The editorial staff of the Islands’ Sounder and Journal of the San Juans held a meeting to discuss the candidates running for San Juan County Council. Read below for our endorsements.
Hughes for council
In the race for San Juan County Council District 2, the Islands’ Sounder and Journal of the San Juans are endorsing incumbent Rick Hughes, who is running against Michael Durland.
Since his election in 2013, we have been impressed with Hughes’ ability to accomplish important county projects and maintain open communication with his constituents.
He has been a part of the following endeavors: public works safety improvements to county roads; a park and ride facility at the Orcas Ferry Landing that will create 80–100 parking spaces; electric vehicles and charging stations throughout the San Juans for government employees; passing every state-required legislation in the past three years, including the Shoreline Master Program; putting away money in the rainy day fund and paying off the Solid Waste Excise Bond.
We aren’t the only ones who think Hughes should continue his great work. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, Local 1849 (San Juan County employee’s union) endorsed him this summer for re-election.
Prior to moving full time to Orcas, Hughes was an executive with ESPN.com and was one of the first online advertising sales executives. Now he and his wife Marlace own and operate Ray’s Pharmacy in Eastsound. He is still passionate about economic development, affordable housing and renewable energy and, if re-elected, says he hopes to make more strides in those areas.
Durland, a long-time Orcas Island resident, has been in the Islands’ Sounder pages previously for his tangles with the county and the Orcas Fire Department over a water resource. He says he has been mistreated by both the department and the county. This September, he lost a lawsuit against the county. The Court of Appeals in Seattle upheld a lower court ruling against Durland, who challenged the permits issued by San Juan County to his neighbors.
We don’t think Durland is the best person for the job. His adversarial relationship with the county could make it difficult for him to form positive relationships. Hughes understands the complexities, thinks big picture, looks to the future and has positive ideas to improve our communities.
Watson for council
In the race for San Juan County Council District 1, we are endorsing Bill Watson, who is running against incumbent Bob Jarman.
Watson has a had a long career in the tech industry as a software engineer and manager. His background will help in researching complicated issues and bringing together the many facets of county government. He believes strongly in clarifying land-use regulations, fostering year-round employment and encouraging long-term affordable rental housing.
Watson was also endorsed by Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, Local 1849 (San Juan County employee’s union).
Jarman spent 30 years with the local phone company before going out on his own and becoming a small business owner. He is involved with the San Juan Island community through his volunteer work. In his time on the council, Jarman has been a part of some major headway in county government (approval of Shoreline Master Program and Critical Areas Ordinance), but at the recent forums, he has conveyed a lack of fresh ideas when questions arose about current problems and future county operations.