SOS’s goal to educate Sequim residents

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Despite close to a dozen articles written about the proposed medication-assisted treatment (MAT) facility, the Save our Sequim board of directors has not publicly replied until now. A handful of pro-MAT citizen letters have also been published, and at least two extremely negative opinion pieces by the editorial boards of local newspapers as well.

It is not possible to address all of the misinformation about Save our Sequim (SOS) in a single article, but here is a start.

As a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, SOS is not a political entity. We do not support any candidate or political party, nor do we support any ballot referendum or initiative. We exist solely to promote the responsible development of Sequim. We have focused our efforts on defending the careful branding of Sequim that our city has promoted over the years, as well as protecting the idyllic lifestyle we enjoy here.

Our current movement is in opposition to the MAT clinic proposed for the Economic Opportunity Area located immediately adjacent to the retail shopping center in west Sequim.

Choosing this location for a MAT clinic is irresponsible and inconsistent with the vision for Sequim that has been carefully defined by our city government and cultivated over the years.

SOS is a small grassroots organization with a very large Facebook following. Most reasonable people will recognize that statements made by individuals on Facebook do not reflect the goals or mission of SOS.

Let us put an end immediately to the accusations of fear mongering or boycotting attributed to the SOS organization because of Facebook comments. We do not advocate for or support either, and have repeatedly stated as much.

Without entirely censoring comments we cannot control everything said on Facebook, and it would defeat the cathartic benefit that many people experience by posting their deep concerns. Would you deprive people of their rights or silence their concerns? Of course not. In fact, these concerns become the basis of meaningful community conversation, and provide an opportunity to uncover and correct false claims made by any party involved.

They furthermore present a valuable resource to collect testimonies from people with first-hand experience, that are helpful in in assessing potential problems that this project may cause.

Our highest goal is to accurately educate Sequim residents about such issues that may run counter to the culture we cherish in Sequim. It is the responsibility of every stakeholder to defend this culture if we want to maintain it. Much is at stake whether you have a Sequim zip code or not.

As we all know, this matter was brought to our attention suddenly and surprisingly by the developers and our city, county, and state leaders. While the developer’s financial resources are almost endless, we are a grassroots, all-volunteer group. There has been a lot to learn in very little time — less than two months.

Save our Sequim is grateful for the talented people who have contributed their time and efforts. We continue to improve as a resource for the community and will soon have the third iteration of our website available. We hope it will clarify everyone’s questions and serve as a valuable resource. Please keep an eye on www.saveoursequim.org.

Finally, the rhetoric and aggression lobbied against our group and our members is truly spectacular. We have been accused of dividing the community, although our real interest is careful scrutiny of this project on behalf of our community. The developers claim to have spent at least $40,000 on public relations expenses in order to control the community opinion regarding this project. They have succeeded in vilifying us for having reasonable doubts and objections.

Despite this approach, SOS remains committed to peaceful and open conversation and especially public education. On that note, SOS would like to invite Brent Simcosky, who has said he will speak with anyone, to a public and unrestricted Q-&-A Forum with the Sequim community, moderated by an independent third party, during which the citizens opposed to the project must be allowed to present their information as well.

The distortions and cherry-picked data being presented in support of this project begs for accurate and balanced information.

We hope that the information we provide will assist us all in making the best choice for Sequim.

Jodi Wilke is the chair of the Save our Sequim organization.

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