By Ken Stern 

Citizens: Time to participate

From the editor


October 11, 2023

All of a sudden there are a slew of opportunities to be active civically – democratically – in the community. You do not have to live in La Conner to involve yourself. And the October activities end, appropriately, with our school children – indeed anyone with a costume, with or without a child – parading up First Street for the Halloween parade. Come on out for that, for sure.

Activities extend into Nov. 7 election day. Because only one area resident chose to contest only one of the La Conner school board or Town of La Conner council seats, only the Director District 2 school board race between John Agen and Janie Beasley offers a choice.

For other municipal elections for school board, town council and mayor, incumbents will win once they fill out their ballots: They are unopposed. Either all residents believe all local elected officials are doing a great job or no resident had the gumption to assist their neighbors by becoming a candidate and voicing their hopes for the school board and council to do a better, or at least different, job.

The League of Women Voters of Skagit County has organized a candidates for the county’s contested school board races for La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley Oct. 16 at 6:15 p.m. at Skagit PUD in Mount Vernon. To attend in person or view the recorded video, go to the League’s website:

If you live on Fidalgo Island in Port of Anacortes District 4, there is a competitive port commissioners race on which to vote.

Ballots and voters’ guides are mailed out by Oct. 20. Your filled-out ballot must be in a Skagit County election drop box or U.S. mail postmarked by 8 p.m. Nov. 7. Complain that there are not choices, do research, call your officials running for reelection, and vote.

La Conner residents can show up Oct. 17 for the forum on short term rental regulations organized by the planning commission at the La Conner Civic Garden Club. Are more rigorous – or less strict – regulations needed in the town code? Show up to ask questions and discuss, or come to learn.

And a handful of residents can get on the bus and go to Langley Oct. 19 for a planning commission road trip to Langley to meet with architect Ross Chapin, whose specialty is designing affordable homes. The van seats 12. File your written request with planning staff.

The La Conner Swinomish Library gets dedicated Saturday, Oct. 14 with an open house starting at 3 p.m. The library is about the most important institution in any community. RSVP: 360-466-3352.

Before that, Friday night, go to Maple Hall for the Skagit Community Band’s 7:30 p.m. fall concert. Its theme: “Explorations: Come explore music from around the world.”

After that is the annual Great ShakeOut Day Oct. 19. Launched in 2009, the day promotes ways people can protect themselves during earthquakes and tsunamis. Plug into this ongoing effort to protect yourself and loved ones:

Protect yourself and everyone you come into contact with by, yes, wearing a facemask whenever you are in a public space. Get four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests from the federal government:

If Woody Allen did say “Showing up is 80 percent of life,” that gets you a B-. That is better than a C and lower grades but your family, neighbors and community need more for democracy in the United States to get the infusion it needs from our participation to get healthy. As happy as you may be in your home and neighborhood or as satisfied or dissatisfied as you are with the governments in either Washington, objectively speaking, the collective “we” is doing very poorly – indeed failing ourselves and each other – in our local, state and national communities.

Go ahead, dispute, argue or agree with that point. Maybe you want to start with writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Maybe you want to go to your local library and do research. Both are healthy responses to what you read on this page today.


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