Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ordinary People After Lisa -- OPAL?

The OPAL Community Land Trust is the affordable housing 501(c)(3) run by County Council candidate Lisa Byers from Orcas Island. Some OPAL homeowners have complaints about substandard materials being used in their homes. Allegedly, nine OPAL homes were built using non-structural exterior siding, contrary to design specifications. Complaints stretch back years regarding this issue.

These OPAL owners want their story told, and it appears as if their story is backed by a substantial amount of documentation. Below is the story of these OPAL homes in the words of one of the owners, Roger Adams (click to enlarge any of the 11 pages, or right-click to download).

According to Adams, of the nine homes with alleged off-spec non-structural siding, only one has been repaired ... the home belonging to Lisa Byers.
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76 comments:

  1. Any way to have all the documents come up at once, rather than page by page? Seems like whining, I know.

    I had a friend that had the LP siding issue in the late 90's and they were able to file a claim with LP as part of the settlement and get the house resided at no cost to them.

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  2. You must understand, thw siding used as stated was not the siding specified per plans, it was sold as is not warranty there is no claim to be made.
    It appears as though the opal persons in charge, elected to cut corners with a lesser product to cut costs, and without disclosure to either the county code enforcement, or the contract purchasers,
    Not a pretty picture, sounds like fraud to me

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  3. @9:30

    A very reasonable request and not a whine at all. This blogging platform doesn't allow for that though, but we're looking into providing a link where the whole document can be viewed.

    Looking into it.

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  4. *Off Topic**

    Just reviewed the council video. It appears that the CAO implementation will be delayed till December 2013 or March 2014. I don't think they actually voted on it, but they voted on a motion to vote on it on April 9th, after the effective date is amended.

    That is a step in the right direction.

    If anyone wants to skip watching the whole thing, go to minute 35 where Patti Miller says "It would be irresponsible to implement on May 1st".

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  5. **Off Topic Reply**

    I'm beginning to suspect there are ulterior motives for the delay. Of course it is a good thing that we are not implementing incomprehensible legislation BUT I think the county is seeing a bounce to its permit fees from the rush to build before the new CAO goes into effect.

    If the new CAO is as simple and wonderful as candidates and council members make it out to be, why are we being deprived of such a wonderful thing through delays?

    I think it is very cynical for candidates and council members to deny that the CAO has any effect on our islands only to put off implementation because it is benefiting the county coffers in the short-term by causing a regulation-driven building boomlet because everyone obviously knows it will have a long-term effect on our islands.

    What an incredibly screwed up place we live in. While I'm off topic, I might as well ask how come FOSJ aren't chaining themselves to trees at Odlin? If Kyle Loring and Janet Alderton chained themselves to trees about to be "limbed", they'd be a lot more believable.

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  6. @11:15

    There is an idea... Keep threatening to implement them and get people building ASAP. Not a bad idea to boost the construction industry.

    That sheds serious light on an issue these islands face. The need for additional small industry/business.

    Rick Hughes has campaigned on that platform, one of recruiting new business to the islands. And he is qualified to do so.
    Contrast that with his opponent who believes we can "export creativity and beauty", or some other sort of unicorn-rainbow laden rubbish....

    The choice is clear.

    VOTE VOTE VOTE!!

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  7. ***Further Off Topic***

    Is the TH going to do a story on the Ed Hale Stormwater Dog and Pony Show??

    3/26/13 council meetings.
    Note that all quotes have been paraphrased. Please watch the council session for yourself.

    EH 1:10:?? "We are doing shit we are not required"

    B.Jarmin 1:19:?? "Ed, this sounds like bullshit"

    EH 1:20:?? "well, uh, well, ecology, uh, ecology...."

    R.Peterson 1:27:?? "What is the problem that these rules are trying to fix?

    It goes on....
    Worth watching.
    1:10

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  8. @11:49

    Thanks. We will look into it. That conversation might also apply to almost anything involving the Hales.

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  9. ECK @ 11:49

    A previous post raised issues about the ORS (OE) tax issue. It appeared that the video was cut off at the council session before it was raised.

    Frank M (Public Works) does mention it (not in great detail) that it is an issue and "a firm has been hired to help".

