Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Secret Meetings And Friends Interns

Last year, San Juan County voters approved Proposition 3 by an overwhelming 85%. Proposition 3 requires all meetings of the County Council and all committees thereof to be open to the public except when a private (executive) session or closed session is allowed by law.

Then how is it that Jamie Stephens and Rick Hughes have been spending so much time together lately out of the public eye? They both attended a conference on Mayne Island, Canada, sponsored by the Islands Trust. Islands Trust is the Canadian version of the Friends of the San Juans. Also, prior to leaving for the conference, they had lunch together at Haley's in Friday Harbor to discuss what they were going to say at the Canadian meeting. If you watch today's Council session video, you can see them discuss it (see time mark 25:30 to about 30:47).

If you watch the video, you'll see our new Council members ask that the public be patient with them as they try to deal with their new jobs. Why does following the mandate of Prop 3 require patience? It's about as simple a mandate as could exist. At worst, Hughes and Stephens showed outright contempt for the will of the voters (and the law). At best, they showed extremely poor judgment. It was very bad form, and I think voters are out of patience regarding bad form by County government.

It often seems as if the laws here only apply to homeowners. To that end, the Friends are advertising for an intern to aid their efforts to continue to beat up on all of us. The Friends aren't an environmental organization so much as they are a law firm specializing in friviolous lawsuits and hardball, self-serving, pseudo-science advocacy. They're looking for interns to keep it going.

Environmental, Land Use and Natural Resources Law


Position Description: Summer interns work under the direct supervision of Friends’ staff attorney to develop and prosecute environmental litigation and other advocacy efforts. The summer intern will gain practical litigation and policy experience by analyzing local, state, and federal statutory and regulatory environmental protections. Areas of practice may include the federal Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Act, and Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act, Growth Management Act, Shoreline Management Act, water quantity and quality legislation, and Land Use Petition Act. Tasks may include attendance at citizen committee meetings and other public hearings, evaluating proposed ordinances, review and comment on shoreline and inland development proposals, statutory and case law research, drafting written memoranda, delivering oral testimony to local and state decisionmakers, and enjoying the San Juans’ natural beauty, from shore to sky.
Hiring Criteria: Candidates will be evaluated based on the following: a genuine interest in working at an environmental advocacy organization, excellent analytical, research, and writing ability, initiative, work experience, and legal knowledge in the area of land use, environmental or natural resources law. To Apply: Friends welcomes applications annually during a rolling application period that ends January 31.  Please email a cover letter expressing interest in the position, a current resume, a 5-7 page writing sample, and 3 references to kyle@sanjuans.org. In addition, hard copy applications may be submitted to:
Kyle Loring
Staff Attorney
Friends of the San Juans
PO Box 1344
Friday Harbor, WA 98250


  1. Pffftt .... fap ....... flapdoodle .... Jumpin' Jeezus on a pogo stick ... steam shooting from my ears ... but but but ... Hughes is moving community forward ... two steps backward ... boiling frogs slowly ... pop another nitro pill ... more heart attacks on the way ... turning blue ... or red ... someone sticking pins in voodoo dolls ... summer solstice in few day ... by Gog I have it. A Wicker Man! A summer solstice Wicker Man. Like Burning Man! We need to burn something in an effigy right way. Purge the collective mind hive so we can clear the air for what lies ahead. The burn ban is open till the end of the month right? Where can we burn a Wicker Man??

  2. For those who may be interested, Gordy's full address to the Council goes from 22:24 to 29:40 on the video, but Stephens brings up the lunch with Hughes on his own.

  3. This is Rick's inherent problem. He wants to be everyone's BFF -- including Jamie's. He doesn't care about the job for which he was elected. He wants to have a buddy to drink beer with.

    Oh, right -- there's that pesty open meetings act. Damn. Never let transparency get between you, your new compadre, and the man-cave.

  4. Excellent direction by Gordy, but way too much glad handing by the three Council Members.

    What is with this bell going off? What total horse shit!

    Hey, BIG boys, can you at least get rid of this F-ing bell? You are there to LISTEN TO PUBLIC SPEAKERS, not give them some condescending bell of regulation.

    PS: Jamie, even as chair you talk WAY too much, and kiss ass comments by the other two of you are a complete waste of time.

    You all are paid a pretty decent wage at this point and you need to start acting like you understand what is expected in return.

  5. Anyone see the County Manager job description? Why are we paying Council $75,000 each when this guy gets all the responsibility?

  6. If Bob Jarmon is reading the Trojan I'd like to applaud him for his role as the peoples' voice.

    I see little support there from Stephens and Hughes. They are very self involved from my point of view.

    Be strong Bob, we are behind you.

  7. Evidently Hughes does not understand the basic principle of Public Trust. We already know that Stephens is not capable of understanding anything about the Open Public Meetings Act. These folks need to visit America sometime and see how legitimate governance is conducted. Give them a post in office and the incumbents abuse the system the first month out of the gate. Good going Hughes - Rick has a long way to go, hopefully he'll improve. Stephens is beyond hope - for improvement.

