Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Certainty Of Complexity

Today occurred a Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) pre-hearing regarding the various challenges to our new Critical Areas Ordinances (CAOs). The presiding GMHB official, attorney William Roehl, who has served on the GMHB for over 4 years, stated that the San Juan County CAO case is very complicated ... the most complicated he has been involved with.

We think Roehl may be confused. The case against the CAOs should be simple, since the County didn't even ask the right questions. It's the CAOs themselves that are "complicated" ... and we might also add "unnecessary" to boot. Subjecting us to these CAOs is akin to subjecting us to ongoing, expensive, complicated, but completely unnecessary medical procedures. Should we undergo chemo therapy without having cancer? Some of our candidates might think so. It is baffling to hear Lovel Pratt run on her CAO record, for instance, just as it would be baffling to hear an overzealous doctor brag about giving patients unnecessary colorectal resections. And we don't have to pre-judge Pratt (or Jamie Stephens) about being overzealous for pointless regulation -- we can judge them instead. Their vote is in the record, and they voted to have this County endure completely unnecessary and painful "precautions."

It is equally condemning to hear Lisa Byers say:
I believe that we do need regulations to protect our environment. That is a consequence of having more people. I believe that the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) passed by the county council last December was a valid attempt, within the requirements of existing state law, to find a way to allow property owners as much flexibility as possible. However, it is important with any regulation that we understand how it works in real life. We need to gather case studies of on-the-ground experience, and then make changes to improve the application and predictability of regulations.
Byers has her logic completely backwards because it is important to gather evidence (case studies) to assess whether regulations are needed in the first place, not to justify them ex-post. And if we are going to dole out regulations because of population, then it would seem that OPAL's per capita share of the regulatory burden should be very heavy indeed, since it houses 5% of the population of Orcas and 15% of its school children.

Byers also says:
It is very important to me that government officials recognize that uncertainty has a significant detrimental effect on business and residential development. The length of time that it took this county to get through the required update to the Critical Areas Ordinance is a case in point. Nine years is too long. The uncertainty had very real economic costs.
This comment is the identical comment repeated numerous times by Stephanie Buffum of the Friends. Byers is channeling Buffum here. In response, all we can say is that the CAOs are a veritable playground of uncertainty. Uncertainty increased with CAO passage, since CDPD, the Friends, and practically anyone else is right in the middle of your life now, if they want to be. Talk about economic impacts -- why would anyone invest in property when, as an owner, you have so little control over your investment?

As if to drive home this last point, earlier this week Shireene Hale sent out CDPD-prepared handouts to realtors to help them explain the CAOs to their clients. These "simple" handouts (too long to include here) spanned 11 full pages of 12 pt font! They included dozens of helpful bullet points that say things like the following:
 There are recommendations, and in some cases requirements, for protecting the habitat of specific plants and animals. These regulations generally apply within 200 feet of protected habitats, but extend to 1,000 ft. for golden eagle nests, and to ¼ mile for peregrine falcon and great blue heron nests. Maps of known locations, photos of protected plants and animals, and protection provisions are described in handouts available on the above County web page.
That kind of certainty oughta really help the economics of the real estate market, don'tcha think?

Lastly, as an epilogue to the previous post, commenters have asked for information on who's who in the email in the last post. Here is a quick rundown.

Dick Grout is on the Byers Campaign Committee, and he has been discussed in earlier posts on this blog. He was our County Planning Director when we first opted to fully plan under the GMA back in 1990, and according to some reports, he was an enthusiastic advocate for opting in. After leaving the County, he headed up the Bellingham office of the Department of Ecology, retiring about a year ago. He was a finalist for County Administrator back in 2006, which was a bit controversial since he did not seem to have gone through the same vetting process as the other candidates. Byers and Pratt were both on the citizen committee providing input on Administrator candidates back then. Some believe that Dick Grout may yet become our County Manager, if Pratt and Byers get elected.

Scott Boye is the former Membership Director of the Friends and a former Board member of the San Juan Community Home Trust.

Janet Brownell is on the Byers Campaign Committee and is the former legislative liaison for the Orcas School District. She's married to Lance Evans who is a Land Bank Commissioner.


