Saturday, July 20, 2013

Why Not Get Rid Of The Conservation District?

There is a lot more to be said about the Conservation District. For example, in 2010, our County Council approved a parcel fee lasting 10 years (the maximum length of time allowable) of $5 for every property in the County to fund our Conservation District. Now, the Conservation district is asking for more. They want $5 per parcel plus 5 cents per acre.

Commenters on the last post raised the possibility of gathering petition signatures to hold an election to dissolve the San Juan Islands Conservation District. We think that's a great idea, and a hearty "thank you" to the commenter who suggested it. In response, we offer the following petition sheet for people to use to start gathering signatures. According to the election figures from last April, there are 11,952 voters in our county, and according to RCW 89.08.350, we need 20% of voters to force an election to decide the dissolution matter.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let's give it a try. We need approximately 2,400 petition signatures. The template below has 20 signatures per page, so we need 120 full pages. Right click to download and print.


  1. What a great idea. I just printed out 10 copies and have several signatures already....

  2. Great Idea and my household voting block is signing.

    Brace for the immediate CLAIM that the County won't get any grant money without a CD.

  3. Hi,
    An initiative is a better vehicle to accomplish this. I'm not sure what a petition with random signatures means. Don't waste effort doing it the wrong way. The process is simple. First you must register the petition language with the Auditor. The PA reviews it and writes a ballot title. Then you go out and get signatures from registered voters. You can get this in front of the Council as a mini-inititative with about 400 signatures, and if you think they will respond positively to the idea, then that is a good way to go. If not, it will go to the voters in November upon signature verification. The process is spelled out in the Charter.

  4. @3:51

    No, the Conservation District is not governed by the Charter. The County Auditor has nothing -- repeat -- NOTHING to do with Conservation District elections.

    The Conservation District is not county government, period. The rules regarding the Conservation District are found in State law, not local law. RCW 89.08

  5. I think the understandable confusion displayed by @3:51 is a good illustration of why we need to do away with this outfit. They are not part of our normal governance. They are a rogue agency, not subject to the Council, the PA, the Auditor, or the Charter.

    They are accountable to no one, and yet they are trying to take away County programs under the Zee/Lyshall/Rosenkotter schemes.

  6. I think some of the confusion arises because in one area, and one area alone, there is overlap between the county government and the conservation district. The local legislature (our county council) can levy a tax on its voters to support the conservation district, and the county is supposed to collect those monies and then throw them over the fence to the conservation district, never to be seen again.

    Why our last full-term council approved a 10-year parcel fee for the conservation district is as mystifying as why they voted for the critical area ordinance. Peterson wasn't awful, but collectively, the last council had to be the worst council in history. No accountability on anything, including what happens to conservation district money.

  7. The RCW language specified that the petitioners are "praying" for the dissolving of the CD.

    I would suggest someone get an approved form Monday before we get signatures. "we the undersigned, in accordance with RCW xxxxx pray for the dissolving of the SJCD as prescribed in the manner set forth. "

    I don't want to get a bunch of signatures tossed out for procedural stuff. Can the TH take a look at this on Monday with some free local friendly legal advice??

  8. This is a great first step in reclaiming our country. One corrupt entrenched quasi agency at a time. Some one down in Florida got rid of a Conservation District this year.
    One at a time. Our country, state, region, etc has become so entrenched with those who game the taxpayers for personal gain, especially under the banner of saving the environment.
    One at a time.
    Let's do this.

  9. Let's hear from the Commissioners of the Conservation District. The Journal should do a feature, get viewpoints from each.

    The Conservation District will have a booth at the County Fair. Remember that. I would also expect to see a petition drive to preserve and protect the Conservation District. Likely driven by the Frauds of the San Juans.

    And what about some of these other alphabet soup acronym back-room do-nothing, grant sucking bottom feeding outfits in our midst? Surely they each have a little kill-switch, somewhere?

    It is a shame, they can be good service organizations, but they have lost their way. MRC, ARC, CD, LIO, EDC, XYZ, ABC ...

  10. The petition to dissolve the conservation district isn't nullified by a petition to support it. The petition to dissolve it calls for an election, and then everyone votes.

    So let's get it to a vote.

  11. Anyone have good contacts in a few other counties? Are the CD folks as sneaky as they are here?

    Maybe sniff around Whatcom excavator and see what they think.

    Here is the story on the CD in Florida that was dissolved earlier this year.

    You don't need to read the whole article, but here are two great quotes.
    "Tanner’s six-year mission to shut down the wasteful Lee Soil and Water Conservation District is a lesson in how government programs get entrenched and how hard it is for citizens to dismantle them."

    and then they really hit the nail on the head with this....
    "Created as conduits for federal and state funds for farmers, such soil and water conservation districts have mutated into slush funds for politicians and bureaucrats."

    One thing I found particularly interesting is that the CD in Florida started in 1947. Same year as the one in Washington. Must have been all part of some federal expansion.

  12. There is one person who can tell us how to do this properly. The name: Alexandra Gavora.

    This is one person who has successfully run a County wide campaign to change something as foolish as our CD.

    (Hers, was the storm water drainage tax and she won. But, Rich Peterson ignored the voter mandate and masterminded a way around that mandate thus establishing the storm water tax we have now.)

    Alex Gavora remains famous for another statement: "Why is it that County Government sees the answer to every problem as a new tax?"

  13. @7:58.
    I have met her on a few occasions but don't know her that well. Can someone pull a few key players together and get the troops lined out? We will deliver the signatures and then get out the vote.
    Regarding the storm water tax, this is nonsense and only serves to employ clowns such as Ed Hale who spend their entire time, on our dime, justifying their existence.

  14. shit just got real

  15. If the need can be demonstrated to re-establish a conservation district at some future date, the RCW's clearly spell out a procedure to do so. I think the pitch should be, lets save some money for the taxpayers of the state and locally. Let our local communities continue how they have, without grant money.

    Has anyone looked at the CD's upcoming "fall seminar"? It sounds great, outreach about "biodynamic farming", but if you read the flyer, 2/3 of it is promoting horse ownership. Let me give everyone a clue, if you want to do something with the stroke of a pen that will do more for our soils and lands than the combined 70 years of Conservation District shenanigans, here it is. BAN HORSES. These are some of the most land destructive creatures when kept in pasture.
    Just another highlight of the hypocrisy and foolishness of these evolving government agencies. They were founded to help manage and preserve our soils.
    Now they are promoting horses?
    This is the equivalent of the MRC advertising on the side of a whale watch boat.

  16. Another great quote from the article about Jack Tanner who worked tirelessly to dissolve a CD in Florida.

    "Looking back, Tanner and Miller say that municipal employees and politicians thwart citizen efforts to cut wasteful spending. For example, county politicians were using the district as a vehicle to request federal funds."

