Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pictometry Reprise

Last week was the final meeting of the Winter Council, and they spent about an hour of their last meeting deliberating about the Pictometry® affair. Below are two video clips of the proceedings. The first clip is that of Stan Matthews describing the Pictometry® situation to the Council. The second clip is the last few minutes of Council deliberation before voting to approve a motion to investigate the possibility of getting out of the Pictometry® contract.

In the second clip, you will hear Patty Miller say that the entire Pictometry® process has been so bad that she is "embarrassed to be part of this." That's quite a statement. Remember that Miller's tenure has been characterized by a solid waste proposal that got crushed at the polls, by secret meetings on the CAO, and by the overall awful CAO process itself. As bad as those may have been, it is the County's handling of the Pictometry® situation that ultimately embarrasses her. That ought to put things in perspective.

One of the pieces of double-talk that we hear is that the Pictometry® photos are not really about monitoring or surveillance. Perish the thought. It's "change detection," not monitoring ... not the same thing at all.  For example, Pictometry® describes its ChangeFindr™ Reports in the following way:
A Complete Change Detection Solution
ChangeFindr identifies and chronicles changes to a property (such as new construction, additions and demolition). The building outlines from the original orthogonal image are compared to more recent imagery. Changes are highlighted and classified as either: New, Changed, Possible Changed, Existing, Demolished or Unknown.
 
Commercial and residential property changes are ongoing. Buildings are demolished to make way for new structures. People are adding additions to their homes. New housing developments and retail establishments are being built. Often property changes are not reported which can have a big impact on tax valuation. Uncovering this type of information can be time consuming and expensive.
,,, 
Pictometry ChangeFindr is a complete change detection solution that combines Pictometry® Electronic Field Study™, Pictometry® Change Analysis™ software and change candidate files. Used primarily by professionals in assessment, GIS and real property tax, ChangeFindr is a recognized resource for assessors across the country. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxable changes to properties have been discovered in jurisdictions all from the convenience of a computer.
San Juan County access to the Pictometry® Change Analysis™ software was included in the contract, as was the following statement.
You are aware and understand that any user data collected or stored by the Online Services may be accessed by US law enforcement agencies under the US PATRIOT Act. You hereby release, and agree to hold Pictometry harmless from, all claims against Pictometry with respect to such access.
It sure is good to know that we're not going to be monitored.

(For more, read Nick Power's article in the Island Guardian).


159 comments:

  1. Sooo ....

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  2. We owe our greatest thanks for this to good old Randal Gaylord I'm sure he wants to fix this mess for everyone
    Also see http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/207117491.html

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    Replies
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  3. Oh, so Stan the Man gets his way and is not obligated to pay the damages caused by his lack of full disclosure and proceeding without having satisfied the Council's pre-conditions--the famous "off=ramps."

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  4. Stan, I must say I feel more "gobsmacked" than thou. The county must be planning to do a whole lot of enforcement to cover the cost of this. To bad you all could not stay within some sort of budget, rather than being forced to operate outside the box. Just so we can get a heads up, what department is the county going to put you temporallty in charge of next?

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  5. Randy says that Pictometry told him that they already have started work on this contract and want the rest of the money. So he is just taking their word on this and that he will contnue to negotiate on our behalf. I tought Stan and Frank were going to handle this? I would like to see all the e-mails and notes between the county and Pictometry. Being in our county government means never having to say your sorry.

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  6. The goal is to collect the data first at any cost, damn the torpedoes, everything else will sort out later.

    Who stands to gain? Who is telling the public to a) shut up b) don't worry this is normal?

    The public won't shut up because 1) something's wierd in the neighborhood and 2) we smell a rat

    What we have here is part of the Machine's shadow government agenda that got exposed because of what the election fight brought to the surface.

    It's like John Q. Public stumbling into the kitchen at 2AM to make a sandwich, turning on the light and horrified by the crowd of cockroaches and rats on the floor scuttling like mad to escape under the floor boards.

    In other words: They. Got. Caught. With. Their. Pants. Down.

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  7. Those in charge of entering into this contract under false pretenses should be fired. Nothing less is acceptable, or even reasonable.

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  8. 7:20
    Randy told us all in the counccil meeting what was true in his heart, any following conversation with pictometry was already written. And still is.
    When you have a machine to feed, nothing less than an efficient means of enforcing county codes. We must presume of course that compliance with county codes are key here, no mor misfits in this county, if you thought you belonged in this county because it was diverse and interesting, its gonna get a lot uggler. And of course it goes without saying youve got to be made of the bucks to live legally. Kind of reminds me of high school,and popularity contests, no stinking hippies or nerds// not wanted here

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  9. Whoever it was that executed that contract ignoring the explicit requirements laid out by the Council needs to be fired.

    And the Council was first told it was a $100K project, and now it turns out it s a 3 year commitment for $300K? And this is only to underwrite the project along with San Juan Preservation Trust and the others? What is SJPT's purpose in helping to pay for the underwriting? And then Friends and others only have to pay $1900 for full access?

    Is Randy tasked with ensuring that a contract meets the Council requirements before it is signed? What is his purpose in reviewing a contract before it is signed?

    In business, no one would continue in a position after this kind of insubordination/blatant ignoring of their "boss'"--the Council's--requirements, but whether the Council has the moral strength to stand up and do the right thing and fire any of their employees directly responsible is an open question.

    And shame on the Council for their lack of oversight on something so important that they knew they were being rushed to decision on. This is a shocking display of incompetence/lack of caring on the Council's part. I can't think of words to describe how dis-served/robbed by the Council I think the public has been on this and other projects. It is absolutely shameful and negligent. Almost a dereliction of duty.

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  10. How does one get a full copy of the above videos? I would like to see the whole thing. Thanks.

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  11. @9:31

    Navigate to this link

    http://www.avcaptureall.com/Sessions.aspx#session.f4eb3d65-cc43-4609-9f24-2bc48d43e3a6

    Then use the agenda to help get to the correct starting point. The timer in the bottom right of the video gives the time of day/length of video.

    The Pictometry discussion lasts from about 4:00 to about 5:10 in the afternoon (i.e., the first of the two numbers in the bottom right).

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  12. @ECK 10:21

    Thanks much.

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  13. I assume that the new Council will be asking both Mathews and Gaylord questions about this on Tuesday? why is it that none of the newspapers is reporting, especially about the followup?

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  14. Here is a link to a sales video on the Pictomotry website with interviews with officials in the 3rd or 4th largest County (1.6m properties) in the Country--Maricopa County, AZ on how they are using the oblique images for property --real and personal--tax assessment.

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=zWKXQT70gpY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DzWKXQT70gpY

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  15. In business, no one would continue in a position after this kind of insubordination/blatant ignoring of their "boss'"--the Council's--requirements, but whether the Council has the moral strength to stand up and do the right thing and fire any of their employees directly responsible is an open question.

