Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fortress Conservation = FU Conservation

In the last post, I referred to the Islands Trust as the Canadian version of the Friends of the San Juans. Some commenters have pointed out that my characterization of the Islands Trust is not accurate. I admit, the Islands Trust is structured differently from the Friends of the San Juans, since Islands Trust is actually part of the provincial government. Some have pointed out that the Islands Trust consists of democratically elected officials. Yes, they are "democratically elected" in a way that parallels the recent vociferous concerns about our Charter, in that the small islands participating in the Islands Trust have substantial and disproportionate influence.

Perhaps, I should have said that the Islands Trust may be what the Friends of the San Juans aspires to be as it labors in league with the Puget Sound Partnership, Stewardship Network, and Northwest Straits Commission ... to be a formal governmental body with genuine clout. In the hope of getting my facts straight on the Islands Trust, I'd like to provide a description of them per the viewpoint and research of one of their constituents, Elizabeth Nickson, a Salt Spring Island resident and the former European Bureau Chief of Life. This is what Nickson has to say about Islands Trust in her most recent book.
     Salt Spring and its four hundred sister islands big and small are run, for the most part, by a land-use outfit called the Islands Trust, the much quoted mandate of which is "to preserve and protect." Founded in a summer graduate seminar at a local university in 1974 out of a fear that the pastoral islands scattered between Vancouver and Vancouver Island were about to be overrun by developers, the proposal for it was rushed through a session of the provincial legislature and its structure codified.  The trust practices what is called fortress conservation, the typical form of conservation everywhere, which involves locking down as much land as possible and practicing "natural regulation," meaning no one touches it. Ever. Even "disturbing vegetation" is disallowed.  For most of recorded history, humans have practiced adaptive management of resources --- when a problem crops up, we solve it. If we want a landscape, we create one; a working forest, ditto.  Rangeland, farmland, townscapes --- all can be managed for bounty and health of resources and people. Natural regulation cropped up in the 1960s in almost all land-use agencies in the world and swiftly became the preferred method by which all resources and land were to be managed. Over the past five decades, natural regulation has been adopted almost everywhere. Nature knows best. Man is a virus and a despoiler and must be controlled.
     The Islands Trust went on to serve as a template for many similar organizations all over the world, including the California Coastal Commission and the Cape Cod Commission. The trust claims it is unique, but it is not, at least not anymore, and like its fellows, it differs from typical democratic government principally by subverting the normal processes of democracy in the name of good green land use.
     There are thirteen larger islands in the trust area, to which the smaller ones are attached for administrative purposes, and those larger islands elect two trustees each. When I say big, it's relative. Most of the twelve other islands have a population between four hundred and one thousand, but they each have two trustees. An off-island trustee comes in for the monthly town meeting to vote, breaking any tie. All land-use decisions are first voted on on the island and then considered at a quarterly meeting of all twenty-six trustees, called the Trust Council, which moves with all the glacial formality of the League of Nations. There is, you have no doubt gathered, no proportional representation at the trust. Salt Spring has only 8 percent of the final vote on the way any of its land is used, and in rural areas, land use is just about everything.
     The trust is a blue-chip organization; it is expensive, head-quartered in British Columbia's capital city, with forty-five full-time employees and a steady flow of consultants. From its offices streams an unending flood of glossy propaganda about ecosystems saved and dangers advancing that require more land to be saved and more regulations placed on private land, and of course on all waters, whether runoff ditch or ocean.
     Every few years, each island puts itself through a revision of its Official Community Plan. Carefully selected islanders serve on committees examining each "problem" within the trust region: affordable housing, tourism, economic development, water. Environmental movement goals are codified and tested during these thrash-tests of "participatory democracy" --- goals like limiting house sizes to less than three thousand square feet, for instance. Or requiring a permit and the consultation of a registered environmental professional ($2,500 fee to be borne by the applicant) to plant a garden within 100 feet of any body of water, man-made or natural. Or requiring a 150-foot setback from the ocean for any house, and if a house already within that 150 feet burns, it cannot be rebuilt in the same place --- well, tough luck for the stinking-rich oceanfront homeowner who just met Nemesis.
     The outcome of a year or so of such meetings, displays, and "community consultation" is an astonishing maze of regulation, the result of which is stasis and worse. Despite living within easy reach of three gleaming modern cities filled with active wealthy-ish men and women, with the exception of Salt Spring, which is graying rapidly, every island's population is in steady decline, losing young families every month. On the smaller islands, as the young leave and the economy deflates faster, even the elderly, deprived of the services that the young provide and fund, leave too.
     While the trust is supposed to deal only with land use, in typical bureaucratic mission creep it calls itself a local government. But in fact, all the other multiplying details of actual government are handled by a regional director, who spends his life dashing from committee to committee, all staffed by volunteers. ... Salt Spring is typically described as an argument surrounded by water, as, I was to find, is every other community into which the movement has inserted its brand of land-use management.
Does any of this "democracy" sound familiar? And we send Councillors to meet with these people every year?


  1. Some of us here in the San Juans have long heard and ruefully chuckled to the joke: "An island is a lot of strong opinion surrounded by water." The source of that joke is Salt Spring Island, many years ago.

    Using a process called amalgamation, any number of outlining Canadian cities adjacent to an urban metropolis have been unincorporated and absorbed into a single government, often to eliminate duplication of tax bases for essential services such as public transportation, fire, etc.

    Just north of us the amalgamation process resulted in the 1966 federation of over a dozen municipalities and electoral areas into the Capital Regional District. This includes the Gulf Islands.

    Next time you visit the Gulf Islands, look for the public transportation, the bus system. Pretty impressive. Why don't we have public transportation in the San Juans? Well, the Capital Regional District has close to 400,000 people. The tax base is a bit larger.

    But on the other hand, there is no serious local government in the Gulf Islands. And, the Islands Trust has long been presumed to actually be that government. Go over there ask the locals, is there any equivalent to locally elected county government in the Gulf Islands? If they even understand the question, they will say no, it is the Islands Trust that is our government now. And the Islands Trust is a unit of the larger Capital Regional District.

    So the next time an ill advised "quorum" of our new county council decides to meet for lunch to chat up some really interesting cross-border governance and environmental policy issues for the larger Salish Sea, ask them to please post that special meeting time, date and location, so the public can attend.

