Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Latest "Shaddup You Face" Message

From the online "news" that appears to resemble the unofficial CDPD blog at times comes the latest high-minded "Shaddup You Face" scolding. For all we know, it might be part of the "misinformation" messaging launched by the County.

Since there is so much talk about personal attacks and denigration, let's review some recent personal attacks and denigrations:
  • Shireene Hale refers to the public's participation in the recent Planning Commission meetings as "awful".
  • SLM (Stan Matthews) says people should "seek counseling" if they don't understand the County's old "joke" sign about lethal force.
  • Erik Stockdale of Ecology emails a Council member to characterize as "belligerent treatment" a citizen who simply disagreed with Dr. Adamus over the Mayer paper.
But getting back to Kivisto's article, what exactly is she referring to when she says?

Outside agitators are invited to meetings to distort facts and stir up citizens. They appear on talk shows in Seattle to spread lies about the county. Edited YouTube videos perpetuate the lies.

How can someone "invite" outside agitators? If you're invited, you're a guest, are you not? Lies? She actually uses the word "lies"? Name them. The article depends so much on vague innuendo that we cannot really be certain what it's talking about. By "outside agitators" does she mean the Friends? Most of the Friends' money comes from outside the County. Maybe the passage is referring to them.

The Kivisto article is long on accusations without any attribution or mention of fact checking. As such, it resembles agitprop that fans the flames while yelling not to fan the flames. She is pouring gas on a fire she is partly responsible for kindling.

Where was Kivisto's concern for the truth during official testimony about the CAOs? What about the hordes of outsiders from Ecology, consultants, and the Puget Sound Partnership? Does she have any concerns there? Think about some of the official CAO testimony of County officials and consultants in light of the following. In Washington State:

To sustain a finding of common law fraud, the trial court in most cases must make findings of fact as to each of the nine elements of fraud. Howell v. Kraft, 10 Wash. App. 266, 517 P.2d 203 (1973). Those elements generally are: (1) a representation of an existing fact, (2) its materiality, (3) its falsity, (4) the speaker's knowledge of its falsity or ignorance of its truth, (5) his intent that it should be acted on by the person to whom it is made, (6) ignorance of its falsity on the part of the person to whom it is made, (7) the latter's reliance on the truth of the representation, (8) his right to rely upon it, and (9) his consequent damage." (Pedersen v. Bibioff, 64 Wn. App. 710, 828 P.2d 1113 (1992))

If the population is upset, then Pete Rose and the Council should consider the likely causes. I don't think they have to look much farther than their own offices, and maybe some house cleaning would be in order.

Or maybe all this messaging is a just another manufactured crisis to generate support for more revenue via the proposed sales tax increase (0.078 to 0.081). After all, the stated reasons for the increase are:

The San Juan County council desires to provide residents with the level of services, equipment and facilities in the areas of criminal justice and public safety to maintain a safe and strong community.


  1. The sales tax increase is a smokescreen to raise the enormous amounts of new money from the taxpayers to pay for the new cost burdens of enforcing the Critical Areas Ordinance. Few were paying attention when permit violations were raised to the status of potential criminal misdemeanor charges, and local law enforcement quietly pushed back with a message of you must be kidding, we have real work to do and no money for this. So, the sales tax increase is nothing more than to help the county criminalize you for using your land.

  2. The misdemeanor provisions for code violations have been on the books for years. Look at the Owner Builder ordinance from 88 or 89. Its in there. This is nothing new.

    As far as "lies". Lets start with the Maytr Nick Jones. His video contains a number of outright lies.
    The county didn't shut him down, he chose to close. His modifications would have cost hundreds of dollars, not 25K as he claimed. Oh by the way, did anyone, including mention that several contractors came forward the day his story broke and offer material and labor to get his place squared away free of charge??


  3. Yes that's correct, however the original ordinance underwent significant revisions recently, along with new internal procedures. Including a policy now to act on anonymous complaints. The antiquated Owner Builder ordinance was ... how to put it? Oh so pre-9/11. The public is probably interested in learning more about this, as they too probably assume the original Owner Builder codes haven't changed.

    As to Mr. Jones. Word has it he gave a pretty articulate presentation in Friday Harbor recently, so it is not hard to understand that his detractors would resort to ad hominem attacks. Referring to Mr. Jones as a martyr seems a bit of an unfair characterization. A bit over the top.

  4. It seems like every post on civility brings comments that call people names. Not sure if the commenter meant to call Nick a martyr or a satyr, the half-man, half-goat male companions of Pan and Dionysus. But if you meant satyr ... points for originality anyway.

