Sunday, December 30, 2012

Does He Invest in Coal Too?

Candidates are beginning to make statements in local papers as our latest round of elections gets under way. Jamie Stephens is running from Lopez. Stephens answers questions in a recent edition of the Islands Weekly. Remember, Stephens voted for all of the CAOs, and he purportedly believes all shorelines are critical. In the Islands Weekly, Stephens expresses concern about global warming and sea level rise.
We need to implement the Critical Areas Ordinances and Shoreline Master Plan update process. We must plan for the effect sea level rise will have on our long-range planning for roads, utilities, and other infrastructure needs.
Stephens has a house on the shoreline with at least 200 feet of bulkhead and a guesthouse/studio so close to the shore that it sits over the water at high tide (see photos below). Is this a man we should listen to about sea level rise? Bear in mind, too, that Stephens voted for CAOs that require homes on shorelines to have three different kinds of overlapping buffers to protect fish and wildlife habitat: coastal geologic buffers, water quality buffers, and tree protection zone buffers. According to the CAO maps, Stephens' shoreline is critical salmon and eelgrass habitat. Does Stephens think it's alright for his home (but no one else's) to affect critical habitat with unbuffered development?

The Islands Weekly article further says about Stephens:
He also advocated for permanent protection of the Bureau of Land Management lands in San Juan County and has traveled to Washington D.C. to further the effort.
Yes, so concerned was Stephens about the ecosystem here in the islands, that he departed his shoreline multiple-building compound with its 200-foot bulkhead, hopped into his Jaguar X-type (approximately 19 miles per gallon combined), drove to SeaTac by himself, and flew to Washington D.C. (1,793 lbs of carbon emissions per passenger) to personally lobby for the National Monument by rubbing elbows with DC elites. As of yet, there is nothing except carbon emissions (and other hot air) to show for it, but the lobbying continues mightily.

Back here, Stephens claims the County budget has stabilized, and it has -- at historically high levels of debt and near-record levels of expenditures. He says he believes in "providing opportunities for jobs" but the CAOs are replete with some of the cruelest job-killing gotchas ever conceived of by this County.

Stephens uses the tired old canard that has become the favorite catch-phrase of the Friends that "One has to be more careful with an island." When will he start being more careful?

I think we need to be more careful with whom we elect.

The Stephens compound in Lopez Village with its extensive shoreline bulkhead.

The Stephens compound from beach level.  High tide is approximately 1.5 feet higher than shown in the photo.


  1. Were these photos taken by the Friends Shoreline Surveillance Team?

    In San Juan County, just how many hoops do you need to jump through to:

    1) Get an ADU permit
    2) Get to build your ADU by the lapping tide
    3) Armor your ADU with a pile of rocks?

    That alone deserves National Monument status.

  2. Matt Taibbi, is that you?

  3. Gee the "Friends" don't need a long lens to get a shot of a REAL bulkhead. Mr. Stephens has thoughtfully provided the true definition of a "bulkhead."

    Never mind the benign rocks on the South side, nothing wrong with that, but the steel I beam piles, the pressure treated retaining, and the large size of the whole thing...looking closely see it extends substantially on both sides of the waterfront "cottage", those things make this a questionable permit action.

    Given his accomplished battlements why Mr. Stephens would worry about rising tides is a bit curious.

  4. Jaguar?? A Jaguar??? On Lopez??? R U kidding me?

  5. I feel completely stupid and guilty about this guy. We live on San Juan and I thought this man was; young, a breath of fresh air, had a business background, would be an advocate for the common person, a good elected official.

    Just shows how you need a total vetting of candidates. Assume nothing. Trash talk is good, the baby sitter knows it all.

  6. Just have to quote Jamie....

    "to (me),
    Thank you for the article.
    The county employees work very hard. They are different from other public employees because they live and work in their community. The work they do affects them also. They plan and build homes like the rest of us.
    In the case of departments like planning we hope that they are up to date on rules.
    Jamie Stephens
    San Juan County Council
    District 6"

  7. F. Scott FitzgeraldDecember 31, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."

  8. Does Jamie own his tidelands, or is that nice sign and informal line of boulders merely bluster to keep out the common folk?

  9. It might be interesting to request Jamie's (and other candidates') F1 filings from the PDC, they are not available online, but an email request to could prove productive, if you don't want to hike down to Olympia to use the public terminals at the PDC.

  10. So, instead of Lovell, Jamie, and Lisa, whom do,we get behind?

    Bob, Rick, and ?? (old guy or new guy) ?

    Does this excite us, or make us slightly less ill?

  11. The really nice thing is we can get some votes counted/studied from candidates that will now sit on the six person Council.

    It should be obvious where these people stand in short order.

    As for Lovel, are there any people who don't understand this woman is not what you want.

    The other candidates will have to sink or swim. (The immediate letters supporting Byers look suspect) And don't forget the Carlson/Gonce suit may quickly render this whole exercise DOA. A situation both Peterson and Miller may be betting on.