  8. Is Rick Hughes really Jamie's poodle?

    Rick - Right now you are not looking so independent ... wake up and smell the coffee. You are running out of the time and the honey moon is over.

    And after all the public pain over transparency, secret meetings, and OPMA you guys went over to the Gulf Islands together to do heaven knows what with the Islands Trust?


    Can we get a bit of an update on that?

  9. The previous councils also went to Islands Trust. So don't get your panties in a knot.

    And while of course the lunch at high noon in downtown Friday Harbor to discuss the logistics of transportation was a mistake, it serves to point out just one of the serious flaws in the 3-member council. They can never speak to each other outside of a formal meeting.

    One of the reasons the voters adopted the charter in the first place was because there could never be any kind of communication between council members outside of posted meeting - even for example asking if they thought an idea might be good to present to the full council.

    A 5-member council makes sense. Two could talk but wouldn't be able to block or pass any legislation. AND it is possible - two from Orcas, two from San Juan and one from Lopez.

  10. From Orcas:

    I found it painful to watch that meeting. Was it Bob that asked if the 09 funds were from our property taxes? After Milene explained, quite clearly, their source.

    And for me, Rick seems so slimy. I'm sorry I voted for him.

    I hope our county can survive this pathetic council.

    And so the Trojan Legion...er, the Trojan seven or so...call forth: GIVE US LISA! GIVE US LISA!

  12. @4:37PM wrote:

    >The previous councils also went to Islands Trust.

    Yes, but not a majority of the council. As you correctly point out, three was, and is, problematic.

  13. @ 4:37 PM

    Now don't get sexist, wrapped around the axle would be more gender neutral.

    Completely agree the 3 member council structure is a big mistake. A five member council would be best, a simple majority, no super majority needed which was one of the basic errors from the initial charter.

    But, two is a quorum for now. Folks on local board like the library and such were always advised by the prosecuting attorneys office to walk the other way if a few stumbled into each other in the market. Just walk away.

    The other handy advice was to imagine that there is a little person standing just outside the door, which is open, listening to everything you say. And that little person gets to do that anytime they want to. And you don't know if they are there or not.

    Rick and Jamie need to keep that in mind. And, had their lunch been properly announced they might have had some company.

    Jamie knows better.

  14. I gotta say, I don't think it is bad government that the council members are not allowed to talk to each other outside of a public meeting.

    While I agree "three" is too limited a number of members for these islands and "six" was definitely an unschooled mistake, still there is nothing wrong, in my view, with not knowing exactly how the other person thinks, until you get their thoughts in public session.

    Then members must present their view of things in the most convincing manner in front of all. (I fear Bob Jarman may be another Rich Peterson, both men, great and good people, but unable to make a sale.)

    The last visionary council member with open good ideas and the ability sell them was John Evans.

    I am now convinced more than before the election we need at least one younger (under forty)"young family" member. I spent a pretty penny on McClerren and lost because we did not help him enough early on. Rest assured, while we could not beat Jamie this time, we will next time, if Brian decides to give it a shot.

  15. Rick is, at the heart of his life experience, a salesman. He has no practical governmental process experience and in reality has never managed anything even close to a publicly responsible entity. For either he or Jamie to cluelessly make such a mistake is a sign of just how unqualified they are for the job.

    We were all sold a bill of goods with Rick. While everyone was busy ragging on Lisa for being a socialist, we forgot to ask... What the hell qualifications does that other guy have? Answer... None. While he may have been good at hanging out at the local brewery buying everyone beers for their votes, he is otherwise fully unqualified and now obviously inept for the job.

    I hope someone steps up and demands sanctions against both these guys for open meeting violations. Here's a test of your integrity guys: turn yourselves in to the PDC. Request an independent review of your actions on behalf of the council. Give us all hope that you aren't as dumb as you appear to be.

  16. Don't you understand the difference between "meetings" and "gatherings"?
    I thought this was explained recently.

  17. And certainly lunch doesn't remotely qualify as a meeting. A gathering requires a little circle of rocks with a candle and needs a facilitator.

    Lunch? Logistics for the trip? Sure they had to have table space to lay out the maps, the ferry schedules and tourist brochures. Not something their staff could handle out for them.

  18. A majority of the council did go to Islands Trust. Ask John Evans, Rhea Miller, Darcie Nielsen, Alan Licther, Kevin Ranker, Rich Peterson, etc. etc. etc. Get your F***ing facts straight!!!!!!!!!!!

    I believe they took Rich Peterson's boat when he was on the council.

  19. Interested in the body language at the Council Meeting. Jamie is slightly turned away from Mr. Jarmon. Rick is being schooled gently by Jamie in an encouraging way and Bob is being not so subtly DIScouraged. HAS to be uncomfortable.

    Rick seems weak to me and Bob intimidated. Jamie is running the Council at the moment as far as I can see. And I don't see him as someone w/the wisdom to do a good job of that.

    Are there some people on Orcas who would be good candidates for the next election? There just wasn't anyone there for this one. We must keep a careful watch until then. I have no confidence in Jamie and Rick.

