Help stop abuse of power in San Juan County | Letter

On Tuesday, May 17, there is a hearing to remove Steve Smith as a planning commissioner. The accuser has not presented any evidence.

Concerned islanders, including past and current county officials, have spent hours reviewing and comparing the accusations to the video records and concluded that Steve Smith was at all times, courteous, articulate, and well mannered. “Steve seems to be doing an exemplary job of doing his homework, and giving the care and attention the process requires.”

People like Steve, who volunteer their time and efforts in committees and commissions put in hundreds of hours on behalf of our community. They are our voice, and should never be silenced due to a differing opinion. The planning commissioners, who provide advice to the County Council, are protected by law as those in power often don’t want to hear advice that they don’t like. There is no evidence that Steve ever violated anything.

Please email the County Council before the May 17th hearing. Ask the council to implement the following policy so that this kind of abuse does not happen again.

• Suggested policies put in place so this doesn’t happen again.

• The person or group making the accusation must put in writing what the complaint is and provide that to the PA and CC. The accusation must be signed.

• Any evidence associated with the accusation must be provided to the PA who will share that with the CC and the public if showing the evidence is appropriate.

• The accused will be notified in writing by the PA’s office of the accusation and be provided with a copy of the evidence if appropriate.

• The accusation will be posted on the appropriate county website for the public to review.

• The accused will be given an opportunity and adequate time to respond to the accusations prior to any hearing.

• After reviewing the accusation and after consultation with the PA’s office, the CC may at the CC’s discretion schedule a hearing for the purpose of accepting comments and information from the public.

Please send an email to and demand that this unwarranted action stop and to implement a policy to prevent this kind of attacking happening to any other innocent people.

Vicki Leimback

Orcas Island