    AMEN TO THAT. We all know that a number of County management are either evil or incompetent (you choose--those are the only explanations) and have repeatedly thwarted the will of Council and the people to carry out their own plans. WHEN does anyone get fired here? Ron Hendrickson is the last example--where is the straw that breaks the camel's back?

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  16. The problem that needs solving right now is this:

    How will Stan Matthews and Randy Gaylord claw back on the Pictometry contract in order to implement the Council's clear directions to establish off ramps that allow for cancellation at any time?

    Asking "How much will it cost" to back out of the contract is the wrong question.

    The right question is:

    What will it take to either:

    1) Cancel the contract completely
    2) Stop work until the Council establishes proper policies to oversee this kind of service.
    3) Re-write the contract so it is in accordance with the expressed wishes of Council.

    It seems to me that Pictometry may be culpable to the extent they were involved in drafting and agreeing to contract language they may have been aware at the time, was adverse to the direction and understanding of the County Council.

    One of the most obvious disconnects has to do with creating a (fraudulent?) expectation that the cost was about $100K and not $300K.

    The Council had no need to get into the details, they agreed to the principle arrangement and basically said "Have your people work this up with our people."

    I don't believe Pictometry's hands are entirely clean, and don't believe they have indisputable cause to demand full performance of the contract because partial payment and performance has been made.

    Seems like Pictometry jumped out of the gate before the starting gun was fired.

    I am glad the weather works against them this week.

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  17. The county sent a 16k deposit on a contract that was not signed by both parties yet? Thereby committing us to a agreement Randy says we can't get out of, wonder what the big rush was? I do believe this is what is known as being "steam rolled".

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  18. Sounds like the council needs a outside consulting attorney, not recruited by Prothman, just for dealing with Randy. Seems it would save the people some money. When we used to say the county it meant all of us, now it means our government against the people. The county either doesn't know, doesn't care or are incompetent

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  19. Please let us not rush into the county manager thingy, we still have alot of questions. 10 a.m. til 11 a.m. on Orcas today, may be good for future and present county employees but not for working people. Then one will be picked on 14th or 15th. Why are representatives of county staff involved? What important information on the candidates are they going to leave out? Why do they get to pick their new "boss"? Sounds like we are getting steam rolled again. Once the truth comes out it will it will once again be to late. Wonder if the new contract is allready signed.

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  20. @1:28
    "steamrolled" maybe appropriate, but "getting totally Dorfed" might be more suitable.

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  21. It seems clear to me we need a new ,new Randy tax (public saftey tax ). Lets vote in a new tax so Randy can do more of this great work. It must be nice, for the Friends to have friends like Randy the P. A.

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  22. If I were on Council, I'd seriously consider getting independent advice. His staff is twice as large as a county this size needs, he stamps his feet about his budget all the time, and he fails to provide any of the preventative services that lawyers are supposed to provide. Plus he's wrong a lot.

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  23. If Council goes ahead and hires a manager on Tuesday, I think we should get up a referendum to have that position elected. Perhaps that way we could actually have a say in government.

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  24. The question is wll the council allow acounty employee to willfully decieve them. Enough talk-talk. And please let us not have this dissapear into Randys famous black hole. We had Randys boy Jon Cain involved in the secret meeting thing, now we have Randy invovled in the Pictometry issue. Having him coming up with his flip floping interpetations of things he himself had a hand in is nuts.

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  25. Hey, the contract which states that it is for more than $300000, says in plain english that if the local government does not appropriate the funds necessary to pay it it will consider the contract suspended until such funds are appropriated. The county only sent $16,000. Why can't new council just tell them we're not appropriating any more money AND that that the contract was signed without authority. Then sue Bob Jean for the $16,000; surely his contract has insurance in it for epic fails like this?

    IS COUNCIL GOING TO DO ANYTHING?

    --vote to withhold any further funding

    --tell Pictomerer taht there was no valid contract because there were misrepresentations and failure to meet conditions

    --sue Bob Jean

    --fire Stan Matthews

    --investigate how this all happened

    --START PAYING ATTENTION

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  26. Who is in cgarge of getting the new county managers contract signed? Please wait, there is some uncertainity here. "Screw it up now and not deal with it later" seems to be the county motto.

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  27. San Juan County home page,news,for the record/rumor control, last entry 4-25-13. I guess whoever is in charge of this thinks there has been nothing controversial going on since then. The fact check logo looks pretty snappy. Anyone checking here would be lead to believe everything is hunky dory.

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  28. No one is happier about this than Shireene Hale. "Soooooo it looks like attention has been diverted from my debacle......"

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  29. Team clueless co-captains Shrireene,Stan and Randy are not worried, they know there is zero accountability for county staff.

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  30. Anyone here got Charles Zalmanek, San Juan County Assessor in their sites?
    He solicited the Lopez Island realtor and Roche Harbor Resort for the contract for the contract.
    Why was he and is he still soliciting outside funding partners in the Pictometry contract? He is the County assessor. How can he be involved in this?
    Under whose direction and/or authority was he acting?

    What were those partners and other prospects to get in return for their investment?

    Do higher levels of dollar investment get them higher access to the system?

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  31. Has anyone else noted that the County Council in their April 23, 2013 meeting was asking the same questions they expressed concern about in the May 7, 2013 meeting? Yet they did not act then when there was time to deal with this issue. Why? They knew then that Stan Matthews was running amok.
    And why the hell is Charlie Zalmanek out soliciting funds from private investors for this contract? Who’s running this asylum? I’m guessing Matthews, Zalmanek and Beliveau. Maybe the Council would like to get involved? They blew off Jarman.
    Are you beginning to suspect Hughes and the rest knew all along where this was going? I sure as hell hope they did. I would really hate to think that they were that stupid.

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  32. Lucy? Lucy??

    Hey Lucy!

    Lucy: You got some 'splainin' to do!

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  33. Anybody thinking, “Washington State Attorney General?”

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  34. Does anyone know if any of the authorized users listed in the contract--Fire Chiefs, OPALCO, Eastsound Water and Sewer District, and Roche Harbor Resort signed anything committing them to a contribution or specific dollar amount? What if they didn't, and they all refused to give money because of lack of transparency and the confusion over the facts. What would happen then?"

    Also, in the May 7 Council Meeting video Stan says that Paul Kamin (of Eastsound Water Users) is the one he talked to about kicking in money. But Stan apparently didn't know that Eastsound Water Users is a different organization from Eastsound Water and Sewer District. Presumably that is how Eastsound Water and Sewer District got listed in the contract instead of Eastsound Water Users. Its all a bit confusing. Perhaps to remedy this, the Assessor could solicit Eastsound Water and Sewer District for a contribution.

