Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Déjà Vu All Over Again

This post will touch on a couple of déjà vu items. To start off, the first day of candidate registrations ended Wednesday, and we've got some familiar faces running for office again. CAO aficionados Lovel Pratt and Jamie Stephens are hoping that county-wide voters will overlook their budget-busting, CAO-approving ways and return them to office. If you like grant-fixated, never-big-enough, Olympia-oriented, DC-pandering, partisan-box-checking, community-ignoring, noblesse-oblige, we-know-what's-good-for-you government, you'll love the records, positions, and supporters of those candidates. The only person missing from Pratt's society-pages campaign committee seems to be Lady Bracknell. For a list of all the candidates who have registered so far, you can find it here.

The second déjà vu item has to do with a couple of U.S. Supreme Court cases that may have great relevance to the implementation of our freshly minted CAOs. Each case is being brought before SCOTUS by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF). PLF has a great record before the Supreme Court (6 won out of 7 argued), most recently winning a wetland case for the Sacketts of Priest Lake, Idaho.

These SCOTUS cases are déjà vu items because, in both cases, the narratives of know-it-all government overreach have become all-too-familiar. One case is Koontz vs. St. Johns River Water Management District. In that case, the Water Management District conditioned a development permit for Koontz that would have required him to place a conservation easement over his land and perform mitigation off-site by restoring properties not owned by Koontz and miles away from his property. When Koontz refused the permit conditions, the Water District denied his development permit. Oral arguments for this extraction case are scheduled for January 15, 2013.

The other SCOTUS case is potentially even more relevant to our CAOs, and it attempts to do for Corps of Engineers' jurisdictional determinations what the Sackett case did for EPA administrative rulings. Translation: can the government declare any piece of property "waters of the United States" (i.e., a wetland or stream) simply because they say so, without offering any proof that there is relatively permanent water on the property? 

Peter and Francois Smith live in the high desert of New Mexico without any surface water on their property. Nevertheless, they were ordered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop cleaning up their land because they were dredging and filling "waters of the United States" and impacting the Rio Grande River, which lies 25 miles away. Although the Smiths live in the desert, the logic used by the regulatory agencies in that case is nearly identical to arguments we have heard in San Juan County (and surrounding counties too such as Island and Whatcom County).

For more on the Smith case, watch the following video or read the linked article.


  1. I don't want to hear any badmouthing about Ruth Bader Ginsberg from right wing property types.

    She authored the majority opinion in the case that came out on New Mexico.

    As Supreme Court lore would have it, R.B. Ginsberg attended the Motzart opera "Cosi Fan Tutti"

    ''Cosi'' is the one about the two lotharios who make a bet that their girlfriends will be faithful, disguise themselves as Albanian soldiers, try to seduce each other's girlfriend and find that the women aren't faithful after all.

    It was suggested to Justice Ginsburg that perhaps this conceit was hard to reconcile with the sexual double standards of the 18th century, which were central to the plot and reflected in the traditional translation of the title: ''Never Trust a Woman.''

    Justice Ginsburg, replied that the Italian title, was in the third person plural. ''They are all like that'' would be a more accurate translation, she suggested. And so, she said, there was no reason to assume from the title that Mozart and his librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, approved of male infidelity any more than they approved of female infidelity, or that they thought women inherently more or less trustworthy than men.

    I suggest that the "cosi fan tutti" may well describe our own melodrama in the County.

    I am,Nick Power, and living proof that Motzart made me smarter.

  2. So what is going on here?

    From Lisa Byers campaign website under Endorsements tab:

    “I’ve been lucky to have worked with Lisa on several issues over the years. She is certainly a proven leader that has the experience and ability to bring people together in a constructive way.

    Lisa is a clear thinker, a powerful communicator and she understands the importance of listening to people in order to make good and lasting decisions.

    "Lisa’s experience working on a variety of community issues, both on Orcas and county wide, proves that she will be an excellent representative on the county council.”

    Tom Cowan, Lopez Island
    Former San Juan County Commissioner, founder of Derelict Fishing Gear Recovery, current member of Washington State Transportation Commission.

