Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Countdown to CAOmageddon: Flaw #5 - The Bigger Picture

Using the last post as an entree into a broader look at the CAOs and GMA, consider the following. Using the latest GMA population forecast from Washington's OFM, the four largest counties in the state (King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane) are projected to add more population than all the other 35 counties combined. King County, alone, will add a population figure greater than the entire population of San Juan County every year.

If "we" were really concerned about growth management, wouldn't anti-growth efforts be focused where the growth is?

And the Growth Management Act is a law under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce, not the Department of Ecology.  According to the Act [RCW 36.70a.050(1)],
The department [of commerce] shall consult with the department of agriculture regarding guidelines for agricultural lands, the department of natural resources regarding forest lands and mineral resource lands, and the department of ecology regarding critical areas.
That's the sum total of the statutory authority of the Department of Ecology under the GMA: consultation with the Department of Commerce.  Then why has Ecology been so intimately involved at the County level for every step? Why does Ecology threaten and bully communities like ours about the Growth Management Hearings Board when the GMA/CAO isn't even their program?  When we negligibly (de minimis) contribute to growth in the first place? Why do they spend time and money on a non-problem like us?

Ultimately, this whole affair seems to boil down to bureaucratic ambition, money, and coercion, not addressing real environmental problems. We are told that we initially opted into the GMA because of the promise of more state grants if we played along. These days, our Council members say that we have "lost millions" because we have not been in GMA compliance. They say we'll continue to lose if we fail to heed every word of Ecology on the CAOs.

The entire GMA resembles a Nigerian 419 scam where smaller communities like our own, seemingly always desperate for more money from the state, are willing to ante up for the false promise of riches down the line.  And our public officials keep falling for it ... probably because they're not playing with their own money.

1 comment:

  1. For several years I have been been gobsmacked by the doom of island population growth. Huh? What's that? Not that I want it here, but San Francisco has over eight hundred thousand living on less acreage than SJI. Wait, before you cast that off as a completely unrelated and obscene comparison SF does have a land mass items in common on SJI. Mostly surrounded by water and hilly.

    The point is that SJI has an a very,very low population and for those of you that want to keep it that way, that's OK, but you must understand that in order to maintain basic services, like schools and stores and such you need a reasonable population base.

    Saltspring Island in Canada is a bit bigger than SJI and has several thousand more people. My guess from a bit a reading is that Salt Spring residents are even more environmental than here...can you believe it...yet their island has almost no vacant shops, and the place just feels a whole lot more with it.

    With the vision of a Howie Rosenfeld why do we even have a County Fair? Won't everyone be glued to a computer screen in a few years? Cows, Horses, Sheep, Pigs, production of food stuffs, who needs that crap, we have the internet...well until the power goes out... right Howard?

    So is this a hatchet job on Mr. Rosenfeld. Not at all. He needs no help with that.