Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spreading Like Wildfire

In the last post, we introduced readers to the local PSP ECONet, which is the PSP appellation for one of our local organizations more commonly known as the Stewardship Network. The Stewardship Network is an organization of organizations.

Who belongs to the Stewardship Network? Their webpage currently lists 24 member organizations. Curiously, included among those 24 members are 5 separate County entities: the Agricultural Resources Committee, Land Bank, Marine Resource Committee, San Juan County Noxious Weed Board, and San Juan County Lead Entity Program for Salmon  Recovery.  Not only that, but the Steering Committee of the Stewardship Network consists of Lincoln Bormann of the Land Bank, Linda Lyshall of the Marine Resources Committee, Stephanie Buffum of the Friends, Ron Zee of the Madrona Institute (more on that in later posts), and Kathleen Foley of the San Juan Preservation Trust. In fact, until recently, Lincoln Bormann of the Land Bank and Stephanie Buffum of the Friends were identified as the Co-Chairs of the Stewardship Network Steering Committee.

How is it that so many County organizations are involved in the Stewardship Network? How is it that County personnel are "steering" the Stewardship Network (Bormann, Lyshall) jointly with the Friends when there isn't any Council input or approval related to their participation. I don't even understand how the County can be represented by five separate entities in one Network? Even if the County were to participate, wouldn't we want just one person/group representing us?

We saw in the last post how the ECONet/Stewardship Network received money from Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) "Targeted Awareness Grants" to spread very specific PSP-formulated messages. Knowing that and seeing the Stewardship Network's membership list, we have to conclude that the County member entities must have been in on it too. Furthermore, below is another email discussing yet another grant related to communication, this time focused on "social marketing behavior change." From other documentation we have, this second grant seems to have focused on spreading two of the perennially favorite talking-points of the Friends, namely reducing pesticide use (remember Janet Alderton's pyrethrin obsession?) and increasing native vegetation.

Now, these topics may or may not have individual merit, but even if they do, we all know how twisted even meritorious topics can become when in the hands of the Friends.  But of greater concern is how we can have multiple County entities involved in a naked advocacy Network that promotes the favorite talking points of the Friends with PSP grant funding for "targeted awareness" and "behavior change"? How does that happen?

And rather than just promoting certain messaging, the Network isn't shy about trying to quash messaging that they don't agree with either. For example, at several times in the past, the Trojan Heron has noted that "civility" has been used in attempts to silence we critics who want reform of the County's environmental approaches. Of particular note, back in April 2012, there seemed to be a coordinated effort by multiple members of the Friends and County sympathizers to use a meme of civility to pressure CAO critics to shut up. Now we find a possible explanation in the March 2012 minutes of the Stewardship Network where it is noted that the Friends introduced the following item for discussion (emphasis added):
Friends of the San Juans: Need to address as a Network the anti-environmental messaging that is spreading like wild-fire in our community. “Environmentalism is killing property values”. “There’s a strategic wide-spread land grab occurring in SJC by environmental organizations”. As a Network we need to strategize our messaging that Nature is our Economy. Consider a communications forum on civility in the face of aggressive confrontation.
And based on the latest civility admonitions by Kit Rawson, not to mention some of the economic talking-points of some current candidates, it would seem that the Network is still working this agenda item.

From: Karrie Cooper []
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 2:10 PM
To: Judy Cumming; Shann Weston; Erin Corra; Barbara Marrett; Barbara Rosenkotter; Linda Lyshall
Subject: Upcoming Social Marketing Grant

Hi all, I just spoke with Kristen Cooley about the upcoming grant to design and implement a social marketing behavior change project

We should be getting official notification in the next two weeks.  With approximately 6 weeks to submit.  The project lead needs to have participated in Nancy Lee's training, hence me sending this to you all.

The process will involve submitting a letter of intent outlining the proposed project (2 letters may be submitted per ECO Net). Then, if choosen, a full proposal will be requested.

The grant will involve going throught the 10 Steps of a Social Marketing campaign.  The behavior, audience and focus will need to be directly connected to addressing an area of the Action Agenda, regional and/or local. 

The amount will range from $20,000 to $40,000 with a 20% match and 2 years to implement.

We need to put on our thinking caps for what we might want to do with this grant opportunity. Please let me know of your interest and ideas. 

Thanks Much!


Karrie D. Cooper, Coordinator
Stewardship Network of the San Juans


  1. It's sad to see things come to this. We are not done learning about what has been done to us. And we have much work ahead to undue the damage.

    "It might seem strange that on an island fifty miles wide, in a village under cliffs that stare out forever on the sea, a child may grow to manhood never having stepped in a boat or dipped his finger in salt water, but so it is."

    - Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea, Ch. 2

  2. A "social marketing behavior change"

    Because strategic manipulation is justified when you're the good guys

    Edward Bernays would be so proud and I think I'm going to vomit.

  3. Is it true that Econet gives an annual award to the most effective Social Marketing campaign? I understand it is called the "Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl" Award. It is given for the most effective use of new media to influence public opinion in favor of more restrictive land use policy!

