Thursday, February 7, 2013

Quickhits: Nonpartisanship, Planning Commission

Don Pollard has a great letter in the Island Guardian about nonpartisanship. Howie Rosenfeld says that everything is partisan. What do you think?

The appointment of Tim Blanchard to the Planning Commission is getting a lot of attention. Blanchard is on the Board of the Common Sense Alliance (CSA), and he replaces Evelyn Fuchser, whose term expired. Fuchser was on the Board of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR).

Blanchard's appointment caused David Dehlendorf (husband of a Planning Commissioner) to send an apoplectic email to the County Council, objecting to Blanchard's appointment. You can read Dehlendorf's screed here. Dehlendorf is concerned about CSA having too many members on the Planning Commission, but if Dehlendorf had examined the voting records of the "CSA Planning Commissioners," he would have realized that they have not voted as a bloc -- not even regarding the CAOs. The people who have voted as a bloc on the Planning Commission have been most of the non-CSA, non-CAPR members. Susan Dehlendorf, Barbara Thomas, Bob Gamble, Stephen Adams, and Karin Agosta almost always vote the same way, and nearly all of them are involved in the campaigns of Byers and/or Pratt.

Why the sudden concern for balance on the County's committees? For me, the fuss is reminiscent of the racial integration of schools back in the 50s, with Dehlendorf playing the role of George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door. Goodness, we can't have integration here. That would destroy our way of life!

Blanchard just wrote to the Council in response to Dehlendorf's letter. Have a look.

 Members of the County Council:

I am writing to address recent assertions by David Dehlendorf that I failed to "fully and properly" disclose potential conflicts of interest in my application to serve on the Planning Commission.  (San Juan Islander, Feb 6, 2013.)  I am at a loss concerning the relevance of much of Mr. Dehlendorf's letter, but wanted to make clear to Council that my disclosure of potential conflicts was "full" and "proper."

For the record:

I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Common Sense Alliance (CSA), a nonpartisan, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.  As its website states, CSA "provides the vehicle through which information can be provided to citizens and government alike, allowing citizens to be more engaged in our charter government and requiring government to follow established law and process to provide fair and enforceable laws for Islanders."

In my application, I identified CSA as an organization in which I "serve in a decision making capacity," and further disclosed my service as an officer of the Board.

I do not serve as CSA's "principal attorney."  Neither I, nor my firm, have ever been engaged as legal counsel for CSA or provided legal advice to CSA. Public comments that I have made on behalf of CSA were made in my capacity as one of CSA’s vice presidents.

I am not a "party to a lawsuit against the County." Nor has CSA initiated a "lawsuit" against the County.  CSA recently filed administrative appeals with the Growth Management Hearings Board, in furtherance of its public comments regarding the recently adopted Critical Areas Ordinance provisions. 

I am not sure why Mr. Dehlendorf was unaware of the vacancy on the Commission.  The regular vacancy notice and request for applications were posted on the County website and I believe the terms of Planning Commission members have also been consistently listed on the County website.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Tim Blanchard


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Tim is a citizen of San Juan, is smart as a whip, and is passionate about land use issues. Those are the only criteria that should matter.

    David Dehledorf must be worried because there is someone in the community that is smarter than he and his wife.

  3. Dehlendorf, in my opinion, is not really concerned about the process. The process as required by law was followed. Dehlendorf wanted "affirmative action".
    He wanted the Council to widely advertise, perhaps conduct Community Forums, and take a sense of the community into account. In other words, he is pissed that a FOSJ clone wasn't appointed. The outrage he feels is that the March to Utopia might be slightly slowed by having a balanced individual instead of a zealot on the PC.

  4. David Dehlendorf stepped on (in) it once again.

  5. To ECK:

    You can buoy our spirits, or dash our hopes. How many unique posters are here on TH? Are there hundreds of us, or perhaps, 20-30, repeat visitors making all the comments. Is the truth spreading, or are we a blog echo chamber, reinforcing our own beliefs?

    I bow to your judgement in answering these questions. Perhaps it better we do not know. Or perhaps, the answers will encourage us to fight harder.