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

  2. Say Brian McClerren had won and he and Bob Jarmin were meeting privately to plan a trip to the mainland to attend a seminar to remind them that property rights in these islands are governed by the US Constitution rather than the old world King Can Confiscate system the Islands Trust is dedicated to.
    Wonder what Jamie Stephens would think about that?

  3. Replace with
    Wonder what Rick Hughes would be saying.

  4. @ 7:18 PM

    I seriously doubt that would happen. I could easily imagine however, McClerren and Jarmin voting to hold constituency lunches and meet ups around the county as special public meetings to really talk to people. And I can imagine Jamie driving his Jaguar to SEATAC for a junket to DC to confer on the new National Monument Management Plan. Only as a private citizen of course.

    Let's also remind ourselves of Proposition #3 to the charter amendments. Wasn't that the one that basically said, no hey really, no more meeting outside the public sphere. Really. Stop it. We mean it.

  5. @7:18
    Does/would it matter what they are talking about? With this 2/3 = majority, this should not be happening. Is this right?

  6. Correct. These public officials, because of the new quorum of three, need to avoid each other in the county parking lot at the end of the day. If they encounter each other in a hardware store, they must turn heel and walk away. They cannot sit together on the ferry.

    And of course this has been the Prosecuting Attorney's advice to boards of local jurisdictions for a long, long time. If an accidental encounter in town would create an ad hoc majority - just apologize, smile, wave, walk away ...

    Wish to hell the CRC had not done such a disservice. All that was needed was to eliminate the super majority of six down to five, so decisions could be made and work done. And of course, two could meet for lunch anytime they wanted as two was not a quorum. But, now it is a violation.

    All the CRC needed to do was recommend eliminating the Friday Harbor council position.

    But, back to the Islands Trust.

  7. @11:21 - You have the idiot el-Gordo to thank for the CRC fiasco.

    Buffoonery only begins to describe this ill-conceived stunt.

    But hey, the TH "Actively Manage" the council with the hoard who show up to council meetings and "surveil-ins" oh wait, no one gives a crap and no one shows up...LMAO

  8. Some commenters are missing the point that it isn't just prop 1 preventing meetings between two councilmen. It's prop 3. Even if prop 1 had failed, or even if prop 1 called for 5 councilmen, prop 3 would still require all get togethers of councilmen to be public.

    Rick and Jamie didn't "just meet for lunch." They met to discuss what they would say to a foreign government entity on behalf of San Juan County. The "lunch" part is immaterial. They met to conduct county business, and it just happened to be over lunch so they go caught.

    That's illegal because of prop 3. Sure, sure, cut 'em some slack yadda yadda. That's San Juan county to a "t", where all we are is slack. That's the SJC way.

    These guys ain't role models for reform. Just sayin'.

  9. A clear majority of islanders voted for the changes to the charter. A 5-person council would not pass on San Juan because they would be underrepresented by population. If Orcas has 2 and SJ has 2 the proposition would not pass and wouldn't stand up to a challenge. If countywide voting is fair for the election of auditor, treasurer, etc. and all other ballot measures, it should work for the most important representatives of the the people.
    Some people still can't accept the will of the majority and want to attack the CRC chair for what the electorate voted for. We fight about lots of issues but it seems silly to fight about the number of council members when there are much more important things at stake. Get over it.

  10. 12:05 AM

    They're baaack.

    What do you want? What would you have us do?

  11. Nothing says that 2 of the 3 council members can't have coffee or lunch together, but they cannot discuss county business. Trust them to do so?

  12. @ 8:27 AM

    Transparency promotes trust.

    If there were 5 council critters, two can go play golf.

    If there are three council critters, a conversation between two off the record is not smart.

    Why is lunch not a meeting?

    Anyway, interesting that this post that provides some information about the Islands Trust is morphing into a debate about off the record meetings of public officials.

  13. I was visiting on Saturna Island some years ago, staying at a B&B run by a small vineyard. Small restaurant. Impossible not to over-hear conversation with the only other group of diners. Seemed to be some significant wealth at that other table, conversation started to focus on water rights, and the sharing of strategies between the San Juans and Gulf islands on how to create willing sellers by litigating or otherwise tying up their water rights in red tape. I remember one of the diners pointing out that the process would typically take about five years before the property owner would capitulate. Sounded like several of the diners owned private planes and junketed back and forth across the border frequently. This was pre-9/11.

    Also reminded that the Friends of the San Juans was established about five years after the Islands Trust was.

    Any other stories out there? Starting to read Elizabeth Nickson's website. Remarkably good writer.

  14. Did the tax cheats at Orcas Exchange get their mess fixed yet?
    I can't wait for yet another publicly subsidized project to get underway. Basically it's the brickworks with garbage instead of vegetables.

  15. Yikes! Elizabeth Nickson's blog is like reading 1984 for the San Juan Islands.

    Scary stuff. And we are in the middle of it. It's happening now.

  16. Amazing, just when most thought the TH might have gotten a wood shed blow back about not being completely spot on with the "facts" along comes this completely revealing connection with our dear friends (oops) in Canada.

    Good work TH!

    The most upsetting part of this reading for me is the correlation, long denounced by John Evans, of the loss of young families and the graying of the population.

    Salt Spring has a larger population than SJI and I had felt it was what we should try for here. (The place IS more vibrant.) Now I'm thinking we need to drive for age diversity and jobs that support that rather than normal population growth, which it seems we will never get anyway.

  17. As to the number of council members kerfuffle.

    Perhaps the THREE accomplish nothing as compared to the SIX who damaged everything they touched and generated huge associated costs with their God awful decision making any middle school student would have seen as bereft of common sense.

    Seems a pretty clear choice. But, the choice is not the number, it is the people.

  18. @9:34pm
    You may enjoy reading Nickson. Too bad she is disgraced journalist.
    Do a search for Elizabeth Nickson Plagarism.
    Using material from others is always legit, just not when you try to pass it off as your own.
    Plagarism? Original work is the holy grail for journalists. This is right up there on the level of hypocrisy of V. Burnett.
    At least the local members of the "resistance" (<---still makes me snicker) use their own material.

