Thursday, April 25, 2013

CAO Hit Parade

The election may be over, but we're still trapped in the train wreck that is the CAOs. In honor of the election, let's play some CAO greatest hits. The clip below is from April 9, 2013. Shireene Hale (who championed the CAOs) confesses that she doesn't understand them.

It seems like the standard excuse put forward by Hale and others is that the CAOs are complicated because they are site specific. Not true, even though Hale uses this very excuse in the video. They are not site specific. They are just pointlessly bureaucratic and off the mark.

And Hale's view appears to be in contradiction to that of candidate (at the time) and Councilman Jamie Stephens from just 4 days earlier as he appeared in a campaign event. To us, looks like McClerren's take on the CAOs was much closer to the truth than that of Stephens.


  1. I was at this meeting. When she said this, I was like, um I thought the time to simplify this was before it was passed into law. I am just old fashioned that way I guess.

  2. Weird. The clip of Jamie and Brian shows up for me in the post, but the Shireene clip does not. Help, please, as I would really like to see the Shireene confession. Thanks.

  3. Hmmm ... is anyone else having this problem? It may be that the Shireene Hale video just takes a bit longer to download and will appear on your page with a bit of a delay. Nevertheless. I will try to link the video to the story a different way.

  4. It is working fine for me.

    Maybe it takes a long time to... yes, you guessed it, in the largest display of irony, the video is BUFFERING!!!!!!


  5. The CAO is a malignant tumor on the body politic.

    If there is to be healing, do it here, before its too late and this thing metastasizes. This one year hold on implementation is an opportunity for reform, to go beyond the symptoms to root causes.

    So that this never happens again here. The CAO is a symptom of a larger disease process.

    The CAO is an unjust law. It is unjust because it is unclear. St. Augustine said 'an unjust law is not law at all.' In other words, an unjust law would be a law, that takes away ones freedom, or causes harm, or basically just causes chaos. Which is the exact opposite of what a law is put in place to do.

    This always come back to the core questions of first principles and root causes: What are the Constitutional boundary conditions and what is the problem that needs solving?

    The formulation of the CAO assiduously avoided both in favor of the precautionary principle. The process of creating this law was corrupt.

    We have to fix the process that lead to this outcome. That is the job of reform now facing all of us.

  6. Oh my....anyone w/a background at all who watched the video of Jamie and Brian would have voted for BRIAN! He is just fantastic! And thinking on the run.

    Jamie said something about getting people to "come around". It would be so interesting to have a field trip w/Jamie where he tried to impliment his new CAO product on a property.

    And Shireene...saying "WE may have to simplify..." hmmm. More hours, more money. Job security.

    Oh PLEASE council people...lose this plague upon our land named Hale!!!

  7. I think part of the job security is the months of litigation and testimony in the plethora of hearings where this now resides.
    Given how stupid this Hale lady is, I don't think she could have thought that up. It's just a byproduct of this insidious process that appears to be not only flawed but illegal.
    Like the saying goes, even a blind squirrel sometimes passes incoherent land use legislation as a result of kowtowing to extremist environmental agendas.

  8. The "Precautionary Principle" zealots would have us all living a pre-industrial, organic, agrarian, non-technology, non-fossil fuel, non-electric, non-pharmaceutical lifestyle.

    Airplanes, cars, plastic, anti-biotics, almost anything that might have thought to have possible been harmful to somebody would have been banned.

    The CAO is the precautionary principle applied to you and your property! YOU might cause harm because of anything you might do to your property. If it wasn't for that nasty old Constitution, the FOSJ and two of the looser candidates would have simply taken your property right now and put it in the National Monument.


  9. Dear TH: Please help keep this Pictometry issue alive. What is going on? When are the flights? Do private citizens even have the right to be informed when their property is being photo-documented in high resolution detail? This is an outrage.

