I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it, but I felt I owed it to them.Taking a cue from Judge Smails, the Friends of the San Juans today appealed our newly adopted CAOs to the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB). They didn't want to do it, but the Friends feel they owe it to us, despite what Stephanie Buffum said as she stood before the Council just two months ago (November 27, 2012):
It's time to finish the CAO. You've got a roadmap. You've had many wonderful comments that have been provided to you. It's unlikely that the next two groups of decision makers sitting in your seats over the next five months will be able to complete more than the previous three councils before you. It's time to finish the CAO. It's time to stop the financial hemorrhage. It's time to stop the conflict. It's time to complete and create certainty for our community. Certainty is good for our economy and our environment.How is filing an appeal before the GMHB consistent with any of the words spoken by Buffum? It isn't. If the Friends felt the CAOs were so inadequate as to require a GMHB appeal, why did the Friends stridently urge approval? Besides, weren't the Friends (such as Janet Alderton) advocates for some of the more complex and inscrutable aspects of the CAOs?
Who knows what game the Friends are really playing, but it isn't protection of the environment. They just like to mess with people. Pass the CAOs, so we can appeal. Got a B&B CUP permit? ... we'll oppose that. Want to grow blueberries on your own property? ... we can manufacture a situation where that's illegal too. We're the Friends. We can do anything. We sit on all the important committees. We're the lifeblood of the Network. And we'll get taxpayer money (grants) to mess with you too. Just try to stop us.
From what we've observed, the Friends seem not to be an environmental organization so much as they seem to be professional bullies, and they want our County government to devote all its energy towards aiding and abetting their harassment mission.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Friends, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a County of all its CAOs which it maketh under the GMA? There is no remembrance of former things. All the committees run into the Network; yet the Network is not full: unto the place from whence the CAO come, thither they return again.
Here's the press release the Friends sent out today.
The FRIENDS of the San Juans has appealed the Critical Areas Ordinance update that San Juan County adopted in December 2012.
The FRIENDS press release on the appeal to the Growth Managment Board (Board) states the " filed the appeal in an effort to stem the steady, incremental and cumulative degradation of local waters and wildlife. Eelgrass disappeared from 82 acres of embayments between 1995 and 2004. Puget Sound Chinook salmon, Southern Resident Killer Whale and sea bird populations continue to decline. Shoreline trees and shrubs that deliver insects to salmon, and tidal marshes that provide them homes, have also declined significantly over the years."
“Unfortunately, this is the next step,” stated Kyle Loring, FRIENDS’ Staff Attorney. “We see litigation as a last resort, but when seven years and several different processes result in an ordinance riddled with loopholes, like shoreline buffers as small as 30 feet from spawning beaches when other counties seek 150 feet, we feel compelled to turn to the Growth Management Hearings Board for guidance.”
San Olson, President of FRIENDS’ Board of Directors, stated, “We are picking up where experts like the Washington Department of Ecology, locally-affiliated Tribes, and the County’s Marine Resources Committee left off. Each of them offered recommendations to ensure that the CAO protects critical areas, unfortunately many of their recommendations were rejected. FRIENDS’ board is concerned that if we do not challenge the CAO provisions we believe are inadequate, San Juan County would lower the bar for ourselves and those Puget Sound counties just now starting their second round of CAO updates.”