  6. Unfortunately, we are mostly Ed Kilduff commenting as anonymous and under various ficticious names. There are only 5-10 of us. We would be better served by electing Ed to the county council as a write in candidate from Lopez in April.

  7. Yes we are only a small group of angry activists pounding pots and pans trying to make ourselves out to be a larger voice and force than we really are.

    Look who says so. They must know what they are talking about. They have special information.

    But why would the Dehelendorf's of the world get their knickers in a twist? This is just a little ranting blog out in the wilderness full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

    We deserve to be marginalized by our betters, who surely have a better use of their time other than to get sweaty palms over this and try to convince everyone that:

    We know nottttthinnnnggg
    We are nootthththingggg

    How many visits a month is thing getting? 7,000 or so and rising? How many folks live in San Juan County? 16,000 or so? How many use the internet at home? How many browse the Island Guardian in the morning over coffee to see what's up?

    Do the math.

  8. This whole worry about how many unique posters exist has never really made much sense to me.

    Who cares if there is a seven nation army or a single lonely computer program generating these things like in some Phillip K. Dick novel.

    The point is they are READ and READ by ALOT.

    I know this because I am one of the few who posts with my name -- and dozens have come up to me in the Post Office, Elementary School, Grocery Store and Library, who have commented (both positively and negatively) on my postings.

    The truth is out there.

    Nick Power

    1. Ok Nick... If your going to steal the tag line from the X-files, you at least need to work Fox into your name somewhere!

  9. Regarding comments, we honestly don't know how many unique commenters there are. My personal opinion is that it depends on the post, and when a given post strikes a chord, sometimes there are multiple posters. Perhaps there's a bit of mania on certain post topics, leading to multiple posts by the same person. But I am just guessing.

    The previous commenter is right, however, in that we have about 7,000 unique visits per month. We've had almost 120,000 page views by now (our 1 year anniversary is coming up). That's a lot for an out-of-the-way blog from a tiny group of islands.

    Also alluded to by the previous poster, I think our success can be measured by the growing irritation of a certain segment of our county population too. By that measure, we are successful.

    In summary, I think there are many TH'ers now and the number is growing, but we are up against a daunting and powerful network. We should be both encouraged and sobered about where we have come from ... and what lies ahead.

    We really do live in a county (and we're not alone in this regard because Whatcom and other counties are just as bad) where things are so underhanded and stacked against common people, that just calling it out has become cause for vitriol. That's how far we have sunk. We are in bad shape, and it will take every fair-minded person to turn this around.

    We need you.

  10. ECK and Nick,

    Thanks for the encouragement. If we are being seen and read, and there are only a few of us, then so be it. Open the floodgates of truth. Build the case, speak of the ideology behind the smiling faces and comforting organization names. Encourage others to join in and stop the "Road to Serfdom" our "Friends" so dream of!

  11. You need to ask Dehlendorf how many posters there are here. He has great powers of divination. He "knows" things about people he has barely met, things that he could "know" only by special powers. At the same time, he doesn't know things that are well-documented, such as the Friends' presence on the Planning Commission--another special power: feigned ignorance. What amazes me is that Dehlendorf and his Friends seldom if ever contradict facts stated by the Others. Complaining about the lack of civility, maybe. Producing contrary facts, not so much. (Dehlendorf is one of the least civil people I have encountered on this island. He is always right, never listens, and sputters about like a firework when exercised.)

  12. Dear Concerned: do not be confused--there is NO ONE smarter than DD. (His wife seems like a nice lady.)

  13. At least Howie has humor. The Property Owner Political Party. That's funny, cause I've been missing a lot fun "Party" meetings I guess.

    There ain't no POPP because these people are too busy managing their lives to pay their taxes, put bread on the table and rake leaves. (Gotta cut the nitrogen spike you know.)

  14. At least Tim will not be travelling around the islands spying on neighbors, trespassing, taking photos of people he does not like(only those who don't donate a lot of money to the Friends and other approved entities), and then trying to harm them as much as possible. That is a major plus in having him on the Planning Commission.

  15. There are indeed two factions on the Planning Commission.

    One faction just wants to be left alone.

