Islands Sounder Letters to the Editor | Aug. 20

Fralick excels in gov’t. skills

For the many years that Anne and I have known Richard Fralick, we have admired and respected his intelligence and many achievements as well as his dedication to our community.

His work on the Home Rule Election Committee, Board Member of the Orcas Medical Center Association, Orcas Island School Board, Trustee of the Orcas Island Library Selection Committies, are all testimonies of his comittment to the betterment of our island. He excels in facilitating, enjoys problem solving, and has a thorough understanding of how our government works. Therefore, we urge your support of Richard to the office of County Council, Orcas Island West.

Harlan and Anne Pedersen

Orcas

Fralick the right man for the time

Much has been written in the newspaper for our four capable candidates for County Council, all good people. I will not add to the information that has already been presented. However two of the candidates have already served the county in the past; the third I do not know. Richard Fralick, I know. We all have to make up our own minds on the information we have, and I believe that Fralick is the right man for the right time, now.

Larry McNair

Westsound

The Library

Fair Does It Again

The Library Fair again demonstrates how much so many people are willing to help to make a valued event successful. Time and again I saw people helping each other when something went awry or they just needed a hand.

On behalf of the Orcas Medical Center and the Orcas Island Medical Center Association, I’d like to thank the businesses who provided great prizes for our “match your number” game: Healing Arts Center massage therapists Deborah Martyn, Anita Holliday, Rick Doty and Doug Spaeth; Sukima Hampton, massage therapist; Island Market; Ray’s Pharmacy; Orcas Home Central; Island Hardware; The Sounder; Orcas Center; Paige McCormick’s Jazzercise; Radio Shack. The prizes were very well received by all the winners.

Thanks, too, to Ron Rebman of Orcas Village Store for providing the free water for everyone at the Fair. And thanks to the Medical Guild which helped us to provide many blood pressure checks and to Jean Soderquist, R.N. who administered them.

Art Lange

Eastsound

Bar codes

must stop

In last week’s Guest Opinion, Doris Schaller, Elections Supervisor for San Juan County, presented us with a sappy screed about the blessings of ballot barcodes that was filled with willful ignorance and wishful thinking. Ballot barcodes are your friend, Schaller said, and I promise that they will never be used to identify the ballot choices of any voter. She backed up her promise with the names of the 10 do-gooder ladies from Friday Harbor who keep watch over the arcane operations involved in vote counting.

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we: The problem with barcoded ballots is not what is being done right now with the information on them, but rather what could possibly be done with that information in the hands of some future, less-well-meaning ballot counters, Elections Supervisor, and eager-beaver overseers. Schaller avers that there just is no way that the name of a voter could be tied to the choices that voter made in an election. What utter poppycock. I am neither a qualified Elections Supervisor nor a do-gooder count-watcher, and yet I can easily come up with several simple-to-accomplish ways of correlating vote with voter, all to be done with existing, publicly available, user-friendly technology. A barcode reader, a pencil, and a piece of paper is the example that springs most immediately to mind.

The only reason to keep barcoding on our ballots is to make life easier for the vote counters. This is not a valid criterion. Both state and federal law mandates a secret ballot, and demands abstention from any method that could lead to a breach of that secrecy. Other, less compromising technology is available, and is already in use by many Washington counties. There is absolutely no excuse for continuing to place voter-identifying barcodes directly on our ballots. It must stop immediately.

Steve Henigson

Eastsound

Fire Dept. works

This letter is regarding the ongoing saga of the Orcas Island Fire Dept.

I do not begin to understand all the dynamics of the Orcas Island Fire Dept. and the concerns of a small group of people on how this Fire Dept. should be run.

I do know one thing – this Fire Dept. works. Two years ago in August I had a heart attack, and after it was determined by Doc Shinstrom and his staff that I was indeed having one, the EMS/EMTs were notified. Even though it was a summer morning no Med Flights could come in. The lead EMS, Mik Preysz, contacted the Naval Air Station and in spite of horrible visibility I was flown off by a ‘copter and my heart condition stabilized at Skagit Valley Hospital. Mik knew the protocols in a most difficult situation.

Last November another EMS, Val Harris, had me flown off island under adverse weather conditions. I saw how well coordinated the OIFD and St Joseph`s Hospital and Dr. Sullivan worked together. The EMS of Orcas Island know what they are doing.

