Islands Sounder Letters to the Editor | July 30

40th District Senate Race

Kevin Ranker

We have an amazing opportunity to elect a fellow islander to the State Senate, which hasn’t happened in many decades. There are so many benefits having Kevin Ranker represent us in Olympia. With the help of legislators that have lived part-time in the islands (McDonald, McMullen, Inslee and Rust, to name a few) we have gained enormously (think Land Bank). Imagine how much Kevin could do for us.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, please vote for Kevin Ranker as he will make sure that the San Juan Islands are well represented.

Tom Cowan

Lopez Island

San Juan County has a unique opportunity this year to elect its first-ever State Senator. These islands are part of the state’s 40th Legislative District that also includes Whatcom and Skagit Counties. Those counties’ larger populations have controlled every state senator election in the past.

This year we have an outstanding candidate in Kevin Ranker. He is endorsed by the Washington Education Association, individual County Commissioners from Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan Counties, Washington Conservation Voters, the Anacortes Mayor, 40th District Representative Jeff Morris and is the only candidate endorsed by the 40th District Democratic Party.

I first met Kevin when I became a member of our County Council one and a half years ago. I have observed that he is bright, hard working, has high integrity and is very successful at what he takes on.

The 40th District and San Juan County will benefit greatly with Kevin in the State Senate. Because of our county’s small population, getting Kevin to Olympia will require a large percentage of San Juan County votes. I urge you to vote for Kevin Ranker.

Gene Knapp


Orcas West County Council Race

Richard Fralick

I am writing to ask you to vote for Richard Fralick for County Council – District 4/Orcas Island West.

Our community faces a wonderful opportunity to have a person on the Council who is intelligent and committed to making government effective. In addition, Richard brings to the table a skill set that we desperately need in government – he understands complex issues, he is an active listener and communicator, and he is knowledgeable about budgeting and will ask the hard questions.

I got to know Richard very well when he was a Freeholder. I was one of the many he enlisted to move forward public understanding of Home Rule. I saw him advocate and advance the concepts that resulted in the adoption of charter government. He was always calm and focused. He used his leadership skills to bring local government to a new level of sophistication. On a personal level, I have seen him cook for friends and build a house – all with the same calm and focus. All in all I have come to respect Richard not only for his accomplishments – which are many – but for the knowledge, persistence and integrity he brings to everything he takes on.

Voters of Orcas Island West, I urge you to vote for Richard in the August primary. Since there are four candidates seeking this Council position, the August election will be a “top two” primary whereby the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November. Vote leadership. Vote Fralick.

I am proud to be co-chair of his campaign committee.

Elizabeth Barth


Although I have known Richard Fralick for many years it was during the time he worked for the good of the community as a teacher at the high school and as a member of the School Board that I witnessed his work ethic and his personal integrity.

As a science teacher at Orcas Island High School, Richard challenged AP students into realms they had never traveled before. I was happy to see such a teacher on our faculty. His amazing knowledge of the subject and his ability to explain those concepts and hook kids into working hard for him and enjoying class at the same time was a winning combination. He set extremely high standards for himself and his students. On occasion our paths would cross in the teachers’ workroom. His good humor and fine work ethic always inspired me.

Richard also served on the School Board, an unpaid job for people in the community who wish at a deep level to bring about the highest quality education the community can produce for its children. His ability to work well with that diverse group of board members was a great contribution to the school district.

In these situations Richard Fralick proved that he is open to all possibilities as he solves problems, that he has a gift for understanding and explaining issues and concepts, and that he has the respect of those who work with him.

For these reasons I support Richard Fralick for County Council.

Tish Knapp


I am supporting Richard Fralick for County Council. I have known Richard for 25 years, and these things I know for sure about him: Richard has a good mind, he thinks broadly and deeply about issues, which results in long range vision and sound decisions. He is a hard worker and takes on any project with energy and great capabilities. Richard is articulate, looks for consensus, and is a very competent leader. Richard preceded me as a director on the Orcas School Board. He came onto the board at a time when the district was in a financial hole, and was instrumental in turning that situation around. His financial acumen, negotiation skills, and leadership ability were key factors in that position, as they will be in the County Council Position. I believe Richard is the person for this job!