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  35. S.J. County home page. Judge okays team meetings for CAO. "San Juan County has a reputation for a community process that encourages public involvement." said Gaylord.

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  36. Thank you Nic Power for putting a link to the contract in your blog in Island Guardian.

    In their May 7 discussion, there is much discussion by Stan and the Council about how the County will use the Pictogrophy images to determine all kinds of things re properties. Someone--I think it was Marc--says that the contract has specific disclaimers about NOT relying on their information to make conclusions. The contract on page 9 section 3 Disclaimers" says: "not authoritative or definitive"; "not to be relied on to precisely locate or determine boundaries, and not to be used in lieu of a professional survey"; "based upon data that do not provide authoritative or definitive measurement results"; "your reliance....should only be taken after independent review of their accuracy,completeness...";. But will the various County departments and anyone who pays $1900/ to buy access remember this when they draw conclusions and deliver them to homeowners as fact? Who will compel them to get"independent review" and perform due diligence?

    If any organization can buy into this for $1900/year....why don't Friends, Puget Sound Partnership etc get grant money to underwrite this instead of having the County do it.....then the County could pay $1900/ year to use it.

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  37. Wow the judge slapped down everything in the CAPRA lawsuit.

    Randy G. spun "sub-committee" meetings into "team meetings".

    ...did they really never have 3 Council members present at these meetings as the judge comments?

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  38. Rick Hughes is quoted in the Sounder (yes they actually did a news piece!) as saying (regarding Pictometry):

    "...the project 'morphed' (on him). The whole process has been ebbing and flowing, and I haven't been with the flow."

    Does anyone have a clue what he is saying? Where was he if he wasn't "with the flow"?

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  39. Let's read the court's analysis, the County spin is incoherent at best.

    Team meetings gathered to coordinate and at no time did three council members ever attend while knowingly violating OPMA. At a certain level, ignorance of the law must be the best excuse, even if there is no recollection.

    No wonder the judge took a lot longer to decide this one than he originally thought.

    Now, who prevails in the court of public opinion?

    A crisp and clear decision is what the public wants to read.

    In plain English.

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  40. I guess the Judge morphed the OPMA just a bit. And I guess we weren’t in the Ebb & Flow.
    Its not nice to rock the boat, don’t cha know

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  41. maybe the judge needs to get his opmarocked

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  42. There will appear a shining ornate temple, the lamp and the candle at Borne and Breteuil. For the canton of Lucerne turned aside, when one will see the great cock in his shroud.

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  43. According to the S.J. County website ther are 5, count 'em, 5 full time attorney's in Randys office. One would think that one or two of them would review all contracts in detail BEFORE they got signed rather than afterwards. If they don't have time don't signoff on them. This is a big deal because it obligates us to pay under the terms and conditions of the contract. I am sure Randy goes over his contract with the county very carefully, he should show the same respect for us. The P.A's site says he works for the county and it's employees, so who is looking out for us?

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  44. And a swing and a miss by CAPR, for out number 3.
    The machine retires the side, here in the bottom of the third, with a 4 run lead.
    Looking ahead to the top of the 4th, we see SMP headed to the plate, Matthews batting second, and Pictometry in the #3 spot.

    (We need to pick up the bullpen phone and make that call)

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  45. @8:13

    What Rick Hughes is saying is that he didn't pay attention. He wasn't clear in his understanding of what he voted for. He didn't have the moxi to stand up and say stop this now.

    Yep, this is what we voted for. Lets hope that when it's a full time job he actually pays attention, because at 50% pay, he's not worth the paycheck.

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  46. @10:19 FINALLY. So true.

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  47. So what your saying is that Lisa or Lovel would have voted differently? Or that Lisa or Lovel would have known all the details of the contract even though Stan lied and Randy isn't clear on it?

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  48. I hope Rick learns from this and doesn't vote vote ever again for something he has not thought through or doesn't understand all the pieces of. We can't afford for one of three Council members to not be "with the flow".

    But I'm not convinced that Jamie had thought it through or was " with the flow" either. He perhaps just isnt willing to admit it.

    A really disheartening, disappointing start for the new Council.

    Thank you Bob Jarman for your "no" vote on the Picto mess.

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  49. @ 11:31

    Not saying that either Lisa or Lovel would have voted differently. Just saying that Rick, in a monumental way, screwed up, and his comments and actions after the original vote have indicated that he is WAY over his head when it comes to proper execution of public policy. (At least as indicated by this vote)

    Here's the problem- this is fundamentally a failure on the part of the council to make sure their staff is doing the job that the council has directed. Under the new charter, this is one if the new primary duties, and they failed big time in their first at-bat. (Sorry to steal the metaphor from an earlier author). If Mr. Stan had executed the job as he represented it to the council, this is less if an issue. It would be a contract that was executed according to the will of the council. The problem is it was not, and yet the council has not stepped in to address a failure by the staff, even though they identified the failure nearly a month ago.

    So again, I'm not sure how Lisa would have voted, but I also don't really care. What I care about is the fact that Rick has screwed this up and I am not comfortable with how this foreshadows his remaining term. Lets hope he figures it out real soon, cause this ain't just about roller skating anymore.

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  50. I'm hopeful that Rick will begin to look towards Jarman's lead in the months head, if Rick sees any need for reform because Jarman understands reform and house cleaning. If Rick leans more towards the status quo and the Machine, he will look towards Jamie's lead. The reality is that Rick is Mr. Swing Vote who will be spending the next four years staring at a fork in the road he will have to take.

    There were strong elements pushing hard for Lovel that also supported Rick and we pretty much know who those folks are. These guys have Rick's ear and wanted Lovel to defeat Bob. Connect the dots.

    Rick's slogan is "Community Moving Forward." But what does that mean? To understand a concept, ask yourself what the opposite in meaning is ... "Individuals Stopping Backwards" ... what on earth is this supposed to mean? Or, move the words around ... "Forward Moving Community" or "Moving Community Forward"

    Who came up with that slogan? It is such meaningless air pudding.

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  51. Do you really think the Council did not know what they were doing? Do you believe they were unaware of the switches going on in the background? Review the April 23, 2013 video. Same questions, same concerns, same players, same issues and no action. Why?

    It wasn’t until there was public outrage that the Council began running for cover. This looks just like Obama and the IRS/AP/Benghazi manipulation and cover up crap.

    There are a lot of dirty hands in here someplace. Unless the citizens demand an independent investigation of these issues, they will continue. Why wouldn’t they?

