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


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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



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