Letter: Mayor’s stand against developers’ influence laudable

Editor,

I applaud Mayor Severns’ principled stand against the seemingly growing influence of outside developers on local politics. The mayor notes that while most developers strive to work within the system, a few prefer to bend the system. County Commissioner Jill Johnson seems to include Las Vegas developer Scott Thompson among the latter.

As most of us will remember, in 2017 the county Planning Commission and the county commissioners blocked Mr. Thompson’;s proposed urban growth area expansion designed to build a massive, dense, housing development on local farmland. Mr. Thompson subsequently launched a veritable blizzard of ultimately unsuccessful appeals.

Mr. Thompson’s legal assault was accompanied by an equally frenetic political assault with the purpose, it seems, of removing those officials who stood in his way. He contributed to the campaigns of a number of city council candidates in 2020, one of whom, Jeff Mack, won.

One of his more controversial forays into the political arena involved hosting a 4th of July event in 2020 on his property above the Walmart, an event which apparently degenerated into something of a scuffle. In attendance were several local candidates including Dan Evans, a current city council candidate, who at that point was running for county commissioner, with Mr. Thompson as one of his principal financial backers.

Erik Rohde, identified as an official of the Washington Three Percent movement, served as emcee. To put this in context, Mr. Rohde’s group is led by Matt Marshall, one of the vocal supporters of Rep. Matt Shea, who has been linked to three armed standoffs, and has advocated “biblical warfare.” Shea’s own party has painted him as a domestic terrorist. It occurred to me that Mr. Rohde was at best an odd choice to play a prominent role at the event.

In part because of the above event, but principally as a result of his approach to growth, it would be very difficult for me to vote for any candidate with close ties to Mr. Thompson.

I believe that his projects are rarely in the best interest of the community. I join with Mayor Severns in urging support for Ms. Mischo and Mr. Hoffmire.

Let’s elect independent voices to the City Council.

Dr. Bernd J. Fischer

Oak Harbor

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