  17. Biodynamic farming? Really?

    Burying crystals in the soil? Homeopathy for dirt?

    We're wasting tax dollars on this pseudoscience?


  18. Take control of your life or someone else will.

  19. Whatever came of Ron Zee's illegal construction and land use violations thingee?

  20. The Conservation District helps landowners, that's it, that's all they do. Anyone who is threatened by them obviously doesn't know what they are talking about.
    It's sad that people actually believe the crap on this blog. Really?

  21. @2:19am
    Oh Sharon, get some sleep already...
    Or better yet, write some actual journalism, instead of your bs opinions all the time

  22. As a landowner, no thank you

  23. @2:19 AM

    The Frauds of the San Juans help protect our environment, economy and community. That's it, that's all they do. Anyone who is threatened by them obviously had it coming. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Any resemblance between the Frauds and the CD is purely coincidental. It's sad more people don't wake up to this kind of crap.

  24. It might be that if the public received some assurances from the Council, the WA State Conservation Commission, the current SJC-CD commissioners themselves, the leadership of the Madrona Institute, the LIO, the MRC, the salmon recovery program, the Friends of the San Juans that the SJC-CD will 1) stick to its core mission; 2) never seek to subvert proper county and public authority and oversight ever again; 3) provide periodic public reports to open Council sessions; 4) show concretely how the little agency will protect itself from predatory special interest groups.

    And we'll back off. How about that? Fair enough?

    By the way, what's up with neighboring CD's in nearby counties? What do our 40th District reps have to say about all this? This is not entirely a local issue and we should not consider it that way.

  25. @2:19 I'd love to hear some examples of the "help" the CD has given "landowners". Which "landowners"? What kind of "help"?

    That was a vague and unhelpful comment w/out specifics.

  26. Typical. Shrill emotional content free rhetoric from Troll Island. No rational defense. No facts. No specifics. Just ranting.

    Just sad. Rilly, riiillly saddddd ...

  27. @2:19

    "I'm from the Conservation District and I'm here to help."


    Is there anything less believable than that? It's a slush fund for Zee/Lyshall/Rosenkotter (ZLR).

  28. @2:19 and @8:39

    ZLR? I like that.

    ZLR "helping" landowners. OMG, no. What a thought! Next you'll be telling us that Shireene loves landowners.

    Conservation District, nothing to see here, move along. Don't pay any attention to us. Just give us a bunch of money so we can "help" you. We'll start by assembling the most unhelpful group of people that we can find in the whole county.

  29. How did all this start?

    Go back to that special year, 2006.

    Ranker, Licter, and that other guy from OPALCO had the keys to the car.

    The previous management of the Conservation District was swept out. Ron Zee was hired to become the manager of the Conservation District. That is the same year that the MRC got its county staff position ... which apparently it now looking to soft-pedal to the Conservation District, which is not governed by the San Juan County Council.

    But, move on citizens. Nothing here to see. Everything is under control. Oh, by the way, after the "changes" one of the CD staff member's, by way of his spouse's personal email address went totally public and used the electronic mailing lists of County Extension and WSU to lobby against a CD commission candidate. What are the other board and committee interlocking relationships?

    These guys stoop at nothing. Shut them down.

  30. It is time to put an end to the SCAM that is the Conservation District, the MRC, and the Salmon Recovery!
    I call for a complete and thorough audit of these fronts for the FOSJ; a full audit will reveal just how much of our tax dollars are being funneled to the FOSJ through their accomplices.
    These scams are at every level of government in every town, city, and state and it's time to stop it NOW!
    The way to stop it is to dry up their pools of monies, let's begin with the bogus CD!


  31. This is fairly unbelievable -- even by Washington Standards.

    WAC 135-110-515
    Agency filings affecting this section
    Conservation district must make ballots available.
    (1) The conservation district must provide a ballot to any person who requests a ballot.
    (2) The conservation district may make ballots available to all potential voters within the conservation district.
    (3) Ballots may be provided electronically if a suitable means of determining voter eligibility and preventing voter fraud are utilized.
    (4) The conservation district may send or provide ballots to all individuals who, in the three years preceding the election, have voted in a conservation district election or have participated in conservation district services or programs.

  32. @1:28pm
    Sounds like if my 12 year old "participated" in the latest CD dog and pony show promoting horsemanship, they would be eligible to vote.
    Is this illegal, or just unconstitutional?
    Either way, it's wrong.
    Let's tell them no. We must reign in government at all levels. It has to start locally.
    I am John Connor.

  33. @1:18
    Re: auditing these organizations. Calling for and demanding an audit will likely fall on deaf ears or take years to accomplish. Lets start the process now.
    Who wants to make public records request at the state level for all incoming $$ and outgoing $$ at the CD since 2006, when Zeero took over. That should be a good start. If they don't have good documents, well then, the AG should investigate.

  34. Brian EhrmantrautJuly 21, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    What is the budget of the CD?

    How many people does the CD employ?

    What do they spend their budget on?

    What are the CD's top accomplishments over the past five years?

    What does the CD plan to achieve over the next five years?

    What are the facts?

  35. Brian -- Much of the information you ask for is on the CD website. I think the responsible thing to do is to find out as much as you can from there and then ask the CD staff to fill in what isn't covered there. I know I went to the web site and then to the state's web sites to find out more when this issue came up.

    Brian, because you have the respect of a number of the people who frequent this site, you have an opportunity to demonstrate an appropriate and respectful way to proceed when issues like this come up. Hope you do it.

  36. Brian -- See also state conservation commission site at for work plans for all CDs in the state.

    Everyone else -- John Evans recently said "it's not that hard" for council members to follow the law re open meetings. That is true, and it is also true that it is not that f'ing hard for citizens to exercise their responsibilities by doing a little homework before throwing rocks. There is more information available today than ever before. So, quit complaining and use the available tools to educate yourselves.

  37. Yes, please do look at the links provided. You'll see planning, mentoring, water quality, yadda yadda yuk yuk. How many of these people do we need?!?

    Plus, it's the conservation district's empire-building scheming that's of greatest concern, and that's not contained in any report. For that, you have to watch the Council session on July 15 and follow the Stewardship Network, Madrona Institute, WDFW-Amy Windrope, Linda Lyshall, Rosenkotter, and the MRC.

    If we don't know or can't quantify what some crazy organization is doing, we should get rid of it. No one will miss them, at least no normal non-insider people anyway. You want "lean management"? Then get rid of government appendages that don't do anything but generate reports, annual plans, and long-range visions.

    When is the last time you heard someone say, "Boy, I really need the Conservation District's help."

    The fact that Brian has all those good questions speaks volumes. If someone as knowledgeable and involved as Brian doesn't know what they do, what hope is there for anyone else to know.

    No one knows. Get rid of them.