    FYI.

    Bob and Rich did a good job about asking tough questions. I don't know how they felt about the responses, but it would be good to continue to ask these questions....

    "Where in the law does it require us to do X,Y,Z??"

    When the response is "well ecology...", then get a copy of the ecology rules that govern us and show us the law.

    Reading Brian McClerren's Q&A, he indicated a willingness to challenge the county budget on a line by line basis. That is what we need. Someone who will make hard choices and actual cuts.

    I hope our legislators continue to ask these questions... Where in the law does it say we have to??

    If it's not required by law, then it can be under consideration for cuts.

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  10. Re: 12:23

    The F.M. comments are at about 1hr 41 minutes. start just before that and you will catch that.

    I guess this might be one of those non issues. This country has a habit of allowing tax cheats to run the treasury, so why the hell should it matter on a local level??

    God forbid I am in errs on my tax filings...

    Anyone else here with a small business/contractor services get those "personal property tax reporting forms" from the County Auditor?? Talk about bullshit....
    I already paid sales tax on the things I bought, now you want to tax them with property taxes???

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  11. Note to all citizens and council:
    WHENEVER a beauracrat with a fat paycheck and a position to protect CLAIMS the county HAS to do something ask them to show the LAW that says we must, when they try to answer with "sooooo...ecology blah blah blah" stop them and ask the question again, then call BULLSHIT on them...Ed Hale...BULLSHIT...Shirene Hale...BULLSHIT...your combined $160,000/year salary BULLSHIT!

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  12. Back on topic: It seems strange that our building official can make a determination from facts stated in an e-mail that building codes have NOT been violated, yet uses an aerial photo to justify an onsite search warrant looking for another.

    The CAO delay is genius: another year of bureaucrats claiming that we're in economic recovery based on building permits increasing! They know, and we know, that people are pulling permits like mad trying to avoid the new CAO. But if it means more money in the treasury, what the heck?

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  13. Why the heck do we have a Utilities Manager and a Stormwater Manager and a Stormwater utility at all? We don't have those requirements in law, because we don't have square miles of paved surfaces. Orcas is really going to get hard with stormwater fees once this operation gets going. Not only have we had to put up with the pit behind the Green, but they've messed up the conservation land over on Mt Baker Rd. What else can they screw up? We need a new page to discuss the Stormwater utility, its history, and its futility. Maybe they can post the findings from their shiny new "monitoring" plan. If there are any.

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  14. Who gets sued and who pays if legal action is required against OPAL to make these homes right? Do all OPAL owners have to chip in, or is there a fund available in OPAL for repairs and/or lawsuit fees?

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  15. Hooray for Mr. Hand

    Now we have"

    "The Storm Water Futility"

    oooohhhhh nnnnooooooooooo!

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  16. ...inferior materials...County inspection...how did this obvious problem slip by the County building inspector?

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  17. To the good commentor about LP, it is true that LP manufactured a large batch of inferior siding - the earlies claimanats received new siding...later claimants received partial reimbursement...some claimants did not receive anything...LP wore alot of people down in the name of Money...the Opal material used was approved by the County - the building dept should pay for it too.

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  18. Who are the Hales and why are they here? They don't seem to have any special skills other than being really good at pleasing Ecology.

    I know they came from Idaho and I don't get the impression from Shireene that they plan to stay here.

    Could we get them to speed up that plan? Who hired them? And why? And how do we get rid of them?

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  19. The Hales came along around the same time the Guys from Canada showed up.

    The last fellow to run CDPP hired all of them I think. You remember Ron. He was tarred, feathered and run off the islands at midnight a few years ago.

    This is the Secret Team brought in for a reason by an authoritarian over-reaching bureaucrat so out of the control the County finally had to throw him under bus.

    It's good to know your history about such things, because the invasive species that were planted by Ron Hendricks are beginning to take root. We need to pull them out. You can't just trim their budgets or rap their knuckles once in awhile.

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  20. Who are the guys from Canada??

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  21. Code enforcement rule change meeting on Thursday?

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  22. I'm not getting how this siding fiasco could happen.

    An engineer OK'd comp siding for shear?

    A contractor agreed to use it?