This is not to say that the taxpayer should not be able to have input on how their monies are spent, but the Orcas Island Fire Dept works. It has the highest ISO rating in the county, which means lower insurance premiums. If for some reason the OIFD had a lower rating, one’s fire insurance premiums would be significantly higher, and if too low, a rating banks and other lending institutions probably would not make building funds available. The OIFD and its Commissioners must be doing something right to have such a high Class #6 classification.

If the OIFD Commissioners are not doing a good job recall them. That simple, if a recall does not occur then allow them to do their job along with the staffers of OIFD.

I put my money and life on the three EMTs’ decision-making skills and trust their judgement on how the OIFD /EMS should operate.

Jim Dingman

EASTSOUND

Name link to ballots protested

Doris Schaller’s Guest Opinion in the Aug. 13 issue looks like an attempt to cloud the issue of voter privacy. No one objects to barcodes on ballots, but linking voter names to ballots is illegal. In SJC, when ballots are placed in the envelope to be mailed to voters both the ballot and the return envelope are scanned and the voter’s name is thereby connected in the un-certified, proprietary, privately owned Ballot Tracker software. The BT system was installed by former Auditor Stevens without asking anyone’s permission. Almost every voting-rights activist and organization in the U.S. has joined in the Green Party of SJC’s lawsuit. They see it as a slam-dunk because it’s such a clear violation of State and Federal law.

Something is very suspicious about the tooth-and-nail defense of Ballot Tracker by the Auditor and the Prosecuting Attorney. What is behind it? Other counties use BT without linking names to ballots. The County Council has recommended against using BT in the way our Elections Dept. does. So why fight it?

Steve Ludwig

Lopez Island

Auction of Rosario not supported

One if by Land and Two if by Sea! Well, the warning needs to be sounded in some way because few people I have spoken with seem to realize the potential impact of the Rosario Auction on the economy and health of the island. Olympus has made a good faith effort to find a buyer that would keep the resort open but it has obviously come to a point where financial realities have forced them to go with a “highest bidder takes all” situation. No jobs being retained and no guarantee of Rosario remaining a resort seem to be required under this plan.

We are dealing with the possibility of a private entity buying the resort and closing down one of our largest tourist draws, our largest employer, and public access to one of the nicest pieces of waterfront and sand/gravel beach on Orcas – a place with far too little public access to waterfront as it is.

The direct effect would be the immediate disappearance of a large number of jobs. In the off season I can safely say that Rosario employees account for 10-15 percent of my retail business and in the summer Rosario represents around 20-30 percent of my customer base. When our economy is already forcing people to spend less such a loss could devastate small businesses such as mine.

The long term effects I fear are related to the cascade effect of that lost revenue stream on businesses and the reality that this will force more working class families away from Orcas. Other effects would follow, such as reduced enrollment in the schools.

I have been here my whole life and I cannot imagine not having Rosario part of our community and a big gate at the end of the hill instead of the place where I played as a kid and my children love to visit today to play on the beach or go sailing. We as a community should do whatever we can to recruit buyers who will keep Rosario a resort and show a commitment to being good trustees of such an important part of Orcas Island’s history and future.

Tom Tillman

Olga

Many hands help at book sale

I would like to thank the following people that were involved in helping with the booksale portion of the Library Fair – all Board members of the Friends of the Library who spent months preparing for the fair – Barbara Safriet, James Lobdell, Lynn Carter, Tom Maiuro, Harold Lentzer, Marilyn Erly, Fran Pritchett, Judy Schleibus, Marilyn Jackson, and all the following volunteers: Tom Welch, Judith Miller, Lois Cornell, John Ashenhurst, Beverly Leyman, Larry Leyman, Joyce Pearson, Doug Pearson, Larry McNair, D.D. Glaze, Ladd Lindholm, Mary Roper, Karen Linnes, Cindi Gould, Sandy Vietzke, Joe Floren, Ann Hay, Diane Garrett, David Kobrin, Meg Massey, Linda Bryant, John Bryant, Doug Schleibus, Leonard Wood, June Crinkley, Jackie Abell, Jan Wells, Loren Dickey, Jen Vollmer, Josephine Bangs, Eric Eagan, Wiilie Eagan, Robert Herrup, Phil Heikkinen, Leith Templin my assistant, Don Johnson, who provides a truck from Camp Orkila and works with the book’s dealers, Juliana Bates and members of the rowing team who joined us this year, Island Hardware who provides plywood every year, Doug McDonald and anyone that showed up to help.

We had a record sale of $9,500 for the books that are given to us by a very generous well-read community.

Thank you,

Pierrette Guimond,

Booksale Boss

Deer Harbor