Monday, January 21, 2013

An Assortment of County Strangeness

What would a day in San Juan County be like without something peculiar happening in local government. We got a look at the agenda for the Marine Resource Committee (MRC) for this week, and it contains the following item:
Salmon Recovery Council Appointment Letter
Approval of letter supporting Jamie Stephens appointment, Barbara Rosenkotter
Approval? The MRC is going to approve the County Council's decision to appoint the County Council Chair to the Salmon Recovery Council? Why cannot the MRC seem to grasp that they serve at the pleasure of the County Council, not the other way around? The MRC does not approve anything with respect to the County Council, and their perpetual confusion on that matter does not inspire confidence.

And speaking of Barbara Rosenkotter, who also serves as Lisa Byers' Campaign Treasurer, the latest tallies for the campaigns show that the Byers and Pratt campaigns continue to far outpace all other campaigns in fundraising, having raised $16,577 and $16,979 respectively. Janet Alderton of the Friends continues to be the largest donor to both campaigns. In combination with her husband, Alderton has donated $4,500 to the Byers and Pratt campaigns, which is more than any other candidate has raised in total contributions except for Jamie Stephens.

In other news, the search is on for a new County Manager, and word is that the Council will favor local candidates. We wonder how long before Dick Grout's name surfaces again. Grout was the Planning Director here in the County in the late 80's and early 90's. In particular, he was Planning Director when the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to fully opt-in to the Growth Management Act, and reports are that Grout was influential in persuading the BOCC to take that fateful decision. After leaving the County in the early 90's, Grout became the head of the Bellingham Field Office for the Department of Ecology.

When Pete Rose was selected as County Administrator back in 2006, Grout was mysteriously included in the finalist group of County Administrator candidates without seemingly having gone through the rest of the selection process with the other three finalist candidates. Despite the apparent funny business, Rose was selected over Grout back then.

Nevertheless, Grout maintains a residence in the islands and is part of Byers' Campaign Committee to boot. Pratt and Byers were both part of the Citizen Input Committee for the hiring of the County Administrator back in 2006 too. They are both very familiar with Grout.

There are some other peculiar things worth mentioning, but we'll save commentary about them for another time. For instance, why is the "Winter Council" going along with the Community Conversation idea? What is the urgency to get it done during their term -- during election season? And has anyone seen the governance paper by Bob Jean? Also, will you be attending the County's CAO workshops?

I will leave you with some gallows humor jokes going around these islands regarding the Friends, especially after their B&B permit meddling came to light.
Question:  Why did the Friend cross the road?
Answer :   To take a photo of your property.
Question:  How many Friends does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Answer:   They don't screw in lightbulbs, they screw you at the Hearing Examiner.


  1. Yes, the first two meetings of the year have been an odd Bob Jean monologue about management. I have read the documents that he created. They feel like they are photocopied from a textbook "Into to Organizational Management", maybe he's borrowing it from Lisa? Bravo to Peterson for calling out the MRC right off the bat. Patty was right on point, telling Bob Jean several times that we don't need a flow chart, we need guiding principles for leadership of the County.

  2. Dick Grout was ranked fourth of four in the last go-round, but Friends stalwart Lynne Bahrych and Lopez faithful Larry Hertel voted for him anyway. Just what we need--a career Ecology field office staffer. How does THAT translate into County manager? Is that why Lisa Byers has emphasized the need to recruit "locally"?

  3. The tail is wagging the dog. Something is "hiding in plain sight" around here. Following the money is just too easy. The well funded naked grab for raw political power and the linkages back to the powdered wigs of "The Admiralty" -- or MRC if you prefer. The tendrils creeping out from that group. Public servant and fish whisperer Barbara Rosenkotter up to her eyeballs in hubris and cashola.

    They were comfortable and complacent and in control. Now they feel threatened they may lose control. This is where they get dangerous. The MRC needs to be made an example of immediately. This Council can make a difference, if they act now.

  4. It was Larry Hendel (not Hertel) and he is a donor to both the Pratt and Byers campaigns, and he's on the Campaign Committee of Byers. But you are right, Hendel and the infamous Lynn Bahrych, formerly of the Friends, ranked Grout highest in the 2006 round. Yes, all this talk about "local" etc. may be leading up to Dick Grout or something similar. That's what we have to bear in mind anyway.

    Byers is also talking about using local non-profits to outsource County functions. If that isn't the scariest thing I've ever heard, I don't know what is. That's all we need is for the Friends to become our Department of Natural Resources, and for the other members of the Network to officially take over every aspect of our lives.

  5. I missed earlier comments on my role with the CRC and the Charter but enjoyed reading them, even belatedly. That Anonymous who said I was right is one smart person. Gordy is evading responsibility, but what else is new. Those of us who are seeing the mess wrought by the CRC can join me in hoping that the lawsuits are successful. I want to keep our three newly elected council members. Think positively. Sometimes justice does triumph.
    PS I thought my post would fit nicely under the TH heading, "An assortment of County strangeness." Nothing stranger than the record of the CRC.

  6. Does anyone know how many and which of the recent CRC crew are now active on the campaign committees of the Lovel and Lisa Show?

    I would say those guys helped to "Lovel the Playing Field"

  7. The participation of the following CRC members is noted:
    Larry Hendel - Byers Campaign Committee
    Richard Ward - Byers Campaign Committee
    William Appel - Byers Campaign Committee, Pratt donor
    Steve Garrison - Byers Campaign Committee
    Bob Gamble - Byers Campaign Committee, Pratt and Byers donor
    Ron Zee - Pratt donor

    In short, it is Byers campaign that has most of the CRC connections, whereas Pratt's campaign has Planning Commissioners and people related to the Stewardship Network in one way or the other.