    The County building inspector checked the nailing and manufacturer's specs and after inspecting it- signed off?

    What, we have a different set of rules for low cost housing?

    I'm an owner builder here on SJI and my building inspector was and is EXTREMELY thorough. The architect's drawings are studied on every visit along with the engineer's, AND very often he will ask to see the manufacturer's spec's and engineering, yeah-the soaked wet papers nailed on your truss and truss joist deliveries.

    I have been in construction work for many years and the only building inspector more strict than the one I've had here on SJI (he even once measured my nails before they went in the gun) was one in San Francisco where they are absolutely nuts about earthquake shear and engineering in general.

    I find it very hard to believe comp siding could pass engineering load requirements for shear. There would have to be at the very minimum steel cross tapping let into the stud walls, no?

    So while it appears excellent research was done by the claimant it is hard to believe so many people screwed up.

    Did somebody pour the honey on, because I can't believe the book goes out the window on certain projects.

    If true, it's pretty damning stuff that Byers had her own unit re sided.

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  23. Anonymous To Irritate DehlendorfMarch 27, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Why did Byers replace the siding on her home?

    Who paid for the work?

    My understanding is that OPAL homeowners own the actual structure, and maintenance is up to them.

    This article, and some of the comments, offer up the implication that Byers somehow received favorable treatment. What are the *facts*?

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  24. From Allen Smith, President OPAL Board of Trustees:

    OPAL Community Land Trust does its best to provide quality housing that is affordable. The buildings we construct today are built to a higher standard than the ones we built 20 years ago. The Opal Commons houses—constructed in 1993-1994-- met the building code of the time and they are fine little houses.

    As is OPAL’s standard practice, prior to purchasing the house, Roger Adams obtained a report on the condition of the structure from an independent licensed building inspector. Roger owns his home, and as such is responsible for repairs and maintenance.

    Of the nine houses in Opal Commons that have the same siding as Roger’s, two of the homeowners, including Lisa Byers, have made repairs to the siding. The repairs were paid for by the homeowners.

    OPALs staff members and board of trustees have taken Mr. Adams' concerns seriously. We regret that Mr. Adams remains unsatisfied.

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  25. Thank you Mr. Smith. Understood, Lisa Byers and one other owner paid for a do over on their units. The only assumptions reasonably made are Ms. Byers and one other owner know more than other owners or have more money.

    My guess--the siding is crap. Better have your errors and omissions insurance paid up, sir.

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  26. Maybe it's better to rent than own an OPAL home. You can lose ( pay for repairs) but not win (sell for a profit). I can only imagine the shock , to find out that your 20 year old low income house needs work. It must be up to someone else to fix it. Is this what a vibrant life looks like?

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  27. Like typical feel-good ideas low income housing enslaves those who were lured to the shiny promise of a home at a time they obviously were not qualified to purchase one and now having sunk years of funds into a hovel realize it was only an illusion...buy a home when you can afford one, rent until such a time. OPAL is slavery, despotism, and a purveyor of poverty, in other words, a typical socialist program.

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  28. I have been a renter and a homeowner. I currently own a home (well, the bank technically does, but they let me live here).

    Some how home ownership has been placed on such a pedestal. I for one, can easily envision a day where I will rent again.

    What caused the whole 2008 recession anyway (besides GW)...Hmmmmm didn't it have something to do with people who couldn't afford homes being given them??

    This might sound cynical, but there may be a grant to help out Mr. Adams out. Look up the "opportunity council". They have low income repair assistance.

    What we need to fix this mess though, is some true Islanders coming together to help out this man.

    Put together a fund raiser, get the $$ for materials, and reach out to the building community on Orcas. There are plenty of talented, able bodied carpenters who would be willing to show up to donate some labor.

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  29. Someone should contact LP and explain the situation. Look up the lumber suppliers total $$ of LP and ask again nicely if they will help out.

    Organize an LP boycott. There are plenty of competitors in the lumber business. Make them earn it.

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  30. Excuse me please mr Smith, building inspection or no/ Utility material DID NOT meet the building code at the time the buildings were constructed. The materials wer faltsified as per plans.
    You cannot alter that fact.
    Th owners of these homes were defaulted on "lied to" about the condition of the homes. A visual inspection cannot change that the homes were constructed using substandard "unrated" materials, especially as the only structural skin on a building.

