Sunday, November 24, 2013

What's Good For The Goose Is Not Good For Gordy?

The Trojan Heron didn't say much about the National Monument designation, but we were highly skeptical of it, especially when one takes a look at situations such as the behavior of the federal government towards the Drakes Bay Oyster Company. Generally, we also are against the growing federalization of the islands; however, we do not agree with the "Alliance" that has formed against Gordy Petersen because of his decision to rent to U.S. Customs. Many opponents of the agreement are planning to attend the meeting in the Mullis Center tomorrow from 11am to 1pm.

Recently, there have been a lot of comments about Petersen's decision, but we think one bears repeating in this post.
I have to say that most of the fuss about Gordy doing business with the Feds is just nuts, in my opinion.
Remember, there were 150 businesses that wrote to the President asking him to declare the San Juan Islands a National Monument. Now, some of those very same businesses are opposing the presence of the federal government in downtown Friday Harbor. As reported by the Island Guardian, the San Juans are already the #1 port in the nation for small boat traffic. What did you expect? Did you really think you could support the NM and then NOT have other federal agencies here too? Did you really think you could attract business for your B&B, put ads in magazines, promote it, and NOT have increased presence of Customs and Border?
Also, most of you whine and bitch and moan about being able to do what you want with your own private property. Not "liking" something has become the raison d'être for nearly every puking busy-body land-use law in this county, if not the whole country. So of course, what do you do? You start a movement to prevent a businessman from doing what he wants with his own private property. Not "liking" something isn't a good reason to stop anyone from doing anything. It's not your fault if I hate who you rent to, or hate the color of your house, or hate your garden, or hate you. It's not Gordy's fault if you don't like who he does business with. Are you going to make Gordy get approval from some self-appointed group of community-sponsors before he rents to anyone ever again? Feds are off the list apparently. Who else is off the list? Mexicans? Blacks? Republicans?
Not "liking" something isn't the same as trying to stop it, and it isn't the same as trying to make it illegal. If you don't like it, deal with it. If you try to stop it, then be prepared to have the same thing happen to you next time you offend "the community's" sensibilities.
Lastly, I'm as against the growing federalization of the islands as much as the next guy, but blaming Gordy for that is ludicrous. This county has been awash in grant money from the feds (and state) for two decades. This county and 150 business recently begged the feds for a growing federal presence, and then celebrated when it happened. You love the feds except when you hate the feds. You love the feds when you think it lines your pockets, but you hate them when it lines the pockets of someone like Gordy.
I hope everyone who lines up against Gordy will open up their own lives to the collective decisions of "the community" because I can't wait to pick apart how you conduct yourselves and your business.

202 comments:

  1. Amen! You said it much better than I did. Here are my thoughts.

    Dear Neighbors, Sunday, November 24, 2013
    I have heard that a lot of people are concerned about U.S. Customs moving into downtown. I understand the concern about limiting government. I do not think trying to stop Customs from leasing one downtown location is helpful to those who support more government, or to those who oppose government growth.
    • The U.S. Customs office is not going away and it is not going to limit doing its job just because of a few islanders who are spreading conspiracy rumors and missinformation. The Customs office has continued to grow, and it will, in the future, continue to grow. If the Customs agency does not rent this downtown location, it will probably rent multiple other locations, which will be inefficient and actually increase the lack of privacy in our community.
    • To let a few discontented citizens dictate who our government rents from, will hurt government efficiency, as well as limit private competitive commerce.
    • If a group of activists are able to dictate who and where the government or others can rent from, the affect on private property rights will be disastrous to the liberty of all of us. Don’t tax me, tax the fellow behind the tree! This is similar to what has happened in our CAO. If a property owner is not allowed to trim trees, plant gardens, or rent to whom they want to due to the government saying xyz, and without following Constitutional laws, or due process laws, there is a legal problem and over reaching government. If we have a small group of islanders who are directing the government and private property owners through their rage, we have mob rule.
    • The FH Town Mayor has pointed out how the U.S Customs has been a good neighbor in our community in the past, and there is no reason to believe that it won’t continue to be a good neighbor. The Mayor has indicated that all regulations and zoning laws are being followed.
    • I hope many attending this Monday meeting are supporting liberty for the man behind the tree, because if we do not stand with him, others will not stand with us in our time of need. I will respect the rights of others, the rule of law, property rights, and I will support the man behind the tree.
    Respectfully,
    Frank M. Penwell

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  2. Wow. Exposing the hypocrisy and/or insanity that reigns in Friday Harbor. Kind of like inviting a Catholic hospital to invest millions in a new hospital then complaining that the hospital is Catholic. Or pretending that they're all about agriculture then supporting rules that will make real farming impossible. Smug, self-satisfied, deluded "activists." They'd rather the buildings in town stay empty? Yes, so that our potters have more space to display their wares?

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  3. The article says that the Alliance is worried that the presence of Customs in downtown Friday Harbor will undermine the town's reputation as a "friendly laid-back tourist town." These jokers need to wake up and smell the coffee. The idea that Friday Harbor and the islands are friendly and laid-back is so last century, thanks to the sniping, bitter, tattle-taling, informing, suing, humans-must-be-exterminated, neighbor-against-neighbor eco-hegemony of the Friends and their fellow travelers.

    We are a virtual land-use police state. Recently, for the first time ever, our county criminally prosecuted one of our own citizens for a land use violation. The Friends contest nearly everything that shoreline owners want to do, and they even protested Helen King's B&B. Friendly and laid back, uh huh, sure.

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  4. I should have said the "linked" article. I meant this one, in the Journal.

    http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/232954011.html

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  5. Forget "peak oil", I'm enjoying "peak schadenfreude". The friends and fellow travelers want more government until they don't want more government.

    Weren't the Friendsters only recently advocating in front of the county council a program of sending out armed federal agents with county employees and Friendsters to enforce shoreline management rules? And they couldn't figure out why normal people were outraged? Now that they're getting armed federal agents, right in downtown FH, it's all of a sudden become a bad thing. I guess those armed federales are only a good thing if you can use them against your political opponents.

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  6. And so once again we have a little propaganda war pitting "selfish collectivists" against "selfish individualists." Go blow. This is pathetic, and beneath you.

    Imagine public reaction against a Taco Bell franchise negotiated in utter secrecy and contempt for the downtown business core. Taco Bell would at least create jobs. Get a grip.

    What? You waited until the last minute to "frame" your righteous indignation using the Trojan Heron while carefully timing your comments among yourselves to rain down from heaven a few hours before this meeting? Cut us some slack. Can't you be a bit less obvious?

    If the Town Council had been properly made aware and the public had a chance to testify about this "change of use" and peculiar interpretation of historical building standards, there might have been time to adjust zoning to avoid this kind of debacle.

    You want the public to shut up and tow the line?

    Hey CAPR: Move to North Korea.




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  7. Interesting title. What's good for the Goose?

    I don't know about a golden egg, but somebody sure laid one. And it smells funny.

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  8. Need to remember that it was basically Jack Cory and Greg Hertel who finally "blew the whistle" on this and alerted the community as to what was coming. 99% certain these fellows had prior knowledge, as many others did. I applaud their courage and conscience in stepping forward and doing the right thing.

    That this entire deal was put together in darkness, cloaked in secrecy with a lid kept on it as long as possible just tells us all we need to know.

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  9. The assumption that all of the people who oppose this location for DHS were in support of the National Monument status is entirely incorrect.

    The commentor who mentioned a Taco Bell moving in hit the nail on the head. That is such a perfect comparison.

    The Homeland Security people are not our "friends". I am an average housewife sort and during my many trips to Sydney over the years...and in particular when one of my kids was attending the school in Victoria...I was treated in a bullying way by some of the customs people. And once by someone who certainly knew me, my parents, my family. Acted like I was a total stranger and a seemingly dangerous one. It was wierd, scary, and creepy.

    It was not always the case but more often than not.

    And I believe Homeland Security is a step up from "just" Customs.

    No, I disagree w/the Trojans opinion this time. And very strongly. This is my home and has been all my life. I feel a greater and greater sense of losing what I have loved here.

    What I think has happened over the CAO and the NM business is that people are to busy to understand what they are supporting. They are influenced by the glossy mailers from the "friends" and the false messages sometimes given.

    Now the Friends and their cohorts have had their way and we are living with the damage they have caused.

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  10. On this issue the Trojan Heron needs to reflect on its position. It got it wrong, this time. Think about it ... gonna dig in your heels now and hold your breath until you turn blue?

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  11. Continuing to think about this issue.

    This issue isn't about Gordy renting his space to someone.

    It's about what is appropriate and supportive of our community.

    I personally feel that the DHS moving into that location is NOT appropriate and is NOT supportive of our community.

    It's a conundrum. There is the suggestion that these islands are jewels of natural beauty and therefore should be controlled by our federal government (who has no connection w/them and no deep understanding of them). And now that the local groups like the Friends have gotten their way the federal government will despoil the beauty w/a military group moving to the center of a small town where their presence will certainly be felt. And not in a friendly way.

