Monday, January 14, 2013

Question Time Should Be All The Time

The latest comments regarding the civility (or lack thereof) of the Trojan Heron in Kit Rawson's post cause me to reflect, once again, on the Trojan Heron's perspective on the matter.

The photo and inscription below is that of Stephen Fry, who is the Fry part of the famous British comedy team of Fry and Laurie. Fry's former comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, has since become better known as the character of Dr. Gregory House of the hit TV series House, which is the most successful TV program in the world.

Stephen Fry is a Cambridge-educated supporter of the Labour Party. He's vice president of an environmental group called Fauna and Flora, International. He's a gay man, an atheist, a comedian, an actor, and intellectual ... and I couldn't agree more with his view of civility. But then again, the Trojan Heron has often cited the Brits, especially their conduct in Parliament, as a model of brutally frank talk that I wish we could emulate here. Thatcher's last Question Time, for example, is a masterpiece of blunt political talk from both sides, with incriminations, recriminations, retorts, humour (notice I wrote that with an accent) ... and stirring, raucous dialogue all around.

By comparison, we sit here with a going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket bumper crop of vapid ungovernable quangos and think it polite to put up with the whole mess.  How in the name of George Washington did we become more timid than the Brits?

Having said that, and before moving on to a description of the Stewardship Network in the next post, have a look at the MRC's Annual Report from 2010. How many citizen committees put out an Annual Report? How many claim responsibility for nearly $1.3 million in grants? The report says that the grants support jobs and the economy of the County, but we'd be curious to know who exactly benefits? Did the Council approve all these grants, or were they the result of the MRC establishing financial and policy obligations for the County of their own accord? I can't find any Council resolutions regarding the grants, but maybe I just missed them. Is the MRC working on any grants currently that the Council doesn't know about?


  1. So, to summarize, Kit Rawson never lived in the islands yet during his long career enjoyed unparalleled access to local power and influence on behalf of his employer, another government who wishes to meddle in local affairs but would push back hard if the same were done to them.

    Kit Rawson has become obsessed this little backwater blog the Trojan Heron. He sits in his Tulalip office and trolls this site from his computer workstation using the resources of his employer, perhaps with their knowledge and blessing. "Good boy Kit, keep an eye on those people. I expect a full report."

    We are coming up on updating the county shoreline master program, during a period of unanticipated political change.

    Something tells me a rather complacent, entrenched local mafia is now feeling a bit threatened. They are throwing money into the race, lashing out, once again appealing to Island Democrats to hold their collective noses and pull the lever once again for a corrupt crew that is cynically using the party apparatus for their own ends.

    This is not the real Democratic Party. This is a cabal that controls and uses the party apparatus. They are the Ubercrats. They are overlords. They are your betters. They have more money than you. They buy influence.

    Real Island Democrats should feel perfectly fine throwing these clowns out. Reform the party, housecleaning is good from time to time. There are plenty of real Island Democrats who really want nonpartisan government and support the original reasons for our Charter.

    And, this little local mafia is so easily offended, aren't they? They are paper tigers. Just wimps at the end of the day.

  2. Cognitive DissonanceJanuary 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    I am one of those disillusioned Democrats, at least with regard to the local Democratic Party, and I just don't know what to do, where to turn, or what to make of all this. I had no idea things were this bad.

  3. This just in from Democratic headquarters in Olympia:

    Sen. Wanker Declines Republicans’ Committee Chair Offer

    January 13th, 2013

    Senator Klever Wanker, D-Orcas, issued the following statement [on Jan. 12, 2013]:

    “Yesterday, after careful consideration, I respectfully declined the offer from the Republicans to accept the Chair of the Environment and Marine Waters Committee or Co-Chair of the Energy and Telecommunications Committee. I did this for a few reasons.

    “First, my balls are very small and I am taking them home today.

    “Second, while the Republican proposal offered a Democratic Chair and majority on the Environment and Marine Waters Committee, I am hesitant to except a Chair of a committee that will spend dozens of hours debating and working on critical issues such as our climate or Puget Sound clean-up....

    “Lastly, I refuse to play with any dirty Republicans.

    “In the end it comes down to this: I was elected and recently re-elected as an outspoken advocate for the idiotic socialist agenda of the radical left. I do not believe the Republican proposal for the Senate will truly support these values. I simply cannot abandon those core values in order for a title of Chair.

    “While I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance the needs of all Washington citizens, for the reasons I have stated here, I must decline the offer from the Republicans.”

  4. Um ... the roster listing for the committee chairs has Ranker listed as the chair, and I suppose we'll just have to see if that changes.

  5. Let's please keep our facts straight.

    Actually, several days after that alleged press release, persistent named reports have leaked text of a new press release apparently embargoed until the end of the first session day:

    "Upon careful reconsideration of my earlier consideration, I have now decided to take what is rightfully mine. I will command the Environment and Marine Waters Committee. I cannot turn against my clinical diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder that drives my unbridled lust for power, even in the face of a morally repugnant Republican onslaught against the innocent citizens of my District."

  6. OK, people, very very funny, but what really happened? Did his highness stand with his original pledge not to play with the majority? Or did he once again swivel on an elegant italian shoe? What warrants a one-term Senator chairing a committee, anyway? Is the talent pool THAT shallow in Olympia?

