Friday, August 17, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #15 - Lack of Definition

One of the biggest flaws in the proposed CAOs relates to the County's cognitive inability to understand the distinction between "definition" and "designation." In the CAO on critical aquifer recharge, for example, the County designated the entire area of the county as an aquifer recharge area, but clearly, not everywhere in the county meets the definition of a recharge area. The County cannot turn impervious surface into a recharge area any more than it can turn water into wine. The power to "designate" is not without limitation.

This is an important point because the RCW requires that designations/classifications be based on definitions. It's a two-fer (definition + designation/classification), and it's the law. The minimum guidelines for critical areas specifically say that classification will be based on definitions.
RCW 36.70A.050 Guidelines to classify agriculture, forest, and mineral lands and critical areas.(1) Subject to the definitions provided in RCW 36.70A.030, the department shall adopt guidelines, under chapter 34.05 RCW, no later than September 1, 1990, to guide the classification of: (a) Agricultural lands; (b) forest lands; (c) mineral resource lands; and (d) critical areas.
This language is repeated elsewhere with specific emphasis on shorelines.
RCW 36.70A.480 Shorelines of the state.
(5) Shorelines of the state shall not be considered critical areas under this chapter except to the extent that specific areas located within shorelines of the state qualify for critical area designation based on the definition of critical areas provided by RCW 36.70A.030(5) and have been designated as such by a local government pursuant to RCW 36.70A.060(2).
The courts have made it clear that compliance with the minimum guidelines is the first step in evaluating the validity of County compliance with critical area and resource lands designation and protection. Continuing with shorelines as a case in point, the WAC provides a list of the types of areas that need to be considered for inclusion into a Fish & Wildlife Habitat critical area. But the Planning Commission did not do any evaluation of whether such areas in the County might actually meet the definition of a critical area, but simply copied the list into the draft code. The WAC states:
"Fish and wildlife habitat conservation" means land management for maintaining populations of species in suitable habitats within their natural geographic distribution so that the habitat available is sufficient to support viable populations over the long term and isolated subpopulations are not created. This does not mean maintaining all individuals of all species at all times, but it does mean not degrading or reducing populations or habitats so that they are no longer viable over the long term.
The Planning Commission did not consider the facts related to the definition prior to designating all shorelines as critical. That's a major fail.

You see, if a person were to designate or label without first considering the facts related to definition, then the chances of being completely wrong are quite high. For example, a person might vociferously designate/label an adversary as being the suspected author of a disliked blog comment or blog post, but if the facts don't support the definition of authorship, then the allegations are just fire-breathing nonsense. It doesn't make the alleger crazy, necessarily. It just makes him wrong at the top of his lungs.

Likewise, when a collection of straw-poll cronies on the Planning Commission decides to designate all shorelines as critical without first considering whether the shorelines meet the definition of "critical," then such baseless, prejudicial designation represents wholesale failure to comply with the minimum guidelines in the law.

We live in a community with many proponents for prejudice. Prejudice and discrimination arise from stereotyping those who do not conform to societal and cultural norms. We at the Trojan Heron embrace civic knowledge, and we feel it is our duty to challenge the sterotypes, prejudicial claims, and designations made by eco-phonies and eco-bigots, even when (or especially when) such challenges conflict with the prevailing societal and cultural norms here; since we very strongly believe that our existing community standards do not live up to the definition of a free and open society, much less a scientific one.

Almost every day, events here seem to bear that out.


  1. Hey, I watched that PC meeting. PC Members-for-Life Thomas and Dehlendorf and triple-threat Scientist/Attorney/Future Planner Hale proceeded to lecture us about the ultimate "Butterfly Effect"--one house anywhere in the shoreline will have an owner breathing oxygen, disrupting the life cycle of insects, who will no longer become feed for forage fish, who will no longer feed orcas whales, so all shoreline is critical areas. (I THINK that's what they said.) So no doubt the shoreline-residents among the PC members will soon be moving their homes off the shoreline (and preferably off the islands all together, for the sake of the orcas.)

  2. Dehlendorf's (et al) straw poll designations devoid of definition destroy debate and devolve discourse into disorganized dogmatic dementia disguised as determination and duty.

  3. This isn't exactly on topic, but can someone tell me what "Ed", the husband of the beloved lead planner does?? I looked at the county website and his job title is "utility manager".

    Utilities huh? Like the extensive county wide sewer system? The county water system? Wait, those are town utilities and all the county stuff is private well and septic. Maybe they mean the power, phone and cable?? What other utilities are there??

    Oh yea, we have stormwater "utility". Wait, didn't Public Works pawn that off to CDP??

    Just trying to figure out what these people do.

  4. On the "free speech issue",

    Mr. Carlson, You sir, are a great american. Please keep up your efforts. We have your back. More people than you know.

  5. hmmm, And the lead planner has a boat w/a great big propeller that goes around and around in the water disrupting plant and animal life and killing cajillions of microscopic sea creatures who comprise the bottom of the food chain and she is breathing oxygen on that boat the WHOLE time. Egads!

  6. One storm water utility that looks like it could use some active management is festering and burbling behind the Village Green Bandshell in Eastsound. We, the little people, can only hope and pray that the Good Dr. Demento and his Friends will help us understand how this was all done for our betterment.

    This Really Important Project improved the environment by ripping out a pristine forest using money from Big Grants which we can't qualify for anyway because we're bad boys and girls and the State doesn't like us anymore.

  7. Mr. Hale also collects a hefty County paycheck as "Utilities Manager," responsible for the stormwater utility that has not gotten off the ground (and shouldn't, but that for another time) and some other utility (transit? affordable housing?).