  19. @5:12

    At least Nickson probably knows how to spell "plagiarism."

    While you're familiarizing yourself on plagiarism, you might as well inform yourself about the plagiarism scandals involving the Huffington Post too.

    In 2002, Nickson used five slightly modified sentences from a Jonah Goldberg article from 2001 and inadvertently failed to properly attribute the original author. Goldberg did not complain. The National Post (a conservative Canadian paper), dropped her nonetheless, but the incident hasn't "disgraced" her. Here are those sentences:

    Kim Basinger is 'allergic' to the sun and requires an assistant to carry an umbrella to protect her on the off chance she might be exposed to dangerous solar radiation. Sylvester Stallone once refused to continue with an interview until his hotel room was painted a more 'likable' peach. Mike Myers almost quit the filming of Wayne's World because he didn't have any margarine for his bagel. Sean Penn made an assistant swim the dangerous and polluted currents of New York's East River just to bring him a cigarette. Jennifer Lopez is just one of the many stars who does not permit her employees to look her in the eyes.

    To that I will add, "@5:12 tried to bring up a red herring just so he/she could distract readers from the facts about Islands Trust and their Friends, including our Council's multiyear collaboration with Islands Trust."

    Anyone who likes is free to plagarize [sic] the above additional sentence, if they care to.

  20. @5:12

    What do you want?

    What would you have us do?

    Next you'll be claiming this journalist is funded by the Koch Brothers.

    For a "disgraced" journalist she certainly has remained quite active and well published since that little incident. No protest from the other author either, no other similar incidents from a large body of work, no pattern, a single slip. Life goes on. But for you and your Friends, shriek on, shriek on.

    Anyway, she wrote a fabulous piece in Harper's about Salt Spring Island some years back, called "Where the Bee Sucks." For anyone who has ever seen Island Stage Left perform The Tempest, this is a must read.

    She's our neighbor. We should invite her over to give a talk sometime.

  21. With the switch to residency districts it is legal to have two from San Juan, two from Orcas and one from Lopez/Shaw. Just couldn't do it if they were still legislative districts.

    As long as the vote is county-wide it would work.

    We need to start a mini-initiative to change to this. Otherwise we are mired in the same problems as before the original charter.

    It's time for the TH legions to take action!!!!!

  22. This story makes an excellent and extremely important point. Very well done. Something I would like to add, If you doubt the validity of content simply ask anyone who has had the privilege of knowing or even meeting this woman Elizabeth Nickson, she is a very remarkable and respectful woman, fallen victim to the absurdities in restrictions of local eco fascists very similar to many of our own. It is to our good fortune she has written and well into the record of her experience. I only wish her story could also be used in educational institutions. Our institutions tend only to cover one color, in a vastly multi colored world.

  23. We're turning corner here in the words and language being used, but perhaps the time has come. The TH always drew the line at Godwin's Law.

    Now we are openly discussing the concept called Eco-fascism. And many of us, like Nickson come from a deeply green background, politically and philosophically and so who recognized this danger in the movement as some of the Greenpeace founders had and warned of decades ago.

    Have we crossed the line beyond Godwin's Law? I don't think so, but if so we are being yanked across it by darkness on the other side.

    Anti-human. Anti-technology. Anti-science. Anti-organization. Anti-trade. Anti-free enterprise. Anti-democratic. Anti-civilization.

    Thank God we got rid of Lovel Pratt. Look at her past performance and ponder the notion of Eco-fascism. Does it fit? I am afraid it does.

  24. Wonder if we could persuade two of our council members to meet with her.

  25. Over lunch at Haley's. No problem.

    Frankly I wish the whole damn Council had met with her on Salt Spring sometime over past years to actually find out what the Islands Trust is and what is taking place.

    I am afraid our own probably got a white washed feel good job, invited over for sustainability prizes and so forth. Never actually went out amongst the people to ask questions and listen to the answers.

  26. It would be interesting to hear some stalwarts of FOSJ tell us why they remain among the faithful. We know now the administration will head in any direction a big donation sends them. It is the troops we need to hear from. (if, there are any left.)

    Are the stalwarts, Eco-fascists or are we really starting to push "Godwin's Law" here on the TH?

    Maybe they are good "green" people just misinformed; maybe they are well educated folks with enough narcissism to believe they need to lead the lower human herd types off a cliff; and maybe they are are a little on the disconnected side like our dear Ms. Vivian Burnett.

    Surely, there is hope the "fascist" label will not fit.

  27. The Wildlands project (now called Wildlands Network and based in Florida) was first proposed by Earth First’s Dave Foreman, in 1991. The eco-socialists do not hide their intent: “The Wildlands Network is now spearheading an initiative to connect habitat along the length of eastern North America, from the Everglades of Florida…”
    The ultimate goal is to erase any sign of human activity (houses, roads, trucks, etc.); therefore, humans will be pushed out of wildland areas.
    Mr. Foremen, a former board member of the Sierra Club, and The Nature Conservancy stated, “My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”

    I would assume FOSJ is in full support of the above. There are folks on Lopez who sound like Foremen!

  28. @6:59

    Interesting quote. "reduce human population to about 100 million..."?!?!
    Is this guy advocating genocide?
    Hell a 90% population reduction leaves us with more than 100milly.

  29. Maybe Mr. Foreman would like to offer himself up?

    Sounds very sick to me

  30. Instigate a nuclear war between China, India, and Pakistan - instant reduction of about 2 billion people...what else is the CIA good for?

  31. A problem for Mr. Foreman is that, although efficient, a global war nowadays with current technology where all the demons are unleashed would not be healthy for Gaia, although it would wipe out most of the human race.

    Let's follow the philosophical threads from folks like Foreman to the folks running the Center for Biological Diversity, and how that ideology arrived here in the islands and has been quietly taking over local government for years.

    Then take a close look at the political hairball of the numerous "public-private partnerships" that tie government money and procurement directly to special interests in the private sector.

    And then ponder the authoritarian corruption and bullying that has blossomed as a result.

    And then tell me what kind of a political regime that is. We dare not call it by its true name but eventually we may have to.