Leota Shaner


During the process by which we arrived at our current form of county government, a County Council, I was most impressed by the knowledge and organizational ability of Richard Fralick, who served as Chairman of the Charter Writing Committee that hammered out the proposal, which the citizens of San Juan County approved. ( He was also Chairman of Citizens Outreach and Information Committee.)

Richard was a calm, but firm and very knowledgeable chair, always respectful of the rights of others during the process. I am convinced he will also make a fine member of the County Council and I urge you to vote for him if you reside in Orcas West.

He may wear a loud suit in a parade (that purple number in the July 5 parade was gorgeous!), but Richard Fralick is simply quietly effective in public roles.

Jan Zehner

Mindy Kayl

In the 17 years I have known Mindy Kayl I have watched her set goals and attain them through hard work, tenacity and creativity. I first admired the nature of her mettle when she quit Orcas for nine months out of each year to work on research ships in Antarctica. Since leaving ship life, she has been directly involved in every aspect of turning her Crow Valley property into a small farm. Most recently, Mindy furthered her education in ecological restoration and is running her own business as a wetlands consultant. She is constantly challenging herself, learning and growing.

Mindy has a science background, and she knows how to conduct research and problem solve. She also knows that it is important to empower those around her and encourage input in decision making. She is someone I turn to when I have questions about our county’s infrastructure and government.

Throughout her tenure, Mindy has been a dedicated member of this community, and in 2000 she served as one of 21 on the Board of Freeholders. She has been on the Eastsound Planning and Review Committee for two years, and is now acting as chair. Mindy knows the issues and is an active participant in local politics. She will be a powerful advocate for Orcas Island and will tackle the difficult issues.

As a forward-thinking and strong supporter of this community, she has just started a farm-to-table program at the Senior Center and is hoping to extend the program to a community farm to table dinner. She is interested in growing a diverse economy, one that supports farmers and artists. I want a candidate who will work actively and effectively for the community, economy and the environment, which is why I am voting for Mindy Kayl.

Mia Kartiganer


alan Lichter

Will election of a pro-growth County Council increase the costs of road maintenance?

We belong to a road maintenance organization that maintains a gravel road. Members of this group have recognized that construction of a new house or a remodel involving heavy trucks results in significant wear and tear of our road. Therefore, the owner whose construction degraded the road is required to pay for that year’s repair of the road up to their house site.

Heavy construction trucks also degrade our San Juan County roads. Therefore, an increased rate of new home construction will result in increased road maintenance costs. Although I think that the County has done an excellent job maintaining our roads, the crunch will become apparent soon. County revenues have been falling in real dollar terms due to the one percent cap on the yearly property tax increase, and costs from soaring oil prices will further increase the rate of inflation.

Instead of electing people who will relax our land use regulations, we need to elect County Councilors who will support “smart growth.” Alan Lichter had the vision to see that rapid growth was negatively impacting our islands’ livability and affordability. He brought Nantucket planner John Pagini to a two-day conference on lessons learned by an island community that experienced rapid development and its consequences.

Here is a link to John Pagini’s presentation on Smart Growth:

Support Smart Growth. Re-elect Alan Lichter to our County Council.

Janet Alderton

Deer Harbor

Under the system devised by the Free Holders our county council has an expanded number of members and we are facing the first election for the West Orcas area.

Of the candidates running in this district Alan Lichter already has a record to examine. I have seen first-hand the close attention he pays to West Orcas. The plan for the Deer Harbor Hamlet was a long and complicated process. Alan attended innumerable community meetings and listened quietly in the back without drawing attention to himself. Privately he encouraged that all points of view were heard, and when details were lost in various drafts he encouraged those who sought to keep the process on track by circulating the final correct copies. When the plan finally reached the council he took the lead in encouraging community input in an orderly process and helped guide discussion to a final approved version. This was not easy; these meetings were long and often repetitive.

I have also witnessed his participation in many council meetings that dealt with other matters. I have been impressed with his civility and fairness. One of his most valuable traits is that he does not waste other people’s time. He does not speak just to be seen and he does not spend time tooting his own horn. Finally, I note his enormous patience and respect in listening to others.

For all these reasons I support Alan Lichter for West Orcas council member.

