices grow $100,000 in a year for first time; West Bellevue jumps 41 percent” (Seattle Times). Reflecting that, “Housing bubble fears stronger in Washington than in any other state.” (also Seattle Times) Two relatives of mine recently went house shopping in Seattle, and even a very high income buys a very modest house.

  • Amazon is a big part of that: “Thanks to Amazon, Seattle is now America’s biggest company town.”
  • Two articles, here and here covered Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.
  • When we think of big Seattle area companies, we are used to thinking of Boeing and Microsoft, but Amazon has a larger presence than them both.  Amazon is also building brick-and-mortar bookstores (Seattle Times). Seattle residents make up an important part of tourism here.
  • Seattle is struggling to cope with it’s housing issues associated with its economic prosperity: “A candidate for Seattle mayor says the city should consider taxing nonresident homebuyers and a City Council member has looked into it. But city lawyers say it would be illegal and the King County assessor says it could stoke discrimination.”
    • In reply, “Seattle mayoral hopeful Cary Moon hit back at opponent Jenny Durkan Tuesday as the candidates sparred over how the city should deal with its affordable-housing shortage.” Yes, it’s far away, but how Seattle handles this may impact how our county council handles our own housing issues.
  • In our county, the Journal ran an article “Understanding the valuation process for your real estate.”
In her quarterly review, our county auditor released an article discussing two related trends in our own county, as she puts it: “The flip side of all this prosperity is the very real, and increasing, problem that people cannot afford to live here.” You can read her article here.


Local and State News Digest

“Please go fishing,” Washington state says after farmed Atlantic salmon escape a net broke between Anacortes and San Juan Island.
  • The Seattle Times published an editorial titled “Keep a sharper eye on farmed-fish industry.” Salmon are anadromous, meaning they spawn in rivers (as every NW resident knows).
  • The mixing of local stock with farmed fish (marketed as “Atlantic”) as they head for rivers is a disaster for the industry, though it remains to be seen how severe.
  • Our local news addressed this too, see the Island Guardian here. The Sounder has an in depth article on this as well, found here.
  • WDFW encourages anglers to fish for escaped Atlantic salmon in the San Juans here. Report catches here.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate former Bremerton High School football coach Joseph Kennedy, who lost his job after he refused to stop praying on the field after games. Seattle Times.

In what the Seattle times called “A fitting tribute,” the Olympic Wilderness was renamed for former Republican Gov. Dan Evans. The ceremony took place on Hurricane Ridge, surely one of the most beautiful places on earth. Seattle TImes.

Seattle has an unusual system whereby residents get vouchers that they can give to candidate campaigns of their choice. The first major accusations of corruption surfaced this week, when a candidate was accused of defrauding the democracy-voucher program. Seattle Times reports.

Hyak out of service next Wednesday, Aug. 30. Sounder Reports.

There is a vacant fire commission seat, Journal reports.

Popeye, the harbor seal, bites a tourist, Journal reports. Be warned: violent mammal attacks may cause collapse in local tourism. Not really. Just trying to find a way to justify including this. The seal actually jumped out of the water to grab hold of the tourist’s arm. The port director responded here.

This nondescript article in the FreeRepublic offers one remarkably plausible explanation regarding the Scaramucci, Priebus, etc. events. First line: “Apparently, liberals and never-Trumpers are so isolated in their political circles that they have no concept how things work in the real world of business and corporate America. For example, they completely fail to grasp the concept of the “hatchet man.”

WA State Republican party released a statement on Charlottesville, posted on our website here. Fox News had an excellent opinion peice on Charlottesville here. Note also CityJournal, “Whose Next, George Washington?



SJC Council Monday Meeting
August 28, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

SJC Council Tuesday Meeting
August 29, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

Noxious Weed Control Board Meeting

September 1, 2017, 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM @ WSU – Skagit Campus

County makes it illegal to enforce the law

posted in: Chair's Corner | 0

Greetings Conservatives!