    Gordy has every right to rent to whomever he pleases. But does our federal government have the right to effect our lives to this extent?

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  12. @8:15

    You are right. People are looking at the wrong root cause. The root cause is us.

    If we beg the federal government to come to our town in many different ways and dance with them on grants for umpteen years, while we simultaneously kill the "small town atmosphere" of this place with crazy rules that punish small businesses and regular people, then we look like hypocritical fools when all of a sudden we complain that don't like the feds.

    If people want to look at the Taco Bell example, fine, because it would be like courting and being in bed with corporate Taco Bell for years, and then suddenly being offended when they want to open a restaurant.

    I don't like the feds being in downtown FH either, but if you've had your own hand out until now or didn't fight against it, you have no one to blame but yourself. We have been a police state for a long time. Now people just don't like the look of a police state.

    If you don't want a police state, then start dismantling it -- everywhere. The Gordy situation is the culmination of many previous steps.

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  13. The feds didn't suddenly arrive here, sneaking up on us in the middle of the night. We let them in the front door. With this deal, they'll be front and center in our town. Good. I hate it, but maybe some of you who have been asleep will get it. If they were tucked away on a back street somewhere, no one would complain. People are not complaining because the feds are here. They are complaining because they are not hidden from view. It's pure hypocrisy.

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  14. Capitalism is based on the counter-intuitive and paradoxical notion that everyone pursuing their own self-interest results in what is best for "the community." On the other hand, having "the community" tell us what to do inevitably leads to bad results for both "the community" and us as individuals.

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  15. Gordy has turned himself into a greedy grant grubbing guy is all.

    A GSA schedule so-called "market rate" long term lease is nothing more than A FEDERAL GRANT WITH STRINGS ATTACHED.

    Nothing more. Nothing less. Gordy has fallen to the level of the Friends. He's got his big piece of hot steaming Federal pie and he's pleased to throw it in your face.

    It is one thing when we criticize folks for taking Federal dollars around here for this and that, when those folks are supportive of taking Federal dollars. Gordy in his public and private positions for years argues for exactly the opposite. You figure that out.

    If you want to take the Taco Bell hypotheses further, as the commenter above did, that would be like Gordy secretly courting the Federal government for years because ... well ... everyone else does right?

    Are you kidding me???

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  16. 8:44...I've lived on San Juan my entire life. Customs has always been here and been unobtrusive.

    The things I challenge are the idea that we need to increase everything about it and bring in what I see as bigger guns, the amount of space, the federal dollars committed, and the inappropriate location.

    I didn't support the Nat. Mon. status and actively opposed it. I'm still shocked that this is what it has lead to.

    I'm horrified by people like Lovel, Stephanie Buffum, and the like with their "we know better than you.." attitudes. I wish they had never come here.

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  17. Capitalism? I think this is a perfect storm marriage of the extreme left and the extreme right.

    Big Brother government and freedom to do whatever you want. They mix like water and oil. And make a big mess that's very hard to clean up.

    I think the Taco Bell hypothesis is very suitable. It would not have to be a long term relationship. Just.."We want to put a shiny new Taco Bell on your property and we'll pay over the going rate to do it w/a nice long lease. What say?"

    It doesn't have to be a developed relationship at all. No courting required.

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  18. @9:00

    Personally, I don't care if Gordy is a raging two-headed commie. I don't care if you hate his guts or think he's the biggest hypocrite that has ever lived. I don't care if you think the feds being downtown is the end of life on earth as we know it.

    None of that gives you or anyone else the right to tell Gordy what to do with his property.

    Btw, all the above arguments, especially "the end of life on earth as we know it" are EXACTLY the same arguments used by the Friends against docks, blueberry bushes, and general human life here in the islands.

    They can be made against you too.

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  19. @9:03

    Those are very valid concerns, which speak to federal policy here. I hope the discussion focuses on that, rather than if Gordy should exercise his rights as a property owner.

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  20. It is unfortunate that some in our community stoop to making things personal in order to get there way. They do this at the risk of peril of their message getting lost. The issue I have hard over and over is THE LOCATION. The feds will do what they need to do in the name of national security. That is a fact. It is also a fact that many law-abiding citizens find the presence and demeanor of the DHS agents to be intimidating. Placing them in the most visible place in our tourist core will make Friday Harbor a less inviting location to many and will impact the very tourist economy on which most of this island depends.

    They had other choices, and many believe they made a poor decision and should fix it.

    Sorry Gordy, nothing personal...

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  21. @9:14 Nailed it.

    There are people who support the federal policy of expansion here but don't like Gordy's decision to profit from it. I have no respect for those people or their views.

    There are people who oppose the federal policy of expansion here and don't like Gordy's decision to profit from it. I have sympathy for those people, but I still don't think they should be telling a private property owner what to do. Blame Gordy if you want, but that's not the point really.

    Then there are people who just don't like Gordy, but his rental decision wouldn't change their minds one way or the other anyway. That's not the point either.

    The point that @9:14 brings up is that we should be talking about federal policy towards these islands. The furor over Gordy is a red herring.

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  22. @9:22

    Frankly, the idea that it's fine to have an increased federal presence here but it should be hidden from view is the scariest view I think I've heard yet.

    You want it, but you just want it tucked away where no one will notice? I really do not comprehend.

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  23. @9:29

    I agree with @9:22 though that it shouldn't be personal against Gordy.

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  24. Jamie Stephens daughter works for Homeland Security. Jamie Stephens lobbied for the National Monument too. How much does Jamie Stephens know about the FH expansion of the Feds?

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  25. One simple point is that the feds have picked a RETAIL space in the CENTER of a RETAIL AREA.

    They are paying retail rent for non retail use.

    And they will affect the climate there for the other retail spaces.

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  26. @ 9:32 AM

    Disagree. This is the result of Gordy's personal decisions. He bears the consequences of his freely made choices, as we all do.

    That is one thing that makes the United States the best country on earth.

    Stop whining and man up!

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  27. In a real emergency, what would Homeland Securitys parimeter fence look like? How would they defend this space?

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  28. I'm a part-time resident on San Juan, and a lot of my business is with the federal government. I was planning on opening a local branch of my business in Friday Harbor. Whoa! Not now. I'll take my business elsewhere, and leave Friday Harbor to the bakers, restaurants, real estate agents, and knick-knack shops.

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  29. What exactly is it that you do that would make you suddenly hike up your skirts and flee?

    More conversations happening here, now:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Eco-Faux-Disguised-as-Friend/204914869606846

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  30. This is an office use in an office building, so there are no zoning issues. However,....what about things like perimeter security? Will they take over street parking, creating a no-approach zone? Put in security cameras that monitor the area?

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  31. I was a contractor in several projects in Whatcom County some years back that interfaced on strengthening police and border resources along with other community anchor institutions north of Bellingham. Part of that work was communicating with people on why some basic changes were really important.

    Between Blaine and Bellingham there was a sizable gap and any border incident breaking out and heading south would find little in the way. That needed to be fixed.

    One small town police department was renting an old fraternal organization building that had a huge glass window facing the street. Total exposure. That's a really bad situation and everyone knew it. The facility was finally moved to a secure location and believe it, there are NO open windows facing the street now.

    What will happen to the Friday Harbor building and its beautiful vaulting windows that face the street?

    Get ready for some pretty basic changes in decor, down there on Spring St.

    You folks probably do not know what is in store for you.

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  32. What I see is a bunch of whining and drama from socialists, scared children, conspiracy nuts, anarchists, and other such moonbats that infest our fine community.

    Most of them probably don't own property in this county, create jobs, get involved in helping the grownups run things, or do much other than sit around their talking circles in a pot-induced haze.

    Yet these are the people who, when push comes to shove, will break out their guns and knives, and come for those of us who contribute to society. You can see glimpses of their true face in this incident. It's not pretty, and we've all seen it before.

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  33. Will the building become a fortress? If it houses prisoners, will the basement parking become a prison-like entrance and the spaces unavailable to existing tenents?

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  34. @10:28 I hear DHS is planning on opening up an "interrogation facility" on Waldron, to serve as our northern Gitmo. Better get on that!

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  35. Holding the federal government accountable for its actions is good citizenship. Punishing a private citizen for doing business with the federal government is mob mentality.

    More accountability. Less mob.

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  36. @ 9:48 AM

    That is your right, of course, friend and I have a different view.

    I was a full time resident on San Juan Island for nearly twenty years and happily conducted a number of large Federal projects from my Friday Harbor office. I proudly employed locals. I would proudly do so again regardless of how this situation plays out because it frankly does not apply. If you do not like this community, do not set up shop here.