  32. Some commenters here seem to think there is ann hidden, influenced agenda invading our local government. Do you ever stop and think maybe, just maybe, it is just plain ole stupidity and incompetence?
    One needs to look no farther than Ed and Shireene for validation that infact stupid people with piss poor ideas can make it in today's world.
    Anyone watch parts of the GMHB?
    Hale can't explain HER CAO. K Loring tried and the GMHB couldn't understand him either.
    We must all be dunces I guess.
    Sorry Shireene that you have to exist in a community surrounded with is dolts of such inferior intellect.

  33. @12:38
    If spelling and grammar are an indicator S. Hale may be right in thinking she's surrounded by dolts; stick to scribbling on bathroom walls and leave the managing of complex issues to people with the intelligence to do so - you aren't qualified to empty Ed & Shireene's trash let alone understand their responsibilities.

  34. @12:38

    Alas, it must be so. It is certainly waayy beyond my pay grade, what they do.

    Anyone every read Ursula LeGuinn's marvelous Earth Sea Trilogy? On par with Tolkein's Ring Trilogy. If her story wasn't a reflection on the Salish Sea, inside passage and the life of islanders I don't know Jack.

    Ged, the young wizard must learn the old language, so that he can call a thing by its true name, and thus take power over it and break the spell over him and the land and the communities held in thrall by lies.

    Once we learn to call a thing by its true name, it ceases to have power over us.

    That time has come. There be dragons but there are good dragons too.

    By the way, Hale is nothing more than an cheap suit astrologaster. She has no idea what she is doing but will doing everything in her power to make you believe she does.

    She and we would be better off would she retire to see used cars on Aurora Avenue.

  35. Oh, and to the little trolls, please rush out and shriek about the little grammatical and spelling glitches.

    You are so very good at that. Your corrections are greatly appreciated here, far more than you will ever know.

  36. @12:38

    Let's talk for a minute about my ability to "take out the Hale's trash".
    First, you will need to determine if the volume of rubbish discarded is equal to or less than 1/365 times the "bag size equivalent", of total "daily trash volume" units.
    Then, you need to perform a study to verify that the functions and values of the curb are not injured or harmed in anyway by the presence of a trash barrel for several hours every other Tuesday.
    Next, you need to calculate the net rubbish disposal coefficient for your parcel, which, oddly enough, is based on the middle name of your 2nd cousin. (You wanted site specific didn't ya!)
    Now, when the trash is placed outside and the foxes, raccoons and other local critters come along and paw through it in search of a snack, Shireene has the right to call the sheriff's office and demand armed protection to defend against these out-of-hand "street noise" vermin who would dare to sniff around her trash.
    Furthermore, I have been certified as a Disposal Integration Process System Hybrid Installation Technician (D.I.P.S.H.I.T for short),
    so believe me buddy, I am plenty qualified to take the Hale's trash out. Thank you very much.

    (Shireene's latest = blame the council for this mess. Just following orders....)

  37. Without rancor, most would agree that Ms. Hale took a small job of updating a well written existing document that had proved its worth over several years, a document easily edited, and then Ms. Hale somehow managed to decide a major revision, a complete re-work was necessary.

    She then embarked on a self directed mission, a forced march, toward a goal no one wanted and no one understood. A mission costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Her work product easily generated several thousand pounds of trash, and I for one would volunteer in line with a truck to haul it to a crushing recycle center where it should reside in peace until at last it finds a productive use as packaging cardboard or some such other constructive use.

    Haul the Hale's trash? Yes, happy to do so.

  38. "you aren't qualified to empty Ed & Shireene's trash let alone understand their responsibilities." July 2, 2013 at 1:50 PM--I understand their duties: to make work for themselves and their close personal friends. He, who knows nothing about stormwater and little about solid waste, but is the Utility Manager in charge of those two topics. She is like a dog with a bone whenever she gets a project that she can fiddle with for years, adding her own nutty theories to whatever her consultants say. Both drive their underlings crazy. As, reportedly, does the County Engineer, another one in way over her head. Those employees get to take out the Hales' trash everyday.

  39. But I know, I just feel it in my bones that there is a connection, a tie in here to the Islands Trust ... I can almost see it, I can smell it ... my God, I love the smell of fresh garbage in the morning ... There are 400,000 to the immediate north of us, the waters flow in a southerly direction but the currents of the vasty deep are so powerful and massive that our waters are pristine, and there are how many of us here? But still the Hales howl about our collective storm water crimes?

  40. July 2 12:38

    You said "Hale can't explain HER CAO. K Loring tried and the GMHB couldn't understand him either."

    Did something decisive happen w/the GMHB?

  41. @7:11
    Nothing decisive. Just getting on the record that this is officially the most dorfed up document that the GMHB has ever seen.

  42. 10:19 pm said: "She then embarked on a self directed mission, a forced march, toward a goal no one wanted and no one understood. A mission costing hundreds of thousands of dollars."

    Add a zero to that once you include the legal costs to defend and the likely scenario that SJC will end up paying some (possibly substantial) portion of the legal costs related to challenging the CAO.

  43. And yet she stays on, she lingers, and the county does nothing but throw more exciting planning projects her way.

    Why? Where is there the political cover for this, especially after the sheets have been ripped off? In local government one does not remain long in such positions with these kinds of SNAFUs.

    Watching the GMHB proceedings made me think of a pie chart with three slices: One for the County, one for the FOSJ and one for CAO.

    Please calculate total cost of pie, and each slice thereof.

    How much does it cost to re-plant an eel-grass bed?

  44. Why is it always such a sad situation?

    If Jarmin asks for an executive session and he proposes canning a bunch of people, and he has his homework done as to why each one is not worth their pay check; and then he gets two votes no as Rick and Jamie sit on their hands, hang with their do nothing approach, then the status quo continues.

    Jarmin gets farther in the hole, and the other two get more entrenched in sitting there doing nothing and collecting their own paycheck.

    Sad. Tired of getting screwed and not enjoying it? Me too.

  45. Ok, we have an extra day off before SWEARIN HERON FRIDAY so get off your asses and bring your best shit to the board.
    Don't be a dorfhole.

  46. Shireene Hale is not only politically incorrect. Her work on the CAO is unscientific and scholastically ridiculous.

    Add to that her comments at the council meetings. An example is the use of the word "stuff" to describe pollutants.

