Letter to the Editor, The Daily World - [Article Link]
Congressman Dicks recently came out in favor of the Wild Olympics proposal, and this paper ran a lengthy article providing his views on the effort. I would respond to several of his comments.
First, given the state of our economy, most would agree that higher priorities for our time, effort, and tax dollars exist. Congress should be focusing on passing a budget, job creation, and our military (and their families), not proposals that could eliminate jobs from our District. To that end, there has been no true discussion of why this should be done. Is this a real problem? Should it be prioritized above other initiatives? Is the proposed solution really the best possible option? Legitimate questions regarding the goals and the benefits or consequences of moving forward remain. To me, this appears to be a classic case of a “solution” looking for a problem.
Second, the Congressman was quoted saying, “this is not something that is going to have dire economic consequences”. While admitting to the existence of “consequences”, nowhere did the Congressman address the costs associated with making this happen - nor did his “workshops” provide any data about its negative impact. There can be a big difference between no consequences and “dire” consequences – that’s why many have concerns about Wild Olympics. In fact, The Port of Port Angeles had a study done which showed that there would be a loss of jobs. As the Congressman has acknowledged consequences to this proposal, doesn’t he have an obligation to inform his constituents of any potential downside?
Third, the “workshops” were nothing more than posters on tables. There was no discussion, no opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions. Many who attended were upset by this. Judging from the turnout, I believe there is a strong public desire to hear the full proposal and with it solid questioning and discussion – not wait for someone to respond to a concern or question raised on an index card.
The residents of the Olympic Peninsula do desire to honor our environment. All they want is an answer to “what’s wrong with the protections already in place” and an opportunity to be part of the solution if a problem really exists. Implying that the meetings would be one thing and then having them be another was disrespectful to those who attended.
Finally, the Congressman suggested that “opponents” have mischaracterized the proposal. Perhaps, if this is truly the case, it’s because the Wild Olympic Campaign chose to seek out only “select stakeholder groups” when drafting their proposal and has shared none of the negative details the Congressman himself admits to.
To be clear, no evidence of the need for this proposal has been presented to the public. An effective leader would have engaged everyone and addressed the “why” upfront, to the benefit, if not the agreement, of all . . . that’s why I’m running for office: to provide effective representation for the 6thDistrict in Congress.
Jesse L. Young
Candidate for U.S. Congress