“Sanctuary County” passes

You may have heard that the county passed a sanctuary county measure. The media is saying that nobody spoke against it. That’s not actually true. We sent in several letters, had a con statement for the voter’s guide, and we did have one couple show up and brave the crowd at the Aug 15th meeting.

However, with very little time to fight it, many of our most active people gone, and everyone else severely overscheduled I do think all of us in the Republican party fell short, both membership and leadership. As it turned out, the Prosecuting Attorney opposed it as well and provided some of the stiffest opposition. In the end it didn’t matter.

I think the left is so determined to oppose President Trump that sanity has left the building. This is not good policy. Every country in the world has immigration laws. And our county just said that the law doesn’t matter. In fact, it made it illegal to enforce the law. I’ve spent my whole life studying other langauges and other cultures. I believe everyone is better off under the rule of law.

If you don’t like how this turned out, please consider becoming a more active member of the party. We are always short handed, and we simply can’t muster enough people in a pinch as with this summer.


This week, due to the fair, I am deferring all other business to next week. 


We do still need help with our booth

We are short on Fri/Sat. 

Signup on SignupGenius here 


or search  “2017 GOP County Fair Booth#157 Near Main Entrance”

Click “Sign Up” at a time slot

Then scroll down and click “Submit and Sign Up”

Alternately, contact Michelle Loftus  

meloftus@centurytel.net or 360-378-4738


***We still need 2 tables

and a carpet for the booth***

Nathan Butler

Chair, San Juan County Republican Party

Email: sjcrpchair@gmail.com

“No matter how conservative your views may be, unless you do something about it you really aren’t that conservative.”

Contrary to what you may think, there are not enough “con” statements! (I tried to work “convict” in there too…)

posted in: Chair's Corner | 0


If you are directed here from the newsletter, note that SJI received a shortened version of this email.


We still need people for the fair. Click here to sign up. We are very short on Friday and Saturday. We also need some help with setup and takedown.

Our other urgent need is the sanctuary county issue. We need people to write letters (contact info here) and show up to the Aug 15th county council meeting where this will be discussed. One conservative who attended the most recent council meeting overheard someone say “Well, no one opposes the sanctuary county measure…”

Yes, it’s sensitive, but you can make your point without making your neighbors egg your house. I know of only two letters (one is mine, forthcoming) and the 3 person con committee that have stood up on this. Frankly, I’ve heard a lot of bluster about this, and now it’s time to stand up and be counted. I have a job, a boss, a reputation, and a family like anybody else. So do the others who have stood up.

Not that there is never a good reason not to, but I don’t think as many people have an excuse as think they do. Enough said. Next topic.

Medical Services on Orcas and Lopez

You may have noticed last week that there was a guest article in the Lopez paper, the Islands Weekly, by several important EMS and Fire Department leaders on Lopez. They contended that under the new management of the Lopez Medical Center (under the provisions passed a few months ago by Lopez residents) by the UW, there will be no emergency care at the medical center.

In the past, when emergency care has been needed residents have been taken to the Medical center (it was this way in Friday Harbor before PeaceHealth was built as well).

This week, a guest editorial by the UW in response contended that they are looking at treating patients in the Lopez Medical Center. The original piece never claimed that residents would lose emergency services — there is still EMS on Lopez — in fact it went out of it’s way to point that out. But because this is not something people think about everyday, it may have been something that readers didn’t realize. It was interesting to see how the Lopez center is handling it.

On Orcas, the same issue is being dealt with. However, it appears that the UW center on Orcas will not be providing emergency assistance in conjunction with Orcas EMS. The Islands Sounder ran an article titled “UW Medicine presence will not affect island EMS services.” This is no doubt true, but it was never contended that EMS would be discontinued. What is in question is what happens after EMS gets to your house. Are you flown off? Treated on-site? Or taken to the Medical Center?

It is important to note that past arrangements that allowed a patient to be flown off island, their insurance billed, and the remaining portion simply written off — has been discontinued. To my knowledge that is true everywhere in the county. It is now the case that if you are flown off (and unless you have Medicare, this can cost $20,000; with Medicare it’s still several thousand dollars), you will be billed for what your insurance does not pay.