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  31. @9:00

    I wholeheartedly agree that we should organize a way to help these people.

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  32. This is not an LP issue LP did not warrant the material, and made clear that used was utility product not intended for use on any residence, let alone ones that were sold to unsuspecting citizens

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  33. Can I just get back to having docs on the TH in a link. That is way more salient than anything n this post.

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  34. 70% of the able bodied carpenters can't afford to pay their rent or to buy food and clothes for their kids right now, I would sooner support a telethon to support the carpenters to feed their children or help them send their children to the dentist.
    Common Really!

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  35. OPAL: "Fine little houses for fine little people." Thanks for that but it would be better to hear from Lisa Byers directly, she is the one running for office and had she not been I doubt the issue would have come up.

    Here is reality working folks understand. The housing market in the islands is so massively distorted through political externalities (planning and regulation) that rental prices (which tend to reflect housing prices the market will bear) have been relatively flat for nearly 20 years.

    For example, anyone who moved here in the late '90s could find a small two bedroom house or decent apartment was $600-$900 a month and is basically still is maybe a few hundred more. It is astonishing what kind of palace you can get for $1,500 a month if you look around.

    Given the burden of repair and property taxes is on the landlord, buying an OPAL home may provide a bit more stability but the downsides are significant given the flexibility of a rental market that can put you on to some acreage in the country with a little perseverance.

    Plus when you're ready to move on, give 30 days and you're gone.

    Of course I realize there are not many "professional" landlords out here, and the relationship can become awkward for any number of reasons. But, I wonder how cozy it is at LCLT never knowing when you're going to run into the Rhea and Sandy Show on a bad hair day.

    Give me a grumpy old landlord. He just wants my money. These other folks want my eternal soul.

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  36. Opal defaulted on these people
    Opal should make good on what they sold their clients

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  37. You can't really think its the building officials who are going to make sure your house is built right. And that they are going to fix it 20 years later. Please take responsibility for your life and your choices.

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  38. Hell No of coarse not
    He is not responsible for anything
    Except making sure the people understand his authority over them.

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  39. That is unless the people are ready to take it back?

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  40. Blah-blah-blah. Boring. This post, ths discussion...boring. Move on.

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  41. You find reality boring? Just move on and ignore it. Guess none of this affects you.

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  42. I want to know how Lisa, who earns about $75k a year, qualifies to own an OPAL home. Seems to me that if Lisa's home has been repaired, it's because she earns more than anyone else in the group and could afford it, but I wonder how she qualifies to live in OPAL in the first place.

    I thought eligible purchasers were households with incomes under $50k. Seems to me that Lisa's pay should be cut by 50% to match the OPAL criteria or she should live in a non-OPAL home.

    Doesn't Lisa's participation in OPAL ownership violate the OPAL policies, or even its tax-status? Doesn't make sense to me.

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  43. TH, please research what Lisa's income was when she was blessed with an OPAL-hut...and please include her "partner's" income, that will be more interesting, those who are married have to claim their combined income, not someone with a "partner".

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  44. This home ownership model has been around for years but without so many rules on living and selling. You own your home and lease the land. It's been a manufactured home or trailer park. No grants, no rules that you have to be low income or stay low income,and your free to sell or move. They often turn a profit for the party that took the chance to develop them. The reason we don't have any new ones here is zoning. That's what created the needs OPAL filled. As with any program that has a staff , once created it will do anything to survive. We really needed low income housing here for the working people years ago. How many is too many homes? What if we had ten times more? When we have to start importing low income people to fill the homes , it's gone to far. As this fellow shows ,Orcas is very hard for someone on disability, or low income retired to make ends meet. Why lure them to someplace with the highest gas,grocery,ferry, and dump prices? Expensive travel is required to meet many medical needs as well. It seems to be this need to have people to control with rules and more rules.

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  45. I was alway struck with the tone of derision met with the Oaks (a suburb!!) vs the praise for real people's housing OPAL (a commons!!)

