Approve Park and Rec District proposition

I recently received my ballot and voters pamphlet in the mail. Needless to say, the word tax appears more than almost any other word. In reading through the various initiatives it is clear to me that whether you are in favor of a tax or opposed to taxes, this election cycle is daunting!

As the state and federal governments continue to turn towards increased taxes for decreased services, it is understandable that a small yet necessary program like our Park and Recreation District (Proposition 1) could get lost in the general excessive taxing discussion. In a time where distrust of government spending is at an all-time high, it is easy to see where our local, volunteer commissioners might get lumped into the general conversation as “lazy or unimaginative” by presenting the voters with a levy proposal.

With this said, it is also easy to see the necessity of the programs and services funded by Proposition 1. The Parks and Recreation district will fill the gap left by cuts in funding by the County Council of the Orcas Rec Program; services not otherwise provided on Orcas Island. By stepping into this role, the district and its forward thinking commissioners will become the stewards to the original mission of the Orcas Rec Program by providing programs that the County Council and Sheriff at the time of formation indicated as some of the most important programs in the reduction of youth criminal offense on Orcas. Additionally, the district will become stewards of important and irreplaceable recreational land in our community. Through the funding and implementation of the district’s plan, all residents of Orcas will see a distinct and positive effect, even if they do not directly participate in programming.

If you are simply anti-tax, then by all means, please vote no. If you support local control of our necessary parks and recreations services and hope to maintain the safety and vitality of our island, then please vote yes.

Justin Paulsen

Orcas Island