    The other faction are trespassers.

  16. I don't know Tim Blanchard. I only know what I have read that he has written and I know what groups he is publicly part of.

    I don't know that I agree with Tim Blanchard.

    What I do know is that he filled out the application and went through the process to be appointed to the position. From my understanding of the situation, he was the only one who did so, so even if I think Tim Blanchard is the scum of the earth, he was the best person that applied for the job and as such should be appointed. Anyone who has a problem with him should have stepped up and applied.

    Complain all you want- but anyone willing to take the time out of their life to participate in public service (be they liberal, conservative, libertarian or smurf) is willing to do more than about 95% of those in our community.

    Don't like Em??? Then step up and get involved!

  17. Oh, the irony. John Evans was the one who pushed for the current system of advertising committee position openings, and the opposition was the Lopez Democrat.

    "Commissioner John Evans argued the commission seat now held by Thomas should be advertised and made available to anyone interested in the position." Thomas was nearing the end of her second four-year term on the commission prior to her re-appointment. [She is now in her fourth term.] The citizens’ panel would benefit with new faces and ideas onboard, he said.

    “I feel something as important as the Planning Commission should be advertised,” Evans said.

    [Rhea] Miller countered that Thomas clearly would be the leading candidate for the post and asking for resumes and conducting interviews would be “disingenuous” to those interested in the appointment.

  18. Ms Thomas has been on the Planning Commission for how long? Four terms? Has she nothing else to do with her life? Aw fer cryin' out loud, this has gotta stop, good grief!

    And on a separate but sadly related note, I think we have heard the true voice of the current San Juan County Dems, David Dehlendorf. Unless I am confused, he is the Treasurer.

    No wonder the state Dem convention wouldn't send anyone from around here on to the national convention.

    Delegate Delhendorf. In your dreams pal.

  19. Ok all you seers and prophets!

    What is the best voting strategy?

    San Juan - Jarman or Florenza?
    Orcas - Ayers or Hughes?

    If someone wants to make a case for Pratt or Byers, we could use some humor!

  20. I love it! SJC politics have not been such entertainment since the Port of Orcas Commissioners would get into fistfights. But on a more serious note, I can assure the Anonymous poster above (who worried the viewership was only a few posters) that I regularly share this blog with many others both outside of SJC and the state. The work done by the Trojan Heron is of inestimable value to the cause of government accountability and deserves our praise and support. Thank you, Trojan Heron. Please continue your enlightened work!

    Scott Miller
    Orcas Island

  21. @ February 7, 2013 2:34 PM Absolutely. Very well put. Thank you.

  22. Tim Blanchard's appointment to the Planning Commission is one of the brightest spots in the dismal situation we face today, as new elections move forward and current Council members prepare to give up the positions to which they were elected. Within this travesty there is the hopeful presence of a Council who sees what Tim has to offer and supports him. He will be an outstanding Planning Commission member. Janice Peterson

  23. Note well that Dehlendorf attacked Planning Commissioner Mike Carlson last year, in an incident the TH covered:

    Dehlendorf contacted me, as chair of the Planning Commission, asking that I reprimand or remove Carlson. He copied several members of the County Council as well:


    From: "David Dehlendorf"
    To: "Brian Ehrmantraut"
    Cc: "Patty Miller" , "Lovel Pratt" , "Howie Rosenfeld"
    Subject: We Are Not Crazy!
    Date: Mon, Aug 13, 2012 9:43 am

    Brian: Do you think it is appropriate and ethical that Mike Carlson, a member of the Planning Commission appointed to represent the best interests of all citizens of San Juan County, endorses the blog entries and comments of Ed Kilduff, a member of the board of the Common Sense Alliance, that attack other members of the Planning Commission, several members of the County Council, as well as many other citizens of our county? I for one do not!

