Friday, March 29, 2013

Doing Things In Secret Sure Is Productive

Most of you probably know that the County is being sued by the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) over violations of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), specifically as it relates to the Critical Areas Ordinances (CAOs). At issue is whether three Council members are permitted to meet in private. At first, the Council was advised by our Prosecuting Attorney (PA) that it was okay for three Councillors to meet because it did not represent a quorum (it takes 4 votes to pass legislation in our system). But after the issue was pressed by the Charter Review Commission (CRC), the PA reversed his decision, explaining that a quorum can be construed as either the number of Council members needed to take positive (4 Councillors) or negative (3 Councillors) action.

In the depositions related to the lawsuit regarding the OPMA, many of the participants in the CAO Committee meetings have a poor recollection of what happened during their illegal secret get-togethers (see previous posting). However, in January 2012 the same people spent a considerable period of time in one of the non-secret Council meetings talking about all the great stuff they got done in secret. Stephens even refers to the CAOs directly. Pratt says that she can hardly remember any Council votes where subcommittees didn't get their way.

How can Pratt remember that detail but not details related to her deposition (67 denials)?

The video strongly suggests that the OPMA was violated, not just for the CAOs, but for nearly everything the previous Council did.

Watch the first half hour to 40 minutes of the linked video. It is full of "Holy Crap!" moments.


40 comments:

  1. Brian EhrmantrautMarch 29, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    RCW 42.30.010
    Legislative declaration.

    The legislature finds and declares that all public commissions, boards, councils, committees, subcommittees, departments, divisions, offices, and all other public agencies of this state and subdivisions thereof exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of this chapter that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

    The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

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  2. Amen. No wonder it was so confusing when the Council was adopting CAO provisions that seemed to make no sense, and asking questions that never got answered in public. It was all going on in the background? And how could our legal advice be so wrong?

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  3. If anyone posts on here with quotes that seem worthy of presenting please also provide the time stamp so other readers can quickly access them.
    Thanks.

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  4. Sweet Jesus. I hope taxpayers in SJC are ready for a material amount of their tax dollars to be committed to defending the actions of these nincompoops, because when this goes to trial I'm guessing we're well and truly screwed.

    The scary part is these idiots want their jobs back.

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  5. @ 2:25...No, the scary thing is retarded kool-aid drinking lever-pulling libtards are going to vote for them....again...

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  6. If we ban kool-aid in this county can we burn the county code and go back to life

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  7. @ 5:34

    You will be shocked at the state of disarray of our legal enactments.

    Stay tuned.

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  8. That's why they need this new enforcement ordinance, have you ever seen a property that didn't have a code violation?
    I haven't. That a big potential

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  9. Really,Really big!

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  10. Oh dear! Only moments in and both Lovel and Howie have revealed themselves! Amazing.

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  11. And yet Lovel has the nerve to run again, and our citizens put up with it...

    Quo usque tandem abutere, Lovellia, patientia nostra? quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia? Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium Palati, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil concursus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora voltusque moverunt? Patere tua consilia non sentis, constrictam iam horum omnium scientia teneri coniurationem tuam non vides? Quid proxima, quid superiore nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quid consilii ceperis, quem nostrum ignorare arbitraris? O tempora, o mores!

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  12. Can anyone find...probably in October or November...the meeting where Shireene and Lovel are pushing the "monitoring". It's actually a new subject that is the amphibian corridor. Slipped in and not clarified to a frightening degree. And rushed w/an unprecindented show of physical activity by Lovel. It would be a lovely companion to this video.

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  13. Wow! Cicero! Lovel as Catiline. Well said and wonderfully applicable to us despite two thousand years of separation.

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  14. Oh man can these people talk! What total crap. Only isolated Rich Peterson, until he folds on the last line to try to get traction with the others, makes common sense.

    In brief, the majority screwed up big time, which could be excused except that they all had tons of input that they were not just off base, but out of the ball park.