    The Oaks fascinates me as a contrast to OPAL and LCLT. In many ways, exactly the same. You own the sticks but not the land, and you pay what amounts to a condo fee to maintain neighborhood infrastructure. Its a nice place with a gorgeous view and the price is right. Darn hard to resell these days but that too may pass, in better times those places went like hotcakes.

    Of course living in Indian country is much the same, 99 year leases up in Lummi or over in LaConner at Swinnomish.

    But what is the political climate in the islands that would make it nearly impossible to develop and permit other commercial/private ventures such as the Oaks? While at the same time our local government rolls out red carpets for community land trusts breeding ideologically challenged candidates for public office and cultivating a sort of cult following as is surely the case at LCLT?

    And of course Lisa's now well known remarks at a conference that the community land trust model is the best way to change the social-economic framework of the United States.

    Look at the involvement of the community land trust leadership on all three islands and the Machine, as donors, as campaign committee members, as past directors or employees of the Friends and a real pattern starts to emerge.

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  46. @9:40 pm
    "You can't really think its the building officials who are going to make sure your house is built right." No, and certainly not here. But the purchasers did not build the houses. OPAL did. OPAL sold the houses to them.

    "And that they are going to fix it 20 years later." Well, clearly OPAL isn't going to acknowledge responsibility. I guess these substandard boards just put themselves on the house after OPAL was responsible, huh?

    As for legal responsibility, though, there's a far more interesting question. The state has fairly helpful disclosure requirements, and if these weren't followed, then the buyers may well have a remedy against OPAL.

    "Please take responsibility for your life and your choices." And there it is--what the beneficent folks at and around OPAL really think about their "tenants." The point here is that we have this warm-fuzzy-supercaring COMMUNITY organization that built the homes below specs, in a manner concealed from the ordinary buyer, and while "helping" the by-definition disadvantaged buyer, neither disclosed this fact nor stepped up to repair the harm voluntarily.

    Rather than a fund-raiser for repair, I think we should help the affected owners (the ones not paid $75,000 a year) to get legal help.

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  47. And here is the hypocrisy unveiled:

    "Please take responsibility for your life and your choices."

    Meanwhile let us work for the commons, the greater good, for community property not private property.

    But, you're still on your own. Caveat emptor. OPAL owns millions in real estate assets. Mistakes may happen, but don't expect them to take responsibility for theirs.

    Such blatant, staggering hypocrisy. Is this really how we want our local government to operate?

    Vote. Vote. Vote Against the Machine.

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  48. Does ANYBODY trust people who start out letters like this?

    From Allen Smith, President OPAL Board of Trustees:

    "OPAL Community Land Trust does its best to provide quality housing that is affordable. The buildings we construct today are built to a higher standard than the ones we built 20 years ago. The Opal Commons houses—constructed in 1993-1994-- met the building code of the time and they are fine little houses."

    So, Mr. Smith--would you buy one of them "fine little houses"? What about the fact that only the people who built the houses (OPAL) would be aware of a latent defect like subbing in substandard grade siding--an inspector hired by a buyer (wonder who set THOSE arrangements up) would only be able to tell what was going on by ripping the boards off the wall.

    It's nice to know that OPAL is building better houses today. But they don't seem bothered when their houses fall apart in 20 years. Might be best to walk away from that house and mortgage. Let OPAL try to resell it. Maybe Mr. Smith wants it for his grandkids?

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  49. Here's a typical glowing endorsement of Lisa Byers from a lawyer.

    "Please join me in voting for a candidate who will put the needs of the community first, who will work collaboratively and creatively to find solutions to complicated problems and who will step up to the plate to lead our county in this critical time."

    I don't see these qualities in the bad paneling fiasco. "You bought it, you own it?" OPAL homes wear and tear in 20 years?

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  50. Not accepting responsibility over construction flaws for their "Commons" is not a very good endorsement of "putting the needs of the community first."

    No. Lisa Byers, through her mouthpiece, the current President of the OPAL Corporation, puts corporate needs well ahead of the commons and community, while hording millions in property assets.

    That is hypocrisy on a massive, breath-taking scale. Shame on them.

    Vote Against the Machine.