    After all the warnings we’ve heard about how Rick Hughes operates, it’s kind of weird the way some are still wondering how he will act. My guess, you going to spend the next couple of years talking about how he says he did not understand something he voted for. I bet he’s going to be very clear about his understanding of the issue until he gets a lot of pushback in the local press and then it will be about the ebb and flow.
    Record and print everything he says or writes. With that, and 3 or more witnesses to every private conversation someone has with him, we stand a pretty good chance of getting consistent information and results from him.

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  52. The objective is to "actively manage" the Council.

    You have to "move" a Court proceeding using rules of procedure.

    The Council operates in a similar way, though the rules a bit different, parliamentary in form.

    We actively management the Council this way:

    1) Give them drafts of nonbinding policy resolutions we insist they put on the agenda for discussion, deliberation and passage in some form. That sets the tone for any issue and compels each council member to make their basic position known in advance.

    2) Prepare mini initiatives based on model ordinances from other communities, or create them ourselves. Gathering signatures for a mini-initiative is not going to be hard. We have not done that before, but this is an active management tool at our disposal.

    3) Compel an up/down vote on mini-initiative ordinance that began with the nonbinding policy resolution that set the stage.

    4) Then follow the Charter options. If council votes no, proceed to placing on ballot. If council votes yes, done deal.

    The court of public opinion is super important, and that voice is getting stronger all the time. But unless we start using the procedures available to TRANSPARENTLY MOVE the Council, we will not get the outcomes we want and Council will continue to be led by the nose in secret by staff and special interests.

    This isn't rocket science. This is how you create and manage a public policy agenda for "the rest of us."

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  53. Brian EhrmantrautMay 14, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    To 11:22am:

    Spot on!

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  54. "The objective is to "actively manage" the Council."

    Absolutely!!!

    Now let the process begin.
    What's first on the list?

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  55. Any update on when the Orcas "garbage in the woods" will be reopening? I just can't wait for the day when children of Orcas can flock to the exchange and paw through the garbage in hopes of a better tomorrow.

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  56. @11:22
    Governing by initative? In this County? The same group of goof-balls that gave us a the crazy new charter, a nuclear free zone, banned GMO crops because god knows there were thousands of acres of that, and came to within 65 votes of re-electing Lovell? You're out of your mind!

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  57. @11:49 AM

    Might just work if enough voters come out of the closet and hold the council and departmental staff publicly accountable.

    We could start with Charlie Zalmanek, Stan Matthews and Rene Beliveau.

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  58. @11:41 am--not sure what your perspective is, but it turns out that a large number of families RELY on clothes from the Exchange to clothe their kids each new year. County staff is doing what it does best--block and delay. TWO YEAR after we voted to get them out of the solid waste business.

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  59. @12:23
    Really? What's wrong with local 2nd hand stores that dont rely on subsidies?
    Orcas Exchange is no different than the brickworks.
    Government is so damned awful until you want to have your subsidized project on county property, then, they can't do anything soon enough.

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  60. Well, the difference is that second-hand stores still charge money and some of us don't want that when we donate clothing or other recyclable items.

    Where's the subsidy for The Exchange, exactly?

    At least it performs a useful function.

    As for not moving "fast" enough, only a County manager would consider two years "fast."

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  61. @12:38 PM

    What's with the attitude?
    Go open a second hand store. I have no problem with that.
    Let the Exchange do what it does.
    How does that hurt you?
    A great many useful items taken in by the exchange would not be acceptable to a second hand store and would have to go to a land fill. I have many wonderful things here that I found at the exchange. Many of them I would not have been able to buy new. Now those items are back in use and not in a land fill.

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  62. Are they really deciding on a county manager today? Really?

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  63. Yeah, it's true. The county works really slow, until we are in a stupor, then all of a sudden they work really, really fast. Then it's a done deal before we know what hit us. They got it down to a science. Maybe this is that B.A.S. thing they were talking about at the planning meetings, had nothing to do with the CAO.

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  64. @12:58
    I would love to open a second hand store on Orcas, but after witnessing the brutal collusionairy hammering of a local business seeking to expand, from the ugly hand of competing businesses seeking to quash the dreams of new enterprise, I have serious reservations.

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  65. So, when do we get to see the depositions from the "team" meetings? Did the council form these teams and who was the other team?

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  66. @2:01 PM

    What the hell are you talking about?

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  67. What happens next with the CAPR suit? Is that the end? Or can they or will they continue?

    Will this effect the outcome with the Growth Management board?

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  68. @2:38
    "what happens next with the CAPR lawsuit". My guess is nothing, unless the CAPR plaintiffs could be on the hook for legal fees.
    What's sad is that the county, early on, was entertaining settlement offers and discussions.
    Stomp all you want about "secret meetings" but CAPR lost in spectacular fashion, almost reminiscent of Sadam Hussien in 1991.
    You know who won? The attorney's. For 50k, they sure put up a hell of a fight.
    And honestly, if all this kept Pratt from getting those needed votes, then it was money well spent.

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  69. @3:53 PM

    Excellent observation.

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  70. Pretty expensive votes, and it ain't over.

    My guess is that we'll be hearing some legal opinions about it all and CAPR will pursue them if they can, possibly with some other outfits active on government transparency.

    But, yes, when you get to the point of throwing money at lawyers it is conceding a certain level of defeat. Namely, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And when things wind up in court the cure can sometimes be more deadly than the disease.

    Let's get ahead of the curve now. Preventative medicine is so much cheaper in the long run ...

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  71. @4:20 PM & 11:22 AM and The Ships at Sea.

    11:22 AM says, “The objective is to ‘actively manage’ the Council.” “Give them drafts of nonbinding policy resolutions we insist they put on the agenda for discussion, deliberation and passage in some form. That sets the tone for any issue and compels each council member to make their basic position known in advance.”
    Suggestion for the first nonbinding policy resolution draft (in preparation for the new aerial photo pics): Policy limitations on how the photography can be used in San Juan County and by whom.
    You know that is going to be the next objective on everyone’s mind as I seriously doubt this contract will end now. I would not be surprised to find that the agenda mills are already churning out just such documents.
    It is my understanding that there are attorneys and the like watching, and even participating in, the Heron blog. As 4:20 PM says, “Let's get ahead of the curve now.” What do we need to know and do?

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  72. "Give them drafts of non biding resolutions and insist they pass them"

    This sounds about as meaningful as the bicycles for fish campaign. But ok, I am ready for all the non binding resolutions in the world. In fact we should have a "non binding resolution committee".

    The non binding ordinances could start off "Whereas we would like to pretty please ask that people consider...."

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  73. @ 4:54 PM

    Yes, we can start with some privacy and information policy, that can be put in place long before Pictometry delivers their work product ... if they ever get the chance. Read back a bit on TH, this topic has come up before and the work should be well underway now. Recall that the City of Seattle recently went through a bit of a public dust-up over police drones. The Seattle City Council passed an ordinance as a result. It is a model, with much room for improvement, that we can think about adopting here.