    180. Authorize the executive to sign a $123,727 contract with Pictometry International Corporation of Rochester, N.Y, to provide digital aerial imagery of Western Whatcom County? An option of two additional flights for $247,454 for a total of $371,183 will depend on available funding. A cost-shared partnership with 15 jurisdictions is being finalized. The spring 2013 flight will provide updated images for 972 square miles. (AB2012-339) Approved 6-0, Carl Weimer absent.

  10. I heard that we are one of the "partners" and that is why we are getting a bargain.

    Jamie Stephens believes that because the price tag went down slightly it's no longer a problem. He doesn't even slightly get it. He is very worrisome to me.

    I wish, during the candidates forum, someone had asked him to name three areas where we were non-compliant w/the GMA. I'll bet he can't. He would simply refer you to the "list" that Patty had compiled. But if you had ever spent time discussing it w/Patty you would know that she could not articulate that either.

  11. The preferred over-flight window is generally between March and April, during the "partial leaf-off" conditions of early spring that provide better imagery to the ground. Depending on weather conditions, some flights in Whatcom have been delayed until May in past years.

    So, this is happening as we speak. These flights are imminent. As the Dorf might say, take off that figleaf. Photographing while leaves have yet to grow in spring should tell you all you need to know. This is to catch your property, cutilage, whatever you want to call it, well and truly exposed. Why do you want to give Roche Harbor this information? Or some private realtor on Lopez? This is lunacy. Barking mad.

    Here is the Whatcom contract. San Juan County will be nearly the same. But of course who has been allowed to read the draft yet?

  12. The new pictometry IS NOT the same as what is currently on Google Earth. Because the '08 shots did not include the obliques, they've been blended with other topographical images to the degree they could be. Once Google receives the new oblique angle imagery, people will be shocked by the difference. Also, the new contract includes 16 square miles of 3" resolution (three times the resolution elsewhere). What areas outside of FH, ES and LV are being targeted at this super resolution. The special price we are receiving means we will have no ability to restrict the licensing of the images. When Matthews says we can choose to not use the obliques it is simply not true.

  13. So here's the deal "you boys" as Shrieking Kivisto likes to say. (Oh, and there are no women on the new Council, she pointed out as well. Yeah, I can see that.)

    Well, anyway, here's the deal. Pictometry does a lot of project in this early spring window as it moves with the latitudes. They have a nice large market.

    They will be back. They have plenty of customers in western Washington. They will be back somewhere in the neighborhood next year.

    We are tired. We need to heal and think. The spring council did the right thing and moved the CAO implementation up a year. Just move this Pictometry job up a year so we can think through the policy issues properly.

    Winter Council: Don't allow the flights now and then deal with the policy issues later.

    Whatcom got a $120,000 (give or take) deal from Pictometry in 2008, pre-recession. Now they are back with a post-recession price that is unchanged. They will do the same deal next year.

    You moved the CAO implementation one year ahead. Please move the Pictometry project ahead for a year so we can sort this out.

    Because the Pictometry data is largely intended to be an enforcement tool. And we all know it.

  14. What is the right to privacy?

    The right to privacy refers to having control over personally identifiable information. It is the ability to limit who has this information, how this information is kept and what can be done with it.

    This is the issue before the Council regarding the Pictometry contract. Will you be informed in advance in writing of the date, and time the plane will fly over your personal affairs, protected by the Washington State Constitution? Do you have the right to say "gosh thanks but no thanks?" Do you have time to run over to Cabela's and purchase a bunch of camo netting?

    And make no mistake: The same Friends who have no respect for property rights, who have been discovered physically trespassing, who met secretly to ram this CAO disaster down our collective throats are absolutely behind this last minute push to establish the LEGAL PRECEDENT for aerial surveillance.

    Because the technology will advance. If we don't put the privacy policy in place now, we're stripped naked.

    We can afford to wait a year to sort this out. Let our new local government form. Get a little rest after this gawd-awful year of campaigning non-stop.

    Take the foot off the pedal, slow down a bit, ease back from this controversy, and revisit this in a year.

