Monday, April 29, 2013

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Privacy

TH readers have made a lot of good comments about privacy and the whole Pictometry fiasco. We thought it would be a good time to review where we stand on a variety of privacy fronts.

In short, the Trojan Heron believes government should be transparent and public. On the other hand, we believe that citizens are entitled to privacy, especially when in their own home and on their own property.

On the bright side, we are pleased to receive word that House Bill 1128 died last month. This was the Bill that sought to weaken the Public Records Act by allowing public agencies to use the courts to block requesters and to limit the time spent compiling records. The demise of this Bill is a win for everyone who believes in transparent government.

On the Pictometry front, from the April 23 report from Stan Matthews to Council:
Pictometry is currently flying Whatcom and Skagit Counties. The exact date of the flights here depends on weather.
Weather reports for the rest of this week are good for flying, so it would appear that the data is being collected. Apparently, San Juan County can turn down the data once it's collected and therefore not have to pay; however, the data would have already been collected, and presumably, Pictometry could then turn around and sell it to someone else. In fact, there are companies who will provide aerial photos to municipalities for free in return for a cut of the enforcement fees collected as a result.

If the planners and GIS people had their way, we'd probably have live cameras in the sky evaluating us on a constant basis. We think that it's time that the County developed a technology policy and a separate privacy policy to ensure that we only consider island-appropriate and island-affordable technologies necessary for planning and science ... not enforcement. When the use of aerial photos shifts from a "planning or scientific purpose" to an "enforcement purpose," then we have crossed the line into a surveillance program, whether drones are used or not.

There is an attitude held by some in government that if we aren't hiding anything, then there is nothing to be concerned about from the latest high-tech aerial photos. That's a specious argument. We have blinds and shades despite having nothing to hide inside our homes. We close the bathroom door even though nothing secret happens in there. Privacy is a basic human need without connection to wrongdoing.

In fact, whenever someone advances the "if you have nothing to hide" argument, it is a dead giveaway that the speaker is simply wanting to nab people with the new technology.

Why is it that some in our County government (see clip below) think secret government meetings are a valuable part of the deliberative process, and yet these same people fail to recognize the need for personal privacy protections?

Note: we apologize for the A/V sync issues but they are on the original video from the County.



123 comments:

  1. So Stan went ahead and gathered to data anyway. What department is going to compare old aerial against new? I guess it will be paid by fines and fees a whole new enforcement department. This is so wrong.

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  2. If the county stopped applying for every grant under the sun and sea. And every special deal we might have some money to pay for what we need. I hope the pictometry salesman at least bought Stan a couple of lunches and drinks.

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  3. Are you kidding? Has this been done

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  4. It is starting to get real hard to get information from the folks who are working really hard to get information on all of us.

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  5. All the creepy little peeping Dorfs and their Friends can't wait for these new glossy photos to pant over in secret ... er, I mean in private ... um ... confused now ...

    Eeeeeewwwwwhhhhh!!

    Cold sweaty palms, eyes bulging, shallow breathing, poring over new photos for evidence, everyone is guilty, yes, yes, they must fear us and pay, pay, pay

    Welcome to Shutter Island

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  6. Speculation here, but I had a thought on why Roche Harbor would throw some money at this. Aside from being in bed with the FOSJ, I think if the had access to this technology, it would be easy to extrapolate video images in hi res detail and create a visual tour for promotional purposes. I would imagine the 10k for full access would be much cheaper than creating it from scratch. They are trying to sell high end lots and million dollar houses. I would imagine that a 50k+ enhanced video tour presentation wouldn't at all be unreasonable to market tens of millions in real estate. Maybe the same reason for for the unnamed realator on Lopez.
    Again, pure speculation but plausible.

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  7. What is the plan of action?

    If we do not coalesce around the issues we talk about, of what value are all the words?

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  8. SURVEIL IN! THIS FRIDAY! BRING YOUR CAMERAS!

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  9. Absolutely. The election was one week ago, actually not determined until a week from tomorrow.

    A lot of exhaustion from that push and getting caught up on other things.

    Hopeful that a plan of action is coming together. The resources and teamwork that pushed back so hard on the Machine is all still in place at the moment. It can quickly disintegrate or take a deep breath and push ahead on some very important issues, privacy and rural character among them.

    I was guardedly optimistic about the election and guardedly optimistic we won't let the momentum drop.

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  10. If there was an initiative to sign I already have a bunch of people eager to sign it.

    I wish I knew the ins and outs but....since I don't I'm hoping someone is on this! Just creepy and frightening.

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  11. here is a place to start an online petition.

    http://www.signon.org/create_start.html?add_id=1&id=66880-9012014-mE1wm2x

    I don't know enough to write the text of the petition, anyone able to jump in?

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  12. If you want action, we have to get organized and speak out.

    As much as I like Friday for a possible protest, a more powerful day would be Tuesday- Council Day. The council chambers could be packed with people to address a number of issues.

    1) Pictometry- this is a privacy issue!
    2) New Code Enforcement policy

    Will everyone commit to bring 2-3 people?

    Are people willing to write letters to the papers? Hopefully, they will print them. Letters to our council?

    Any other ideas out there?

    Let's start that petition.


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  13. Here is verbage from a petition to stop drones in washington state.

    Petition statement-
    Complete ban on use of "drones" and similar surveillance technology by ALL governments and their agencies. Similar complete ban on aerial surveillance means by private or corporate entities [ie: Google creating Google Earth data] unless they publish a notice of intention to do so and obtain a license for each published instance; limited to location, span of dates, and time of day.

    Complete Ban on drones based on Constitutional right to privacy issues.

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  14. Here is a link ACLU for Woodenville about surveillance cameras.

    https://www.aclu.org/secure/urge-woodinville-city-council-reject-surveillance-cameras

    The citizens were given a month to decide.

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  15. Looking good.