    The way the council people sat there and acted like she was making sense was strange to watch and if you hadn't seen it yourself it was impossible to describe. Surreal is maybe a good word for it.

    I cannot believe Shireene is still under our employ and I wonder very much what Rick Hughes viewpoint is when it comes to the CAO. Or maybe he's not really aware of all the indiscrepancies surrounding it. Terrible thought.

  47. Today is our Independence Day

    Remember ...

    "You need to be a bit more careful with an islander."

    If the Egyptians can throw out a authoritarian fundamentalist ideologue backed by a powerful entrenched political faction, I am going to imagine we can do something along the same lines here.

    I think I have seen enough.

  48. Let us face it the county only cares about their salary and benefits. Apparently there is no way to lose your job unless it is a elected position. They are so into themselves that they have no time to think of us, should be called self servants rather than public servants.

  49. The last councils did the CAO and community conversations. So far part of the current one has gone to Canada to see how they do "stuff". What does any of these or anything that has been done have to do with controlling the budget? Why can't they realize that they have to stop starting projects,that always go way over the cost projections, when we don't have the money. We are always watching the county in retrospect, Its like trying to watch a swallow in flight at least the swallow is trying to catch a bug and just trying to look busy. How much are we paying the council members in salary and benefits for how many days of work? And the county is still hiring more staff. It appears that there will be no change and no facing reality.

  50. Years ago in his first term as Governor of California, Jerry Brown, walked through State offices and at random asked staff people what they were doing, what they thought their job was.

    Their answers were very revealing. Actually very few knew how their job fit in serving the public, but most had valuable input as to how thing could be done better, more efficiently. Some even were so frank as to suggest that their job was not really needed.

    Might be worthwhile for our new WORKING council member MANAGERS to take a similar walk.

    So off to the fireworks, as the overtime paid sheriffs haul out their breath analyzers popping them at random into the mouths of 17 year old girls (walking, not driving) who may or may not have had a beer or two. What will this fiasco cost us.?

  51. Citing Jerry Brown as an example of anything other than failed liberal ideals is pointless.
    Stick to actively managing things.

  52. ????? Hey, whats this I read in the Guardian about "special" Monday council meetings with no notice (and no opportunity for the public to attend, and no video record)? Not sure I would object if it was a special executive session to discuss targeted reductions in the target rich county beauracracy, but then that's probably just wishful thinking on my part.

  53. Remember it is only a gathering, or a brown bag lunch to start the week out right with the new county manager. In the old days, the three member council had Monday morning work sessions all the time in a small conference room, often the door was closed, usually with a few staff people around. The public was actively managed away from those meetings, other wise nothing could get done, besides do you really want to know how the chip sealing is going?

  54. Isn't it SWEARIN HERON FRIDAY??????
    Tell these asswipes that we are sick of their shit. If they aren't careful, a whole shitload of protesters will show up on the courthouse steps.

    How damn hard is it to read these laws and then fuggin follow them? Hell, if I drive too fast, I get a speeding ticket. Yet here we have these elected people doing whatever the fugg they want with no consequences.

    Bullshit is what it is. This volume of bullshit is beginning to rival what Ed and Shireene Hale put out.

    Liberation thru profanity. Try it.

  55. Anyone see our pal Lovel "i can't recall" Pratt marching in the parade protesting the coal terminal? Lots of kids being indoctrinated as well.
    I am assuming that these well meaning folks are taking real action and canceling there OPALCO service in protest. Put up those solar panels and windmills and get off the grid. Otherwise, you rank up there with the "no blood for oil" BUMPERSTICKERS.

  56. Great, well Power Past Lovel.

    Remember Bob Jarmin's totally cool choo-choo train last 4th of July? His float won and then Lovel's Legions shrieked politics so he gave the little check back.

    Meanwhile word spread around that the choo-choo train was really code for coal, and that Jarmin was secretly pro-coal and wanted to sprinkle black dust all over the pristine islands, and the choo-choo train was a secret sign to his minions.

    What I can't figure out is this. Why does Lovel and the money pushing coal trains out of Whatcom County into Canada not comprehending that the shipments will simply head out of Vancouver on the same ships that will sail trough the Haro Straits one way or the other. Asia will still burn coal. But if they burn American hard coal (discovered during the Carter Administration, seeking cleaner low-sulfur deposits at the time) less really dirty coal will be consumed. Lower carbon footprint.

    Yes, power past coal for sure. Not good stuff. But if it comes from us heading to China, we have more leverage to get them to modify their energy policies. We make a good dent in the trade imbalance which is good for US fiscal sustainability.

    What is it that Lovel really wants? She knows this stuff. So, this isn't really about coal at all, is it? It's about something else.

    But it sure is a clever way to manipulate voters isn't it?

  57. 7:22 Good Post. I'm convinced now that all this shrieking has only one purpose. It ain't about the issue, it ain't about saving the environment; what it is about is grabbing any issue that comes along and using it to raise money.

    The global mechanics outlined by 7:22 will not be touched on because of the need to fire people up; the need to get em to WRITE CHECKS!

  58. Nice Keeshan column in the Guardian about the true colors of our "Friends". Too bad donors to the lunatic fringe lack his perspective.

  59. Too bad the smart money depends on freebie "community volunteers" and high priced law firms while the opposition is fully funded and professional and playing the real ground game.

    It doesn't have to be that way. Its not even that hard to turn it around. Look, this Machine is basically a carbon (pun intended) copy Koch Brothers inspired clone of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

    Different ideology I guess but I'm not even sure about that any longer. I mean, if you make hard coal less efficient to ship to huge foreign market demand, the demand will be filled, but at somewhat higher price. Who gains? Hahahahah..

    Here's another version of ALEC. The Anti-American Luddite Enviro-wacko Collective.

    That's who is really running the show and they use the exact same methods and techniques as the Koch Brothers. No difference at all between them, and the bottom line is money and control.

