Allan Hayward’s letter (Sept. 21) makes much of County Commissioner (District 1) candidate John Hutchings’ “independent” branding, arguing that he’ll solve problems, avoiding “endless debate.” (Interestingly, the writer served for nearly 35 years — 1979-2013 — as attorney for the Republican caucus in the state legislature).
Hutchings is free to choose his preferred designation, but voters should examine his donor and supporter lists carefully. His base differs little from the comparable rosters of Republican candidates in past elections. Significantly for those concerned with environmental quality, developers are prominent among his highest donors, as are many vocal opponents of the land use protections intended to safeguard water quality for downstream and future residents and protect the resources that support the property values of all county landowners.
Conspicuously absent from his supporter lists are labor organizations and environmental groups; these have mostly signed on with his opponent, Olympia City Councilmember Jim Cooper.
Former Sheriff Gary Edwards, likewise running for county commissioner (District 2) as an “independent,” is also unfriendly to land-use protection rules and has a similar contributor list.
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While planning and land use regulation are never easy, they are necessary if our natural heritage is to survive these critical years of rapid growth.
It’s the outcome that matters, not the partisan designation, and without careful scrutiny we could indeed end up with a county commission free of “endless debate” -- but open to unfettered development.
Please help elect Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse as our new county commissioners.