  1. I challenge anyone to find 2 more community minded, understanding of development and dedicated people than Janet and Lance. To try to cast them as some kind of Eco-zealot network junkie will certainly not win you votes.

    The interesting part that I take out of this is the criticism of Byers' statement regarding the cost of taking so long. That was the part I agreed with more than anything. The time delay HAS resulted in a real cost to the working class and the construction industry. Not sure why this is a bad thing to say. It's true.

    I am however interested in what the GMHB has to say. It will be interesting to see how many shreds the pull the CAO into in their final review.

  2. What an odd comment.

    The time delay HAS resulted in a real cost to the working class? No way -- absolutely no way, and it's obvious that you're not part of the working class, otherwise you'd know better.

    Will not win "you" votes? Who is "you"?

    As far as "Janet and Lance," they are who they are, and they may be community minded, but they are no better or more important than anyone else in the community either. Many of us are tired of being "managed" and looked after by the connected patricians and lever-pullers that dominate the committees, non-profits, and government of these islands.

  3. How could any reasonable person argue with a straight-face that the CAOs are good for our economy? You'd have to be a planner, consultant, or lawyer to believe that. It's an absurd claim.

  4. I have to say...Lisa definitely has attributes that special interest groups would applaud. If you ask her questions she is very very careful in her answers. I think that is the source of all the flowery language. Not really straightforward and ... not exactly honest.

    Just ask her about her connection to The New Economics Institute. She avoids that subject like the plague. I think she understands that her connection there is not a comfortable one for many people and will lose her votes. That makes ME uncomfortable.

    That is what is SO wonderful about Rick Hughes, Bob Jarman, and Brian!

    They don't have to choose their words so carefully because they're not puppets to anyone or any ideology. They're all thoughtful and willing listeners. They answer questions w/openness and honesty. SO REFRESHING! They ALL win my vote!!!!!

  5. I believe that TH merely identified the parties to the e-mail published earlier. He did not characterize either Brownell or Evans as eco-nuts. Brownell is the only one in the e-mail chain who does come off as smarmy. I sense a difference between the Orcas people--who don't seem "political" with a capital P, and the San Juan extreme Dems who sound more about the process than the outcome.

  6. To March 7, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    I guess I'd challenge right back. Do not Lisa and Janet own their own words. Do they really need operatives to speak on their behalf in some kind of attempt at spin control? That leaked email is just a stunner. Lisa's talk and leadership position with the New Economy Institute is bloody troubling.

    All this wrapped up in a Big Partisan Political Machine driven by major donors who sit on the board of the Friends of the San Juans with tens of thousands of dollars to purchase the government. No. This thing is exactly what it looks like.

    Lisa and Janet own their own words. Let them explain to the community what the hell is going on.

    Oh. And in plain English would be helpful. You know. The language that Rick, Brian and Bob and most of the voters here speak. Not psychobabble or air-pudding.

  7. The time delay HAS resulted in a real cost to the working class and the construction industry.//Not true at all. The construction industry collapsed with the economy; the only question is whether it (a MAJOR part of the real economy) would be allowed to recover. The answer is clearly "No." Apparently, we are to rely on "tourism" (esp. agro-tourism) and the arts. Lots of high-paying jobs there? No, more like wage slave jobs. Certain death to the construction industry (by which, with the exception of the subsidized hamlets like OPAL, we mean individual home building) is not an improvement over the "uncertainty" of the CAO rulemaking process. Of course, we have lots of planners and consultants and lawyers who will be making 6 figures far into the future on this.

  8. CORRECTED POST (sorry, no caffeine yet)

    believe that TH merely identified the parties to the e-mail published earlier. He did not characterize either Brownell or Evans as eco-nuts. Brownell is the only one in the e-mail chain who does NOT come off as smarmy. I sense a difference between the Orcas people--who don't seem "political" with a capital P, and the San Juan extreme Dems who sound more about the process than the outcome.

  9. Interesting, went back and re-read the leaked email. It reminded me of the movie Lincoln. Sometimes its necessary to work with some less than savory operatives to get the political work done, doesn't it? On the second read Janet doesn't seem particularly wacko and yes she gets strong marks on community service, and rightly so.

    But are we not known by our associations? As Lisa says: "Life's not fair."

