Thursday, February 14, 2013

And The Winner Is - Ambivalence and Apathy

Now that we've had some time to pore over the election results, we add the following observations to our previously stated statistical results:
  • While turnout was low, Byers and Pratt benefited from comparatively high turnout in the areas that favored them. In the precincts where Byers and Pratt won, average turnout was at least 7 percentage points higher than the few areas where they lost. For those precincts where Byers and Pratt received an outright majority of votes, average turnout exceeded 50% (with Shaw being a notable exception).
  • In absolute numbers, the undervote was greatest in Lopez North (a particular Byers/Pratt stronghold), Orcas West, Eastsound, and Friday Harbor North. Each of those precincts has about 500 more potential votes than were cast in the primary. The only precincts in the county with more than 1,000 registered voters are Lopez North, Orcas West, and Eastsound, so despite relatively high turnout in those precincts, they still had a large number of un-cast votes too. Just the un-cast votes in Orcas Central, for example, are equivalent to more votes than exist in the entire precincts of Turn Point, Blakely, Decatur, Shaw, or Waldron.
  • Byers won in 15 of 19 precincts and had an outright majority in 4 precincts.
  • Pratt won in 14 of 19 percents and had an outright majority in 5 precincts.
The numbers prove the tautology that Byers and Pratt won because their supporters turned out in greater numbers than those of other candidates. It looks like the general election probably will come down to who can generate enough excitement to get the vote out, because a lot of our fellow citizens simply did not participate in the primary. For those who might claim that Lopez had an inordinate effect on this election, I would only offer the clarification that, because of the low turnout, it would be more accurate to say that "only about half of Lopez" had an inordinate effect on this election -- we're talking 1,000 Lopezian voters, roughly 700 of whom voted for Pratt and Byers. The rest of Lopez, like most county voters, just didn't vote at all.


  1. Now we know why they passed CAO incompleat, they plan to "fine tune" it after the election.

  2. What!!?? American voters apathetic and un-informed?? GET OUTTA HERE...we will get the the government we so richly deserve...gotta go Oprah is on...

  3. Look at the election through a different lens and think outside of the box.

    There are two coalitions here. Let's call them the Network (or Money Machine) for Byers/Pratt/Stephens block and the Independents for the nonaligned nonpartisan candidates.

    In absolute number, the Money Machine lost by 8 percent to the independents.

    Nonpartisan Independents - 6,012

    Money Machine Bloc - 5,530

    The Money Machine did not contend with a split vote. The Nonpartisan Independents did contend with a split vote because that arena is more competitive and vibrant and alive.

    No reason to speculate on the low turnout, it is what is an historically turnout in San Juan County is quite hight.

    The Independent Nonpartisans now having culled their ranks in the primary present a clear choice to the voters, and the game now is to make that choice crystal clear in the next two months.

  4. Maybe the "Communitarian Network?"

  5. I find Great irony in the criticism of a voting block that is now proposing that we all vote for another bloc.

    Believe it or not, some of us will look at the candidates independently. This is not a mattet of voting Pratt/Byers/Stephens or Hughes/Jarman/McClerren. If you are really an "independent" voter then your scope better be much more open than that- otherwise you are just another Bloc Voter.

    I know that I will be voting for the best candidate and don't really give a rip (for better or worse) what any party endorsement is. They have every right to throw their support behind a candidate, just like I have the right to ignore them.

    Its time to drop this whining about party endorsement and focus on the issues facing this county. I'm a Democrat, frustrated by the CAO, and deal with the county on an almost daily basis and I will not be voting by any party line.

  6. I respectfully disagree with the view that support for the slate of Jarman/Hughes/McClerran would necessarily constitute support for bloc voting. The Pratt/Byers/Stevens trio is a "bloc", supported as such by the local Democratic Party endorsment, but I am aware of no "bloc" endorsement of their opponents (and more's the pity, in my view). I personally support Jarman based on his credentials (though admit that I could never vote for Pratt given her support for the ridiculous CAO updates ). Byers is an avowed commune-ist who believes private ownership of land should be abolished, and I am profoundly shocked by those who sing her praises (and that so many voters have, to date, supported her radical views. Are they nuts or just oblivious?). Brian McClerran is a very sharp, practical an plain spoken candidate who outshines Stevens in every respect. So yes, I will vote for Jarman/Hughes/McClerran, and I will do so because they are the best candidates, taken individually. I hope others will do the same, early and often.