    A comment from a TH thread:

    Monster Mash said...
    I think of Tom Cowan as the Dr. Frankenstein of our local land-use and environmental policies. If there is an out-of-control cause or citizen committee related to land use or the environment, somehow Tom Cowan has played an instrumental role.

    -As Councilman, voted to fully plan under the GMA.
    -Father of the Marine Resources Committees and Northwest Straits
    -Long-time Land Bank Commissioner
    -CAO Committee facilitator and consultant
    -Consultant to the Department of Ecology and the County
    -Puget Sound Partnership Regional Liaison

    and I am sure there is more.

    As Dr. Frankenstein, it's fitting that he be Pratt's co-Chair. They will make beautiful monsters together. Together, they will reinforce the inanity of the meme of "family-wage jobs, protect the environment, sustainability, connections to Olympia." Note what is not said. There is no mention by Pratt of self-sufficiency, local control, self-reliance, self-determination, or budgetary discipline."

    Frankenstein is working for Lovell and endorsing Byers!
    Me thinks the " fix" is in and the Eco-Facists are mobilized to grab power and wage Eco- Jihad on us all!

  3. I hope all the candidates will begin to raise the kinds of issues addressed in this article and help facilitate an honest community discussion about our common future after the turn of the year.

    It seems like Lisa Byers has a real opportunity and a moral responsibility.

    She is well know for her facilitation work in the community and her skill sets are solid. For example, at the invitation of the County Council some time ago, Lisa organized and led a half day work session designed to allow "both sides" of the "CAO debate" to share views and look for common ground to help the Council in its work.

    However those sides got defined by Lisa's work session, both sides later on expressed real dissatisfaction with the process and lack of outcome. There was no work product.

    Basically there was no follow through. Of course no one at the time would have imagined that Lisa would facilitate such a meeting while harboring ambitions to run for public office. Perhaps at the time she did not.

    But in any event, there was no followup and because of that no benefit to the debate, time was wasted and good will squandered around a very hot issue dividing the community. That work session only served to pour gasoline on the fire.

    It is possible that the facilitator had no ability to ensure good follow-up to that Council work session. Perhaps not. Perhaps that was the the Council Chair paying lip service to public participation. But doesn't a good facilitator have the ethical responsibility to ensure a good process that includes analysis and closure, rather than to leave everything up in the air? Especially where community hot buttons are concerned?

    Was does Lisa think about all that? No one disputes her professional credentials as a community facilitator. But why would Lisa would be a willing party to an unfinished process that put her own professional and personal reputation at stake?

    Maybe Tom Cown from Lopez Island can help us understand.

  4. I am having my coffee this morning and feel a full-fledged panic attack forming!

    I frankly don't care that a candidate has years of "facilitation experience", or a background in history, sociology, and cartography like Lisa. Or no experience in anything like Lovell. Or years of voting for c__p like Stephens.

    We need candidates with business, science, engineering, economics backgrounds. Or years of experience doing something related to the problems we face going forward.

    It seems what gets you elected in ths county is "caring".
    The same BS that gets people elected all over. Promise that you can solve poverty, protect the environment, and give unicorns and rainbows to everybody by being caring and collaborative!

    Assume the position again!

    Unless Batman files by tomorrow, we've got slim choice!

  5. I'm sorry, but the word "facilitator" makes me cringe. I do not understand the trust people place in "facilitators", especially with the way the Delphi method has been used and abused (or I should say, "the way the Delphi method has been used TO abuse).

    Our community has been run like a one-party political state for a long time now, with the Friends friends dominating every single issue. The CAOs are just the latest in a long line of abhorrent insider power plays.

    All these nice sounding words about facilitation assume that the facilitated parties come to the table as egalitarian participants. However, we are not equals in this community. The power is on the side of the Friends friends. That is the great deception behind facilitation here, and facilitation has become just one more way to ram things down the throats of the community. It has been "feel-good domination." We walk away having beaten up but feeling good about having been abused.

    Tom Cowan was the facilitator for the first citizen CAO committee. Lisa Beyers is a facilitator too. All we need now is Gretchen Krampf, and we can have facilitator consensus.