    Remember that it is perfectly legal to lean out of a plane and take a photo of the ground, at any angle. There is no fourth amendment prohibition against aerial photography.

    Start from that premise ... but then reflect on this:

    "WE THE PEOPLE of San Juan County recognize that these rural islands are an extraordinary treasure of natural beauty and abundance, and that independence, privacy and personal freedom are values prized by islanders. Being a diverse people bound together by these shared values, we declare our commitment to work towards this vision of the
    San Juan Islands in 2020 A.D."

    San Juan County should have an information privacy and technology policy in place. It really doesn't. San Juan County needs to adopt a Rural Element in the Comprehensive Plan that defines what "we the people" see as our rural character.

    If we don't want the County using tax payer dollars to gather increasingly intrusive aerial imagery of our private affairs, then we craft a mini-initiative for a new ordinance to set things right. If the Council won't adopt such an ordinance before it accepts or rejects Pictometry's deliverables, we put the initiative to the voters in November.

    Something like this may be in the works. Too early to take out of the idea oven, hopefully soon. Moving quickly, hopefully. Stay tuned ...


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  16. Any property can pulled up and studied for any reason, (political, payback, or neighborhood battles) or for no reason at all.

    And because SJC and other associated regulatory bodies are a huge upside down pyramid of laws, there are extremely few properties in total compliance.

    The "What have you got fear if you're doing nothing wrong" is total nonsense.

    Whether we know it or not we are almost all doing something "wrong" and the use of this technology can and will be used selectively and with malice.

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  17. 'A plan by Seattle police to send aloft miniature robot drones equipped with stealth spy cameras has been grounded, following heated criticism of the project by residents concerned about privacy rights, the mayor says."

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/08/16903237-seattle-cancels-police-drone-program-after-outcry-over-privacy-issues?lite

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  18. Just read the guardian article about the CAPR lawsuit re OPMA. Randy is trying to argue that these are "gatherings" and not "meetings".
    Am I the only one that noticed that Pratt's notes are actually labeled "mtg.".
    Even the people who attended these knew they were meetings.
    Is this semantical bulldorf really what we want from our county attorney?
    Is this the same clown that approves county contrasts, like, oh I don't know, the picometry contract?
    We have out work cut out for us. Need to find someone to run against this clown in 14.

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  19. AN ORDINANCE relating to the City of Seattle's use of surveillance equipment

    Date passed by Full Council: March 18, 2013 Vote: 9-0

    http://tinyurl.com/cw8ewr2

    ... requiring City departments to obtain City Council approval prior to acquiring certain surveillance equipment; requiring departments to propose protocols related to proper use and deployment of certain surveillance equipment for Council review, requiring departments to adopt written protocols that address data retention, storage and access of any data obtained through the use of certain surveillance equipment, and establishing a new Chapter 14.18 in the Seattle Municipal Code.

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  20. 04.18.13

    Dayton Abandons Aerial Surveillance Plan

    Any Future Programs Should Fully Address Civil Liberties Issues DAYTON, OH – Yesterday, the Dayton City Manager withdrew a controversial airborne surveillance program from consideration before the Dayton City Commission. The announcement came less than two weeks after a Dayton community group voiced their concerns about the program’s cost and impact on privacy.

    http://www.acluohio.org/archives/press-releases/2013_0417-aerial-surveillance-abandoned-dayton

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  21. @ 5:01 PM

    Did they sit in a circle around a candle surrounded by stones?

    Did a Coast Salish medicine person bless the gathering with a drum chant?

    Where sage bundles smoked to purify the spirits of the air?

    Otherwise, no I'm afraid, doesn't quite fit the RCW definitions of a "gathering" Randy. Nice try.

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  22. Problem is our council approved this already.
    The petition or initative might be addressing not using the data. Absent a lawsuit or reversal by Hughes, data collection will begin soon.

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  23. There seems to be about a 60 day window before Pictometry would deliver a product. That is the time frame to put in a good policy. That can make the difference.

    All the council members know this is not an issue is not going away.

    And if you hear anyone trying to raise that old saw "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" ask they if they're some kind of creepy kinky weirdo who drills holes between bathroom stalls. That'll get their attention.

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  24. Anyone seen the airplanes buzzing eastsound for the last 2 hours?

    Are these our friendly picture takers?

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  25. Damn, I never thought I'd wish for cloudy days & low fog.

    It's crazy, our only defense is Mother Nature.


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  26. Try to document, try to take pictures of these planes, try to contact your council rep and insist they tell you what's going on ... they are in the phone book ...

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  27. And write, email, tell them in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable.

    I emailed the council and the only response I got was from Bob Jarman. He is so discouraged that his NO on this was met with silence.

    I'm still digesting the fact that Jamie thinks the price is the only issue. Can someone talk to him?



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  28. Sure, someone can talk to Jamie. Rhea and Sandy. His handlers.

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  29. We had two planes flying in formation right over our house. Sadly, the spouse was not barbequing in the buff. I have heard that lots of folks are leaving expressive "art" for the planes. These should be fun to watch on government servers.

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  30. Fine, call Rhea and applaud her for her tireless civil rights work and appeal to her to talk sense to Jamie. Part of Rhea is actually thoughtful, or at least used to be. What do you think the tinfoil hat brigade on Lopez would have to say about aerial surveillance ... bring it on?

    Don't think so ...

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  31. So requests have gone out for the contract and the flight schedules ... repeated requests.

    Crickets.

    This is going to get interesting ... if they are actually doing the project this week, that's not smart. This will blow back.

    A little disappointed. This is not smart.

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  32. Dear Council:

    Get off your sorry asses and end this now.

    Surveyors don't want it. EMS doesn't want it. Local sewer and water districts don't want it.

    In fact, almost no one wants it.

    It's not in the budget.

    So take the "off ramp" and be done with it!

