Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Don't Recall

The San Juan County Chapter of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) just issued a press release (see below) containing information about the depositions in their lawsuit regarding Open Public Meeting Act (OPMA) violations. We'll be delving into this more in coming days since some of the information is in the public record now.

Pratt cites her experience as one of the key reasons to support her election. Her website says:
San Juan County needs leaders with experience, good judgment and expertise; leaders who are dedicated, accessible, and responsive; leaders who will make decisions in the best interests of our entire community.
This is what Lovel Pratt will bring to the new County Council.
But the OPMA lawsuit suggests she can't remember key portions of her experience. She doesn't seem all that responsive either. Was she making decisions in the best interest of our entire community? Irrespective of her campaign statements, she probably can't recall.

Have a look at the press release, which is presented in its entirety.

County Council Rejects Settlement Offer

Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR), recently submitted an offer to settle the lawsuit with San Juan County alleging violations of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). The County Council rejected the offer.

The CAPR case is about open and transparent government. This is a priority to more than 85% of the people who voted in the November election. Our Prosecutor states, The policy reasons for open government are very strong.”  CAPR agrees wholeheartedly with Mr. Gaylord here.

However, the actions of San Juan County in this matter seem to be contrary to the words of the Prosecutor and the policies of the Council. Section 2.4 of the Council Rules of Procedure requires that, “all meetings of the Council shall be open to the public.” This rule was not followed in this case where secret meetings of 3 council persons and staff occurred more than 20 times before coming to light and being stopped.

In fact, the County has taken steps to further conceal and block attempts to gather information. This is not a commitment to open government. On 2/20/13 the County filed a protective order in an attempt to block the deposition of Deputy Prosecutor Jon Cain. The County has further attempted to limit our discovery. In depositions of Council and staff members the terms “I don’t recall,” “I don’t remember,” “I don’t know,” were used more than 250 times. What is the County trying to hide?

In the deposition of former subcommittee member Lovel Pratt, which lasted less than 4 hours, she stated that she didn’t know or couldn’t recall answers to simple questions more than 74 times. When presented with her own notes taken at the meetings she did not recall what the notes referred to:

“Q. Do you recall in the February 3rd, 2012, meeting anyone from staff asking what were the views of the Council members as to wetland buffers, stormwater, site specific and variable buffers and/or medium risk approaches? Do you recall staff requesting any guidance from the County Council members in attendance on any of those topics?
Pratt. I don't recall.
Q. So you don't -- why were they discussed?  Do you have any idea?
Pratt. I don't recall.
Q. Ma'am, this meeting is only less than a year old, and you just don't recall?
Pratt. I just -- I don't recall the specifics of this particular meeting.  I'm sorry.
Q. There's no need to apologize.  You just don't recall?
Pratt. I don't.
Q. And these notes don't refresh your memory?
Pratt. Sorry.”

If you believe that open and transparent government should be a priority of San Juan County and if you believe that all meetings of the Council should be open and transparent, then we need your support. Send any donations to CAPR San Juan P.O. Box 1866 Friday Harbor WA 98250.


  1. Oh Heron, please post the notes from the meeting that failed to refresh Lovel's memory! But I can understand that she doesn't "recall" anything from the CAO development behind closed doors--she was busy setting up meeting in Olympia. Or stopping the Coltrane. The CAO is such an innocuous issue, with no practical effect on people in the county. It's a blessing, actually, Lovel said as much. And Lisa thinks it's really easy to use.

  2. Memo to Sharon Kivisto: We really need you to start up your famous Rumor Control column and plant some rumors. You have to stop this now. There's no time to waste. Get to work.

  3. Two cows walk into a bar.

    Sharon Kivisto throws a fit.

  4. Who needs Sharon's "rumor control"? We now pay a PROFESSIONAL to handle that on the County webpage.

  5. I wonder who is ghost-writing for whom or am I making another slanderous incivil remark because Machine heads with bolts in their necks have no concept of humor, satire or reality?

    I guess the shrieking phase is starting up. It's expected. But this time it won't work. So sorry. Really Sharon, You'll hurt your throat, stop it.

  6. I am so confused I am about to try to take my pants off over my head.

    The "liberal" "news" "paper" the one who is the heir apparent to Woodward and Bernstein, informant confidentiality, the fourth estate blah blah blah, has just come down with a Fox-news-like attack on the Trojan Heron.

    Meanwhile, it is the "conservative" "rumor" "blog" which is the only place that has been actually reporting the County's news that is so wildly inaccurate that no attention should be paid to it.