  10. Quick ID:

    I made the statement about the time delay related to the CAO. Let me explain my on the ground experiences that led to me making that statement:

    First, I am in the construction trades and have been dealing with the "what ifs" surrounding the CAO for as long as the discussion has been happening. I can't think if a project in the last 5 years that hasn't had some degree of wonder by the home owner relating to the CAO.

    The uncertainty surrounding its implementation has caused many of my potential clients to either delay their work or to rush through a set of plans just to get a holding spot on their property. Those that have rushes through a set of plans are now going back in to make revisions to those plans so they can actually get what they want. This takes time, money and ultimately a boat load of headache for me. I suppose it is a boon for the designing community- but not for me.

    Secondly ( and I know I'm going to hear it for this one). I have 2 pending jobs now where the client actually will benefit from the new wetlands regulations. I know... No way... But it is true. Because of the CAO process though, they are not going for permit until it is official because a permit today is under the old regulations. And so we wait. These are people that are ready to build, but are waiting so that they can get their house where they want.

    Finally, I was lucky enough to ride with a realtor about 2 months ago while she took a client to look at a piece of property. The client was interested in 2 parcels (raw undeveloped land). Each parcel had some wetland issues. 1 had wetland AND shoreline issues. After a long discussion, the client has opted to hold out for now because she is not clear if what she wants to build will fit within the parameters of either property. There's no way she could buy, design and submit for permit befor the implementation of the CAO (this was before they delayed the implementation yet again), so she is waiting until the CAO is implanted and then she will begin to reasses viable sites. The bad part here was, if she had known they were going to delay AGAIN, she might have been able to pull it off.

    So, we can argue about whether the time lag of the CAO has had an impact or not, but in my case I can assure you it has. I would assume the realtor that I was working with would agree. For the client, I suppose she at least got to keep her money!

    On the previous comment about Democrats on Orcas v. San Juan- I fully agree. The SJI democrats seem to be way more party-centric. I find San Juan to be way more politically divided than Orcas. And on Lopez I just think there's noone to argue with!

  11. Trying to argue that uncertainty in the CAO's has hurt the construction industry makes about as much sense as the argument in favor of fish having bicycles.

    We had a major global recession. That is what caused the construction drop. To that end, San Juan County weathered that storm much better than then rest of the state, and the nation for that matter.

  12. The client will actually benefit? And you know this before the CAOs have taken effect?

    We did not realize we were dealing with a clairvoyant who is able to predict outcomes under a system that provides unbridled regulatory and enforcement discretion to CDPD.

    As for the last commenter, trying to make spurious arguments related to the CAOs (e.g., global recession) is like trying to sell bicycles to fish -- it's pointless.

  13. In today's Island Guardian, an article about the BLM lands, and National Monument Status for San Juan County...

    "And if so, it would seem the expressed concerns that it opens the door to the provision in the Act that allows even land “held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government,” is a concern."

    Where do our candidates stand on the possibility that FOSJ goes on an Eminent Domain rampage to "care and manage" the Monument?

  14. Hmmm. Selling bicycles to fish: the cao updates are based on best available science, clear, concise, reasonable, affordable by all and "a good product"; Lisa's core socialistic beliefs are shared by all right thinking citizens, and particularly those who have fought, died or been been horribly maimed to preserve and protect the many individual rights and freedoms we all hold dear in this wonderful country; and your taxes paid for it but you didn't build it, so shame on you for thinking you earned it.

  15. @8:47

    My clients will indeed benefit. By benefit I mean they will be able to orient their home close to te wetland.

    Yes, you can determine this by doing a two way assesment. 1 that looks at setback according to the old rules and 1 that looks at setback according to the newrules.

    The new rules are there, approved and ready for implementation- although not in effect and can be used to make if/then assesments. I'm not saying this is the case for every property but for these two it is the case.

    As far as the CAO uncertainty affecting construction, we will have to agree to disagree. It has affected my income and my bottom line and the payroll of my employees. That is not to say that the economy hasn't unleashed a certain amount of Hell on us as well, but the CAO process certainly hasn't helped pay the bills.

    I have 3-4 bicycles in my garage and if theres a fish out there that wants them, I'm happy to give them to them- no sale required. Would that be better?