Richard Steinhardt

Deer Harbor

Alan Lichter has a humane, knowledgeable, hopeful, and thoroughly realistic view of what county government can and should do. He wants what is best for all county residents, and for the county itself, which must balance the competing, often conflicting needs of population growth, housing, tourism and business, and the environment. Alan believes that we need to do better at what we do, not necessarily less, though perhaps with less, and can do better with judiciousness and respect. These distinguish Alan, as do his informed approach and concern not only for the present moment (his initiative on the Orcas dock is an example), but also for our trajectory: what it will be like to live on Orcas in three years, in five, in ten. What is it that’s vital to preserve and even to enhance? How do we learn this? What, ideally, do we want? What can we have? Can we reach a consensus?

Here is proof to me as a former resident of Martha’s Vineyard of Alan’s sense of urgency, foresight, and optimism. Upon his initiative, the SJC Council in June 2007, brought the Planning Director of Nantucket, MA., 1995-2005, to run a program whose purpose was for us to learn from the similar conditions, problems, and competing interests confronting Nantucket. How better to understand our issues. Many people attended; many left with an enriched view of the complexity and yet the possibility for making right, timely choices. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have passed, I’m afraid, the tipping point. Orcas is rapidly approaching it. Alan thinks, and thinks ahead.

For Alan the cardinal issue is the use of our human, financial, and natural resources to enhance responsibly daily life on Orcas for all of us. He wants to do so in a manner which ensures that the future will not be a degradation of the present but the strengthening of what is best now on Orcas and the improvement of what is not, such as affordable housing. He is realistic, practical, and visionary. The combination is rare, ideal, and for us now crucial.

Richard Fadem


Today I received my “Re-Elect Alan Lichter” letter in the mail. I decided to peruse Alan’s web site to consider what Councilman Lichter has accomplished and what he considers important. I couldn’t help but conclude that Alan Lichter has lost his way and is in the wrong election.

In his own words, his most important achievement was his ballot initiative “demanding that the Bush Administration end the Iraq War.” Iraq is important, but it is not a constructive County issue and I fail to see how this effort and use of Council time accomplished anything for our County. The San Juan County Council has no authority or jurisdiction over this important Federal matter.

Alan points out that “this year I co-authored the Council’s Climate Change resolution committing San Juan County to an 18-point program to minimize our contribution to global warming.” In this case it is not clear that we can afford to launch such a grand plan, and with all the local issues behind schedule, how Alan can applaud so much Council time spent debating this issue? I think Councilman Gene Knapp got it right when he said “We have a whole lot of [other] issues that we need [to] find time to deal with.”

I agree with Alan that all of these issues are important to all of us; however, he has lost his focus on why he was elected to the County Council – to lead the way to a better San Juan County and accomplish local needs for the local population. Stand down Alan, you’re out of sync with your electorate; run for National Office, and let the County Council get on with our important and increasingly challenging local business.

Vicki Johnson

Orcas Island

Bruce Orchid

I have known Bruce Orchid for some 30 years. He was helpful in the early stage of Children’s House as a teacher. He was instrumental in establishing the Orcas Center and became the first executive director, he was one of the best County Commissioners we have ever had, and he served 12 years on the Washington State Arts Commission with two terms as chair, among other things. Bruce understands government like no one else. Please consider voting for him.

Marguerite Gudgell


I will be voting for Bruce Orchid for County Council, District Four, Orcas West. I first met Bruce shortly after moving to Orcas over a decade ago. Over that time, I have gotten to know him as a friend and to work with him. Bruce and I served together on the school board from 2002-2005. One of his strengths is the ability to look at issues fairly and to listen to all sides. While he and I may not have always agreed, I know that he always respected my opinion. Bruce brings to every deliberation compassion and a reasonable approach to problem solving. He is absolutely committed to children’s issues, the environment, and protecting everything we cherish on our islands. He brings with him his past experience as county commissioner; this experience would help him on the county council to “hit the ground running.” For all of these reasons, I hope you will join me in supporting Bruce Orchid for County Council, District Four, Orcas West.

Janet Brownell


Sitting on the deck of the West Sound Deli in 1990 while he was conducting my job interview for hire with the County, Bruce Orchid impressed me with his commitment to San Juan County and made me want to work in the Board of County Commissioners’ office.

I got the job and have been friends with Bruce ever since. Working with him was fun and educational. He cared about his staff and the issues concerning the County.

Bruce is an excellent mediator of controversial issues and a great moderator of official meetings. Please read his answers to the candidate questions in the local online and weekly newspapers. His responses are thorough and on point. He proves that he is still very knowledgeable of County issues.

