Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friends Board Member Armors Shoreline?

Reports are coming in that the Mackaye Harbor Water Company on Lopez has just completed a shoreline armoring project on Agate Beach.  San Olson, Vice President of the Board of the Friends of the San Juans, is a stockholder of the Mackaye Harbor Water Company.  San has also been one of the more outspoken "Friends".  You can read his letters in several of our local publications, and in fact, he was mentioned in a recent article about shoreline restoration.  If the reports of shoreline armoring are correct, the highly touted shoreline restoration project was occurring at the same time and literally just around the corner and out of sight of the armoring project.

Stay tuned for more information as this story develops ...


  1. Thank you for doing this....we all need to start learning about and paying attention to what is going on behind the scenes to influence San Juan County public policy.....and the more information I read, the more concerned I am. No one is representing the interests of the public in regards to the complete rewriting of the CAO. The County Council is not. Apparently the County was only required to revise the CAO as "needed". They have not shown "need" even when repeatedly asked about it at meetings, but have been bullied into accepting a total rewriting of the CAO (by FRIENDS and Puget Sound Partnership and Department of Ecology)...with deliberate and conscious disregard of the impact to our citizens, businesses and local ecomony. This is scary....

  2. Mr. ECK, should I presume that ECK might stand for Edward Christopher Kilduff?

    I became aware of your post when a resident of Orcas Island sent an email to the Friends, asking questions that your blog suggested needed to be investigated: Did Olson do any work on the shoreline, did he do the work without a permit, and aren’t the Friends of the San Juans against shoreline armoring?

    At least you placed a question mark on the title of the piece; that, however, does not absolve you of an obvious attempt to personally discredit me and the Friends of the San Juans in a matter that initially involved neither of us. You obviously went to some effort to discover that I am a shareholder and customer of the MacKaye Harbor Water Company, but it would have taken very little additional effort to contact the company President, Helen Cosgrove, a person known to you, to ascertain who made the decision to armor the shoreline at Agate Beach. Or, you could have been courteous and neighborly and asked me about the matter first before posting erroneous public innuendos.

    The truth is I was unaware of the work until a concerned citizen made an inquiry to the County and copied the Friends. Once aware of the armoring, the staff of Friends followed up with an inquiry to the County Enforcement Officer. The matter of the legality of the armoring is between the Water Company and the County

    I am disappointed that to advance a political agenda, you would imply that I am guilty of duplicity in a matter of personal and organizational concern about hard shoreline armoring. I expect a retraction to be published on the blog and a personal apology to be forthcoming. You should do no less for libel masquerading as news.

    San Olson, Vice President Friends of the San Juans

    Ms. Cosgrove’s statement follows:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Mr. Olson asked that I confirm his statement. He was never consulted nor advised about the rock placed at Agate Beach.

    Helen Cosgrove
    MacKaye Harbor Water Co.
    468 4116

    1. Thank you for your comments and clarification, and I very much appreciate your advice about courtesy and neighborliness. The wonderful aspect of social media is that it is interactive and honest, allowing participants to add facts and perspectives, as you have. We're continuing to collect information about this story, and I hope you will comment in future posts as well. You help us to understand your point of view and the issues that concern the Friends.

      I note that your comments appear to lack any particular concern for whether you believe the shoreline armoring to be "right" in an environmental and moral sense. Your answer is detailed, but it doesn't address who speaks for the environment in this case? Is armoring shorelines "right" even if it may be legal? As a stockholder of the water company and Board member of the Friends, I would think you might have particularly poignant and conflicted feelings in that regard, but your explanation does not mention anything about the environment. Not one word.

      And that goes to a primary question raised by this blog. Do the Friends really care about the environment or does something else motivate the Friends? What makes the Friends persecute a working class guy who wants to grow blueberries when there are more serious ecological issues out there? From the perspective of many, when the Friends want to target someone, legality, facts, and even the environment, hardly seem to matter. As recently as Tuesday, the Friends Executive Director stated on KOMO radio that Charles Dalton had put a well in a stream. Leaving aside the dubious nature of the "stream" for now, the fact of the matter is that it was an EXISTING well whose casing needed to be replaced for health and safety reasons. Does that stop the Friends from incessantly spinning their "facts" at every opportunity? Sadly, no.

      So whenever it suits the Friends, you appeal to a higher power. Where is that higher power in the armoring case and where is your concern for it? You seem to be concerned about yourself, but who speaks for the sand lances in this instance? What about the salmon? What about sea level rise or the hundreds of other issues that the Friends bury hapless homeowners in when they want to? Or are sand lances and the planet being killed just by working stiffs living next to big donors? Do the Friends have compassion, neighborliness, or indignation for anyone other than themselves, or are the Friends concerns for the environment as phony as the trumped up charges against Charles.

      Thank you for your comments, San.

    2. Ed,

      I asked that a retraction of your post and an apology be offered. I have received neither. To leave accusations in place simply invites the reader to continue to conclude there is merit to the charges. That is unfair given my refutation corroborated by the President of the MacKaye Harbor Water Company. If you do not wish to provide an apology, at least remove all postings pertaining to me and the shoreline armoring at Agate Beach.