    I'm still a fan of Bob Jarmon. And that is because he is an ordinary person w/a longer history here and is connected to an old island family who are an intelligent group and have seen things come and go.

    The comment about his not digesting Milene's financial report is not worrisome to me. If he didn't ask and moved on in confusion I'd be much more concerned. He has no ulterior motives or allegiances to anything except the well-being of our islands and our people.

    Go Bob! Be strong.

  20. @ 8:24 AM

    Looks like we have some anger issues surfacing around the Islands Trust in Canada and our council's role and history in foreign policy.

    I would guess that the insiders of the Marine Resource Committee would have special knowledge as well as strong feelings about all this.

    But please, most folks who live and work our hear never even heard of the Island Trust. Would you please help us learn, provide some information for us rather than foam at the mouth over our blind stupidity and ignorance?

    Please tell us why the representatives of the Island Trust never come to San Juan County, meet in open public session to discuss issues of mutual concern?

    Or does the Marine Resource Committee take care of all those little logistical details behind the scenes so the rest of the street noise won't be bothered?

  21. Here:


    Review the formal agreements established between San Juan County and Islands Trust, also the Islands Trust bylaws and scope of authority.

    Bring back your questions and thoughts.

  22. Wow, are we talking about the Islands Trust or Trust Islanders?

    Is one sort of like the opposite of the other?

  23. Islands trust web site. Click on islands then "other jurisdictions". The building department refers owners to I.T. to approve building and zoning. Is the plan to have the friends do that here?

  24. This just keeps getting funnier, the Trojan Legions...er seven, ranted about Lisa and Pratt as never having worked in the private sector and praised Rick as a business man, now he's unqualified, all based on having lunch at Haley's. Can Rick and Jaimie walk down the street together or is that illegal too? How about piss in urinals next to each other, god only knows what evil U.N. plots could be hatched over a long whiz enduced by rounds of beer being bought.

  25. @12:03
    I am in the know. Yes control of all permitting will be handed over to FOSJ.
    Sorry you can't stop it.

  26. 8:24. Not sure anyone claimed here that other councils had not done the same trip as Jamie and Rick.

    I think it is pretty obvious, the voters want this stuff to end. The popular moderate Rich Peterson was completely shut out in the last council, largely, I believe, by Patty and Lovel who disliked each other, but feared Peterson's public popularity might get in the way of their power tripping.

    I do agree pissing together when you only have three members with members is not a good irrigation plan.

  27. I feel so much better having read the 2000 "protocol" and the 2007 agreement between the county and the Island Trust. Turns out it's all about being friends and facilitating and communicating and diversifying and leveraging and acknowledging the special knowledge of the indigenous people and letting B.C. send its unwanted Canada geese to live over here. In other words, a whole lot of paper and hot air signifying nothing. So one way of looking at it is that while they're over there doing that, they're not forging new contracts for aerial photography or imposing new taxes or hiring the new communications czar.

  28. @ 441pm

    FOSJ already runs permitting. How else does CDP spend all their time chasing down small business owners yet "overlooking" the Democrats and Friends who are in clear violation of the law? Has Ms. Burnette torn down her illegal guesthouse yet? Has Mr. Zee torn down his illegal residences? Hhhmmm. Didn't think so.

  29. There is no reason for this agreement between Islands Trust and San Juan County.
    Islands Trust makes FOSJ look like a bunch of sissies.

    Want to find out where Hughes Stands?
    No problem, get him and Jarman to dump the agreement.
    The agreement states:
    "4.2 Either agency may terminate this agreement at any time upon thirty days’ notice to the other agency."

    Jarman might but Hughes will not terminate the deal.

    Hughes thinks he has the moderate and conservative vote in his pocket. Now he will court the liberal vote.

    Yes, he is in campaign mode for the next election.

    You can bet he will go for the money and backing he can now get from the "left" via sucking up to "Friends" and the like.

    Hughes believes he owes the voters of the last election zero. Now he needs to make sure Byers or anyone else cannot make a run at him.

    If you want to get Hughes to go your way, then just show him how you can finance his guaranteed re-election bid and your in.

    As it stands, "Friends" has the upper hand with the "Blowin' in the wind" Hughes.

  30. @7:06
    Burnett has in fact torn down her illegal work. It was found during a routine public record request.
    Don't let facts get in the way of your huff and puff.
    It's so much easier to spout off complete bullshit with about a 30% accuracy rate.
    Thanks for helping make people take the TH less seriously.
    You sound so bitter. Perhaps you need some positive energy in your life.

    TH posts good stories about exposing the FOSJ and you taint it with your uninformed rants. Talk about a few bad GMO crops ruining it for the rest of the wheat.
    And as far as "chasing down small businesses" I think that honor belongs solely to the people on orcas who colluded to mercilessly harass a legitimate business because he represents a threat of competition.


  31. With @ 4:08 PM chirping in now, we must be up to at least eight.

    Let's review: Obviously the strategy was to beat both Lisa and Lovel. It worked.