    In so endorsing Kilduff's blog entries and comments by telling readers of the CSA's website that his "Local Blog Reveals What Is Really Happening", and by sending emails to his supporters stating "Here is a link to the local BLOG Trojan Heron.Worth the read", Mr. Carlson has in effect recently endorsed the statement by Ed Kilduff on his blog that "Janet Alderton should be sent to the asylum along with the rest of of her crazed Friends (i.e. supporters of Friends of the San
    Juans). I find this statement by Ed Kilduff, and its endorsement by
    Mr. Carlson and the CSA, to be highly offensive and against the best efforts of all of us working to achieve a beneficial outcome and a high level of civil discourse as our community debates the merits of the CSA and SMP. If Mr. Carlson believes the members of the public who oppose his views are crazy, then he needs to be either reprimanded by you at the Planning Commission meeting on July 17 and/or removed from the Planning Commission.

    Thanks for listening.

    David Dehlendorf

  24. When I did not respond to this absurd request of Dehlendorf's, he pestered me for an answer, so I eventually replied:

    From: Brian Ehrmantraut
    To: David Dehlendorf

    cc: Patty Miller , Lovel Pratt ,
    Howie Rosenfeld , Michael W Carlson , Jack Cory , Ed Kilduff
    Date: Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 10:06 AM
    Subject: Re: We Are Not Crazy!

    On Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 7:44 AM, wrote:

    Brian: Can I please have the courtesy of your response? Thanks.


    Since you insist:

    I did not initially respond out of courtesy to you. I found your request absurd on its face, and your desire to use the force of government to muzzle those who disagree with you deeply offensive to the very principles on which our country and our state were founded. Apparently our County Council members who then asked Randy Gaylord's office about the matter were referred to the First Amendment of the US Constitution. I also note that the Washington State Constitution contains similar protections.

    When a similar issue was brought up several Planning Commission meetings ago, I said then that I didn't intend on wasting a single moment of the Commission's time on such nonsense, and I stand by that. Pursuit of this matter seemed likely to cause more harm than good, for everyone, and further divide a Planning Commission that over the past years has managed to work together despite their differences, often crafting consensus decisions that produce a better outcome for us all than any one individual's or faction's approach.

    I do thank you for referring me to the Trojan Heron site - I found an interesting article there on civility that you, the Council members, and other folks might find of help:

  25. Just gimme a Pepsi ...

  26. And for the continuing record, David Dehlendorf then responded to me with some attacks on my character that are too long to publish here because they exceed the length allowed in a single post.

    Frankly, I am amazed that we can find citizens willing to serve on our volunteer committees in this toxic environment.

  27. Maybe all is not lost. It is not just David Dehlendorf wetting his pants over a simple and good PC appointment, but also getting some heat from functionaries seated next to the Garden Cafe.

    Once we get them in their best shrill voice complaining big time the general public gets a mental wake up.

    With a check out person giving me a whispered: "You know they were doing things in secret." This, over the back of her hand, I felt a tiny bit of confidence that maybe, just maybe, all was not lost.

  28. What is so funny is that everybody knows about the secret meetings at the Garden Cafe.

    Wanna hear the story about Dehlendorf and the Grange?

    Didn't think so. But the Grange actually is resilient ... 150 years and going strong. They've been pretty patient with David and his Friends. They've seen all this before.

    Ever hear the term "rail-roading?" That's from the old days, when the Grange was battling robber barons who would hire goons and thugs to join local Grange halls to disrupt meetings and take over. Sound familiar?

    We've been railroaded by later day robber barons and eco-goons, wrapped in laurels of green, whispering sweet words of proactive sustainable vibrancy.

  29. Heres the problem with the 1st Ammendment:

    It works for everyone.

    For those who can only see one side of the coin it is a major pain in the ass, because it allows the coin to be flipped.

    For those of us who are, however, more interested in understanding both sides of the coin than complaining about either side, it is a tool that we would never give up in defense of even our strongest convictions.

    Here's hoping that Mr. Dehlendorf and indeed every individual here learns that the coin doesn't always land on Heads.

    -Charter Member of the Smurf Party


  30. David, Perhaps you should have stuck with what you do best, focus on what you do best. Like foreclosing on peoples homes. But then where will they live? Lisa can save us.