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  33. San juan county was such a short time ago, a wonderful place to live. The behaviors we have seen expressed by the members of our previous council, the prosecuting attorneys office and a crazy ass planning department have brought a most horrible cancer into this place. This could be the shape of things to come. If Hughes doesn't come out in respect of the citizens and end this thing all is lost. The mere fact that our county moved to contract these images without any concern for the goals and policies of our comp plan or a care in the world about the invasion on our citizens right to privacy, my god we live in a sick and discusting time. What will our children be left with. I have never seen so much disrespect from supposed representatives of the people, not in my entire life, and right here in san juan county.. Dear God please help us.

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  34. Please note that 2 of the three clowncil members just voted in are on-board with this. That were both also fully in favor of the $20k community conversation that has happened while most if us with a dog in the fight were at work.

    Rick "For Sale" Hughes and Jamie "For Sale" Stephens.

    Write them, call them at home, leave notes on their cars!

    All you who thought you were getting some grand payday by voting Rick in.... Nope!

    He's heard it from all of us, but he's got it in his mind that this is what he wants for the county- so he's voting for Rick. He's had 2 meetings to kill this thing but instead he just keeps waving his Pom poms.

    Oh well. At least we have roller skating. Yippee for Rick!



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  35. @ 9:57 PM
    Amen, brother.

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  36. The salmon spoke up and even they don't want the picometry.
    Coincidence that this issue gets brought up as the council is transitioning, just after a heated election, in the midsts of lawsuits?
    Seems like everyone is battle weary, the heavy hitters are already in litigation, money was spent on defeating the machine. What better time to try to sneak this one by.
    Even the machine is weary. They have been silent. Probably starting the scheming all over.
    Anyone see the videos in Boston of the police with APCs bringing people out of their homes at gun point and proceeding to search the houses?
    This was a 20 year old kid with a pistol and some grenades. For that, a million people were ordered to stay in their houses and illegal searches were executed. That is martial law. Scary stuff.
    I always think I would stand up to that, but having 10 or so combat armored police pointing automatic weapons at me yelling orders probably puts things in a new light.
    The time to stop this is now.
    Any public official up for election needs to be on the record if the support or oppose this.

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  37. See Island Guardian this morning:

    "Will Aerial Mapping Update Get Shot Down"
    http://www.islandguardian.com/archives/00004845.html

    This is promising but we still do not know:

    1) What the flight schedule is or if it has been put on hold (seems like perhaps it has ...)

    2) What the bloody contract says

    The contract needs to made available for public inspection as has been repeatedly requested ... Milene ... Stan ...

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  38. Wow, thanks to Island Guardian for an actual news story, original and based on investigation. Please go into the news biz, we need a real newspaper here!

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  39. This pictometry thing is such an excellent example of our council voting something in when they have inadequate information for making a prudent decision.

    They seem to have taken the sales pitch by Mr. Matthews and gone w/it. Which has me wondering what Mr. Matthews personal gain would be.

    And it's the same way they went along w/Shireene's recommendations for the CAO even tho' Shireene is obviously not familiar w/scientific process or the subject she was trying to make judgements about.

    Weird to watch. Unfortunately not only weird but scary.

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  40. Glad the Island Guardian stepped up to the plate, obviously this thing isn't over, its probably just getting started. Still would like to know status ... schedules ... contracts ...

    There has been some reportage of this in our local McNews but no opinion piece, no editorial and none of the reporters did any research or even understood how upsetting this is.

    Oh but wait. The Journal was sure to feature former county commissioners from the last century opine about the wisdom of returning to a three member council. What a scoop.

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  41. If you want to see what aerial photography is readily available, go to WWW.showmystreet.com. With a few clicks of the mouse anyone(including SJC) can see as much detail as they need about your property. And it is totally free.

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  42. The timing ... the scrambling ... the prevarication ... does this have anything to do with the new National Monument ... looking forward to that exciting new Management Plan ... time to map the in holders ... that would be us ...

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  43. The real question is WHY Mr. Mathews is in charge of this (or any) project doing with IT? What's his education and experience? His "strategy" paper is garbage, starting out with something about how many photos get uploaded to Facebook and how the County doesn't have a way for people to do that. Seriously? THAT'S what we're worried about? And tweets. How about finding someone who has a degree in IT for government organizations to do our IT??

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  44. Our choices for county manager are peeps from New Jersey to California with only one person from Washington state....this is just getting ridiculous!

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  45. Also, thanks to the Island Guardian for the manager applicant resumes.

    Anybody impressed? I'm not. There is only one I would even consider.

    The idea of breaking the mold (actually it's pretty moldy) and moving outside the box (wet cardboard) is a good one.

    Boy are we going to miss Brian McClerren. I think he would have asked for applicants OUTSIDE of government service. And, he probably would have asked for a review of the HR firm doing the head hunting.

    I'm thankful we got the Council people we got, except what's his name, but we've got to keep working because we fell a bit short. An important bit.

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  46. ****VOTE VOTE VOTE*****
    OPALCO BOARD ELECTIONS END LATE THIS WEEK.

    I was approached by Dwight Lewis today. He explained his position about OPALCO.

    In short, the only position he took on the broadband issue was that he felt all the members should vote and pass with a 60% majority the decision to move forward since it encumbers everyone.
    Wow. Talk about common sense. Listening to the people you represent. That got my vote.
    He seemed like a nice guy too.

    I also voted for Jerry Gonce as he is one of the "friends" of this web page.

    Good luck everyone.
    Voting was online and entirely painless.

    Good luck Dwight and Jerry.
    We need good leadership.

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  47. RE: County Manager

    Well, Stan and Bob Jean have had their way in controlling the "choices" the new council can make.

