Saturday, September 15, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #42 - Gang Green Tactics

Marginalize all opposition. Confuse by using soft-sounding, technical jargon. Don't talk about negative consequences. Rely on poor-quality, incomplete, and cherry-picked science. Then wash it all down with a heavy dose of consensus. That's how you get a plan approved, and planning is everything to gang green.

Here is an official statement from the Department of Ecology on how to put together a committee. It appears in a paper about the Shoreline Management process, but the same could be said for the CAOs:
Selecting a Committee
Committee members should represent a cross section of interest groups and public values. However, all committee members should have experience in working toward consensus. “Radicals” or “extremists” who cannot work in a group setting should be passed over for individuals with similar values who can develop constructive solutions to satisfy opposing interests.
The rest of the paper essentially talks about how to manipulate both the committee and the public at large. Using these rules, our County constituted a Technical Advisory Committee for our Shoreline Management Update, so those rules are at work here in our County.

The planners in charge of our CAO and SMP update (Shireene Hale and Colin Maycock) are both certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), which is a certification offered by the American Planning Association (APA). The APA is an organization that is very VERY focused on wordsmithing.  They've even offered a "Glossary for the Public," which starts off by saying:
Given the heightened scrutiny of planners by some members of the public, what is said -- or not said -- is especially important in building support for planning.
"Building support for planning?" Shows you where their heads are. Committees and plans have literally taken over our lives instead of commerce, free association, and environmental protection. Committees and plans are the weapons of choice of gang green, or maybe it's better to say that it's their habitat. When we create more committees and more planning initiatives, we are undoing ourselves (and doing nothing for the environment either). The further we go down this path, the worse it will get. We will literally be planned out of existence by the insiders, with no benefit to the environment.

I was educated by Keynesians, so whenever the mention of Milton Friedman comes up, I have to admit that I bristle a bit, but I cannot think of a better example of the differences between planning and free enterprise than the short video below. Bravo Milton Friedman! We have completely lost sight of the fact that planning is not necessary to achieve desirable outcomes.

Watch the video and compare the power of the pencil to the power of planning. Assuming we even need more environmental protection here in the islands (and there isn't much evidence of that), then ask yourself, "If free enterprise can produce a pencil (or a car), why can't it produce a clean environment." The truth is that it can, and if we need more environmental protection, we'd be a lot better off if we got rid of the rigged system of planners, bureaucrats, and profit-maximizing non-profits. Have you ever wondered why the Land Bank and our County are facing high debt and financial hard times, but the Friends of the San Juans are flush with cash?

Things that make you go hmmm.


  1. A bit off topic, but consider the mouth-watering allure of organically manufactured pink slime. Yes.

    Imagine the Island Grown Farmers Coop getting into the game, promoted by a grant awarded to the Agriculture Resource Committee. The product could be sold right here in Friday Harbor's own Brickwork's Farmers Market sponsored by the Ag Guild. It would help pay off the debt burden of the building loan.

    Think this is crazy? Think again. It's called Green Goo, or Green Slime and its the completely natural, nay sir, even artisanal, hand-crafted version of of pink slime.

    But, its hard to get the natural version down to a fine art as one organic beef producer puts it: "“Sometimes you just can’t imitate the lingering aftertaste of a really nice cephalosporin."

  2. I suspect most people have problems planning their own life and the lives of their family. This alone would be quite an achievement. How on earth can anyone possibly plan for thousands or millions of people and families? These commissars should all be ridiculed and chastised. We should never allow them the cover of "good intentions" either.

  3. What's wrong with planning? Bet it takes planning to manufacture pencils. Deming 101. Plan-Do-Check-Act(PDCA). Or, as Ben Franklin said "Failing to plan is planning to fail." So, why give planning the black eye, just because those nearly fraudulent social engineers at central party headquarters imagine that what they are doing, is planning, because whatever it is, it ain't workin'

  4. Well there's planning and then there is PLANNING. A big part of the problem is that "they" have given double meanings to everything, so that something sounds innocent, but isn't. There's planning that's necessary for good management of projects, and then there is government PLANNING of every aspect of our lives, and I think that kind of central planning does deserve a black eye.

  5. I'm pretty sure that Colin would be the first to clarify that Shireene has no AICPA credential--in fact, her credentials are startling thin, particularly for some who speaks ex cathedra on everything from "science" to "engineering" to "law." She reportedly has a environmental health-type degree--so fashionable in the 80s, so general--and is an official Registered Environmental Health Specialist, which seems to be what used to be called a public health sanitarian--food handling, like that. No wonder she had ahd so much trouble with the very difficult concepts at play here: biology, engineering, toxics fate and transport, legal rights of property owners, and the need to write rules that can be read and UNDERSTOOD by the poor schlubs bound by them.

  6. Ooops, meant AICP credential, though clearly there's no CPA training evident in any of this mess. What's it already cost? Who knows? What is it going to cost? Who knows?

  7. Thank you to the last commenter for correcting me. You are right, Shireene's email signature lists her as an EHS, not an AICP. Colin is an AICP.

  8. OK, lets all talk real talk. AICP, CPA, EHS. This is insider jargon, not worthy of the thinking people here. Let's have no more of this.

  9. Things that make you go Hmmmm.....
    I often follow the TH links to flesh out my understanding of arcane planning/scientific jargon and history. I was initially surprised at the music video link, but then my mind started working. These people are far slinkier, more attractive and are better dancers than any SJC electeds or staff I have ever seen. Our government has a lot to learn from these people. Perhaps Stan Mathews could start rapping his endless spins--set to a thumping beat the populace would be much less likely to notice the factual omissions and tortured, circular logic. A well oiled county dance troupe could do wonders to relieve tensions at controversial hearings. Maybe we could hire a washed-up mixologist, an ex-Beastie Boy perhaps, to funkify our desperately stodgy AV section. Can you imagine how much livelier staff testimony would be cut with samples from the golden age of hip-hop? Who knows?, we just might find some leisure-suited dinosaur who combines musical know how with a weakness for central planning and endless process. Such a person would have nothing but advancement opportunities with SJC. As long as we have to go through this nightmare, we might as well get our money's worth.