Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Iceberg Government

Who runs this County? Is it the people we elect? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Many of the posts on this blog present evidence of how this County operates. We've shown emails of public officials and contractors conspiring to avoid public participation. We've seen State officials tell whopping lies. We have accounts from former citizen-committee members about being led around by the nose by staff and consultants.  We've watched consultants dodge questions and ignore evidence contradictory to their recommendations. We continue to hear double-talk, such as the State contending it has no authority over the CAOs yet the Council uses them as a scare tactic. Latest case in point, we currently hear some existing Council members saying that they have to pass the CAOs otherwise the State will slap a building moratorium on us.

A building moratorium? For what? As a penalty for all the horrible pollution here?

Threats. Sometimes our government seems to be nothing more than a network of bullies insisting that the public be ignored. Along those lines, the latest veiled threat from the Friends came out in the past few days. You can read Kyle Loring's buzzword-laden diatribe here, which combines several environmental themes shotgun style in an effort to strike a chord with the public on something ... anything. Having trouble getting traction on your CAO position?  Mix in a little coal outrage and re-launch.

Let's look at one of Loring's CAO comments:
San Juan County is on the verge of adopting one of the weakest critical areas ordinances in the Puget Sound region. The ordinance’s buffers are designed to allow 40 percent of all local pollution into our streams, lakes, and seas.
This is akin to saying we have the weakest air pollution laws in the region because 100% of our air is allowed to flow unfiltered into our lungs and homes. It's like saying that we have the weakest food laws in the region because we are allowed to eat 100% of the produce from our gardens. We have some of the weakest standards for public responsibility in the region because we let our grant-funded local environmental non-profits baldly misinform and conspire against us.

When our local smoking-gunners can't rely on authenticated facts or sound logic, they rely on their network to back them up. That brings us to "iceberg government," which is the term I've coined for the unseen people and organizations who really wield power here. They drown out and "out-consensus" the views that conflict with their bureaucratic self-interests. They freeze out the public good.

As a summa graduate of Bowdoin, Loring might claim some familiarity with icebergs (Bowdoin alums are known as "polar bears"), and he might even claim some experience with environmental truth. Here's a clip from Bowdoin's Kent Island Research Station from 1998.
Kyle Loring ('98) conducted an experiment to test whether false eye-spots taped to the back of a hard hat truly deter Herring Gulls from dive-bombing. To my surprise, after exposing himself to daily systematic walks through the gull colony, he found no difference in the frequency of attacks or the number of direct hits with or without eye-spots -- it appears that we may have been fooling ourselves into thinking that the eye-spots conferred some protection. He did document, however, that most attacks come from behind (60%) or the side (35%) vs. the front.
Maybe his research gave Loring insight into how to conduct attacks regarding the CAOs (i.e., approach issues obliquely, from behind or from the side, not head on), but I prefer to think that it might offer a clue as to why Loring's arguments customarily lack cogency (too many blows to the head?).


  1. Isn't Rawson a tribal employee? Of the Tulalips? Didn't they threaten to sue us if we didn't do what they wanted to the land use regs? Or was that the Swinomish? It's rather cheeky to demand that property owners out here remove shoreline homes and armoring and close our low-lying roads to protect "their fish" when, in order to get here, we have to go through the Tulalip Miles of Malls (impervious surface, what?) and past the Swinomish Casino and Lodge (built right in the estuary.

  2. According to Loring..."The ordinance’s buffers are designed to allow 40 percent of all local pollution into our streams, lakes, and seas." Oh, really? Where does the other 60 percent go? Where did this bar licensed attorney get his facts? From Friends? Oh yes, this is more Friends propaganda and lies.

    News break for Mr. Loring ... buffers do absolutely nothing to remove contaminants from the environment. The County has not modeled one single "pollutant".

    I truly hope that County Government got the message, based on the outcome of Props 1, 2, and 3and the decapitation of two sitting Council members -

    The message is -


    If all six Council members had run for re-election to office, all six members would have ALL received your pink slips to find another job.

    The public has spoken: We do not trust you, you have failed the community during the 6 memember experiment, you do not listen, you do not respond, and you are wasteful of public resources including the millions wasted on solid waste, stormwater, and other matters relating to the community.

    With regard to the community, Here's the message for Planning and Public Works - get off of your high horses - we're not as stupid as you think.

    Check the polls. At the first opportunity, we'll boot out the other four if you all don't get the memo to straighten out your acts!

    And to the outgoing Council, please do not shaft San Juan County with your mickey mouse, unnecessary CAO revisions - and please, on behalf of our community, flip Ecology the Bird.

  3. Dont mind if I second that notion!

  4. I'm all in. This person is right and it's more than a suggestion at this point to Council Members that you finally listen.

    Toss the huge waste of paper, and your wasted time, along with that thing called the "Draft SJC CAO" into the recycle bin. San Juan Sani will make a fortune and everyone will be happier and a whole lot quieter. (Well maybe.)

    And, you must end employment of many people and tell special interest groups to shove off.


  5. Why is it that every comment in support of the current CAO draft is in some way way related to self interest? This turkey that need to be roasted, Loring, collects his pay check from FOSJ. Maybe you thought he was a regular citizen speaking feely? (No, he is a mail box lawyer for FOSJ)

  6. So true! Mr. Loring is being paid to have his opinion. And he seems way over his head trying to decipher any science. And gee, all those sunny afternoons trying....poor guy. Maybe that's why he's a lawyer.
    He an Janet Alderton might make a cute couple! They samespeak. Nonsense w/authority!

