Tuesday, March 12, 2013

You Take The High Road, And She'll Take The Lovel Road

There has been quite a bit of back forth in recent Letters to the Editor, and we'd like to focus on some of the statements being made by and about Lovel Pratt.

One of the more humorous letters to the editor was penned by Stephen Adams, a Pratt Campaign Committee member and former school teacher. Adams, who is also on the Planning Commission and is an elected Lopez Port Commissioner, endorsed Pratt by saying that she is "physically responsible." We think the ex-teacher meant "fiscally responsible." Adams also misspells Pratt's first name.

No, we don't think Lovel(l) Pratt is fiscally responsible. Pratt voted to increase County debt by about $2 million during her tenure ($3 million of a recent $5-million bond issue was debt refinancing and $2 million was new debt). While Pratt was a Council woman, County budgets and expenditures grew to near all-time highs, despite shrinking headcount (and despite a $1.6 billion decline in homeowner equity). Moreover, if you watch old Council videos, you will often see Pratt suggest spending proposals that are so unpopular with her co-Council members that they never even make it as far as a vote.

Stephen Adams also alleges that Pratt's support of the Lopez solid waste solution was "critical." We're not sure why she is deserving of such praise. Pratt was a staunch supporter of the County-wide solid waste tax that went down to scorching defeat 2011. At best, she was a latecomer to "local solutions" for solid waste.

Another Pratt endorsement letter says,
I have seen her repeatedly act on the Quaker values of peace, equality, simplicity, community, and integrity. Lovel listens deeply and with respect for all viewpoints as she seeks actions that will serve everyone justly.
I'm sorry, but there is just too much evidence to the contrary for this statement to carry any credibility.

Peace?  ... have you heard of Pratt's numerous unwelcome berating nighttime phone tirades to citizens who disagree with her?

Equality? ... I suppose that's why Pratt dismissed one constituent's concerns about the CAOs by saying,  "In the future, I urge you to get involved sooner than later when the council is addressing an issue that is important to you."

Simplicity? ... have you read the CAOs?

Community? ... is that a euphemism for a Byers-like view of common property? Here is what Pratt told one constituent.
You express concerns about taking away property owners’ hard earned freedoms. I assume that you are talking about property owners’ rights to develop their property as they see fit. However the same can [be] said about a property owner’s neighbor’s rights and hard earned freedoms. ...  Here, too, we need strong and effective regulations to protect and preserve the quality of life in the islands. This is another example of regulations being about balance – balancing a property owner’s rights with the rights of their neighbors.
Integrity? ... what about the litigation underway involving Pratt and secret CAO meetings.

Listens deeply and with respect? ... I suppose that's why Pratt told one constituent, "The council is embarked on and committed to this CAO update process - unless you can convince four of us to change course. You might want to try working on other councilmembers if that is your goal."

I also want to remind readers of Pratt's persecution of a small business owner who allegedly was using his barn for a non-agricultural business purpose (Pratt thought it might constitute a violation of the agricultural zoning of the parcel). The Trojan Heron detailed this story in an earlier post. As a postscript, here is the accused businessman's side of the story.
After I found out who filed this complaint, I actually called Lovel and asked why she did not contact me personally before contacting the building department. After all, when [my wife] and I lived on Honey Lane off Jensen Bay Road, Lovel was basically our neighbor. We saw she and her family often during the 7 year period we lived there. I told her I was extremely disappointed that she didn’t just pick up the phone, and I could have told her I had no intention to house staff in my home and prefer much more separation from my staff. I also told her I was the only kayak company that had two commercial facilities; one at Friday Harbor and one at RocheHarbor where I pay commercial fees in excess of $60,000.00/year. I was very angry with her, but I didn’t lose my top. I also told her that my family intended to start a family farm, and thanked her for the warm welcome into the agricultural community.
So much for "serving everyone justly."


  1. I read that letter and laughed. Now hearing that this person was a former teacher, I am saddened.

    Fisklee would have been better.

    I like this TH post. Perhaps send it to the local media for attempts at publication.

  2. Lovel's operatives now want to make this about her religion? Not such a good move. Can we maintain a little distance between church and state? Besides I think the real church involved here is the Blinding Light Church of Gaia of the Presumptuous Assumption.

    "O blinding light. O light that blinds. I cannot see. Look out for me."

    A good manager sees the world as it is. A religious fanatic is blinded by their anger seeing a world not obeying their world view and people who must be corralled and punished to accept the true faith.

    That's Lovel and she is dangerous and cannot manager her way out of a paper bag. We need to vote for folks who can see the world as it is, and aren't on some kind of Mission from God.

  3. TH,

    Good piece. This is the type of writing that will help to sway voters. Nail them on the facts, without diving into deep philosophical discussions.

    Simply put, lovel's record is not one of progress and success.

    Now- it needs to get out of this forum and into the bigger world. Someone just needs to recraft it and send it off.

  4. I was pretty much a neighbor to Pratts for some years and can report similar surprises. Not neighborly in the slightest although on the surface its all rainbows and unicorns. Beneath the surface its angry late night calls, scolding and getting blind-sided when straight dealing was possible and appropriate. Don't vote for Lovel. She is not a good neighbor and not your friend. She has lost sight of herself.