  7. You own two cows. Kit Rawson and Sharon Kivisto immediately accuse them of making false accusations and deliberate misstatements.

  8. LOL that the Heron article here is about Lovel, in fact is is a press release about Lovel's deposition.

    How did this turn into an assessment of Sharon Kivisto's credentials?

    Isn't this about Lovel Pratt's empty head? Something about She. Knows. Nothing? Or would that be hate speech?

    Help me. Help. me.

  9. lol ... I think people carried over their free associations from the previous posts.

    You are right that we're off topic, so thanks for trying to bring us back to the current post.

    Regarding the first comment about Lovel's notes, her notes should be part of the public record, so we will have to see if they can be obtained via normal PRA requests. Not sure how the court case might affect that, but it shouldn't.

  10. Ok, on topic.


    You have 2 cows. Neither of them can recall anything.

  11. Nothing says "Proven Leadership for Islanders" like "I Can't Recall".

  12. Hi All,
    CAPR will have more for everyone later, but it is important that you help CAPR San Juan spread the word about CAPR's Open Public Meetings Act lawsuit against San Juan County. This lawsuit has been expensive for CAPR. Depositions, discovery and continued attempts for the County and past Council to hide what they know are the clear merits to our suit. We do have some goals that should be extremely beneficial to property owners. We thank those who have donated to our OPMA lawsuit, and we hope others will help fund this case to its conclusion. Getting the recently adopted CAO rescinded and changed to include favorable language is important, and it is less expensive than a full blown lawsuit through the GMHB process. Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to CAPR Legal Fund, Box 1866, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.
    If you want some concrete proof of how strong our Open Meetings Act case is, take a peek at the below video link. During the County Council meeting on 11/20/12, we have Council member Patty Miller on 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, and read our Press Release below:

  13. Leadership, leadership, leadership, that's all we hear from these candidates. In German leadership is Fuhrershaft. We could use a few followers in office. I can remember when elected officials refered to themselves as "public servants." Jamie's yard signs say "leadership, integrity" well which is it Jamie?

  14. In the depositions I've been through(4) the deposing counsel often early on would attack with seemingly innocuous questions he knew the exact answers to and then when you missed a simple thing he would raise his voice, lean in at you and remind you very strongly that you were sworn to the tell the truth. It was a nasty trick and it worked.

    Attorney's in full testosterone mode stand and walk about and yell at each other, very upsetting to the person being deposed.

    In this very short piece of brief, Pratt seems unconcerned. Does not seem to me anyone has jacked her about TELLING THE TRUTH AS YOU KNOW IT! ARE YOU LYING TO ME NOW, MRS. PRATT?

    A really good depo attorney will ask you the same question, not once, not twice, but twenty times and give it a little twist each time.

    If it all went like this little sample, I think the TH can forget the prisoner's dilemma result.

  15. @8:47

    What are you inferring about the prisoner's dilemma??

    I am familiar with the piece, but don't see outcome...

    Is this somehow a good thing for Lovel?? Or is the CAPR suit very strong...

  16. Wow, I watched that video clip about the OPMA.

    There is a pretty blatant admission of wrongdoing. What is disturbing is the "guess we won't be doing that "anymore"". NOT "AGAIN"< "ANYMORE", meaning, it happened regularly.

    The laugh was chilling.

  17. I don't recall why I began this post...hmmm, let me look at my notes, nope, wrote those ten minutes ago, hmmm, sure it was something relevant, hold on let me see if I can reach my ass with both hands...oh look some writings by Jane Fonda wow! Wait, what the hell is going on? Whew, luckily I have a degree in being self directed...who am I, why am I here?

  18. The County Prosecuting Attorney is pushing every delay tactic in the book for several reasons. 1) Punt the suit beyond the election ... you can imagine what would hit the fan if it settled in April; 2) This isn't LA Law, no need to be over the top aggressive in depositions when you can go back for clarifications or reopen on new discovery 3) the more the County plays games the more it works against them and the greater the risk the CAO will be invalidated on due process grounds.

    Therefore, the County will drag this on and make it as difficult and expensive as possible to pursue the suit. But it is strong, and the deposition aren't sealed documents ... so stay tuned ...

  19. Understood 9:54, but having to go back for "clarification" is plowing, plowed ground. The person being deposed is ready and coached. New discovery is uncertain.