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  37. Hypocrites have the same protections under the law as anyone else so Petersen should not be barred from renting his property to U.S. Customs. It is troubling, however, to see this controversy rise to the level of a major brouhaha replete with legal implications.
    The key phrase in the Trojan Heron discussion was offered by one of the anonymous contributors (not me in case this looks self-serving): "Not "liking" something has become the raison d'être for nearly every puking busy-body land-use law in this county, if not the whole country." Crude but accurate.
    We are free to like or not like whatever and whomever we please but there are only a few circumstances in which our personal opposition acquires the force of law. Fair housing legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of race. Good. Be a bigot if you like but don’t try to use the law to back you up. There are probably dozens of other prohibitions based on making targets of groups solely on the basis of an affiliation that has nothing whatever to do with infringing on someone else’s rights.
    There are also lots of groups, businesses, and individuals some people detest and would like to ban from our neighborhoods. The Taco Bell example is not a bad one. Many, maybe most islanders do not want a MacDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell or other fast food business on Spring Street. (I admit that I long for a Trader Joe’s though). Someday, push is going to come to shove and we’ll have a real fight about fast food franchises.
    Easy call most of the time, but what about someone who wants to put a large mosque on the corner of Spring and First? How about marijuana boutiques (meeting zoning requirements)? That one is coming soon. Or a small scale Sea World with dolphins and orcas in tanks doing tricks for the tourists?
    A thought-provoking example was played out a couple of years ago when concerned citizens protested a sex offender’s plan to take up residence on San Juan. The laws that applied to the particular case backed the citizens (but I have heard that the same offender is now living on the island).
    I believe the Friends and their friends have done damage to all of us and I would like to see them move far far away but that will not happen. They continue to exert influence on legislation and once a law is in place, exceptions are hard to come by.
    There is no science of the individual case. I don’t think there is any law that says Petersen can’t rent to a government entity. Those who object are legally obliged to suck it up – although there is no law that says you have to like it OR Gordy Petersen.

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  38. I totally support Gordy's right to rent his building, and the Town's right to say that if it meets zoning, its OK. Office to retail to office seems OK.

    I'm just wondering what actually will happen. What is the full story? Bars on the windows? Fine, at first glance, but what if the architectural or historic zone rules have a say? Does that then turn into an opportunity for the naysayers to have a chance to constructively oppose it, using the system? And really, what about the underground parking?

    I'm not concerned about Customs, but Homeland Security has a different view of the world, and an unlimited budget.

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  39. Well, soon today the rebel alliance leadership will all be in one room in Friday Harbor.

    I wonder if they've thought through the wisdom of that, given that their foe has Predator drones and satellite imagery.

    Stay tuned!

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  40. @ 10:40 AM

    Thank you for supporting the First Amendment.

    To imagine the northern border customs service next door to neighboring civilized Canada that we all grew up with is not the Department of Homeland Security, is to imagine the clean-up-the-beaches Friends of the San Juans we all joined so many years ago are the same bunch of corrupt bullies we are contending with now.

    Reading back on some of the earlier comments, someone posted an article out of Whatcom County where someone interviewed said this:

    "It used to be a relatively small number and Border Patrol people lived here and were involved in the community ... They were invested. But now DHS is rotating personnel through here on short-term assignments, maybe two-year stays. They aren't involved in the community. They won't vote, for example, on school bond elections."

    http://crosscut.com/2011/02/07/immigration/20608/Border-police-presence-is-changing-communities/

    Is this the same outfit we have grown up with? No, it is not.

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  41. @11:04

    I would agree entirely, but the people who live here are not the same either. Can you imagine people informing on one another in the old days? Can you imagine the county criminally prosecuting one of our own for living in substandard housing back then?

    Nothing is the same. Both the people and our institutions have eroded personal privacy and the freedom to live, and come and go, as we please.

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  42. @ 6:55
    "negotiated in utter secrecy and contempt for the downtown business core"

    Since when do leases in FH get negotiated in public? "change of use"? what change? good grief you people are off the edge.

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  43. Anyone videoing the meeting today? Seems that the rebel uprising is the usual collective of folks without real jobs or much property, and I'd love to watch. This will beat the rock and candle meeting by a mile. Will the feds have to put their chairs in a circle? Will there be a talking stick? Attendees, please share!

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  44. I am fine with whatever the Town codes allow. My only concern is how fully informed is the Town?

    For example, will they want to paint the curb red, like in front of the Sheriff's office, thus eliminating much-needed parking? Will they want to completely take over the basement parking lot?

    I don't care if the want to put snipers on the roof in the name of security, or install a full-body scanner inside the front door, or replace all the windows with bullet-proof glass, but we need to think through ALL the zoning code-related implications, apparent or otherwise.

    If they pass the tests, so be it.

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  45. 6:55--there are drugs available (legal ones even) for acute paranoia. The TH is timing a post and TH posters are "coordinated"? Bwahahaha. That's hysterical. Literally. Mass hysteria.

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  46. Gordy's personal decisions? Like to invest in the town and rebuild that building? Anyone else competing to do that work and spend that money? Nope, didn't think so. And the crashing economy empties half the storefronts, so he decides to rent to the Customs guys who were apparently ok when they hung out under Downriggers but now have morphed into Terminator bots with bars on windows! red lanes! security cams! interrogation cells! Wait, it must have been the Customs guys who burned down Downriggers so they could take over the high ground with the turret for automatic weapons.

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  47. I am reconsidering my long-standing practice of investing much of my capital and time locally in our community.

    If an angry mob of people I thought were fellow islanders and neighbors can so easily be riled up by our local leftists to show up with torches and pitchforks to protest me because they don't like what I am legally doing with my land, my time, and my money, and cause such a ruckus, well, there are better places to be.

    Perhaps Gordy should have left the building as a burnt husk. The town might have deserved that.


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  48. @ 12:23 PM

    Put a bag over your head and breath deeply. That's good. In and out. Calm down. You are about to have an episode.

    I completely support Gordy's right to make private business decisions. And I completely support the right of the public to push back. Are you saying you do not?

    Welcome to America. That's what we do here. If you can't love it, leave it.

    A Trader Joe's eh? Now that's an interesting idea. Whatever became of that Economic Development Council and Chamber of Commerce? Gordy seems to wonder why no one came to him with ideas before (I wonder why?) Did Gordy ever sit down with those august bodies of the great and good and actually discuss how to improve the situation down-town?

    Anyway, if you all don't like the islanders, just leave us alone. We've always been like this. Just go back to the "Tea Party" in the 1970s where we threw Seattle papers off the ferry dock for calling Friday Harbor "The Armpit of the San Juans."

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  49. A taste of how the people in other countries feel about the U.S. governments presence in their villages.

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  50. So detention and interrogation facilities are an office use? Great.
    "It's just a customs office"
    Makes me wonder if the Branch Davidians thought "oh, it's JUST an ATF agent with a warrant."

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  51. Now the c.i.a is gonna want office/retail space. They could probably do o.k. selling their hats and t-shirts and wouldn't have to worry about the rent in the off season.

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  52. How did the lynching go this afternoon? Did anyone get video?

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  53. I'm commenting on this thread and the concerns expressed here.

    VIDEO CAMERAS. Afraid of security cameras? Look around. They are aleady on the tops of most buildings downtown. The ferry lines, the Port, coffee houses, the courthouse and most of downtown. And, if you ever noticed how many cameras are on the ferries you ride, you'd never pick your nose - or do anything else - in your vehicle on the ferry again! Your actions on the ferry are taped continually. I've seen the tape playback. Thanks to Big Brother, you and your vehicle are super safe on the ferry, guaranteed. It's like Singapore here in beautiful downtown FH - and on the ferries.

    PARKING. The six rented parking spaces are in Gordy's garage - not on the street. And, if you are concerned about parking for "guests," please turn your attention to the real estate agents - they take up the MAJORITY of the parking spaces on the first 1.5 blocks of Spring Street. Are real estate agents considered retail businesses? Don't believe me about the "real estate" parking spaces? Just watch on the hour, as real estate agents scurry out of their offices and perform their "check for Matt's parking chalk routine" and then their mass re-parking dance on Spring Street every hour, starting at 8am. At least Gordy's new renters will park underground and not take our FEW precious parking spaces in town.

    SOLVE PARKING FIRST. Take your parking concerns to the MAYOR, not DHS. What is with the mayor NOT working to get some parking for us business owners? Ask Ms. Mayor about the 8 or more spaces in front of Downriggers that have been blocked off/closed since the place burned - what a waste of perfectly good PRIME downtown/waterfront parking! Complain about THAT and the lack of parking for business owners, not 6 silly DHS cars that are renting Gordy's underground parking.

    HYSTERIA. As for the town hysteria, it happens all the time. Remember when Stephanie & Pat O'Day wanted to start a Subway sandwich shop on Spring Street? OMG. Horrors! A franchise!!! HYSTERIA. Yet, a short time later here comes non-franchise KO Subs (albeit with great food!) People said that was okay because "the money stays local." Um, righhhht. I 'll hazard a guess that the owner of the sub shop buys MOST of his supplies from Costco, Food Services of America, etc - not exactly keeping his money LOCAL... And the CenturyLink outtage - another HYSTERIA. And the Downriggers rebuild - another HYSTERIA. And the drive-in movies at the fairgrounds - another HYSTERIA. And the Brickworks project - another HYSTERIA involving - what? PARKING and downtown retail mostly! And the proposed street fairs to bring an artsy feel to the downtown core - more HYSTERIA until the project was shelved. Theme, anyone? Anyone?

