Frank Penwell’s Letter to Journal of San Juans

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It appears that a letter writing campaign has been organized and waged against one of our neighbors, for renting his commercial property to the U.S. Customs agency.

Dear Editor,

How sad.  A ½ page ad in the paper complaining about a building that was rented to the U.S. Customs agency, people leaving threatening messages to the owner of the building, others saying anyone who speaks up in favor of the lease is brave.  Well, a brave high school student wrote a letter to the Editor about the pettiness, wasted energy, and anger of this group.   This group of organized individuals are some of the same individuals we see over and over in our community looking for ways to “control” the islands.  They are called many things by citizens at large: a gang, a mob, a clique, a-*%&#@s.  This group’s favored methods are to organize behind the scenes, speak out, intimidate, and to be intolerant of differences.  They tend to be nasty to those who do not agree with them.  They belittle and shout down those who offer a different view.  They also do not care what the law is.   What matters to them is their desires, needs and personal prejudices.  Other people’s constitutional and legal rights and views are not relevant.  They just want their way, and watch out if you get in their way.  A member of this group told me what they are doing is free speech, and they would rather be for something, rather than being against something.   It is clear that to these individuals, the ends justify the means and we should all just get with their program, as they know best.

I don’t believe the silent majority supports these individuals, or their intolerance and bias.  I believe most citizens do not see Customs as an evil group in our community.   I agree with the Spring Street student.  We need to tackle important issues: our economy, low paying jobs, crime, domestic violence, and drug use, just to start the list.  The Grange motto speaks to my condition: In Essentials Unity, In Non Essentials Liberty, In all things Charity.

Do you remember the green arm band mob that stormed our County Council a few years ago?   Do you recognize that the Friends of the San Juans complains or sues almost any individual who tries to build anything that they determine is not in line with their agenda?  Have you noticed how our CAO has made land use violations a “criminal act”, with fines, jail time, and consequences that are on the same level as assault, rape and robbery?  Have you noticed that some land use violators are prosecuted, and others are not?  Is that what will make us a community?  What in the world are we doing letting these individuals and groups  speak for and control our community?  If we do not start standing together, as a community, we will eventually lose our rights and liberties.

Start taking a close look at the members of these groups, and remember their names.  When you see them, tell them your thoughts, and don’t ever vote for them, or encourage them to hold any positions of influence in our community.  We need humble and respectful leaders.  Leaders who respect the laws, and the rights of individuals.


Frank M Penwell