I urge all District 4 voters to vote for Bruce Orchid in the Aug. 19 Primary Election for County Council. His knowledge and experience in education, arts, owning a local business for more than 20 years, community service and as a former County Commissioner is what we need on the County Council. Someone who will listen to all opinions and make their decision based on what is legal and good for the citizens of San Juan County.

Lil Hamel


Superior Court Judicial Race

Randy gaylord

How do we pick a judge? It is such a serious choice – not one we get to make very often.

Both of our candidates for superior court judge are well-educated lawyers; both have approval from various bar associations; both are known for working in support of young people in their local communities.

For me, the decision comes down to looking at how they have spent their careers. Randy Gaylord has worked for 14 years as a publicly elected county prosecuting attorney. Always, always, working in the public interest.

Randy did an excellent job making sure this county was the first one in the country to keep jet skis away from our shorelines. He has worked tirelessly to uphold our land use rules; to help us maintain the openness and natural beauty we so value here on the islands.

His opponent has worked just as tirelessly in the interest of private developers; to repeatedly challenge land use laws, always seeking that wedge to interpret the rules in favor of the private client. Of course we need both types of attorneys, but I would rather vote for a judge who has spent his career working primarily in the public interest. I will vote for Gaylord.

Lee Sturdivant

Friday Harbor

As we look forward to voting for our first local Superior Court judge, I urge you to join me in electing Randy Gaylord to that position. I know Randy to be uniquely qualified to serve San Juan County as a judge because of his accomplishments as our Prosecuting Attorney as well as his personal attributes.

In the years prior to being appointed to the Washington State Transportation Commission, I served as chair of our San Juan County Ferry Advisory Committee. During that time I came to rely on Randy’s counsel in dealing with county-state relationship issues and questions regarding the applicability of state laws to citizen advisory groups. Since joining the commission, I have continued my involvement with local planning and quality of life issues here in the San Juans. I depend on Randy’s depth of understanding and his impartial, focused advice on the interrelationships between the law and the commonsense, human dimension on a wide range of topics.

Randy Gaylord has a genuine grasp of the needs and aspirations of the diverse population in our islands’ community, and he understands the effects of the application of the law on individuals on all sides of an issue. His combination of legal expertise, accessibility and personal qualities make me confident that electing Randy Gaylord to the Superior Court judgeship will ensure the court will be led by someone who will preside with judicial integrity and excellence.

Bob Distler


On any given evening, if you are strolling through your neighborhood, you may have seen Randy Gaylord walking or bicycling from home to home, as he campaigns for judge. Many people have written in to this paper, showing their support for Randy. They cite his community service, balanced approach to the practice of law, his integrity, his efforts to keep our community safe, and his willingness to take on tough issues in the interests of the community.

For me, Randy’s approach of going house-to-house to meet people, and ask for their vote is symbolic of his love of community. Like Obama, his grassroots approach to speaking with people directly is deeply respectful and hopeful. He is here to serve the people. He doesn’t accept endorsements or donations from special interest groups. His campaign is powered by us. He has my vote.

Jay Kimball

Orcas Island

Candidate John Linde aligned his judicial views with those of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in a recent Islands’ Sounder interview. This provides voters with a critical insight into Mr. Linde’s thinking and judgment.

Chief Justice Roberts, appointed three years ago by President George W. Bush, is deeply conservative and not the role model I want for the first Superior Court Justice in San Juan County. Based on his votes, Roberts does not appear to respect the rights of women or minorities. Roberts supported Exxon-Mobil in the punitive damage suit by Native Americans and fishermen for the largest oil spill in American history. The Exxon Valdez disaster impacted 2,500 miles of shoreline similar to the San Juan Islands but Roberts supported a corporate penalty equal to three weeks of profit for Exxon-Mobil.

In contrast, Randy Gaylord, also a candidate for this, the first election of a San Juan County Superior Court Judge, aligns himself with Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, a moderate who supported social change via the election process and the legislative not the judicial branch. Justice O’Conner supported the rights of women and a far more moderate view of our nation’s laws.

Randy Gaylord is the moderate choice for the Superior Court Judge. Local leaders such as State Senator Harriet Spanel and State Representative Dave Quall are contributors and State Representative Jeff Morris and the Democrats of San Juan County have endorsed Gaylord.

