Friday Harbor Mayor Urges Public Protesting be Done on Courthouse Lawn

Friday Harbor Mayor Ray Jackson dropped by CNL2 TV yesterday afternoon to share his personal feelings about local protests regarding the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Jackson stressed he is not taking a side on the international issue, but is purely dealing with town matters, and feedback he is receiving from the business community.

Specifically, Jackson addressed protest messages written in chalk on Spring St. sidewalks, on signs and flyers in front of businesses, and the locations of the protesting.

Jackson said late this past Saturday night, flyers had been glued onto plate glass windows of local businesses.  He said business owners had to labor to remove the glue from their windows.

He said law enforcement could do nothing about the gluing of flyers to windows because there were no witnesses.

In the CNL2 TV interview, Jackson said, “Your message is your message.  The question becomes, ‘When does your right trump someone else’s right?’  I’m all for people having the freedom to express themselves.  But we also to be mindful that with that right comes responsibility.  We have to be able to say, ‘If I do this, how will it affect my neighbor?'”

The mayor spoke of a protest on an earlier Saturday which was located in front of The Bait Shop restaurant, in which the protest was so close to the business that the mayor felt it created the appearance that the business was taking a political stand, which would be their right to do so.  But it was his understanding that they were indeed not taking a political stand.  He said the location of the protest created that appearance.

Jackson said the town has designated a “perfect place” for people to protest:  on the courthouse lawn.

But Jackson also believes the town should focus local energy on local issues.

“We’re fractured, and we’re fractured — in my opinion — on things we can’t control,” he said. “We’re taking sides on issues that we can’t control. And we have bigger issues that we need to take care of here at home…. We have the ability to do what they (national politicians) can no longer can do.  When we see a problem or an issue start to metastasize into something we cannot control anymore, we’re able to head it off at the pass.”

This CNL2 TV recorded interview is approximately 26 minutes in duration.

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