    Sooooo....

    #1 is the nonbinding policy resolution to set the stage. (Just watching who pops out of the wood work around this will be really fun)

    #2 is proposing model legislation on county privacy and information policy.

    Remember there is only so much that can be done, anyone can lean out of a plane and take a picture at any angle. No problem. That is totally not what this is about.

    This is about codifying county citizen's reasonable expectations of privacy and actively managing how county policies and procedures will protect privacy, not invade it.

    Yes, it is a post 9/11 world. Yes we are a rural border county. All that it is course the case. But that is part of the reason we need to do this.

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  74. @5:03 PM

    If the resolutions are not the way, then what is?

    I really would like to see us get control of this mess. What say you?

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  75. @5:17 PM

    I like it. What's the actual first step? Is it already in the works? Who are the 'private types' in SJC that get these things done?

    ReplyDelete
  76. I heard the Pictometry planes flew today.. any confirmation on this?

    This is such a bummer.

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  77. Not to bore you all, but once a heavy political hitter in SF was asked by a reporter: "Why do the bicycle activist groups always seem to come out with something?" The answer: "Because they always show up!"

    This is where we are. We have to be more like the machine, only I hope with no nasty agenda. We need to have competent and practical people lined up to fill every power position that comes up.

    You think Zee and FOSJ don't?

    Frankly, we need to show up!


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  78. There are nearly 20 elected positions up for grabs in San Juan County in the next general election and filing week is THIS WEEK.

    Town of FH Mayor, two open council seats, numerous school board seats, port districts, cemetery districts and more.

    There is a reasonable amount of time to change your mind and pull out. But if you think you can make a difference, sign up or lose the chance, by Friday.

    Around here I am afraid those who show up, show up behind the scenes or commmittees. The 3 minute public access circus is not where its at.

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  79. 8:35, Agreed, showing up is mostly getting the horse ready.

    One really fine thing is now it has been shown that big money can be beat. Lisa Byers, remember her, blew off, what? 28K and lost!

    Mr. Gaylord is another matter entirely. With his links to the established legal community, and yes,this group does actively fund each other and curry exchanges, I'd not be surprised to see a number North of 40K.

    No question the guy is at the bottom of the sled hill, but given his auto vote (the people who always vote for someone they have voted for before...the incumbent advantage...) this bugger is going to be hard to beat.

    Any local eagles wanting to get in the batting cage, better do it now.

    Charles Zalmanek, on the other hand would be easy to beat. He has no voice. He just charges the living shit out of each and every property owner without even a mild thank you. AND, then he falls head over heels in love with the scum bags at Picometry. ANYTHING, to make a buck, right Charlie? (You think that is all there is to your job?)

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  80. @ 11:39 Council is about to do the same thing again. "Staff" and consultants will tell them to hire one of the bureaucrats, and then they will approve a hefty contract, no doubt with a golden parachute, just in case the Council EVER decides to fire someone, and it's him.

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  81. That which is enclosed in iron and letter in a fish,
    Out will go one who will then make war,
    He will have his fleet well rowed by sea,
    Appearing near Orcas land.

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  82. On Friday in Port Angeles, a man named Barry Sweagle was arrested for taking a bulldozer to 4 neighboring houses after a long running dispute over a fence.

    Barry had enough of nosy neighbors and petty lawsuits.
    Barry is locked up on 1m bail.

    FREE BARRY SWEAGLE!!!!!!!!

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  83. First head scratcher has appeared over the recent CAPR suite decision in Guardian this morning

    http://www.islandguardian.com/archives/00004863.html

    Wow. Nobody's right if everybody's wrong ... or something ...

    But, as a previous commenter noted, if simply running this lawsuit helped defeat Pratt and by association Byers it was money well spent consider the potential "value" of an appeal in helping to unseat Gaylord ...

    Hey its just money.

    But grounds for appeal appear pretty solid.

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  84. @ 8:05 AM

    Looks like the judge figured he was right and said everyone else was wrong. Besides if anything needed to be cured, it had been cured because the Council passed the CAO besides no one could recall anything anyway. Plus the Charter change outlawed this kind of behavior. Does this sum this up?

    What a punt. Team meetings huh? Secret Team meetings methinks.

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  85. Something got lost, maybe on purpose. Seems there was no motion or action by the full council to organize this committee (gatherers) so since it was not mandated by a vote of the council, then the "committee" was like smoke in thin air.

    Well, dear judge, who in heck decided who was in the committee and who was not? Was that vital council tape missing? Lovel called up the others in the middle of the night? They volunteered? The three originally showed up out of the blue and slammed and locked the door, before anyone else could get in?

    Meetings by invitation only. What a deal and look what the meetings got us.

    Thank God we won't have Lovel bossing the next round of CAO's.

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  86. Lovel doesn't have a diploma, oh wait she does.
    These charter amendments are illegal, oh wait, they are not.
    These secret meetings were illegal, oh wait, they aren't.

    Maybe the legal stragety here could use some "active management. "

    If we were to keep score with court decisions, Randy is ahead.

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  87. Does the county council have to pick a county manager even if none of the currant choices are what we need? Seems it would be worth it to keep looking.

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  88. I wonder if there was some kind of Council motion/resolution establishing the CAO Implementation Committee. Had there been a decent policy resolution hashed out in open council as to role, responsibility, appointments, limits, we all could have gone back to see what the "marching orders" really were.

    Surely there was something??

    The thing about superior courts is that, while one level above district court in some respects they are local courts of limited jurisdiction.

    Superior courts sound grand, but spend most of the time hashing out domestic disputes of one sort or another.

    This case needs to be kicked up stairs to get any traction. Superior Courts are not in business to muck about in County business. They are in business to "keep a lid on things."

    Which is what this judge did.

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  89. @12:03
    I must have missed that day in law school and government class where the role of superior court is defined as "keeping a lid on things". Can you cite that reference? Maybe it's in the constitution and I just missed it there too.
    Put the Blacks Law Dictionary down and step back.
    I'm going long on tin foil.

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  90. @ 12:17 PM

    Well, you might have learned these lessons interning over the summer in the real world or working for Randy.

    Keeping a lid on things is what this judge just did.

    Now, if you want to argue principles of American jurisprudence, fine but go chase flying saucers elsewhere.



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  91. Actually, I over heard a few of the usual suspects the other day talking about how Michael Larkspur engineered the court's decision. It's amazing what this operator can do. Why do you do think it took 2 weeks longer to render a decision than what the judge originally claimed? Watch out for this guy. He really did step out of a black helicopter.