  38. Brian EhrmantrautJuly 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    @3:24 My questions were simply intended to draw forth a presentation of the facts before the rock-throwing got fully underway.

    I'm assuming people presenting the petition to eliminate the CD would have such fundamental information handy to convince petition signers and voters that their cause has merit.

    Telling citizens who are not expert in the affairs of the CD to head to websites and start digging isn't a helpful answer in that context.

  39. @3:24 and Brian

    I think you will find that the conservation district has been managed so poorly they cannot tell you what they do or what they have done in any definite way. They have effectively no reliable accounting and they don't track what they do, including timekeeping, by any meaningful methods. I wouldn't trust any number coming from them. Money comes in, and no one knows where it goes.

    How can you get "facts" from an organization that simply makes them up when they need to? All their reports and plans could be summed up as "arm wave here and arm wave there, look for grant money, collect paycheck, and repeat tomorrow."

    It would be nice to talk facts, but "facts" and "conservation district" may be different animals.

    I believe that is the point being made regarding their possible dissolution. Are there any verifiable facts about the conservation district? Can anyone concretely point to something they have done?

    The links and websites say precious little to nothing. We will need to hear from people who have dealt with them.

  40. Well, it looks like from the link posted above that the budget went from $155K to $250K this year.

    More money to help landowners "plan" how to use their farms.

    If you don't have the common sense or ability to ask local owners what works and what doesn't, maybe you shouldn't be owning large property.

    Now they are attempting to gain control over the Salmon Entity position which, as Rosenkotter of ZLR admits, has gone through 12 million dollars of taxpayer money in the past 10 years.
    Factor in to this equation that the state will be handing out 62 million in salmon specific grants, courtesy of Sen. Murray, and you can see where this is headed.

    They have helped some private farmers (I am aware of 2 on SJI) obtain USDA grants to build composting enclosures on their farms. Great, take money from a beyond broke federal government and give it to farmers to build something on their property.
    Then we have a new 1 million dollar outlet for the farmers to peddle their harvests.

    Do these people have a clue that programs like this are unsustainable? Where do they think these tax dollars come from? Here is a hint, they come from the private sector. The private sector is being taxed to the point of extinction. We can work together to scale back some of this, or just jump in the boat as it heads over the waterfall. If this trend is not stopped then reversed, we will crash, and crash hard.
    Then the grant funded leaches will maybe finally realize the destruction they have wrought through excessive spending on stuff like this.
    Ok, so they have a $250,000 budget. Pierce county is 1.8 million. Anyone want to add all of these $$ up?
    Whether it comes from a federal grant or the state coffers, this is TAXPAYER MONEY.
    A lot of us want the government to SPEND LESS.

  41. Real results and efficient and effective use of taxpayer money would look something like this.

    Conservation District in partnership with the local food bank and State DSHS, are looking for ways to involve the community and food stamp recipients in production of their own food in a sustainable manner.

    Get some grants (you guys are good at that as we all know), lease or buy some land, and hold your classes and workshops on this community parcel of land. Have people that are receiving food stamps and donations from the foodbank put in a set number of hours to receive a fixed amount of food.
    Teach everyone about conservation of soils, sustainable farming, and all those "objectives", while reducing the burden on another government agency.

    Any of you grant grubbers ever think of trying to do that? Try to phase out or drastically reduce taxpayer expenses? Or is it all about more staff, more committee meetings, more reports, more grants, more grants, more grants....?

    Just an example of what I think would constitute tangible "results".
    I am sure there are many examples and iterations that could be generated, but the point is we need less government expenditure. Our private citizens have always been willing to contribute to help the community and their neighbors.
    What makes anyone think that that would cease to happen if the Conservation District was dissolved?

  42. The fundamental information being presented by the petitioners, of which I would like to be one, is that there aren't any fundamental tangibles. Okay, the conservation district does the native plant sale, and I like native plants, but what am I going to say? "Pashaw, I won't pay attention to the conservation district's nefarious plans to __________(fill in the blank). I'll just turn a blind eye and buy a Doug fir seedling from them anyway."

    I'd rather just get my native plants elsewhere, and if I need help building a compost pile, I'll consult google. Most of these do-nothing "assistance" bureaucracies were built long before the internet anyway, and they immediately lost at least half their purpose as soon as search engines were invented.

  43. @4:31
    You're right. During a time of general fiscal restraint and declining government budgets everywhere else, our conservation district budget increased by 61% in one year. Their self-proclaimed major accomplishment last year was soil testing of 88 samples. They even graphed the results and presented them at the Fair. Now I can hardly wait for the Fair to see what they did this year with all their extra money.

    The link you provided is terrific, but not for the reasons you probably intended. Thank you.

  44. I've been looking at links and trying to do my own searches for the last couple of hours. I even had to drive into town and I went past their new office. Everything I've found legitimizes the rock throwing. Have you seen their new office? Why do they need that? Have you seen the recording of the July 15 council meeting? What are these people doing, and why is Jamie helping them?

    It's off-topic, but we need a new council chair. It's obvious that Jamie's been working with these people.

  45. This is all exactly what it looks like. Unbelievable. These guys are banking on your utter disbelief of what you think they can't possibly be up to.

    The best way to enjoy good theater is to willingly suspend your disbelief. That's how to get at the true story here.

    So the next time the fish lady promises to take us all to Nivana tonight for a nominal fee ... just smile and say, as Helen Thomas once quipped to Henry Kissinger preparing to drown the press corp in a mindless lecture on foreign policy:

    "Please Dr. Kissinger. Just start at the end."

  46. RIP Helen, 'spect

  47. Brian...please tell me what the day, weeks, and months after eliminating the CD will look like, will life as we know end? Will people start paining their walls with lead-based paint? Start slash-n-burn ag practices? Tell us all Brian what will be missed when we tell the CD, the MRC, and the total bullshit Salmon Recovery to fuck off and go find real jobs? Sorry, I'm done with flowery language and PC speech...all of you with phony degrees in "ecology" fuck off already and take your hands out of my pocket!

  48. Brian EhrmantrautJuly 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    @8:06pm Excuse me?

    I am simply asking for some data.

    If this makes me The Enemy in your mind, you are quite mistaken.

  49. Brian Ehrmantraut is one of the sanest people on the planet, much less the county. I'm a big fan. He's right to ask for data. That said, this situation is proof by the negative. The absence of tangibles in support of the conservation district is justification for dissolution in my view.

    Government takes on a life of its own after a while. It grows without purpose. One law spawns another. Councils breed committees which foster intergovernmental panels. Then one day we wake up and we haven't the vaguest idea what half the government does anymore. We haven't the foggiest idea how the leg bone is connected to the hip bone. Most of us have no understanding at all what the acronyms in our county mean. When you need an encyclopedia/wikipedia to understand your own government, that's bad news. We could leave the running of the government up to lifers and pros who are soaked in all this gov-speak, or we could try to simplify things, downsize, and get regular people involved in their own government again. An overly complicated government is a barrier to community involvement, not its promoter.

