Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Primary Election Day

Yes ... today is the big day.  We'll know (probably) this evening who will move on to the general election in April.

In assorted news (while we wait for the election results), the Planning Commission and the County Council held a joint session yesterday. It was reminiscent of meetings about solid waste before the citizens of this County finally got so fed up with Public Works that we took solid waste operations away from them. Planning Department staff could not have been more unhelpful yesterday. Nearly every request put to them was met with rebound requests for more staff and more money. As mentioned, we saw this sort of behavior from the old solid waste staff in the days before their downfall, where no request was too small for the County to turn down using "resource constraints" as the excuse  -- not even the installation of a suggestion box at the waste facilities was doable.

The Planning Department has now decided to fall into the same role, and apparently, it won't work on anything that it doesn't want to work on. They just hired another full-time planner, and despite "completing" the CAOs, they have no time or resources to work on any Council or Planning Commission request. Funny how that is.

I think it's time we looked at a new organizational model for the Planning Department just like we had to look at a new organization model for solid waste.


  1. In today's news:

    "County To Delay Effective Date Of CAO Regulations"

    "Colonoscopies To Be Offered At SJI Medical Center"

    The juxtaposition of these two items seemed appropriate!

  2. Is it just me or is it weird that there is no mention in The Islander, The Guardian, or the Journal of the San Juan's that there is a primary being held today.

    I guess it is not important.

    These are not the droids you are looking for.

    Nick R2D2 Power

    1. Given the blatant rah-rah reporting by the rags for the Dems, it is odd, unless the strategy is to make sure that only the friends of the party who got reminder calls vote. We need a newspaper in this town!

  3. to...Kit Rawson...could you repost your comments about the water bottling plant here? I'm not confident people are scrolling back so far for comments and I think there may be people who can provide some information for you. I apologize for introducing a random subject on election day! I think it's an important one tho' and I didn't feel comfortable pasting it myself. Thank you!

  4. Watching yesterday's County Council/Planning Commission workshop was painful in the extreme.

    It was quite apparent to me that the Community Planning and Development folks have no intent of allowing the elected officials accomplish anything during their abbreviated term of office.

    Rene Beliveau offered one mumbled excuse after another for why CP&D couldn't manage to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

    At one point, he went so far as to say he was running "in crisis management mode".

    *This* is the guy we want in charge of planning for our community? A guy who can't even plan and manage his own small department sensibly?

    Our electeds need to remove some of the functions from CP&D, and hand them to other employees ASAP. Relying on CP&D staff to assist the Council in writing legislation, for example, seems a recipe for disaster.

    Our electeds are in charge of writing our legislation, they should not be held hostage by a dysfunctional or contrary CP&D department.

    The single biggest accomplishment our current Winter Council could accomplish would be to clean up this particular swamp. What a great gift that would be to the people of this County, and the incoming Council.

  5. You have to wonder who Shireen has pictures of. Incompetent (worse than that really--actively working against the Council and the people) but no one has the colones to fire her, Peter-principled x3 Rene, or plodding but highly paid Colon. Part of the problem is that some Council members are cowed by planners' double-speak and don't dare question what they do all day.

  6. Amen, Brother!

    CP&D pursued a biased agenda leading to the horrific mess that is the current CAO. I grew nauseated listening to Hale mouth the words "values and functions" as if she was Charlton Heston pronouncing the 10 Commandments. Arrogance supported by incompetence is an ugly thing to behold.
    A clean sweep is necessary!

  7. Does even one member of the County Council have the courage to speak truth to power?

  8. In the last election we voted for Prop 2, which states, in part, "...place with the County Council those administrative and executive powers not granted to other elected officials"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't this mean that as of the last election, the Council is charged with direct administration (with the help of a professional manager), of all departments - including the Planning Department! Essentially, the Council is Rene's direct boss. Isn't setting priorities, agendas, and duties part of a bosses job? He's walking all over them.

  9. I'd like to second the comment made some time ago that there is no reason to have more than 5 people on any board or commission.

    More people equates to more expense and time wasted. In addition, is this constant worry about what island an appointment is from warranted? My experience was that members bent over backwards to fairly represent neighborhoods they did not live in.

    If single island representation is judged necessary, it seems simple enough to have a member appointed from each of the main islands and then two members at large. And you need an out caveat wherein if after a posted opening time there is no applicant for an island seat then the appointment can be made at large on a temporary basis.

    Getting rid of many of these boards and commissions would be helpful, in my view, in ending a lot of the infighting and power tripping that seems prevalent in this County Government.

  10. Was it Pete Rose that established this mantra that we don't fire anybody because we then have to find a replacement?

    How about fire and then red line the position. Gone and forgotten.

  11. I worked a municipal project a few years back somewhere in our fair state. The project was well underway when the black hole of the recession suddenly opened up.

    Within 6 months the town was shedding staff. The mayor, a good guy, a tradesman and small business owner home boy and Democrat from the blue collar days had to manage it all.