Airlift insurance is very cheap, but you have to remember to get it beforehand. There are two: one for fixed wing (Island Air Ambulance Membership Program), the other for emergency helicopter transit (Airlift Northwest). You can find an information sheet about both here (opens a .pdf, your browser may give you a warning but it is from a safe source).

Don’t be like the folks who ignored the warning about the distracted driving law that I posted for several weeks. This is a real thing, and it could happen to you.

Con Statements

We have covered the con statement for the proposed sanctuary county. There are several ballot measures that are still unaddressed. We lack the manpower to do all of this and need knowledgeable people who are willing to step up (or at least willing to learn). The Orcas Island School District has placed two measures on the ballot, and the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District is proposing a one-year levy for 2018.

This week the Orcas School District published in the Sounder a statement about their budget. Do you agree? To be frank, I haven’t had time myself to research this. As with any large organization, no one person can know it all. But I am concerned that these measures will be voted on without anybody making a serious attempt to study and respond regarding to whether these decisions are wise and fiscally sound. We need 1-3 people for each levy (the Orcas levies we can have the same committee do both) willing to do the ground level work on this.

Don’t assume someone will do it. There’s a good chance we will not find someone. Everyone else has the same reasons you do. And it’s summer! So I get it. But I feel it’s my duty to try and find people, so here we are.

Local and State News Digest

“The Skagit Valley College San Juan Center in partnership with Orcas Island Rotary seeks broad community input to help identify Orcas Island’s education and training needs.” You can take the survery here. Direct questions to Tom Ritter.

After another return to a reduced route schedule due to engine failures, regular summer ferry schedule again resumed. (Journal Reports). There’s an extra sailing over the weekend to accommodate the Doe Bay Fest traffic.

An amusing letter in the Journal on the ferry problems this summer. Journal reports.  An Orcas resident complained about the ferry rate increases in light of the ferry breakdowns. I totally get the frustration, but it does make a kind of sense. Our aging fleet is obviously breaking down, and it may indeed require more funds to replace and repair them. It’s not the same thing as when your kid smacks someone at school so you give them an ice cream cone (or is it? I’m torn…).

“San Juan County needs to monitor local air quality” (Guest Column in the Journal). This seems an unnecessary expense. The air is usually great, and in this case we know exactly why it isn’t. But, perhaps a case can be made for this.

The Noxious Weed Board published a Sounder editorial called “It’s tansy ragwort season.” It’s not strictly speaking political, but after using that as an example of the kinds of boards I want conservatives to get on and join, I couldn’t resist including it.

A group calling itself the “SJI Women’s Group” (quite a claim) criticized the Planning Commission for not appointing more men. Turns out, no women have applied. Which, you will recall from last week, was exactly what I suggested was quite likely.

  • Accusations of discrimination are so casually tossed around, and in this case against people who give freely of their time and expertise for no pay or material reward.
  • I think it can be very useful to have women on the board, but the accusation of bias was unwarranted and a slap in the face to those who have given to our community so willingly.
  • As one person commented: “3 out of 4 of the managers of the SJC DCD (Planning Department) are women, and 5 out of 6 of the planning staff members are women.” Perhaps in the future one of them will apply.


 Human Services Advisory Board
August 14, 2017, 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM @ Large Legislative Conference Room

SJC Council Tuesday Meeting
August 15, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

Eastsound Planning Review Committee Workshop
August 16, 2017, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM @ Eastsound Station 21

Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District Meeting
August 17, 2017, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Lopez Island Fire District 4

Land Bank Commission Meeting
August 18, 2017, 8:30 AM - 11:05 AM @ Mullis Community Senior Center

SJC Council Monday Meeting
August 21, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room


Nathan Butler

Chair, San Juan County Republican Party

Email: sjcrpchair@gmail.com


“No matter how conservative your views may be, unless you do something about it you really aren’t that conservative.”