    Simpler is better, and we should not collect government agencies and programs as if they were chattel stored in a forgotten attic. Cean house and make government clear, transparent, and understandable to the average citizen. I've looked into the conservation district. I've tried to understand what it does. I've talked to people involved with it. I'll be damned if I know what it does, but if someone wants to spell it out for me, please go ahead. I'm looking for answers. Until then, I hope the petition to get rid of it goes places.

    I'll sign it.

  50. @8:06 Right on, brother (sister?)! And while we are at it, can we please send back the $5 million of yours and my money appropriated to give the people in Cape San Juan a road and destroy a great hiking area. That development never should have been allowed in the first place. Certainly the people foolish enough to buy property there are not owed a road by us. Quick picking my pocket to shore up the follies of developers and gullible buyers, for crying out loud!

  51. While we're at it, what does the ARC exactly do? So much duplication it seems with all these ag entities. I guess it does make sense with the massive amount of farm cash crops and livestock feeding these islands and being exported off the islands. I guess I answered my own question.

  52. @10:17
    Uh, you're a little late. The road was completed in the 1960's. The land parcels brought in homeowners who pay property taxes, etc. A tad harsh billing those residents as fools don't you think? No trails were destroyed in making the Cape. And American Camp doesn't have enough trails for you?

  53. @10:17

    "follies of developers and gullible buyers"?

    I'm assuming you're an islander like the rest of us, and if you are, like the rest of us, you have to be a damn fool yourself to live out here in the first place. We are all gullible enough to rely ferries to get around, and I'm plenty sure that many mainlanders, the Tribes, and the Friends think wherever you live ruined a great place for a hike. Wherever you lay your head most assuredly must be the folly of some developer. Perhaps you're the developer.

    I think you must be referring to this:

    I agree that $5.5 million for a little more than a mile of road seems outrageous, but it's a pittance compared to what's been spent on salmon recovery. Yet, there's never enough money spent on salmon recovery. No end in sight. Largest sockeye salmon runs in 100 years, but that's not enough to stop the avalanche of coordinating committees that couldn't tell a Chinook from a helicopter.

    Every time someone brings up legitimate concerns about endless nonsensical phony enviro spending, people like you bring up the equivalent of an eco-Chewbaca defense.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the supposed public, that does make sense. Why are we talking about Chewbaca when the life of the conservation district is on the line? That does not make sense. If Chewbaca lives on Endor, you must support the conservation district.

    Head explodes.

  54. Some time back I was curious to learn more about this fellow Ron Zee, who's name seems to keep popping up around this Conservation District ploy. From my recollection:

    He describes his career as having been in "inter-governmental relations." Translation: Grant grubbing gad-fly.

    He was Kevin Ranker's campaign manager when Kevin became a county commissioner.

    He was in the leadership of the tri-county 40th District Democrats.

    After Ranker won office, Zee quickly moved on to become the manager of the SJC Conservation District. That is normally referred to as patronage.

    Zee arrived on these sylvan shores in the late '90s apparently, having lived in New Mexico and Colorado for many years, working for the EPA for awhile, some tribal activities for awhile, and lays claim to founding the Santa Fe Institute but it is hard to confirm that. He seems to have been involved in some of the southwest environmental range wars that always seem to pit ranchers against tribes over water rights, wolves and any other device to destroy working rural communities. He brings his considerable skill sets to bear on our current situation.

  55. The conservation district was set up to help farmers protect soils etc after the depression so we did not end up with another dust bowl. In later years it payed for a percentage cost of stockwater/wildlife ponds, cross fencing fields for better management etc. and althou it was with tax payer dollars it did some good things for real farmers. Today are CD helps wealthy land owners who own land but do not have it farmed file fake farm plans to avoid high tax rates, it has given out grants to indivuals for composting bins for their one horse outfit 20,000 to 30000 dollars per compost bin. One board member who is a retired UW professor has received thousands to help establish his so called self sufficient bio dynamic lopez island farm. Or how about the trust fund baby whos sister is in charge of the ARC who just received 50.000 dollars to build a green waste compost facilitie and some how was able to get around all of the state and DOE rules. The CD and the ARC do nothing to help real farmers and they both need to go they are a drain on tax dollars and the people involved are running there own liberal agenda adding more regulations while using grant money for their own personal use These are just a couple examples of the millions in grants spent yearly in our county alone

  56. I'm still watching
    I'm still upset
    I'm not finished

  57. @8:19
    Good points. As long as we have the spotlight out, let us shine it upon the ARC. What really is the purpose of the ARC? All these seemingly redundant ag groups mystify me. Could it be to help farmers with the massive amount of locally grown crops and raised livestock which feed these islands and that are also exported to points beyond? I mean come on, such a large part of our economy here. We truly need all these groups to foster this mighty economic engine.

  58. Wonder what assistance, grants and tax breaks Ron Zee has given himself for his Sweet Earth Farm.

  59. This is no more about agriculture than the CAO or the Frauds are about the environment. Some commenter a few posts back quoted Eric Hoffer (the longshoreman philosopher):

    “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

    Something else he said:

    "The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets."

    Think about it ...

  60. Hmmm. This dude abides. More here

    "You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."

    Apply this thinking to how the Friends, CDPP and Department of Ecology operate ... then fight back ... they will be the first to cry foul

  61. Re: @8:27
    Thanks for checking in Brian.
    I have met you and talked to you. Also from watching some of your public speakings, you have a very strong and recognizable ability to listen to what people are saying.
    Don't ever lose that.
    You have a booth at the fair this year? Might be a good time to kick off the campaign.
    You will have strong support.

  62. ***Breaking Ephinany***
    To answer the age old question "who will speak for the salmon?"

    Alas, it is George Washigton, Abe Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, and Franklin.

    Think about that one

  63. If the CD is seriously going to ask for more money, that board should run full blast into a solid brick wall with a very large "WHY" written on it.

    Trying to answer that could lead to their own demise.

  64. What is the budget of the CD?

    Excellent question. Doesn't seem to be posted anywhere. Money from our parcel taxes and from the state Conservation Commission (current location of the former Shaw resident and Friends founder, the gracious and warm L. Bahrych).
    Someone posted that the budget is $250-350,000. But that does not include the various salmon
    and Puget Sound Partnership entities that have decided they need to move away from the prying eyes of the County Council: the Salmon Recovery "Lead Entity," the group that PSP set up to allow the tribes to "co-manage" our lives, known as the LIO or ACO or somesuch, and all the rest--watch the 7-15 council meeting to hear the fish people cackle over all the different alphabet-soup entities they have created (and created jobs for their friends in). Once those dollars are added in, there's no telling what the budget will be. Not sure what Ron Zee's new little "institute" is doing in there, either--he got money from his friends at the National Park to run a youth conservation corps program--based on his extensive intergovernmental experience.

