Opinion

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"Marina needs port, city studyEven if it's an idea that's quickly disposed of, the Port of South Whidbey and City of Langley should jointly study the possibilities of a marina in Langley.For about a year the port has taken the lead in what has been an admittedly feeble marina effort. Commissioner Jim Hawley volunteered for the task of exploring the feasibility of a marina in Langley where islanders could berth their boats. It's a dream that goes back at least four decades. But Hawley was hampered by the fact he couldn't speak for all three port commissioners, and he found himself in some hot water last week for inadvertently leaving that impression with the city and school district.Meanwhile, the City of Langley has been represented at recent port meetings by councilmembers Ray Honerlah or Dione Murray, but they have the same problem as Hawley -- no official status as representatives of the city.As a result, some rather lengthy discussions are taking place in which no one really has the authority to speak for anyone.The marina idea is still enticing after all these years. South Whidbey may be the largest geographic area in Puget Sound without a place to park a boat. Langley could use the increased business a marina would generate, and the marina would be a boon to our large boating community. Of course, there are also formidable cost and environmental obstacles standing in the way of a marina. Perhaps a marina is no longer possible due to these factors.But a marina deserves at least one last serious look. The port and city should jointly appoint a small committee and provide it with some minimal financial and staffing resources. Such a committee would have credibility with each public body and should in relatively short order be able to decide if the marina is still a dream worth pursuing. Otherwise, we'll keep rowing toward that goal with only one oar in the water.Remember this initiative: I-745It sounds like the latest product from Boeing, but I-745 isn't good news for Whidbey Island. The number signifies the latest initiative effort from Tim Eyman, who has made it his personal goal in life to torpedo public transit systems.There was good news from Island Transit last week as it was announced that Saturday bus service will resume on Aug. 12. It was cut last December in the wake of another Eyman creation, I-695, which gutted funding for Island Transit. Local voters effectively overturned that statewide initiative, however, by approving a tiny sales tax increase to keep the buses rolling.Opponents of I-695 were a bit slow to take the initiative seriously, and it passed overwhelmingly in November 1999. They should not make the same mistake with I-745. Although it has not yet been certified for the ballot by the state auditor's office, it appears certain to make the required number of signatures and be listed on the November election ballot.Simply stated, I-745 would take 90 percent of Island Transit's funding from the sales tax and apply those funds to road building. As Director Martha Rose noted earlier this month, that wouldn't even leave enough money to shut down the bus system in an orderly fashion.There is reason to question the constitutionality of I-745. Can an initiative really overturn a local sales tax vote and use the money for other purposes? Lawyers could argue about something like this for months. But the best way to defeat I-745 is not in court, but in the polling place.Islanders who support transit and local control of taxes should start telling their friends and neighbors now that I-745 is a bad idea. The time to start fighting I-745 is now, not later."

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