Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #13 - Some Are More Equal

Do you know what a fumblerule is? It's a rule of grammar that contains an example contrary to the advice that it gives. For instance, "Don't use no double negatives" is a fumblerule. Another is "Stamp out and abolish redundancy."

Speaking of stamping out and abolishing, that's exactly what (at least) half the Council members wanted to do to an ardent supporter of the Trojan Heron, at the urging of two Friends. Over the last couple of days, one of our readers, Mike Carlson, has been the target of a County witch hunt simply because he praised the Trojan Heron's CAO commentary. Mike serves on the Planning Commission, which by the way, has concluded its deliberations of the CAOs. Nevertheless, Mike's praise of our CAO stance so incensed David Dehlendorf and Stephanie Buffum that they asked Council members Howie Rosenfeld, Lovel Pratt, and Patty Miller to have Mike censured or even removed from the Planning Commission. Simultaneously, Dehlendorf and others lobbied the Planning Commission Chair, Brian Ehrmantraut, to take the matter under serious consideration for the next Planning Commission meeting.

Apparently, those three Council members and their Friends really thought they had something. The Council members were outraged enough by Mike's behavior to ask Randy Gaylord, the Prosecuting Attorney, what could be done about Mike. That's interesting because Rosenfeld/Pratt/Miller showed no apparent outrage when Susan Dehlendorf took a straw poll (forbidden by Roberts Rules) during Planning Commission proceedings about CAO shorelines? Where was their outrage when Howie Rosenfeld expressed bias about the CAOs in a meeting with the Attorney General? Where was their outrage when Patty Miller proceeded with Council hearings on the Fish & Wildlife CAO before the Planning Commission had voted on it?  Wow ... glass houses all over the place, I'd say. No wonder some people are beginning to refer to this group as the County Clowncil.  Also, I guess we now know what that new "Law and Justice" sales tax was for: to save the County from Mike Carlson and the Trojan Heron!

One of "their" favorite tactics is to accuse dissenters like Mike of being uncivil, unethical, or unprofessional (see emails below). This is where the analogy to fumblerules comes into play because the repeat accusers are the embodiment of the behavior they purportedly oppose. "They" are a tableau vivant of fumblerules regarding civility, ethics, and professionalism. They behave like a civility lynch mob. The Friends and their friends in high places have enjoyed such hegemony here for so long, that any criticism apparently causes stress they are unable to cope with.

Why is this a CAO flaw? Because it shows the shenanigans in our County government, and it illustrates how the CAOs will be used for witch hunts. Those with influence and power will be able to manipulate the CAO and government apparatus to serve their own ends at the expense of the rest of society. The CAOs are so complicated and vague they can be construed to mean whatever "they" need it to mean in order to go after undesirables. Fortunately, it didn't work ... this time ... because the central matter here is the Constitution, not the CAOs per se, and our Prosecuting Attorney knows his First Amendment. But they'll try again. It's what "they" do.

The CAOs just give "them" more tools at their beck and call. As we keep saying here at the Trojan Heron, the CAOs are not about the environment. The CAOs are about control and punishment by a very select few against the rest of us. Think about it; within the course of one business day, emails from just two well-connected CAO advocates were able to mobilize HALF the Council to consider action against a law-abiding, upstanding, long-time islander. Reflect on that kind of power compared to the deaf ears encountered by armies of concerned citizens showing up in person at Council meetings in a futile effort to have their CAO concerns addressed. The entire Mike Carlson incident lends further credibility to the Orwellian adage that some are more equal than others.

____________________________________________________________________


From: Lovel Pratt <LovelP@sanjuanco.com>
Subject: FW: Immediate Request - Planning Commissioner Attack on San Juan County Resident
Date: August 13, 2012 2:09:35 PM PDT
To: Patty Miller <PattyM@sanjuanco.com>
Cc: Bob Jean <bobj@sanjuanco.com>

Hi Patty,
How do you propose this be dealt with (and the similar request from David D. to Brian E.)?
Lovel

Lovel Pratt
San Juan County Council, District 1
Office: 55 Second St. N., 1st floor
Phone: 360-370-7473
Mail: 350 Court Street, No. 1, Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Confidentiality Notice: This email message, including any attachments, is subject to the Washington State Public Records Act, RCW Chapter 42.56 et al.