  60. How do we over come that here?
    If I even mention publicly that I think the CP Coal terminal is a good idea, I will be called racist, dolphin killing xenophobic, antisemite, homophobe.
    I fear that our small community has too many koolaid drinkers that have been dipping their cups in the vat for far too long.
    The last election gave me hope but I realize that the machine will be back with a vengeance.
    Any heavy hitters out there who want to stop the FOSJ?
    Some of those with deep pockets make a good living opposing the FOSJ in court so as much as they might cuss them, the are glad for their existence, keeps the dockets full and the billable hours rolling along.

  61. 7:22

    I agree...great post. Except...I'm not sure Lovel DOES know that stuff. I think she's actually very shallow in the intellect and doesn't think issues through at all.

    That was proven in her exchanges w/people concerning the CAO. She copy pasted meaningless jargon for her explanations to the point where she proved to me she hadn't a clue of what she was supporting.

  62. The 40th District Dems are having their regional she-bang at Lovel's Brickworks Grange on Saturday the 20th.

    Any good card carrying Democrats appalled at the authoritarian radical agenda being rammed down our throats in our good name willing to show up, take some heat, and expose this assholes for who they are? How many Ron Keeshan columns does one have to read?

    The Young Democrats of the 40th District are also having their regional meeting here. A lot of them are really confused, trying to think this stuff through for themselves. They are good people and many of them just feel uncomfortable and awkward in the midst of this but can't put their finger on it yet, can't articulate their feelings.

    This is not about coal. Look at the recent "infographic" being peddled through the FOSJ. Its not even their work product, it is coming from God knows where. It is designed to provoke, incite and anger. It actually portrays Orcas as being over half the size of an oil tanker.

    We are being bashed six ways to Sunday for being the most craven, disgusting storm water polluters this side of Dwuamish River Superfund Sites. Meanwhile our tiny county is situated in the tidal wash of 400,000 urban region less than twenty clicks away. And the ocean depth and currents are so massive, the impact here is scarcely measurable.

    Shipping through the Haro Straits will continue, and it will incrementally grow with energy exports coming from Alberta, Bakkan Formation, Montana hard coal. It will come through Cherry Point or out through Tsawwassen.

    I am not saying I like it much. And, I also believe that folks in Whatcom and San Juan are in potential role to leverage how this deal goes down, in a number of positive ways.

    But we won't get there with more demonizing, more name calling, more pseudo-science and attacks on local communities and rural character.

    It will take money to formulate and get out alternative positive messages that will appeal to the far larger, moderate mainstream population in this region.

  63. “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

    ¯ Voltaire

  64. So according to Voltarie, Shireene Hale rules over me?

    Great. Time to have a shot of whiskey with my bacon and eggs.

  65. In review: A cogent comment by July 1st 11:00am. Ms Liz Nickson meeting with our three council members. Certainly much to be learned by three guys with time on their hands.

    Where is the rework of the failed guest house ordinance? Where is the snuff of the CAO debacle? Where is the rework and development of the farm stand rules? Where is the complete rework of the County committees and their "responsibilities."?

    Oh no, these guys have nothing to do! Better have more private "work sessions" where nothing gets done.

  66. zzzzzzzz
    zzz - uh

    wait... what... Oh, that's rightthe Heron flew south after the election.

    See ya in 3.5 years

  67. Looks like spring break was extended, and it is a wonderful summer. I'd say job well done, mission accomplished. Take some R&R.

    So go back to sleep little trolls, and don't pay attention to the fact that all this wonderful commentary just keeps going strong as ever. But of course its just 2-3 people right?

    We'll let ya know when its time for you to pay attention again. Meanwhile, don't be a stranger.

  68. Can we agree that Ise of the quite trite label of "trolls" is a bit douchy?

    On another note, I'm not sure if we will be having free elections in 3.5 years. I think the TH should come together and look at things beyond the local for a while.

    Anyone else think that the prophesied (scripted) rioting that may occur with a Zim aquittal is a false flag to draw attention away from shoving amnesty for illegal aliens down our throats? This will be one of the most devistating setbacks to our country.
    We staved off disaster locally for a while at least. Regionally and nationally trouble is brewing with corruption the likes of which has never been witnessed by mankind yet.
    We are the proverbial frog in the water pan and the temp is steadily approaching boiling.

  69. Dana Kinsey was fired from the CD to make room for the seditious Linda Lyshall, what a travesty, a single mom thrown into the unemployment line to make room for a contemptuous self-righteous eco-facist who doesn't think she should have to answer to the Council...can the MRC and their evil allies the FOSJ stoop any lower?

  70. @5:09
    Oh yes the MRC CAN stoop lower, word on the street is the MRC is seeking to leave the control of the County and become part of the CD, yes the same CD that fired a hard working and likeable single mom Dana Kinsey so Linda Lyshal can impose the same type of disdain for the public at the CD as she displayed at the MRC, which of course means direct control by the FOSJ.

  71. Lyshall? Well look what a PhD in public manipulation, neuro-linguistic programming and eco-theology will get you.

    Hi Linda. Meet your new best Friends. And, they're not from douchy old Troll Island either.

    What's this about the Conservation District moving into a larger building, preparing for all the new staffing up for all the important work to come?

  72. You mean Dr. Lyshall? She has more education than most of you, therefore knows what's best for you.
    Isn't that the same person who told the council "I don't report to you"? When in fact, she reports to them.
    So she has left CDPD and now works for the Conservation District? What the hell, is she registered with Prothman too?
    From her actions, words and deeds, she has the skill set to work for the IRS.
    Evidently Boss Zee is grasping at the power levers as they slip further out of her grip.
    CDPD may be assbackwards in a lot of respects but allowing PSP puppets to control the MRC is a bad idea, really bad.

  73. @5:31
    Actually the move to a new building has an insidious back story. Find out the landlord of the old building, see how they are related to players and former players.
    You will see that the Conservation District has started a scorched earth policy, beginning with Dana. I know Dana, she is nice, competent and well respected. This is cronyism at its worst.
    Aren't there any neighbors on Orcas next to the new CD building to file complaints? Did they get permits for their office? Hmmmmm.......