We in San Juan County have this unique opportunity to vote for this judicial vacancy on August 19. Do we want our first county superior court judge to follow a right-wing judicial model? Senator Barak Obama voted against Justice Roberts’ confirmation because he was “skeptical of his deepest values” and feared he’d use the court to “favor the strong over the weak.” Despite what you see in slick ads, Randy Gaylord is the moderate in this election.

Anne Marie Shanks

Deer Harbor

John Linde

My husband and I moved to Orcas in 1971. Through the years that my husband practiced law we had the opportunity to get know John Linde as an attorney and during his 21 years as San Juan County District Court Judge. In the past few years when I needed an attorney I turned to John and found him to be very knowledgeable with an extremely wide range of experience. I depended on his judgment and skills to give me thoughtful and reliable advice.

Earlier this year Governor Christine Gregoire appointed John to the position of Superior Court Judge. Before deciding to make Linde her choice over Prosecutor Randy Gaylord, the Governor and her staff spent many months doing extensive research including input from attorneys, judges, legal associations and (even though this is a non-partisan position) politicians from throughout the state.

Governor Gregoire re-confirmed her selection of John by agreeing to serve as his honorary campaign chairperson during this election campaign.

San Juan County voters are fortunate to have the opportunity in the upcoming election to vote to retain John as Superior Court Judge.

Sharon Greer


I am writing to encourage you to vote to retain Judge John O. Linde as Superior Court judge.

Gov. Gregoire made a thorough examination of the candidates and obviously chose the most qualified for the position. I hope you will do the same.

Prior to working for the county, I worked at the Linde Law Firm. It was a pleasure to work for Mr. Linde then and I am proud to be working with him today. I respect and trust his abilities. Judge Linde has the knowledge, the patience to listen well and make a decision based on the laws that govern our court.

I hope you will follow the governor’s choice and mine and vote for Judge John Linde on Aug. 19.

Joan P. White

San Juan County Clerk

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to personally observe Judge John Linde on two separate occasions.

First, I was asked to testify as a character witness in Judge Linde’s District Court for a young man who had gotten himself into trouble. Judge Linde was fair, balanced, followed the law and made an appropriate decision concerning the young man.

The second occasion occurred some years later when I had need of legal representation. I found that John Linde was now in private practice and knew I would like him to represent me in court. After John thoroughly investigated all prior legal decisions concerning my issue and determining there was no conflict of interest with either party concerning him taking my case, he agreed. Depositions were taken and we went to court. John Linde was a gentleman, respectful of everyone throughout the proceedings, stated the case law succinctly – and prevailed. During the trial the clerks privately related to me, “You have the best.”

Judge Linde knows the law, he applies it fairly, he has extensive experience on the bench and he is respectful of everyone. He is the most qualified to serve as Superior Court Judge.

As a resident of Orcas, I also know and respect Randy Gaylord. However, he doesn’t have the experience that John Linde brings to that position. Randy would be better served possibly gaining experience as a Judge ProTem before attempting a jump to the top position as Superior Court judge.

Robert L. Waunch

Orcas Island

Misc. Letters

School staff the same or smaller?

With regards to last week’s school budget deficit article, school board member Scott Lancaster defended cutting teachers by stating that “the school district has 140 less students than they did seven years ago, with the same amount of staff.”

I looked up a 2000-2001 School Directory and found that Eric Simmons, David Parish, David Lamb, Pam Connors, Keri Straka, Dennis McKinney, Pete Vraspir, Kay Grossman, Ben Carney, Page Bristow, Rich Buckley, Terry Hopkins, Peggy Davis, Miriam West, Julia Swanland, and Steff Steinhorst are not listed in the 2007-2008 School Directory. Not counting Mary Callahan and Linda Gillespie, who retired this year, there have been staff cuts every year from 2002-2006 including Joyce Pearson, Frank Cantwel, Corey Wiscomb, Pamela Wright, Mandy Randolph and Lynn Schiager, among others, because of declining enrollment and retirement.

Maybe I’m wrong, but sure seems like the amount of teaching staff is smaller than it was seven years ago.

Steve Kline


Fire Dept.

union negotiation

This letter is in response to the “Guest Opinion” in last week’s Islands’ Sounder.