  15. The original topic here is the CAO and the fact that the person who wrote it doesn't fully understand it, by her own admission.
    Let's look at this again:
    Hale is wholly unqualified for the position she holds
    He is tasked with reviewing and reporting on the CAO.
    This morphs in to using bad data, holding secret meetings Througout the process, taking direction from radical external influences, and being derelict in her duties by not including relevant public comments that didn't fit her agenda on reports
    Now the county is in more litigation than ever before as a result of her arrogance and incompetence.

    So what happens now? Well, given her abbysmal record, clear failures, and questionable ethics, in all likelihood, Hale will be promoted and given more responsibly and authority.

    And you thought Jon Shannon was bad, running public works in the ground for years on end while being condoned thru inaction by council.
    Good news for Jon Shannon, finally someone has come along that rivals your incompetence. It doesn't fix the extensive decades of screwups and damage you have caused, but it takes you out of focus.
    Good news for Hale, you have demonstrated such clear and utter incompetence and arrogance and driven this community in to such a divisive standoff, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars that you will, in all likelihood, be promoted.

  16. Let's promote Shirene Hale:

    "Drone Queen"

  17. Serious citizen efforts need to be made regarding Pictometry.

    It will become legal precedent as stated above, if left as is.

    "Surveil-In" in Friday Harbor on Court house lawn/County Council Building and CD&P Building.

    Come with your cameras, video recorders and cell phones/camera's photograph the movements of your county officials, and county staff- make sure they are doing their jobs.
    Invasion of privacy? Absolutley not.

    Irrating, yes! Obnoxious, Yes!, not community minded, yes, not rural behavior- absolutely not!

    Contact media, Kiro tv, Komo etc. Contact Freedom foundation. ACLU.

    This issue is time sensitive. Action needs to happen in a BIG way.

  18. @11:08
    What a great idea! LET'S DO IT - next week! Set a date and let's get as many people as possible to show up with cameras and video - Friday may work best, I'm sure that's when County employees are just strolling around.

  19. Concerned Pilots Unite!!!!

  20. Can't the County simply ban drone flights, like we did jet skis?

    Probably more useful than passing our "nuclear free zone" ordinance.

  21. @1:15pm

    County has no authority over Drones. FAA pre-empts state and local regulation. Drones will used by county, operated by the 434th Wetlands Reconnaisance
    Wing of the FOSJ to "observe and defend the buffers"!

  22. County ain't got much authority over nukes either ....

    But really, all this new fangled spy in the sky stuff will help make sure we are a GMO free zone.

  23. So let me get this straight, if I am outside nude sunbathing on the day they do these overflights, then you would be able to clearly see my Dorf?

  24. Anyone see a letter from Lovel congratulating Bob yet? Hmmm Lisa did and Brian did. Both nicely written concession letters with dignity and class.

    Pratt? Nope. Classless til the end.

    Lisa and Brian thanked those who worked tirelessly to support them.

    Pratt? Nope. Ungrateful.

    Not surprising.

  25. @ 2:49
    Depends where you live. In town 3" gets its own pixel, elsewhere 9 is required.

  26. Pratt is a classless cow - enough said.
    All of us MUST pressure this new council to sweep clean all the committees of the vile corruptness they were infected with by the FOSJ, the big Dorf, and any other outside interest.
    New blood on every committee - term limits placed on them, I think 6 not 8 years at most.

  27. I think the TH could do a whole piece on committees. I took a look at the county list. Holy smokes. Way too many. Lodging tax advisory committee with 12 members. Wow 12 people to tell the council that lower taxes help business thrive??
    The MRC too. This busybody group needs a serious overhaul or a federal RICO investigation.

  28. With respect to Peg Manning, and I have a lot for you lady, is there any chance you could give a cite as to membership numbers or qualifications State Law might cite for County Commissions and Boards?

    I can't find any.

    Seems any voting majority, three to five members, is OK.

    Certainly a Planning Commission and the MRC we have could be more effective and a lot less costly in admin with fewer members.

    And certainly a small County with what? 16,000 brave souls, can exist with all of our extras on a lot less than $48 MILLION a year.

