Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Countdown to CAOmageddon: Flaw #56 - Council Doesn't Give a Damn

This blog has talked about many instances where our CAO process has gone astray, but I was reminded of how early this corruption began when I happened to look back at the public participation plan for the CAOs from the time when the update process was initiated back in 2006. One of the first components of the public participation process was described as:
March 31, 2006 the County and Friends of the San Juans sponsored a one day seminar on updating critical areas ordinances. Speakers included representatives of State and local agencies with relevant expertise.
Back then, the County didn't even try to hide their association with the Friends. They openly memorialized it in their plans. These days, instead of showing joint advocacy with the Friends, the County prefers to practice virulent dismissiveness of everyone else. No matter what the criticisms of the prospective CAOs, the Council just presses on, ignoring it all. They put their heads down and hope for the best.

For example, the Council has not considered the Minority Reports of the Planning Commission, and doesn't appear to have any intention of doing so. Perhaps that's because the Minority Reports have been just as critical of the CAO process as the CAOs. For example, the Minority Report for the Fish & Wildlife CAO section drew the following conclusions.
  1. Public participation in the Planning Commission Process was suppressed.
  2. The end result was a foregone conclusion.
  3. No consideration was given to potential economic consequences of the FWHCAO draft.
  4. The positions reflected in the Planning Commission draft are based on invalid analysis and legal conclusions.
  5. The Planning Commission draft applies buffer restrictions in a manner inconsistent with and unsupported by the BAS that has been adopted for the CAO review.
  6. The Planning Commission draft imposes restrictions on land use that are inconsistent with the GMA requirement to protect rural character.
  7. The majority approach makes it impossible to monitor compliance with the no net loss criterion.
  8. The majority approach improperly cuts corners just to get it done.
The report ends with the following statement:
The oft repeated shibboleth that "this will all have to be worked out in court" since "the county will be sued no matter what" is no reason for failing to conduct the difficult analysis required by the WAC and consistency with the GMA and the Comp Plan.
The Minority Report is just one more indication that the County isn't even trying to get it right anymore. The Council is just going through the motions to get the CAO passed, and they no longer give a damn.


  1. Maybe the health department is giving out free Xanax pills to county staff and council-members.

    With a therapist making the rounds advising: "Just remember to say 'Thank you for your input, I too am concerned, basically I completely agree, I'm very sorry. I wish I could do more. It's out of my hands.' "

    Rinse and repeat. Ignore and move on.

  2. The tragedy here is that this could end up bankrupting the County. Simply the intergovernmental risk pool does not cover property claims arguing takings or even diminution in value due to legislative action. That the Council shrugs and just says, "Well, we gave it our best shot, better pass it before any elected challengers are seated" just is beyond absurd. First, it is simply stoopid to think that a judicial resolution of this matter will be a wholesale redraft. Rather courts will hear case after case, (read tens of thousands of dollars after tens of thousands of dollars)to redress the limited claim before it brought by landowners. Second, it is just profoundly undemocratic to rush legislation to avoid newcomers to the Council especially when it is agreed by the council that the challengers are running on more or less a referendum ticket on the CAO/SMP.

    I am Nick Power.

  3. For months many have been asking how a preemptive strike (lawsuit) could be made to stop the CAO process, or back then, at least slow it down.

    Seems there is none that could work, no matter how frivolous. Not sure if WA has laws regulating "slap suits."

    Agreed, this whole thing has gotten very depressing, and more than a little crazy.

    Does anyone know the status of a Patty Miller complaint? Miller did jump in the chair and kick the process into high gear. Why?

  4. Who knows why Patty does anything? How many times have I seen her nail an issue and clarify why no one should vote for it ... and then promptly vote for it.

    She ran unopposed, conducted no campaign, wasn't compelled to state her stand on anything. After sitting on every advisory group that would appoint her over the years.

    One gets the sense she was quietly cultivated and navigated into office to help make important and difficult decisions the public would be too confused and greedy to comprehend.

  5. That's exactly right. Patty asks the right questions, clarifies the absurdities, and then votes for the absurdities she's just clarified. It's as tho' she has no choice in the matter. I wonder if she does?

  6. I guess I just don't understand. The TH has the appropriate headline: "Council doesn't give a damn."

    I'm a stupid person who thought the David Hyde report would result in such things as Ms. Hale saying: "My Bad." I did not have this information and now that I do, I see we need to adjust our CAO approach like a whole bunch.

    In short, the Hyde report clearly and without question explains we folks in SJC can do almost nothing to effect the waters or greater environment of this area of the Sound. (I am still waiting for the full dress line up of the ocean science people aligned with the "Friends" to pipe up and refute any of David's comments.) (It has been my experience, however, that Tina Wiley- Echeivera --yes I've got her name totally wrong---is going to give you HONEST stuff.)(Mike K---on the other hand, well maybe not so much.)

    So did the Council dismiss this completely reasonable non political report as a waste of their time to consider? Yes, they did!

    So I'm reaching out to the shrinks out there. What for heavens sake is the motivation of our council?

    I think it has something to do with power...I'm going to be anything I want to be...Patty Miller, to I've got my agenda...and I'm in my glide pattern...the two up for reelection.

    "Doesn't Give A Damn" well, I think that's being polite.

