Lauren Cohen's letter to the San Juan County Council Featured

These are truly difficult time for our wonderful Island community and the leaders elected to get us through crisis. I sincerely hope that the fifteen people diagnosed with this virus in San Juan County will be just fine. We will never honestly know if our case numbers are so low because we shut down the businesses arbitrarily deemed unessential by the self-appointed protector of all in Olympia or if a more measured approach would have netted the same results.

Let’s be very clear, the choices made seven weeks ago that continue with no end in sight are destroying the lives of your fellow Islanders. Those same people who elected you and pay their taxes that allow you to do your job. One of our public servants who opposes allowing our county business community to move forward recently suggested a “County Specific Multi-Phase Plan” to re-open.

Are seriously going to tell business owners (and their dedicated employees) out of work for months, on the verge of losing the businesses they worked their lives to create that you do not already have a plan in place? How is that possible? Why was a plan for re-opening not the first order of business after the initial emergency began to subside? That sends a very clear message regarding our county leaders support, or lack thereof, for the lifeblood businesses of our islands. I certainly hope that you sought out input from some of these targeted businesses regarding re-opening as they certainly do not need said public servants creating a long, drawn out, micromanaged plan as if you know what is best for our livelihoods.

This lock-up is not a “mere inconvenience” for businesses forced to close. It is a devastation and hardship financially and emotionally with long term negative effects no one even wants to think about. You owe all who work for a living in San Juan County more support. We deserve leaders with courage and not “go along” bureaucrats.

The ensuing economic crisis was not caused by the corona-virus but by the response and actions of government officials acting out of fear, panic and control. You are accountable for the financial and human destruction caused by this extended forced closure of certain select businesses.

No pandemic or disaster should ever justify tyrannical laws depriving citizens of basic civil rights and ability to make a living. Time is up. Our county leaders need to stand up for the ravaged employers and employees who ask for nothing more then the self-respect of working to feed their families.

Can you do that?

Lauren Cohen

San Juan Canvas

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