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  51. You condemn Lisa for living in a housing development she spearheaded building. Whatever her current salary is, or was when she bought with everyone else... she's still there. I've not seen that happen with other housing developments. They build them... turn the common lands over to a homeowners association and move on and the new owners are left with any and all issues. For whatever the flaws are she's at least still there. Walking away from homeownership and mortgages is something many families have faced in recent years. Are the owners upside down in their equity?

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  52. The notion of permanent affordability is worth of discussion.

    However, it has always been my view that the community land trust model was intended primarily as a stepping stone, especially for young working families, to then ladder up to home ownership elsewhere as able.

    It is nice that Lisa has been able to work the same job in San Juan County for nearly twenty years. And to be able to live in the same home. At some point was she and her partner in a position to move on to full equity ownership? Perhaps, it seems likely.

    However, this issue involves Lisa only to the extent that she is the executive of the OPAL Corporation. But I guess she is only the manager. We heard from the OPAL Corporation President yesterday.

    The issue for Lisa is whether she supports the actions of the OPAL Corporation in this matter, or not, and Lisa is the only person who can speak to that. Should the OPAL Corporation repair substandard construction issues because "It is the right thing to do?"

    Or, not?

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  53. Off topic, but slightly aligned with the Odlin Park Fiasco.

    Public Works has obtained a "Safety Grant" for Guardrails. Those huge ugly steel devices used on every corner in urban settings.

    It must be a big pile of money, because on SJI there are pictures showing the intent of Public Works to put these things all over the place.

    This is typical grant funded nonsense. The County without this money would probably list such guardrails as just about dead last in a list of capital improvement projects.

    And, once installed these really ugly things carry with them significant increases in maintenance costs. IE: a worker cannot used the truck mounted mower, he or she must spend hours with a weeder cutting the dry fire hazard grass around each of several hundred posts. Does the grant cover maintenance costs??? bet not.

    Once again a grant is controlling us and making us do things we probably would never do.

    GRANTS! Some people love em, and some people hate em. I'm one of the latter, and feel we at least should elect people who QUESTION the real essence of a grant BEFORE we take the money.

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  54. hmmm. Lisa bought into an OPAL low income house. She is staying there. She makes $75,000 a year and has a "partner" living w/her who probably also has some income. She is trying to prove something.

    My "partner" and I don't clear Lisa's income alone. But through creativity and HARD work we bought..in about 2001 or so...our 5 acres and a modest house. The real estate market was going nuts right then and we found a jewel in the rough and amazingly are still hanging in there.

    I am so glad to have any sort of feeling that it is ours. And I feel that we are extremely respectful of the earth and "our" land. We're paying for the privilege of some sort of control over it.

    Lisa and Lovel believe that the government will lovingly take care of us and our land and our people. But who is the government? It is not a who but a ridiculous series of "studies" etc...funded by special interest groups.

    Obama apparently has benevolently bestowed the ownership of the San Juan Islands to the country. What does that mean? Who makes decisions now? Someone in Washington DC? Holy %$#^! Like they know squat about my beloved islands!!!!

    My ancestors came here LOOOOONNNNGGG before Lisa or Lovel or Obama or Dehlendorf or Alderton (not necessarily in that order)....it takes many many lifetimes to understand a place.

    I'm appalled by their attitude of ownership and control and superiority. It makes me feel sick. I wish they had never come and I wish they would go away. They are all newbies and know nothing about the tides and the seasons and the heart here. And they pathetically think they do. Oh I dislike them and their influence so very very much.

    Where are the other old time islanders? I want to hear from you! We have a unique and special perception that is valuable!

    At least that's what I think.

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  55. 6:01 Rest assured, your mind is clear, you know the truth. Now get some signs out there or something, we gotta win this one!

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  56. Oh wow. That came right from the heart off the keyboard. Thank you so much. You have captured the sense of heartbreak and outrage that's nearly impossible to express, and simmering just under the surface for so many folks here. I hope your words take wing and fly over the islands and touch everyone so they will pause and think about what is at stake. Bless you.

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  57. I find it very interesting that a couple of days ago if you searched Lisa Byers, you could find, on the county recorded documents, page. The sale of the OPAL property that Lisa lives at. Now it does not show any of her activities. Previously it showed the purchase price to be in exchange for Love and Affection.... Well, I guess she didn't have to pay anything for her abode. That's sure low income!!