  16. @9:49

    You can say it is based on BAS, but a good portion of us will disagree.

    And please- don't think that your idea of "righ thinking" in any way tied to excess environmental regulation. That too is like comparing fish to bicycles. Noone doubts that our freedoms are linked to a long hard fought battle. But to try to tie that tithe CAO is beyond a stretch- and I think even Lisa will agree with that.

  17. I thought @9:49 was being sarcastic :-)

  18. Here's the problem in the logic. According to some accounts from Lisa and others, this CAO update process has run for nine years (and counting now that the implementation is delayed and the GHMB is involved thanks to the Friends of the San Juans suing the County less than two months after they urged the Count to pass the dang thing so we could all have "certainty." Look at the record. Its all there.

    Now. The recession hit hard and fast, in the fall of 2008. Just over five years ago. Let's do math. 9-5 = 4. Therefore there were four years of red hot, go-go-go world wide real estate speculation at the peak of Tulipmania, including here in San Juan County.

    Am I given to understand that for those four years the status of our CAO regulations got in the way irrational exuberance in the final phase of the housing bubble?

    Not so much. As to the recovery, that is another question, and the serious studies are out there as to the regulatory cost burden to the housing market, in places like Seattle and Boston. It is a disaster, the hammer comes down on the middle lower middle income earners. What a perfect niche for a community land trust with a little foresight on where the market is heading? Skew the market with regulatory distortion, capture people into land trusts and deny them equity. Who knew?

    Finally, it seems we have some emerging evidence that these new rules might tend to favor some permit situations over others. Will such benefits flow to every new development? 1:5? 1:10? 1:100? And that reduces uncertainty? If you say so. Pointing to one case does not generalize.

  19. @11:27

    That's terrific. Even though setbacks were 35 to 150 feet before and now we have buffers of 30 to 205 feet - even though those figures just apply to the water quality buffer and don't include consideration of two more buffers that have to be applied in many/most cases (habitat and tree protection zones) - and even though you seem to refer to "setbacks" rather than "buffers" and may or may not recognize the difference - despite the fact that the CAOs allow for further discretionary restrictions based on the judgment of county officials - despite all that, you have managed to find a solution for your client that is less protective of the wetland than we had previously.

    That's great. Just great. You really know how to thread that needle. Must be all those spare bicycles.

  20. xD

    Good point. Those CAOs are a marvel, are they not? Bigger buffers, more buffers, more complicated, nine years to put together, and less protective according to 11:27!!!

    What is that old saying about a camel being a horse designed by committee?


  21. As to certainty of what the CAO rules will be regarding the construction guy's client. The rules go into effect May 1. The fact there is an appeal to the Growth Board doesn't matter. They are the rules until the Growth Board decides otherwise. As long as the GB doesn't change anything before the client puts in their complete application after May 1, the client can build under the new CAO. At least that's how I understand it.

  22. Unless their land is taken to protect the "National Monument San Juan"!

  23. Nothing to see here folks. Move on. CAO actually turned out to be pretty simple after all, its not really all that scary. Its done, surprisingly better than ever before. May 1 looks pretty certain, the GMHB really doesn't matter. Nine years is a long time time. Let's all feel better now this is over. Orcas isn't real political, that's all San Juan Island kind of stuff.

    These aren't the droids you're looking for.

  24. sarcasm? serious? I'm confused!

  25. Correct CAO goes into effect May 1st.

    Apply on April 30th you might be OK. Apply on May 1st you might be OK.

    Nevermind that the county doesn't even have the forms and procedures in line to apply the rules.

    Want to try something fun? Mail your application from Orcas on 4/30 with everything perfectly in line. When they stamp it on 5/1 call over and ask if tey have everything they need. The fact is, they won't be able to tell you.

    And yet, I'm somehow crazy for asserting that the CAO process and the length of time it has taken hasn't cost myself or my clients money and time? Have you ever tried to assemble a building permit application? Ok, now do it twice! There's a reason Terri Williams gets paid the money she does!

  26. But. But. I thought the CAO was going to be implemented in January, but now its May? I feel uncertain again.

    In December the Friends said we would have certainty if only the Council would pass the CAO. They did and they said it would start in January didn't it?