I would like to start by saying that I do not believe that the Orcas Fire/Medical service provided by our “Volunteer Department” has ever been any better. I think that the three full-time paramedics that we have working for “us” (tax payers) are the best we could have. My disagreement is with the present Fire Chief/Fire Commission and what I believe is “the Chief’s goal” to turn our “volunteer department” into a “paid department” and his spending of our monies.

Lt. Valerie Harris is a most qualified paramedic and firefighter who I admire and respect. In her letter last week she failed to mention that she is also one of the “three Union members of the Department.”

At the Fire department meetings I have attended, I do not remember any “tax payer non-member of the department” agreeing with the Chief and the “Union’s” proposal. I do not believe that most people are against it, they just want the Chief to present an “alternative” proposal. To my recollection every person who has backed the Chief or this proposal has been a paid member of the department or someone who receives a stipend from the department.

Almost every time someone in the department brings up the subject of “misinformation” from a person at the meetings or in the newspaper, it is someone who receives some sort of income from the Fire Department. In those cases where I have been involved, the “misinformation” was proven to be the “correct information” as supported by the Fire Department meeting minutes.

Do we want or can we afford a “full-time paid-unionized” fire/medical service?

John Erly


Fire Dept.

proposal requires due


In past weeks a number of people have raised important issues regarding the appropriateness and efficacy of the Fire/Medic proposal presented to the Board relating to the filling of the position of Assistant Fire Chief.

First, I would point out that to marginalize this input as coming from a fringe element does a disservice to us all as that assessment is both inaccurate and demeaning, to say nothing of reflecting unfavorably upon those making such accusations.

Secondly, until these matters are examined thoroughly, impartially and critically, it is impossible to act appropriately on the issue. To do less would, to my mind, suggest action taken without embracing the due diligence and fiduciary responsibility the taxpayers of this district have every right to expect from the commissioners.

Personally, based on everything that I have so far heard and read, I cannot help but believe that the concept of the Fire/Medic proposal is so basically and inherently flawed that its adoption would be to the detriment of the department, to the detriment of its staff and volunteers, to the detriment of the citizens of this community and to the everlasting chagrin and detriment of those commissioners who might choose to accept it, having to live with the consequences of a poorly thought-out decision.

Having said that, I want to state unequivocally that I am more than willing to consider coherent, logical arguments that run counter to my current perceptions. It is my hope that each and every commissioner will maintain an equally open-minded attitude.

Robert Herrup


No Fire Dept. contracts now

I have been attending the Fire Department meetings for the last several months and I have researched their past and present budget and studied the minutes of their meetings since June 2007.

I have many concerns as to the direction that the department seems be going. In 2004 the cost of personnel and benefits was $552,449 and in 2008 it is over $722,453.

The three paramedics union contract expires on Dec. 31, 2008. Currently they are negotiating a proposal to take over some management duties to be split three ways right now and possibly four ways if another paramedic is hired.

The current chief wanted an assistant chief and is supporting this proposal so now it would give him three to four assistants under a three-year Union contract. What happens when they hire a new paramedic that is not interested in management duties and just wants to be a paramedic? What about when a new chief is hired in the near future? Will that person want to be the chief under these conditions?

There have been so many changes in the personnel and job descriptions this year that making a decision to radically change the organizational chart of the department without consulting other fire departments could severely impact our community. Especially locking into a long term contract.

A concerned citizen.

Pierrette Guimond


Kudos to

Dr. Shinstom

As an individual who has a number of serious health issues including aortic heart valve difficulties, I want to express my profound thanks to Dr. Shinstrom, Director of Orcas Family Health Center, for his initiative in persuading North Cascade Cardiology, a separate medical practice, to visit Orcas on a monthly basis.

In just a little over two hours I was able to get an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram, have the results of both procedures evaluated, and consult with Dr. McAfee regarding my current heart health. Not having to sit in ferry lines both coming and going is a real blessing!

Sharon Heller


Big brother…

If you walk your dogs by the airport you might have to stop occasionally in front of one of the new signs. Dogs like to read new signs too.

These new signs say: “All suspicious activity will be reported.” That’s all.

My dogs read one of these new signs and looked at me oddly. They looked afraid, as if they had detected a strange scent. I said, “Don’t worry boys.”

Phil Burbo


School needs librarian

I have a graduate degree in education, but I’m not smart enough to figure out how you can run a school in America, as the system is based, without a librarian. It will not run smoothly and it is a first sign of system failure. I think the librarian is more valuable than an overpaid Fire Chief.