    Soon enough we'll get rid of Stephens. Hughes was pegged at the get go and we all knew he'd play swing vote games. He just isn't Lisa. Ah Lisa, her time will come. Plans are being laid.

    Remember how much those two candidates raised? Hell yes those pissed off eco-money bags are clawing and fawning all over Hughes these days to buy themselves a working majority and he's loving it. Mr. Independent.

    Just remember: private embarrassment is better than public humiliation ... there are, as The Prince noted, any number of ways to "work a man."

  32. Really, 2 council members can't have a bite to eat?
    I have an idea. Get CAPR to sue them for OPMA violations. See how that goes.
    ......clowns to the left of me jokers to the right.....here I am...

  33. Hughes is not the "swing vote," he is the "how does this best work for me" vote.

  34. Hughes will prove to be FOSJ new bitch.

  35. So they have been seated for all of 4 weeks and already they can do no right.
    I love the absurdity of some of the comments here. The commenters are doing more to marginalized the TH than the opposition could ever dream of.
    Instead of reading RCWs and Blacks law dictionary while jacking it to law and order re runs, try doing something productive.
    Seriously. Let me guess. Actively manage. Follow the money. Retribution by the county. All that nonsense is getting old and is not helping solve problems.
    What's next? Claiming that the NSA is funding the county? Or Google is an Agent of the government? Or some other crazy stuff?
    Glad to see 502 is fully appreciated.
    Rant away rant away. Meanwhile, others are actually trying to make a difference.

  36. @11:39

    Rick -- lighten up.

  37. @ 11:39 AM

    What is it others are doing productively to make a difference?

    As it stands your post is also no more than a "rant."

    I certainly do hope those who can will do everything they can to hold Hughes accountable for what he does.

    His claim that he is new to this system and needs time learn how to navigate the system is true. Soon he will figure out how you please the "deep pockets" in the county and tell the rest that he just didn't understand or was mislead.

    Think aerial photography. Had he only known. Yeah right. He knew very well what was going on and got what he wanted.

    If he is not kept in check and force to do right by those who got him there you can all kiss your property rights good bye.

    Just remember, this is the guy who tried to get rid of the Trust Islanders endorsement so he could get more of the Liberal Left Wing vote.

    If Byers wasn't such an idiot she would have been the winner and property rights would be clearly on the way out via FOSJ and all associated left wing orgs.

  38. How about having SWEARIN HERON Fridays!

    Hell yeah!

  39. The thing of it is, government service for those who don't abuse it, is a shitty, rotten job.

    These three men took it on. No, there can not be coffee and crumpets together except on the dias.

    Mr. Hughes lame statement the three of them have only been there a month was really a damn shame comment.

    As a political reporter, I often saw newly elected councils blow the doors off in the first meeting. (Not unusual for such a first meeting to last way into the small hours of the morning.)

    Item A: These guys have seemingly not even discussed the CAO debacle.

    Item B: These guys have seemingly have not discussed the obvious staff failures of the CAO debacle and the blatant need for major staff changes.

    Item C: They have done nothing to address the mistake of staff and the previous council of buying into the aerial mapping nonsense; expensive and without justification and really backed by one lone staff person.

    Item D: These three paid officials main goal and "accomplishment" so far, seems to be the hiring of a manager who they think will do their work for them.

    Item E: Why is Stephens chair? At the first meeting there should have been an election of the chair. In covering three cities, I never saw a new body that did not have such an election in the first meeting.

    For those believers in Jarman, good luck. He is another good guy like Rich Peterson. No clue about what it takes to get the ball in your court.

    Item last: Where's the plan for what happens next?

  40. @ 7:53 PM

    "Where's the plan for what happens next?"
    Call "Friends" and they will fill you in. They own Hughes and Stevens.

    As for A-C, again see "Friends."

    D is because Hughes screwed Greg Ayers. Greg applied for and was a great local candidate for the job. Hughes and Stevens no doubt blew him off as a negative to "Friends" and as future competition to Hughes on Orcas. Hughes will foul this job up enough to open the door for Ayers in the next election. Hughes can't afford to have Ayers that close to the council.

    Suggestion, don't bend over in front of Hughes unless he takes you out for dinner and drinks first (and he wont). FOSJ will be keeping him well wined and dined for the next few years I'm sure.

  41. Really? You see Ayers as a viable candidate?

    A hyper rich elite with no real connection to our community other than he brought a bunch of money and built a house. Yippee. Oh yeah, he serves on the Eastsound Sewer district board. There's a group to follow the lead of!

    How about a working class person from Orcas who knows what it takes to simply exist paycheck to paycheck and is looking to step into the light and speak for those if us who are tired of the old and elite running the show.

    I'd give my support to that candidate- and none of these guys are it. Start recruiting new budding names in politics ASAP, 4 years will pass quickly!

  42. Oh So the real reason for the new rants is unveiled.
    I guess I need to change my description of he who shall not be named to include the word bitter.
    Plain ole "arrogant prick" was just too generic, "bitter arrogant prick" seems much more distinguished.
    Interesting to see his dogs barking. I get the chihuahua vibe though, really not much to the bite and just plain yappy.

