This letter is in support of Proposition No. 1, the Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) that would help to provide more affordable housing here in the San Juan Islands. Others will address the financial aspects of REET; this letter addresses a different concern.
Those of us who have lived here for many years (I’ve been here for 40-plus years) have witnessed the gradual erosion of housing — both home ownership and rentals — that used to make living here in these islands affordable. Now, teachers, nurses and medical support staff, business owners, artists, farmhands, restaurant workers, families with children — all struggle to survive here, and all too many are leaving the islands. As they leave, the islands become poorer. And I’m not talking about money. Island life, which has always benefited from the lively energy of diverse talents and cultural backgrounds, is in danger of fading into a monochromatic sea of sameness — the death knell of any community. It is the richness of island spirit that nurtured the sellers of property during their time here. It will attract the buyers who move here as well. Whether buyer, seller or those who need affordable housing, REET is a good idea for San Juan Islanders. Please vote Yes on Proposition No. 1. Thank you.
San Juan Island