And those tactics and strategies have been given succor by influential officials higher up the government food chain. A case in point is the string of emails below from 2011. In the emails, officials from the Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) are complaining about science being introduced by the Common Sense Alliance (CSA) during the CAO process. Specifically, state officials are reacting to a CSA newsletter about ocean science proposed for BAS by Dr. David Hyde, formerly of Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The emails between Bill Ruckelshaus, Martha Kongsgaard, and Gerry O'Keefe illustrate many things:
- First, they show that San Juan County is on the radar screen of some of the most influential people in the state.
- Second, they show the casual contempt that state officials have for anyone outside of the Friends, the tribes, or insider scientists.
- Third, they show no respect for the legitimate concerns of local people and display condescension at the premise that differences with the PSP might actually be authentic. Kongsgaard implies that CSA has somehow manufactured controversy and created dialogue that isn't "real." In fact, Kongsgaard shows off her political blinders by denigrating the "world view" politics of her opponents while she simultaneously displays nothing but her own "world view."
- Fourth, the emails employ tactics that we've come to expect in the San Juans -- paint all CSA-like troublemakers with a broad politically-charged brush (e.g., Tea Partiers); lie about them (CSA "screamed" at Ruckelshaus); favor tourists over residents; and generally vilify anyone who encourages broad-based local public participation.
- Lastly, the emails show the speed-dial first-name bonds that existed (and may still exist) between our local manipulative hardball world-view commissars and the state's manipulative hardball world-view commissars.
For reference and background, Martha Kongsgaard is the current head of the PSP Leadership Council. Ruckelshaus (formerly Head of the PSP Leadership Council) and O'Keefe (formerly Executive Director of the PSP) have moved on, but as most San Juan residents probably realize, Bill Ruckelshaus remains a hugely influential figure. And speaking of huge, he also owns one of the largest shoreline homes and docks in the county.
The email string kicks off with Ruckelshaus forwarding the CSA newsletter to O'Keefe and Kongsgaard with the ominous admonition, "Trouble brewing in the San Juans." However, Ruckelshaus is wrong. Any fair evaluator of the evidence would conclude that trouble has already been baked into our state, local, and tribal governments ... garnished with the scientists and non-profits that are in league with them.
Errata: The initial wording of this post incorrectly identified Gerry O'Keefe as being the former Head of the Department of Ecology when in reality he served as the Executive Director of the PSP. Corrections have been made and my thanks to the reader who pointed out the error.
PUGET SOUND PARTNERSHIP
Begin forwarded message:
Thanks for this Bill. This is ongoing up there as you know. I think you have personally been screamed at there, no? The county has adopted the BAS already and this cannot be undone until the CAO is complete which will be sometime in June. Then the law suits will be filed by both sides. The best thing that can happen now is that a thorough record is made by groups like Friends of the San Juans, UW scientists, and the tribes so that they can prevail in court. It is a lousy system, but it’s the one we have. IN the mean time, it is rough to be Lovell Pratt, for example, who is chair and is trying to hold the line.The CSalliance is certainly whipping up fear and introducing new science into the CAO discussion and are managing to fill town halls with 50 – 70 people. At the end of the day, it has much more to do with philosophy than with science – see the Tea Party. If the case could be made publicly that their science is not on point, that over 50% of the shoreline is already built out and that the parcels are by and large under ½ acre, and that the economy of the San Juans depends on the 1,000,000+ tourists who travel there to be sold “beauty and wildness” and on and on, they would still hate government and resist regulation in most any form. They are jamming the planning department by encouraging land owners to go, one by one, to the planning department to ask what effect these regulations ‘could’ have on their land. They are demanding that the council notify all land owners of the same, with individual maps, etc., all under the request for transparency and open government. That plays well and is hard to combat. But it is killing the dept. who otherwise would be working on the CAO etc. and so the worm turns…..This e mail got me off my duff to call Lovell Pratt, the chair, and friends of the San Juans. They need our support to do the hard thing. We need to listen to the CSA, and the worries of the property owners and figure out how to get the hard work done. There is not a lot of real communications getting done. It is world view stuff that doesn’t allow for much dialogue in my experience.MarthaM A R T H A K O N G S G A A R D
4 4 0 8 B E A C H D R I V E S. W.
S E A T T L E, W A 9 8 1 1 6
W - 2 0 6 . 4 4 8 . 1 8 7 4 * C - 2 0 6 . 8 1 7 . 5 4 7 3
From: Bill Ruckelshaus [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 9:14 AM
To: Gerry O'Keefe; martha kongsgaard
Subject: Note from Ruckelshaus -FW: Ocean Science Missing in Best Available ScienceGerry and Martha,Trouble brewing in the San Juans.BillDiane L. Hodgson, Personal ManagerWilliam D. and Jill Ruckelshaus
Madrona Venture Group and Evergreen Venture1000 Second Avenue, Ste 3700Seattle, WA 98104
Images not displaying properly? Add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book now.