  8. In addition to "Lovel the playing field", maybe it's also "Lisa Bias" or "Lisa Buyers" since it looks like they're trying to buy the election.

  9. Having had the opportunity to become well acquainted with both Lisa and Lovel over the years, this is starting to look like:

    1) Lisa, who long expressed little desire to seek public office (and did not run before now) was approached by the Great and Good to allow her generally good reputation to serve as a "halo effect" that would sprinkle like fairy dust on Lovel Prattfall and elevate her above her ignominious trackrecord.

    2) Lisa seems increasingly uncomfortable or off her game at the candidate forums. There are consistent reports from both Orcas and Lopez about this. An emerging view is that she may be somewhat uncomfortable discovering the position she's been talked into here. There is the possibility that Lovel is so tainted, she will drag Lisa down into the muck.

    3) Some storm warnings are out there that some accounting is coming due for Lovel Prattfall, and when it does, there will be pressure to ask Lisa about the extent of her due diligence.

    Why did Lisa allow herself to be joined at the hip to Lovel? While the philosophical alignment is certainly clear, it is also clear that Lisa has some good social and leadership skills that Lovel sorely lacks in spades.

    Conclusion: Lisa Byers does not need Lovel Pratt. On the contrary, it is Lovel Pratt who needs Lisa Byers.

    That said, Lisa has had only one job for 17 years. Prior to that she worked for the Land Bank. She had moved from the east coast to take that position after a friend invited her to come out. Who brought Lisa Byers to the islands?

    Potentially, given her lack of employment diversity and strong ideological leanings and her skill set, Lisa stands to become far more dangerous than Lovel could ever be.

    Lisa is a highly partisan party player and not a nonpartisan independent thinker our Charter calls for.

  10. Of all the unaccountable departments in the county, is there any department that is less accountable than the Land Bank? Is there any county manager who is less accountable to anyone than Lincoln Bormann? Has he ever had any supervision ever?

  11. Apologies for the typos resulting in an extreme overuse of the word "agenda" in the original posting (3 times in one sentence). Strunk & White were rolling over in their graves.

    Fixed now.

  12. I counted the word "Agenda" being used 21 times!!

  13. There is definitely a lot of "agenda" out there.

    I'm with Janice Peterson, we have got to think and work positive. (Although I'm not a fan of CAPR, I did send off a check to support their suit to expose our little County Menage a trois. (If only it was that.)

    Big bucks can be seen as a negative. Carly Fiorina net worth $800 million, LOST. Meg Whitman, $1.4B (as in Billion) LOST.

    The Byers/Pratt bucks so far only disturb me in that there is some fool running around with signs, getting the uninformed to stick em on their property. And, when you got a truck load of signs to unload, you're going to paper the place.


  14. I have to say- that if Byers and Pratt have the most money it is odd. I see fewer of their signs than the others.

    Perhaps there are a million signs in Lopez that I don't know about. Since Lopez has an unconstitutional voting power I suppose this makes sense.

  15. The wider public needs to know this information so that they can make an informed vote. Is there someone who can write up a summary of how the CRC process was hijacked and why, and who of those players has moved on to work on campaigns in this election-- and publish it in Orcas Issues and as a guest column or letter in the Sounder? It is so important that this information get a wide hearing.

    I noticed that the Sounder has a link now to an Ecology site whose most recent report states that an arial photo showed 'jellyfish were seen under a seaplane'....the avalanche of propaganda designed to create widespread belief that mnakind is evil is picking up momentum. The Sounder should at least have the integrity to balance that stuff with another view...a link to TH would work.


  16. The "Flounder" thinks every day is the first of April.

  17. I am trying to do a comprehensive reconciliation of CRC members and which campaigns they may be involved with. The problem I am finding is that not every Campaign lists it's donors an supporters. Also, the Public Diclosure Commission site does not provide adequate information yet (I assume everyone will get their paperwork in soon).

    I think this is a worth while effort, as I think we may find that almost every Campaign has some tie to the CRC, but would like backup to that info. On Orcas, I know that Moana Kutsche is a supporter of Rick Hughes and she was a member of and has been VERY outspoken about support of the CRC. This while Rick was publicly outspoken against the change in the charter.

    I say say this not to denigrate Rick, but it seems to me that using the CRC as a barometer of this election is a poor choice of tool.

  18. I know there is incomplete information, and you are right, there may probably be some CRC members involved in every campaign. Remember though, that not every campaign has a committee of the same size and scope as Pratt and Byers. That, in itself, shows a degree of coordination and preparation not present in the other campaigns. Speaking of that, btw, I don't know how such a well prepared campaign (Byers) produces one-sided campaign signs though. Is that a mistake or a metaphor for the Byers campaign viewpoint on things? I didn't even know they made one-sided campaign signs. So much for waste minimization.

    However, I think you will be hard pressed to find more pro-3-member-Council CRC members in one spot than on the Byers campaign.

    But as you say, in the end, we'll let the data (to the extent we can know it) tell the tale.

  19. Late Entry: I note the main Byers/Pratt sign campaign is in Peterson's District on SJ. Now that would be smart as those voters are up for grabs.

    For signs on public property it is OK to add signs very close by but not mounted on the same sticks. (I think defacing signs is a negative no win deal...intelligence and entertainment is the key.)

    Pratt signs surrounded with US Dollars with wings painted on them would be appropriate.

    Large "SOLD to FOSJ" would be appropriate for Byers.

    I'm sure the wags here on TH will have much better ones than these.