    I read those resume summaries. From resume alone, the guy from Montana has my vote. Rural experience = strong chance of understanding our community. Also, he DID NOT have a Masters of Public Policy.
    We don't need a city manager from some big area and we don't need someone who has been indoctrinated to the extent that occurs in pursuit of a "public policy" degree.

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  48. Yikes, agree with 8:26. I'm not a HR person, but I think I could have done better on Craig's List at one hell of a lot less cost.

    There are publications that largely exist to serve the these management types that move from job to job (oh, they never get canned...that's part of the negotiated settlement of termination...and so we have these incompetent folks looking good.

    Sometimes you must look under the table cloth. A few calls to past associates gets you the truth.

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  49. So is the TH going to have to do a rapid vetting of these candidates?
    Chances are their names will come up for recent stuff involving their respective jurisdictions. Google may offer some insight.
    Better than Google might be a few calls to other people in the jurisdiction.
    Any lawyers out there have access to Westlaw to search and see if their names made it in to a litany of lawsuits.
    At least there was no one named Hale listed.

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  50. Ok, so let the vetting begin:

    Mr. Pascale of New Jersey just retired. Is drawing a full pension from his previous employer (which may have been sweetened by some back room dealing with his employer). Just what we need, a retired government drone looking to supplement his government pension with another big salary while he lives the good life in the islands.

    Sorry dude. You retired for a reason, don't use us as your extra job.


    Suzanne Sinclaire has local ties as the former island county auditor. She, too, is in retirement mode. Another case of moving to the islands to enjoy her retirement and get a nice check. She's career government - including one failed run at a state house seat.

    Best thing she has going for her is that she is a former county auditor, so at least she knows the bullshi# when she sees it.


    Dave Wilbrecht was basically thrown out of his job in February... Placed on administrative leave until he "resigned". Rumor had it that he left the $300k/yr job under pressure from the local council and likely received a very nice parachute on the way out the door.

    The little blurb about rescuing the town from a big lawsuit... Not really, he just happened to be there. The town is still in dire financial shape and part of the fix was to cut him out.

    Something about the secrecy of his departure is not good. Everything happened in executive session, and then poof, he was gone.

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  51. Camonetsusa.com

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  52. So, for about 15k I could cover my fields and livestock...
    Not something I can afford!

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  53. These candidates indicate the "market" out there views San Juan County government as a terminal move into full retirement, not a ladder in an active career.

    Dang. It's just so hard to find good help these days.

    But, let's hear a bit more about that guy from Montana.

    By the way, don't think we're all moving on to the next bright and shiny distraction. Public requests are still pending for a copy of the Pictometry contract (the longer they drag their feet the worse its gonna get)

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  54. Ron Zee busted for illegal construction and land use. Island Guardian

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  55. Another organic farmer who can't seem to navigate the many restrictions and still make a living. This should wake some people up. When are people going to wake up and change the system? This seems like a good time to avoid hypocrisy and support the rural resistance in the fight to make it possible to live and farm in San Juan County.

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  56. Ron Zee is not just another organic farmer

    Ron just shot himself in the foot and the gun's still smoking.

    Smug, entitled, hypocrite. Trying to game the system he helped create. Throw the book at him.

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  57. Didn't Greg Ayers apply for the county manager position?

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  58. How did we start with Pictometry and wind up with Boss Zee's casual disregard for the law?

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  59. This is what they county wants...all of us to feed them each other. A citizenry divided is easier to conquer.

    We need to change the staff and their priorities. If maintaining our rural character and the feeling of community is of the utmost importance, we all need to ban together and clean house within our local government.

    Which did Ron Zee get first ..a letter of inquiry, or a NOC or a NOV? Has this not been on their radar for 6 years? The monied, powerful and connected "fall between the cracks".

    We need to change things . The new council better pay attention. This is just the tip of the iceberg, wait until the new enforcement code and aerial surveillance photos are available to staff that want to create a sense of relevance around their jobs. Especially, the CDP which entirely fee driven.

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  60. I wonder if the complaint against this person was driven by colluding local businesses seeking to drive out their competitors using county legal processes.
    Nahhhh, that only happens on Orcas.

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  61. To May 1 11:59am

    Thanks for the link to www.showmystreet.com. Has the County Council looked at this? It shows plenty of detail and pretty close in shots...what do they need more than this?>? And it's free for everyone? If this isn't good enough for the County there is a different game going on for them than what they have stated.

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  62. I really would not put Ron in the victim category ...

    However, I am interested in learning more about this situation, particularly in the context of some other notable permitting dustups over the past year or so.

    I imagine Ron knew they had come pay a visit, that he took what he could when he could, that no action was taken until after the election so as not to rock boats.

    This one smells of low tide and hot sunshine, all the barnacles are exposed.

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  63. 11:59am

    Imagine the fusion between the Pictometry data products and a Google service like ShowMyStreet

    Imagine Stephanie Buffer with a joy stick and a really big screen.

    Imagine that local government does has some ability to place some boundaries and limits to this kind of thing.

    Don't imagine local government doing anything of the sort other than to expand police power at the drop of a hat.

    Unless local government is moved by the citizens to put an information privacy ordinance in place. We need that now, if we are to maintain the vision of the Comprehensive Plan.

    And, go buy camo. I like the forest green.

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  64. @7:32 am said: "Ron Zee busted for illegal construction and land use. Island Guardian"

    It's wrong and I'm a lesser man because of it, but I'm enjoying the warm glow of schadenfreude now.

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  65. @ 11:12 AM

    Yep, I confess a guilty pleasure. I blame myself. It's just so wrong.

    Why didn't this Machinehead Kahuna get popped before the election?

    Loserville

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  66. Haute Dawg!

    http://tinyurl.com/cyeouom

    Get Satellite Images of Your House!
    Is it Possible to See Your House From Space? Get Aerial Pictures of Your Home! Find Out What Your Neighbor is Hiding in his Backyard! All this through a free toolbar – Download now.