  74. Once again, news of nefarious and underhanded activity of another Eco-zealot will provide welcome relief to Shireene and Ed Hale.
    "Whew, someone else in the headlines and comments for a few days. "
    Another week has passed, another $3,000 has been given to the Hale family of your tax dollars. And in return, Shireene is allowed to continue to parade around now blaming the council for her CAO debacle that has been the single most divisive issue in this county, bar none. Oh by the way, any cost estimates on the legal fees the county must pay to defend the destruction left in the wake of hurricane Hale?
    We were supposed to review and update the CAO. Instead, Shireene Hale, with input from all the agenda driven groups, managed to clearly demonstrate that she is entirely unqualified to hold this position.
    Why do they keep her around? To try to explain this debacle to the GMHB?
    When you openly admit that you can't comprehend legislation that you wrote, shouldn't you be disqualified from doing it again? Or are the poor tax payers of San Juan County just the training wheels on Baby Hale's whittle bike? Bad news folks, it ain't s kids bike, it's an ecofacist bulldozer that just drove through.
    Give this council credit for at least postponing this nonsense for long enough to make sense of whatever may come from the GMHB.
    Call your council member and ask them politely, why?
    When you have them on the phone, ask them why in the hell Ed Hale still works for the county?

  75. While the Heronizer is off sipping mint juleps somewhere, I hope an article slips through those sclerotic veins pretty soon about the Amazing Consternation District Carnival and Medicine Show about to set up shop.

    Just when you thought it was safe to step out doors, in walks the suits from the Madrona Institute. Who? What? Wait, it was the Conservation District right? Confused yet?

  76. Oh isn't it lovely to see the wonderful principles of the lefty-liberal-eco-fascist democrats? When it comes to pushing their fascism no hard working single mother shall get in their way, not when they can shove her to the gutter and replace her with an PhD with no family, no responsibility except her own twisted ideology - Zee, Lyshall, Buffum, will gladly stomp a poor struggling single mom into the dirt to further their dreams of power and control...SHAME on you Zee, SHAME on you FOSJ, you all deserve the full measure of spite from those not born with little silver spoons in their mouths.

  77. Will we see a heron booth at the fair? I'm willing to donate. You know all the activist groups will be there peddling their propaganda, knowing its best to indoctrinate the kids now.

  78. @ 9:08 PM

    Wanna change things, don't forget the tendency of the strong voting majority in these parts. Keep up this kind of talk you'll just piss us all off.

    So is this a problem of Democrats being too organized or Republicans being to lazy?

    This isn't about the parties. This is about local government, corruption, money and control. Most Democrats I know, cannot stand the current situation and are getting pretty angry having the party being used this way. Better to find common cause I think rather than demonize people for their party preferences nowadays.

    Can we agree?

  79. Jeeze. I think it might be time to do an exposé on public works. To their credit, the road crew has chip sealing down pretty well run. Kudos to those guys and keep it up. I tried to get help from the engineering services and some yokel named Rachel Ditzmen basically told me that they would get to my application when they had time. She was rude, abrasive, and entirely unfriendly. I sent a note to their manager and my council rep but thought the heron could look in to this.
    I was appalled at how I was treated. Also, if you wonder why I remain anonymous here it is because my employer does a lot of transactions with PW and I don't want to cause us to suffer any worse treatment.

    Thanks Heronistas.

  80. Heronistas? It does have a nice ring to it, but I think most of us are better than that.

    In my twenties I ordered a "Cuba Libra" now I just order a rum and coke.

    Re; the old fashioned retrograde opinion of California Governor Jerry Brown. This guy, now in his seventies has done wonders for that State. Maybe it was his tour of duty as Mayor of Oakland that gave him a combination of frank humor and a practical attack on issues.

    And then maybe all of us falling away Demos (I'm in my sixth year as an independent) can continue to let it be known that the "TH" is NOT some republican screed.

    I think all are welcome here. (As long as they are smart enough to realize we need to throw some people on the free ferry.)

  81. I think Jerry Brown is one of the most fascinating politicians of the past fifty years. The ability of this guy to reinvent himself and make a real difference is remarkable. Mayors have to perform. They have to get things done or they are tossed. This fellow went from governor to mayor to state attorney general back to governor.

    Moon beam? Maybe but that guys had quite a magic carpet ride and knows how to git 'er done.

  82. Jerry Brown? California? You have obviously lost your mind; because of the insane war on cops by the local media, lawyers, and race baiters, Oakland is short hundreds of police because no sane person would ever take a job as an officer.
    California's oppressive environmental laws drive business away and recently more people leave California then move to - but hey, keep voting for the lefty dems all you want, ask yourself when the last republican controlled legislature passed eco-fascist legislation? There IS a direct correlation, what party do you think the FOSJ lock-steps with? What do you think the democratic party has become? A bunch of leftist eco-nutts with no clue to how their insane legislation is killing this country, and this county.

  83. Your point being ... ? Oh. You adore Ronald Reagan. Got it.

    Movin' on.

  84. @ 8:28
    Oh yes, that was the point exactly, your incredible intellect nailed it, gosh let me give it a try....ahem...oh yea well you adore Jimmy Carter. Got it. You're a moron. Movin' on.
    Now that we've got the my daddy's better than your argument out of the way perhaps you can address the issue raised. It is not the republicans passing eco-fascist legislation, not the republicans running around the globe in personal jets and living in 30,000sf mansion while preaching to the kool-aid drinking zombies the dangers of global, wait, got busted on that farce, global climate change.
    I am willing to bet any amount of money the FOSJ are lock-step democrats, why? Because the democratic party has become the party of environmental zealotry and eco-fascism that's why. So the question is why are you still voting them in? Oh wait, I know, because they've B.S.'d you into believing that the first thing a republican would do is abolish Roe v Wade and the 19th Amendment, or my favorite, the republicans are the 1%ers because god knows only middle-class workers support the dems and not any wealthy elites.
    The party has left you, time to ask yourself why you're still chasing after it.

  85. A large luxury yacht has a major hiccup and burns itself to death on the sales dock at Roche Harbor.

    Island fire and EMT turn out and works their butts off. Even the DOE shows up with clipboards and check sheets. (lots of other government involvement, the coast guard-big time.)

    Eventually the top half of the toasted boat that has not already done wonders for climate warming is bagged via a huge amount of labor and carried to the top of the main dock ramp to be deposited on a tarp outlined with wattles. Neat and clean. (I should mention that the manager of Roche Harbor, Brent Snow, himself put the containment barrier in place.)