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  92. You have revealed your hypocrisy, folks. "If it [referring to CAPR's frivolous lawsuit] kept Pratt from getting elected, it was money well spent." So, shut up about the reported campaign contributions of those you oppose, already, and admit that you will stop at nothing to have your way. At the very least, it is starting to become clear who has the hidden agenda and the long-term underhanded strategy. If anyone is unraveling, it is you all. If anyone is trying to be The Machine, it is you. But your machine seems to be coming apart at the first bump in the road. This is fun to watch.

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  93. Ooohhh you're beautiful when you're angry. And so strong. Your vague over generalizations, demonization of the other, refusal to address clearly expressed issues topped off with paranoia of some vast conspiracy is just wonderful. But stick around you're part of the real community conversation too, you are welcome here.

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  94. Lovel, is that you?

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  95. Has anyone heard a word out of Lovel since the election?

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  96. "All of us are beggars here."

    William James

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  97. Last laugh? I'm not so sure Lovel supporters or anyone should be happy about what has gone down here.

    I really don't think there are many people who believe the CAO's produced by Lovel and crew are worth a damn. (Even the people who claimed to want them, don't want them now.)

    These were not really your basic far out fringe types who brought this lawsuit; conservative and from the right side of things, that's true, but not unreliable crazies.

    Lovel Pratt did some remarkable manipulation to get what she thought, wrongly, was right for her.

    And then the part I can't abide, the participants lied one after another about their part in this badly failed enterprise.

    One would have hoped that ANY judge would have looked at all those "Sorry, I can't recall," 's and concluded that something smells bad here and ruled with some thought about that.

    Here's to a judge who will never get a vote from me. Not because he ruled against the the complaint, but because he looked for and found a flub to base his ruling on.

    I believe there is nothing to be proud of or happy about here no matter where you stand.

    Item Last: Will the comment person citing this Michael Larkspur personage who is an owner of judges etc. be so kind as to give a bit more ID on this "person." If not, I'll continue to assume this is another effort to make the TH look nuts.

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  98. Has anyone noticed the graffiti that has been showing up on the roads of San Juan County lately?? Three pronged cross's etc.?? This seems to be some gang graffiti, FOSJ, PSP, CD&P, don't know for sure but we need to irradicate these symbols from our community, so that our tourist economy does not suffer. So all civilly minded citizens should gather their spray paint cans and cover these monstrosities and make sure that our tourist's don't come to the conclusion that its not safe to come here because they might be accosted by some gang or the other on the Island's.

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  99. @9:28
    You do know what those markings are right?

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  100. Now, now, I think we should be tolerant even toward gang graffiti. Let's just move it to a less noticeable location. Every few days.

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  101. Just tell the ecotourists they are ancient Coast Salish hieroglyphs.

    The ecotourists will swoon, throw money, tell all their friends back home and bring more ecotourists.

    Kwiath can hold expensive educational workshops.

    Get out those spray cans and adorn the Brickworks.

    Economic Development!

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  102. 8:46 p.m. "Here's to a judge who will never get a vote from me."

    That's true, unless you are an Island County resident. They are the ones who are eligible to vote for him.

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  103. Why is Randy having conversations, the counties latest feel good word sort of like mitigate, with Pictometry? I thought that was Stan Matthews job. Why is he trying to alter the contract didn't the council say to cancel or put it on hold for now. If Randy just alters it are we supposed to consider that a win and a good job by county staff. I still don't understand how the county could send a deposit on a contract that only one party had signed. Both parties should have signed copies before money changes hands. Would not the contract be invalid because we did not have a fully signed copy.

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  104. @ 10:07 AM

    Thanks for the update. Sooo. Does that mean the status of the flights are currently on-hold (such a nice cloudy day!) while Randy "mitigates?"

    Or are they flying as a previous comment heard a day or so back? Boy is it hard to find out what's going on with this deal.

    If the word mitigation is being tossed around, that presumes awareness of an identified risk to the County right? And, that would be Randy's purview. I am wondering how to mitigate Randy.

    What are the risks to the County now being addressed?

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  105. Which department was Stan head of before and why did he leave? To stressed or something? I can't remember except it seemed weird to me at the time.

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  106. Randy do not sign or agree to anything until you run it by the council.Can you handle that basic negotiating skill?

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  107. So, if I understand this correctly, it’s as if a Porn Film Company came to town and offered to shoot 3D video of our wives for HEALTH reasons and but WE, as individuals could not see the videos unless we PAID the film company to RENT them.

    The Federal Government, certain County Entities and the Roche Harbor Resort get to watch them for free ANY TIME THEY WANT and anyone else who ponies up enough cash gets to watch too.

    It sounds to as if this Porn Film Company is in the EXTORTION business, pure and simple.

    Oh, but it gets better. WE, the taxpayers, get to pay UP FRONT to the tune of a THIRD OF A MILLION DOLLARS for the privilege of being the victims of this extortion – yet WE AREN’T ALLOWED TO WATCH A SINGLE FRAME OF THAT MOVIE.

    All of this, when Google Earth offers pretty much the same thing now for FREE.

    Am I missing something?

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  108. Randys only conversation with Pictometry is to just say no we don't have the money.

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  109. Maybe Randy would handle this differently if he was told he would be fired if he flubbed this deal. He probably called them and told them how embarrassed he was. Bet Pictometry would not hire such a lightweight to handle their contracts.

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  110. @ 11:35 AM

    Yes that sounds right (I hope). If the contract is subject to "availability of funds" which is a pretty good off ramp actually, then the Council simply does not appropriate the funds.

    Was an emergency budget appropriation made? Will this be a budget item in the next fiscal year?

    If not, deal is done. Bye bye. Is it that easy?

    Stan was hired in a new county position of Communication Manager directly reporting to Pete Rose. Stan handled press releases, the county website and online county news, public records requests and public outreach.

    Thus he was a natural to move into the position of information services manager, the IT department now elevated to the Ministry of Information. Excellent fit.

    The porn analogy is really apt. We could call all this "Permit Porn." You will find some folks are really obsessed with this kind of imagery, it really gets them off. It results from growing accustomed to casual trespassing, disrespect of the privacy and property rights of others.

    In other words, this Permit Porn is a result of the world view brought to the island by the Friends of the San Juans.

    They are just peeping Toms, really. Creepy. Ewehh.


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  111. Why won't the county give us better information that is current? They leave us no choice but to speculate. It is one thing to make a mistake, it is another thing to try to hide or deny it.

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  112. 11:29. #2. Nope, you're not missing a thing; in fact you have it exactly correct. OUCH!!! (better put that shirt back on, Honey.)

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  113. OK wait a sec. STOP THE FLIGHTS. Then we'll talk.

    All I think I'm hearing so far is OK fine we'll just sell the obliques to third parties but not you?

    We want the Council to tell Pictometry that there will be no further funding appropriated until the County enacts privacy and information POLICY consistent with our Comprehensive Plan.