  7. Yes, I too was a "Democrat" until I arrived here and discovered that what passes for Democrat elsewhere is considered almost right-wing by the local Democratic Party. I'm firmly in the independent camp, now, thank you.

  8. If you prefer non-aligned, non-politicized problem solvers, you have a choice to make.

    The math dictates that we must band together with others of like mind to increase the likelihood of decent decsion-making by a county council.

    The math is harsh. We must have two voted into office that will make good decisions. If we only have one voted, then all Democrats in San Juan County that are displeased with the CAO and the ideology carried along with, lose. That's the math.

    The logic driving the Machine is that they don't need all three voted in, only two. It doesn't work our for real Democrats who don't like what's going on to just keep Bob Jarman in office.

    Therefore, the disaffected Democrats must in effect become part of a growing coalition - or call it movement if that sounds nicer - and defeat the Machine first and foremost and then begin the work of reforming the local party apparatus and cleaning house.

    I am a Democrat and I know there are many more. Vote against this machine and support the independence. The Machine is not really the Democratic Party. In fact the state convention wouldn't send any of these folks on to the national convention. That ought to tell us something.

  9. I think most people ARE oblivious to Lisa's beliefs and that is a huge part of the work to be done. Her local statements are all vague and flowery and really pretty meaningless. So spread the word!

    Getting our property tax info in the mail yesterday renewed my zeal when I think of what someone posted about the OPAL community paying, all together, something like $63 in real estate tax last year? Is that true?

  10. Actually, it is my understanding, and not to cop out as I think it is off the subject right now, BUT there is a large pile of dirty laundry regarding those who pay taxes here and those with certain "privileges." Privileges that sometimes extend to land use.

    On subject, I hope Ayers would be open to an appointment to the PC replacing someone who wants or needs to step down for whatever reason.

    If the lawsuit is unsuccessful regarding the CRC debacle then I hope Florenza would be encouraged to run for mayor in a Town throwing public money around like a drunken sailor while FOR LEASE signs spread from street to street, some so old moss is starting to grow on them.

  11. Lisa and The New Economics Institute - coming soon to San Juan County...a
    selection of new ideas...

    "community people reclaiming the commons—taking air, water, and land out of the market"

    "alternatives that democratize the control of the economy—including workplaces, finance, and the structure of the firm—in ways that are ecologically sustainable."

    "how to build a “no-growth” economy "

    "we need to remove ourselves from the market, step by step where we can: by making do with less disposable cash income"

    "expanding the welfare state so that we are not subject to markets"

  12. Elections change nothing -- which is why we have them. Anyone who seeks power is, by definition, unworthy to have it. This is why "representative democracy" is neither representative or democratic. Power, is the ability to coerce others and to impose your will on them, Very very rarely people renounce power a la Jesus. Americans, incarcerated in schools, wage slavery and the propaganda machine can never get "outside the wire" to understand their predicament.

  13. I just learned that the "affordable housing" entities get all their permitting fees waived. WAIVED. Why? Regular folks have to pay thousands for one house permit.

  14. Lisa quotes Henry George a lot. George was a proponent of the "land tax"
    An example of this is...

    " Pennsylvania’s pioneering approach to public finance decreases taxes on buildings, which encourages improvements and renovations, and increases taxes on land values to discourage land speculation and profiteering"

    So will Lisa push to decrease the tax on land improvements, and increase the tax on unimproved land, thus making it more expensive to purchase, thus slowing new construction even more?

  15. The waiver of permit fees for affordable housing is correct per Ordinance 28-2011.

    Affordable Housing. All “Planning and Land Use Fees” under this Ordinance shall be waived when: The development or owner-occupied dwelling is intended for occupancy by very low income, low income, and moderate income families, as defined by Section 1 of the Housing Needs Assessment for San Juan County, Appendix 5 of the Comprehensive Plan; or
    The applicant is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(C) non-profit organization and the development is intended for occupancy by very low income, low income, and moderate income families, as defined by Section 1 of the Housing Needs Assessment for San Juan County, Appendix 5 of the Comprehensive Plan.