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  58. A couple of unicorns and a rainbow just don't buy as much nowadays as they used to. These be tough times.

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  59. No, no, we can buy guardrails & consultants.

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  60. @9:20pm
    I'm not sure what you are referring to as a county recorded documents page.. using the County's Polaris site, all the recorded documents still appear to be accessible (just like all the rest of ours) for tax parcel # 271151013000. BTW, this is the system the current Council just voted to spend an unbudgeted $140,000 for new aerial photos. Apparently FREE google earth pictures are just not good enough for SJC, where our Commissioners never say no to spending more taxpayer funds for things the taxpayers don't prioritize, need, or even want.
    Hey Commissioners, how about more public access to the water? How about bike trails on the islands? How about public swimming pools for our kids? How about accountability for our sanitation "services?" How about keeping vast tracks of land ON the tax rolls (how much is 'enough' for the Land Bank?)? How about focusing on the citizen's (aka Your Employer's!) quality of life? This county got hijacked sometime over the last few years. It's time to take it back and clean house. "Vote. Vote. Vote against the Machine!"

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  61. You shall be assimilated, resistance is futile.

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  62. “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

    - Karl Marx

    Damn...who knew 'ol Karl was prophesying about San Juan County?

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  63. “Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.”

    ― Karl Marx

    Now we know what is motivating Lisa & Lovel....

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  64. Or at least the lovely Lovel's fabulous recent makeover.

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  65. Orcas Issues is begging for donations...for F sakes, every socialist enterprise fails miserably but the idiot kool-aid drinking lever-pulling clowns just keep trying...fail....fail...fail...

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  66. A bit off topic I guess, but:

    Question: How many socialists does it take to screw in a light-bulb?

    Answer: None. There's nothing wrong with this light-bulb. We think it works.

    I thought Orcas Issues was business?

    Anyway we don't have socialist enterprises anymore. We have social enterprises funded by impact investors.

    We don't call them donors any longer. Welcome to the Brave New World.

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  67. Something to think about in this election is the relationships all of the candidates have w/the islands themselves.

    Are they in touch? Are they rooted? Are they aware of the little eco-systems etc...?

    It seems to me one of the huge problems w/the decision makers in the CAO "update" was that there was a huge disconnect w/nature and a fairly extreme ignorance of science protocol and process. There was a lot of emotional and fictional theory being pressed on the council people by people who will benefit by spreading stories of eco doom and fear. And it seems that some of the former and current council members could live just as happily in an urban setting. Maybe more so.

    Some of them couldn't ask the right questions because the science and nature were just so foreign to them. And their fearless leader, Shireene, was entirely predisposed to the eco fear approach.

    Does that make sense?

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  68. Interesting.

    According to Lisa's Facebook page she was born in Bethesda MD and given the family history with a 200 acre Connecticut farm, tells me she was born into a political family as an urban "Beltway Brat."

    Lovel is about concentrating people into new urbanist population zones, of which community land trusts are an element of. She is no friend of the rural lifestyle.

    Jaime likes to drive down I5 in his Jaguar and takes his green VW over to Lopez. He is a creature of Lopez Village, the only urban growth area on the island.

    New Urbanism and East-Coast Communitarianism just doesn't fit here.

    Hell, Rhea Miller is from Massachusetts and brings along the eastern mindset the Washington pioneers were so hell-bent to resist when they wrote the Washington State Constitution.

    Listen folks: Background matters. If rich east coast folks want to settle in around here, welcome. It is up to you to fit in. But we don't need our local government dominated by east coast politics and urban backgrounds. That's just loony tunes.

    Speaking of loony tunes, this brings us to Senator Kevin Ranker who lost all his committee leadership positions because he cannot work well with others. He is now showing up as Endorser #1 on Machine websites. Is this guy really one of us?

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  69. The implication seems to be that Lisa Byers earns too much to have bought her OPAL neighborhood home, and that there must have been some dirty dealing going on.

    What is the purchase history of the home Lisa lives in? My own understanding is that the house was purchased by Laurie, and that as some date Lisa and Laurie formed a relationship, and Lisa moved in.

