A Community Website by Lopez Island
Started by Ron Whalen
San Juan Islands
May 15, 2020
Agree
5
Land Bank
May 15, 2020
In 2011 continued funding for the Real Estate Excise Tax (which is distributed to the Land Bank) passed by just 2.8%. The votes were 4,168 yes to 3,726 no. On San Juan Island it failed 1,565 no to 1,440 yes. Using that tax, the Land Bank has purchased over SIXTY SIX million dollars worth of real property and millions more in easements. The Land Bank has had a 30 year run that’s removed over SIXTY SIX million dollars of property off the tax rolls. We think that’s enough.
Land Bank administrative costs are far too high. They’re spending six figures annually on litigation because they failed to engage in proper research before making acquisitions. They choose to bully citizens rather than work with them. They side step acquisition process requirements, including pre purchase appraisals and management plans with little over site by our commissioners. They no longer represent the interests of citizens. As an example, they eliminate the protection of agricultural land to promote recreation and tourism instead. Transparency is minimal at best. Instead they’ve become a rogue government entity with their own agenda for spending.

The Land Bank mission statement has morphed from preservation of open space to creation of seed banks, cultivation of wild flowers, supposed protection of water resources, self adopted heritage keeper for the islands and the promotion of tourism. They appeal to any and all with whatever warm and fuzzy slogan that’ll recruit support. It illuminates what the Land Banks real mission has become……….Preservation of the Land Bank!
It’s time to turn it around. We need 1635 signatures to get it on the November ballot. The signed petitions should be mailed to me by July 1st. For all that believe ENOUGH ALREADY with the Land Bank now’s the time. We can do this. Get on the phone. Email this to others and ask them to forward to others. Email me with any questions you may have.
THE PETITION There’s space for 7 signers. Email me and I’ll mail you copy. If you wish to make your own copies understand that the petition must be a single page with the initiative on the back side. Each signer must be a San Juan County registered voter. All signatures have to be original. They can’t be stamped, or copied or electronic. Email this to everyone you think could be a signer. It should be mailed back to;

Ron Whalen E-address whaleeoni@gmail.com
3597 San Juan Valley Road
Friday Harbor, WA. 98250

web site under construction RETIREREET.COM

CONTRIBUTIONS NEEDED AND APPRECIATED
Comment by Steve Snowden
San Juan Islands
Aug 3, 2020
Agree
4
One of the issues that keeps coming up is how much assessed property value in San Juan County is reduced by the Current Use and Land Bank programs, and how that affects our property taxes. So, here are some numbers, I think that I’ve got this right. One thing to remember, if a property is in Current Use or DFL only the taxable value of the land is reduce ... Read All
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
Jun 5, 2020
Agree
10
The Land Bank has put together an informational fact sheet regarding the issues Mr. Whalen has brought up. I'll reproduce it here:

"
In light of a recent letter mailed to many in the community containing multiple allegations against the Land Bank we thought it important to correct the record:

Have Land Bank acquisitions taken $6 ... Read All
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
May 26, 2020
Agree
11
A vote on the REET (Real Estate Excise Tax, actually the "Conservation Area REET") is not a vote on the Land Bank. I highly doubt the average voter even realizes the significance one has over the other. Equating the two is disingenuous, or at best shows a misunderstanding of the facts.
The Land Bank is one of many things REET monies support in ... Read All
Comment by Ron Whalen
San Juan Islands
May 24, 2020
Agree
4
Whalen: Land Bank PR problems predate Amaros-

The first part of finding the right answer is start with the right question.....
I attended the Land Bank (LB) Meeting and Annual Retreat December 13, 2019. At that meeting there was significant discussion about negative publicity surrounding the LB, particularly in terms of social and local medi ... Read All
Comment by Dan Post
San Juan Islands
May 23, 2020
Agree
1
Nathan, you are not correct about the petition rules. I have done a petition myself and you do print out the petition. It is not printed by the County directly and the petitions that you sign are not numbered. Also the person doing the petition can put as many signature lines as they want. Call the County Auditor if you have questions.

This peti ... Read All
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
May 23, 2020
Agree
1
Thank you Dan. Things must have changed then. I helped write an initiative for last year's ballot and the requirements were very different then as described here. I know it was also different for the GMO Free San Juans initiative.
"Just getting something on the ballot" is actually a big deal, since that is how the new law is passed.
I ... Read All
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
May 22, 2020
Agree
2
"If you wish to make your own copies understand that the petition must be a single page with the initiative on the back"

"There’s space for 7 signers."