    I'm sorry but this is looking like Lopez has a Manchurian candidate on San Juan (Pratt) and maybe another on Orcas (Beyers).

    Of course, maybe I will feel differently after a facilitation session.

  6. As of this morning, there are 2 candidates from San Juan (Lovell, Jarman), 3 candidates from Orcas (Hughes, Ayers, and Byers), and 2 candidates from Lopez (Stephens, McClerren).

    So no runoff in 2 districts?

    Are Florenza, Miller, Peterson waiting until the last minute to file, gauging the competition and sentiment?

    Will a real choice appear at the last moment?

    Tune in to the next exciting episode, and be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

  7. Game Theory?

    In the Lopez race, I don't expect any more filings. So Stephens will win that seat.

    Orcas will probably wind up with Hughes and Byers. Close call.

    If another candidate were to enter the San Juan distinct race, then the three-way dynamic kicks in. FOSJ will be all out for Lovell. Enough Gaia lovers to assure her one of the two seats. Jarman vs unknown at this point?

  8. Maybe we need to encourage a third candidate to file for the San Juan district. Someone with no real chance to win, but someone who would use the campaign process as a bully-pulpit and a chance to exercise the First Ammendment to attack all the Gaia-surrogates in the election and get issues out to the citizens. Sort of a Kamikaze Candidate. Think 300 Spartans! No chance to win, but fall for honor, truth, and justice. How refreshing would that be? Come right out and attack the FOSJ publicly with no fear of reprisal.

  9. Old newsletter shows that Brian McClerren and family live in one of the LCLT affordable houses. Assumption here is that he was recruited by the Bishop/ Miller Lopez machine to run as a Gaia- zealot.

    Look at the way the overall slate is developing.

    This will be a full fledged assault on private property and a march toward some freakish Eco-socialist utopian vision.

    Very scary...

  10. Cross your fingers and toes or whatever, that an intelligent court, via the Calrson/Gonce suit steps in and halts this disaster.

  11. Well, the far-left SJC "Democratic" Party seems to have its slate in place. Lovell, Lisa Byers, and Jamie. What a fine party that will be. Lovell, who was still talking about new County spending a few months ago, ignoring the hole that we're in; Lisa, whose work in "affordable housing" has been praised, but that is a heavily subsidized program, and has never operated as a business. Lisa is likely good at applying for "grants," those wonderful sources of "free" dollars. This County is full of "facilitators" and gran writers and poets, and is up to its ears in debt, with one of the biggest budgets ever, and no end in sight. So neither of these candidates is even an option. And Jamie along for the ride (in the Jaguar). Sheesh. I hope our County bondholders aren't looking. Especially after that idiotic press release from the County about how the County lost 1.7 BILLION in property value.

  12. I myself am hoping that Gretchen Krampf will file to run. That way, we can have Council with everyone seated on the floor in a circle around rocks and candles, with the Friends controlling the agenda.

  13. That's funny because I see this as more of a Lopezian driven thing than a left-wing thing. There may not be much a difference to some folks, but there is to me.

    Lopezians (and Lopezian values, or at least a certain subset of "Friendly" Lopezian values) are backing Orcas and San Juan candidates in a major major MAJOR way.

    Lopez has its own candidates, but the real story is that Lopez has put up candidates in the other districts too. It's not that this election could be decided by Lopezians, it's that just a small subset of very active "Friendly" Lopezians could decide it.

    It looks like a voting block has been put together. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

  14. We have until 4:30 tomorrow (friday) for Batman or Superwoman to lay down that big wad of candidate filing cash in the Auditors office.

  15. Looks like our plan worked. We flushed them out. Now lets turn on the bright lights and make 'em dance.

    With some luck and a decent judge we'll get home rule back and in the meanwhile everyone can watch the Mean Green Machine strut and fret it's last hour on the stage to be heard no more.

    Let us pray.

