Just picked up the Port Townsend Leader today, and read the interview with Gene Farr, the new head of the Republican Party for Jefferson County. Beyond asking why anyone would want such a job, which the Leader did, Farr was allowed a lot of ink to rant against the environmental machine, which he claims is destroying the county. He also took off after the United Nations on the Agenda 21, which is a typical conspiracy theory floated by some of Fox News folks. Gene went on to denounced climate change and environmental protection while he was at it.
It’s really sort of sad where the Republican Party has ended up. More and more they seem like the Goldwater lunatic fringe of the 60s, rather than the party that ran this State in the late 60s through 70s. It was a Republican Governor,Dan Evans, who worked collaboratively with the the voters of King County to get Metro off the ground in it’s efforts to clean up Lake Washington. It was Republican Dan Evans who formed the first Department of Ecology at the State level in the US. Republican Secretary of State Ralph Munro, out on his boat on the Sound, witnessed first hand an Orca capture for the likes of a show much like the one documented in the recent movie “Blackfish”. Ralph was so upset by what he saw that he came back, called his friend Republican Slade Gordon and Governor Evans and pushed to outlaw the practice, thus beginning the long protection of these beautiful animals we share here in the Salish Sea. It was Republican Richard Nixon who, at popular request, and the urging of the Ash Council, supported the notion of the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and named William Ruckelshaus, a Republican, to run it. Mr. Ruckelshaus has lived in the Seattle area since the 80s, and has been very much involved in helping with the Northwest Straits Initiative, and the founding of the Puget Sound Partnership. He’s still considered a pillar in the environmental community. Closer to home, there are Republicans in Clallam County that I’ve met that are moderate folks who are willing to admit that there are environmental problems worth solving collaboratively, and reasonably come to the table to work on them. They may not agree with Democratic points of view, they might be at odds with some in the environmental community there, but they seem less polarized about it than some I’ve met.
The point of this,is that the keys to success of the Republican Party are not to rant and rail against what many people understand to be positive steps towards protecting our air, water and shorelines. These decisions are difficult, and many of us have volunteered hundreds if not thousands of hours to help formulate regulations that are workable to most. And more importantly, have been found to be legal when challenged to our State Supreme Court. The Shoreline Master Program, the Critical Areas Ordinance and other regulations by the State, which we are allowed to participate in rather than be handed down to us to implement, are legal documents based on rules and regulations that are developed in meetings all over this State. It’s not a cabal, you get invited to them, and can ask to be included. There were distinctly Republican supporters at the meetings I attended, so this wasn’t done in a vacuum. The voters of this county have returned the commissioners who put forward those regulations to office. Something is in alignment I’d venture.
We look forward to Mr Farr putting away his conspiracy theory books, turning off the TV and actually rolling up his sleeves and getting involved in the processes he is so adamantly opposed to. By participation, he is more likely to come face to face with his neighbors, and understand that we are all working to make this a better place. We’re willing to debate different points of view, but to paint us as villains is just counterproductive. He might just succeed in getting his agenda better integrated into the whole. The history of his party shows that they have been leaders before, and we are anxiously awaiting them to become so again.