    SHOP & EAT LOCALLY. Local food? Local retail? Pfffffft. Walk around downtown on Monday and Friday morning between 7:40 and 10am and see the large trucks of major national suppliers unloading food, supplies. ALL THAT money goes off-island. At least DHS will be eating & shopping here, not like those "off-island" distributors who are off, unload, and back on the ferry quick-turn-around style!

    KEEPING MONEY LOCAL. Wanna see a dirty island secre? Wait in the Anacortes ferry line and see the loads of Costco, IKEA, and other off-island products being purchased with "island money" - it's our dirty little hypocritcal secret, isn't it? Do "locals" keep their dollars local. Um, no, not most. How many drivers get off the ferry and drive to the Indian Reservation for gas, cigarettes, and alcohol? A real aha moment there, waiting in the long "Rez" line. Is that considered local? But, with the grocery store MONOPOLY, how can people afford NOT to shop off-island for food? And gas prices are ridiculously high when there is really no competition.

    Continued in next post...

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  54. DHS. Don't get me wrong. I don't like that DHS is in the downtown core. But who Gordy rents to is none of our business, really, as long as it's within town regs. And at least the space won't be empty. And, what happened to all the hysteria about our drug and illegal immigrant problem here? Chances are, DHS - LOUD AND CLEAR - will scare both those problems right outta here - pronto!

    HOWARD'S. I like Howard's shop! Homey, friendly, and the tourists LOVE it! If everyone wants Howard's to stay, we should have had one of our tried and true island fund raiser POT LUCKS so the Howard's could afford the REAL rent - Gordy's loan & mortgage.

    2 WORTHY CAUSES. Parking and Beautification. Besides parking, here is another worthy cause: Beautification. Look around at our empty storefronts. More and more empty spaces every month! Why? Businesses looking at downtown locations are not renting because it's pretty ugly and there is NO PLACE for customers and clients to PARK. Pressure the mayor about our PARKING situation and downtown beautification. More spaces!!! FOUR-hour parking!! should accommodate guests & visitors having a meal and doing a little shopping and keeping them downtown- most other resort towns have this. Make a FREE parking area for business owners - top priority. Clean up the sidewalks - they are FILTHY and a pressure washing would improve them 100%. Clean up the numerous cigarette butts and litter by installing some additional, ATTRACTIVE (not 70's style stone-coated) trash cans at the top of ferry landing LANES, on First Street, and along Spring Street. Have some bathrooms available. We have exactly TWO downtown bathrooms. In a tourist destination! TWO bathrooms.

    POSITIVE. Can we, for once, focus on the positive and work toward building on making our downtown attractive to guests - and foster projects that lead to a better business atmosphere?

    OUT-OF-TOUCH MAYOR: And while we're at it, let's broaden our Mayor pool and right to vote on issues that affect downtown. Currently, one MUST live in the TOWN of Friday Harbor to run for Mayor. Why didn't anyone run against her? You have to LIVE in Friday Harbor city limits - this severly limits the candidate pool. Most of the business owners live OUTSIDE the town limits but the Mayors's agenda items mostly affect the business owners. Let us vote. Let us business-owners run for Mayor. Let US build/create the vacation destination the Mayor hasn't, in her multiple terms.

    INDEPENDENT ISLANDERS. Face it. We are not really independent, peace-loving, mind-your-own-business-tree huggers, by any means. Consistently, there are always 1/3 of the islanders lifting a glass of Hater-ade against someone trying to make a living or anyone who promotes a little change in the economy here. We are an island of people trying to keep our budgets afloat while pushing others' heads under, causing them to drown.

    Try this. Smile, say hi to everyone, and stop and ask if map-holding guests need help finding something. Hang flower baskets and flags annoucing events at just above head level, not at the top of the 3o foot light poles where no one notices them!

    Please help. Or we can stay the same and keep on bitchin'. Whatever.

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  55. At the end of the day we come down to this sentiment, over and over and over again:

    "Don't get me wrong. I don't like that DHS is in the downtown core."

    That is the problem. I have yet to run across anyone who says: "I like that DHS is moving into the downtown core."

    So, at the end of the day, it seems like the growing consensus is this: "Don't do this. Please find an appropriate alternative."

    This is not hysteria about a Subway Shop ... or Taco Bell ...

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  56. The opponents of this plan made a very fundamental mistake. From the outset, they made this about Gordy instead of making it about DHS and the choices of the federal government. There would still be hypocrisy by those who supported the federal government/NM who now oppose the federal government/DHS, but at least the discussion would be more on-point.

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  57. Starting to sound like Gordy very much wanted to make this about Gordy, which is his fundamental civil right.

    Anyhoo one fact emerged or at least was expressed this way:

    "In the end the GSA rep admitted that other communities have fought against their placement & were successful in getting it changed. He wouldn't say where those communities are."

    Time will tell. The idiot fringes will continue to foam and sputter.

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  58. Reports are that it was a wild meeting. Two GSA'ers and 5 armed Homeland Security officers. Packed house. All of the government types were relatively unprepared and clueless about public sentiment. They said there was nothing that could be done to stop their plans.

    That's the government for you. I hope this emphasizes to islanders that the government has a tin ear, and at best, listens only to a few people.

    We don't need to stop Gordy. We need to stop more and more government from setting up shop here.

    Just say no, and start working to have the government involve the public in new lease discussions when the current lease comes up for renewal in a few years.

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  59. Frackin' hysteria from the Eco-socio-lefty-utopiods. I attended the meeting today. Stupid questions about rectal/vaginal exams. Why doesn't GSA require the person offering to provide a building to determine how much sales tax revenue will be lost by the tourists scared away. As if a couple in Vermont planning a trip the Pacific NW says, " Let's be sure to skip the National Momument and the whales because there are 7 DHS Officers in a building in Friday Harbor. The Horror"
    The socialist crowd has their various body parts in a wringer because there is a climate in the Nation that now demands, "I should get to vote on every
    frackin' thing, and I should win every vote." Frackin' petition lady says she can have 3000 signatures in two weeks. Has 600 now. LOL.
    Outside of a small sign on the fromt door, the whole operation will be invisible. Mass liberal hysteria at play here.

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  60. All that really matters is that the new tenants comply with all applicable Town rules. If they do that, OK.

    If, however, something is overlooked in the Town's "change of use" analysis, and it comes out - or up - later that they are doing something that wouldn't have been OK'd upfront, it will be very tough to get them to voluntarily desist.

    This is NOT about DHS, its about any party going through the land use permitting process. Like I said, I don't care what they do, as long as they abide by the rules.

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  61. The very real public issue associated with this situation is that these are public monies being spent for something that isn't supported by many members of the public. I agree that it was a mistake to ever make this about Gordy. He can rent to whomever he wants. I really regret that anyone ever brought that up because that is NOT the point.

    The point is that the federal government should have done outreach to the local community about this project. That's it in a nutshell. They didn't, and I'm ticked off about it.

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  62. The government had a choice to conduct public outreach. They chose not to because Gordy asked them not to.

    Gordy by his own hand chose years ago to make himself a very public person in the community. Larger than life.

    His amusing, satirical, occasionally brilliant essays in the Island Guardian has earned him a special place in the hearts and minds of his fellow islanders.

    So, for some folks, its just pay back time. Gordy sure can dish it out, but has a bit of a tough time taking it when his turn is due.

    The personality stuff will wind down as soon as Gordy stops yelling at anything that moves.

    It will be interesting to better understand the change of use analysis. Had the government chosen to conduct public meetings before hand, the Town would not have been surprised and would have been in a better position to conduct the analysis in a timely manner, with input.

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  63. The public monies being spent are federal dollars. While there may be people in Friday Harbor that dislike having Customs/Immigration/Border Patrol here in our village, right on the border, a major port of entry for private boats and airplanes, I bet that many members of the public of the entire country, which pays those federal taxes, might think it a decent spot.

    Maybe we can get Friday Harbor removed from the list of US ports of entry, that would solve some of the problem.

    Then we could go back to the booming island economy of the '50s and '60s.

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  64. So as long as zoning doesn't prohibit it, it is allowed?
    So retail sales of say, adult toys, in downtown FH would be ok. Sweet.
    Topless bar/restaurant.
    Hell, it's my property, good paying tenants, who am I to turn them down?
    So if the Klan or NAMBLA wanted to open shop in downtown, fair game?

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  65. Is there a change-of-use required for Gordy to rent this space out to the intended new tenant?

    As to what zoning allows/disallows, might be worth reading the Friday Harbor code.

    Heck though, Friday Harbor allows space to be rented to the Sea Shepherds, a terrorist organization. You could swap them out for a decent adult toy store any day, IMO, and we'd all be ahead of the game.

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  66. I think turning this into a land use issue is a loser. That leads to stupid comparisons with NAMBLA and the Klan. I think that commenters who want input on the way public money is spent are on the right track though.

    Also, let's face it. There are no anchor tenants worth a hill of beans in the San Juans. If you own commercial property, you're in trouble and the pickings are slim. The rental of this property is probably born out of necessity and desperation.