H. George Lundburg



Randy Gaylord should once again be elected

I encourage you to favorably consider and vote for Mr. Randy Gaylord to be the first elected Superior Court judge in San Juan County.

Having been a resident of San Juan County for over eleven years I have been able to follow Mr. Gaylord’s performance as the San Juan County’s Prosecuting Attorney. He has gained a county-wide reputation for fairness, professionalism, and commitment to the citizens of the county.

His dedication to “…doing what is right…” is a hallmark of his reputation. Yet, he has displayed an admirable capacity to be innovative, compassionate, and responsive to community needs.

Mr. Gaylord, having been the San Juan County Prosecutor for over thirteen years is intimately familiar with San Juan County’s expectations for elected officials—primarily that they be open and ethical. Mr. Gaylord epitomizes those expectations

His management experience in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office is an essential base of experience to carry with him to the office of Superior Court Judge.

I consider us lucky to have a man of his experience, knowledge, and commitment to public service wiling to assume this critical position.

We have wisely elected him to public office four times before. We should once again recognize the creditability, values, and skills that led us to do that and elect him as the Count’s first elected Superior Court Judge.

Chase Riveland

Deer Harbor

Gaylord for our peaceful island

I am writing to urge all San Juan County residents to vote in the August 19 primary. In such a small community as ours, every vote is especially important.

Further, I urge everyone to vote for Randy Gaylord as our first elected superior court judge.

If you like living in a peaceful, sane, compassionate island county, you can thank Randy for at least some of that – his leadership on banning jet skis keeps our islands’ waters quiet and safer; his prosecution of cases has always been fair and prudent; and his compassion and empathy with families in his dual role as county coroner are well known throughout the


All these qualities will make Gaylord a judge who truly represents the best in all of us.

Nanette Pyne


Linde an outstanding candidate

I’m writing this to ask your support for Judge Linde’s candidacy for Superior Court Judge. I’ve known John for many years and in many capacities and consider him the outstanding candidate. While he and I might have differing political views, we align perfectly on non-partisan judicial issues. For example, we both believe that serving and supporting our youth is the key to our society’s betterment.

I outline more deltails for my support below. I ask you to visit John’s website ( further information and, in particualr, to consider adding your name to his growing endorsement list ( You can conveniently do this on his website at (

I have know John as: my former wife’s divorce attorney; the judge who presided over several of my son’s legal infractions; the judge who presided over my fishing infraction (I left my fishing license at home! Honest!)

Not a very auspicious start, eh?

These were all very challenging experiences for me but, through the trauma, I saw John’s wisdom of the law and compassion for individuals.

I have since got to John in a variety of other, more pleasant, circumstances: as a fellow Board Member for Little League; as the person who gave the same son a beautiful blanket for his high school graduation; as the judge, about whom, I overheard a defendant in his courtroom say, “He’s good. He’s really fair”; as a community member who has volunteered to teach a high school law class; as a community leader who promotes and supports all youth activities, especially sports (did you know he was a prime mover behind the football field lights?); as the dedicated and proud father of two fine children.

John will serve us better than anyone else. He has the experience, wisdom, commitment, and compassion to continue to be our first local superior court judge.

Larry Wight

San Juan Island

Abusive prosecution?

Every Voter has a duty to read the State Supreme Court decision in SAN JUAN COUNTY ET AL., Respondents, v. NO NEW GAS TAX, a Washington Political Action Committee, ET AL., Appellants. [No. 77966-0. En Banc.] June 8, 2006. Decided April 26, 2007.

In its April ruling, the state’s high court reinstated the Appellants civil rights complaint against the municipalities. This case has been reassigned to Judge Gary Tabor and trial has been scheduled for April 20, 2009 and the Appellants will be seeking triple damages against San Juan County.

The Voters should note this unanimous decision and particularly a concurring opinion written by the Honorable Justice Johnson that I quote in part:

“J.M. JOHNSON, J. (concurring)—Today we are confronted with an example of abusive prosecution by several local governments. San Juan County and the cities of Seattle, Auburn, and Kent (hereinafter Municipalities) determined to file a legal action ostensibly for disclosure of radio time spent discussing a proposed initiative. This litigation was actually for the purpose of restricting or silencing political opponents and was quickly dismissed after the filing deadline for the initiative. The disregard for core freedoms of speech and association in this case, and resulting interference with these constitutional rights, is described in the majority”. …. “Granting NNGT complete reasonable attorney fees and trial costs is appropriate and required here. This may serve to deter future state actors from using their authority to act similarly to deprive individuals of constitutional rights of speech (or initiative)”….