    The bottom half of the yacht then peacefully sinks to the bottom in 30 feet of water, a couple of brand new diesels and about 1,600 gallons of that fuel.

    Following the heroic efforts of SJ fire fighters and the heroic effort by Roche Harbor management to slam down the folks who actually own this yacht for sale, along comes more crisis management types who actually get it done and done right. With trailers loaded with equipment and just about everything you can dream about needing in such a situation GLOBAL XXXX XXXX shows up and goes to work. They will float the hulk via balls to the wall diving and floats. These guys are tough and experienced.

    Of note: SJC fire and EMT equipment was immaculate, not new, not old, but cared for, DOE trucks, top of the line, without dust, looked new right off the sales lot, GLOBAL XXXX XXXX total work horse stuff.

    Why tell you this stuff? Why not?

  86. Ok, I'll speak for the Salmon out at Roche.
    "Dang Bill, this water sure tastes funny"
    "Yea Sammy, it sure does. Did we swim in to Canadian waters?"

    Hey, someone has to speak for the salmon, right?

  87. @ 8:29 PM

    Sooo .... beginning to think you are just another knuckle dragging Neanderthal Republican still licking your wounds over what's his name losing to that black guy.

    But maybe you're really just Kevin Ranker in drag out there, freaking out that he's actually losing support of his base as the zombies begin to wake up, so better jump in now get those Dems to just dig in their heels.

    Do you have any clue how many swing, independent Washington voters pulled the lever for BOTH Obama and McKenna? Are you able to even comprehend such a concept?

    Are you even aware that the Obama administration had the the fiercest critic of the precautionary principle running the Office of Regulatory Affairs all the way through the first time?

  88. And the Dorf-hole poster of the week award goes to @6:34am.

  89. Still, out at Roche Harbor the clean clothes people are the very young Coast Guard folk. Everyone else is filthy dirty.

    A very large crane on a barge is now being used to lift the remaining hulk up out of the mud bottom as many workers pump water out and many others use nets to scoop up the left over parts of this large burned up yacht.

    At dock level the talk is why the Coast Guard and maybe the DOE too will not allow fire retardant foam to put out such boat fires.

    Most of the comment is that such a foam attack makes sense. You break a few ports and blow the foam in. Viola, the fire is out. (Be good to hear facts from those close to this work.) Yes, the foam is the end of the boat and not good for the water, but is that not better than this burn down, potential fuel spill, and sink disaster.

    But no! We will have more such boat fires, (Roche had another one two years ago) and we will continue with this proven bad attack. Or will we?

    Is it another instance of SJC not standing up to the "we know what is best" authority that really knows smack about nothing?

    Again at dock level, word is $4,000 per hour is passing by in the clean up. Of course law firms somewhere and everywhere are working to double that amount.

    Item last; the word "salvage" I left out in a previous post because it is the litigation land mine no one wants to get into. (I was not sure Global was doing salvage and I'm still not.)

    Word is the boat was not moved and beached while on fire, because of suspected claims of "salvage rights" by anyone helping to move the darn thing.

    This will not be the last boat fire. Will San Juan County talk to the people who have answers, or, as usual, will the County continue to allow outside forces to rule?

    PS: 6:34 is both right and correct. Many of us recognize McKenna would have been a better governor and voted for him.

  90. Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.

    Also known as a swing voter.

    Here is the opportunity to change things.

    Don't piss them off. They are annoyed already.

    Politics is the art of channeling public anger.

    Think about it. Let Ranker become the target he so much richly deserves to be.

  91. Does FOSJ own a bank? Yet another expensive mailer(veggie ink tasted fine with lots of mayo.)(No union printing bug shown.)

    The shoreline tax parcel count looks way off, the 2011 count by the assessors office was 3,522 I think. That mistake would hurt their own pie cutting info graph. Reality is always a problem for FOSJ even when it is good for their cause.

    I confess I did not bother with the coal shipping screed, generally I use a marker and toss this crap into a mailbox after marking it "REFUSED."

    Where does all this production money come from, anyway? One big donor pays for and proofs the copy and feels powerful?

  92. So waiting to hear the trojan's comments on this flyer. It contradicts itself over and over. They are using air to defend their statements.

    I started highlighting things that sounded incorrect or were written in a confusing manner. And places where they insert information about other areas to support their local implications but don't encourage clarity that they are doing that. It fell apart quite easily and I hope the next th post goes into all the conflicts there.


  93. Does Trust Islanders have any $$ in the war chest? Might be worth getting a flyer out there to refute the FOSJ propaganda.

  94. 8:32 am Totally agree. I'm suspect of claims made by any political group and that is what FOSJ has become, but this stuff is hard to ignore.

    90% of the shoreline is in private ownership? We have two National Parks that have very significant shoreline footage, and we have many other public or "preserve" areas of shoreline. The 90%, again, sounds way off.

    Armoring? What does FOSJ define as armoring? "900 shoreline parcels have armoring totaling 23 miles of shoreline." I'm sorry, that claim has to be total bullshit. I get around in my boats and this seems a huge overstatement to me. There is very little "armoring" in SJC.

    Poor Blind Bay, on Shaw. The illustrious FOSJ director Ms. Buffum launches a full broadside of canon fire on this place. I'd love to get over there and count the actual number of mooring buoys. (Their map shows about forty) I'm sure the actual count will just as far off as it was in Wescott Bay.

    And now Ms. Buffum promises to find fish eggs where none have been found before. You bet they will. And this would be good, if true, except for what FOSJ will do with this new finding. What a concept, use good news to beat up on people.

    And beat up on people they continue to do. Just read carefully the "advocacy program."

    And we have the new blushing youth full of indoctrination scared to death but still willing for a paycheck to use their brand new law degree to work eventually toward a padded chair at the DOE. Sick.

    I'm willing to throw a few bucks toward "Trust Islanders" for a mailer that states the TRUTH and only the truth.

    Now that is a good idea.

  95. FOSJ is concerned that 23 miles of shoreline are armored. There are just over 400 miles of shoreline in San Juan County. So 5.8% is armored.
    What exactly is the problem? What objective, repeatable measurements support the problem definition? FOSJ, inquiring minds want to know!