  5. You failed to criticize Lovel for believing in evolution, that the earth is round, and that the sun rises in the east!

  6. The thing about Lovel is that she would believe those things if it would help her get elected, and if the Department of Ecology told her to.

    Most assuredly, though, she wouldn't believe those things because they're true.

    Lovel is just one more truthiness candidate placing herself on a pedestal of faux grandeur.

  7. Let me illustrate the argument of Lovel’s idea of “fiscal responsibility.” Imagine you leave your business in the hands of an employee and go on vacation. When you return you find out that you are 5.8 million in debt. You are shocked. You ask your manager for an explanation. She shows you a report and tells you this:
    “Look, we are in fine shape. Our credit rating is good! We were able to take on a big loan and use our new line of credit to pay off the old debt and get a really low interest rate! We paid off all the bills we racked up due to our incompetence and now all we need to do is raise every tax and fee imaginable to pay this off! Just look at my fiscal responsibility!”
    The question is, would you give her a raise and pay for it with your new line of credit, or fire her and hire someone who actually has a record of being fiscally responsible? I guess you know what my answer is.

  8. On the "integrity" point - what is the whole story with Lovell and the SJI Farmer's Market, the Brickworks, the Ag Guild, and the ethics of participating on the Council discussions/votes of funding it with Land Bank money?

    I'm curious about the facts, because it sure smells like a conflict of interest to me.

    What would a person of integrity have done?

    Perhaps the TH can clarify?

  9. First thing you'll hear from her camp is that she told the COuncil she had a paying job at Ag Guild and they didn't complain. Of course, they didn't know that she was lobbying to get money "for the County" that was really "for the Brickworks." Ranker put through a carefully-worded and not too reality-based hypothetical conflict of interest inquiry to the AG and they decided based on the hypothetical that the hypothetical Councilperson had no conflict. But even Ranker read Council the riot act after Lovel played him to get that half-million from the Senate capital slush fund then failed to greet him with the praise he thought he had bought.

  10. The bond debt is a credit card. The County advanced a ton of money to the Land Bank which had found itself in trouble by overspending and under-reserving. In so doing, the County did effectively subject us all liens on our property. That bond money being spent now is sucking up all our revenue in the future. Despite all this--the $5 million of debt the County was taking on to get out of the various spending holes it had dug itself into, I was gobsmacked when Lovel then proposed that the County BORROW MORE against the future for NEW PROGRAMS! Fiscally responsible? More like a teenager with a credit card. Our tax money grows on trees for Lovel. And she loves to spend it for her "friends," who all seem to work at some government-subsidized job.

  11. Ok! All the above considered, will Bob Jarman be able to defeat Pratt?

  12. Want to see Lovel's great fiscal responsibility at work? read her oft-cited "feasibility study for the Ag Guild's foster child, the Brickworks. It's garbage, put plain.

    Then look to see how much taxpayers have paid for what was originally called a Farmer's Market, then morphed into "green space" and then "community center" and now a tourist attraction, each change in language made opportunistically to try to grab tax monies that are supposedly limited to certain uses. Not ethical, and barely legal. But nothing stops Lovel when she gets an idea.

  13. @9:23--Lovel would deny evolution or the roundness of the earth if Ecology told her or if it suited her purposes (those two seldom being in conflict.)

  14. Of course Bob can beat Lovel--he already has. Although that really shocked and upset her, and her minions are going all-out writing about her virtues to try to persuade the rest of us. No one outside the cabal who has watched her in action will vote for her. Certainly, the County employees who suffered through four years of her intermeddling will not vote for her. GET OUT THE VOTE and Bob will win.

  15. There is no way that Jarman can compete with Lovel's community of responsible integrity for peaceful and just listening to all simple viewpoints of service. We have a solid waste system because of Lovel. We have a derelict vessel program because of her. We have birds in the air, fish in the sea, and whales in our waters because of Love(l).

    Oh, and I almost forgot, we have evolution, a round earth, and the sun rising in the east because of Lovel too -- just ask @9:32. We need to give Lovel credit for all she does for us.

  16. Oh crap! Did I miss Lovel's design charrette for evolution?

  17. Heres a question I have of Lovel:

    Under the old system, you were responsible for the supervision of 1 employee, and at that, you were only 1/6 responsible.

    Now, in addition the the job of acting as legislator for the county, you are also responsible to act as the responsible employer of every county employee.

    What relevant experience do you have running a multi-unit business operation, and can you provide references from past employees that are willing to discuss your strengths and weaknesses as an employer. I am interested to hear from both upper level management as well as the "boots on the ground" worker who may have been several steps removed from you.

    I would ask this of any manager that I was hiring- and essentially, that is what we are doing in this election.

    I know someone from the Pratt campaign is reading this and look forward to your answer.

  18. Along with the last question about relevant work experience managing large organizations (and you will never believe how Kevin wiggled around that one back in the day, another story) ...

    Is there relevant academic background? Just exactly how does an apparent BA in "Individualized Studies" prepare one for the true rigors of public office?