    And if the Friends wanted the Council to pass the CAO in December why are they suing the Council for doing what they demanded the Council do?

    Signed .... uncertain ....

  27. I find the whole "certainty/uncertainty" discussion baffling. If any of you has read the document and listened to Shireene trying to explain it during the recent "training" sessions, you know that uncertainty is what we have, in spades. Even Shireene couldn't figure it out, and she's responsible for the darn thing. Take a look at the two-page "simple explanations" she handed. It's gibberish, and Our Most Excellent Building Director will get to announce his call on all of the uncertain provisions. So it's uncertain UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR PERMIT STAMPED. And then some. Because uses and activities on the land are great encumbered, too.

  28. BTW, anyone who suddenly buys land now because the CAOs are a done deal is an idiot. Why do you think we have all that revenue coming into the County from the permit office? Because people KNOW what's in the old CAO, and they want it. Tick tock.

  29. Sooo ... at least we can be certain about uncertainty.

    But, isn't that what life's about? I mean, anything can happen right?

    But. But. If anything might happen, I think I need to be careful. Take precautionary measures. In principle anyway. Until I have more information, but that might not even help.

    I get now. If the CAO generates too much uncertainty then we must take the precautionary approach to mitigate unknown risk.

    There. It all makes sense now. I'll go quietly. I won't make any trouble. Just feed me. Put me in a home trust to spend out my days. I'll sit in a corner and just pound sand now.

  30. We need a map showing how much of the islands are in the hands of the feds,state,county, dnr, land bank,land trusts etc. Already "saved" and paying low to zero taxes.

  31. The cao thing is appearing to be a land grab turning all our property into nature preserves. Should'nt we get a tax brake for "donating" parts of our property?

  32. With all the excellent comment, perhaps there is one thing we can all agree on: Things ain't good the way we're headed.


  33. Our candidates Pratt and Byers are Parrots. They talk the talk and tell their friends exactly what they all want to hear. The comment from the GMHB is not a compliment. It is a statement about the failure of the County to not state the problem and then create a problem by developing unnecessary, technically incorrect, government "taking" regulations to make building on the islands completely impossible. It didn't take 9 years to revise the CAO - during much of that time, nothing was being worked on - the County worked on the revisions unnecessarily for about 3 years creating an abomination of regulations. The past Council should be ashamed for their passage of this huge mess thrust upon us. The people voting to pass those regulations no not what they's a testimony to their lack of scientific understanding and competence.

  34. I support row vs wade, I support equality in the right of marriage, I also support the right to privacy that brings into focus all of the above. I am disgusted and ashamed by the ignorance of so many do gooders that cannot see the implications of regulations that serve to take the privacy and freedoms of all of us for granted. "No proof of harm" is needed to impose these ridiculous arbitrary (in most instances) takings. I am an environmentalist! “What the hell” What happens when a man or woman walks into those council chambers as a council member that causes immediate dementia? Common people
    do the right thing

  35. This election is about privacy and the right to be left alone.

    This elections about taking stock over how the local Democratic Party apparatus was highjacked by an agenda having very little to do with any traditional Democratic Party platform, progressive or otherwise.

    What we have is an authoritarian abomination. The only tools we have right now is the vote and our voice.

    This is not about the environment or progressive politics, or children's programs, or throwing grandma under the bus or filling potholes or broadband infrastructure or Republicans or Democrats. This is about oontrol.

    This is about our local government and the fate of island communities for decades to come. The choice is pretty clear.

    Lisa, Lovel and Jamie are on the wrong side of history, not thinking clearly and completely out of touch.

    Bob, Rick and Brian have no machine grinding the voting public into bone meal. They have no baggage. They tell it to you straight. They are real islanders.

  36. TH is a bright spot of truth in the darkness of non-media here in San Juan County. The great thing about TH, is that someone, somewhere here actually KNOWS the people who are responsible for the mess of the CAO. For example, someone knows all the main actors on the Board and Staff of FOSJ. So my question to you who know these people. Take any one specific individual. Kyle Loring for example. His name is on virtually every document FOSJ has sent to the county. These documents, available on their website, show that they think the CAO's are too loose, allow too much freedom for property owners to "trash" the wetlands and damage the eel grass.
    Is he really an eco-zealot? Does he really want to reduce human life to zero in the Islands? Does he think the regulations really aren't all that onerous? Or, as has been claimed, is he just in it for the paycheck and the grant money?