Have there been changes in the rules for petitions? Last year it was strictly forbidden to try and print your own petitions. They needed to come from the county directl ... Read All
Comment by Richard Ward
San Juan Islands
May 22, 2020
Agree
12
The Land Bank is one of the BEST things the county has done. It has enriched all citizens in preserving our wonderful natural environment. Yes, it takes parcels off the tax rolls with the result that WE ALL OWN THEM. Moreover, the Land bank is financed largely by newcomers acquiring property here. They are paying into assets that they and all of us will shar ... Read All
Comment by Ted Cunningham
San Juan Islands
May 21, 2020
Agree
13
Ron,

Thank you for confirming that there is no "we" by changing to "I", even if you out of the other side of your mouth claim to represent a group of 3,726 individuals who voted "no" to a Proposition in 2011, and that is what is known as "an alternative fact" intended to obscure that you are representing your ... Read All
Comment by Ron Whalen
San Juan Islands
May 21, 2020
Agree
2
Nathan wrote;
Ron has a property next to a new preserve and takes objection to the new ownership. He is campaigning on behalf of himself.

Nathan is correct I have property next to a Land Bank (LB) acquisition. The rest of what Nathan writes in not correct. It’s not the ownership I object to. It’s the intent for use of the property I objec ... Read All
Comment by Ron Whalen
San Juan Islands
May 21, 2020
Agree
0
You're a little quick on the gun Nathan. I only posted within the last half hour and I noted there were several responses I wanted to make. A little patience please. I'm aware of the issues you note. Get it back in the holster. I'll reply as I can.
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
May 21, 2020
Agree
9
Unsuccessful no-voters from 2011 are not an actual entity.
If you are going to request money for something that's going to be on the ballot, which you have already begun doing, there are a lot of legal hoops to jump through FIRST to make sure everything is done legitimately and with transparency.
There will be an actual entity, with a name, ta ... Read All
Comment by Ron Whalen
San Juan Islands
May 20, 2020
Agree
1
I want to reply to several responses to my Land Bank posting of 5/15. First response would be to Ted Cunninghams post of 5/18 wherein he inquires as to who WE is as an entity. Probably the cleanest way to reply is to illustrate the voting results from 2011 when the RE Excise tax was last voted on.

Countywide Measures

San Juan County Propo ... Read All
Comment by Ted Cunningham
San Juan Islands
May 19, 2020
Agree
14
Ron,

I am not going to call you. You made a proposal and started a discussion on a public forum so please continue it there instead of asking for it to go private.

I was asking on behalf of all of us for you to disclose to the public who is behind your petition and the ballot initiative.

And I was asking on behalf of all of us fo ... Read All
Comment by Elisabeth Robson
San Juan Islands
May 18, 2020
Agree
19
The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, and yet humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants since we stopped hunting and gathering and started "civilizing" ourselves.

Our exponential growth in the past 150 years has done more damage than the previous few thousand years. An ... Read All
Comment by Ron Whalen
San Juan Islands
May 18, 2020
Agree
0
Ted,
Please email me so we can discuss further..Ron
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
May 18, 2020
Agree
8
Ron has a property next to a new preserve and takes objection to the new ownership. He is campaigning on behalf of himself.
Comment by Ted Cunningham
San Juan Islands
May 18, 2020
Agree
9
Ron Whalen says "We think that’s enough." so he must be representing an entity of some sort. Does anybody know who "we" are?

Ron Whalen says "CONTRIBUTIONS NEEDED AND APPRECIATED". Which entity do I write the check to, Ron?

The website under construction does not reveal either who "we" are, and the ... Read All
Comment by Tim Nurczyk
San Juan Islands
May 17, 2020
Agree
14
I want to second what Nathan and Mike said below. It's probable that the Land Bank has a few problems with how it's run, so does any institution; but to say we need to tear it all down instead of fix it, when the properties it stewards are a large reason that we call these islands home, is ridiculous. I'm a big advocate for the government no ... Read All
Comment by Mike Colyar
San Juan Islands
May 17, 2020
Agree
23
I agree with Nathan. There are a few things that I find irritating and parochial about life here in this county but the Land Bank isn't one of them.

The Land Bank is a major force holding back a wholesale paving of the islands by developers. This is a prime example of an organization that exists for the common good.
Comment by Nathan Donnelly
San Juan Islands
May 16, 2020
Agree
32
Umm,to get what on the ballot exactly? This is merely a rant about one of the few organizations doing something to preserve the character of the islands that most of us live here for.
$66 million spread over 30 years to do the amount of stewardship and restoration the land bank does IS A BARGAIN. You fail to recognize the value of having public lands wi ... Read All