Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter Council Committee Conversation Kudos

Sometimes it seems like Trojan Heron compliments about County government are as rare as hen's teeth, but we'd like to pay a rare compliment to the Winter Council for their efforts yesterday. Mind you, the Trojan Heron agrees with the dismay our commenters have expressed regarding the Community Conversations; however, yesterday the Winter Council had a conversation/workshop with its Citizen Advisory Committees, and we applaud that conversation. It's about time that conversation took place. More please.

For several hours, the Council discussed Committee alignment with Council goals, communications, rules, and vacancies/term limits/appointments. Patty Miller prepared a summary of all those parts of the County Code that pertain to Committees (bravo), and ideas were discussed for liaising with the Council. Committee workplans were seized upon as one new (old) way to improve coordination between the Council and the committees. It's a new (old) way since workplans are actually required by the County Code already, as is annual training for Committee members. We just haven't been following our own legal requirements for our Committees. There were many questions, and as sorely needed as the workshop was, it served to illustrate how much further we have to go to get this place under control.

But it was a step in the right direction. We need many more.

Next post we'll deliver on our promise to comment on the Thomas Paine reference in the Lisa Byers video.


  1. Let us hope that the county council makes it clear to them that they are advisory committees. Thanks for the advise, now we will decide.

  2. What really concerns me are the ideas and policy alternatives that get squashed in these committees by the entrenched party ideologues that never see the light of day or reach the level of council deliberation and public discussion.

    What we have is a genetically engineered political monoculture inside these committees cross polinating each other into a dumbed down corrupt little shadow government where the tail is wagging the dog.

    A little sunshine would be a good disinfectant. I hope the Winter Council does a heckuva lot more than just one session. This is a major concern that needs airing out and serious reform.

  3. Thank You 8:17,, you are so correct.
    That is a HUGE problem, committees CD&P staff and special interests "often one in the same" tend to have terribly narrow minds the minority always gets left out. That is why only the strictest scrutiny be necessarily aplied before considering "ANY" prospect of regulation. Unintended consequences reside "VASTLY" in all regulation having been adopted in the past 15 or so years. We should just restrict new regulatory processes to the undoing of those stupid ones for at least two years. Certainly befor we adopt another, even more invasive enforcement ordinance. That or me may all as well reside in Jail

  4. Yes, @8:17 is right, and during the discussion about term limits yesterday, there were committee members who spoke up to say that the "experience" of the committees has to be preserved. I think committees, such as the MRC (others too), have no idea that their experience may not be worth preserving. They have no idea that they are missing out on the "experience" of entire classes of people (e.g., fisherman) who view serving on this MRC as unbearable torture.

    The monoculture wants to preserve the monoculture under the banner of "experience."

  5. experience is code for entrenched

    What is important is continuity, and that is where term limits, staggered appointments and such make sense.

    As to the real issue of experience, what is desperately needed is diversity of background, work history, and personal/professional networks.

    Building those factors will greatly increase levels of overall experience.

    But no one should be fooled by this kind of clever and manipulative play on words.

    You want to know who has a lot of experience? Castro, Assad, Putin, Chavez, you get the idea.

  6. The video of yesterday's work session is now online.

    Gloryoski, bless my soul and butter my biscuits look at the minor multitude there assembled before us.

    Special children, angry scolds, entrenched politicos, ancient aristos ... what a pathetic sight. Some have been on these committees since before 9/11.

    Hose them out for crying out loud

  7. Also present were NUMEROUS County employees, who apparently haven't enough work to keep them busy. Shireene Hale, a building code guy, and several others. Hale's notable contribution was to opine that more "meetings, meetings, meetings" were required. Classic.

  8. Also present were NUMEROUS County employees, who apparently haven't enough work to keep them busy. Shireene Hale, a building code guy, and several others. Hale's notable contribution was to opine that more "meetings, meetings, meetings" were required. Classic.