From: Stephanie Buffum [mailto:stephanie@sanjuans.org]
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2012 11:57 AM
To: DL - Council; Maureen See
Subject: Immediate Request - Planning Commissioner Attack on San Juan County Resident

Dear County Council,

The Trojan Heron blog and its endorsement and forwarding to our island community by San Juan County Planning Commissioner Mike Carlson is unprofessional and unbecoming as a public servant.  Mr. Carlson’s email below, which he sent as an attack to Ms. Alderton, endorses a statement that "Janet Alderton should be sent to the asylum along with the rest of her crazed Friends.”  This type of an attack on a resident by a San Juan County Planning Commissioner requires immediate attention.  

As a member of a County advisory council, we request that the County Council reprimand  Planning Commissioner Mike Carlson or remove him from public service.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Buffum Field
Executive Director

FRIENDS OF THE SAN JUANS
POB 1344 Friday Harbor, WA  98250
_________________________________________________________________________________________

From: Randall Gaylord <RandallG@sanjuanco.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM
Subject: Planning Commission Member Mike Carlson
To: DL - Council <Council@sanjuanco.com>
Cc: "Brian Ehrmantraut (bae@alumni.princeton.edu)" <bae@alumni.princeton.edu>, Bob Jean <bobj@sanjuanco.com>, Jon Cain <JonC@sanjuanco.com>

BACKGROUND
Three council members have asked for my opinion about the actions of Mike Carlson in writing an email which two citizens have brought the attention of the County Council as being offensive. This review is made quickly and done in an email to save time. Because this email incorporates items from other sources, my words are shown in large, bold print.

FACTS
Every case involving facts regarding speech – whether spoken or written – requires a detailed understanding of the facts and an examination of the exact words used.

I understand the allegedly offensive email of Mike Carlson is as follows:

--- On Mon, 8/13/12, Mike Carlson <mcarlson@rockisland.com> wrote:

From: Mike Carlson <mcarlson@rockisland.com>
Subject: The Trojan Heron
To: "mike" <mcarlson@rockisland.com>
Cc: "Janet Alderton" <jmalderton@yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, August 13, 2012, 6:28 AM

http://trojanheron.blogspot.com/

Dear Fellow Islanders,

The attached link says it well. How many of you "Garden Variety Islanders" have EVER heard of any toxic levels of any of the compounds that Ms. Alderton has cited as the reason your house must be kept further away any possible wetland than it can be now. I have not. The Common Sense Alliance paid thousands of dollars for soil testing around several home sites and one "island scale" industrial site located un-buffered right above a pristine wetland ( Lawson Construction's yard). These tests did not show there were toxic levels of anything within harmful levels.

I have cc'd Ms Alderton in this e-mail so maybe she will help to educate all of you about how bad your home site is for the environment....I will forward.

This type of regulation is like being told you have a flat tire on your car and being told thatv you need to replace your boat motor to fix it!!

Mike

The blog at trojanheron.blogspot.com, that is referred to the Carlson email is entitled “Flaw #8 – Science Fiction”, is authored by “ECK,” and is set forth at full length below for your convenience:

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #8 - Science Fiction

Friends Board member, Janet Alderton, who never met a person she couldn't lecture, has a letter in a local news blog about unfounded CAO fears. In it, she claims that the new CAOs will hardly change anything for homeowners, which (if true) just begs the obvious question of why are we changing them at all?

The fact is that the new CAOs will change everything for our community, but if Janet is genuinely interested in unfounded claims, perhaps she should re-read the text of the CAOs which she helped to write. Here's an excerpt from the proposed CAO for wetlands.

As discussed in the BAS Synthesis, runoff from areas influenced by human development is well characterized (National Research Council, 2008) and is often contaminated with an array of pollutants, including: those from lawn and garden chemicals (containing both active ingredients and surfactants that can negatively affect aquatic species); building materials including pressure treated lumber (containing copper chromated arsenate), zinc and copper impregnated shingles and roofing strips, and roofing materials containing phthalates (plastic gutters and downspouts, roofing felt, roof membranes); fertilizers; rodent poisons; termite spray and other insecticides; moss control products; deicers; contaminants associated with automobiles, including oil, antifreeze, rubber and metals from the wear of tires, brakes and other parts; and sediment from dirt and gravel driveways. Many of these contaminants are directly associated with the choices and practices of the property owner and are difficult or impossible to regulate. If they are allowed to enter surface water bodies, these pollutants can contaminate and become concentrated in the food web, negatively affecting aquatic habitats and species.

Is well characterized? Is often contaminated with an array of pollutants? Are impossible to regulate? Can contaminate and become concentrated in the food web?

