Yesterday afternoon at 1:02 pm the County Council discussed the possibility of moving grant funding for all or part of the PSP LIO/AAOG and AOC together with the MRC and Lead Entity to the CD. Make sense?
This is why the average citizen has no hope of tracking County shenanigans. Even the jargon is an insider's game, and when you add in the artful half-truths and deception that are the hallmarks of our zombie-Friends staffers ... you get an impenetrable web of eco-deceit.
If you watch the linked video, you will see that not even Jamie Stephens (our County Chair) can keep the acronyms and responsibilities straight. He struggles like grasshopper while Barbara Rosenkotter rattles off acronyms and committee names as if she were a shaolin priest of eco-bureaucracy.
The Puget Sound Partnership (PSP), which is funded by the State and the Feds, is embodied on the local level by an organization created by our County Council, the Local Implementing Organization (LIO). What does it implement? It is supposed to implement the PSP's Action Agenda for San Juan County, which is the PSP's local plan for cleaning up our local waters. If you actually read the PSP's Action Agenda, you will note that they plan to clean up our local waters by having endless grant-funded coordinating meetings. The LIO is also known as the Action Agenda Oversight Group (AAOG), and so you often see the acronyms LIO and AAOG used interchangeably or written as "LIO/AAOG." Subordinate to the LIO/AAOG are two policy-making bodies: the Implementation Committee (which helps draft the County Action Agenda) and the Accountability Oversight Committee (AOC), which is a committee comprised of the County in league with the Tribes. Both the County and the Tribes have veto votes regarding policy initiatives associated with the AOC.
Rosenkotter, Lyshall, and Zee hatched a plan to move this alphabet soup out of the County offices and into the enlarged quarters of the Conservation District (CD). In addition, they want to take with them the Lead Entity Coordinator role for salmon recovery (a watershed-oriented program funded by the State). Up until now, this whole shooting match has been jumbled together with the County's Marine Resources Committee (MRC). However, with greater scrutiny being placed on County Advisory Committees, especially the MRC, Rosenkotter, Lyshall, and Zee want to take the meat of the MRC's funding and "authority" and stash it in the Conservation District.
Why should we care?
We should care because these people are sneaky, because they are thinking several steps ahead of the rest of us, and because they have a pervasive influence on the lives of everyone who lives on our shorelines. For example, let's take a look at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) TACT grant to San Juan County for a moment. TACT stands for "Trouble shooting, Action planning, Course correction, and Tracking and monitoring." Via this grant, the MRC jumble was working in boats with the Friends and armed enforcement officers from the Department of Ecology to map possible shoreline violations. Even Pictometry got mixed up with the activities associated with this grant, since sources suggest that Amy Windrope (from WDFW), Stephanie Buffum (Friends), Rosenkotter, and Lyshall were eagerly anticipating the synergies that would accrue from having Pictometry support the TACT pre-enforcement mapping. The County Council didn't authorize this work, and when certain County staffers threatened to bring these activities to light, their jobs were threatened. These are the kinds of things that happen in our County now when we supposedly have control. What would it be like if these roles and responsibilities were to be splintered?
Although the Conservation District is purportedly a non-regulatory body, the scheming that's going on right now is an effort to transform the Conservation District into grant central for facilitating enforcement actions against shoreline owners. The CD may not do the actual enforcement, but they figure they can support enforcement by others.
Thankfully, at least in the discussion yesterday, Jarman and Hughes saw the ploy for what it was.