  16. We have only one hope for sanity in the near future
    Sanity has yet to fill the request for an upcoming position
    Trojan, we need your help here, can you? Help!
    It's time. To "stack this deck"

  17. We'll see on Friday, but right now it looks like no common sense qualified candidate will run from the Lopez District, AND, Orcas and SJ may have put their votes together for two common candidates, one from each district, to prevent a Lopez power grab.

    Someone mentioned how great OPALCO functions and is managed. I agree, and although I'm not up on the elected board there, it seems it must be a board of QUALIFIED people, so even with some very hard working thinking council member(s) over the years, the unqualified political sell outs we also get on the County Council keep coming back.

    The big promised raise in pay did nothing to bring in qualified candidates so far, and ALL of the boards and commissions I covered long ago had people who worked for nothing. If fact one town actually had to set up a baby sitter allowance because both parents usually had to work.

    Mr. Power says the school board here gets nothing, so this good pay thing is not the answer. (I don't know what they get at OPALCO.)

    Hope Friday brings us more candidates.

  18. Don't worry, these folks will not get the opportunity to run. The Prop's 1,2,&3, were intentionally written in a manner that they will be overturned. Do you actually think that Randy will give up his control of the county??? The Prop's were intentionally written in a way to allow them to be challenged. Cain will be the fall guy for this fallacy. But Randy will rule supreme. Don't think so. Look at the recommendation that the CAO's can be signed off on and then changed after the fact by attaching the signed papers to the altered documents. All of this is to set up Randy to be the good guy in keeping this out of our lives. But this is only done because with three counselor's, Randy would no longer be in control of the county. Look at who has the ultimate power here. Eco terrorism, Delphi, Agenda 21, etc., are all part of it, but it is still about who locally has control of these Island's. If you are tired of this then you need to start doing freedom of information request's on all parties, and filing complaints against the friends, council members, and others who abuse the system. Start with the 500 watt max, light ordinance. If any of these people violate these ordinance's then file a complaint. It is time for everyone to step up and become a civil disobedient. Exercise your constitutional rights.

  19. Sounds good. If you don't want to use your own name ,there are plenty of lawyers to do it for you. These first few cases of the new rules will set the standard for the rest. They want these rules then let them be the first test. Lets see if these go away like Ms Buffums trespass case. It must be nice to have the power to just make it go away. Who makes that call Randy?

  20. I'm VERY interested in direct action against FOSJ. From lawsuits (what could be the subject?), to exposing the money trail and backgrounds of the trolls that associate with that dark organization, to standing in the parking lot of the Tech Center with signs. Are there enough freedom loving patriots left in the county to mount a sustained war against theses denizens of Mordor?

  21. OPALCO board members include good old Bob Mhyr and the wife of our planning commissions favorite communist curmudgeon and long time board member of OPAL, the land trust managed by Lisa Byers for so many years.

    Don't get me started on the home trusts. How is it, that what ought to be a simple property management role for these outfits becomes instead little tin pot communitarian propaganda chop shops?

    Lovel the Prattfall headed up the hometrust on San Juan island for some years until she was encouraged to go seek her higher levels of incompetence in other endeavors. I guess running a hometrust shows your leadership skills to become elected to county council.

    The LCLT (didn't even need to spell that out did I) has been a font (geyser?) of socialist surrealism that watches over its sheep with a sharp eye and loving grace ever since the GMA was passed. Run by a pair of weird sisters with a guest appearance by Jamie Stephens whose interests extend far beyond making sure rents (or whatever they call it) are collected.

    And as for OPAL. Well, that's gone political too hasn't it? Why is that? And the "model" for these organizations is east coast in origin, not home grown at all. Not a fit with our rural character. They are densely packed suburban housing projects with a twist ... a well funded "neighborhood association" to look over you and keep you in line.

    Does anyone seriously believe that these three home trust organizations on three islands are not going to become quasi-campaign headquarters for the Mean Green Machine in the months to come directed from the 10th floor board room of the Lopez Community Land Trust?

    Holding facilitated solidarity meetings and campfires with the low and moderate income "residents/tenants" who should "feel lucky to have a place to live if you know what's good for you!"

