Letters to the Editor – March 26, 2008

Marcy Lund


We want to express our deep gratitude to all those who worked together to make the memorial celebration for Marcy Lund so beautiful and so healing.

Thanks to Tricia Trainer for guiding us through the service, Tim Burak and Jo Ellen Moldoff for sharing thoughts and poems, all the storytellers who so lovingly offered their window on a wonderful life, Mary McCulloch for creating the program and, along with Ann Jones, for creating picture displays, Sandi Burt for the Guest Book, Mimi Anderson, Mary Macopia, Mary Nash, and many more for the wonderful flowers, Marcia Spees for having an answer for every question, and to all those who helped set up and clean up and everything in between.

A special thanks to Bobby and Bev Olmstead of the Café Olga for providing a wondrous feast (with contributions from Roses, Chimayo, Bilbo’s, Christina’s, Rosario, The Kitchen, Home Grown Market, Island Market, and the Café Olga staff, along with Annie Sparks Demptster, Carol Anderson, Sami Messinger and Sue Roland).

Larry Parker, Nancy Lund, and Penny Sharp Sky

Abuse of parking power

Do San Juan County Sheriffs abuse their power? Judging from what happens at the Lopez Island ferry dock, I’d say yes.

Arriving on Lopez Saturday the 16th on the 3 p.m. ferry from Anacortes I noticed one of our county sheriffs boarding the vessel as a walk-on passenger, leaving his vehicle (identified with the number 9744) parked in the 10 minute waiting spaces closest to the dock.

When I returned this morning (Sunday the 17th) to catch the ferry back to Anacortes for appointments — the vehicle was still parked in the 10 minute loading/unloading zone. 18 hours in a 10 minute zone? And that just what I noticed. I’m sure the ferry workers could give much better numbers.

It begs the question of which island our local sheriff lives, it looks like either Orcas or San Juan to me since that’s where the ferry was headed. Make me wonder if he is parking illegally on the other side as well.

The ferry terminal provides overnight parking for vehicles, but it seems the sheriff is too lazy to walk the 100 yards up the hill. Maybe we should put a donut shop at the top of the hill as motivation.

Mark Stephen Souder

Lopez Island,

Arbitrary stops questioned

I own property on Orcas and was returning from a visit yesterday (March 18), taking the 1:15 ferry from Orcas to Anacortes. Upon arriving at Anacortes I was routed through an immigration checkpoint. I was quite surprised as this had never happened to me before. The officer was courteous, asked me if I was a citizen (I am a 71-year-old Anglo – not much question), and waved me on my way.

At the time I was mildly irritated that such a thing would happen. After all, I was merely traveling within the state and obviously had not crossed any international borders on this trip.

As I further contemplated it on my trip home, I became increasingly upset. Where does the Federal government get the authority to arbitrarily stop and question persons involved in intrastate travel? Why target the Anacortes ferry terminal when such activities would be applicable to airports. bus stations. train stations, etc. This was, effectively, a Federal road block, and as noted in your article, there is the underlying issue of racial profiling.

I am far less concerned about illegal immigrants living in the San Juans than I am about the fact that Federal authorities have apparently decided that they can stop me whenever they choose as I go about my daily business.

Fred Britt

Portland, Ore.

The greater good

I was unfortunately unable to attend the recent Council meeting to which Deputy Chief Joe Guiliano of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had been invited. I understand that roughly 150 islanders came to hear Chief Guilliano’s justification for the spot checks that have netted and deported at least 8 of our neighbors. His responses did not appear to have convinced many listeners of the merits of ICE policy. And there appears to be little or no support for ICE policy within the rest of the community.

I urge all those opposed to the current ICE policy regarding immigrant to voice their objections to your state and federal representative. Silence will not affect a change.

I quote from a recent New York Times editorial:

“Maybe some people do not mind that immigration zealotry is sending the country down a path of far greater intrusion into citizens’ lives, into a world of ingrained suspicion, routine discrimination and economic disruption. Is that what we want – to make the immigration system tougher without fixing it? To make illegal immigrants suffer without any hope of ever becoming legal, because that is amnesty?

