To: San Juan County Land Bank, San Juan County Council
From: Patrick Amo, Lopez Island
Re: Proposed Public Access to Lopez Westside Beach (aka Clure Property)
I have owned land on Lopez Island for over 25 years, have lived here part-time for 14 years, and plan to be living on Lopez full-time by 2018.
In explaining to friends and family why I love Lopez Island I always mention the foresight and stewardship shown by the community’s ongoing acquisition of private lands to protect and hold for the good of the present and future public generations. I visit these places often and continue to be amazed and grateful when new opportunities arise to add to this legacy of public land. I am proud to be a member of a community with such high standards of stewardship for our children and their children who will inherit this beautiful place. Another thing I mention is how much I like Lopez Island because of its size. There are many factors that determine whether a community as a polity fails or thrives. One of the more overlooked factors is simply: size. Although size is dynamic, for as long as I have been coming to Lopez it has always struck me as the right size for healthy political functioning. There are enough people, and the right sorts of people, to get things done. And since most everyone knows everyone else, or at least knows their friends and families, or has a child that goes to school with their child, it’s hard to get away with less than stellar citizenship. I once read a definition of Karma: Karma means you don’t get away with nothin’! Lopez Island is like that. Because of its size you have to do the right thing else you’ll hear about it. But more than that. It’s not enough to do the right thing. The process by which you do the right thing matters as well.
I submit that however well-intentioned, the process by which the Land Bank has pursued the acquisition of the Clure parcels as access to Lopez westside beach, does not measure up to the procedural standards of fairness, due diligence, and disclosure, implicit though they may be, of this small island, nor for that matter, do they measure up to the standards explicit in the Land Bank’s charter. I don’t think the ecological sensitivity of the areas to be affected has been adequately assessed. Nor has that of the human beings who will be directly or indirectly affected by this acquisition.
I urge you to heed the loud outcry over this acquisition and slow or stop this process until these concerns have been adequately addressed.
Lopez Island, WA