You can cut the environmental phoniness in this county with a knife. We don't have "save the environment" groups. We have "save the environmental bureaucracy" groups. Their primary interests are ensuring that they continue to get paid while they protect the political patronage system they've built.
The current titular heads of the patronage system are Jamie Stephens and Ron Zee. They are working in tandem to hold on to as much of the patronage system as they can, despite the election outcome. So far, they're doing a pretty good job, and Stephens, in particular, is doing a superb job.
One of the greatest achievements of the patronage system is that we all take for granted that the County deserves a "seat at the table" with the tribes, the PSP, and even its own departments ... instead of actually running the County itself. The County has been demoted to being just another stakeholder, and the group-think of unelected employees and appointees has been promoted to government. That's how the LIO/AAOG works ... and the Stewardship Network ... and the ECONet ... the Lead Entity ... even the County's own MRC. These groups are accountable to no one, and they represent no one but themselves. They reward themselves and their patronage cronies with money and multi-decade appointments while the County sits on its hands, convinced that it's just a "fiscal agent" or some other bureaucratic label that equates to "eunuch."
The congress of "environmental groups" operating here traces back to relatively few people who appear over and over again, but the proliferation of organizations, committees, and trusts makes it seem like the County is outnumbered. The County has been Delphi'd ... go along with the crowd ... behave ... fall in line ... be patient ... be part of a team ... you want to agree with the rest of us, don't you? ... DON'T YOU?!?!
Stephens has this down pat, and he is working the other two Councilmen for all its worth. Stephens' protection of the patronage system is nothing short of heroic. He got himself appointed Chair of the Council. Stephens sits on the MRC. He's the Council representative on the LIO/AAOG too ... all the key places the patronage system wants to protect. Also, despite the fact that major aspects of the patronage system should have been (and could have been) dismantled immediately, Stephens' has effectively used a series of delay tactics and other maneuvers to convince the other Councilmen that they're "part of a team" and reform "takes time" and we need "patience" ... let's get more "input." When you hear one of our politicians use those words, that's the patronage system talking ... that's a Delphi zombie courtesy of Stephens.
John Cleese recently wrote a satirical piece about terror alerts in various countries in Europe. Here's what he said about the French.
The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.Aside from that excerpt being terribly ironic given the positions taken by the UK and France over the last two days, let's hope it's not the role model for our new Councilmen as they contend with our system of political patronage.
|Jamie Stephens, Chair of the San Juan County Council|
|Ron Zee, Chair of the San Juan Islands Conservation District|