      I did not invite a discussion on the Friends positions on shoreline armoring nor did I indicate that I was interested in discussing the Charles Dalton code violations. My reply was intended only to inform you of the facts, request a retraction, and receive an apology. Removal of your untrue and unfair suggestions of duplicity on my part is what I request now.

      San Olson

    3. San,

      With all due respect, I don't think you are quite grasping one of the main points being raised. There are sins of commission and sins of omission. You are, as far as I can ascertain, one of only three shareholders of the Mackaye Harbor Water Company (MHWC), and this armoring was installed by MHWC, hastily arranged after a property owner threatened legal action against MHWC because of a leak and subsequent erosion. The armoring was done without permits. In addition, this armoring is very near where you live. Yes, you have supporting evidence from Helen saying that you weren't involved in the actual armoring operation. However, are you seriously asking us to believe that you had no knowledge of this whatsoever ... that from approximately September 2011, when the work was done ... until early/mid February 2012 when a complaint was filed by one of the usual County snitches ... a period 4 months or more ... you didn't even notice it? Do I have to remind you that the Friends had Charles under such intense surveillance during this same time period that he received calls from the enforcement officer in the morning for activities he engaged in just the previous afternoon? Do I have to remind you of the words spoken by George Lawson at the Orcas meeting where he said, "Everybody agrees, including the County that it is a complaint driven enterprise when it comes to enforcement of our environment here in San Juan County. It is up to YOU, when you see a violation of environmental regulations of the County and as a lover of the environment to assume your citizenship responsibilities and communicate that to the County and follow it up"?

      How do you explain the apparent ability of the Friends to see all and know all, except in this case? From what I can tell, Stephanie Buffum sent one email to the County, when over an equivalent amount of time in the Dalton situation, she had notified the County and two State agencies.

      The unequal treatment is hard to fathom as just part of the normal course of business. And do I also have to remind you that, in all your comments, you have yet to repudiate the work of the MHWC or object to the armoring.

      Given that the Agate Beach shoreline along the road is eroding and the water main for the MHWC is on the water side, it would appear that the MHWC will, in the not-too-distant-future, be faced with the prospect of having to armor more shoreline. In fact, many residents in that area seem to be in favor of such a move. How do you feel about further armoring? Do you support it, especially to protect vital services such as potable water? How are you going to handle that?

      And what about the shoreline restoration that you undertook around the corner at Barlow Bay? You were undoubtedly involved in that. Did you have exemptions, variances, or permits for that shoreline work? I know it was billed as a restoration project, but I know many people who feel that they have improved the habitat of their land, but the CAOs will still make much of their improvements illegal, so restoration/habitat improvement seems to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Were authorizations required for the Barlow Bay work?

      Honestly, I don't like poking into anybody's business. I find it distasteful and vulgar. When people ask me what party I belong to, I usually respond that I belong to the "None of your damn business" party. But as long as the Friends use the environment as an excuse to divide people instead of unite them, as long as the Friends hold themselves out as paragons of virtue, as long as the Friends beat the bejesus out of regular folks for no good reason, then people are going to question why projects associated with the Friends or their donors seem to get special treatment. Relative to the Charles Dalton situation, the MHWC project seems to have received special treatment. Can you help me to understand why?

    4. Mr.Kilduff, you seem prone to jump to conclusions based on hearsay or inadequate research. There are five couples and one widow who own stock in the MHWC and there are three Board members, one who is not a shareholder, two that are. My wife and I are minority stockholders and customers; I am not a member of the board and they do not consult me.

      Yes, I expect you to take me at my word. I was uninformed about the work, which I understand was done in late November or early December of 2011, because I rarely walk the Agate Beach segment of the MacKaye Harbor road and was experiencing a physical limitation on walking. So, I was indeed without knowledge until the complaint was made. Since the matter was in the hands of the County Code Enforcement Officer, a personal follow up seemed unnecessary

      I do not support armoring of the Agate Beach shoreline, or any other beach supporting forage fish spawning, except under circumstances where no other choice exists to protect a home. It is my opinion that the water main will need to be re-located on the inland side of the road, in the utility ditch, where it should have been installed in the first place. It is the responsibility of the water company president and board to determine where the water line should be located, not mine.

      Since I spoke to you directly about the Friends restoration work on the Barlow Bay beaches, and provided you with the applicable permit numbers that you requested, I feel no further need to comment on your continued false assumptions about the work.

      I prefer to assume people are honest and comply with regulations, sometimes that is not the case, but if a potential violation of land use code comes to the my attention I will make inquiry and notify the proper authorities when necessary. Scofflaws should be everybody’s business; it is a matter of fairness to those who comply with the rules that persons who flaunt regulations not be rewarded for their misdeeds.

      You profess to not like poking into anybody's business. I ask that you not continue to accuse me of activities or actions for which I had neither knowledge nor operational responsibility, or even received the courtesy of consultation. You have been provided with the facts, apparently you wish to continue to ignore and disrespect my word for your own purposes. I find that distasteful, vulgar, and libelous

      San Olson

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