    I come from from a town of 13,000 that was considered well off at 13 mill a year.

    We're not just a little over spending and over planning, and over everything, we're profligate! (wildly extravagant)

  29. The time is now, let's end the committee madness...NOW

  30. For those of you not watching the video of Shireene, here is the highlight....

    (re: CAO)
    "It's kind of like the tax code..." "....boy, it's really hard to figure it out...."

    You can't make this Dorf up. There is no "out of context".

    People, watch this video. Holy smokes!

    I expect to see S.Hale make "central casting" page soon. She deserves to be up with that cast.


  31. "It's kind of like the tax code..." "....boy, it's really hard to figure it out...."

    Hmmmmm, after six years of meetings (some secret), debates, testimony, revisions, etc, she is JUST NOW realizing this?????? We're doomed.

  32. The CAO was designed at the outset to be confusing, arbitrary and capricious.

    At least the tax code is based upon policies.

    The CAO is only based on the precautionary principle, with which hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested in its creative application here, as a model that can be applied elsewhere.

    Shirene knows this. She's the architect. M.C. Escher could render compelling three dimensional structures that could not possibly exist in the real world.

    Shirene is a similar kind of artist and we have to admire that skill. The ability to spin gold into straw, the ability to waste thousands of hours, hundreds of thousands of dollars, rip the guts out a closely knit community knowing full well what she was doing from day one.

    She should be fired. There is no comfortable explanation for her actions other than to be in derogation of public policy, actively insubordinate and professionally malfeasant.

    We got rid of Ron Hendricks. Time for her to go. We don't need her around for another year because she is the only person who understands this hairball that is stuck in our throats. Clean house. Reform.

  33. Don't forget to thank Patty Miller, Richard Fralick, and Lovell Pratt for "getting this thing done". Even if it did take secret meetings.

  34. @ 9:20: I have to say that I'm pretty burned out, or I would have looked up County advisory body membership numbers before even posting about it. I was unable to find fixed statutory membership numbers for Planning or Health, just ranges. So it may well be true that our Council can go through and reduce the unwieldy numbers of most of the advisory bodies. A good number of them can't fill the slots they have anyway. Several of the bodies are redundant in what they cover and beg to be reorganized; some are of questionable ongoing value. Many of them tie up resources of the County by requiring attendance of one or more County employees.

    Patty Miller is working hard on fixing the procedural rules applicable tot he advisory bodies. What we need next is a focus on their number and functions, a task too large for the outgoing Council.

  35. BTW, the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee makes recommendations on how to spend lodging tax revenue. It also has trouble filling its openings. I am not sure why Council could not review and decide on the applications themselves. They ultimately decide in any event.

  36. P.S. The Citizen Salary Commission member number seems to be set by statute at 10.

  37. About the COA Lawsuit.

    In the article in the Island Sounder

    Randy Gaylord states “Our contention, in part, is there was no violation of the open meetings act because three people are not a majority or a quorum of the council,” Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord said.

    But didn't he come out and say before that it was a violation and asked the council to stop.

    I am confused.

    Anyone else?

  38. @6:44

    As an independent woman who follows this blog, I find the use of the word "cow" to be offensive.

    It's not just you. I've read it several times, but always when describing a woman.

    You may not agree with Lovel's politics, you may not like her, you may think she is incompetent, but to use the word "cow" to describe her is sexist and makes you sound, in my opinion, like an idiot.

  39. I am a guy who reads this stuff and didn't like the cow reference either.

    I think using the word "bull" and its variants is sufficient in most similar cases.

    That said I always enjoyed Bart Simpson's famous quip:

    "Don't have a cow, man!"

    Note the masculine ending, and perverse transgender implications, nearly the perfect insult.

  40. I am a cow who reads this blog and I take offense at being compared to Pratt. We cows like to think of ourselves as creatures who keep to ourselves most of the time, not meddling in other's business or trying to tell other cows where they can eat or poop.
    Also, we cows ARE women. We call our men BULLS.