    9:03 sorry for any confusion. I had never heard of the prisoner's dilemma situation but plenty of people here on the TH have. They will correct me I'm sure, but basically as I understand it there is no way out but telling the truth.

    Pratt's stonewalling if duplicated by all involved might mean the truth will never be known even if there is the benefit of lighting her up as 9:50 just did.

  20. Sounds like the poster above understands the prisoner's dilemma very well, with perhaps one slight misconception. I don't have first-hand knowledge of the depos, but the important thing isn't whether Pratt told the truth but how her story contrasts with that of the others. How do the depos compare?

    That's the key thing about the prisoners dilemma - they ALL have to tell the truth or they all have to collude and have their lies match.

    Like the line in Unforgiven - When their lies ain't the same as your lies ... not gentle like before, but bad.

  21. For those of us not do familiar with these proceedings, who else was deposed?? Will their statements be released??

    I'm wondering if any answers were gained or was it just a bunch of denial???

  22. I sort of agree with Kivisto in that I think TH would be a much more powerful tool if people would sign their names to the comments.

    I have often espoused this and I congratulate Kit Rawson and Peg Manning for "walking the walk"

    That said, I think that Kivisto is on a collision course with History. The anonymous comment is here to stay and it is a part of the journalistic landscape. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wash. Post, Huff Post and, In fact, most major newspapers, allow anonymous comments. It is, in fact an american journalistic tradition. I am not saying I am happy with it, but it is just a fact of life, like friction, gravity and the sencond law of thermodynamics. Ranting against it does no good.

    One final thing. Kivisto's title. "A culture of fear in the islands ...really".

    From reading the piece, it would seem clear that she meant to have a "?" at the end to make the title mean what I think She means it to mean.

    Otherwise, it seems to support the Trojan Heron's rationale.

    Freud would say there are no punctuation errors.

    Nick Power

  23. @5:42

    The other deponents so far have been Shireene Hale, Richard Fralick, and Patty Miller. Jon Cain is awaiting deposition.

    The depositions are not sealed, but they haven't necessarily been released to the public either. We will report information about them as it becomes available. Stay tuned for a post about the depos later today.

  24. You have two cows, and they frequently met in secret with a third cow of equal status, a staff planner and legal counsel as an informal subcommittee to coordinate implementation of certain CAO updates. One cow, we are told, remembers nothing of what transpired but seeks re-election based on a platform of leadership with integrity, one once claimed the secret meetings were for scheduling purposes only, and it is presently unknown what the other participants will admit to under oath. Our capacity for a willing suspension of disbelief is being sorely tested while we await further disclosures. So far, sad to say, candor seems in short supply among those who clearly owe us straight answers.

  25. As I think about it...

    weren't the secret meetings very much like anonymous posts? They could say things they wouldn't dare in public and plan how to maneuver difficult topics.

    I watched several moments in county council meetings where wording was corrected mid sentence and there seemed to me to be a planned approach.

    Has anyone else noticed that?

  26. The CAO is a complex hairball, poorly written, too long, legally questionable and an offense common decency.

    These folks just can't remember what they did, that's all. Remember the Iran-Contra hearings? It's very easy to forget. And take a bet the public will too, in time.

    Did the public ever forget the Iran-Contra hearings? I think many remember watching their television sets in slack-jawed disbelief. I know I do.

    Eventually, it will come out. It always does. Meanwhile it is very likely to be exactly what it looks like.

    Vote accordingly. Vote. Vote. Remember teasing Lovel that she "Knows nottink, nottink" is not hate speech. Its what she kept saying over and over and over again.

  27. There's quite a difference between anonymous posts of *citizens*, and secret meetings of *public servants*...

    Key word there is "servant"...

    RCW 42.56.030:

    The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that 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 maintain control over the instruments that they have created.

  28. I wish someone would release the darn depositions. We all heard that Lovel knew/recalled "nothink"--that was the Schulz joke, which was intentionally misconstrued and belabored by her horrified civil and polite supporters. But I heard that Patty Miller was pretty straightforward. I feel bad for her, because it was Randy who told them it was OK to do this in secret.

  29. Whether someone agrees with Pratt or not, voters should not forget that the Friends crew (including Pratt & Co) are responsible for this regulatory abortion that is the CAO. As we're finding out, before you even get to discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of the CAO, the _process_ of getting where the county is today was so fundamentally flawed procedurally that taxpayers will end up spending literally hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the CAO from legal challenges. From taxpayers. Hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be better spent on essential county public services. The Mad Hatter's tea party ain't got nothing on this mess.