A Message from Commissioner Bacon

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Island County

District 1 News - November 3, 2023

Happy Halloween

I hope you all had as much fun on Halloween as I did. Thanks, Daunne Zinger, for inviting me to be a dancing zombie county commissioner!

Thank you for reading my newsletter for the 44th week of 2023.

November is National Family Caregivers month. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my sister Risa for taking on the heavy caregiving lift for our own parents. I truly believe that without all her work over the last decade making sure that they drink enough water, get to their doctors’ appointments, take their medications, get adequate food and exercise, and have opportunities to socialize with others, my parents might not still be alive today. And like most caregivers, not only is she unpaid for the work—she often spends her own money on them; because they are her parents and she loves them, she doesn’t view it as “work” although it is physically and emotionally demanding and takes up most of her at-home hours. And to all of the caregivers reading this—I salute you for your dedication to your loved ones.

  • Regular Session.  There was no regular meeting this week because it was a fifth Tuesday of the month. The agenda for the November 7th meeting is here: https://media.avcaptureall.cloud/meeting/0ca6dd90-d3ff-4acc-aa84-8e1bd131aa63. On the agenda: the public hearing listed below.
  • Work Session.  This is the agenda for the November 1 meeting: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11012023-650; this is the recording:  https://www.islandcountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5196/11012023-WS-Audio. Download the recording if you want to use the timing marks I list below. 
    • The first item on the agenda was discussion of extending four Rural County Economic Development grants (RCED) for another year—Port of Coupeville’s broadband project; Port of South Whidbey’s fairgrounds and campgrounds improvements; and Oak Harbor’s boatyard improvements. The Port of Coupeville’s wharf repair project is expected to be complete by the end of December so they are hoping they will not need an extension of that grant. The extension of these grants is expected to be approved on a future consent agenda.
    • We met with our Washington DC contractor Merchant McIntyre to discuss our 2024 projects. We will look for congressional funding for the Coupeville Transfer Station compactor replacement and will seek a RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grant for several infrastructure projects including the State Hwy 20 shoulder widening project and the Crawford Road project. This discussion begins at mark 01:02:00 in the recording.
    • Long Range Planning brought updates on the GMA changes, countywide planning policies, and the OFM population projections for the 2025 Comprehensive Plan update. You can listen to this at mark 1:34:59 in the recording; the presentation begins on page 36 of the agenda. The most significant slide for me is page 42: 8,717 new housing units will need to be built over the next 20 years—and over half of them will need to be “affordable” (including workforce, low-income, permanent supportive, emergency, and homeless housing). This will require a big shift in the mindset of builders and developers in our county.
    • Superior Court brought three contracts for our consideration. I usually don’t mention these sorts of administrative things in this newsletter—but we had a really interesting discussion on Guardians Ad Litem (GALs) and how difficult it is to access these important services in our state. This conversation begins at mark 2:13:24 in the recording.
    • We moved numerous applicants for advisory board to the consent agenda. When these are approved, we will have a full board on the Coupeville Ferry Advisory Committee! A year ago, there was no one on that committee, so I am celebrating. We still have one open position on the Clinton Ferry Advisory Committee—if you’re interested, contact Jennifer Roll at j.roll@islandcountywa.gov.
    • We held the much-anticipated discussion with Planning and Public Works regarding king tides and flooding along our shorelines. A difficult conversation on a complicated topic, beginning at mark 2:29:24 in the recording. The next king tides are expected to occur in January 2024, from the end of the 2nd week of the month through the 3rd week. Homeowners along the shore are urged to get flood insurance if they don’t have it already, and to go to the Department of Emergency Management for information about preparing for floods https://www.islandcountywa.gov/171/Disaster-Assistance.