    Just stop. Give it year to do the policy.

    Keep the sixteen grand. We'll furlough the IT department to cover the cost.

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  114. Every single step has been bungled and yet they blunder on. After a certain amount of time a crisis is no longer a crisis, it's just the way it is.

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  115. 2:57. Correct. It is totally amazing. Nobody ever seems to have the guts to take issues head on.

    They dilly, they dally, (and you hit the nail dead on,) then it's "that's the way it is."

    Kinda sick.

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  116. @9:49 PM
    "Nobody ever seems to have the guts to take issues head on."
    Have you considered who the audience is here?
    Who's kidding who?
    You and they are posting "anonymous." Head on!

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  117. @ 10:14 PM

    Yes. For the time being that is true. We got the government we deserve, being a democracy. Now we have to fix it. They meet in secret, we're anonymous. Ironic.

    @ 2:12 PM sort of sums it up for me ...

    "All of us are beggars here."

    William James

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  118. I must say that I have posted non anonymously on several local web and paper news sites. Quite often I get deleted or not even posted even thou I am being civil. So what's the difference if you use your name or not as long as your voice is heard. Plus the only identity I can figure out how to use on TH is anonymous!

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  119. Just great!
    The obliques may be removed from the contract but Pictometry will still shoot them for licensing to everyone but the County. The "friends" will attach photos to their complaints, photos of your property which you don't even have access to (except maybe through Google Earth).
    At this point, they care only that nothing prevents the oblique images from being taken.

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  120. Anyone catch Kavistos blog demonizing the fire chiefs for their recent display of fiscal responsibility?
    If I didn't know her to be such an incapable hack, I would accuse here of the Alinsky mocking technique.
    She's throwing pencils at the fire chiefs now.
    What a Dorf.

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  121. Through the branch of the valiant personage Of lowest Lopez: because of the unhappy father Honors, riches, travail in his old age, For having believed the advice of a simple man.

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  122. @ 5:38 AM

    Shrieking at professional and volunteer, nonpolitical first responders. Right.

    Screaming at firefighters who put out fires, not trespassing like the Friends or drooling over online Permit Porn on their way to a fully involved incident. No, these folks have real work to do.

    I don't know. At some we have to ask you Sharon, at the end of the day: "Have you no shame?"

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  123. Picometry is the ‘standard bearer’ issue for much that is wrong in this County.
    I remember once reading here that many of the citizens here in San Juan County were discovering what they have in common regardless of their political beliefs, economic position or geographic location. This is a good thing.
    Take a moment to consider a few of the big issues we all have in common today.
    San Juan County department heads and staff are completely out of control.
    The new three-person County Council is made up of one liberal member, one conservative member and one ‘whatever is best for me’ member.
    There are several very well-funded and connected liberal groups that are organized and have a deceptive but effective message. They are not only well-funded and connected outside of San Juan County but united within the County.
    There are two very unhappy ladies who are also well-funded and not about to go away.
    On the other hand we have the citizens who are aligned with Trojan Heron, TrustIslanders, Common Sense Alliance, Citizen’s Alliance for Property Rights, San Juan County Republican Party and Island Guardian. Certainly not as well-funded, organized or united as the left.
    Here’s the bottom line. If all these groups and their supporters (including those still in the closet) do not unite and come out swinging hard very quickly they will not be able to withstand the backlash that is soon to come. If the County Council, County department heads and County staff (who by the way are all still in place) believe that the other side cannot get it together and is weak, they will come back stronger and harder.
    Think about it. If you are over there, what would scare you?

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  124. To the 5:38 a.m. poster. I read the article. I don't understand your post. From what I read she's advocating for better safer equipment for the firefighters. Equipment your guy - Jarman, the Sheriff, the fire chiefs and firefighters want. It's the politicians who don't want it. Where's the shame?

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  125. I agree. Looks like you guys are even against fire fighting. What's up with that?

    Take a deep breath. You're definitely coming off the rails.

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  126. @1:16pm this is why the hiring of the county manager is so important. We are down to two individuals. I think I know who the two are based on my attending of the meetings held last week. (my guess Is David Wilbrecht and Suzanne Sinclair and my guess is David gets the nod.) They clearly stood above the rest. However, I am not convinced (and very hard to tell from a 5 min chat) if either of them have the stomach to deal with the issues at hand. Regardless of what side of any issue one may fall, new blood throughout the halls of government is required if we want any chance to see the majority in middle be better served. This hiring is also an important step in this Ariel Photo issue. Now or int he future, the county will beef up its ability to deal with code enforcement etc. The real question is can they do it in a transparent manner that is consistently administered. To do so they have to fix the first real issue and that is the application process up front. It is far too easy in this county at the moment to ask for forgiveness instead of permission to do something. Keeping the same dysfunctional application process while improving enforcement ability is ass backwards. It divides and hurts a community is so many ways.

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  127. @1:43 and @2:14

    Maybe you're looking at the wrong article....

    http://www.sanjuanislander.com/island-newshome/more/san-juan-county-council/5919-money-to-burn-over-privacy-worries-and-politics

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  128. Gerry,
    Unless the County Council, County department heads and County staff are held accountable by more than just a few, they all will continue to feel they have the power to do whatever they want. Only when a lot of people with faces and names stand up to them when they truly feel the pressure and change their ways of doing business.
    The answer is not easy but it is simple. Everyone out we can to stand and be counted. Have as many as possible of like-minded individuals on the boards and committees. Get as many as possible to be watchful of upcoming issues and network to inform everyone. Then let those who know how right the proposals and counterproposals to the County on each and every one of those issues. Then everyone must follow up with emails, letters, phone calls and personal appearances at all of the Council, board, committee and private group meetings held in the county concerning these issues. When possible apply pressure to the state and federal agencies that may be of concern.
    I’m not talking about the few who have taken the lead for us in the county now. I am speaking to everyone who seeks freedom and change in San Juan County. It will take a lot of local names and faces out there in a united front to make them truly understand we mean business and can back our play.
    As to the new County manager, an outsider was a given. Anyone in the County would be capable of doing the job would be too deeply tied to the left or right. It had to be someone with some bureaucratic experience. The 3 Council persons currently seated are all business persons who need a County manager who understands the bureaucratic system on the County level as well as the state and federal.

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  129. I tend to agree, for the most part public administration jobs hire in from elsewhere. School principals, librarians, fire chiefs, county department heads, planners, etc.

    The perception is that fewer outside ties will provide more objective performance. Is that really true? Why not elect a judge from far away? Or a Sheriff?

    And then, the common wisdom is that such a position has a shelf life of typically 5-6 years or so unless everyone lucks out. So we go off and hire new principals, librarians, fire chiefs, county admin etc about twice a decade.