  12. Jarman and Forlenza are both good choices on San Juan. Personally, I prefer Forlenza. Pratt is just so far out of touch with average people that it's hard to imagine unless you've witnessed her in action.

    Hughes and Ayers are good choices on Orcas. Personally, I prefer Ayers. The third candidate, Byers, is probably going to be the front-running candidate, however. She is formidable and appealing. She is smooth and poised, and she's also dangerous. She would be a slick and dictatorial Councilwoman beholden to every crazy expansive governmental scheme around. If she is elected, we might as well turn the keys to the County over to the grant writers and the Department of Ecology right now. She is raising money like mad, with thousands of dollars pouring in from the usual partisans, who she will be beholden to.

    On Lopez, anyone other than Stephens is a good choice. Casting no aspersions on McClerren, but I would vote for a one-legged blind dog before I ever voted for Stephens. I think Stephens is a very nice man, but an awful Councilman. He is as tone deaf as Pratt, as submissive as a whipped dog to strong personalities (especially strong matriarchal personalities like Byers, for instance) , and as much as a puppet to special interests as there could ever be. And then there is the whole hypocrisy angle.

    If Byers or Pratt are elected along with Stephens, you might as well put a spiked collar and leash on Stephens. If Byers, Stephens, and Pratt are all elected, then woo boy, I shudder to think how much debt and expenditures they might add to a rural County like ours that can't even afford what we have now.

  13. Excellent analysis. I think and hope Pratt is done. She is cold coffee at this point. The decision on her has been made.

    Not sure about Stephens. His competition seems almost apologetic when he should be in total attack mode. (Is anybody else getting a little bit of a weird vibe from this person?) However, any operative worth their salt could kick Stephens ass.

    Agreed, Byers is going to be the one to beat.

    A virtual unknown, she can be profiled to be what everyone wants.

    So unlike most County elections, this one , if it happens, needs to be down and dirty. Nasty questions to candidates and skip all the "polite" stuff so reverential with the County Planning Staff.

    Getting the truth out of people takes pressing them and making them uncomfortable. (IE. "You're a F...... Liar." She said.)

  14. Byers is a wildcard if you look strictly at what is available on the political record. She went squarely against the council in their decision on solid waste on Orcas.

    In her service on EPRC, she generally supported a liberal interpretation of the building guidelines.

    She is definitly not a politicsl conservative, but I don't know that she rises to the Laughable hypocrisy of Stephens. It will be interesting to see where each of the new candidates falls with regard to the CAO- and where the new lame-duck council decides to go. We could be in for a wild ride with our new commissioners- especially if they are interested in making a mark!

  15. Anybody know status of the Carlson lawsuit? The complaint sought injunctive rellief, and such matters usually get an expedited briefing schedule and prompt hearing. Perhaps there is a jurisdiction issue with filing of the case in Skagit county, but am unsure about that.

  16. Anyone, please confirm, but I believe there is a hearing date set for Feb. 4 so that would potentially allow for relief.

    There was some kind of filing made to have the case heard out side of the county to avoid potential conflicts, so I think the matter of jurisdiction was handled.

    The issue of equal representation of course is of major concern, and should be to every voter in the islands regardless of their stripes. It is astonishing to learn that Washington has a very special law written just for us ... allowing counties comprised only of ferry served islands to apportion districts unequally.

    That's the real story that needs telling. How did we get into this pickle, why did Jamie Stephen's district vote 10-1 for this measure when Jamie himself opposed it, why did both political parties, Republicans and Democrats proudly stand cheek by jowl in their strong support for this?

    If the court does anything right, it has to call into question this ridiculous old law that contradicts all constitutional protections of equal representation. At the very least, one would expect the court to order San Juan County to re-apportion their districts equally. We certainly did that in the original charter.

  17. Why are we all commenting under "Anonymous"?
    Why are we trusting the blog writer who hides behind "ECK"?
    What is ECK's agenda?
    For someone who wants transparency, why isn't Ed Kilduff, I mean ECK transparent?
    - Something to Hide

  18. lol ... said the anonymous poster.

  19. This blog is nothing but an adolescent circle jerk starring Ed Kilduff, aka ECK, Anonymous, and other ficticious names. I bet almost all 80,000 hits last year were by Ed stroking himself. If I were him, I would be a coward too.

  20. I invoke Godwin's Law on the last commenter. There is nothing useful there. It's just an insult and speculation, and when you've reached that stage in your "argument", you're admitting you've lost the debate.

    I hope everyone sees that last comment, and sees it for what it is too.

    Notice the views of the commenters dumbing down the conversation here. I suppose we should have expected it, and I only wonder what took "them" so long before resorting to it.

    The Trojan Heron must really be starting to hurt. I hope whoever ECK is, he/she keeps going.

    We love the Trojan Heron. Love it. Thank you.