  9. With reference to the "we must retain our wise elders" refrain, I am reminded of nothing so much as the old boys' clubs in the South. Back then (and not THAT long ago), most people were considered to have the wrong skin color or gender. Now, people are considered not to be enough concerned about the environment.

  10. Shireene Hale has got to be the most nonproductive visible county employee we have. She actually obstructs moving forward and doing things. Endless meeting do not move us forward, after a certain point, they blur the original thought.

  11. Interesting lead article in today's Seattle Times: "Green strategists now back coal trains"

    Former Executive Director of Washington Conservation Voters, who has sort of switched sides on this is quoted as saying: "I don't believe in this eco-McCarthyism view that if you work for coal you can't do anything good in the world."

    Oh Lovel, wherefore art thou?

  12. I wonder if the coal companies have retained Coast Consuling Group yet? Where Sen. Kevin Ranker is a principal. Guess there is nothing greener than money.

  13. Coastal Consulting in BC? Doesn't show him. Is there another? (He couldn't lobby and be a state senator at the same time, could he?)

  14. Go to linkedin.com kevin ranker

  15. The FOSJ as we know has filed an appeal with the GMA. If you go to the FOSJ website and follow the link to the CAO section, it puts a chill down my spine to read what they wanted the CAO to say. The current adopted version is draconian and confusing. If the FOSJ gets their way, well, it gets a lot worse. The FOSJ website is full of PR tested unicorns and rainbows. The letters written by Kyle Loring show the teeth of the unicorn! And it wants to chew and crunch and swallow our private property.

  16. Anybody know if Assistant Prosecutor, Jon Cain ever got deposed?

    Thought maybe Randy wanted to go to settlement talks on this one to keep his employee off the hot seat.

  17. John Cain could not have gone to the meetings without Randy's approval. Randy is in charge of the department.

  18. Randy is not trying to save Jon's ass, but rather how to cover his own.

  19. I applaud Patty Miller for summarizing County regulations addressing each and every committee. However a list will not fix the problems - for the past two years the Stormwater Citizen Advisory Committee was mostly largely ignored by the Council and the stormwater program continues to stumble...money for nothing...is an accurate characterization of the County stormwater program.

  20. Some the proposed changes and corrections also risk choking the life blood out of the committees entirely and driving away authentic civic participation even further, and that's not the goal either.

    I'm concerned the Council is tip-toeing around the real issue, the elephant in the room. Some bad apples are spoiling the barrel.

    Trim, eliminate, consolidate, clarify.

    Trim: How many members does a committee really need? How to avoid "mission creep?"

    Eliminate: Anyone who is currently serving beyond two consecutive terms needs to be removed in 60 days. Can a committee become a time-focused task-force which is then close down when the task is performed?

    Consolidate: Why are the EDC/ARC effectively budgeting and operating under the same roof and run by the same people but appear to be two independent groups? If the MRC is staffed within CDPP, eliminate the MRC and fold the functions within CDPP.

    Clarify: Are the missions clear? Reporting lines to the county council and the public understood, and reporting regularized? Why are public observers required to "sign-in" when no other public entity has any such policy? How can policy alternatives and innovatives solutions be assured they will be properly aired and not "killed in committee" over and over again?

  21. Very much agree with 7:40. Most if not all such advisory groups need no more than five people. Especially standing commissions like the PC.

    The mission for all such groups should be "get it done!" Study it and talk it out in public and bring a unified recommendation with a good amount of thought and reason behind it.

    People should be appointed for their pragmatism, and skills not their ideology, or connections. (Unless those connections are known as beneficial to the County as a whole.)

    And don't rely on staff so much. Staff is there to be told what to do and when to do it. A poorly picked and out of control staff gets you the CAO's we have now on the launching pad just waiting to crash and burn.

    Especially agree with the last graph of 7:40 also.

  22. The "stormwater" program is another part of the Hale family full-employment program. She gives us the CAO, he gives us ditches in EastSound.