    Because we don't believe we have the local talent, skill sets and professional ethics to handle much of this kind of work from islanders.

    Yet we elect local professionals as auditors, assessors and all the rest.

    This does not make a great deal of sense to me, though I understand the rationale and know that has been the way of things here for a long time.

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  130. @ 5:57 PM
    Your observations are actually spot on. Most positions in the County should be promotions from within when possible. All things being equal, work experience, education and whatever else matches one to the position, the local should almost always get the nod. But then again sometimes the “Peter principle” kicks into gear and available local talent may have reached its peak. Also, often the thinking is, someone from a larger, more experienced and advanced community may be able to bring the skills and information gathered there to San Juan County. The County manager position would fall under that line of thinking. I think the skills needed for positions like a judge or Sheriff favor the local. Also as you note those are elected positions and would go only to the local. Were the other hired positions you note, elected positions, they would go to locals too.
    Regardless of hired, elected or volunteer, it is up to us to manage our local government.

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  131. Orcas Issues still begging for money. Maybe that left-wing yoyo will fold. There's always hope.

    From Doyle's web:
    "Orcas Issues Can’t Do It Without You!"

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  132. Gerry,

    Yikes! You actually think that this council would consider hiring Dave WilBrecht?

    This is a guy who was run out of his last job after an unspecified suspension and then a legal threat against the jurisdiction that led to a undisclosed pay-off for his "resignation".

    The fact that he made it through the original vetting process is downright scary.

    And yet... He may be in the final two!?

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  133. @1:43 and @2:14

    I get it now, this is a pretty old piece as this story goes, back a week or two.

    Still I wish this San Juan Islander thingee would stick to high school sports and nature walks. Out of its league on this other stuff, seems to get upset easily.

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  134. @7:19PM I am not aware of any of his history it just what my gut tells me. I could easily be way off the mark.

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  135. Just wondering. Does The county contract with Prothman require us to pay a percentage of the new county managers salary to Prothman even if we hire someone they did not recommend. I didn't get a wedding invitation. When did San Juan County and Prothman get married?

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  136. @11:36
    There was no ceremony. In Washington, there is common law marriage. They have been in bed long enough to be legally married.

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  137. @ 11:41 Thanks for clearing that up for me now I don't feel left out.

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  138. The hiring of mainlanders for every single important staff position (Manager/Administrator, Public Works Director, Solid Waste Administrator, Planners, etc) is a real problem. It happens over and over. Even when there are qualified local candidates. This is the hiring philosophy of the HR Manager. To fix this problem, Pamela Morais needs to go. Hire an islander for the HR position & fill future openings and vacancies with locals & the local government will start to reflect the local community.

    This is simple.

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  139. Sometimes it seems like only good luck will save you. Who could have divined Patty Miller would become so lost. And, she was local.

    Now King Fitch always seemed to me to be a reasonable clear thinker and adviser to all who needed help.

    He was running FH for something like 24 years and by all accounts I've heard, he did an excellent job.

    Anybody know where he came from?

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  140. 3300 something adults voted for Lovel. Can't really fault folks who look beyond the local pool.

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  141. My mind is a sieve but seems to me King Fitch moved to the islands way back when, worked as an accountant for some years, then took the FH job. See back then it was simple. Settle in, build stake, do good work, move up.

    As to Lovel, who said she was local? Just kidding, sort of.

    King was a good fit and did a good job. And a good example of hiring up local talent at the time. Don't think he was a product of a national search through a headhunter outfit.

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  142. Ring, ring, ring. Hello officer. I wish to report a missing heron..

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  143. Time to start posting eel grass salad recipes?

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  144. Now Randy and his staff has spent three weeks rewriting the CAOs.

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  145. No worries, just another team meeting with no public participation.

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  146. Secret teams, gatherings in the moonlight, on a warm spring evening so fair, savoring midnight mushrumps and telling tales of drunkenness and cruelty.

    But now I'm sitting here, sipping on my ice cold beer, lazing on a sunny afternoon ... watching for their next move I know is coming ...

    Ahhh save me save me save me from this squeeezzee!!

    I gotta big fat County trying to break me!

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  147. I wonder if the county is going to enter in to yet another dubious contract?
    Is the TH going to run a story on the Orcas Exchange? aka Orcas Recycling Services? aka Garbage in the woods.
    Seems like they are changing their name from OE to ORS. Why you may ask...
    Something to do with owing tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes and penalties....
    Not a bad idea, change the name to stay ahead of the tax man.
    This is analogous to jumping from job to job to keep the child support payments from catching up. Dirtbag move.

    Garbage in the woods subsidies. Great.
    Couldn't the OE at least find a grant?

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  148. @ 6:33 PM

    "Something to do with owing tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes and penalties...."

    Do you have documentation?

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  149. Free ECK. Please. We need further insight and guidance.

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  150. @ 6:33 pm. Not sure where you live, but folks on Orcas don't consider The Exchange "garbage in the woods."

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  151. Word on the street is that the exchange has misinterpreted their status as a non-profit to mean that they are sales tax exempt. At issue (allegedly) is that every time someone "purchased" goods from the exchange, technically sales tax was due.

    Unlike a garage sale, which is a one time thing, the exchange is a business selling goods, and goods must be taxed at the resale level.

    If this is the case, the likely outcome is generally that a small settlement is negotiated with the state and the business model just changes a little moving forward. If it really is 10's of thousands, then I would guess the state would take 10% as a settlement and be happy with the business running smoothly from here on out.

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  152. You must not be from orcas . The exchange has always been under the ORS umbrella. It is beloved institution for thirty years. The only misrepresentation here is your word on the street opinion. Any money they had they gave to other non profit causes.

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  153. No question that this is a beloved institution.

    The question is:

    Was money exchanged for goods?

    If so, sales tax was due. Even if it was a trade/barter situation, sales tax is due on the value.

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  154. Word on the street is that if you think the exchange is the biggest problem san juan county faces is that you are trying to distract from the larger issues threatening our island lifestyle.

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  155. Once again the sticky fingers of government tries to destroy a simple endeavor. Now that Randy and his staff are done rewriting the CAOs he can now launch a full scale investigation of the people trying to recycle things. There must be a law against that, if not he must make one. Can't let the people think they have control of any phase of their existence. Especially after the county ran solid waste handling into the ground.

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  156. "Word on the street."

    If you have the facts to support your claims, put them up.
    I seriously doubt you do or you would have done so by now.
    How sad this is the best you can do. How sad your life is so shallow.
    I hope some day your sad life improves and you find better things to do than this,

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  157. Sad sad. Tut tut. No no. Pitiful. Disturbing. Uncivil. My my. Shocking. Gambling in Casablanca. Just shocking.

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