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  67. Her is another log for the bonfire. Usa Today "Cruise line starts up voyages to the San Juan Islands". American cruise lines. Bet the friends will have a booth when it docks at Friday Harbor collecting donations to save this pristine place from the residents. National Monument status and right on it's heels cruises. Sounds like maybe there was a plan between some islanders and business folk on the mainland. They are piling it on.

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  68. Let's see, the county bans jet skis, but cruise ships are okay? I guess no one in county government or the port of friday harbor knew this was in the works.

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  69. We ban jet skis. We ban nukes. We ban GMOs.

    But aerial surveillance technologies are A-OK!

    Rural character ain't what it used to be. Now that we're Eco-Land.

    Children from the villages scamper down to the docks as the cruise ship arrives, pestering tourists for spare change and selling cheap trinkets from China.

    Just think of the sales tax revenue.

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  70. OMG!! HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!!

    Economic development! They did it! They finally did it! A pandemonium stew of grants, plans and insane regulations finally produce results! Hooray!

    "During the trip, guests will receive personalized services, fine dining and nightly entertainment, as well as daily lectures and seminars from local experts on the region's history. The new itinerary will run from April 2013 through October 2013 and then start up again in March 2014 to run through November 2014. Rates start at $3,750 per person."

    Kit will still have a job! Friends earn huge "lecture" fees! A Brickworks Bonanza, as tourists arrive Saturday morning just in time for the Back Alley Farmers Market!

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  71. Anyone else see the PBS story yesterday on the Oyster farm in Point Reyes? This is the plan for around here. You can't have a business in a park. How about a monument? Good to see the Friends Amy Trainer learning new skills and connections to bring back here.

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  72. Well the Sounder is on top of important issues as usual. Devoted latest editorial to the pressing problem of "Learning the art of customer service".

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  73. Brian EhrmantrautMay 2, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Anyone remember a case from Waldon a few years back, STATE v. THORSON, 990 P.2d 446 (1999):

    http://tinyurl.com/state-v-thorson2

    Some quotes:

    Washington Constitution article 1, section 7 provides: "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law."

    ...

    Thorson's property lies on Waldron Island in the San Juans. The island is rural and sparsely populated. It is not commercially developed, is not served by the state ferry system, has no public utilities, and has no amenities that would attract tourists. It is thus rarely visited by nonresidents, and strangers are neither welcome nor expected. The island is overwhelmingly agricultural and residential, and contains only those commercial establishments necessary to serve the needs of the relatively few year-round residents.

    Privacy is carefully protected by the community, perhaps partly because to a great extent, residents of the island conduct their daily domestic activities outdoors. Because of the intimate nature of outdoor living on the island, the residents do not approach one another's living areas without making some sound to announce their presence. The record shows that in addition to a structure labeled a "house," there are, scattered about Thorson's property, separate structures identified as a cook shack, kitchen area, bed shacks, bathtub, laundry, and privy, wherein Thorson conducts the corresponding daily activities. Most of these structures are in the clearing in the area in which the barrel was spotted. The officers described this area as "manicured," and "really well taken care of."

    The surrounding area is heavily wooded, or, as the State described it, "thick forests." It is undisputed that Thorson's incriminating barrel was not visible from any road, from his driveway, or from the boundary between Thorson's property and that of any neighbor. The nature of Thorson's property is such that he has no reason to anticipate intrusion by strangers, much less by law enforcement officers. The location and topography support the conclusion that Thorson reasonably expected privacy, and that fences and signs were not necessary to assert that expectation.

    ...

    Is Thorson's privacy interest in avoiding the uninvited presence of law enforcement on his land an interest which citizens of this state have held, and should be entitled to hold, safe from governmental trespass absent a warrant?33 We hold that it is. Only where there is some implied public access to private property does a police officer without a warrant have the right to intrude. To use Judge McInturff's words, the very character of Thorson's property located not only in a rural area, but on a rural island, "makes it apparent that [he] need not have anticipated unauthorized law enforcement safaris through the bush."34 The officers' sojourn on Thorson's property for the sole purpose of looking for marijuana constituted an unreasonable intrusion into Thorson's private affairs.

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  74. I guess I missed the employment ads for "local experts needed to work on cruise ship in the San Juans". Wonder who got the jobs?

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  75. @ 9:49 am. It's hard to tell, because the complaint is like six years' old. And, frankly, the colluding business theme is getting old. CDP is the bad guy here, in every case. Can we get the Prothman guy to outplace Rene B, Shireene H and Ed H? I'll pay the fee myself.

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  76. Ludwig von MisesMay 2, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    People, the Council--that very Council that is sitting next Tuesday looking for public comment--that Council slaved over a position description and repeatedly told Prothman that it wanted local cnadidates, "out of the box" candidates, found and seriously considered. Is there anyone here who thinks we lack people of ability to do this job? How many people have managed businesses successfully, with good degrees from good schools? WHY do we have to get stuck with bureaucratic bottomfeeders? I say that Prothman did not earn his fee. WHERE are the locals who have some insight into what we want and how we live? It is not a job that requires a bureacrat. If anything, it requires an anti-bureacrat. Someone who knows how to hand out pink slips to top management who screw up nonstop. "Nobody can be at the same time a correct bureaucrat and an innovator." We need something different. What's the risk? We did it Prothman's way and got Pete Rose and Bob Jean. How can we do worse than that??

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  77. Aw, come on--Ron Zee is no "farmer." His wife runs a hobby farm and they list the land as agro so they pay less taxes. He's an international mediation consultant or some such. And a politico. Chaired the SJ Dems. Ran Ranker's campaign. Supported Lovel, of course. He's been a regular on the County payroll--conservation district. Now runs a grants mill. Oh yeah, he was vice-chair of the CRC and gave us the Charter changes that led to Lopez deciding our elections and no one having initiative rights any more.