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  67. Ya know, there are some wonderful and creative revolutions happening with technology and small manufacturing that are revitalizing communities, but you would never know it from the stone-age Luddite culture we're stuck with here in the San Juans. I wish we had someone, anyone interested in the maker movement. If we did, we'd have a much more vibrant economy.

    http://www.techshop.ws
    http://youtu.be/T6-pktRt4bI
    http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/blogs/profit-minded/techshop-spawning-individual-industrial-revolutions-220121096.html

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  68. The point is that the federal government should have done outreach to the local community about this project. That's it in a nutshell. They didn't, and I'm ticked off about it.

    I'd like the federal government to "do outreach" on issues like the NSA, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the deficit.

    I don't expect them to consult the locals about renting a frickin' office inside a building for the guys who were already working here. BFD. Try to recover from being "ticked off" and your overdeveloped sense of importance. Betcha this story does a lot to enhance our rep as a "friendly laid-back tourist town."

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  69. @8:12 But without a rock circle and a talking stick though, how will we ever reach consensus? Maybe burn some sage to clear the air too!

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  70. Truly remarkable. This huge input from all sides of this issue shows a real need for the TH to exist.

    Being a nut for composition and proper spelling, I'd like to thank those who took the time to proof their work.

    More important is is thought folks worked into what they published here.

    Here's mine: It's a done deal. Most likely a lease has been signed. A deposit has been taken. A check has been cashed.

    It's over.

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  71. Yeah, and I is is failed to proof mine!

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  72. Agreed, it is a done deal.

    More important is the featherweight mayor of Friday Harbor, who can't muster a call to get a burned out building off her front door step.

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  73. Isn't the burned out building the responsiblity of the Port, and not the Town?

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  74. @ 5:51 PM

    Well yes, the desperation behind this maneuver was pretty apparent to everybody at the meeting yesterday. Even the title of this Trojan Heron article makes that point clear. This is in large measure about Gordy the Goose despite efforts of his pals to airbrush him out of the picture and blame the larger community as socialist moonbats. That is silly and offensive and won't work.

    Is this thing over? No, it is just starting. This is the gift that will keep on giving, as the interior decorating and accessorizing get under way in the winter months in a highly visible, public place that many, many people will pass by every single day. Rubbing salt in the wound.

    No no. This hardly hardly begun ... and its not really about Customs either ... so then they'll bellow: "Then, what the hell is this about then?!"

    If you don't know, you're out of touch or part of the problem.

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  75. I don't know. This is a business deal involving Gordy and he has every right to rent to the highest bidder, but at the same time, from my point of view, it should not have been a possibility from the start due to the identity of that bidder.

    There is a huge public outcry of dismay at the thought of our military moving into one of the most prominent corners of the first block of our "tourist" town.

    There are sarcastic commentors saying things about the people who are horrified by this idea. And Mr. Penwells letter..."..a group of activists."...etc etc...expressing what seems to be a belief in his superior judgment.

    Sorry but this isn't about the right or the left. This is about my HOME. This is and always has been my home.

    I'm dismayed not only by the DHS increasing in size, overpaying their rent, choosing the very center of my hometown as their very unnecessary location, and on top of that...never considering the residents realities or livelihoods when making this decision. I know for a fact that they had other options. One suggestion was the old Luxell location on Tucker.

    I dislike the snide remarks and find them the opposite of helpful.

    Also..the DHS people admitted that other communities have fought this same battle and won. These are not the earth bunnies...this is a generally universal reaction to a situation like this.

    There is a sensibility about human nature and home that is being ignored by the people like Mr. P who is trying to make this about property rights and the others who are calling the people who dislike this things like.."Smug, self-satisfied, deluded "activists.""

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  76. I wasn't going to comment but the bullshit has become overwhelming-Gordy is the biggest hypocrite to come along since Vivian Burnette.
    Leader of the "rural resistance"? uh huh, and Benedict Arnold was a patriot hero right up until he sold out for the hope of riches.
    Like Arnold, Gordy will find out those offering the money will despise you as much as those betrayed.
    DHS, for those of you who seem to be unaware of the Patriot Act is now directly linked to ALL the other oppressor agencies including the NSA.
    But hey, it's Gordy's property, he can do what he wants, and the next time someone wants to put in a "franchise" do us all a favor and STFU.

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  77. For this to be a productive conversation we need to leave Gordy out of it.

    This is about our town, not about Gordy.

    This is about unnecessary expansion of customs here on San Juan. I would like to know what the justification for this expansion is. Was the earlier situation inadequate? Did they let something terrible get through due to lack of nice offices and cells? Did they just come into some money and figure hey...let's spend it? Has there been an occurrence the details of which have not been shared w/us that justifies this?

    They said at Monday's meeting that they could have consulted the people of the island but they simply chose not to.

    That implies to me their awareness of the common dislike of this sort of thing. In fact they also implied that when they mentioned the other communities who fought this and won. Actually...more than implied.

    I couldn't help thinking...if Michelle Obama lived here...would she even begin to consider this appropriate? She seems very family and community oriented.

    This use of this property is not family OR community oriented. It's one thing to have the local police carry guns. Usually they have ties to the community.

    I've read that these agents will stay no longer than two years. What does that say? This is militaristic. It does not evoke a feeling of safety but rather a feeling of discomfort.

    I don't like it and will not grow to. It's not about a store like consignment treasures. It's about gun toting trained police who will not know us and not want to.

    I think the Republicans are big on national security and the Democrats are big on being taken care of by big brother. Neither party can see the forest for the trees as far as I can tell. And I hold them both equally responsible for this (sad to me) situation.

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  78. If YOU invested and built a multi-purpose modern space in the drab, empty store-front main street of FH, with the idea of revitalizing the small-town economy and thought "If I build it, they will come..." and the ONLY business that helped you from losing your @ss & your mortgage on the place was DHS, with almost 3 million in their checkbook over the next 10-15 years, tell me, with all honesty, that you would flat-out, say "No."

    Even if Gordy is forced to move to another island because of the fallout, he is a good businessman and will be smiling all the way to the bank. And you would be too.

    "Feel good" doesn't pay the bills. As Sonny and Cher said, "They say our love won't pay the rent..."

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  79. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. One scenario is that the building looks like a fortress, with razor wire on the tower, cameras festooning the exterior, heavily armed jack booted thugs marching hapless illegal immigrants into deportation buses, and a complete collapse of downtown as hundreds of thousands of tourists decide to visit California's Trees of Mystery instead. The second scenario is, dull. Nothing happens, the building looks just like it does now, and the same looking people as when it was Windermere go in and out. Tourists, when asked, were completely unaware there was any gov't office there.
    I think scenario two is most likely. Question is, where will the outrage machine move onto next?

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  80. @ 8:53 AM

    Fine. Leave the island and laugh all the way to the bank. Not the first time that happened. Just please do it fast and then leave us alone.

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  81. I want to say that the pristine loveliness of our special homey Town wonderfulness will not be organically protected by this action that ruins our community. This is my home and my town, and I have become used to empty store fronts and countless real estate agents selling our assets to newcomers, who we bait with glossy idyllic falsehoods and then constrain with impossible land use restrictions.

    I want all of you to know that I deeply love this place, and I cherish our community. That's why if you touch any of it or change any of it, I will get you. Oh, I can change things, of course, because when I make changes, I "improve" or "restore" but when you do anything, you "ruin."

    Remember, it's better to have a fake community than no community at all. It looks better that way in the Scenic Byway Plan and tourist brochures.

    I think we need more guardrails, don't you? Maybe some outside the new art museum.

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  82. Put a rain garden in front of the new DHS place and no one will notice.

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  83. @10:01 Exactly -our sacred "commercial core" is a ghetto of empty store fronts and dusty real estate offices. It truly conveys the vibrancy of our community to our visitors!

    If the burnt-out husk of Outriggers as they approach on the ferry hasn't clued them in already, of course.

    The real community action is up at the Brickworks, where you can buy overpriced organic "produce" from our local trust-fund hobby farmers, to help them continue to be able to harvest their special agricultural tax status.

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  84. Sharon Kivisto, Editor, San Juan IslanderNovember 26, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Tom Munsey taped the meeting.

    Facts: This is not an expansion of the 7 agents now on the island or their duties. They are moving into a facility that will meet their needs. The old one is ridiculously small, cramped and doesn't have male and female restrooms. Actually they share a restroom with the Port's maintenance staff.

    The outside will look the same:no outside cameras, signage only on the doors. Lobby inside for people. 4 parking spaces in the underground garage - two secure ones (fenced) Federal law law enforcement vehicles must be in a secure space. All the spaces are underground.

    Customs and Border Protection are not part of ICE, Border Patrol etc. ICE is the agency that focuses on illegal aliens.
    Border PATROL are the guys along the fence separating the U.S. from Mexico.
    They are a separate agency under the umbrella of Homeland Security.

    The new facility meets federal standards. It is ADA compliant. Meeting federal standards means less likelihood of lawsuits from being processed in a substandard facility.

    The agents have apprehended fugitives - including ones wanted for rape, drug smugglers etc.

