Islands' Sounder


Byers responds to criticism | Letter

March 26, 2013 · Updated 2:23 PM

The March 13 edition to the Sounder had letters that I had previously responded to online. I have posted those more comprehensive responses on my website, www.lisabyers.org.  This is a brief version.

I believe that government has a limited, but important role to play in society. Government is not the answer for resolving many of society’s needs. Many needs are best addressed through volunteer efforts, or by for-profit or nonprofit businesses. When government does provide services, it should do so efficiently and effectively.

I believe that government is well suited for convening people, setting common goals, and then developing incentives to implement solutions. I believe that some of our best innovations have come about through thoughtful collaboration between government and individuals working through for-profit and nonprofit businesses.

When we choose to adopt regulations, they should be designed so that businesses that follow the rules may thrive, and property owners may have flexibility in how they use their property. We must be diligent about pruning out old rules that no longer serve us.

Government officials must make decisions – often with imperfect information – to reduce the level of uncertainty for business and residential development.  Uncertainty has very real economic costs.

We need regulations to protect our environment that are based in peer-reviewed science to the greatest extent possible. I believe that regulations should be flexible, yet predictable and consistently applied. When that is not the case, we need to revise the regulations. I would be willing to revise the Critical Areas Ordinance, or other rules based on actual case examples.

In my work I have taken risks in order to keep people employed, because I know that without a job they would suffer, and might move away.

We need good jobs, with good wages in our community so that people may thrive.  I think our economy in San Juan County is transitioning.  We will continue to rely on construction and tourism, while at the same time there are more people employed here who are exporting their ideas and creativity through the internet. For a robust economy, we must sustain what is unique about this place and our community.

Lisa Byers

Orcas Island

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