  43. Calm down folks! It is summer. Get away from the keyboard and get outside. The FOSJ are f***ing with your heads and it is working.

    Bashing the new Council Members already? Fine. If they suck so much why didn't any of you whiners run? At least they had the balls to run and stick their necks out there. Don't Monday morning quarterback. If you have better ideas go for it next time and you take a crack at it. Don't be a Dorf about it.

  44. Its going to be a beautiful sunny day, get out in that garden! (memo to self). But first, crank up that old Trojan Heron Rant-O-Matic. Ahem.

    Lessee. Arrogant out of touch idle rich. That would account for nearly have the adult voting population here who remain annoyed that their own Lovel, living in the manner in which she had grown accustomed was not re-elected to the office of which she was grown accustomed.

    For this Council. No, there is no honeymoon. None. Why give Jaime an ounce of slack? Hughes was on the previous council and voted for the CAO and voted for massive high tech aerial surveillance.

    Active management. Oh yes indeedy. So glad to see the term getting traction and being attacked and marginalized by the special children. Excellent. The votes are in on this particular "straw poll."

    And, finally, no, no no. If there are three a quorum is two. Do the math. Jamie knows better, and so does Hughes. Meeting in public like that for burgers and brew is a slap in the face.

    I WANT council critters to meet two on two occasionally outside of the glare of OPMA. They are human. They need to break bread, apologize, talk through details of issues. Let them go play golf. But, thanks to the CRC's infinite wisdom and voter fury over the FOSJ driven CAO, we are back to three.

    And so, no, two cannot meet anywhere other than behind the dais.

  45. CRC infinite wisdom?
    How come the CRC gets a pass here? What about the rules they broke? That's right, Buffon in chief, el Gordo and his band of merry ass clowns actually started the CRC meetings and agenda forcing, I mean the ruse of deliberations, before the CRC had been sworn in. Shouldn't they be held to account for this gross violation?shouldnt their work be invalidated?

    I realize that these anonymous comments will draw the usual suspects out of the woodwork, showing us that name calling is somehow ok if you sign your name and my name calling is cowardly because I don't. Save your self the trouble.

    Let the council work for a little bit for Dorf sake. This is a hybrib of a crack pipe and a car wreck. You have to look, and once you do, you get hooked. With me commenting I think they must be in the low double digits by now.

    You realize that if it wasnt for Trust Islanders you would have Lovel Jamiepoo and Lisa B. Let's not forget that, thanks to the CRC and their singular focus on pushing their agenda, was done without regard for what was best for the county. We saw plenty of passionate letters from other CRC members who didn't bow to el Gordo and details of how this was not a process of desin but rather one of implementation of that agenda.

    We the people are screwed, we just got a short reprieve. That's all. When next election rolls around, make no mistake, the machine will be right back in power. Thanks to the ass clown antics of el Gordo and his stooges. And really, this whole "resistance" diatribe, spare me. And in this county, people wio are booted from office seem to gain even louder voices. Why is it? Can we vote in a "you lost so please shut the fuck up rule"?

  46. So if council person A sees council person B get hit by a car in the crosswalk, he better not go render assistance for fear of violation of OPMA.
    Got it.

  47. The three person council is actually less workable than the six was.

    So he can pick em up off the pavement, but not talk. And all this was sold as a way to save money.

    While we don't need the brickworks; "I've got a watercolor for you" we might get a more healthy economy based on REAL farming and food production. At one time these islands did just that.

    The only real difference between a Brian McClerren and a Jamie Stephens, (both have no clue about management of a operation on the scale of SJC) is that with McClerren you got someone motivated to learn all he could and work his butt off, unlike the individual we got who just wants to be minted on the coin of the realm.

    I think the voters are likely burned out with restructuring, but maybe next time around we could get a couple of rational, involved young people and one VERY experienced government geek or retired 300 bod company CEO.

    No need to worry about FOSJ's direction, we now know the hit squad's direction will be dictated by their next large "donation."

  48. Brian EhrmantrautJune 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    @Angry On Orcas: Why on Earth would people step forward to serve, seeing attitudes like yours?

    I've been right beside Greg Ayers through our recent Orcas Fire Academy class, watching him sweat and bleed with the rest of us, and after seeing him in action, and working with him on real calls. I quite literally trust the man with my life.

    He's one of the good guys.

    Good luck in the future finding any man or woman of good character interested in stepping into the political environment that we are creating these days.

  49. Hear hear! I agree w/you Brian! Please keep watching and commenting. You're a breath of fresh air!

    I'm disappointed in Rick and see him as Jamie's pawn. Just very disappointing. But communicating w/him in a civil way could do some good. He seems a little over his head in his new role and Jamie seems happy to "teach him well".

    We musn't allow Jamie that kind of influence. We need independent thinkers and Rick needs to know that. He's being influenced not only by Jamie but by the eco folk in Canada. They're very forceful and not realistic or accurate w/their facts. Janet Alderton would fit in well there.

    Please communicate w/Rick if you can! Couldn't hurt and might help.