    I know it is a speculative question, but I want to know what is it that drives these people to seek control over our lives? Why is Lisa running? Her website is a propaganda piece straight out of any number of "progressive" organizations full of generalities about better, more balanced, more vibrant, whatever? But ultimately all that better stuff gets implemented through crappy regulations with teeth and unintended consequences. So, why are these people seeking the levers of power?
    When they have the power, what is it that they are trying to do? Is there as goal, or is it the adrenal high of having power, and it doesn't matter how it is used?

  37. San Juan County is a petri dish. It is a small scale laboratory for social engineering. One of the consultants to the San Juan Initiative over lunch one day a few years back could not have been more candid: "If we can pull it off here, we can do it anywhere."

    There is a goal. It is not about us, or about the islands. Look at what Lisa says in a rare moment of candor when she speaks it straight at the New Economic Institute of like-mind folks back east. The community land trust model is the best instrument they know of to implement their alternative economic model at the local level. Is not clear enough?

    Do you think it is some kind of accident that Rhea Miller emerged from the Lopez Community Land Trust, or that Lovel Pratt emerged from the San Juan Island Home Trust or that Lisa Byers emerged from OPAL?

    Do you think it is some kind of coincidence that there is quite a number of individuals close to those organizations, close to the FOSJ and close to this tempest in a teapot disguised as the SJC Dems?

    Is not curious that the equity housing program known as Homes For Islanders is not pushing some kind of shadowy economic agenda on every one else? But the community land trusts seem to marching to the same drummer here?

    It is that good old principle of Occams's Razor: More often the not the simplest explanation is the truth.

  38. In response to 7:47
    It is my understanding that the amount of property in the preservation trust is about equal to the size of Lopez and the amount of property in the land bank is greater than the size of Shaw. I could be wrong....

  39. Lisa talks about meeting the the UN agenda for sustainabilty in her now famouse video. Redistribution of wealth sounds like a great idea, others have more than me , they should give some to me? This is a global goal of a worldwide organization ( the U.N. ). On a global basis, even those in poverty in the US are the 1%. In this context if you have food or a roof, even a floor your rich. I see why they put this concept in a pretty sounding package. It would not get very far if you call it what it really is,
    REDISTRIBUTION OF POVERTY. Why would you vote in someone that has this a core value? Good management skills? That makes it even scarier.
    Only follow those leaders that are going in a direction you want to go.

  40. Is there too much bloody wealth at the top of the food chain? Yes. Is it a national security risk? Yes. Is it going to efficiently flow through the economy in some kind of Reaganesque trickle-down fantasy? No. Is the global financial system extremely unstable due to this vast imbalance of wealth? Yes.

    Does this have anything to with why on earth anyone should vote for Lovel, Lisa and Jamie?

    Hell no. They're part of the problem. Consolidation of wealth slows down global consumption and constrains the ability of the middle class to pollute Mother Earth. Meanwhile half the planet's population yearns for what our society has enjoyed for a long, long time.

    Think about it.

  41. It will be ineresting to see who puts up signs in their yards to show their support for the redistrabution of poverty and getting rid of private property. Of course thats a long term goal, not just yet.

  42. This site is funny as hell.

  43. UN Agenda for Sustainable Development! Unfortunately, this stuff is real. If Lisa has internalized this as something that the County Government has a deep moral responsibility to try and implement locally, then we're in for an interesting ride. Ever wonder just exactly what the Rio Climate Conference and all the COP16 stuff actually would mean to you and your daily life if they could ever pull it off. It means "climate justice"' and "Contraction and Convergence", and "Greenhouse Development Rights". It means the USA would need to pay $500 billion/year to the UN Climate Fund. It means that every person in America would need to cough up $2,500 per/year and send it south. It means that each of us would need to use 13 Times less energy per person, starting no later than 2015. The average house in the county uses 1000 KWh per month. Now, you get 76 KWh per month, or about the energy to light a 100 watt light 24 hours per day. This is re-distribution of misery. But the folks who want to run things never explain what "diverse and vibrant" really means. If the machine wins, then your silent partner is the UN, with all the restriction and regulation and loss of freedom it can possibly mean.