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  15. When, O Lovel, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us?

    When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the Palatine Hill—do not the watches posted throughout the city—does not the alarm of the people, and the union of all good men—does not the precaution taken of assembling the senate in this most defensible place—do not the looks and countenances of this venerable body here present, have any effect upon you?

    Do you not feel that your plans are detected? Do you not see that your conspiracy is already arrested and rendered powerless by the knowledge which every one here possesses of it? What is there that you did last night, what the night before— where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted?

    Shame on the age and on its principles!

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  16. Actually, if you listen to Randy Gaylord on the below video link, you will note that he states that "Two Council Members" can actually violate the OPMA rules. This video shows just how strong the CAPR SJ lawsuit is. Patty Miller is on this video admitting that the County has violated the Open Public Meetings Act by having "two" Council members meeting with Staff to come back to the Council with recommendations. Patty stated, "Well, I guess we won't do that again", in response to hearing Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord's advice. See this admission at the 5:51 time mark at this video link:
    http://www.avcaptureall.com/Sessions.aspx#session.49d3c282-b56d-4d4f-8feb-1a41a4bed51b

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  17. @8:24

    You are correct. The OPMA applies to sub committees too, just like it does to the entire council.

    So if you have two members from the same three person subcommittee meet that could be a violation as well.

    The OPMA applies to all governing bodies the definition of "governing body" is in RCW 42.30.020(2):

    "Governing body" is "the multimember board, commission, committee, council, or other policy or rule-making body of a public agency, or any committee thereof when the committee acts on behalf of the governing body, conducts hearings, or takes testimony or public comment."


    "Action" is "the transaction of the official business of a public agency by a governing body including but not limited to receipt of public testimony, deliberations, discussions, considerations, reviews, evaluations, and final actions. "Final action" means a collective positive or negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members of a governing body when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance."

    In other words, Whoops.

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  18. What Randy actually said was that if two council members meet, or meet with staff, after being TASKED with a SPECIFIC task then it is a meeting subject to OPMA...pretty sure Patty and Rick can get together to have a few beers and talk shop without the cameras there...get a grip, when we over state, or exaggerate we lose credibility.

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  19. No fooling?

    I think folks are still trying to get a grip over why our local government lost their grip. Let's not blame the victims.

    Part of the reasoning behind the original charter which still makes a great deal of sense, and which we have now lost -- was to give decision-makers the ability to develop personal relationships beyond the glare of the public spotlight.

    The theory was we'd have less contention and better decision making if one could call the other at night and say: "hey sorry I thumped on you so hard today, no hard feelings, let's do lunch?" Let them go play golf and go fishing. That's a good thing.

    Now in our infinite wisdom (thank you Lopez) it will become illegal for our elected representatives to get to know each other better. Ridiculous.

    And the CAO Secret Team was an utter corruption of the intent of opening lines of communication.

    Meanwhile at every LWV Forum the issue of better communication with the county comes up over and over and over ...

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  20. At 8:14

    You are incorrect. If a subcommittee is formed of three members then two meet outside of an open published meeting and "talk shop" that is a violation of the OPMA. It is not up to us as a County to decide that that is OK. It is a violation of State Law.

    In fact, you have hit upon the very problem of a Three memember council and why it was rejected by a CRC. With a three member council, no two members could ever meet outside and "talk shop" With a six member, or even a five member, two CAN meet, but three, CANNOT.

    This is black letter law, and it is you who are misstating it.

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  21. Sooooo ... on the one hand Lovel Pratt master-minds the CAO Secret Team, trying to take advantage of what she saw as a "loop-hole" in the Charter made possible by 6 legislators. (Never mind that other charter counties like Whatcom/King have a lot more than 3 and seem to manage this sort of thing properly)

    And then, on the other hand, Lovel Pratt without batting an eyelash supports returning to a three member council.