    What was not discussed yesterday was the devastation to the town's economy if FH was not an international Port of Entry. Many tour boats, 23K people on the 13k small boats processed would not be shopping, dining at restaurants, staying in lodging facilities, going on whale watch boats.

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  85. Yes, the burned out building, on the front door step of Friday Harbor, is on Port property and it is the responsibility for the Port directors to get it cleaned up, BUT if a person is the MAYOR of the Town of Friday Harbor, I think it would be more than appropriate for said MAYOR to become mightily pissed off and publicly upbraid the Port directors demanding a clean-up like RIGHT NOW! NO MORE EXCUSES!

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  86. Ms. Kivisto has the winning hand in factfinding and rationality. Kudos!

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  87. Yep, I agree. Good info Sharon. Thanks.

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  88. @ 9:36 You are right. The DHS should move out of retail and into the Conservation District's extra space.

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  89. "If YOU invested and built a multi-purpose modern space in the drab, empty store-front main street of FH, with the idea of revitalizing the small-town economy . . ."

    See, there's your problem. The Alliance seems overrun by the very people who have never built a business or made an investment in much of anything. They want their "community" paid for the government (Brickworks, anyone) but don't want the government anywhere in it (except for the "good" government--EPA and the like.

    Even if what we're arguing about is just the customs people who have processed the very tourists who provide the professional underachievers their food service jobs. The answer is straightforward. Close the port of entry. Then we'll have our community protected forever.

    (When did that building become the sacred core of Friday Harbor? I hardly even noticed it before this.)

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  90. To the Mayor of Friday Harbor:

    Forget DHS for now...as a Christmas present to yourself! But...

    BEFORE THE TREE LIGHTING AT MEMORIAL PARK on Dec 6th, please have dinner at Tops'l Sushi Restaurant or Cask and Schooner...or spend the night at our town's only REAL upscale hotel: the 123 Inn on YOUR waterfront. BEHOLD, since the middle of August (over 3 months ago), the view of the burned-out shell of Downriggers. BEHOLD the 2 Downrigger's men's bathroom urinals exposed to visitors & townspeople as they walk along the sidewalk to the Marina. BEHOLD the shredded black and brown tarps flapping in the wind, waving "Welcome!" to all who visit here. BEHOLD the snowfencing blocking off valuable downtown parking spaces and then BEHOLD the Spring Street Landing parking and dock access blocked by bright orange cones and barriers.

    Then IMAGINE the owners of the restaurants and hotel across the street, trying to operate and make a living across from YOUR TOWN's burned-out monstrosity.

    Since it's one of the FIRST SIGHTS visitors see upon arriving here (you said it yourself in the letter below), WE HOPE *YOU* AND THE PORT CAN GET TOGETHER AND STRING SOME LIGHTS ON THAT SUCKER BEFORE THE DEC 6th TREE LIGHTING AT MEMORIAL PARK and MAKE IT LOOK FESTIVE!

    Recent Letter from Mayor to Business Owners:

    "It is once again the holiday season and the Chamber of Commerce Tree Lighting Ceremony will be taking place on December 6th at Memorial Park.

    We expect a good size crowd as the Friday Harbor Elementary Choir will again perform during the event. We welcome you all to the celebration.

    We would like to make Town especially festive this year in hopes of brightening our season and leaving a lasting impression on our intrepid December visitors.

    It would be appreciated if you could all participate in some fashion in helping us light up the downtown core with strings of holiday lights in your windows or around your building trim.

    (Blogger Note: Drum roll, please...) I cannot overstate the visual impact this has on people docking on the ferry or driving up Spring Street. In late November the Town will be stowing our banners and installing the lighted snowflakes. Please join us in making this year a particularly festive one.

    We have suffered a few trials and tribulations as a community this year but we still have much to be thankful for... Help us show our spirit and put on a wonderful display.

    -Carrie Lacher, Mayor of Friday Harbor"

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  91. @ 11:55 AM

    This is the voice of the Machine. This is what you will get back from Senator Rancor and the rest of the Panem Dems.

    Fact: The reason DHS sought much larger space is to accommodate future expansion as many northern border facilities in numerous other states including Washington.

    Fact: The Department of Homeland Security is ... well ... the Department of Homeland Security. It's easy to understand, not complicated at all. It was established in large part to consolidate under centralized coordination and command a number of previously separate agencies. That is simply the reality, campers.

    Do have any idea how many "brands" are consolidated under Monsanto? The Border Patrol might as well be Nabisco.

    Stop the lies. Now.

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  92. @12:54
    "Professional underachievers their food service jobs..."
    Ummmm.....fuck you you condescending prick.

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  93. @1:40 True, it was wrong to characterize the Alliance as all food service workers. Plenty of them have fulfilling careers as pet psychics, life coaches, homeopathic aromatherapists, wetlands feng shui consultants, and other productive occupations.

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  94. Well, I guess this means that 65% democratic San Juan will be voting against the Democrats now for imposing this life-changing horror upon us all.

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  95. Here, let my try, this might help:

    @ 2:01 PM

    Fuck you and the horse you rode in on you sorry cheap suit asshole.

    That work?

    Let's reserve literate sarcasm for more worthwhile adversaries.

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  96. @2:21

    That would depend on your definition of "work." Is that the same "work" ethic displayed when 200 Alliance members show up during the middle of a Monday work day to ask vaginal and anal questions? Such hard hitting questions, it's a wonder why no one takes you seriously? Don't mess with the Alliance, they might go all bodily fluids on you, or cry in their patchouli oil.

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  97. @ 2:36 PM

    It's OK. You are stuck in the 1970s I guess. Video will be available soon and then we can all watch, if we can see anything through the clouds of incense. Oh wait, that was Gordy blowing smoke. I guess he got off of work too.

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  98. @ 2.01

    Don't forget the Alliance woodworkers - it's not like those talking sticks will just make themselves.

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  99. Get back to work. Look busy. The boss is coming. You're not paid to troll.

    ROFL ...

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  100. When the video comes up check out near the end, some of the final questions and remarks.

    There is some information coming out (unconfirmed) that in the last moments during the meeting the question to the GSA representative: Has there been a site location switched after a lease was signed? Answer: Yes... but rare. No examples were given despite additional questions. The GSA rep went on to say, twice, that anything is possible.

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  101. Sure, anything is possible. Just takes time and money.

    The claim was made that the lease is signed. (That's a contract.) Maybe you can look over the terms of the lease, see how much it costs to break it/terminate it early?

    Who will be paying for that?

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  102. hahahaha this is a complete joke! Hide behind your anonymous comments lol!

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  103. Making fun of the woodworkers??? What a bunch of money grubbing selfish assholes...physical labor is probably something your fat, desk hugging butt can't handle...it's ok, the clot in your left ventricle will break loose soon...then you'll have a life altering experience and realize it's not all about the almighty dollar!

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  104. First rule of bureaucratic obfuscation:

    "No" = "Loophole"

    You just have to go find it (they won't help). It's always there because the 1% always writes it in.

    So within a day we move from "No", "Done Deal" to "er ... uh ..." to "Communist socialist tree hugging losers" to "Yes its been done" to "Anything is possible."

    And then back to "Patchouli snorting shiftless no account airheads!"

    Ok, we'll just keep rollin' rollin' rollin' the stone ... this train is just leavin' the station. All aboard!

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  105. 3:58 Your comment is interesting but I want to make sure I understand.

    The GSA rep said that a previous lease agreement had been terminated?

    Am I getting that right? And is there a way to find out who that lease was with?

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  106. Sharon Kivisto,

    Thank you for the fact finding, but do 7 agents need 4000 square feet? Maybe their existing space is too small but this is an extreme adjustment. Not necessary in any way I can see. Just completely unnecessary.

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  107. It does happen that some legal scribe misses the classic lease entry wherein: "If the lessee cannot occupy the leased space because of any controlling factor such as government intrusion or regulation or an act of God, then this lease is null and void for all parties."

    A large space was leased to Safeway for one of their Liquor Barns. It was in a small neighborhood shopping center and the local residents rose up and demanded it not be allowed. (Of course, traffic from a nearby freeway was cited ad nauseum) And, of course local politicians sided with the local voters and Safeway paid huge rent for an empty building for five years.

    The inexperienced young attorney who represented Safeway was sacked.

    Anybody know who writes leases for Gordy?

    The fed gets screwed, Gordy still gets paid...sweet! (I say this in small town text as we know the fed is you and me, but we're talking nickle and dime here to get rid the newly developed "security" industry.)

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  108. I'm betting the GSA wrote the lease for this.

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  109. Having worked for feds, I would wager that the color of money and the year of the allocation would matter to the feds more than the lease terms. In other words, to avoid being anti-deficient, the feds would have had to obligate the funding for at least the base period of the lease, perhaps even for the entire lease and the build-out. If that is the case, then it is very likely that Customs would lose its money if they backed out of the lease, regardless whether Gordy is paid or not. By this I mean that FH Customs would probably not be eligible to have those budget funds replaced if they gave them up for any reason.