    How many people does the CD employ?

    Well, let's see--they had at least one well-qualified natural resopurces planner, and another planning type who had no real background but managed to keep a 40-hour job there while running his own farm, then they had an administrative person. So three employees. But they decided to reorganize and delete one resource planner position AND the administrative position. That left one employee. Then they decided they needed someone to manage that one employee, so they hired Linda Lyshall (er, DR. Lyshall to you--if you count a Ph.D. from Antioch in human relations or something like that) to manage that employee. Bottom line, one resources planner and one manager of the resources planner.

    What do they spend their budget on?

    God only knows. Lately, a few seminars on Gaia theology and hobby farming. Unlike CDs in counties with real agriculture.

    What are the CD's top accomplishments over the past five years?

    The annual native plant sale. Which the Girl Scouts could do. Or 4-H.

    They also have managed to get a cut of some of the Friends federal and state grants, if memory serves.

    They may be doing "forest" plans for wealthy landowners who want to keep their acreage out of the tax base.

    What does the CD plan to achieve over the next five years?

    More of the same, and then some. Wolrd domination? Zee has moved on from chairing the Democratic Party locals, riding roughshod over the Charter, and running campaigns for Ranker to chair the Conservation District, and now seeks to bring within its umbrella most of the grant generating alphabet-soupers. Indeed, despite having only two employees, the CD has leased new office space for many more people. Perhaps the Ag Resource Committe and the Ag Guild and the Island Grown people will also be moving in.

    What are the facts?

    Facts? The CD position seems to be "We don't need no stinkin' facts. We don't need to account for our grant funds, we don't need to explain what work we are doing, if any, we don't need to run real elections, we don't need to explain why a pol is running what should be a working ag support operation, we don't need to explain why we want more money from the County taxpayers."

  65. More about Ron peripatetic rambling around the county and beyond.

    We have Ron Zee to thank for advocating, organizing, establishing and guiding Leadership San Juans.

    With the able assistance of the board chair of the Friends of the San Juans, and later on with other board officers of the Friends to help manage Leadership San Juans accounts and programs. Let us also bow deeply for the kind assistance from Ms Scenic Byways herself, Liz Illg and more recently the rapidly entrenched Dr. Lyshall in serving on said Leadership program curriculum committee. They have much to teach young and aspiring leaders of our islands.

    Read: Indoctrinating, grooming and vetting who will receive special committee appointments and patronage pieces of the grant pie.

    Oh, one other tidbit. Anyone who remembers or attended the ill-fated Oddfellows meeting in Eastsound last year convened by the Frauds of the San Juans may recall the "facilitator" being the same person who took over from Ron Zee and ably managed the Leadership San Juan program for a number of years.

    How many graduates? How many "dossiers" does Boss Zee have on file?

    Folks, you can't make this stuff up. Leadership San Juans provide just enough legitimate education, and "celebrates diversity" by even inviting known Republicans to play, but that is just white-washing a pretty corrupt, patronage-based phony agenda that has very little to do with rural character, nature or the real economy we live in.

  66. The Leadership folks are the ones who fill the mushrooming "capacity" jobs that start out as secretarial but somehow blossom into important liaisoning, strategizing, conferring, synergizing, leveraging, etc., that requires $50 or 60k a year plus our generous County benefits.

  67. Come one, come all: get your questions about what the CD does answered this week--

    The San Juan Islands Conservation District holds monthly board meetings on the fourth Wednesday of each month. At these meetings the board members and staff address various administrative items and discuss and vote on a variety of Conservation District policy and program related topics.

    Board meetings are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend!

    For additional information and ride share options, please call the Conservation District at

    (360) 378-6621.

    Meetings are held the fourth Wednesday of every month.

  68. San Juan County has more than 11,500 registered voters and a proud history of good voter turnout, yet the San Juan Islands Conservation District election process produced the following voter turnout in past years: 69 votes (2009); 165 votes (2008); 55 votes (2007); and 68 votes (2006).

    Voter suppression, anyone?

  69. 1:16 PM

    Look a bit further, might be 2010 or 2011? The quiet Conservation District felt threatened over certain candidate and the word went out across the land ... much bigger turn out. The largest turn out in any local CD election in the state in anyone's recollection, actually.

    What on earth was that about?

  70. The machine didn't want a certain candidate named EK elected. He got my vote.

  71. @4:03

    Who the hell names their kid EK?
    I could understand Blah or Dwaddle, but EK?

  72. "Behold, Eck!" is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 3 October 1964, during the second season.

  73. This is the Living Eck Master you're talking about, have respect. Followers call themselves "Eckists" if you must know.

    As far as naming your kids something interesting, I always liked Dweezil and Moon Unit. RIP FZ.

  74. I had a woman working for me and her name was, Sunshine Harmonious Appleby. I liked her and she was her name plus being a good worker.

    Some people overcome the handicaps their parents saddle them with, others, well, without getting specific, don't.

  75. HA! Here we go, the "Trojan Legion" otherwise known as the paranoid delusional seven or so are starting a petition...what a joke, the true numbers of the "Legion" are about to be revealed; my bet is no more than thirty people sign it, and nowhere near the few thousand needed.
    Let's all sit back and have a good laugh at how the "Legion" "Actively Manage" to do nothing...LMAO

  76. The Conservation District in San Juan County should be abolished. We need less county government, state advice. no loss just gain.

  77. I'm looking forward to this campaign. I think we can pull it off.
    How's this for a slogan or theme.?
    "Not another nickel!"

  78. "My bet is no more than thirty people sign it."

    Yes, you probably bet on Lovel Pratt and Lisa Byers being on Council about now, too, right?

    So how much are you putting up? And no, you can't use grant funds.

  79. @ 9:14 PM

    Thank you for your well informed minority report. Keep it coming. You are welcome here, as one of the seven, or three or a dozen or what ever.

  80. By the way, there was a public records request a few years back for all the voter applications in the "hotly contested" CD election.

    We have all the data.

    Data driven = Actively Managed.

    Remember that the Machine doesn't seem to like data very much, tends to get in the way of their ideological shadow puppet mind games.

  81. Say the CD vote counts given by 1:16 7/22 are appallingly correct and there is no reason to suspect they are not, then the "Trojan Legion" has a real shot at getting the CD gone.

    A perfect time for a initiative ballot attack would be if and when the CD asks for more money.

    As Royce said, elections are when you have a better chance of getting voter attention.

  82. Sweet farm, sweet deal! They got grants, vacation rentals, grants, chickens, grants, internships, grants, gardens, grants, merchandise and much more. It is really inspiring to see a farm family making it in the San Juans.
    And like most small farmers these days they have others jobs off the farm to make ends meet. That Ron Zee is one hard worker! I feel honored and humbled to donate my tax dollars to his superior vision to make these islands a better place for some people to live.