  21. We are all ECK...

  22. I thought anonymous personal attacks is what this blog is all about.

  23. I am not sure Godwin's Law applies here yet, if I understand what that is correctly. But, I completely agree with the point about insult and speculation being a waste of time. Last year I learned that pointing out insult and speculation is also pointless, so I've resolved to do that no more. But perhaps people can note for themselves wherever those things occur in this blog or elsewhere.

    Happy New Year to all.

  24. Sure, in TH toes get stepped on. People need to vent rather than act on a wild impulse. Obviously at times some very angry people have found their voice in the TH. I'm not sorry to use the cliche: "It's all good."

    Pushing the dialectic wider and wider means most everyone will find a comfort zone.

    Happy New Year...It's all good.

  25. But if insults weren't allowed, Kilduff, aka Trojan Heron, ECK, Anonymous, etc., would have nothing to say.

  26. I am the person who left the circle jerk post and the other posts regarding Ed Kilduff. I must offer my sincerest apologies because my obsession with porn, combined with my intolerance of blogs, has gotten the best of me. I now realize that I need help. Combine that with my undying fixation on ECK and the fact that I have a whole room in my house where the walls are plastered with photos of herons and Ed Kilduff, and needless to say, it is a cry for help.

    Perhaps a grant can help the voices in my head go away.

  27. Ok, maybe the comfort zone is wide enough.

    Welcome aboard. Please tell us all about this person Ed Kilduff. (If you know) Your effort to mimic legitimate TH analysis and commentary is falling a bit short by my lights.

    By in large this site has thoughtful stuff.

  28. January 2.

    A mighty clatter of tin pots and pans announces the counter offensive by the Great and Good. Right on schedule. Completely anticipated. Welcome. We've been expecting you.

    Thank heaven for the Living ECK Master. Who ever he or she may be, wherever she or he may be. As Johnie Depp in the Lone Ranger trailer says: "There comes a time when good man must wear mask."

    Why on earth do the Great and Good soil themselves with the ravings in Outer Bloggerstan when there are much more important matters at hand?

    Engineering elections
    Intimidating citizens
    Crushing non-believers
    Rewarding cronyism and despotism
    Violating the public trust
    Misappropriating grant funds
    Speaking in tongues for trees and fishes
    Shaking rattles and casting runes
    Staying in control at all cost

    We have strong traditions that encourage and protect anonymity of whistle-blowers and those who speak truth to power.

    Else they come to harm.

    Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?

    Think about it.

  29. Enjoying these comments inspired by the rather revealing photos of the Stephen's waterfront compound. Some good questions about the upcoming court challenge to the charter measures and some thoughtful analysis about candidates.

    And then along come the trolls, changing the subject and getting personal and deflecting the dialogue. OK. Sure. Seen it all before.

    I just love the question: "What is ECK's agenda?"

    I mean. Huh? You don't know? It couldn't be more obvious than Lincoln's wart on Mt. Rushmore.

    Investigative journalism spiced with satire and irony. And a soft heart at the end of it, and if that doesn't come across I have only pity for those so blind.

    This is as American as apple pie. This is Mark Twain. Ambrose Bierce. Upton Sinclair. P.J. O'Rourke. Mike Royko. Sharon Kivisto. Well maybe not Sharon Kivisto.

  30. Really... Mark Twain?

    A subversive for sure, but far better than this.

  31. "But if insults weren't allowed, Kilduff, aka Trojan Heron, ECK, Anonymous, etc., would have nothing to say." Good grief, man, have you read nothing here? Just once I'd like to see one of you whiners to post a factual correction rather than How dare you challenge the hegemony of the County power structure?,. BTW, the only thing that brought the artful term "circle jerk" to mind is the "balanced" and "required" and "scientific" CAO development process.

  32. How about that--I'm a Marxist! In Marxist philosophy, cultural hegemony describes the domination of a culturally diverse society by the ruling class, who manipulate the culture of the society — the beliefs, explanations, perceptions, values, and mores — so that their ruling-class Weltanschauung becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm [the Friends]; as the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural and inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class. In philosophy and sociology, the term cultural hegemony communicates denotations and connotations derived from the Ancient Greek word hegemony (leadership and rule), the geopolitical method of indirect imperial dominance, with which the hegemon (leader state) rules sub-ordinate states, by the implied means of power, the threat of the threat of intervention, rather than by direct military force, that is, invasion, occupation, and annexation. [Kind of like the recent goings on in Planning.]

  33. So Jamie likes to drive his Jaguar around Lopez Island?

    I hear it is a custom job.

    He can dial it all the way to 11 ...

  34. It's the off-island car for important stuff. He doesn't show it off to the locals.

  35. Really. What else does Jamie not show to the locals? His powdered wigs?

  36. meanwhile, back on Elite Island, fear mongering elites pen, err type, erroneous slanders while hiding under their so called golden shield of 1st amendment abuse.

    Yeah, if only we all could slander anonymously.

    Folks if you can read this blog then you must realize you are being lied to constantly.

  37. @11:52 At the very least, I think you need educate yourself on what slander is.