    See the footnote associated with this link:

  16. You may noti like OPAL's work, but it's incorrect to state that they don't pay real estate taxes. They made the decision many years ago to pay real estate taxes, even though they are exempt from doing so. It was the right thing to do.

    Also, it's not true that permit fees are waived.

    If you are going to argue your views by attacking an organization that has helped many families afford to live in this county, at least get your facts straight.

  17. What is it about the County fee schedule and the ordinance (28-2011) that is not factual? The ordinance and the official fee schedule clearly state that fees are waived for affordable housing, subject to the criteria listed.

    It seems to me that you are the one ignoring the facts.

  18. Some will be happy to hear Ayers is taking over as campaign manager for Hughes.


  19. Go to San juan county web site, polaris mapping. Locate OPAL holdings, click on 'i' icon ,click on the property. Then click on tax records.

  20. If OPAL is willing to disclose, all management information is in this system, or much of it, to the extend it has been implemented. Especially note the features for mass emailing and outreach campaigns

  21. OK, so this is enterprise level CRM system for managing the OPAL community.

    CRM has different flavors but boils down to persuasion.

    Customer Relations Management (tracking and closing sales leads)

    Client Relations Management (tracking social service case loads, or any professional services client base)

    Constituent Relations Management (issue advocacy, election campaigns)

    Community Relations Management
    (tracking behavior of individuals, households, family units as "stakeholders" in a community, variables might include attendance levels at neighborhood meetings, completion of volunteer assignments, etc.)

  22. So, are you saying that OPAL had the choice whether to pay real estate taxes? That says too much already. How many of us get to choose?
    Seems clear under the ordinance quoted that OPAL gets permit fees waived.

    I guess my concern is that by siphoning out Permit revenue to subsidize "affordable" housing for a few, the rest of the people who are wanting to build must pay more, because the county is supposed to have permit fees that reflect the costs of the services provided.

    Sooner or later, there will be no middle class.

    (I do think that the OPAL owners pay property taxes, and they should, just like evryone else.)

  23. In the realm of budget and policy priorities set up by the great and good and probably passed through with little fanfare in a consent agenda ...

    Create incentives for collective housing based on communitarian principles

    Create barriers to private property ownership and equity

    Favor one. Disfavor the other.

    Let the years grind on.

    Class dismissed.

  24. Could it be a horn was being tooted: "Look what good folks we are; we're exempt from paying property taxes but we will pay them anyway."

    Then reality got overlooked wherein $63 is what actually is paid?

    Is this one of these: "Sorry, I misspoke." Or: "I was misinformed."
    Or, (the one I love) "Well we did INTEND to."


  25. There are really only 2 classes; the "victims", and the "oppressors". If you own land, you are on Team O. If you dont own land, you are on Team V.
    Those on Team O who feel guilty, help members of Team V become members of Team O by "transforming the economy" in such a way that V's becomes O's at greatly reduced cost, the costs become great enough that the O's are reduced to V's, and soon, there are only V's, and the O's are called "the government",
    and the V's don't feel bad because there are no more O's, and "the government" gives them free stuff. Or, that's how it is supposed to work!

    The first step is "make property common". Then, unicorns and rainbows!

  26. The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late eighteenth century. The concept of the design is to allow a watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.

    Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, daycares, and asylums. He devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a Panopticon prison.

    Bentham himself described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example." Elsewhere, he described the Panopticon prison as "a mill for grinding rogues honest".


  27. A lovely metaphor for the Lisa-approved CAO...

    as "a new mode of obtaining power of state over property, in a quantity hitherto without example." Elsewhere, describing the CAO as "a mill for grinding property owners honest".

  28. On the opal website part of Lisa's "Visions" is to be funded by the county.

  29. From Lisa's New Economy (New Economics Institute link on OPAL website)

    "MORE EQUALITY. Because large inequalities are at the root of so many social and environmental problems, measures to ensure greater equality—not only of opportunity but also of outcomes"

    You heard it hear folks, EQUAL OUTCOMES. Funny, Progressives keep saying that's not what they're after!

  30. Remember when the Charles Dalton video on you tube was the "Friends" biggest problem?
    Ah the good old days.
    Now they back the biggest developer in the county.