  83. @12:33
    Wow, I went to the website for Zeero's place. Notice the last line under accommodations? "Unfortunately we will not accommodate people in wheelchairs"
    Wow, they aren't trying to hide their willingness to violate the civil rights of a select group of citizens.
    Truly shameful. Truly.
    What's next at sweet earth? Whites only? Mine as well, it's a civil rights violation either way.
    We are so friendly to the earth. We care more than you. But if you are disabled, stay the hell away from our farm. We don't want "you people".
    Wow. Disgusting and shameful.
    Oh yeah, the rules are for other people.

  84. Farmer Zee should give grant growing seminars at the farm. Sweet!

  85. I think multi-generational suggests their kids can't find decent local work and still live at home. Don't mean to sound snarky but I know that Ron has very strong ideas about communitarian ideals. I guess he is living them.

    At Sweet Earth Farm you can rent out a tipi complete with composting toilet (outhouse). Only $60.

    If you ask nicely you can volunteer to work in the fields for free. Now that's eco-tourism.

  86. @1:25
    You can do all that, unless you are disabled. If that's the case, just go away.

    Blatant discrimination. Blatant civil rights violations.
    Wonder what it's like to be above the law.

  87. In case there is any doubt, the Conservation District IS asking for more money. Hearing before Council on the 6th of August. Tell Council no more money for this incestuous little group. Let them eat cake.

  88. I wonder if the conversation district blatantly discriminates against protected classes of citizens, our most vulnerable at that. Or is it just Zeero and his clan of merry grant grabbers.

    "SweetEarth Farm, suckling the teat of government at all levels"

  89. Talk about the "private" life of Ron Zee is not as important as helping the Council with questions they need to ask when the illustrious CD Board whines for more money.

    Seems to me any such "levy Lift" would require a vote and so their begging trip before the council would be to get an easy free trip onto a ballot.

    Meanwhile we lowly people at the curb need to spend big time to get rid of the whole issue. (Gotta love this place.)

  90. @6:45

    I guess blatant discrimination against some of our most vulnerable citizens can be deemed "not as important" as some other issues.

    It does speak to the character who is fleecing the taxpayers for lord only knows how much money.

  91. I know this is a blog for people to vent, but if Ron Zee and his people are really doing the things mentioned here and people are tired of all the grant money going out I know of 3 people to receive 30 - 50 thousand each this summer from the Cd than lets stop talking about it and do something. I know the machine as grant money, volunteers, and highly paid positions and everything is done when we are at work but the difference is the machine does get out and get it done so lets do the same get a booth at the fair and circulate a petition I will volunteer time

  92. OK, Ron Zee is a total scum bag that never considered the right of a disabled person to pursue and enjoy the grandeur of his government (us other people) subsidized "farm."

    I'll not quibble with the voter impact that would have if he was up for election, but he is not. So as obvious as it seems to be that this person is not someone you want to invite to lunch, it is a waste of time attacking the dude.

    I hope there will be a booth at the County Fair for a voting ballot to get rid of the CD AND Mr. Zee.

    Now that, would be productive.

  93. Shit. Rep. Rick Larson VIA HR 225 may be sending a Indian Casino our way. Larson and the Samish are going to have to wash the sheets after this one.

  94. @9:37

    Gaming is specifically prohibited in the Bill, but who knows what it will look like in final form.

  95. Maybe Ranker can straighten this out.

  96. I think Ranker has a lot of explaining to do.

  97. The Samish Indian National Homeland Map parcels referred to in Larsen's bill. One 3.5 acre parcel near Mud Bay on Lopez:

  98. Does anybody know where to look to see how much Federal money San Juan County might receive from HUD? The recently announced "affirmatively furthering fair housing" appears to be a bludgeon to force entities that are "geospatially discriminatory" to change zoning laws and build more "affordable housing". And not just "affordable", but "affordable by the right kind of people" as defined by colors on HUD's map. I would expect a clash between the "geospatial inclusion" camp, and the "Eco-exclusion" group!

  99. @9:51
    Make a PRR from the auditor. They should be able to tell you to the penny how much, if any.

    Or call the SJC Health Department, the had for a while at least, some "affordable housing coordinator" position that was grant funded.

    Don't ever think about suggesting s dime of budget cuts at the bloated SJC Health Department cuz as we all have heard from their department head, if you cut his budget, "people will die"

  100. Speaking of the Bloated Health Bureau, whatever became of that Community Conversation Word Cloud thingee? The final report rests in the ample and comfortable lap of John Manning I believe.

  101. Community Conversations?

  102. Friday Harbor has an election coming up for the Council. With a little reading I was impressed with Farhad Ghatan, maybe I would vote for him.

    Now, suddenly, Mr. Farhad has a big problem. Re the Journal of the San Juan Islands, he has been endorsed by none other then Howard "Howie" Rosenfeld.

    Talk about a death kiss.

  103. Best you get acquainted with Farhad now, rather than later. He should have just told Howie, thanks but no thanks.

    Farhad. No no no. Love those piano recitals but the Town Council is not for you. Not right now.

  104. Wow. "endorsed by Howie". As if this clown has any political clout. 8:55 nailed it. I simply will not vote for anyone endorsed by Howie. Period. Mine as well have the FOSJ and Lovel try to help you win. Heck, you might make it.

    Do we have to request ballots for this election, or is actually a legal, constitutionally compliant election?

  105. HA! Told you loser clowns, not a single petition to be found anywhere, none at the library, none at the grocery, the seven of you are a bunch of barely literate blow-hards. Where is "Trust Islanders"? working hard to become a PAC so they can gobble up easily duped fool's money.
    This blog is fun to read because it represents the typical Monday morning qb lazy mentality so prevalent in America today...sit on the bench and bitch about those in the game...thirty signatures at best, you heard it here first.

  106. @9:27.
    Actually the petition is currently under legal review.
    I am sorry you have become so bitter and cynical in life that you find joy in belittling others. Have you considered counseling? Perhaps a job with the FOSJ? Perhaps a county job? All of those would give you an outlet for your misguided angst.
    But thanks for reading.

  107. @10:11 re @9:27

    No no no no. @9:27 is right. There's nothing going on. Nothing at all. No one is interested in the petition. There's only 30 of us anyway, and only two of us post comments on here.

    Yep, we're losers, just like in the last election too. We can't do anything. There's really no reason to drop by and read anything here. Nothing will come of anything we say or do.


  108. I made up that whole legal review thing. You are right, we don't have squat for a petition. It allows me to vent, much like 9:27. I guess if I was miserable and bitter, I would resort to berating others on an anonymous posting. We should see comments like that subside when school is back in session and they can resume shoving other kids around on the playground.
    So sad. So sad.