Could it be that tightening the screws relentlessly on illegal immigrants, even if some citizens suffer in the process, is all for the greater good?”

David K. Schermerhorn

Deer Harbor

Going to America

When I read the article about the Border Patrol in Anacortes rousting ferry passengers from Orcas & San Juan Islands it gave a whole new perspective to what up to now has been a joke among us islanders which is precipitated by the sign just past Charlie’s Restaurant which says “Welcome to America.” “Going to America to shop at Costco” or “Hey, I was in America yesterday and man was it crowded” can be heard almost every day here on the island. But.. I suppose to be fair, and in order not to discriminate against us islanders, the Border Patrol will surely do a search of all the cars moving from one to another of the other 38 Counties in Washington. Don’t you think so?

Charles Binford

Deer Harbor

Help Orcas youth

go to

UN commission

The Orcas Island Youth Delegation (OIYD) is a group of high school students eager to learn about the process of decision-making at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). The commission goes through a two year cycle discussing vital topics. This year’s topics are agriculture, land, drought and desertification, and Africa. This trip will benefit these students because it will enhance their understanding of decision-making processes around these subjects and be able to represent the youth of America. As the youngest delegates they promote a small rural community that is striving to create sustainability in its food system. The six freshmen girls, Iris Parker Pavitt, Annalies Schuh, Leah Cardinell, Serena Sanders, Makala Forster, and Jacqlynn Zier, will be going to New York City this May and join the Youth Caucus to promote Youth’s voice. They hope that as community members, neighbors, friends, and family, that you will accept our invitation and join us in supporting our youth by coming to bake sales, our annual dinner, and a silent auction. The bake sales will be held outside the Island Market. This year’s dinner will be Salad, Fettuccini Alfredo with a seasonal vegetable and beurre blanc sauce, and a warm apple crisp with ice cream. The dinner will be held at Doe Bay Café on April 9th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., adults $14 and children $12. The silent auction will also be at the dinner selling local products. We appreciate everyone’’s support and hope to see you at our fundraisers!

Makala Forster


Support island farmers

I think an important thing the Orcas community can do to reduce its impact on the environment, stimulate meaningful, fulfilling jobs and build community is to support the small but growing number of sustainable farmers on the island. Shop at the farmer’s market when it opens, join a CSA (a buyer’s group that supports a local farmer by paying in advance for a season’s worth of produce), support the restaurants and stores that use and sell local produce. Doing so may entail walking a little further from a produce pick up area to your car, but they will be worthwhile steps. You’ll be carrying fresh food that required far less petrochemical input to grow and transport than an ordinary bag of groceries; you’ll be helping diversify and enrich the island economy; you’ll help deepen the way we use and relate to the land, and you’ll be helping create yet another reason to love this island we are fortunate to call home.

John Clancy


Racial profiling

On Friday, March 14, I was on the 1:15 p.m. sailing from Orcas to Anacortes. I had just read of the recent stopping of cars coming off the ferry for a “citizenship check.” As I watched my fellow islanders walk around the ferry, I wondered who among us might be pulled over if they were racially profiling us again.

They were. We were funneled through the customs gate. The officer looked in the car at my blond hair and my faded blue eyes and cheerily waved me on. I was furious! I managed to say, “I consider this illegal and wrong.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, backing away, finished.

I stayed angry. Here was blatant racial profiling. He asked me nothing beyond whether I was a citizen of the United States. Why did he believe me? It wasn’t that I didn’t have shifty eyes. It was that I didn’t have dark brown eyes.

It is time for those of us who “pass” the racial profile to stand up and stand beside our darker-skinned neighbors. Besides writing our legislators and others in position of influence, what can we do? One idea:

What if we – those of us on the ferry – had all agreed that each of us would sit and block the gate for 5 or 10 minutes, rummaging around for our passports, losing our car keys – nothing violent, just a slow down? The ferry would not be able to unload. The schedule would be thrown out of kilter. The impatient ones would start sitting on their horns. Soon others would join in. Even 10, 15 minutes of that could make a point. If it happened every time the Border Patrol stopped the unloading process with a targeted search against our neighbors, the Patrol might take up their blockage and slink away. At least they would know: we are not afraid.