  44. 2Lisa is not just someone who has heard about all this. She goes out of her way to speak at these meetings as a national president. She activley promotes all this. Who would put a sign in the yard for this.

  45. My stencil delivery is the big ones are expensive, no wonder you need 40K to run a TOP drawer campaign...yes I did miss out on calligraphy my signs are not going to be ready tomorrow.

    Still hoping someone has old farm machinery (of course it would be old)to show voters what a machine looks like with L&L&J at the controls. Maybe the entire machine is turned up-side down.

    As to the statement that folks on San Juan are radicals in comparison
    to folks living on Orcas, I'm not sure if I should be sticking my chest out or think I'm being chastised. Seems to me we're all in this it or not.

  46. I somehow feel the crazy need to welcome those souls to the TH who believe injecting obtuse and silly vitriol into the TH will advance their effort to make the TH out as an off the wall site.

    Here's a heads up. It ain't working!

    It is obvious the TH is getting more and more thoughtful readers daily and I actually believe if you stick around long enough you will understand why. So stay with us.

  47. hang around the county hallways you hear a preaching that we are climbing out of a difficult and negative economy,, strangely almost everyone in the private sector has adjusted to living in what most government employees would call poverty, to an independent there is no such experience as poverty in a free world. Next we will consider raising taxes to cover the cost of so many things, of course if CD&P gets there way this county has a pretty mighty enforcement ordinance that will bring potentially hoards of money in, we may find a worsening condition between the independent folks, that think for themselves and the sheep kind that hang together doing whatever they’re told to. Eventually this will likely be a full community of those folks. They will even think they are free. I know a lot of people that can’t see past their own goals. Often they were simply children that didn’t have an opportunity to learn about freedom, privacy, a golden Rule and a need to respect those of whom your tastes differ. Not so long ago we were a great group, we could do anything, including writing rules for “protecting our own environment” never, never in the past did a rule get written that wasn’t measured against the careful nature in which it respected each and every individual, in consideration of our vast and unique differences.

  48. I think Lisa Byers is a promoter of something called ...

    "feudal system; the legal and social system that evolved in W Europe in the 8th and 9th centuries, in which vassals were protected and maintained by their lords, usually through the granting of fiefs, and were required to serve under them in war"

    And who are the vassals? and who are the lords? I pray to God I'm not a vassal but...methinks I might be!

  49. interesting?

    it says that islanders have "always gone for self-sufficiency"

    It makes me think of the woman who sat at the County Council meeting (some kind of marine biologist?) and said something like ...

    The waters around these islands are PRISTINE! Nobody's doing anything wrong right now.

    (could the TH produce the woman's name and title and the exact quote easily?)

    You could see the "Friends" cringing to hear those accolades! They don't actually want to hear good news. It doesn't serve their agenda.

    It also brings up the 80 something year old woman w/the B and B in Hannah Heights. And the fact that the friends PAID their lawyer to disallow the continuance of her small self sufficient business. How does Kyle Loring sleep at night!

  50. The answer is clear. Power makes your man parts appear larger.

  51. There's all kinds of ways for natural born bullies to kick sand in your face.

    Funny thing about bullies. More often than not if you give them a dose of the same medicine they will whine and cry that you are being mean, unfair and ... dare I say it ... incivil

    Lincoln once said to the effect that anyone can handle adversity but if you want to test someone's real character, give them some power.

    How's that working out for ya Kyle?

    Used to be we'd help the elderly cross the street. Now we step on their air supply and call it environmental protection.

  52. There's a rumor going around that CAPR has got a major statement coming re their lawsuit. IF true, this could put the Pratt campaign out of serious contention.

  53. @ 6:59
    Once again you are relying too much on legal action, credibility attacks, and questions of impropriety - you are a fool.
    The kool-aid drinkers will vote for L&L regardless of ANYTHING damning about L&L, they have been blessed by the D's and thus are holy and righteous.
    While you are hoping for the hail-Mary pass to work L&L are knocking on door, because, after all they almost got an illiterate old lady on the council...HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY.
    For every letter in support of L&L there should be three in support of Rick and Bob, stop posting here and get to writing to ALL the media outlets.