Three individuals that brought this disgrace to San Juan County and its Citizens are on your primary ballet, they are Kevin Ranker, Alan Lichter, and Randall Gaylord. Whether you agree or disagree with Initiative 912 (NO NEW GAS TAX) you have a moral duty to vote against these three individuals so they can not use their authority to act similarly again.

Bill Wright

Friday Harbor

Linde thoughful and reasoned

As a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, I have had the opportunity over the years to observe our Superior Court justices in action. I was dismayed when I heard that we would lose Alan Hancock and Vickie Churchill because in comparing them to the judges my counterparts across the state faced in their courtrooms, I realized how very fortunate we have been to share these judges with Island County.

My anxiety was considerably relieved when the governor appointed John Linde. I had seen his thoughtful and reasoned work on the District Court bench and as an occasional pro tem substitute judge in Superior Court. Like every judge, Linde makes some rulings that I don’t agree with but he always gives clear reasoning for each ruling and treats all in his court with care and respect.

I am pleased to join my heroes Vickie Churchill and Alan Hancock in endorsing John Linde to be the first elected San Juan Superior Court Judge.


Jan Osborn

San Juan Island

Linde knows facts and law

John Linde is one of the finest men I have ever met. And, at my age, I have met a lot of people. John is a stalwart gentleman who always seems unflappable. Just the characteristics of an effective judge.

My first introduction to John was through our homeowners association. The Board, of which I was a member, had a sticky situation that could have led to difficulties. We consulted with John and he was able to work with the parties involved to resolve all problems quickly and with no bitter aftereffects. My impressions were that John listened carefully and provided sound and unbiased advice based on the documentation of our neighborhood CC&Rs. I was also impressed with his judgment and his maturity.

As I grew to know John, I found that he was a person to look up to and to admire. If you asked his opinion, that is what you got. What you hear from John are the facts and not a bunch of fluff intended to make people feel good.

Last winter, Governor Gregoire conducted an extensive evaluation of the possible candidates for the appointment of the first Superior Court Judge for San Juan County. After this extensive evaluation and personal interviews, she selected John Linde for this position. His appointment started in January of this year. She still feels that John is the best man for the job and that he should be retained. She is currently the Honorary Chair of the Committee to Retain Judge Linde.

John is a very open person. If you have any questions about him or his background, I would imagine that he would like you to contact him directly.

We are fortunate to have a man of John’s character in this election. Please join me in voting to retain John Linde as our Superior Court Judge.

Dave Vandaveer

Friday Harbor

Linde observed as judge

I recently had occasion to represent a client in a civil case which ultimately had to be resolved through a jury trial that occurred in March of this year in Coupeville. I was particularly nervous about this trial in that it was to be conducted on, what was for me as a veteran attorney in Bellingham, unfamiliar turf and because I had never appeared before Judge John Linde who had been assigned to the case.

By the time the trial was completed, I was thoroughly impressed with Judge Linde. Throughout the trial it was clear that he had gone the “extra mile” to conduct his own independent legal research on some of the difficult issues which arose. In addition, he did not hesitate to articulate the legal rationale for his rulings. I believe that the willingness of a judge to share his thought process with the parties to a lawsuit is immensely helpful to the litigants and has a tendency to reduce the number of often costly and time consuming appeals.

In addition, Judge Linde treated the proceedings with the respect they deserved. He maintained a serious demeanor throughout the trial although he did so in a manner that was not overbearing, arrogant or rude. To the contrary, he demonstrated considerable patience in listening to opposing arguments from the attorneys, and often asked critical questions, demonstrating that he fully understood the issues at hand and the arguments being presented.
In summary, Judge Linde conducted this particular trial with highly focused attention and the utmost impartiality – the two most essential components of a judicial system in which citizens can have confidence. In addition, in my observation, the parties, their respective attorneys and the jurors were all treated with absolute respect and courtesy. If this case is indicative of how Judge Linde typically conducts court proceedings, then it is clear that citizens of San Juan County would be well served by retaining him as their Superior Court judge.

Jeffrey A. Thigpen, Attorney at Law