Caroline Buchanan


Environmental protest

As an environmental educator, I’m compelled to comment on the sabotage of an OPALCO substation, which caused a power outage the night of March 15. (Sounder, March 19) Gabriel Mondragon, who caused the outage, apparently was protesting the destruction of the rainforests and the death of Luna, an Orca whale killed by a tugboat propeller two years ago in Canada.

People trying to bring about positive change in the world, like people struggling to make a living and support families, often experience frustration and even anger over injustices we become aware of in our lives and globally. I’ve often felt frustrated by our unwillingness to acknowledge our behaviors that contribute to problems like water pollution and climate change. That said, a lot of people are concerned and many of us are changing our habits, and even developing solutions. I, and I believe all my colleagues in our community, work toward this goal because we care about the health and well-being of wildlife and all people now and in future generations.

What Mr. Mondragon did, in an apparent attempt to draw attention to things of great concern to him, showed a lack of judgment dangerous to himself and others.

I’m sensitive to the issues he raised. It’s challenging for humans to coexist in harmony with wildlife, and our rainforests are being cut down at an alarming rate, causing a series of problems. But attempting to shock or punish an entire community will not change people’s behaviors in a positive direction. We face many serious challenges. Whatever the problem – lack of money, food, health, representation – we see desperate attempts at communication through violence globally. I believe that we all can become more aware of how we fit into the bigger picture of injustice and environmental destruction in our country and beyond, and connect with each other with compassion rather than through violence or sabotage.

The step that Mr. Mondragon took crosses the line from what we want to be in the world to what we’re trying to stop.

Sharon Abreu. Executive Director

Irthlingz Arts-Based Environmental Education


Credible suspicion

We commend you for your editorial in the March 12 Sounder.

My wife and I came here after five years of German occupation from 1940-45 in the Netherlands. The Germans periodically established checkpoints to check people’s ID in order to catch their “bad guys,” namely the Jews, or to get slave labor for their factories. Those caught “disppeared”.

During our 60-year residence here we have encountered a normal check on our ID only when returning from abroad, driving, on ship or boat, or flying, but never away from a border checkpoint. To us, such methods are reminiscent of an occupation army, not one’s own government. We are now all suspect, merely because we are moving from one place in the U.S. to another.

The Germans also did house-to-house searches, similar to what our occupation troops are doing in Iraq. Is this the next level to which we are descending in our seemingly never-ending quest for security? If we can be stopped literally anywhere and, upon “credible suspicion,” whatever that means, be “disappeared” (even though we are citizens), then we are right back where we were under German occupation. True, there are, to our knowledge, as yet no concentration camps or slave labor factories….

We are writing to our senators and our congressman to complain about the actions of the Border Patrol and we recommend that everybody who feels this way should do the same. It is high time, Orwell would say.

Finally, we have a question: if there is no specific law which either allows or prohibits the Border Patrol from doing this but merely their broadening of the concept of “functional equivalent” of a border inspection, a legal no-man’s’ land, then isn’t it also true that there is no specific law compelling us to answer any of their questions unless it is under a warrant in a court of law?

Oscar and Alie Smaalders

Lopez Island

Ode to Squeaks

We called him Squeaks

Looked 110 years old-walking down the street

Frail, weak,

Wind blowing him off his feet –

He’d had a series of strokes

that would have stopped most folks

from going out to visit neighbors and friends

but not him.

Right up to the end, his final day

just only moments away,

like a true Christ

out he went to spread love

and good cheer while saying

a final farewell to those he held dear.

A huge heart

in such a small cat.

An example for all his friends.