    Yes there will always be back-channels. We want back-channels. We need them. I would much prefer back-channels between elected officials rather than muzzling them and leaving the channels to be entirely controlled by special interest groups which is exactly what we just bought. Thank you Lopez.

    As always, the cure to bad speech is more good speech. I am not interested in hiring an paying $75,000 a year public official who I have just forbidden to communicate with any meaning with their colleagues. What utter nonsense.

    It is up to the council critters to self-police and you can be sure the citizens will be right there to help.

    Very strong OPMA together with the ability to go fishing and develop authentic personal relationships are not incompatible whatsover.

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  22. I can't seem to access the video on my ancient computer. Can someone perhaps quote some of the "holy crap" moments. Thanks.

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  23. Can the TH post the date and time of this meeting so we can get the video that way?? I am having trouble with the link too and wanted to watch this.

    Next question: were there more meetings after Randy told them to stop??

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  24. @ 8:14--are you really quoting Randy about the law? How many times does he get to get it wrong before someone questions what is going on?

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  25. @ 8:14--are you really quoting Randy about the law? How many times does he get to get it wrong before someone questions what is going on?

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  26. "retarded kool-aid drinking lever-pulling libtards"

    I'm not a fan of censorship but I am a fan of smart comments. This is dumb. Makes me want to go read something less dumb. Like the local press.

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  27. How did Howie announce that there was consensus on the CRC for a three-person Council in January 2012?

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  28. @ 3:23 how's this:

    Uninformed lock-stepping predictable partisan democratic voters...otherwise known as kool-aid drinking lever-pulling libtards, or Lopezians for short...

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  29. Sounds like a great way to lose a race, actually. Like Romney dissing Latinos.

    60% of the county voters are registered Democrats last I checked. I know I'm one and there are plenty more commenting on this blog all the time.

    Vote. Vote. Vote Against the Machine. Vote for Bob, Brian and Rick.

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  30. Thank you @ 5:42!

    Vote for Bob Jarman! Vote for Rick Hughes! Vote for Brian McClerren!

    Tell your friends!

    Vote against the machine!!!

    Bravo!

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  31. There was an interview with John Stauber last week in Bellingham's Cascadia Weekly. Stauber is the founder of the Center for Media Democracy, co-authored six books including New York Times best seller Weapons of Mass Deception, was founder and former executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which sponsors PR Watch and SourceWatch, and since the 1960's has worked with public interest, consumer, family farm, environmental and community organizations at local, state and national levels.
    He is a voice with some experience.
    Seems he has an opinion on grant funded career bureaucrats.

    From the Weekly's interview with Stauber (interview at: http://www.cascadiaweekly.com/entertainment/global_warming_is_good_for_you_and_other_cherished_myths):

    CW: And on the nonprofit or NGO side, you perceive lobbying for the sake of lobbyists.

    JS: We can look back and see how incredibly little of real significance has been accomplished by, say, the environmental lobby over the past 40 years, even though they’ve raised and spent billions of dollars. At the grassroots, where people are fighting hard on issues of environmental protection and sustainability—stopping disastrous waste incinerators and “clean coal” power schemes—those fights are inevitably run by committed people not paid or salaried, with no budgets. That’s the real environmental movement. This Big Green Environmental Movement is mostly a public relations campaign, with hired lobbyists and marketing campaigns designed to elect certain people to office.

    CW: What would a genuine progressive movement look like in the United States? How might it be organized?

    JS: There are numerous movements in America’s past that have been incredibly successful, many of which took decades to organize and bring about, such as the civil rights movement, the end of Jim Crow laws, suffrage and women’s right to vote, the end of slavery, all of which have lessons for us. One of the first lessons would be, the movements weren’t started by rich people trying to elect like-minded politicians."

    From TH POST 3/27/13 - the latest election fundraising totals from the Washington State PDC, with candidate tallies listed in descending order.