  31. @ February 7, 2013 at 9:35 PM Absolutely right on comment. Reminds me of a few weeks ago when my redirection of several choice phrases used here back in the commenters' direction produced immediate huge waves of indignation (including from Ed, I should point out). If the shoe fits wear it, or, should I say, if you can't stand the heat then get [the Hell] out of the kitchen (or off the islands).

  32. Uh, still a bit unclear on concept. As a long time ACLU supporter, I'm of the firm conviction that the best cure for bad speech is more speech.

    I think the point is pure Patrick Henry, Kit. I may not agree with what you say or your patched up postmodern pseudo-socialist Ecotopian belief system but I will defend to the death your right and David's right and all of your foaming radical Friends to make self-righteous public fools of yourselves. As long as you leave others alone.

    But getting folks the hell off the islands of course is the agenda isn't it?

    Thanks for sharing. Remember, we have to be a bit more careful with the islanders. They can bite.

  33. "Lisa Byers, executive director of the nonprofit OPAL Community Land Trust, wife and parent, and former member and chair of EPRC, promised to work to make the county diversified, vibrant and economically viable, sustaining mixed-income families and applying her past experiences to creatively solve county issues. (Orcas position)"

    For your education, edification, amusement, amd consternation, do a Google search on Lisa's signature tag line, "diversified and vibrant".
    Be patient, and scroll through at least 4-5 pages. Pick a few and read the content. Try and figure out what the phrase means. Try and figure out what Lisa thinks it means.

    It is one of those "feel good" squishy phrases meant to convey that Lisa is going to "transform" us through actions of the Government.

    Think about this. Long time resident, Sam Saturday, moves away from San Juan County to take a job in Wisconsin, for 10 years. He moves back here in 2023, and after a month, writes to the San Juan Journal and says, "the Islands are so much more diversified and vibrant than when I left in 2013".

    Question: What does he mean by this? What is different? What would Lisa's answer be?

  34. Interesting Exercise,

    Google of Diversified and Vibrant yields the following results:

    Most of the web sites that come up are related to Economic Development Statements of cities and Counties (Miami-Dade, Atlanta..) and a whole batch of regional development groups.

    Second most appear to be statements by companies posting their services and missions. Tech companies seem to be highly represented- although I like the Fish Farmers site the best.

    The third most common theme seems to be Hair Salons. Do I really want my hair to be Diversified? I suppose it could be fun.

    The most interesting is that Number 5 is a TH post.

    So, if you go with the 2 most common uses of the term as it appears in those web sites, it is clear to me what Vibrant and Diversified is intended to mean, an it is exactly what I would expect it to mean in the realm of government, planning and economy.

    After going through the exercise, I am far more clear in what the terms are refering to, but am in a bit of a bind - Anyone know how to un-vibrant my hair!

  35. Here you go:

    Maybe this is the proactively diversified and vibrant vision David Deheldorf and the County Dems has for the street noise.

    Good name for a little rock group: David and the Dems.

    But seriously. What happens are fads. Planning and land use fads. New ideas and terminology and regulatory schemes are enthusiastically invented, pilot tested (ever feel like we're living in a petri dish ... we are), bolted into existing code and then becomes passe as a new bright and shiny planning paradigm comes along.

    If you don't keep inventing fabulous new buzz terms, visions and planning agenda, who knows, the funding might dry up?

  36. I wasn't aware of the "secret meetings" by the Garden Path. What was that?

    And...Kit Rawson...I'd love to hear your comments about the water bottling at the mouth of the Skagit. How can you enter ANY environmental conversation w/out addressing that?

  37. Still waiting for the many outspoken diversified and vibrant supporters of Ms. Byers to anti up their private property to land trusts for the common good, and to show their support for the alternate economy.

  38. David and the Dems probably know a lot about those secret meetings.

    But will probably say:

    "I know nooottthiinnnggg...."

  39. How many socialists does it take to screw in a light-bulb?

    We're not going to change it. We think it works.

  40. It's nice the Garden Cafe is getting some ink, but the "meetings" are next door at the Democratic Party HQ. I don't know if they are secret or not, and no one has been carried out by the EMT's.

