Letters to the Editor

Community: Money wasted fighting WEAN

Farms plans came into contention when the county commissioners claimed that the very existence of a farm plan demonstrated that critical areas were being protected on that property. WEAN asked how they could know this, since the commissioners had never seen a Farm Plan. WEAN asked to see the farm plans, not to torture farmers but to verify the statements of the county commissioners and to determine if farm plans really do protect critical areas as required by law under the GMA.

The county commissions having established their commitment to unregulated development over 15 years, having exhausted all legal recourse and having spent over $2 million in fighting the legal implementation of the Growth Management Act rather than working to create Island County’s version of a land use constitution there was only one thing to do, get even.

The county commissioners started a divide to conquer and slander campaign against WEAN. They sent out press releases and questionnaires obviously written in the heat of angst, slandering WEAN and telling farmers that WEAN was out to put them out of business. Mike Shelton bragged he knew where “WEAN is Commie” t-shirts could be bought. Public statements and quotes given to the press and printed as fact made WEAN out to be the bad guy.

WEAN is dedicated to preservation and restoration of native biological diversity of Whidbey Island and the Pacific Northwest.

The county’s slander that WEAN is out to put farmers out of business is untrue. Founding members are also founding members of Whidbey Island’s Tilth and second generation Whidbey Island farmers. WEAN would never have requested the farm plans if the county had not used the AG-BMP to avoid coming into compliance with the Growth Management Act. This was just another obstruction thrown up to keep Island County a development profiteers’ haven.

Why after the Growth Management Act Hearings Board, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court ruled that Island County is out of compliance with the law and subject to the state withholding taxes have the county commissioners not done as court ordered?

If the county would not have spent the money fighting GMA but instead spent the money and time implementing the Growth Management Act they could have saved the taxpayers a lot of money and contributed to our quality of life instead of the opposite.

Theresa Marie Gandhi

Clinton

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