  4. This is a laff riot. Reminds me of Jon Stewart when he shows clips of Repub talking heads repeating the same magic words, all from that day's talking points memo. It thought it odd that groups like the Friends suddenly started to worry about our economy (they have tax-payer supported jobs and their donors don't need jobs) and kept saying over and over that our environment is our economy. Here's the talking points memo! Well, it's better than babbling on about how ag is so important to our economy (less than 5%, for sure) and no one wants to talk about how much of our economy is "government" but the really hard fact for these folks to ignore is that construction and real estate constituted a huge proportion of our economy before the recession, far more than tourism (eco- or ag-), plus it provided good paying jobs, not "hospitality" jobs. Think that's going to come back under the new CAO restrictions? Right.

  5. We need an ongoing satire and ridicule campaign for the Friends and the Eco-acronym crowd! Anyone know a good cartoonist? Imagine a weekly campaign to put a "communique" under the windshield wipers of cars! Once a week in the morning would bring a Dilbert like insight into the workings of the Eco-cartel!

  6. We could do walk up surveys in the ferry lines, use a nonprofit organization as front so the ferry system won't object. Just gathering "input" for "community visioning meetings."

    And ask drivers: "Please share one proactive go-forward vision you have for a sustainable and resilient authoritarian regime? Your license plate has been recorded."

  7. The message that has been "spreading like wildfire" isn't "anti-environmental" it is "anti-environmental pointlessness" of the variety that the Friends specialize in.

    I am absolutely pro-environment, but I am no more in support of the current CAO draft as I would be to have a mass gathering to pray pollution away. It would be pointless. The CAOs are arguably worse since they inflict quite a bit of harm on vulnerable people while doing nothing for the environment.

  8. This is way worse than I thought...this deliberate egotisical manipulation of resources and public agencies to "re-educate" (read Agenda 21) public thought to a pre-determined fake so-called consensus determined by a few who think they know better than the "public" whom they distain, but pretend to care about.

    My questions are:
    1. How can we get this information on the real nature of these organizations and their real actions out in front of the public?

    2. How can the public or some sub-set thereof who really do care about the public good, get organizized to push back more effectively than is currently being done?

    3.Can the so-called newsapers be motivated to actually print more useful things than pictures of the Friends getting awards and social stuff?

    3.Who will coordinate the above and get the organizing happening?

  9. Excellent set of questions. This is all pretty much what it looks like, and we all know what to call it. We've seen it all before, in various flavors. If left unchallenged, it gets worse and will lead to a bad end.

    If I were to roll all these occasional organizations, advisory groups, ad hoc steering committees and the funding driving it all, I guess I could call the whole shebang:

    "San Juan SurreptitiousNet"

    Talk about shadow government. They won't get away with this.

  10. They are getting away with it! And they likely will again.

    Jarman only beat Lovell by a small margin. Throw in the eco-jihadis from Orcas and Lopez and she has a great chance or being re-enthroned!

    One large problem with this county is that more people than one can believe line up behind the faux-freinds Gaia uber alles message without thinking through the inevitable long term march to eco-authoritarianism. Or maybe that's what they really want.

    Someone cheer us up!

  11. What has the general public responded to?

    "Secret Meetings" obviously got a large response and pissed many people off.

    I'm blank on #2 because I don't think there is a #2.

    I have contact with many working people and their primary focus these days is finding the next job. They don't think about the complicated maelstrom causing the no job situation.

    My comment always is: "Do you vote? You need to study and you need to vote."

    So on the one side you have the PSP and a network of networks, (yeah, the whole thing makes me want to vomit too) and on the other side you have people who are trying so hard to make a living, they don't even think about voting or anything else.

    And look how quickly our government is moving to consolidate the mandate of the new CAO.

    The benign "workshops."

    I hope staff gets chewed royally by the professional working people affected by this monstrous piece of regulatory verbiage, the CAO, BUT there is always the opportunity with more regulation to make more money and I hope our local professionals will take the high road and tell the County Staff to STUFF their new regulation where the Sun will never shine.

    What will it take to inform the public and get them to vote? Byers and Pratt are moving like a fast freight train. This is a train that needs a massive derailment.

    Support of the CAPR lawsuit is a must. At least it has the potential to derail Pratt using the one thing voters are known to care about.

    Da Hast Dein Scheiss Salat.

  12. Lisa Byers said tonight that the new CAO was way cool and no problem, not complicated--she figured out, so can we!
    Yes, I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the workshop where the author seeks to explain to real workers --people who actually build things--what the gibberish means.

  13. Cool and No ProblemJanuary 16, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    When the people who wrote the CAOs (the Planning Department and Council) can't even figure out how it affects individual properties, then anyone who says that it is cool and no problem has a very different definition of "cool and no problem" than the typical homeowner.

    Unbridled discretion of the Permit Director to punish you for anything at anytime -- cool and no problem.

    That must be what Byers means.

  14. Yes, my comments were on the topic of civility, although I didn't use that word. However, my point was that personal attacks direct the discussion away from the important issues raised here and instead put the focus on responding to the attacks. It's my opinion that the promotion of the points of view presented here would be better served if the people whom you regard as adversaries were treated with more respect. You often express that you are not treated that way, that your world view is marginalized. How about setting an example of a different way by giving others the benefit of the doubt and assume they are acting in good faith, however misguided their positions might be in your view?

    Please do not accuse me of trying to divert the discussion away from important issues. Also, please do not accuse me of colluding with anyone unless you have some facts to base that on. Thank you.