    I don't speak for Nick, but my understanding is that he chose to close because, in his mind, the regulatory burden was too great. Whether his building was literally red-tagged or figuratively red-tagged is a distinction with no difference to him. His situation brings up the public policy question of when do regulatory burdens become so great that they amount to prohibition? That's worth examining and debating because many people have a view that regulations are always precautionary and beneficial, and never harmful. That's just not true. The public policy question should be focused on broken laws not breaking the law. When do regulations become the problem?

  5. One of the definitions of Martyr (now spelled correctly)is
    "somebody who makes sacrifices: somebody who makes sacrifices or suffers greatly in order to advance a cause or principle".

    It wasn't meant as name calling, just a description, an accurate one at that.

    Guys, I generally agree with your points, direction and goals but I feel it is important to, well, for a lack of a better phrase, KEEP IT REAL! :)

  6. This comment thread is distracts from the content of the original article which had nothing to do with a presumed Lopezian martyr other than an unsubstantiated accusation that lies were told. Any way thanks for providing a good definition of the term, which just raises the question what sacrifice to what cause, in your mind, did Mr. Jones martyr himself to? I do not know the fellow well but I see a struggling small business owner, with employees, with a family and child faced with a pattern of incoherent regulations applied arbitrarily. He has gone public to explain his rationale, which takes some courage. I am sure there will be folks who do not agree with his reasoning. There are others who do not agree with the reasoning of San Juan County planning policies.

  7. Actually, I appreciate the additional input from Anonymous and the clarification of his/her thoughts. I don't feel it was a distraction, personally speaking. I don't mind folks having a slightly different take on matters. It's more important to me that we can discuss them. Thanks for everyone's comments about this. As for courage, I'm working on a post about courage that should show up soon, so maybe they'll be some insights there.

  8. RE: Courage

    80 proof or better produces the best courage around.

  9. Our situation with our farmstand is perhaps somewhat unique. It sits on leased land, the owners of which are subject to enforcement actions based on our problems. We were approached by Chris Laws over Commercial building code requirements. That is one problem, and the list of corrections was lengthy and expensive. The second issue is the "use" issue of owning and operating a farmstand on ag lands. That is still forbidden, and almost every other farmstand in the county is out of compliance as well . There is a pending, five year old recommendation to council to change this. Our landowner were and are in the midst of a complex permitting issue of their own. Our woes, in the form of expensive upgrades and an unresolved use issue that might forbid the stand anyways, put a hold on our landowners' permitting process. As such, we had no choice but to close. The broader point is what is the point? What is achieved by our insanely complex, insanely expensive regulatory structure? What is wrong with asking that our government justify the intrusion, expense and barriers they inflict on us. Regulations are the lubricant that makes society function, but like any other human construct they are subject to drift, manipulation, co-option and perversion. I object to the idea that a person needs a law degree and $20,000 to even understand what is required. I object to the notion that, in the absence of demonstrated harm we should all be subject to endless hoops and conditions to pursue our lives, livelihoods and purpose in the world.
    And I have no respect for a person who would make nasty, personal attacks public under the shield of "Anonymous". At least Sharon Kvisto signs her nastygrams.
    Nick Jones

  10. What is achieved by our insanely complex, insanely expensive regulatory structure?

    Boy, never was a truer question asked. The approach taken by the Planning Commission with respect to buffers highlights that problem. Instead of prohibiting a few items and allowing the rest, the Planning Commission did the opposite. They prohibited everything in buffers except a few activities. And for that, we hear some Planning Commissioners going around in a self-congratulatory manner talking about how they made the wetland buffer requirements much more friendly. No, they didn't. They may have added one or two activities to the "allowed" category, but their approach is still fundamentally wrong. The prohibited category remains an infinitely long default category.

    We cannot plan plan plan our way to prosperity or even to sustainability.

    1. A system of government which refuses to allow for legitimate human aspiration forfeits representative legitimacy. Totalitarianism is totalitarianism, whether the mantle claimed is security, prosperity or sustainability. It is ironic that in pursuit of sustainability we are sacrificing diversity in all it's forms. Long term, of course, diversity is sustainability. As to the original posting regarding Sharon Kvisto's latest missive, I find that increasingly I read The San Juan Islander as I might view Fox News; stimulating and informative? Sometimes. Fair and balanced; Not so much.
      Nick Jones

  11. By "outside agitators," is Ms. Kivisto referring to the legions of mainland consultants, DOE staff and Puget Sound Partnership visitors?

    If there are any real threats, the sheriff should be asked to investigate. During the original GMA adoption process, there was enough concern that the sheriff sent uniformed and plain clothes deputies to some community meetings just in case. One engaged environmentalist took out an ad in the newspaper that included a cartoon of a grave marker with one Commissioner's name on it, and the phrase "rest in peace." Seems very uncivil.