    Watch our affordable housing network go political in the months to come and show us all the real Potemkin Villages they've built.

    This is so unsettling it makes me want to hurl in the rain garden outside Herb's Tavern.

  22. Take hope. I hope the reference to "wierd sisters" was a Shakespearean quip about their behavior not lifestyle. I have a lot of respect for those guys as well, even if they lose their way occasionally. They have done a lot of good for Lopez too.

    Bob Jarmin will have a good opportunity to show the county voters how he likes to work. Sure the home trusts on three islands could become politicized, but I've noticed fire fighters like to go with who they know and they know Bob has got their back.

    And we have three fire districts with lots of volunteers.

    It'll get interesting out there.

  23. The "home trust" model and the CAO, version 2, implemented by the Pratt, Byers, Stephens Eco-Troika will be influenced strongly by the now hyper-empowered Shirene and the Friends. The goal is the forced relocation of the population into ultra dense human habitation zones living in zero-net energy solar powered straw huts. Steve Ludwig will be made "Life Style Czar" and head of a commission to purge the county of all vestiges of technology and capitalism. The existing cell towers will be ripped out, and trucks with RF detectors will prowl the roads looking for illegal wifi emissions. Welcome to the People's Eco-Socialist Agro Commune!
    Your Papers Please?

  24. Is the "development" on Lampard Road part of the "Home Trust"?

    If so I have it from the source that Browne Lumber (local) gave them a bid per house that was $400 more than a mainland outfit so they went w/the mainland people. That is a for sure for the first 10 of the 30 plus they're building.

    That urkes me SO much. Browne lumber is one of the few really steady places around her to get a decent job and they have employees who literally make a career of it.

    So...who made that decision? It is hurting the very population they are pretending to help. And what's the turnover employee rate for the company they went with?

    I'd be very curious to know what category of "affordable housing" that development is and WHO made that decision. Really bad business. Anybody know?

  25. Who are all you Anonymous Patriots? I feel a kinship, a shared "victim hood" here at TH. I feel like Patrick Swayze in the original "Red Dawn"


  26. Watch out when we all show up at a Clowncil meeting wearing Guy Fawks masques...

    Actually there may be an unconfirmed rumor that Senator Wanker believes we are just a small group of unemployed Repubican late night joke writers.

    Almost true were it not for all the local Democrats happily jumping in as we'll.

  27. People that just wanted to be left alone and instead got attacked by their own government?21

  28. The "21" came by my mistake from the identity box and was not intended to be there. (Not everyone on the TH is a fan of the Adjenda 21 rag.)

  29. Check this out ... an appeal for a new "Leave Us Alone Party"

    " am a small-l libertarian with conservative leanings on most issues, except on many traditionally conservative social issues, where my stance would be regarded as hopelessly liberal by most social conservatives. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not."

  30. Re: Senator Ranker's comments - We're online late at night because we work 24 hours a day, not because we're unemployed, but it's nice to see Senator Rancor's customary respect and concern for the unemployed.

    The joke is on us though because somehow we keep electing that empty-headed narcissist and ex-Friends Director as our Senator because he's "one of our own."

    On a related note, well said "Leave me Alone!"

  31. Only Patty Miller and crew could have parsed non conforming into this. Now you are conforming until you pick up a shovel?

  32. "Well said" with me too, until he got to the automatic weapons. End subject!

  33. God bless the victims and their families of Newtown, CT.

    And personally, I think there needs to be better mental health screening of young men. Severe mental illness, especially schizophrenia, often starts to manifest itself in men between the ages of 18 to 25. There is a gender and age relationship to these incidents, and to the incidence of violence-oriented mental illness.

    Having said that, it still gives me the willies that many in our county engaged in fear-mongering about the CAOs, accusing CAO critics of threatening behavior when all they were doing was dissenting. Those types of false accusations are just reprehensible.

    During the Bush administration, there were quite a lot of bumper stickers around the county that said "Dissent is not unpatriotic." Funny how we just don't see many of those stickers anymore.

  34. For further evidence that the influence of outside money and ideas is strongly influencing public policy, just check this out form Whatcom county;