  50. @8:49
    "Burnett has in fact torn down her illegal work. It was found during a routine public record request.
    Don't let facts get in the way of your huff and puff."

    Actually, I believe the post ASKED whether she had torn down her illegal guest house. (The fact that she had been so irate and condescending toward Charles Dalton at the rock and candle meeting for his breaking the law, while simultaneously renting out her own illegal building, remains pretty disturbing.) If she has, hooray for justice, and thank goodness for routine public records requests.

    "It's so much easier to spout off complete bullshit with about a 30% accuracy rate." Not sure how you are doing your math. I asked a question. You provided an answer. Thanks for that. Now, what about Mr. Zee's building problems? Those all resolved?

    The questions were raised because similarly situated residents are treated differently. So far, the only reason that seems to explain that disparity is the political connections of the residents in question.

    Yes, folks on Orcas are causing all the problems with "chasing down small businesses." It was no doubt the Orcas people who made the brewery such a success that forced it to stop having live music and food. Not the County, of course. I guess it's the Orcas people who are trying to shut down our successful and even iconic shellfish businesses, like the Jones Family Farms. Not the County. I'm sure it's the Orcas anti-boating people who are trying to shut down the boatworks in Deer Harbor--not the County. And it must be the Orcas art-haters who are giving nice old Mr. Lambiel a hard time with his museum pieces--it couldn't be the County!

    And did the County have any role to play in the "merciless harassment" you refer to? Any misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance there?

  51. Tomorrow starts the Growth Management Hearings (Western Group) on SJC CAO's as so far adopted, yes, the last council did it.

    Nina Carter is chair and was appointed by Gregoire.

    FOSJ will go up against a formidable group assembled largely by CSA.

    In looking at the record so far FOSJ has made many changes and additions to their pleadings.

    Seems all or most have been accepted by Ms. Carter. Carter lives in Olympia and has been on the board since 2009. Plenty of time to be sold the idea that FOSJ is the head dog in San Juan County.

    William Roehl is the other hearing officer. Lives in Bellingham, can't find out when and by who he was appointed.

    His bio looks more reasoned and balanced than Ms. Carter's, this lady's bio looks like she would fit right in over there on Market Street on the second floor FOSJ offices.

    That, TH people, begs the question of why FOSJ would be so driven to get their demands in front of this board.

    Tell, what you know to be true.

  52. I am a fan of the TH and check it daily. I really believe that the ability to voice concerns and ideas in this blog helped turn the tide to elect Bob and Rick. It is one thing to be able to rant anonymously (@ June 22, 8:11 AM) about what is bugging you about local politics, but quite another to actually get involved in the system and try to do something about it.
    My hat is off to Brian Ehrmantraut, Gordy Petersen, Rich Peterson and the others who have served us in public offices. Brian is doing a great job as PC Chair and has the cajones to speak up in this column. Gordy’s work in chairing the CRC was exemplary. I was on the CRC with him and was one of the vocal supporters for going back to 3 on the council, and am delighted that the voters agreed. Rich was the seeming lone voice on the council for protecting our Freedoms for years – thank you Richie.

    Please cut Bob and Rick a little slack in getting settled in their new positions. Getting a new job where everyone seems to know the ropes but you, is a little disconcerting. But having said that, let’s don’t let them delegate everything to the County Manager and just sit back. We are paying them full time salaries to manage, and keep close track of things.

    Thanks for letting me rant

  53. So two council members can meet for lunch, as long as the meeting is announced and open to the public?
    That would be great. Advertise for a lunch meeting.
    I'd love to see the public comments:
    Rick, you have to try the fish and chips.
    Bob, a porter is a good beer with that sandwich.

    That's the sort of useful input that can help these guys succeed.

  54. Regarding 7:35 p.m. Why is Stephens chair? At the first meeting there should have been an election of the chair. In covering three cities, I never saw a new body that did not have such an election in the first meeting.

    Look at the video there WAS an election at the first meeting.

  55. re-reading Kyle's email advertisement it occurs to me he left out some requirements.

    Must be willing to say goodbye to common sense

    Must be willing to oust little old ladies w/out any show of heart or understanding

    Must care about eco ideals more than humans

    Must be willing to accept that humans are unacceptable inhabitants unless they can serve food, change beds, vacuum, drive "invested" tourists around, and any other service needed or desired by visitors to Disneyland...oops, I mean the San Juan Islands. Exceptions given to large donors to the FOSJ.

  56. Thanks, 8:52, missed it and wrongly assumed Jamie was carried over from the previous council. It was a voted carry over.

    I should know better than to "assume"
    anything political.

  57. The White House released the contents of the President's plan to combat Climate Change. Anyone want to take bets on how long it will be before FOSJ issues a statement to the effect that "Based upon the President's Plan to combat Climate Change and help communities prepare for the devastating effects to come, it is necessary for San Juan County to redouble its efforts to protect vulnerable features such as shorelines, wetlands, animal habitats, and new areas which will suffer from climate driven catastrophe. This means strengthening protections such as the CAO, SMP, and reworking the Master Plan to reflect the President's priorities".