  54. I need to ask: who the heck is Don Pencil? Another transplant from California who moves to the islands? And then is critical of all that has been done before he was here? I'm a born and raised Washingtonian. Born right here on Orcas. I'm so tired of people who move here from other states and then condemn what our county has struggled to do. Yes, we have made mistakes. No, Byers is not the devil. Yes, OPAL has helped many people who were born here, be able to afford to stay here.

    What has Don Pencil done for our community? Has he served on any non-profit boards? Please help me understand.

    I don't get it.

  55. Don Pencil isn't the devil either, and just because he ain't from around these here parts means nothing.

    Of all the people to pick on! Why don't you pick on Karin Agosta who moves from Manhattan and faster than you can say "30 Rock" she's part of the San Juan Preservation Trust and an influential member of our Planning Commission. What about Janet Alderton and her husband? They ain't from around here either, but they never shut up, never stop throwing their money around, and never fail to inveigle themselves into positions of influence.

    Picking on Don Pencil is like picking on mouse for being vicious while ignoring the snarling Dobermans.

  56. @10:09

    "No, Byers is not the devil. Yes, OPAL has helped many people who were born here, be able to afford to stay here. "

    No one said that Byers is the devil. That is called putting words in to people's mouths.

    Let me get this straight. If it wasn't for OPAL, people would have been forced off this island???
    Really?? No apartments or rental houses available on Orcas?? WOW.

    Rather than "afford to stay here", from the sounds of the OPAL contracts, sounds more like "force to stay here".

    I would rather live in an abandonded tool shed, with no running water on a rural piece of land, then live in an OPAL commune.

    Subsidized housing has been an abject failure countless times.

  57. Ok... Time to refocus:

    Attention all TH loyalists, this election is not to make OPAL a county council member. This is about the candidates. Honestly, if I'm a member of the Byers campaign, I'm loving all of the time and energy that is getting put into the OPAL bashing and the NEI arguement.

    Instead of focusing on specific records of the candidates, we continually get drug into these esoteric discussions of social policy - policy which based on our county voting record indicates support from a majority of the islands' residents. So let's see... We can spend 100% of our time trying to beat up on philosophies that 57% of the voters favor, or we can focus on beating the candidates up on their individual records and failures. Calling Byers a socialist... again.... Is doing NOTHING to change anyone's opinion.

    How about some reference. Here's a line I used with someone just today:

    "you know, I know Jamie Stephens is the front runner, but I think Brian brings a perspective that we have been missing in the county for quite some time. Here's a guy that is obviously tied to the working class on the island, isn't jaded by the political world, and has a young family that he wants to secure a future for. I don't doubt that Jamie has the best of intentions, but we really need to make sure that the next council is in touch with our needs, and I think Brian is closer to the pulse than Jamie is."

    I know, it's not a flashy attack on Jamie's affiliations, but maybe, just maybe I can turn one from the other side- instead of trying to vilify something that the prospective voter might actually agree with. Not real sexy, but I know I turned at least 1 today.

  58. Lisa Byers will win. She deserves to win. San Juan County will be lucky to have her as a council member.

    Leadership and management skills are exactly what matter. But also character.

    Rick has not called out the people who are writing vitriolic posts about Lisa, spreading lies in the media. That shows a lack of character.

    I voted for him in the fall, but unless he steps up and says something, then he has lost my vote.

  59. I REALLY agree with the comment at 11:36, and hope many will adopt a similar approach in supporting Brian.

    I am saddened by the comment at 2:33. Ms. Byers is NOT what we need. All vitriol aside, it seems to me that the last thing we need is another multi-network connected central planner type proponent of an "alternate economy" per the
    core values of the NEI. I hope 2:33 can look past the vitriol, understand it is not coming from Mr. Hughes, and "stick with Rick" when it comes time to vote.

  60. 2:33...I don't know what you mean. Why would Rick Hughes lose your vote? Because he's not expressing distaste for the comments about Lisa Byers?

    signed, confused