Friday, September 21, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #47 - Incompetence & Bias

After watching the Council session yesterday, the conclusion that many have drawn is that our Council just doesn't get it.

At one point yesterday, Council Chair Miller even admitted that BAS was nothing more than "group-think," but it's clear they are going to follow it anyway ... even though they don't really even know what that means. They rely on Dr. Adamus to tell them. The Council voted numerous times yesterday to simply roll over and agree to virtually everything Dr. Adamus said. Fralick, Pratt, and Miller were particularly active in driving the out-of-control CAO bus, with Rich Peterson offering periodic objections that were ignored. As usual, Rosenfeld and Stephens were just along for the ride offered by Fralick, Pratt, and Miller.

At this point, the Council has come to identify so heavily with Dr. Adamus' scientific prowess that they believe "Adamus=BAS." Adamus begins every sentence with "According to Science," and I get the impression that Adamus could say, "According to Science, thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" and the Council would believe it were BAS.

Yesterday confirmed for many that we have extremists for Council members serving as acolytes for a charlatan "scientist" propped up by the lunatic fringe of Ecology. The Council never considers or makes reference to any comments or views except those expressed by Shireene Hale, Adamus, and on the margins, Deputy Prosecutor Cain. Cain has reduced his role to sitting next to Shireene Hale and acting like a pull-string doll, repeatedly saying that if the Council departs from "science" they will have to explain why. The Council interprets this to mean that they either follow whatever Adamus says or else explain themselves, which they are loathe to do. The entire show is a sycophantic corruption of process and science that has become the standard MO for this confederacy of dunces running our County.

The Planning Commission is largely ignored, community groups like the Common Sense Alliance are totally ignored, and the overwhelming outpouring of individual citizen comments are ignored. I would think that even a modicum of respect for the public process would cause our Council to at least recognize that public input has been received; and to comment as to why it is not being considered. But no. If recognized at all (as in a previous meeting on August 28), the only stakeholder groups mentioned are the Friends, Futurewise, and Ecology. The rest of us don't exist.

But I guess that's the real point. We don't exist. Tolerated for our legally-required 3-minutes of public testimony, they'd prefer that we all go away.

Yesterday, the Common Sense Alliance sent out a press release with their view of the situation and a set of recommendations. It makes a heck of a lot more sense than the views of our Council.
The Common Sense Alliance (CSA), a San Juan County-based community organization focused on environmental protection, community health, and economic vitality, yesterday submitted to the County Council its urgent recommendation that the County abandon its current proposed changes to our Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), because the proposal is scientifically and legally indefensible, and that the County instead affirm our existing CAO regulatory scheme, improve its enforcement, and develop a professional data collection and monitoring program.
The CSA recommendations constitute a sensible, compliant, and prudent way forward for our County, our environment, our economy, and our people. We recognize the success of the substantial public and private efforts by our citizens to protect our ecosystem. We acknowledge the significant testimony and factual evidence of our environment's health, while accepting that areas of uncertainty remain which may be clarified over time by monitoring of appropriate scale and quality.
The question that came to the minds of most of us as this process unfolded is “What is the problem”? To date, we have seen no scientifically supportable answer. Indeed, a few weeks ago, an eminent federal scientist testified before Council that our fish and wildlife habitat was “spectacular,” and that she could not think of anything that we were doing wrong. CSA agrees. Oft-repeated alarmist claims that humans in San Juan County are directly responsible for material harm to salmonids and orcas have no creditable scientific underpinning, and the Council should recognize that those claims no more warrant extensive, expensive, and burdensome new CAO regulations than the Department of Ecology’s oft-repeated claim that the volume of toxics washing into Puget Sound from stormwater was equivalent to an Exxon Valdez oil spill every two years (recently retracted), or Ecology’s claims that fish kills in Hood Canal are the fault of humans (retracted just this week).
CSA urges the Council instead to recognize that the current process is irredeemably tainted, the existing product is fatally flawed, and that it is time to move ahead to obtain the information we need for rational rules for the protection of our environment.

We invite you to review our recommendations at this link, and to urge Council to pursue them.

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