    Lisa Byers - $26,971
    Lovel Pratt - $21,807
    Jamie Stephens - $18,824
    Rick Hughes - $8,768
    Bob Jarman - $8,234
    Brian McClerren - $4,050

    ... Individually, Byers and Pratt have raised more money than the bottom three non-affiliated candidates combined.

    "There are numerous movements in America’s past that have been incredibly successful ...
    One of the first lessons would be, the movements weren’t started by rich people trying to elect like-minded politicians."

    VOTE.VOTE.VOTE.

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  32. VOTE.

    Just read the mailer Bob Jarman sent out to see what a person actually has done, instead of reading more of what Lovel is taking credit for doing. And, somehow, he did all this working with others, without bullying, alienating people, or grant-funding himself.

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  33. Natural Resources Defence Council/Bullitt Foundation /Energy market manipulation.

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  34. Does anyone know why Trust Islanders isn't endorsing a Rick Hughes?

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  35. @9:27

    Go to the Trustislanders.org website and send an inquiry. They have a contact link.

    I had a question about something else and got a quick response.

    Nice to see a true grassroots movement taking hold, bringing people from all political persuasions together to work towards common goals.

    A pure rejection of any political machine.

    We need this on a State and National level of our country is to survive and thrive.


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  36. I believe Rick is concerned about the appearance of party endorsement and from what I hear rejected their offer to help.

    I think this is a mistake.

    Not sure who is in charge of his campaign but they need to step it up, every dame web site and news paper is filled with people writing endorsements for Lisa Byers.

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  37. I, too, am annoyed by the relentless barrage of supposedly genuine and spontaneous, individual letters of support appearing for Pratt, Byers and Stevens in the local press and some online media. Seems to me that each should come with a footnote disclosing that it is in fact campaign literature manufactured and orchestrated by the local democratic party and its minions. Sorta like doorbelling in the media, but timed to be everpresent for maximum name familiarity and related brainwashing effect.

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  38. Reply in kind with letters of support for Bob, Brian and Rick.

    Highlight their ability to run a business in the islands and other accomplishments.

    Tell people why to vote for them beyond the fact they are not Lisa or Lovel or Jamie.

    We have had a lot of regional and national elections in recent memory where a lot of folks, on all sides, cast votes "against" a candidate, rather than "for". Our local election is different. We have some great candidates that we can really support for local governance.


    Get that message out!!!

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  39. Rick Hughes has time, but not much. Trust Islanders ! is an opportunity celebrate the human spirit in local politics and I think its an exciting breath of fresh air.

    Most of the letters coming out supporting Lisa, Lovel and Jamie are not genuine and its easy to feel and sense.

    And if you look at the data, you will see that nearly all the letters come from members of campaign committees, major donors and special interests to the Machine. The usual suspects.

    It won't work. They will make a lot of noise as the ballots come out. They will in Anacortes tomorrow and make a lot of noise.

    But their manufactured hot air will only make voters even more curious to hear the alternatives ... this is a pendulum swinging. Thousands of thoughtful voters do not just dump a ballot in the mail as soon as it arrives. They will want to learn more. Most people have an instinctive dislike for "astroturf" politics. The real grass roots is emerging.

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  40. The Machine tried to paint Trust Islanders as "Stealth Republicans." They always try do to this.

    The Machine attacks any nonpartisan or nonaligned candidate or voter and accuses them of being a Republican or against the community, so that was no surprise.

    Anyway it didn't work, people figure this stuff out pretty quickly. Trust Islanders is the real deal. Local, grassroots, independent. Just seems like some folks got together to try and "Lovel the Playing Field" in a manner of speaking.

    More power to 'em I say. United we stand, divided we fall. I respect Rick's early read of the tea-leaves, but its fine, the door is open, we all want him to win. I hope his folks will understand that we'd better hang together or we will surely hang separately.

    Vote vote vote against the Machine.

    Vote for Rick. Vote for Bob. Vote for Brian.

    We can win this thing. Yes We Can.

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