“Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your Rights! Get up! Stand up! Don’t give up the fight!” – Jimmy Cliff

November 1, 2021 by stephenshubert

Can lies and relentless disinformation win an election? We know it can. Will such a campaign succeed in Friday Harbor? We will know the answer to that question on November 11th, when the votes are counted. A two year fight to control the Mullis Community Center has been relentlessly waged and is not over yet.

As the election approaches, I would like to recommend to you candidates that I think will carry the spirit of cooperation, good will, and firm commitment to the ideals of the Senior Services Council of San Juan County and the Mullis Center:

How do I vote?

See ballot and instructions at the end of the article

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS! We are clearly at a crossroads.  Those of you who will be voting will determine the future direction of the Mullis Senior Community Center

All of this progress made by the District Committee members and staff is put at risk by a group of invaders who decided to exacerbate a long ago resolved dispute over saying the pledge of allegiance and prayer before congregate meals.Personally, I am not willing to see these invaders, many of whom had no prior connection to the Mullis senior Center, take over the center. Their actions for the past 2 years bode ill for us if they succeed.

2020/2021 Improvements & Accomplishments

The District Committee has been working hard to better understand and meet the needs of San Juan Island Seniors and Disabled Adults.  We have learned how important it is for us to upgrade and manage our facilities and property, enhance our program offerings, improve inter-agency relationships, address existing and upcoming contracts for services, review our governance structure and up-level our use of technology to communicate and manage our organization more effectively. 

We have been working with Senior Services Council of San Juan County (SSCSJC) and our District Committee, restructured the management process, transitioning from being volunteer-driven to a staffed model with a facilities manager.  This is contributing to improved operating efficiencies, focused attention on which problems and priorities must be undertaken in a timely manner, and executing on the decisions made. 

Covid-19 created a massive shift in our community’s needs and access to services.

In Spring 2020 we stopped all in-house services which had been used to pay operating costs.  As a result, the Center applied and received COVID relief funds with the loan forgiven. 

Financial Practices

An early and necessary step we undertook was analyzing and restructuring the accounting systems used at all three Senior Center sites. We created common definitions for the chart of accounts. The SSCSJC, our 501(c)(3) corporation, has a unified set of books and records while allowing each site, with common rules, to manage our own accounting systems. Federal forms were reviewed and corrected, information errors were addressed, resulting in auditable, understandable and correctly categorized financial reports.  This effort had to go back to 2017 to address findings and make the necessary corrections.

Feeding our Community

Our Senior Lunch, served three days per week, stopped immediately. Working with our partners, we restructured the nutrition program, merging the Meals on Wheels program with the congregate meal program.  We received funds to specifically pay the costs of the nutrition program. 

The nutrition program experienced increased demand for services. In 2020, the Mullis Center provided 23,289 meals and expanded from two to three island routes. The total expenses for food and staff costs in 2020 were $49,924, with the Center responsible for $34,512 in kitchen and support costs. Mullis Center staff has worked diligently to raise the funds necessary to meet this obligation by actively fundraising locally, as well as applying for, and receiving, state and federal contracts.

Coordinating Services

The Center supports The Family Resource Center and San Juan Island Food Bank, by providing use of the facilities, rent-free.  We worked, in coordination, to provide delivery of food, pharmacy and prepared meals to many home-bound islanders.

Both of these organizations have been in the process of expanding their buildings to better serve the increased demand for services and we are happy that we could offer them our support. 

The Master Gardeners Program also uses free space provided by the Center.  Over the past months, the District Committee has completed new agreements, negotiated to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the Family Resource Center, Food Bank and Master Gardeners, keeping them as ongoing resources on Mullis Center property.

The Mullis Center partnership with Spring Street International School (SSIS), during the pandemic, has been a win-win situation. During these many months of Covid-19, the Mullis Center has been an integral part of Spring Street School’s student experience.   Our facilities allowed the extra classroom space needed for SSIS to continue with in-person instruction while providing the Mullis Center with rental income needed to remain operational during the lean months of 2020 and 2021.

SSIS and the Mullis Center worked with SJ County Health Official, Dr. Frank James, to put health guidelines and protocols in place and get official approval for SSIS to use the Mullis Center for in-person instruction. 

Programs and Outreach

We responded to our members’ needs through improving our outreach and communication using our website, local press, Mail Chimp, the Senior Signal and Zoom.

Balance Class, Chair Yoga and a monthly Book Club have been taught and hosted online.  We worked closely to meet public health requirements and were able to continue providing Footcare Services onsite throughout the year.

Quilting and Art groups have begun meeting outdoors this Spring. We look forward to more offerings soon.

We are slowly beginning to open up to our traditional users, such as Fish for Teeth; Smile Mobil; Arcora Foundation; Medical Teams International; the Blood bank; and other visiting programs that require space and electricity. 

An online survey is underway to address reopening the Mullis Center for Senior Luncheon and onsite classes.

Facility and Grounds Improvements

Since 2019, with District Committee approval, staff have worked to improve the physical plant of the Center by repairing the roof; replacing the cooling and heating system with efficient heat pump technology and improving the air flow required in this time of COVID.

Our Staff sought and received a donated electrical upgrade so that specialized vehicles, such as dental vans, can use Mullis Center electrical power rather than diesel generators which are noisy and polluting. 

The center also purchased and installed a solar panel system which is linked to the local power company (OPALCO). This system will reduce electrical costs, which historically have increased in price 5% per year, off-setting one of the major operating costs of the center. 

Future plans include repairing and painting the interior and exterior building structures to make it more attractive and well-maintained for users of the Center.  In addition to the Master Gardeners plot, a community walking garden and sitting area are being planned.

Thank you,

Stephen Shubert


Instructions for Voting


An Eligible Voter Must Be:

• A resident of San Juan District (including San Juan, Henry, Brown, Spieden, Stuart,

Johns, Pearl and Flat Top islands)

• 60 years of age or over or disabled

The candidates on the reverse side of this ballot are running for 15 positions on the San Juan

District Committee of the Senior Services Council of San Juan County. Please see candidate

bios in newsletter or on http://www.mulliscenter.org.

Eligible voters may vote for up to 15 (fifteen) candidates from the list on the reverse side of this

ballot. You may choose to vote for fewer than 15 candidates, but not more.

If voting by mail, please:

1. Include your marked ballot in an envelope.

2. Also include a copy of your official WA State photo ID that indicates age

and residency, proving your eligibility to vote.

3. On the same sheet of paper, sign your name for verification and provide a

short statement that indicates that you’re either:

! 60 or older and eligible to vote

! under 60 and disabled and eligible to vote

4. Legibly print your name and address on the envelope so we can enter your

name into the polling book.

5. Mail ballot, copy of WA State Photo ID and verification statement to Mullis

Community Senior Center, Attn. Elections, PO Box 684, Friday Harbor WA

98250. Make sure to provide proper postage.

6. Mail in ballots must be received in our PO Box by Thursday, Oct 14, 2021, by

3:30 PM for vote to be counted. Please sign the page with identification.

If voting in person:

• Come to the Mullis Center NOVEMBER 8-11, 2021 from 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM.

• Present your WA State photo ID that indicates age and residency, proving eligibility to


• Before voting, legibly print your name and address and sign the polling book.

Ballot May Be printed at:

WWW.Mullis Center.org, look under elections.

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