    You are assuming that if Gordy gets paid regardless, the feds can just create another $2 million in their budget to pay rent somewhere else. That is probably not a valid assumption, again depending on the color of money in the federal budget and whether prior year funds were used (i.e., 2013 funds versus 2014 funds). The money that FH Customs/GSA obligated towards the Gordy lease probably constitutes federal funds obligated for that specific purpose. If it is spent for that purpose, fine. However, if it is not spent for that purpose, the funding probably would return to HQ, never to return to FH Customs/GSA. That's the way federal budgeting often works. It may be that if FH Customs does not spend its already obligated funds, it will lose them forever. Period.

    Even if they could break the lease, they might never get any more money to pay rent somewhere else.

    That's how your government works.

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  110. How did el Gordo find time to broker this deal? I assumed that supporting countless lawsuits that lost in spectacular fashion took all his time.
    I say it's worth it if the end result is no more of his idiotic columns. Can you at least do that for us Gordy? Drop your misguided notion that people actually give a shit what you have to say.? Please?

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  111. Golly 6:52, if Gordy pumps most of this rich rent into CSA well OK!

    Excellent input 6:35. But money blown is always gone no matter who takes the hit. You are right if your assumption is correct that GSA must agree with the NEED assessment for a Friday Harbor expansion.

    Someone really sold some week old fish here.

    Hello! This is a respected anonymous site, sooo come on board, big guy, tell us what you know, because there is blatantly no justification for a blow out of this kind of funding for a minor POE like Friday Harbor.

    Come on now...we're talking a move from a little cramped situation to the RITZ!

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  112. 1:05 Very well said! So does Mayor Carrie Lacher snore just as loud as her husband? Looks like it.

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  113. 8:03 I'll wait for the video, but I thought that Friday Harbor is the busiest port of entry on the west coast? The office building doesn't look like the Ritz to me. Wasn't there a real estate agency in there before?

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  114. Looks like the Heron is going for a record number of comments. Here's how it's going over on Facebook:

    "funny how that place was built when the obscene real estate market was flush, now years later its not a viable retail building. Maybe everyone should pony up, work with Gordy and remodel the space into whatever everyone would deem acceptable?"

    "Thats what I think should happen! I also think a person whom is the steward of the heart of town has a wee moral obligation to honor the quant seaside village that we are. If it were me, I would have said "OK community, you have three months to come up with something viable to put in this space that will generate me market value for the building....or I'll be forced to make a ten year lease with The Department of Homeland Security....

    A "person whom is the steward," indeed. "Quaint seaside village"? More like pit of viperss, it seems.

    I'm thinking none of the "community" contributed to the rebuilding of that complex. Are any of them volunteering to buy the property or contribute tot he mortgage? No, I didn't think so.

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  115. The likely contingency plans, if a serious incident presented itself out here, would be that the islands simply be cordoned off from the mainland. Ferries will stop. All other traffic stopped. The security zone is drawn between Anacortes - Bellingham. We are quarantined.

    Yes, we have pretty much the most active recreational boating port/traffice on the west coast. I'm not sure how that breaks down in terms of volume vs percentage but its significant. However, that the Federal Government didn't pour more assets around here after 9/11 as distinct from, say, Port Angeles or Blaine, only speaks to the fact that it is pretty easy to just seal us off.

    The story will come out eventually. As to our Downtown Steward, sure let's construct a bronze statue for the courthouse lawn, of He and the Horse He Road In On.

    As for the space, no it was never intended or designed for this use. High windows. Vaulted ceilings. Chandeliers. An aromatherapy spa maybe. Massage palor for the rich. A French restaurant. An art museum. A temple of real estate. A Farrari dealership. A Taco Bell. A Trader Joes. An organic local grown artisanal marijuana boutique.

    But not a Federal government security facility. Nope.

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  116. Lot of amateur architects, space planners and urban planners here. Who knew there were so many opinionated hobbyists in the county.

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  117. Who knew that there were so many opinionated hobbyists in the county? Really? The County is full of them.
    Now they're experts in space planning for customs agents.

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  118. I wonder if there is going to be the same level of outrage when the new stoner shop goes into the old shoe store next to Haley's and the theatre.
    "Naw man, don't ya know that merry-wanna gonna be a big tourist boost! We gonna be the Amsterdam of the Pacific Northwest."
    The real reason for the uproar about DHS is the stoners are afraid these dudes might get all medieval and enforce Federal law, putting a chill on their soon to be continuous high!

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  119. The thing that gets me is the refrain that this is a "market rate" lease. The market rate is what a willing lessor pays a willing landlord. This describes the relationship between Howard and Gordy. The only reason that Gordy is screaming is that this is way over a clearing rate. That is it is an above market rate being paid. Gordy after years of screaming about the grants given to the lefties finally has chosen if he cannot beat them, he will join them at the nipple.

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  120. Ok, if GP is getting a something-other-than market rate, indulge us and let us in on the secret as to what the DHS is getting in return? Why did they do that?

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  121. I do not understand the level of fear concerning martial law, drones, jackbooted thugs, cavity searches, and militarization of Friday Harbor that is being expressed in the Alliance's Facebook discussion group.

    We are talking here about a handful of Customs/Border patrol people at a small port, renting some office space. For goodness sake, where is the perspective?

    I realize some people move here to the islands because they seek to escape mainland society, but this is simply absurd.

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  122. @10:17am

    I think we are witnessing the schizophrenia that typifies progressive/liberal/left ideology. Government is their friend/ally when it uses its coercive power to redistribute wealth, regulate business, and in general spend other peoples money for "victims". And, oh yeah, for social justice. No matter how fuzzy that concept may be. but the same Government is foe/enemy when it does anything not to their liking. Especially drugs. No greater fury hath one seem than when Gov't gets between a lefty and their drugs. And sex. Government occasionally appears pro business, or horror of horrors, pro capitalism. The Alliance sees bad Government on Spring Street. If the BLM, or HUD, or EEOC, or healthcare.gov, or NLRB had gone in there, their would have been bake sales to support them. Best of all would have been an EPA office, tasked with monitoring wetlands! That would have been a dream come true.

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  123. @10:17

    What if this has little to do w/fear and more to do w/cost and character.

    The assumption that the people who oppose this are progressive/liberal/left is completely incorrect. Let's leave that out of this.

    This is not what I would ever choose for that corner in Friday Harbor. I'm guessing Gordy knew this would not be a popular choice. It has nothing to do w/left or right.

    At the same time I am disgusted w/anyone who ever thought the National Monument status was a good idea. Really...I have to direct my mind away from thinking about it because it's just such a crying shame.

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  124. @11:35

    I agree wholeheartedly.

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  125. Some people take every opportunity to characterize each minute matter of life as right or left, and that's just stupid.

    I like xyz and you like 123. Oh yeah, that's because you're a socialist asshole. Well that's better than being a Tea Party moron.

    In reality, it's just because some people like xyz and others like 123.

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  126. What about the rest of us roadkill in the middle of the road?

    You know, the real working majority around here?

    Downtown core is an inappropriate location for a federal security facility.

    The National Monument is a dreadful intrusion will we all pay dearly for I am afraid.

    Yes the Customs folks need a better place to work. Yes I am glad they are here and feel welcome to have them located where it makes sense.

    What is this about moonbats and teaheads? Ain't me or most folks I know what just want to be left in peace and our town left as open and inviting as it can possibly be.

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  127. @6:52 PM

    Hey, news flash for you...Who has held a gun to your head and forced you to read Gordy's columns? And if you don't give a shit what his opinion is then why whine here? Move along then as there is nothing to see here.

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  128. It doesn't seem unreasonable to have the Customs facility close to the actual port. Since the "downtown core" is pretty much on or near the waterfront, I'm not sure where else you want to put the facility, or why the "downtown core" doesn't make sense.

    I mean, the high-end real estate office that was there contributed so much to the quaint functioning of the harbor, right?

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  129. I love how the Alliance has now taken this turn towards making it a political issue and ranting against the dreaded Tea Party and the vile Republicans. There are some that are trying to steer it back to the main quibble and then those calling to keep Gordy out of it. And those that want to get the lawyers in on it. It nice to see you all flailing away at it. Nice work! You are doing wonders for your crusade! It's good theater at the least. Popcorn refill anyone?

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  130. They currently are barking up the "let's pass an initiative to pass an ex post facto law to screw over Gordy's lease."

    Maybe they need to read the Constitution of the State of Washington:

    SECTION 23 BILL OF ATTAINDER, EX POST FACTO LAW, ETC. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligations of contracts shall ever be passed.

    But these people aren't about the rule of law, they promote the rule of the mob.

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  131. Not true, we are happy to say that plenty ARE Republicans as well as Libertarians, Democrats, & the non political.

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  132. Thanksgiving, thanksgiving
    It's drawing near,
    Let's count up the good things we've had all year.
    Our family and friends are the ones we remember,
    When we say thanks in the month of November.