  7. Maybe if we could understand the motivation of Patty Miller we could understand what she is driving for.

    Hello, Council Person Miller: What's going on with you? We're not a lynch mob, we just don't understand why you're attached to stuff that has been shown over and over to be nonsense. Your complete disregard for public comment has to be driven by something; what is it? Folks think you have a fine mind and we all expected you to be a great Council Person, sorry, but to the average Orcas Island person you ain't what they expected.

    Some say you have to vote the way you do. Tell us why is that? You aspire to higher elected office and want to look as a blazing field marshal to those voters? You think the State tells you what to do and you do it no matter that you know it is absurd crap.

    Tell us, please tell us, we are down on our knees here.

    Really, Ms. Miller, anything you want to say would be welcome if it's the real you.

  8. lookks like Gang related activity to me, should be punished as such

  9. "serious question" The rights being claimed over my property and my home

    Is this claim being taken like adverse possession by the authorities
    where I have some time to fight for my rights?
    Or am I required to file suit withing a certain period of time to even retain capacity to defend my rights?
    any comments by our lawyer friends?

  10. In the current Sounder online, Ed Sutton has an opinion piece about the CRC and he says that "Patty Miller asked the most pertinent question, "Did you define the problem?"

    This is an important question to ask before any public policy is changed...and thank you Patty for asking it about the CRC. The incredible irony is that members of the public have been asking her and the rest of the Council that question for several YEARS regarding "what is the problem you are attempting to address with a complete change in the CAO land use rules....and she and her fellow Council members REFUSE to answer it. So here is another example where Patty asks the right question in one instance but stunningly ignores the asking of it in another equally important public policy decision.

    So perhaps we are to conclude that the CAO is not really about trying to create good public policy or the environment (else she would "define the problem" woulnd't she?). Perhaps the unwillingness to define the CAO problem is because there is no problem. The CAO is not about solving a problem, just as the CRC review turned out to not be about solving a problem. In both cases, it would appear that the proposed huge changes in public policy are not to solve a problem as the law requires before you change the law, but to advance a not too hidden agenda being pushed and funded by the Friends of the San Juans and their friends at Puget Sound Partnership (and its offspring--Futurewise and San Juan Initiative and other ngo's they have created, funded, and then sunseted and sometimes revived--SJI). This is a Council that has been bought by promises (and delivery) of grant money and study money (Norm Dicks as former head of the Senate Appropriations Committee a couple of years ago arranged that $50 million be given to PSP which at the time was run by his son, who was ousted a year later for mismanagement. Some of that money has found its way to our County and the Council is impressed. They must reason: the public has never delivered money to us like that!! We the public just pay our taxes to pay their salaries and great benefits.

    So at the end of the day we have a Council that has decided that money talks, and the voice of the people who they were elected to represent, does not matter at all, no matter how hard we try to talk and be heard.

    So the big question now is: what will we do about it?

  11. What we have now is a Council willing to approve a CAO that oppresses the common citizens of this county, a CAO that will certainly be challenged in court.

    What we have now is a Council willing to spend the tax dollars extracted from the common citizens of this County to defend the minority extremist views of the Friends/Puget Sound Partnership in court, when the CAO is challenged by our citizens.

    Just one question: wouldn't you rather have a Council that was willing to spend tax dollars defending the citizens of this county *against* these special interest groups?

  12. Answer: YES! And lets look at that a little bit. In the last County Fund raising tax increase election our elected folks trotted out that sacred cow, "Public Safety" a sure winner! (Meanwhile I think most of us believe there are going to be fund transfers going on that will never see the light of day.)

    Anyway, without any serious opposition albeit substandard reporting, standard in this place, has it that no one could be found to say a negative word on the tax increase...anyway, it passed. But look at the voting!

    On Orcas it failed, on Lopez it passed by an inch or two, only on San Juan where most public employees live did it get the bail out. (You do me...I will do you)

    So the connection here like the solid waste issue, the voters lack of respect and lack of support for County Government I think is clear.

    I could get Howie reelected if he paid me, but he would have to pay me one hell of a lot!

    The most skilled political operative is faced with some really damning stuff. The snore is NOT the biggest problem.

    Come on Ms. Miller, you tell us, tell us why you folks are off the rails on this foolish unsupported nonsense that is going to cost me 400K of my net worth.

  13. In general, it seems to me, the people on San Juan are ignorant of what's going on. They haven't had a personal crisis to wake them up to the reality of the "Friends" agenda. I would encourage everyone to share what they know w/any of their San Juan Island friends and help to open their eyes. The majority of them are ignorantly and happily sleeping oh so peacefully with their imaginary knowledge that the CC is protecting their "environmennnnntttt. zzzzzzzzz....."

  14. Holy mother of God: Read the letter from Patty Miller in the Journal rejecting the CRC proposals which are of course dead meat and will come in at the 30-40% mark. BUT what Patty states a complete lie, I'm sorry girl, but you are not telling the truth, you have not, and do not have any relation to us folks down at the curb. (Street Level)

    You make NO effort to read/connect/understand/ the reality of stuff you seemly rubber stamp.

    You are toast, lady, your statements in the Journal are hogwash and I'm pretty sure you know it.

    PS: This criticism of you comes from someone who agrees the CRC stuff is a no go.