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  78. I would go out on a limb to defend anyone, whatever side they are on against this county government snooping around on private property by way of any measure. I would also defend anyone against a large veriety of supposed illegal activity's in this county that do not constitute public nuisances. this county government is sick. Study nuisance laws, who asked for all this BS
    take the blankety blank machine down.
    start respecting privacy and individuality. And difference We are not alike should never be, and thrive on diversity. maybe we need to eliminate CDPD for a while and call truce on everyone shut the F up and go back to living again. Randy GO HOME! and take your cronies with you! you wouldnt know a nuisance if it hit you in the face.

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  79. @ 3:32 PM is spot on. The Council really needs to put this project on hold or there is gonna be blow-back.

    San Juan County has passed NO ordinance authorizing in law the expenditure of public funds to conduct highly intrusive aerial photography. Agreeing to let Stan Matthews and Bob Jean run off and cobble together a contract is NOT the same thing as a County ordinance authorizing "the disturbance of private affairs" ... think about it ...

    Washington Constitution article 1, section 7 provides: "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law."

    We have different expectations here. You have a to be a bit more careful with an islander. We value privacy.

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  80. Thank You Brian that covers it

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  81. Seems like the TH needs an election round-up - wrap-up.

    Money spent, on what? And, a clear review of where the money came from on BOTH sides.

    Who lost big? (No surprise it was NOT Brian McClerren.)But who really lost? (The big donors?)

    Was County staff released from a long time holding pattern where they dared not go after the power
    structure?

    Do the people in the machine (Ron Zee, et all) believe SJC property owners are just as corrupt as they are?

    That's a wrap.

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  82. Don't go to your mailbox. Do not look therein.

    The big bucks FOSJ is at it again. A total fabrication of our situation here and a worry, worry, three page, six, front to back, prep job on shoreline regulation.

    Make no mistake people, these zealots have just fired their first salvo. As my lumber camp boxing uncle once said: "When you think someone is going to hit you, hit em first."

    Consider both your cheeks swelling bucko, because you just got punched.

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  83. OK, Heron, when you do not post people get antsy, and continue to comment and comment and comment . . . .

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  84. @ 6:50 -- election can't wrap up until Lovel sends her letter of concession to Bob Jarman. I mean, she's SUCH a nice person, surely she will remember to do that. Lisa did. Brian did. Lovel?

    How about hiring Lovel as Manager? THAT would have Hale & Hale and Matthews out the door faster than . . . than . . . the county approves contract?

    And we paid a guy to recruit candidates for the $125,000 a year MANAGER job and one of the six the guy presented was this one:

    "Upon conclusion of a closed session item immediately following Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting Wednesday evening, Mayor Matthew Lehman announced that lawmakers “accepted the resignation of Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht, effective Feb. 13.”

    Council then appointed current Assistant Town Manager Marianna Marysheva-Martinez (MMM) as the new Town Manager, effective the same day.

    MMM will serve as the Town Manager under the same employment contract she currently has as the Assistant Town Manager. That contract is valid until July 2014.

    Lehman said he could not disclose the motivation behind the resignation, due to the confidential nature of personnel issues, but sources confirm that Wilbrecht would receive a severance, reportedly $150,000.

    According to the Town, Wilbrecht, who took over as Town Manager in April 2011 after the departure of Rob Clark, has been on “leave,” but the Town could not say what kind of leave it is, or when or indeed if he is expected back. Lehman added that during the discussions, MMM said she was agreeable and ready to take on the position."

    No smoke there.

    I say we show up and tell Council to consider some real people that WE KNOW for the job. People who don't need the job. People who don't owe anything to the bureaucracy. People who have a clue about performance. Why not Greg Ayers? Why not Brian McClerron, for that matter? What other islanders applied??

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  85. I am sure the person has already been selected.
    This public input is probably just a dog and pony show.
    Anyone really make a public records request for the pictometry contract??
    Don't they, by law, have to respond within 5 days??
    tick tock....

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  86. Try to carve out your day next Tuesday and head on over to the Legislative Chamber of the Salish Islands High Council and bear witness.

    Write it down. Give 'em their three minutes. Maybe someone will make an amazing video of what the public really has to say, at this time of transition.

    Now, that would go viral. With social media your short public access voice can be greatly amplified.

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  87. According to the two county guys who just stepped off their boat at Blakely to paint a white X in the parking lot at the marina, the mapping is on, the council approved it and it is proceeding. He said two weeks until the flyover.

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  88. Interesting, and seems relevant... from KPLU, on the use of Google aerial photos for code enforcement...

    "'It's interesting to me that it's worrisome to some people, because we've been doing this for some years,' says San Juan County Prosecutor Randy Gaylord".

    http://bit.ly/10zKFoz

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  89. Good news, can anyone help corroborate that from an additional source? It makes some sense given earlier weather, priority would be Whatcom County first.

    It will be much, much easier for everyone to cancel the flights this year, and get the privacy and technology policy issues put in place first, not afterwards.

    As they like to say, let's be proactive on this one.

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  90. The Pictometry contract has been released. Doesn't seem to jibe with what Council was told, but maybe it's just the legalese.

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  91. Let's please get the contract into the public sphere for analysis and response. Thanks

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  92. The American Library Association recommended that patron records at public libraries be erased using milspec protocols once an item was returned. Why? Information privacy. Why does that matter? PATRIOT Act. Whose business is it to know what you are reading? Sometimes Federal law enforcement decides it needs to know, and under the PATRIOT Act, warrant rules can become a bit relaxed, from which mischief can result.

    But if the library's computers are programmed to totally shred patron records once items are returned, patron privacy is protected. That's a good thing.

    What does that have to do with Pictometry? In all likelihood the PATRIOT Act provides federal law enforcement direct access to online Pictometry data. Think about it. They can log in from anywhere.