  19. So I hear the Lovel camp is wheeling out the old "incivil" thing again. Doesn't that ever get old?

    Let's translate once again: Don't ask the candidate any real questions that would steer them away from warmed over platitudes to actual real-world issues.

    But thankfully we will have the help of the League of Women Voters to keep a lid on things for the sake of neutrality, objectivity and the true spirit of nonpartisanship.

    All for the community and greater good.

  20. Can someone call Lovel on her statement that...

    "The updated Critical Areas Ordinance will actually decrease the costs associated with identifying and delineating wetlands."

    Just amazing.

    1. There is a shred of validity to the wetlands statement.

      The new CAO allows what is called a "wetland reconnaissance" for the purposes of establishing a general positioning with realtation to a wetland. This is a less intensive (less expensive) process than a full delineation and will be allowed as a tool that was not previously allowed.

      So, yes, a recon is allowed in some cases but it is different than a delineation . That comparison is an apples to oranges view.

      For those with little wetland dots that have never been actually deliniated on their parcel maps the recon is a useful tool - but if you are trying to get as tight to the buffer as possible- you will still need a delineation.

  21. Ok,

    So as to keep things "civil", I will recall my question posted at 11:37 and rephrase it to all of the candidates.

    I am interested not only in Lovel, but how about everyone give a response? Those who were not previous council members can ignore the opening portion referencing the 1/6 responsibility for an employee.


  22. Yes, Lovel will beat Jarman.

    Jamie will win Lipez.

    Lisa will win Orcas.

    Our county is progressive, independent, and not fear driven.

    It will be awesome!

  23. Let's reflect on the thrilling Solid Waste Tax that Lovel sought as a source new of revenue without the complications of problem solving.

    If the voter's decision on that ill-conceived tax measure is any indicator of real independent, progressive and not driven-by-fear sentiment (which it is), I'd predict a different election outcome, but I think the previous comment was teasing. TH is a funny blog.

    Support the Machine: The Folks Who Brought You Solid Waste on a Plate. They Want to Serve You Another Load.

    (Cue in the buzzing of flies ...)

  24. @5:16

    Looks like more than one Pratt supporter has spelling challenges, or else Stephen Adams left a post and doesn't know how to spell "Lopez" either.

    A word of helpful assistance to all you expert spelling Pratt fans, when voting for "Lovel Pratt" it will be spelled on the ballot as J-A-R-M-A-N. Make sure you mark the box next to those letters.

    It will be awesome.

  25. I suport Lovall, Lisah, and Jaime. They are the candydates for smart, purrceptive, communaty-minded, peeple with integratie.

    Wee is ahhhsome! Do I get my grant now?

  26. @1:49p -- In what area of study are Bob's, Rick's, and Brian's college degrees? From what universities? I guess I'm asking, "Is there relevant academic background?"

  27. Well I think the academic controversy centers on one candidate who doesn't seem to have much of a work history, whose prior decisions are controversial to say the least and who, in the most recent election, lost. This would be Lovel Pratt and she has an opportunity to give the community an explanation but so far has chosen to be quiet.

    I don't sense any issues with Lisa for heaven sake and don't have any concerns about Jamie's suitability, though there much I would not agree.

    You know what would be awesome would be a split ticket with Jarman, Byers and McClerran. Wouldn't that be neat? What is all this pitting three against three about? Can't we trust the voters and maybe mix and match a bit?

  28. Academic background? You will not find impressive academia or any other background/training/experience, with any of these candidates.

    Maybe that's good.

    We have have had several top of the rank Phd types, one just left us thank God, some total egg heads, some just without any connection to a practical application of getting things done, and some on an illusionary mission to correct mankind's faults. (Supply the names that fit.)

    I think the choice with this vote is forthright, so I'm going to do flyers on windshields, along with my signs. I suggest you do same.

    Couple of housekeeping comments: First it is not a dream to keep thinking the CAPRA suit is going to make a difference. IT COULD! I'm not a CAPRA person, but I have sent in a substancial (for me) donation because the island voters have made their voice heard, a huge vote for open hearings...they don't like closed door stuff...and Lovel Pratt is guilty on this one and it is blatant.

    Regardless of what the court rules, Pratt is without a moral compass, she is not what islanders want and we need to keep a focus on her closed door stuff.

    And, in retro, is there anybody who would now deny the prognostication that Lisa Byers is full of, well, that stuff from your wonderful horse.

  29. So where are the depositions? What's going on? We need the Sounder to investigate and keep us informed so we don't have to go else where. You can read thier unbiased editorial from todays edition.

  30. How can Lovel manage on a three-person Council? Lordy, did you see her at all during her term? She was all over County employees, all the time. And that was when the Charter specifically prohibited go over the Administrator's head. I'm still waiting for the endless line of County employees (other than the Hales, of course) endorsing Lovel's sweetness and light. What did they call her? The Big Toddler? For those who keep touting Lovel's peace, love and understanding, I have a question. Have you ever received a shrieking, hour long harangue from Lovel because you disagree with her? Or a snide, hypocritical inquiry about your well-being? Spend some time with your candidate. If you can stand it.