    Lisa's name appears to be on the Polaris record as a co-owner now - when and how did that happen?

    Looking at the records for tax parcel 271151013000, it seems CHASANOFF, MATHEW filed a quit claim deed to GALLO, MARY LAURETTE on 4/13/1998. Then on 2/5/2002, GALLO, MARY L. filed a statutory warrant deed to BYERS, ELISABETH C. *and* GALLO, MARY L... making them co-owners. Sort of the same thing that might have happened had they gotten married, if that were legal in our state at the time.

    I believe OPAL homeowner are allowed to marry or enter into a relationship. Or have a job/income change over time.

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  70. @10:53am

    I would say the same for rich Californians that move to our county and want to "make it better". Leave your fear mongering property rights mentality at the border, or don't move here.

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  71. What is "fear mongering property rights mentality"?

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  72. Eric Arthur BlairMarch 29, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Apparently, wishing to preserve your property rights casts you as an extremist in this county these days.

    Showing up at a public meeting to speak about your concerns, or writing a letter on the topic constitutes "fear mongering".

    "Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."

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  73. 9:54: It makes sense, good sense, indeed. Now make some signs and flyers and get to work!

    Only work will make you free.

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  74. @11:34 AM

    I take it you are not from the Left Coast.

    California has way more in common, especially north of San Francisco with our lifestyle and outlook, than the eastern seaboard. It's just different out west.

    There's rich folks from everywhere all over, California is not unique. Its the left coast/ east coast thing that matters. Let's have locals for local government once again. Is that such a hard concept to accept?

    I lived back east for years, I wanted to find out what that part of the country was about, and I did. Glad I did. Really humid in the summer. I was really happy to come home.

    If you have no respect for private property rights how can anyone trust you to respect their reasonable expectation to privacy? It's not possible to separate the two.

    God gave you your body. Use it well why you are here because it is yours freely given by Grace not by the government. Do you get it yet? Your home. Your hat. Your body. Respect your neighbors civil rights as you would have them respect yours. Do not trespass like the Friends of the San Juans do. They have brought disharmony and corruption while pretending to protect. They protect nothing but their own self interests. They bring shame and opprobrium on their heads.

    And now I will prove I am not a robot. Can Lovel do the same?

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  75. I'm not buying the line that the east coast is evil and the west coast pure. Whoever is saying that BS all the time don't know what they're talking about.

    I'm from the east. I never lived in California. I hate the corruption and lying in this county, so please take your geo-politico-bigotry and shut up.

    We agree that Lisa, Lovel, and Jamie -- who is from Utah -- are wrong for this county, but otherwise, you're an ignorant blowhard.

    Ooooo, Lisa is from Maryland, oooooo, Rhea is from Massachusetts. Who gives a f^%k?

    Focus on what they say and do and not the first three digits of their social security number.

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  76. Well I guess I resemble that remark and hang my head in shame having been properly accused of the politically correct thought-crime of "Bi-Coastalism." Oh. My. Gawd.

    Who on earth said the east coast was evil and the west coast pure? Here is historical fact. The Washington State Constitution, and more broadly the establishment of western states like Montana, Wyoming, Idaho were pushing back hard against the east coast establishment, 19th century railroad robber barons, Wall Street. That is why the Washington State Constitution has stronger civil rights protections than the US Constitution.

    The east coast is great. I worked in Vermont for a spell. Washington DC is a very livable city and the New York's energy is amazing. But look at a satellite image of North America at night and tell me the east coast and the west coast are not vastly different? Back east, population is very dense, infrastructure is dense. Out west? Not so much. There are differences.

    One time presidential candidate Sen. Gary Hart from Colorado wrote a Western Manifesto some years back warning Democrats that while they could win majorities in western states and let the deep south go, they had to resist the urge to export east coast urban and regional planning philosophies to the west. If they did so they would eventually lose, lose, lose.

    And that is exactly what this Machine is trying to do. And, eventually they will lose, lose, lose.

    Parting shot just to lighten this up: What's the difference between the east and west coast? Back east if someone says "Screw you!" they're really saying "Howdy!" Out west, if someone says "Howdy!" they're really saying "Screw you!"

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