    Maybe the Department of Homeland Security should pony up a bit for these fabulous photos along with our Friends over at Roche Harbor Resort and the Lopez Island real estate agent.

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  93. Rumor is Roche Harbor would not explain how they got involved with this thing.

    Maybe now they wish they had not. Heck, everybody makes mistakes. Bow out RH, bow out, you guys are way too good for this S..T.

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  94. As to Roche Harbor, someone most likely called the manager and asked for a favor. Simple. Happy to help.

    But, Roche Harbor, likes its privacy too. It prefers to avoid controversy. Lots of quiet money around there prefers to be left alone.

    So, Roche is getting signals that bad press is heading their way, the ACLU is interested. The election turned out ... unexpectedly ... so now they are back pedaling.

    Wondering about those off ramps in the contract that the Council requested. What are the cancellation terms?

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  95. Pictometry brochure

    http://www.pictometry.com/docs/PIC106_AccuPLUS_JAN12.pdf

    Slogan:

    "Because distortion has no place in decision-making."

    Features:

    "We fly and image from low altitudes, maximizing clarity and exposing details otherwise obscured by atmospheric degradation."

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  96. Are they low enough to hit em with a shotgun shell?

    Pictometry, you may want to rethink this, the San Juan Islands are well known as a hotbed of wild and crazy rich people.

    Be smart, get out of here.

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  97. Anyone at the EPRC meeting yesterday? We hear that the Orcas councilmembers said they had serious reservations about the Pictometry contract but it is a "done deal" and they can't do anything. Come on--YOU ARE IN CHARGE. Worse, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE. Grow a pair. This thing stinks to high heaven. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

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  98. @ 8:45pm You better make it clear that you are joking about shotgun shells. If we have learned anything, it's that there is no sense of humor (or proportion) at the County. You'll have a government subpoena all over your butt.

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  99. @ 8:45pm You better make it clear that you are joking about shotgun shells. If we have learned anything, it's that there is no sense of humor (or proportion) at the County. You'll have a government subpoena all over your butt.

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  100. @ 5:37 PM

    Does this mean our public libraries are doing more to protect our privacy than the County government? We pay for our libraries with property taxes just like we pay taxes for County government.

    I need to go somewhere off the grid with my dog, drink heavily and sort this out.

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  101. So now is Rick Hughes an agent of Agenda 21?

    Byers at least didn't hide it.

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  102. Where the hell did that comment come from? Pictometry?
    I have to hope he just had a Brain Fart,
    he has to know by now. Bad Idea

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  103. Rick openly stated on several occasions that he would not support this project.

    Then he voted in support of the project.

    Did he read the contract?

    Rick needs to fix what he broke. Yes, this is all new to him. But he is a man of business. Now he needs to show he is a man of his word.

    He has grave concerns. Words. Actions speak louder than.

    Act now. This is serious business.




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  104. While we all wait patiently for Rick to make up his mind again, what about that mailing blast the Friends just did? That was coming right after the election one way or the other, all printed some time back and ready to go.

    Seems like any remaining pretense of the Friends being a local organization and not a FutureWise Friendly Franchise has been thrown under the bus?

    How much do you think that mailing cost, from graphic design to printing to postage? Why didn't they mail that during the election campaign? (That's a rhetorical question)

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  105. Where was everybody when this was taking place? It’s kind of like showing up a day late for the party and being pissed off at the host because you didn’t get any cake. Our government only works if We the people show up. And I don’t mean on a web page but at these meetings. Last I checked we were the government and theses elected officials were our messengers . So Write ,Write letters and show the f#$% UP!

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  106. The Council can be far more effective and responsive with clear, focused constituency response and direction.

    We haven't done that very well. We only have the elected officials we deserve. If we don't weed the garden, the weeds and invasive species take over. That is what has happened here.

    Lots of folks from the old school way of doing things were uncomfortable taking the nonpartisan approach to the Charter because they felt that without the Party labels, it would be too difficult for voters to figure out where a particular candidate stood.

    Those are the old days. Gone forever and probably not just here in little San Juan County.

    In the old days, elected officials could be disciplined by the Party. Not any longer. So who is left to discipline our local elected officials.

    You guessed it. Us. Time to show up. Or eat what they dish out to you.

    Rick is OK, he is just feeling his way carefully and he really is pretty good at maintaining confidential relationships from different camps and viewpoints. We need that. But it also makes it hard for Rick to make political decisions (and they should be hard). Often its hard for folks who come from a disciplined business background to come into government. It ain't the same. What might seem a perfectly reasonable decision in a business setting becomes a public nightmare and takes forever in a government setting.

    Rick, and the other two will need a set of carrots and sticks going forward. You can bet your life the special interest groups will lay it on with a trowel. We need to be sure this new Council is moved properly in good directions. And reform is really important. Real reform.

    This Pictometry issue is like the proverbial canary in the mineshaft, we use this issue to learn who this new Council is, how to engage them, how to discipline and reward them, how to move them forward.

    Meanwhile there is much work to be done to control and actively manage the Machine and begin to dismantle it, piece by piece.

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  107. Agree with @8:47 & 8:26.

    This is the time to show up! Take action.

    Educate the council ...they represent US. Not their own personal opinion. The county workers are not your friends, they are your employees. Manage them as a business would and fire when needed.

    Stop the Stan Matthews and Bob jean show, they have misled council, they should be fired! Patty Miller was clear, the monies were to come from other agencies, not private. Just on that issue this contract should not move forward.

    And Stan Matthews attitude towards council was appalling.

    Please show up.. Write letters, have other write or call.

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  108. This is simple:

    "Dear Mr. Pictometry, through no mutual fault or liability we have discovered that your services are unsuited to broad community values and rural character we are bound by oath of office to protect. While in an administrative transition we have retained outside consultative services who from time to time have been challenged in their communications with both the legislative body and the public at large. We look forward to reviewing a potential business relationship with your firm at date to be determined approximately one year from now. This time is necessary for the legislative body to deliberate and implement proper technology and information privacy rules for county departments. Thank you for your continued cooperation."