    Or some such equivalent BS!

  58. The White House released the contents of the President's plan to combat Climate Change. Anyone want to take bets on how long it will be before FOSJ issues a statement to the effect that "Based upon the President's Plan to combat Climate Change and help communities prepare for the devastating effects to come, it is necessary for San Juan County to redouble its efforts to protect vulnerable features such as shorelines, wetlands, animal habitats, and new areas which will suffer from climate driven catastrophe. This means strengthening protections such as the CAO, SMP, and reworking the Master Plan to reflect the President's priorities".

    Or some such equivalent BS!

    1. Sorry for duplicate post!

  59. A VERY important decision was published by SCOTUS today in Koontz case. Puts some brakes on land use restrictions and government exactions. Good stuff.

  60. Two comments: First, the Islands Trust is not the Canadian version of the Friends of The San Juans. It is an actual branch of BC government made up of elected representatives from the Gulf Islands. They deliberate and establish land use regs for the islands. Our involvement with them is to learn what each other are doing and to search for co-operative efforts such as oil spill response plans.
    Second; The fact that Rick and Jamie are being attacked for planning what their approach to this meeting was to be speaks to one of the problems with the zeal for "openness" much discussed on these pages. Do the critics believe they should be deliberating such issues as: Where shall we get fuel?, Shall we sleep on the boat? Is it ok to bring our spouses to any social parts of the meeting if we cover their expense? etc. in public session? It seems to me that it would be wise to use some common sense, cut these guys some slack, and get the facts straight before drawing so many angry conclusions.

  61. Thanks for the common sense Rich.
    If the council came out and said that CDPD was shut down, all planning halted, FOSJ and PSP expelled from the islands, and government expenses reduced from 50 million a year to a net zero cost, while giving each citizen 10,000 dollars, that they would still find something to complain, moan, piss, whine and bitch about.

  62. I don't think asking for transparency and accountability from our council and our county staff is pissing and bitching.

    The Council and staff have created the current atmosphere in this county.

    Change will come when citizens are heard, when staff is accountable, and Council create positive and mutually beneficial decisions for all who live in the San Juan County.

  63. I agree. There is currently a climate of distrust that is not being alleviated by the actions/inaction of the current commission.

    My fear...and belief...is that Mr. Hughes is allowing Mr Stephens to do his thinking for him.

    It's amazing to me that these two have so much authority. I have no confidence in them and private conversations between them are something I'm very uncomfortable with.

    An earlier poster commented on the body language at a CC meeting. It's very obvious. Sorry Mr. Peterson...I think they need to make their travel plans in public.

  64. Mr Peterson,

    With all due respect, given the oath of office that both Mr. Hughes and Mr Stephens have taken, the answer is yes, they should be having EVERY conversation in open session. Including their travel plans. Is this the most efficient way to do things? Perhaps not, but it is in fact the requirement of the laws that they have vowed to uphold and enforce. The people have asked that all of these conversations be public so that we can be assured that it is "we" who are able to judge the relevance not "they".

    Yes, there are serious issues with this set up, but it is what the voters passed and it is the law by which these guys agree to do business. If they think they can exempt certain conversations from the rules, what does that say to the numerous committees that operate under their guidance.

    My guess is that the end result of this mini-fiasco is going to mean a whole lot more council meetings in order to converse. Will this eat up time? Yes. But guess what guys, you singed up for the big full time job. Welcome to your new work load!

    So for now, how about you stick to conversations in the open, because until you prove otherwise I know that I question your decision making abilities.

  65. My good friends and fellow readers of the Trojan Heron, are you kidding?
    Council person “A” telephones Council person “B” and discusses their travel arrangements and whatever else they desire to confer upon off the record. At the next open public meeting they merely present their privately agreed-upon decisions and agree upon them publicly. Who is the wiser? And then you say, “but, but, but.” Don’t be naïve.
    Ponder this thought for a moment, San Juan County Assessor, Charles Zalmanek, solicits private funding for the Pictometry aerial photograph project. There is no documentation in the County records requesting Mr. Zalmanek to do so or giving him the authority to do so. In private office conversations or telephone conversations Mr. Zalmanek was either requested to solicit the private investors or Mr. Zalmanek volunteered to do so.
    Interestingly, regardless of how Mr. Zalmanek became involved, there is no public record of it.
    Boys and girls, are you so naïve that you believe can control the private inner workings of local, state or national governments? If so, how sad.
    Then you ask, “what hope have we?” Well, not much, if you are not willing to strenuously and seriously hold paid or volunteer, elected or hired, government staff accountable for all of their actions. This includes not only the election process, but also employing all services available to us private and public. When wrong has been done we must seek private legal counsel, local district attorney’s, as well as state and federal attorneys general. Then and only then will local government officials and staff be inclined to do what is right. Unfortunately, even then some will step outside good judgment in the law.
    When you, as a private citizen, are in violation of regulations, codes and law, other citizens as well as private organizations and the government hold you accountable. You in turn must hold them equally accountable for their actions.
    So my friends, who among us will stand tall and hold Hughes, Stephens, Jarman and the rest of the San Juan County staff accountable for their actions? Unfortunately, most of you will not. You will post here “anonymously” in hopes that someone else will carry the ball for you. Rick Hughes and Jamie Stephens are counting on it. Friends of the San Juan’s are counting on it. Lisa Byers and Lovel Pratt are counting on it. The “machine” as you call it are counting on it.