Talk about unfounded! There isn't a shred of evidence about de manifestis concentrations of pollution from any of those hypothetical sources in this county. It's a specious premise, and it displays the fundamental error with all the CAOs: "they" have assumed a problem without any evidence. Then, "they" have "solved" the problem with draconian measures. It's equivalent to a faith healer diagnosing you with cancer or some other horrible disease, and then laying his hands upon you and saying you are cured. Well, many folks don't want the County's hands upon them, or anyone else's hands either. Leave us alone. We're not sick, and we don't need your "help."

The CAOs read like science fiction because that is what they are. I wish Scotty could beam us all up.

Posted by ECK at 4:50 PM 4 comments:

The blog trojanheron.blogspot.com allows posts to be made to the blog. Four posts are found after clicking on the words “4 comments”. Those four comments are set forth in full length as follows:

4 Comments

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1 – 4 of 4

Anonymous said...

The Letter is also mostly false

August 10, 2012 6:04 PM

ECK said...

I presume you are talking about Janet Alderton's letter at sanjuanislander.com referred to in this post. Yes, I agree. It is mostly false. What else would you have expected?

August 10, 2012 6:08 PM

Anonymous said...

A few posts back someone gave some numbers showing a large percentage of the shoreline parcels have absentee ownership.

I live in an area of the shoreline and I walk a lot. I believe it is true. There is no one there almost year round on most of these properties.

So maybe there is a structure, a house, these incredible claims of pollution can be claimed against, but there are no people. No tires and brakes, no human activity, nothing. Dull as dog shit, none of that either, nothing is going on, nothing is polluting anything because there is no activity which would do so, the whole thing is a fairy tale.

August 10, 2012 6:56 PM

Cotton Mather said...


One of the oldest jokes and stereotypes in American popular culture and literature is the scolding Puritanical hypocrite whose self-absorbed self-satisfied self-righteousness so completely blots out any semblance of mindful self-reflection that they cannot begin to understand their hilarious tendency towards self-contradiction.

Yes the letter is mostly false, but that is not intentional it is simply the by-product of the fundamentalist mind-set that produced both it, and the rest of the ill-considered fantasy behind the CAO.

Alderton's letter is truly funny. But the scary part is that she is one of the insiders, one of the real framers of this madness. She should be sent to the asylum along with the rest of her crazed Friends.

Leave us alone.

August 11, 2012 10:30 AM

Stephanie Buffum, the executive director of the Friends claims that Mr. Carlson’s email is “an endorsement” of the comments of Cotton Mather; that it is “an attack” on Ms. Alderton that is “unprofessional and unbecoming as a public servant”. Ms Buffum asks the council to “reprimand Mike Carlson or remove him from public service.”

SHORT ANALYSIS

We do not agree with Ms. Buffum that Mr. Carlson’s email amounts to “an endorsement” of the comments of Cotton Mather; an attack on Ms. Alderton; or represents some action that is so offensive that it requires action by the Council. After identifying the blog, Mr. Carlson writes “the attached link says it well.” The link takes you to the page without the comments. Mr. Carlson does not mention the comment of Cotton Mather and it requires an extra step to go to another webpage to see the comments. On my computer, this required an extra step to open the page in a new window. I do not believe that the written word shows that Mr. Carlson “endorses” the comments of Cotton Mather. If any person refers others a blog or news story together with an opinion of approval, it is not an “endorsement” of the comments attached to the blog or news story.

Another point to consider is that Mr. Carlson invited Ms. Alderton to reply to him by copying her on his email. While not determinative, it is not consistent with the email being “an attack.”

Another point to consider is that Mr. Carlson was not acting in his official capacity as a Planning
Commission member. The planning commission is an advisory committee of the County Council and the Council that has a representation of many diverse interests. Like other advisory committees, the Council has established rules for the discipline and order of its members when acting in an official capacity. We do not believe that SJCC 2.116.310, as set forth below, is triggered by the email of Mr. Carlson.

2.116.310 Discipline and order.

A. In the event an advisory body member fails to comply with a decision of the chair or any of these rules, the chair may declare the member out of order.

B. With respect to a member who is out of order, the following discipline may be imposed at the discretion of the chair:

1. The member may be warned without sanction;

2. The member may be excluded from discussion on the item of business at hand;

3. The member may be excluded from discussion of all items of business; or

4. For gross interference with the meeting, the member may be removed from that meeting.

C. A member who is declared out of order has the right to appeal the decision of the chair both as to the question of whether the member was out of order and as to the question of discipline. The advisory body shall approve or deny the appeal by a majority vote of those present, except that the extreme sanction of removal from a meeting shall be upheld only by the vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the advisory body.

D. If the advisory body upholds the declaration that the member is out of order or the discipline, the member has the right to dissent for the record before the imposition of sanctions.

