To Safe Shippers who vote in San Juan County:
“Where can I sign the petition to put the Orca Protection Initiative on the ballot?” Thank you for asking! For those who wish to sign, the petition will be available outside the Friday Harbor Farmer’s Market near Sunshine Alley every Saturday from 9:30am until 1:00pm – from now until the deadline of July 5. That’s three more Saturdays.
Here’s a little bit about the initiative:
It creates a 650-yard vessel-free protective buffer around the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). Why 650 yards? That’s how far away boats have to be (at a minimum) in order not to interfere with the whales’ indispensable ability to find food and hear each other. Why this initiative? The Governor’s Orca Recovery Task Force recommended a 3-year moratorium on vessels approaching the SRKWs. During our State’s legislative process of turning this recommendation into a bill, the moratorium was replaced by a 650-yard buffer which later decreased to a 300-yard buffer. The Orca Protection Initiative reinstates the language of the first substitute bill. Why? Because the initiators know the orcas need all the help they can get and this is one way that islanders can help them – now, and in our own backyard. If you agree, you can sign the petition.
See the Initiative’s website to get more detailed information: https://www.southernresidentprotection.org
Here’s a little bit about flexing your “democracy muscles”:
Not all islanders love this initiative, but we bet all islanders love their democracy. For you who are voters in San Juan County, you have a unique chance to exercise self-governance as a citizen of a Home Rule Charter County. One of the cool things about Home Rule Charter is that any registered voter in our County can file an initiative proposal and gather signatures. If enough County voters’ signatures are gathered (15% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in San Juan County), the County Council can decide to enact the initiative or put the initiative on the ballot for County voters to accept or reject. Now, that’s grassroots!