  7. Link to actual release:

  8. But ... but ... if this is true -- What possible use is Senator Kevin Ranker to anyone any longer?

    Maybe now he will have time to get the Capron Fund back to the level it was for decades before he blew half of it during his Commissioner days by making a fool of himself in Olympia.

    Remember boys and girls, we need to vote for Lovel, Lisa and Jamie if we want real representation in Olympia.

    We sure won't be getting it from Ranker any more.

  9. did anyone other than me notice that the official press release said "except" instead of ?

    Nice editing by the Senator's staff.

  10. Frankly, I am offended Ranker didn't send the Trojan Heron his press release (note irony with current post).

    And yes, the "except" in the third paragraph is glaring. There is other awkward phrasing too, such as "in order for a title of Chair." Not that I don't have my own share of awkward phrasing too, but still ... it's a press release.

    He seems quite upset with the Republicans. It'd be nice to get some background to understand the story better.

  11. As I understand it, Kevin called up Rick Hughes during the election, and told him not to escort our Attorney General, Rob McKenna, to the Orcas Farmer's Market, though Rick was on the Board of the Farmer's Market, and had previously agreed to extend this courtesy.

    Kevin apparently frothed at length about how Rick wouldn't stand a chance in the election if he helped out this Evil Republican in even this small way.

    Rick delivered on his promise though, Kevin however clearly seems to put partisan identity politics over the needs of his constituents.

    I suppose the one good thing about Kevin being in Olympia is that he isn't here....

  12. I feel like paraphrasing the noble bard: "Methinks he doth protest too much."

    A few weeks ago he says he's offered the positions and at the 11th hour before the first day of session he "respectfully" declines. He is fond of saying "I'm humbled." I suspect that may be the case.

    I think he got pink slip. Some dealing took place somewhere above his pay-grade. Call it collateral damage. Expendable to his own party, I imagine. The real story will come out.

    But that press release just reeks of hectic spin control, doesn't it?

    There's no shame in letting us know you got thrown under the bus, Kevin. Just man up and say so.

  13. Back to the the beginning. The pieces may start falling into place. The excellent TH call on the Prison's Dilemma for Pratt, Fralick, and Miller; the Rawson sensitivity; the timing; the strange behavior of Miller and Fralick; make me suspect the following, which I freely admit is total supposition. (Dying to read the depositions.)

    The THREE get in the back room and even though the full Council by law is free to discuss lawsuits against the County in private meetings, it does not happen that way this time.

    Instead, Asst. Prosecutor Cain and perhaps other staff members comment freely on the prospect of lawsuits that could happen or are threatened to happen with the various players driving the CAO process.

    An FOSJ suit is a given. No question that will happen. More troubling is the threat of a Tribe's suit. Tons of money and then the suit will be heard in a State where the Governor is a total kiss ass to the Tribes and many government agencies appear to be scared shit-less of the Tribes and their influence.

    Cain and perhaps others impress the THREE that they have no options. If they fight back, they will lose.

    Pratt, of course, welcomes this news, and in future private meetings the die is cast and reinforced by her and staff.

    Howie is already in the shopping basket. The two women kick Stephens in with Howie, and Peterson is left completely isolated out of the loop.

    Perfect! On maybe a futile attempt to explain some very strange behavior.

  14. As a nonpartisan voter, the press release by Ranker only reinforces what I already think about both sides of the aisle... Worthless.

    Perhaps Kevin thinks he would better serve our district by serving on the wheat growing board? You are offered a chairmanship in a place that makes sense for your district and you turn it down because you can't personally get part partisan politics?

    Hey Kevin- news flash- you were not hired for your opinion, you were hired to protect my opinion. Now get your ass back to work representing our people. If you can't handle arguing with a few people that disagree with you then you need to hang it up.

  15. You left out that Lovel was chair most of the time. I think she had a big time problem with Miller taking over. A younger woman, much better looking, and a get it done persona lovel did not agree with.

  16. Pulchritudo in oculis aspicientis est

  17. Understood. Meanwhile the money machine is grinding out and flooding the County with campaign signs for Byer and Pratt. Most loathsome, at the wonderful Duck Soup Inn. She's ain't what you want, people. Women, YES, these women, NO.

  18. This doesn't belong here, but I think
    It is time to mention it.

    It is a very likely scenario that Pratt will be 1 of the 2 left standing on San Juan. Given that... Who is the strongest candidate to run against her in the general election?

    - Confused Orcas Resident

  19. I feel your pain, but I hope we don't get into the business of endorsing candidates. The TH will point out the dangers of certain candidates, but we'll probably stay away from outright endorsements.

    Of course, commenters can give their opinion, but I hope any candidate committed to good and transparent government attracts attention.

    Following the words of Bill Maher, the TH feels that we can fairly judge candidates Pratt and Stephens because they have a record. We have been critical of them, but we do not believe we are pre-judging them (prejudiced), we are judging them.

    The situation is a bit different for all the other candidates, but as we uncover and analyze aspects of their current campaigns, we will comment (and judge) as necessary.

    Both Jarman and Forlenza are on the current Council, so the TH's advice would be to watch them. Take note of how they behave and judge which is being more effective in the time they have available.

  20. Can we write in Ed Kilduff for the Lopez seat even though he is not an official candidate?

  21. Who's Ed Kilduff?

  22. Nope. Who's on first.