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?).