With Love,

Jennie and Spirit Eagle and all of Squeaky’s Friends and Neighbors


Rowing Club says “Thank You”

The Orcas Island Rowing Club (OIRA) would like to say a

heart felt “Thank You” to everybody who helped make their

2nd annual fund raiser dinner a beautiful and successful event.

We will try to to thank everybody involved personally but the list is too long to detail here and I am sure we would miss someone.

So thank you to all who donated auction items. Thank you to

all that made cash donations. Thank you to everybody

that helped organize the auction. Thank you to those that

helped prepare and clean up after the dinner. Thank you to those

that lent us their valuable equipment for the dinner. Thank you

to those businesses that helped with organization, purchases

and donations for the dinner. Thank you to everybody that helped

setup and decorate the rooms. Thank you to everybody that came to

dinner and with their participation made it a fun and fruitful event.

We will make good use of your generosity and good will by providing a valuable program for Orcas teens and being good ambassadors for our green and pleasant home. Drop by and visit us at Saturday practice sometime at the OIRA boathouse on Cascade Lake so we can welcome you and say “Thank You.”

Thank you all for your support.

Martin Taylor for Orcas Island Rowing Association

The American Way

Last Tuesday, at our Council public meeting with the Border Patrol official, Joe Giuliano, I asked him when we could expect the Anacortes ferry screenings to stop. He replied, “When we achieve the desired deterrent effect.”

I asked him who and what was being deterred, and after a pause, he said “terrorists and criminals.” It was hard even for him to keep a straight face with this transparent hokum, and he went on to say that during the process of looking for these “terrorists” and “criminals” the agents were, of course, obliged to detain any undocumented individuals going through the checkline.

The odds of the Border Patrol finding terrorists and hardened criminals aboard a San Juan ferry are negligible; this entire Anacortes screening operation is little more than a smokescreen for racial profiling and detaining undocumented members of our Hispanic communities.

This ferryboat screening operation may be illegal—we are in contact with immigration and ACLU attorneys who are researching the issue and may help us shut it down. But meanwhile, the Border Patrol continues to act with impunity, and with little concern or compassion for individuals and families whose lives are being ripped apart.

I urge all San Juan residents to write letters to the Governor and our senators, protesting, in the strongest possible terms, this Anacortes screening operation. We’ve watched helplessly while the Bush administration has continued to chip away at our civil liberties; now their ideology is brought much closer to home where we can feel its corrosive effects. I urge everyone to shake off anxiety and fear, not unusual when confronted by brown-shirted agents with guns, and to take a stand for what used to be “the American way,” one informed by fairness, decency, and concern for our neighbors.

Alan Lichter

Councilman, District #4

Orcas Rec. Program Bilbo’s Benefit Dinner Gratitude

Bilbo’s helps Orcas Rec

On behalf of the Orcas Island Recreation Program, I’d like to thank the many people who attended the fundraising dinner at Bilbo’s.

A heartfelt appreciation goes to the terrific Bilbo’s staff who worked the event with smiles and enthusiasm. We appreciate community support towards the year-round youth programs that are offered to children of all ages. Look for the full summer schedule soon at


Didier Gincig, Coordinator

Orcas Island Recreation Program

Thanks to road crews

I write this letter to publicly thank the road crew for the careful and realistic pruning of the Olga-Doe Bay Road. I realize now how closed in it had become. The north entrance to Moran Park is a case in point.

You’ve been very careful with clean-up and delivery of chips to many of us.

While I’m “thanking,” thanks for the sand on the road when it’s icy and removing it in the spring.


a taxpayer

Irene L. O’Neill


Homeland security

During the war in France, from 1942 to 1945, living with my three sister, we had to live in hiding or be arrested.

Now, I live in “Paradise.” It is my description of my life on Orcas.

I was furious to hear of the arrest of a family and others. I was stunned to know that in 2008, on Orcas, some kids were afraid to go to school.

We were stopped ourselves coming out of the ferry, asking if we were American, without asking for papers. Why? Did we look “American” enough?

Why should we justify one way or the other?

The next step is, what can we do to stop it?

Monique Gincig