  7. What seems so simplistic is that the Council seems to have forgotten that there is an efficient level for everything.

    In the normative sense, perhaps not an optimal level, but an efficient one. Yes, even the most die-hards must admit their is an efficient level of pollution. If not, and you disagree, that is fine, but please do not be a hypocrite and exhale.

    There is also an efficient level to regulation. That is where the marginal costs of regulation equal the benefits. The all or nothing approach of the Council is going end in years of running a rear guard action which will be costly, divisive and, ultimately, counterproductive.

    Is it worth it? The proposed CAO is going to cost hundreds of thousands in litigation -- and for what gain?

    The true bottom line for this is simple. The CAO is going to be nothing but a wealth transfer from the public coffers to private attorneys. Do they really want this to happen? Is this what we want to spend money on? Really.

    I am, anti-litigiously, Nick Power.

  8. Right on! Kyle & friends have bossed/bullied & berated us enough. Throw 'em all out along with their harebrained rhetoric.

  9. The CRC amendments were manipulative, silly and a product of extremist Democrat and Republican interests standing cheek to jowl seeking party control over county politics once again.

    That combined with the quite understandable and self-seeking desire for one sixth of the population to command one third of the council. Some are not even sure that's legal so get ready for more fun and games in the months to come.

    The campaign preyed on the general public disgust over most sitting members of the current council, amplified by national public disgust over government in general these days amplified further by scapegoat hunting that comes with economic hard times as history shows us.

    And the fact that the young charter was hobbled by a groaning board CAO regulatory feeding trough unhindered by the half-wit personalities that got themselves on the new council combined with the shadow government this Trojan Heron article rips the lid off its no wonder that the county electorate, assisted by the 90% of Lopezians who know an opportunity when the see one, have chosen to run madly off in all directions.

    Yes, The People Hath Spoken. And this winter will be long remembered if and when the dust settles down. But one thing is almost certain. The time for change has come, and we're gonna re-arrange some of the deck chairs on the HMS San Juan Titanic that is heading straight for that Iceberg.

    Deploy the torches and pitcforks, the tar and feathers. The masses are annoyed.

  10. Geez, I love America. The electoral process worked! We didn't want to do it, but we had an obligation to do it. The recent outcome of Props 1, 2, and 3 and disenchantment with two of the incumbent Council members is about as close to Revolution as we can get - without carrying symbolic torches to the Legislative Building. Council: Please hear this - that heap of paper that you call a revised CAO is "fundamentally flawed", and we're not taking it. The public is speaking to you with actions not words, so take out your ear plugs or put in your hearing aids, whatever the case, get back to work, and "can" your revised CAO work product. Do you hear us Council? Probably not if recent history is any example of your abilities to listen and comprehend. We're (the voters) all so very diappointed to see the Council led around by Ego, and Ecology using a rope attached to the cow-nose ring. Think! Be Independent. The Local governing institution is in the position to blow off Ecology because in a word it would be very politically incorrect for Olympia to do anything other than to facilitate rescusitation of the CAO Titanic document.

  11. Can I get a hi-res version of that iceberg illustration? I love it and would like to use it and possibly make a poster out of it.

    I hesitate to leave my email, but you can contact me via one of those many organizations I control you with.


  12. Welcome to the Trojan Heron comment section, Kit. I'm afraid the only available image is the one available by right-clicking the image.

  13. Hey TH: Make sure to demand royalties for reproduction.

    To KR: Think on your sins.

  14. You are missing the United Nations Agenda 21 conspiracy

  15. ECK -- Thanks. Great Image. I will credit you when i use it.

    Anonymous -- Well, I won't respond to anonymouses. Sorry.

  16. Class is the new race.

    I am Nick Power, and I have no class.

  17. Hey Kit (if indeed it be) you just did. See the problem yet?

  18. Kit Rawson? Sorry, don't believe it. The man has no sense of humor.

  19. You forgot the puppet master extraordinaire, King Randy. You should draw him in hiding behind or under, but definitely steering, the iceberg. Or you could depict him at the helm of the ship about to smash into the berg. Either way.

  20. Mr. Rawson; please turn off the lights on your way out. (Take it seriously, baby, it's over for you and your whole pile of rotting bananas.)

  21. Actually considering the set up of coarse the council is not for the governed ? They are lead by the PA's office Jon Cain has said it again and again. We are only looking for obvious errors against the people. The PA who represent the strengthening of governing rule have no interest in supporting the ever weakening general public at large. It is a setup has been from the start. If a council was representing the citizens interests they would have demanded equal representation for the people sitting to loose their interests in civil and property rights. County government has a stalked deck. Its way past time to end this game Im tired of playing fools

  22. Wow first this iceberg and then the new photo of The Honorable Senator up to his waste (sic). Well, mostly below. I guess. The timing is perfect. I can't stop laughing. Ocean Hero?

  23. While iceberg government is infuriating (and real), I think it's important to recognize that not everyone in government is part of the iceberg game. See the next post for an example. We need to encourage responsible public behavior wherever and whenever we find them. Personally, I have known many fantastic, hard-working, dedicated, and honest public servants. I feel fortunate to have known them.