  31. Equal opportunity is a good thing.

    Equal outcomes, what the hell does that even means and who decides?

    I have no problem with civilized policies - in government, civic norms, personal ethics - that maintain a social contract. That's gonna require social policy and taxes and yes, redistribution to keep a level playing field. Call it socialism, fine. I call it the price we pay for civilization.

    But equal outcomes? That's lunacy. It's no fair Mary for you do do better in math than Johnny, you enabling feelings of inferiority in him. What's we'll do is weight his test scores so he has an equal outcome with you. Then there will be social justics?

    i am even remotely close to what this concept implies? Back in the depression rural sociologists studied remote communities in Appalachia trying to figure out why things were so bad and no one would leave.

    Called it "rural egalitarianism" and its the way Soviet farming collectives worked. There's a strong tendency to dampen initiative, creativity and drive down to the lowest common denominator. No exceptionalism allowed.

    "I ain't no better'n you and you'n ain't no better'n me"

    This is what I fear is going on behind the scenes in the intentional community land trust housing developments. A new form of rural egalitarianism. It'll take awhile, but the years grind on. Community land trust as company town.

    Hey speaking of company towns, seems there's a lineage of the Pratt family that extends back to Hawaii around the turn of the century involving some wealthy white businessmen in the plantation business. Just can't make that stuff up. Several generations, liberal guilt kicks in pretty good for those more fortunate. Such an old, old, story.

  32. Give me your money, time ,land, tax breaks etc. If Lisa is so into equality how come she is he only full time paid employee of opal? Sort of sounds like she created a job for herself. If elected how could she not use her council seat as a bully pulpit for her plan. She does'nt give the housing away, she sells 'em. The buyers don't own the land, opal does and they lease it to them and they gain no equity.

  33. I Know, I know.
    The reason the "friends" are backing Lisa [ the biggest developer in the county]. Its because she's a green developer! So green they took 66 trees out of the wetlands, not the buffer, the wetlands on the last project. [Probably the most in the county in a very long time] But its ok she got a permit for that. Who wants the next permit to cut in the wetlands?


  34. Gotta love those GR$$N grants, it's ok with the friends if you mess with the "wetlands" if its for the common good. When ever I need a good laugh all I have to do is go to the county named "Possiable Wetlands Map". The county is clueless and we are to understand whats what.

  35. I don't understand. If the goal in all things per Ms. Byers is equal outcomes, then how could she accept the outcome of winning election,which would require an unequal allocation of votes? Very confusing.

  36. Your not thinking like a Friend. The rules only apply to others. You know, guest house,a dock, trespassing ,ditch in the wetlands, bulkhead on the beach. Others not us , never for us. There are many elected position that can be backed. Decades of work payoff.


  37. Okay, back to the election. One of the the best features of the TH is that we get to exchange idea's and vent! Throw thoughts against the wall, some stick, some slide. Are we sitting in our homes in the winter just thinking crazy things or are there some that maybe even sorta agree. It's good to know your not alone in your way of thinking. Okay, back to the election. There are alot of residents who don't know the facts, since they are not revealed and/or just trying to survive. Most people are to tired to deal with the county and don't have the money to pursue their dreams. Having to wonder if you are violating a code if you want to plant a fruit tree cannot be a positive exsprience. Why even try? What we need is an open dialoge amongst ourseleves with the county revealing the true effects of how rules and codes will affect us. I have no faith in the current councils travling circus gift to the next council Another case of take the money and do nothing.

  38. Where is the $63 figure coming from?
    Looking at the assessor's site:

    They paid $5261.40
    and their bill this year is $4825.15

    That's for the Bonnie Brae property.

  39. Yes, curious about the $63? But also the waiver in county code? How does a land trust separate out tax from land (held in trust) vs tax on homes/buildings, which I assume are paid by the homeowner. But OPAL would pay the land tax, yes? Overall taxes at the same rates as the general public but divided between land and house? Would the Oakes on San Juan Island be structured in a similar way? Home is owned, land is held by a private concern, fees cover shared infrastructure and common maintainance.

    Aren't these just different types of condominium structures? Why is OPAL any different from the Oakes except OPAL get that free govmint money?