  109. @9:27

    Hey, look, over there! Something bright and shiny?


    What?! You mean to tell me that the Trojan Legion has failed, FAILED to secure over 2,000 signatures ALREADY. Losers! Losers!

    Hahahahahah !!!!

    Trust Islanders? Just a little speedbump, why do you keep mentioning that? Why are so obsessed with Trust Islanders?

    Because it worked.

    Jul 26, 2013 - Friday - 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM
    Location: Community Development and Planning Building, Friday Harbor, WA
    Anyone Reporting? legitimatly? that supports citizens? and their right to know? the good the bad and the rest?

  111. ps No Agenda!
    public not invited

  112. Don't let's facts get in the way of anything!!!!!!!

    Swearin heron Friday. Can I get a hell yea!

  113. @10:11
    Probably some Shireene Hale bullshit telling the new council that the CAO mess is someone elses fault.... Ecology made me do it... Former council made me do it... Lovel Pratt made me do it...

    Not a single ounce of responsibility. Probably telling them she needs more money. More grants. More bullshit. And somehow her husband Ed should be in charge of something too...

    But hell, it's just speculation. No agenda available.

  114. Why yes. Indeed, hell yes. Quite so. Have a nice weekend.

  115. Ok, Next Tuesday, who will speak for the herons?

    9:15 AM 4 DISCUSSION: re: an Ordinance Amending the San Juan Islands Conservation District Assessment (2nd touch – PH Aug 6] – Mike Thomas, County Manager

    Tell them not another Nickel! Illegal elections. ZLR smoke and mirrors headed our way.

    5 cents per acre sounds so small. They don't need a dime.

  116. Sweet. If this requires an ordinance, if it passes, it is subject to referendum under the Charter, I believe.

    I know that the CAO ordinances are not because they are required by state law, but I think this kind of a local ordinance would be open game.


  117. @8:01

    I'm not the legal expert, but reading Charter 2.30
    The County Council shall exercise its legislative power by adoption and enactment of ordinances or resolutions. It shall have the power to:

    (a) Levy taxes, appropriate revenue and adopt budgets for the County

    I think they can do it.

    I read the proposed ordinance and it is to come in to compliance with some state laws. Since they have the ability to modify this (I believe), they should reduce the flat rate to 1 cent and then give them their nickel per acre.

    There is some change I can believe in.

  118. In reading RCW 89.08 (Thanks for the cite by an early post) It seems the County Council can simply increase the fees or charges that fund the CD.

    The Council can do that or authorize a special assessment but not both. A special assessment is really only for a specific land preservation or rehab project. (Now, it would be called "protection" from us people of course.)

    Comment: This enabling legislation of 1973 reads like a make work project or an effort to find slots for unemployed Legislator's family members, as once established these districts are self ruled and really seem to have no basic mission unless having lots of meetings is a basic mission.

    Yes, you can dissolve the District with a petition signed by 20% of the voters in the District by forcing an election. It was not clear to me if this ment 20% of the REGISTERED voters in the District but it seems so.

    Guess who the petition is submitted to and who counts the 20% and who decides what 20% is, and who decides when or if to hold an election and guess who decides how that election will be run...THE DISTRICT!

    Gee, a real fiefdom, right here in river city.

    Selected reading: RCW 89.08; RCW 89.08.350; RCW 89.08.400; RCW 89.08.405.

    PS: Corrections or explanations, welcome.

  119. If/when we are able to get the petition complete and submitted, I wonder if we can petition a court to require election oversight by the county elections office?

    We don't need a legal eagle, we need a legal heron. :)

    My degree is in individual studies, not law, so I can't be much help.

  120. I don't have a state license as a wetland conflict resolution co-facilitator but I think that:

    State law allows for but does not require the proposed local ordinance.

    Therefore, if the Council passes such a tax ordinance, it is subject to a voter referendum under the charter (recall the stormwater referendum a few years ago).

    If the petition for the referendum gains enough signatures to move to the ballot, matter is put before an up/down vote in the general.

    Simple as that. Am I right? I could be wrong.

    Stormwater referendum (to reject the stormwater ordinance) passed by 60% I think. That's what we're talking about here, once the voters wake up.

  121. Wow, even the way liberal League of Women Voters has acknowledged the weirdness of the Conservation District elections and spending. Seems like Former Gov. Gregoire proposed having the Ag Dept take over the WCC and the CDs (because they have duplicative missions) but somehow that never got passed. Maybe our legislative reps can take care of it.

  122. @4:57
    Great link. Interesting read. The short version is that what we experience here is not unique. CD's across the state have literally in some cases, less than 2 dozen people electing the supervisors.
    I am guessing that the Mason Co. suit that this document references is the one that was settled and the impetus for our council to act.

    There is something in the laws that if 20% of the registered voters petition to not allow the taxing, it wouldn't be allowed. I am not clear if that can be done afterwards though.

    Let's get the troops gathered and get it on the ballot to dissolve our CD.
    Maybe other counties will follow.

    We have to dismantle the eco-facist machine one piece at a time.

    Ain't going to be easy since most of us work at real jobs not spending our days dreaming up more ways to get tax payer dollars to hire a friend who can then apply for more grants to do studies to present recommendations, reports, and of course, meetings, lots of meetings.

  123. I guess I'm getting a little concerned.

    Conservation Districts have been around for a long, long time. Venerable institutions, well respected. I think they are all over the United States.

    I'm uncomfortable with the angry call to just throw our Conservation District under the bus just because it has been taken over by unsavory elements seeking to use the organization for political purposes and private gain.

    Can this be fixed without throwing the baby out with the bath-water?

    At the end of the day, though, I strongly feel, the voters should decide, regardless. Let's run this petition so the issues surface and get aired out publicly.

  124. @ 8:44p

    Conservation Districts have a long and admirable history, like the Granges. But like the Granges, some Conservation Districts have been taken over by the radical greens, who want loudly support agriculture by which they mean only hobby farming, with subsidies and grant-based employment for said hobby-farmers.

    Conservation Districts are going to be important for the process of waiving the CAOs for farms when there is a "voluntary" agriculture best practices plan in place. Guess who will get to write that? One of the early CAO meetings showed how this will play out--the radical greens (the Friends it was in this case) don't want ANY new farming, not even changes in field use, whereas the people who actually do farm recognized the need to change fields and expand. Who will win this contest when the Conservation District has added the Friends' lawyer to give it "technical" advice?

    If the Conservation District were to return to its original mission and lose the political, grants-munching focus, I'd be happy to double our "contribution." As it stands now, with the manuever to take over the salmon and "outreach" programs and funding and centralize it all under Boss, er, Farmer Zee--I will not give it another penny.

