In Byers' Eagle Forum answers, she says that she has received no campaign funds from the Friends, and as an organization, that's true. The Eagle Forum might have more accurately asked about her connections to the people comprising the Stewardship Network. In the spirit of fairness, let's look at a summary of who is donating to Byers campaign.
- 1 Board member of the Friends plus her husband (largest donors to Byers campaign)
- 1 Board member of Kwiaht who is also a Planning Commissioner
- 2 members of the Charter Review Commission
- 2 Land Bank Commissioners plus the Head of the Land Bank
- 3 members of the MRC, one of whom is also an employee of the Friends, and another who is also the County's Salmon Lead Entity Coordinator
- 3 local Democratic Party officials, one of whom is (simultaneously) also the Head of the Madrona Institute, the Stewardship Network fiscal agent, and President of the Conservation District
- 4 members of the League of Women Voters, one of whom is also a Planning Commissioner
- 6 people associated with one or more of our Island Land Trusts, and
- 14 Byers campaign donors have also donated to Pratt
Remember, this is on top of the expansive connections already described in one of our earlier posts regarding Byers' (and Pratt's) Campaign Committee. Is there anything wrong with active citizens playing multiple roles in our community? Well ... sometimes yes. When the same people become entrenched for years as a virtual ascendancy, then there can be potential problems.
But many ordinary citizens are wondering if something more fundamental is going on. It looks for all the world like the eco/conservation crowd is hooking up with the Community Land Trust crowd to re-engineer our entire economy and island way of life. Are we crazy for having those suspicions? Maybe not. Consider the following.
Most Community Land Trusts are 501(c)(3)s ... for those of us who believe that this is actually the right way to ... that this is part of a larger Land Reform Movement ... it would be great if we weren't constrained by 501(c)(3)s ... but in terms of replicating this model and actually getting it on the ground, the place where it has had the most traction has been in the affordable housing world and therefore having that 501(c)(3) status has provided a way to work within the existing economy to implement this alternative economy. There are a number of Conservation Land Trusts and Community Land Trusts that work collaboratively. There are a few that I know of in the same organization ... my specific experience has been that, again, it takes relationships and specific projects to coalesce around. - Lisa Byers, June 2012 -- New Economics Institute Conference Q&AAlternative economy? ... relationships and specific projects to coalesce around? ... seems like one more thing in this county that makes you go "hmmm."
In addition to being Executive Director of OPAL, Byers is the President of the National Community Land Trust, and she is part of the New Economics Institute, which is a heterodox economics organization. We're not talking Keynes versus Hayek ... we're talking Schumacher and people who believe in degrowth -- and as appealing as some aspects of that philosophy may sound to some, most of it is simply an anti-capitalistic power grab disguised as eco wholesomeness.
We'll have more about that in future posts, but to get rolling, have a look at an excerpt of Byers from a New Economics Institute Conference in New York from last June. By the way, Byers starts off with a quote by Thomas Paine that (we believe) she misconstrues. We'll have more about that too in later posts.
(34) Excerpt from Lisa Byers - Indian Line Farm: Conservation, Affordable Access, Sustainability from New Economics Institute on Vimeo