  66. 7:29. Mostly correct. "String" phone calls are illegal in some jurisdictions and elected people with good sense don't try to line up votes and decisions outside the open meeting room.

    No evidence we have that problem here as yet. A dumb trip to BC, yes.

    Jarman must convince someone to vote with him. I think Stephens is a better target than Hughes. A concerted public push might get a result.

    The very real problem we have is not one of these people, or all three of them added up, have the measure to run this very difficult and very entrenched County.

    I think they know it.

  67. TH has inspired some interesting comments about the CRC and I agree with a lot of them. The leadership was pathetic, the Charter was hijacked, the cart(recommendations) came before the horse (research, interviews, etc.), the Freeholders were ignored, any opposing opinion was treated as background noise, alternative viewpoints never made it to the "findings" (and they were actively suppressed in discussion), and a whole lot of the CRC majority's activity took place out of the public's AND the CRC minority's hearing. It was a travesty. The chair and his associates played the major role in gutting our Charter. Fortunately, the whole mess has been amply recorded for posterity, down to communication in violation of the Open Public Meetings Act. It was a sad chapter in our history and I believe the future will validate this opinion. (And there is still the State Supreme Court to hear from). There must be a link to the Appellants' Brief filed recently somewhere on TH). Meanwhile, we have Gordy's talk of "the Resistance." Oh please.
    P.S. The anonymous comments definitely have a down side but they are also producing excellent ideas and the kind of spontaneity you'll never find in letters to editors.

  68. Janice,
    Everyone who's not mentally retarded knows that el-Gordo bullied and engaged in demagogue to over-throw the charter that guaranteed that the council wouldn't be completely filled with leftist wing nuts in his jealousy riddled campaign to throw out Pete Rose whom he hated because Pete wouldn't simply fire County staff at Gordo's direction. What kind of FOOL would think that County-Wide elections wouldn't produce a disaster similar to Rhea Miller's tenure - save for an off year special election where substantially less than the normal kool-aid guzzling goof-ball democratic liberals participated? All this talk of TH "Legions" and "Actively Managing Council" and "The Machine" is beyond laughable. The next regular elections in the future will see the moderate Rick Hughes and Bob Jarman swept aside for the usual pie-eyed leftist who actually think a rich, fat, lying piece of crap like Al Gore who lives in a 30,000 square foot mansion and flies around in a personal jet is actually a scientific authority on climate change. Thanks Gordo, you're an idiot.


  69. Well that was bit sulfurous wasn't it? Go back to Orange County or Bellingham or whatever urban haunt suits you, please. You sound like another faceless victim with no solution, on another hunt for the guilty. By the way, the jet stream has become quite unstable these days hasn't it? There's a reason for that.

    The only way to actively manage the council is to get involved, by the way. Monday morning quarterbacks make no difference around here. Show up or become part of the problem yourself.

    Anyway, the CRC was manipulated by local leadership of the Democratic Party and Republican Party who wanted party politics and money back in local elections. All the while the maintaining the convenient fiction of nonpartisan positions. A large majority of the CRC felt it was a good idea. The CRC were elected by the voters to be a representative body.

    The voters, who were generally annoyed for various reasons pulled the lever on a "throw the bastards out" impulse which was entirely predictable. We saw the immediate consequences.

    As to the quorum of three, it is now the law here. Years ago, Lichter and Myers caught hell for chatting up a group of FOSJ board members on the interisland ferry. Oh, we were just wishing so and so happy birthday.

    Here's the deal. I don't care if Jamie and Rick want to chat about the color of paint. The problem is obvious, we DON'T KNOW. It is the same problem with the secret team that generated the CAO ordinance behind closed doors, kept no minutes and denied any recollection of the proceedings when deposed.

    Were they discussing scheduling and logistics? Were Rick and Jamie discussing travel arrangements to go Canada to discuss transborder policy issues that the public might have a need to know of?

    The problem on both counts is simple: We. Don't. Know.

    A quorum is three. Follow the new rules. Or face the consequences.

  70. 7:25 has it pretty much nailed down. (Must have some good coffee.)

    Problem continues to be that NONE of the three we have came charging to the plate. Even if it was Stephens, we would have had the benefit of seeing a reaction, a resistance, or another plan of action presented as an alternative.

    At present, we have nothing. Actually a perfect chance for a person with ideas and the ability to sell them.

    We all know the issues. Many, but first up for me is to fight back against the crushing influence of the DOE and the State in general.

    The population of SJC has done nothing wrong! Let us have a County Council that at least will say that.

    With the pretty fair bucks getting paid, maybe some of our trio could afford a sign up for night classes teaching management.