    We should all be thanking Council folk Jarman and Hughes for taking a strong stand against 5-cents per acre this money grab and for supporting the principle of a Conservation District that does its real job. Still waiting to see what Councilperson Stepehens is planning to do.

  125. From the curb: Is there an attorney of record who we can send money to for managing a lawful petition effort?

    If none, is there a knowing experienced attorney interested in being showered with greenbacks to do same?

    Apply here!

    If such a legitimate petition effort already exists, please step forward and say so.

    Jaded, I don't believe any entity exists until I get a request for money!

  126. @ 9:51 7-25

    The eco-exclusionists have a few blind spots when it comes to exclusion: anyone who needs affordable housing can move into our little affordable projects, the latest of which on Orcas are a fairly ugly hodge-podge of "re-purposed" houses all stuck together. They have the same blind spot about protecting salmon: no complaints whatsoever about tribal nets covering river mouths and decimating returning salmon. It's only those houses on the shoreline that are killing salmon. Somehow.

  127. About hiring lawyers for the petition--don't know it's needed for such a simple drive. If it is, maybe Randy will help the citizens? Or we can wait for all those millions from the Koch Brothers to buy us big time representation. I hear that the Koch Brothers devote much of their attention to the San Juans.

  128. As far as lawyers, has anyone asked Kyle Loring?

    He might be interested.

  129. Revising the prediction..20 signatures at best, and that's only if the Trojan Legion signs it four times each...

  130. @7:37
    If you feel there are so few readers here, can you explain your fetish like fascination with the TH?
    Otherwise the readers are left to guess at your motivations for continually hurling insults. Are you some fat ass county worker who needs more work to do at your barely justifiable job? Are you a local reporter with an ax to grind? Are you an FOSJ member looking to stir the pot?
    Hmmmm. Makes one wonder why the childish agitation is necessary. It really bears the hallmark of a truly unhappy individual.
    I hope you get the help and counseling you need.

  131. I was like, why are you so obsessed with me? All up in the blogs sayin' we met at the bar - When I don't even know who you are ...

    You're delusional, you're delusional
    You're losin' your mind
    It's confusin' you, you're confused, you know
    Why you wastin' your time?
    Got you all fired up with your Napoleon complex
    Seein' right through you like you're bathin' in Windex

  132. @7:37

    Garlic Butter Fried Grasshoppers
    1/4 cup butter
    6 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 cup cleaned insects*

    Melt butter in fry pan. Reduce heat. Sauté garlic in butter for 5 minutes. Add insects. Continue sautéing for 10 - 15
    minutes, stirring occasionally. From Orkin

  133. Have you seen the Shireene Hale Memorial Public Conduct Code the Council will be discussing? Amazing stuff. Write your Council rep while you still can.

  134. Truly amazing fear of the public. With so much to be done, staff presents a effort to stop people from complaining, (some pretty bitchy stuff no doubt), to their elected representatives.

    It ain't Miss Manners folks. People will yell at you, present the single digit, even cuss at your spouse as they can't wait even long enough to hear who has picked up.

    Reporters get as much or more of the same.

    We have free speech here, if you don't like it, I understand there are plenty of places you can head out for that don't.

  135. Regarding the free speech item the County Council wants to wrestle with.

    I believe the really good thing about free speech is you get the hatred out there in the open. The worst thing to do is drive it underground, as that's when someone's car gets blown up.

    Dissent, even obnoxious dissent needs to be listened to and answered.

  136. Read the proposal carefully, it allows "senior staff" to raise a point of order and interrupt citizens, rather than relying on the chair of the meeting/hearing to maintain order. In other words, Shireene gets to cut off people who cause her grief.

    Ummm - no. This ends here. Call your council folks.

  137. Rick, I know that you read this on a daily basis. This is a plain and complete violation of our constitutional rights of freedom of speech. If you do not squash this immediately then we will know where you stand. Shireene and Hubbey have violated many public trust issue's, and as "right to work employee's" they should be terminated immediately. Fix these problems or, be gone, next time around. This applies to all three of you, that are currently on the council. We elected you, we can get rid of you.

  138. Good point @10:27
    WTF is Hale still doing here?
    The single most condescending, unqualified individual this county has put in a serious position.
    Anyone do the tally on the lawsuit damage from hurricane Hale yet?
    Now she is peddling more bullshit about how it's everyone else's fault? Really? The extent of damage she has caused is reason enough to get rid of her. The manner in which she has treated the public should make it immediate.
    Get Hale out. Now. Before more damage.

  139. Well Bravo. The council said no to the Poor Shireene gets offended when people publicly speak up rules.

    Thanks Rick and Bob. We have rules already. We need less, not more. On a fundamental level, I think you get it. The chair controls the meeting, not "senior staff".

    Maybe they realize that these meetings wouldnt get so heated if people like Hale weren't speaking and trying to push their agenda with absolutely ZERO regard for the citizens of this island.

    Shireene, take your central planning, totally unqualified, supercilious attitude and please just leave. Go away.

  140. Hallelujah, Council member Rick Hughes is finally marching one foot in front of the other, in a correct and intelligent, direction.

    Gotta keep the light on, maybe there is hope after all.

  141. I can't wait to see the cost breakdown on the Mt. Baker Rd. project on Orcas. Thank you Mr. Jarman! I hope you can push them along getting the numbers and what it went for, seems like they should have the figures and facts at their fingertips.

  142. What happened to the petition?

  143. Re: 5:47pm: The "Second Touch" on the financing and increase in financing of the CD was heard or scheduled to be heard yesterday.

    Anyone got a heads up on what happened? (Love the non-existent "news coverage" in this place.)

    I hope, and it looks like the Council is not rubber stamping stuff like this anymore.

    I know, dream on.

  144. @5:47pm

    The petition and the RCW process was being reviewed by a lawyer. We will post a revised template in the next couple of days. We are working to find petition coordinators on each island and plan the campaign to gather signatures. In addition, TH will begin to post more regularly again and come out with some posts about the Conservation District soon.


    The Council voted to move forward with the next step in increasing funding for the Conservation District. They didn't approve new funding for the Conservation District yet, but they voted to approve a public hearing on the topic. At the moment, I do not recall when the hearing is scheduled, but check back and stay tuned.

  145. I think they approved the second touch, so it is on for the third/final next session. Small amount of money not enough to raise a fuss over ... the problem is, if they pass this it:

    Rewards bad behavior

    It puts in place a financing tool open to future councils to increase rates.

    They should not approve this:

    They need to show actions of fiscal restraint, because this doesn't involve much money they should just say no. No.

    The Conservation District is wildly out of control and playing a really weird empire building political game that is adverse to the public interest and council oversight. Don't reward bad behavior. Send a message.

  146. I think Bob Jarmon asked the Conservation District to show the commission how they had been spending their money.

    Did that happen?