    And though he was not a happy camper, when he finally worked through it, he remarked over lunch one day: "You know, I gotta tell ya. I hated laying all those folks off. My kids go to school with their kids. But guess what? The town runs better for it. Less confusion, more focus, less turf battles, shorter staff meetings, better communication, and boy do we listen to the public really carefully now. We have a better town for less money. Go figure."

    This is a true story.

  12. The problem and the solution are quite simple. This small county cannot afford to implement or enforce the unmanageable CAO mess manufactured by the Planning Department and ordained by the 5 clueless members or our prior council who refused to even consider the cost side of their grandios scheme. Repeal the CAO updates, adopt a simple plan (such as that adopted by the Town of Friday Harbor) and move on in a more sensible way in all respects. No additional "planners" need apply.

  13. @February 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM My comment regarding the proposed water bottling plant in Anacortes was posted Feb 11 at 4:55 PM on the thread: Quickhits: Nonpartisanship, Planning Commission" in case anyone wants to look at it. Possibly ECK could put up an open thread or something like that on here.

    Meanwhile, people might want to react to this: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020340635_apwagowestwolves1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss . I think I'm for it.

  14. What would Ranker and the other Dems do if somehow wolves could kill bald eagles, and orca whales?

  15. You have to give the backstory to that article, if you are even aware of it, Kit. Ranker was invited multiple times to meet with the citizens of Wauconda about wolves. Kretz sincerely reached out to Ranker as head of the Energy and Environment Committee. Ranker blew him off -- didn't even answer Kretz. This happened not once, not twice, but something like 6 times, according to reports.

    Then, after the wolves were killed in that area, Ranker stood on the steps of the legislature and said he was going to hold hearings about the extirpation. Ranker showed that he doesn't care about live wolves. Ranker cares about dead wolves, as long as he can grandstand about them.

    The WDFW folks were in a very difficult predicament in that wolf-elimination situation. They did the best they could and got the best advice they could get. All that Ranker did was heap scorn on them.

    This is Kretz's way of repaying Ranker's well-deserved reputation for professional courtesy and sensitivity.

    Our Ocean Hero should get his photo snapped standing on the carcass of a wolf from Okanagan/Stevens County next time he gets an award.

  16. The wolves are just another "vehicle" to limit a citizen's right to protect and use his or her private property. They don't miss any opportunity.

  17. "It's a stupid bill, and it's a waste of our resources," said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island.

    Such soaring oratory to reflect upon this election day. I guess.

    Check out Enzo's Italian Caffe in Eastsound. Pretty sure this is the place with some awesome paintings of regional Native American themes, mothers, children, landscapes, crittters.

    "The Greeting" portrays a wolf on an island shoreline gazing out on a pod of killer whales across the water at sunset.

    The painting's description reads: "The markings on the Killer Whale and Wolf are the same, and when we see a wolf by the ocean, it is believed he is trying to connect with his ancestors."

    Now, I believe the markings on David Dehlendorf and Kevin Ranker are much the same. Both seem as sheep in wolf's clothing at times. Perhaps they should work together and re-introduce wolves to the San Juan Islands.

    That will draw even more eco-tourists to our upcoming National Monument status. This will create much needed jobs. And great business for our new medical center.

  18. The local rags maynot remind us when its time to vote, but, they allways remind us when its time to pay our property taxes.

  19. R2D2 Power & 3:59pm and all others.

    We all seem to agree on, at least one thing; "Follow The Money."

    Money flows in for advertising and guess what, there is an impact on the editorial side.

  20. Just read the Island Guardian letter by Janet Alderton. Wow. She places $100K of blame for public records requests on the shoulders of a "single individual associated with the CSA". Sounds like BS to me. Actually sounds like defamation.

    Hey Janet:
    ........('(...?...?.... ?~/'...')
    ..........''...\.......... _.•?

  21. Anyone know if the council voted to delay the CAO implementation??

  22. Ah ... I would prefer that commenters criticize the baselessness of Alderton's letter. There is scarcely a line in the letter that is truthful. Help others understand why it is so wrong ... and wrongheaded.

  23. Yes, the CAOs are now scheduled for implementation on May 1.

  24. I thought we lived in the age of instant information. Come on, it's 8:02 already, where are those election results??

  25. From the comments so far and conversations I've had this morning, the CRC majority mantra of " everybody voting for everybody will bring us all together as a county and eliminate the divisions the six member council system has created" doesn't seem to be working out so well. I wonder how the former CRC members that are on the property rights side are feeling this morning about their apparent gift of the county to those that seem to love to regulate.

  26. I am very glad I was not a member of the CRC. It utterly baffles me how they could support the voting structure we now have. It is a "head in the sand" result that fails to recognize significant cultural differences that exist among the Islands. It hands excess power to 1/7 of the population. Rather than cause us to come together, if this is not fixed, it will lead to a deeper, more bitter division.