E. These sanctions should be used sparingly and only to the extent necessary to keep order.

F. In the event a member is repeatedly out of order or whose actions are disruptive and counterproductive, a two-thirds majority of the advisory body may request that the County council replace this member. (Ord. 12-2008 § 14)

Finally, we must remember that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution freely protects freedom of speech and freedom of association. Discipline or even scolding members of volunteer commissions for actions that are not taken in an official capacity, and not subject to the procedures of SJCC 8.116.310 present a genuine risk could be construed as a “prior restraint” and is otherwise improper. The fact that a Planning Commission member maintains an email list, are shares ideas with members of the Common Sense Alliance is not a basis for taking action. There is no reference to Mr. Carlson as a member of the Planning Commission. Mr. Carlson referred only to a group he is known to be associated with – the Common Sense Alliance – and Mr. Carlson reported the findings of some studies looking for pollutants that countermand the statements of Ms. Alderton. We note the Supreme Court has only excluded – and not protected – an employee’s speech when the employee was making a statement in his or her official capacity. Garcetti v. Ceballos, 126 S.Ct. 1951, 1960 (2006). Nothing we have been shown indicates that Mr. Carlson was acting in his official capacity as a member of the Planning Commission.

CONCLUSION

You should proceed with extreme caution whenever you are concerned about the discipline of an employee or volunteer because of speech or activities that occur outside of the workplace. Given the facts as presented, I recommend that no action be taken by the Council or the Planning Commission. Please call if you have any questions.

Randy

Randall K. Gaylord
San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney/Coroner
350 Court Street First Floor
PO Box 760
Friday Harbor, WA
360-378-4101

5 comments:

  1. Another relevant Orwell thought on the matter: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."...

    Today, we are all The Trojan Heron.

    The voters of this County need to remove the three members of the county council who pursued this path. In the oath of office they took, they affirmed that they would support the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Washington. They are clearly in violation of their oath, if not yet in deed, in intent. They should certainly not be re-elected.

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  2. Yet Ms. Buffum is not concerned about appointments-for-life of "Friends" to County advisory committees--like Mrs. Dehlendorf's to the Planning Commission and Tina Whitman's to the MRC.

    When I first read these e-mails I thought they were a joke--how can anyone who graduated from high school seriously think that a person's private e-mail recommending that others read a blog is in any way inappropriate or actionable. I guess we can use those Law Library funds in the County Budget to get three members of Council copies of the COnsitution?

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  3. Hah hah hah hah! A short satirical comment from a nom de plume of "Cotton Mather" actually sends these wackos off on a "witch hunt." By God, that would be funny if it weren't scary. The Prosecuting Attorney should prepare a bill for his time and charge the three member Clowncil and their Friends for his wasted time. And the Clowncil should be recalled for violating their oath of office. Now, about that Charter. We're being asked to go back to a Clowncil of three? Really? Suppose it turned out to be these three Clowns? Think about it.

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  4. This latest "action" of the "Friends" tells us two things: First, these people continue to be really stupid. By making a big deal out of this they managed to alert hundreds of people to their continuing bad behavior. Simply put their mojo is; notice to all citizens in SJC: "You will do it our way or we will beat the living shit out of you."

    Second, these people are just flat dangerous. Given their full court press in the last ten days; two mailings...one very costly, and the planned timing of the published comments by Kaill and Alderton it appears they will spare no expense and no lie is too great if it forwards an activist vision that even Peter The Rabbit would have trouble to understand.

    Those who continue to follow the Dalton debacle are appalled at the pain and suffering AND huge cost for all parties over a complete NOTHING issue. Support of the "Friends" will give us all more of the same!

    Free speech goes in every direction and the TH and Mike Carlson have every right, even a duty in Mike's case, to speak truth to power.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ioseb Besarionis dze JughashviliAugust 18, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    We have recently passed from the policy of restricting the exploiting tendencies of the kulaks to the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class.

    Now we are able to carry on a determined offensive against the kulaks, break their resistance, eliminate them as a class and replace their output by the output of the collective farms and state farms. Now, dekulakization is being carried out by the masses of poor and middle peasants themselves, who are putting complete collectivization into practice. Now, dekulakization in the areas of complete collectivization is no longer just an administrative measure. Now, it is an integral part of the formation and development of the collective farms. Consequently it is now ridiculous and foolish to discourse at length on dekulakization. When the head is off, one does not mourn for the hair.

    There is another question which seems no less ridiculous: whether the kulaks should be permitted to join the collective farms. Of course not, for they are sworn enemies of the collective-farm movement.

    ReplyDelete