    There, now they have a draft correspondence the entire council can chew on, modify and approve. It should be signed by the Chair an executed on Tuesday.

    Is this so hard?

    By the way, I look forward to the new Council adopting a new chair as a first order of business.

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  109. Does the "Winter Council" end on the 14TH?

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  110. Since no one has said it yet, let me....
    Hey Lovel, don't let the Dorf hit you on the way out.

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  111. Take another look at the FOSJ mailer if you can stand it.

    The pictures are ment to upset the reader. Let us take a closer look. (And I will need help on this.)

    I'm positive the huge wall of rip rap rock shown is close by the Anacortes Ferry Terminal for the walking/bike path. The local residents there went to an enormous multi year effort that continues to make a bike walking path from the ferry to Town. And by the way, FOSJ, they will finalize the project with an learning center for the marsh area...it IS an actual marsh/wetland. Sorry your kayak person looks lost, because there is plenty of beach just ahead to pull out on.

    The boat docks. Those nasty things that harm the eel grass. Millions have been spent on grating for gangways. I'm highly suspect, as people should be, that this whole claim of effect of docks on eel grass is completely not so.

    Think about it. As far North as we are the Sun moves through the sky rather swiftly. The "shadow" from a dock moves with the Sun AND the tides. If such a shadow had an effect it would have to be minor.

    FOSJ gave us this picture of Neil Bay with the docks. (Looks like Neil Bay...I ask for correction.)

    I think the picture shows the opposite of their selling point. Look at the relative water area. It's large. The docks don't cover much water do they, and this picture was picked because it has a high concentration of docks.

    High? Well since most of the islands here don't have many docks this would be high. If you want to see a actual high concentration of docks you need only to go a short distance to CANADA. I understand they have fish there too.

    Next shot up we have the high density housing on the waterfront. Anybody got a clue where this pictured area is? I really doubt it is here in SJC as much of our waterfront is five acre zoning and a minimum of 1/2 acre zoning. (Again, I invite correction. On the TH we like to get it right.)

    Poor old Wescott Bay. Always held up as a call to arms.

    The ell grass is GONE!

    Well turns out it wasn't the septic systems, it wasn't the Lamas farm, it wasn't changes in water temp, it wasn't the oyster farm, it wasn't the boats dropping anchor here and there a few months of the year, so what was it?

    No one knows except FOSJ of course. Conjecture actually has it that the dragging of several hundred crab pots across the bottom three times a week, might in fact be called a significant impact!

    I know I'm not clearly reading front to back, an FOSJ mailer will do that to you, but I hope someone will also take a look at the numbers FOSJ presents for sea level rise. Like most everything in the FOSJ mailer, the numbers, like the pics just don't fit with reality.

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  112. Perhaps the people who are responsible for this pictometry mess should experience a Look In. Everyone could gather at once near their property with binoculars. Maybe we could convince someone with a plane to do a few close flyovers with a long lens. If you can ID a car in town, take pictures of the inside. Repeatedly, until they show up.
    After watching video on pictometry site there is no doubt they want this for permit violation.
    It's one thing to know you are probably being recorded walking the streets of a city but we live here partly for the privacy. Someone else said it best..."We have different expectations here. You have a to be a bit more careful with an islander. We value privacy."

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  113. Why not start with the House of Zee?

    Anyone remember Zee's late night angry activist bonfire when the Brickworks Landbank grab went down?

    Pretty incivil affair all around. But it was OK, he was inciting the faithful to band together for raw political power. There was pushing and shoving that night. Heavy drinking. No sheriff in sight. Lovel was there.

    Speaking of Lovel, this Shakespeare line I ran across this morning really sums it up:

    "How my achievements mock me!" - Troilus and Cressida, Act IV

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  114. This site is funny...you people need to get a life !

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  115. Trojan Heron: No Calories and Cheaper than Beer!

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  116. @ 7:47 AM

    Good point, I'm going back to Facebook to tell the world what a beautiful day it is and what my cat had for breakfast.

    Journal, by the way, reports huge win and mandate for Jamie Stephens.

    Actually he barely won San Juan Island by 100 votes to a really smart younger working guy no one ever heard of before two months ago.

    Sound Publishing, gag me with a spoon.

    Gotta get back to Facebook now and tell all my friends what a beautiful day it is.

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  117. @7:00 Thank you for the commentary on the FOSJ mailer. I was having the same thoughts. Their imagery was not at all representative of anything close to the norm here.

    How about a mailer w/pristine shorelines and seagulls swooping in on herring and empty beaches and remind everyone how careful we have been.

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  118. how bout a mailer that shows the swath of destruction left in the wake of out of control tribal fishing methods that are protected under "treaties".

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  119. Here's hoping Kit Rawson will leap back from retirement and teach mandatory classes (there is no doubt Kit would be good at this) to tribal members about how greed this year kills off the profits next year.

    A few less overladen and sinking boats might be a result of such classes. Maybe even an end to river netting and crab pot dragging.

    I know, dream on.

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  120. I was sort of envisioning Kit delivering local expert lectures to cruise ship tourists on the Bolt Decision.

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  121. does it feel as though we are living in a time of multiple civilizations coexisting suddenly at a time where the ruling class has a need to seek out and destroy a middle class, a class that has all but been removed from the rural climate. the governing class fails to recognize needs and terms that exist but only as illegitimate nuisances. I am growing to more and more understand there is no acceptance of my own kind, even though I love, I live, I respect, and I defend all others.

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  122. Just remember that the pilots are just doing their job flying the airplane. Most never even see the imagery and are just doing this job to further their career so if you do see a pilot do treat them poorly. It will only show poor character on your part.

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