  40. Since you're still going on this subject...

    Check out Tax Parcel:

    Ahhh, to be above the law. It must be nice. That wouldn't be two residences on one undivided parcel, would it? Neat how the elderly property tax exemption gets shared, even though all of the owners work.

    And they wonder why there is "confusion and hostility" about the Land Trusts. Yikes!

    This also appears to be Jamie Stephen's campaign manager. At least they are consistent about something.

  41. Ok.

    So now the entire conversation is totally F'd up...

    This tax parcel has nothing to do with OPAL.

    I am curious where the $63 figure comes from? When people throw around numbers they need to back them up- it helps all of us.


  42. Thank you 5:37pm. This has to be absolutely classic! As a quick aside, I have always been troubled with the County providing a complete LACK of privacy for common (bad word) property owners. Any Tom Dick and Mabel can snoop your entire financial life in regard to your property.

    Back to 5:37. Of course the County, having nothing better to do in pissing money away has invented a whole new parcel search system and of course it is far inferior to the old one. (Do we have to follow the CAO's precedent EVERYWHERE?)I looked up my own lot through the "old" workable system and it worked as usual.

    To be honest, 5:37, I can't figure out what the F is going on except Rhea Miller seems to be teamed up in (ownership???) with several other women. (Is this a commune?)

    Do they pay property taxes??? Who can tell?

    More instruction please.

  43. several blog entries back and way down in the comments someone posted something about OPAL and a tax amount that was $63 in 2011 or 2012. Can someone find that? Or could the commentor give a link to that info? If it's valid?

  44. Talk about the odd couple: Rhea Miller and Jamie Stephens?

  45. 6:58 - Sorry, I was on topic, I promise. We were pointing out the Land Trust model benefits from tax breaks from building through occupancy. I was eager to point out that the Director of the LCLT, Lopez's version of OPAL has managed to become exempt from property taxes as well.

    Rhea qualified for a 65+ tax exemption. Even if she is legit, wouldn't this mean a 25% reduction in taxes due to 25% ownership of the property? The other three ladies have jobs which pay enough to null the exemption.

    It smells fishy, especially when it's a former County official.

  46. I love fish, and I get lots of it in a firewood for fish trade with my buddy Alaskan fisherman across the road, but old fish does stink.

    And since a whole bunch of us are 65+ I guess there seems to be a lot of stinky fish out there.

    Sign me: Way over 65 and paying full property tax at 10K plus per year.

    Gotta go, it's past my bedtime.

  47. Yeah but what about that $63 bucks, what's the story, if there is one?

    Someone on the Byer's campaign committee must be scanning these comments if they have any campaign sense at all.

    Bob? Janet? Steve? Anyone out there? Lisa? It's OK, we're just voters.

  48. Help me out here. I hate slogans. I cringe at political newspeak nonsense. But here I am designing advertising for this election.

    Seriously... any ideas? The best I've got yet is

    "Public Service for all the Right Reasons"


  49. It's really hackneyed, but "Vote for Change" or Its Time for Change is worth thinking about. Gets used a lot though.

    The status quo is the angry Machine that has to go. Its been running the show for way too long.

    Go to and play around with the word change. Couple words sort of jumped out: shift, about-face, innovation, make over, reform. Follow the links of words that appeal. You'll get the idea.

    "Let a working man work for you."

    Also, you are a young working family.

    "Vote for young working families"

    Please don't try to compare yourself to Abraham Lincoln ...

  50. "Status quo been running this show. The angry machine has got to go."

    Rebuild Rural Character: Send a Young Working Man to the County Council.

    Support our working families ...

  51. Actually it's not $63.00, it's $62.64. > polaris property search > find parcel > 271160000000 > click i icon on toolbar > click on parcel. What comes up is owner opal community land trust inc., 6.67 acres, land value $0.00, building value $0.00. Click on "view property tax statements". Total due $62.64.

  52. Like that country western song goes, we need a little less talk and alot more action. Hows that for a slogan.

  53. The county and others take the federal and state grant money and we all have to live with the rules and regulations that goes with it. I not so sure the "trade off" is worth it.

  54. Brian,

    Try this one on for size:

    "Ask not what County Council can do for you, Ask what they can do to you."

    Nick F. Power

  55. Brian:

    Avoid superlatives:

    Independent Public Service For The Right Reasons.

    Independent for the Public.