    • Public Works brought the Marshall Drainage Assessment back to the Board, after we asked for information on what the assessments would look like if they’re focused on impervious surfaces only. You can hear this at mark 3:35:16; there are maps of the various proposals beginning on page 135 of the agenda.
    • Next Wednesday’s work session is here:
      On the agenda: scheduling budget and levy public hearings and a petition for a right-of-way vacation adjacent to Mutiny Sands Road.
  • Upcoming Public Hearings:
    • November 7 regular session (10 am): The 2024 Long Range Planning Work Plan and Docket
  • Commissioner St. Clair and I both serve on the board of Island Transit, which met today.
    • We heard an update on our new on-demand service. We have 225 registered users for on-demand; Whidbey provided 4,888 on-demand trips in the month of October, and Camano provided 727 on-demand trips in October.
    • We received an update on the draft 2024 budget. There are a number of unfilled positions—if you’re thinking about a job change and want a suggestion about good employers on Whidbey, I recommend Island Transit as one of the exciting possibilities you consider for your career.
    • We approved implementation of Island Transit rebranding. Look for the great new logo, launching in January! An open house at Island Transit to present this to the public is tentatively scheduled for January 16.
  • The Whidbey Veterans Resource Center and the Rotary Club of Whidbey Westside are sponsoring a Veterans Benefits Forum tomorrow, Saturday November 4, at the South Whidbey Community Center – Gym, 723 Camano Ave, Langley. Session 1: 10:30 – noon; Session 2: 1 – 3 pm. Whidbey Island Veterans, Families and Community are invited to get information, learn about their eligibility, and get assistance in applying for benefits with VA Benefits & Healthcare reps and other local services.
  • Representative Rick Larsen is sponsoring a Veteran Forum at the Camano Island Annex next Wednesday, November 8 from 1 – 2 pm. He will also hold a telephone town hall on Thursday, November 9 from 5 – 6:30; dial in at 5 on at 855-962-0954, and you can sign up to participate at https://larsen.house.gov/live/ . For more information, please visit Larsen.house.gov or call Rep. Larsen’s district office at 425-252-3188.
  • Celebrating their 25th year, the goal of the Mobile Turkey Unit is to provide a free, home-delivered Thanksgiving meal for people on South and Central Whidbey Island who would otherwise not have one. This includes the elderly, the ill and disabled, low-income and unemployed people, plus public servant employees working on Thanksgiving Day. The Mobile Turkey Unit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community service organized and provided by volunteers. Last year they delivered close to 700 Thanksgiving dinners. If you would like to order a meal for yourself or someone in need, please order online at: https://www.mobileturkeyunit.com/request-a-meal/ (no later than Thursday, November 16 at 7 p.m.) If you would like to volunteer to help prepare, package or deliver meals, please visit: https://www.mobileturkeyunit.com/volunteer/. The event takes place at St. Hubert's Roman Catholic Church, Langley United Methodist Church, and South Whidbey School District, all in Langley. Donations are also gratefully accepted at: https://www.mobileturkeyunit.com/donate/. Questions? Contact Mobile Turkey Unit of Whidbey Island directly at 360-321-9782, mobileturkeyunitwi@gmail.com.                                     
  • You can find all of my newsletters for 2023 here: https://www.islandcountywa.gov/Directory.aspx?EID=62.
  • Most Mondays I hold Monday Tea with Melanie at 3:00 pm at the WiFire Community Space, 1651 E. Main Street, Freeland, an opportunity for citizens to speak with me and with each other about issues of interest to them, and I am also available once a month in Clinton, just before the Clinton Community Council meeting. But as we get closer to the holidays and various out-of-town events, there will be Mondays when I won’t be available. Below are my Mondays through the end of the year, as of now:
    • Monday November 6, 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday November 13 – NO
    • Monday November 20 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday November 27 – 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday November 27 – 5 pm Clinton Community Hall –Yes
    • Monday December 4, 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday December 11 – NO
    • Monday December 18, 3 pm WiFire –Yes
    • Monday December 25 – NO
    • Monday January 1 – NO



“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”           ~Rosalyn Carter