  41. Not Jerry PournelleFebruary 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:

    First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

    Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

    The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization

  42. "Secret Meetings By The Garden Path"

    Isn't that a Danielle Steele Novel?

  43. OOPS! Apologies to the Garden Cafe owners/staff as the space referred to here is NOW UP FOR LEASE. THE GARDEN CAFE is no longer there.

    It's tough to stay on top of all the closures and businesses that are shifting to Summer time operation only.

    Presently, the for lease signs are only out numbered by the Lovel Pratt campaign signs.

    Seems dear Lovel somehow failed in her "leadership/Experience/and Commitment to Economic Vitality" to do much during the YEARS she sat on the County Council.

    Instead the CAO's she put sooo much effort into ramming down the island population's throat are universally acknowledged to be an economic disaster.

  44. Lisa claims the CAO is "no big deal", "not hard to understand", and " she was able to apply the guidelines to an OPAL property with no problem".

    I call BS!

    The OPAL property was likely one of only 12% of the parcels in the entire county not affected by 4 of the 5 critical area designations, the 5th being aquifer discharge which includes all properties.

    So of course it is easy if none of the complex definitions, rules, and spreadsheets apply!

    Otherwise, she may have "mis-spoke"!

  45. When Lisa said she was able to apply the CAO's with no problem, it was a theoretical exercise with her deciding that everything was fine per her interpretation of the CAO's. If she had to actually apply for a permit for the same project, and deal with the planning department's interpretation of the deliberately fuzzy written CAO's, her conclusion most likely would be different.....she likely would be facing a series of required studies and decisions she didn't envision. It had no meaning whatsoever to tell the public she applied them in her head and it was"no problem"...what has that exercise got to do with anything? It is one of those politically slick comments designed to assuage people"s fears when they hear it, and win kudos from the Friends, but if you give it a minute's thought you realize it is meaningless.

  46. Lisa's comment, which was made at the Orcas League of Women Voters meeting, was designed to make people feel like they were being given a genuinely substantive observation, and it seemed to make a feel good moment for the audience, but it was a trojan heron. Hope folks saw it for what it was.

  47. So what you're telling me is that "sweet, smart, works well,with others, wants to diversify and vibrate us" Lisa is actually a quick on her feet politician capable of telling the people anything they want to hear in order to get elected?
    Because advancing the progressive cause is so important that any lie is justified?

  48. @ February 8, 2013 at 8:47 AM Just saw this comment asking for my opinion on the proposed bottling plant in Anacortes. I haven't had much time to get into local Skagit Co issues. I hope to have more soon. But, in general, removal of water from the lower river has adverse effects on salmon growth and survival in the estuary. I have testified to that effect regarding the reallocation the Wyerheuser water right in the lower Snohomish to out of basin residential use, and I suspect I would say the same about the proposal for the Skagit, although I can't say for sure without looking into the details. I also understand that the bottling plant would require redesignation of some land use in the local Anacortes zoning. Again, I've not had time to familiarize myself with the specifics of the situation, but, in general, redesignation of land use categories should only be done with at least as much thought and input as the process that produced the original designations.

    I'm not certain why people keep mentioning this issue in conjunction with my name. I suspect, however, that you think that the Swinomish Tribe is somehow supporting this bottling plant, and you are concerned that this seems to contract with their position on upriver water withdrawals, particularly exempt wells. While I have many colleagues who work for the Swinomish Tribe, and I am privileged to know several of their leaders, including the tribal chair, I am really not aware of particular policy positions they might hold. Certainly the environmental work of that tribe is stellar, as is their strong commitment to restoration of the resources upon which their treaty rights depend. I would strongly suspect that whatever position they hold on this bottling plant is consistent with supporting robust salmon production from the Skagit River, but I really have no idea what position they hold on this issue.

    Actually, I would appreciate receiving more information about the potential environmental and economic impacts of this proposed bottling plant in Anacortes. I hesitate to give out my email contact information directly on this site, but you could post links to that information here. Otherwise, please post your email, and I will send you my contact information privately. I would really like to get more objective information about this. Thanks.

  49. Water bottling plant in Anacortes? That ain't never goin' to happen. Who is trying to do that?