Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Question to the Friends

In response to Councillor Miller's email (previous post), the Trojan Heron sent the following email to the Friends. We will keep you updated.

Ms. Buffum,

Please see below. Do the Friends have any plans to file a complaint against Council Chair Miller's alleged activities in a wetland? Do you have any plans to visit the property or investigate the matter?

Respectfully, Trojan Heron Newsblog

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Patty Miller <pattymiller@centurytel.net>
Date: Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Response to your inquiry
To: trojanheron@gmail.com

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the concern raised on your website.

My property in Olga does have a number of wetlands. Over the years I have had buildings built and cleared a small portion of land. I have obtained the building, storm water, and forest practices permits required for these projects. Each of these projects have required wetlands assessments at varying levels and thus I have consulted with several wetland experts to learn more about the wetlands and to inform how I develop my property. Additionally I allowed the County to assess and inventory the Category II wetlands as part of the work to develop the possible wetlands map. I do not believe that I am doing any work in a regulated wetland or its buffer. The work that is being questioned is a small project in an area next to an old road/trail that we use to get to the back portion of the property and does not include any filling or bulldozing. I believe this work is well outside any buffer associated with these wetlands. If any citizen has a concern about my conduct I encourage them to file a complaint with the County's Community Development and Planning department. I have tried to learn and live by the laws developed in San Juan County and expect that I would be held accountable to them. We have a process that is intended to identify and resolve these issues. This is the most appropriate and constructive process to follow.


Patty Miller


  1. Seems it might also be interesting to file a complaint with the County, as Chairman Patty suggests.

  2. Of course the "friends" won't file a complaint as none of us has the big bucks to pay them to do so as was the case with Charles Dalton.

  3. For all that schadenfreude may be satisfying, all this entirely misses the point--parse Ms. Miller's statement a little closer, she has hired all the relevant and requisite experts and so is in the clear. And she doubtless is. But that just underscores the biggest problem with all this insanity. At a certain financial level, all ecological/wetlands issues go away. The "rules" that Pravda (SJIslander) and others like to hammer on about, simply do not apply to those with deep enough pockets. Look at the newly constructed dock at the old Fowler farm on Shaw--that dock violates any number of "rules" and guidelines (over eelgrass, non community, etc) but It went in nonetheless and went in fast. So if I go out and terraform a wetland, even to improve it, and I would get crucified. For those in the Patty's economic strata, all these rules are just a minor annoyance and another cost of doing business. That is the real scandal here, and might explain why our current rogues gallery of council members are so danged cavalier about all these new hoops. To take it a step further, that mentality is a prime example of the persistent notion that process is more important than outcome, ie go ahead and shred the wetland as long as a pet expert has sanctioned it, and that paperwork is more important than reality, ie work to actually improve a wetland cannot be done without reams of paper and outrageous expense. And for more commentary on that, I would refer you to the Phillip Howard essay a few postings back.

  4. Very well put. How do normal people navigate this maze? They don't. They can't. They just have to give up. Meanwhile, many of the ideas that "normal" people have about integrating with nature to the benefit of both people and nature (e.g., permaculture, local food movements) become jeopardized. Practitioners have to live almost like outlaws or bootleggers of days of yore (see OysterGate post), and yet they know more about what makes nature tick than anyone else.

  5. What Patty Miller is doing means nothing and this reaction to what she is doing is all a waste of time.

    This woman could dig up and reconstruct her entire property and it would mean next to nothing. We all know this.

    All this is the result of anger at authority (Miller) and I think most of us have trouble controlling that anger. (The swamped County Staff suddenly has time to condemn Consignment Treasures?)

    Dig on dear Patty! But, stop F-ing with the rest of us!

  6. Patty doesn't say she actually had wetlands studies done...she says she "consulted" with various wetlands folks to learn about them...that is a totally different thing. Were actual studies required?

    She says she "doesn't believe" she is doing any work in a 'regulated' wetland...but it looks like it if the map is correct...and how did she come to her belief? She also "believes" it is well outside any buffer....is it?

    She says no filling or bulldozing was done, but didn't she rent an excavator? That's a pretty heavy duty piece of equipment.

  7. When did the "County Staff" "Condemn Consignment Treasures".??

    Let's at least keep it real.

    You can say what you want, but that is simply not true.

    How the county works, you need to fill out a request for code enforcement. They have the forms online I think. Someone needs to come forward and do this. I don't have 1st hand knowledge. Anyone on Orcas?? Steve??

  8. I don't know what the views of others may be, but my interest is with the people who make public policy and law. I think our Councillors are doing a terrible job of it. As for staff, I have a problem with the staff who assist our elected officials in making terrible policy and law, such as Shireene. In combination with the consultants, this gaggle of policy-makers have put forth ruinous proposals, ignored questions, and cloaked themselves in eco-purity. It is detestable.

    I believe many staff, including enforcement staff, are trying to cope with these people just like the rest of us. I don't know, but I would like to think that many staff want someone to clean house at the top as badly as the rest of us want it.

    I also think that it is easy to hold grudges against decent un-hypocritical people who have the means to build docks, big houses, or whatever. That's natural, but again, for me it isn't that some people are more financially successful and able to cope with the insanity. It is that our policy/law makers are constructing a society that is pointlessly hard on the working middle class ... because our policy/law makers are falling victim to the well-funded eco-pressure tactics of self-serving eco-hypocrites interested in their own self-aggrandizement

    For me, it all comes back to the guys at the top, their phony eco-courtiers, and the well-oiled money/grant machine that keeps it all going ... and going ... and going.

    As far as someone filing a complaint, who knows if that will happen, but I guess it's like the old "if a tree falls in a forest" situation. If a Councillor fills in a wetland, and there is no Friend around to complain about it, was the wetland ever really there at all?

    One would think that a sworn public official would almost have the duty of reporting themselves.

  9. When did the County condemn Consignment Treasures?

    Lovell's public posture to uproot and move the entire operation to Sutton Road telegraphs the intent pretty clearly.

    Was there staff input and/or recommendation?

    The smart money would say absolutely.

    Time to come back to earth.

  10. Where's Patty's wetland delineation map. If I were to go into Planning for a permit the Planning/Permitting staff will instruct me to provide the County with a wetland delineation map even though Adamus' wetland map is garbage as County staff and residents know. The PA would require me to obtain a report to delineate the wetland and the buffer. The PA will not require a Council member to live by the same rules.