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  133. Just because you have access to lawyers.com doesn't make you a lawyer so please spare us the contract law quotes...Gordo is the leader of gravity resistance, not the rural resistance...whatever the fuck that is.
    The greatest resistance I see here is a resistance to common sense

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  134. A video of the meeting the other day now posted on Youtube:

    http://youtu.be/WhKMQml00jM

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  135. Interesting how the name Alliance morphed...the thing about these people is, you can't put them in a little labeled box like you want to. There isn't one type of tree hugging, restaurant working, non-property owning, "hobbyist" or whiner, like you would prefer to think. Thats so ignorant and hopeful of you. Instead, I would call it more simply, THE HIGH MAJORITY OF PEOPLE THAT LIVE AND HAVE LIVED ON SAN JUAN ISLAND! To claim that the "alliance" is not property or business owners is ridiculous. On the contrary, it is quite easy to predict the type of person who is supportive of this Federal Policing Agency" in the most prominent corner of town. Their numbers are few, and for a good reason. Most decent people's first reaction is "really?" "why there" "that doesn't fit with the Island's character" "totally inappropriate location" "Why allocate funds to rent the most expensive, prime, downtown real estate to them when they've made do before" etc. Chances are if these same people weren't friends with the property owner, they too would realize how lowdown and tacky the whole thing is. While these supporters have the unwavering creed "anything is for sale", most people in the "Alliance" believe that some things are priceless.

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  136. What is your favorite clip?

    Check out 1hr 50min in to this. The Fed says, really, the community should have known. Then, keep listening, to the rebuttal. Pure calm reasoning and common sense followed by applause. This is the real deal ...

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  137. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. If it doesn't fit with the Town's character, then why is it allowed by the zoning? It does, so it is. You can't make up your own zoning laws on the fly whenever some undesirable shows up.

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  138. "This is not what I would ever choose for that corner in Friday Harbor."

    Oh well. Here's how to determine what goes on your favorite corner.

    1. Buy the property.
    2. Find out what the local building and zoning and use rules are. (You did participate in the community review of those rules, right? Cause that really is the least you could do if you are so concerned about the adorable town "core.")
    3. If you can find a renter who will satisfy those rules and wants to pay for the space and has a good credit score, rent the space to them.

    Surprise: no one is going to survey you for your opinion about the rental of office space in a private building. Even if you and your friends rail on and on about razor wire and fortresses and NAMBLA and the Klan and Hitler and guns and security cameras and cavity searches and the Tea Party.

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  139. @ 7:51 PM

    Well its not like its gonna be a porn shop or a slaughtering house you know. Or a lead smelter. Or, or, an open pit mine or even a boat yard or a Trader Joe's (shoot, forgot there can be only one, sorry, sorry there's a zoning law against unfair competition) or the County Sheriff or the Lovel Lounge (there's a thought) or Island Stage Left, or Pizza Hut or West Marine (you know a major anchor tenant with useful retail for boaters way down there where they actually are) or a gravel pit or the new office of the Friends of the San Juans and National Monument featuring bulletproof windows or rebuild Downriggers properly and put the Custom's folks closer to their customers and away from retail but the Port doesn't need the money someone else does, wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more ...

    Just follow the money.

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  140. Can we all agree that if you lose an election to Lovel Pratt, you become politically irrelevant?

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  141. After watching the video, I have the following observations:

    1. I cannot believe Lovel Pratt asked a question about economic impacts when she had NO patience for economic impact questions regarding the CAO. I guarantee the negative economic impacts of the CAO are orders of magnitude greater than the negative economic impacts related to sales tax effects of the CBP rental. As Sharon Kivisto has mentioned, few in attendance demonstrated any appreciation for the positive impacts of FH being a Port of Entry. For her question about economic impacts, Pratt gets the hypocrite of the meeting award.

    2. Jim Skoog and others do not understand, and probably do not want to understand, federal procurements. Compared to the cozy insider way the county relies on favoritism to do its procurements, the fed procurement process comes down to dispassionate cold hard criteria that are either met or not met by a bidder. If Skoog or others want to understand the selection process better, they should ask to see the solicitation, rather than ask for information on the bids themselves. The GSA rep tried several times to explain the general selection methodology of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable, but it went over everyone's heads. The GSA rep also tried to explain that he is prohibited from discussing specific bids and the scores of specific bids relative to one another. That would entail revealing confidential business information to the public.

    3. If Macauley wanted to find out more about how or why he lost, he could have asked for a personal debrief or even protested the loss. He could still ask for a private debrief, although it's probably too late for a protest. There is a fair process laid out for losers of federal bids to get feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their bid. McCauley was foolish to ask for debrief-like details in a public meeting.

    4. This really comes down to the way the solicitation was written and the selection criteria that were included. Gordy won a competitive bid based on that solicitation, evaluated in a very structured way. The questions and concerns that the public raised were not part of the evaluation criteria, so they were not evaluated. End of story. The government doesn't "shop," so to speak. They establish criteria for their needs, and then they put out a bid, and they evaluate the bids based on the needs they stated. That's what they did. The presolicitation announcement was on the federal website fedbizopps along with all the other stuff the feds buy -- https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=6c0a8c822baee7978daf88e680004e4b&tab=core&tabmode=list&=

    5. "Taking over the entire town" "Our iconic building" "shortage of retail space in FH" ?!?

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  142. Who is that first speaker (Gay Willerding?)asking whether the anal and vaginal cavity searches will be done at Peace Island? I am sorry, but that was just about perfectly crazy.

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  143. What do you expect of Skoog? Isn't he the guy who lives on a boat? I just don't seem him being involved in any major transactions of any type.

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  144. @7:36 pm said: "While these supporters have the unwavering creed "anything is for sale", most people in the "Alliance" believe that some things are priceless."

    I guess the right of a private property owner to enter into a contract to lease property for a use that is within the boundaries set out by the local municipality isn't one of those "priceless" things in your eyes. It is to me.

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  145. To 12:02 am, please read “body cavity search” in Wikipedia and this article on CBP’s non-consensual searches and surgery at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/14/dog-orders-cavity-search-lawsuits-ensue.html. Then, decide what’s crazy.
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Gay Wilmerding, Friday Harbor

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  146. reading all these comments, it is clear that everyone cares about this place.

    there seem to be two-ish factions: the "i have a right to do as i please with my property" people and the "we have a say in how things go in our community" people.

    the first group just want everyone to obey the law and they want government to butt out of their affairs as long as it is legal. they are not happy about the CAO, growth management, and further control over their lives and property. you people need to wake up and notice the rise of the security state and that to have this office in the middle of town is not good. if they move into that space, they will need to justify their move, get the best bang for the buck, as it were, and it will grow and change this place. you need to get over the "legal is good" mentality and understand that "legal" is control over your lives, nowadays. tens of thousands of new laws go into effect each year, to which you are subject. in many cases, you all are getting older and are not relevant to that march of "progress": you'll be dead soon enough. by opposing this desire to change the location from the center of town, you are helping condemn the charm of this place, but won't be here to bask in the glory. like it or not tourism is the main gig for most younger people here. as far as the meeting, it was not very nice to call the crowd there a mob. nothing could be further from the truth.

    as far as the alliance goes, you are coming a bit late to the table to complain about a man's right to rent his place, hypocritical though it is, considering his writings. you should have paid more attention to the rise of the police state over the last decade. we are not immune to "america" out here on the islands. and you need to understand the contradiction when you want all the federal money for things like welfare, national parks, saving the wetlands, unemployment bennies, and a fine NM status but want to keep DHS and CBP at bay. you are dreaming. in for a penny in for a pound: the government has no limits to how much it wants to grow and infiltrate and control your lives, legally, of course. you cannot pick and choose which parts of the control mechanism apply to you and which do not. kudos for a getting so many people to show at a midday meeting. what an inconvenient time of day.

    times have changed, not for the better, not for more liberty for all, not for collaboration to help this place, obviously, unless something changes.
    the government guys were as slick and dismissive and well versed in saying lots of words but saying nothing as i have seen. quite a show. but could you have expected more? no. that's how they are. they are just doing their job, humans be damned.
    where's the common sense?

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  147. So now what? It is a done deal. No 600 signature petition from the Alliance is going to cause DHS to back out of the contract.
    Will the Alliance start a permanent "Occupy Spring Street" movement, chain themselves to the doors, and rampage through the streets breaking windows? Remember the glorious WTO Seattle days? How about a permanent street theatre action, educating the tourists about the evil within?
    Black Bloc? Direct Action? Rules for Radicals? This seems to ready made for aging, creaky, 60's activists to dust off the CS&N vinyl and get their rage on.

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  148. @7:05

    BRAVO! Could NOT agree more.

    I think the hypocrisy is evident on both sides of the fence.

    The republicans for the reasons you stated and the democrats for wanting all the massive regulations and the monument status and then NOT wanting this. Don't they see they are part of the same?

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  149. @7:05 am said: "you need to get over the "legal is good" mentality and understand that "legal" is control over your lives, nowadays. tens of thousands of new laws go into effect each year, to which you are subject."

    Exactly. How about working on the front end to ensure that there aren't tens of thousands of new laws enacted and that what new laws are enacted are truly: a) necessary, and b) respectful of existing rights. To come in now ex post facto and try to undue a perfectly legal contract truly is mob rule.

    Speaking of mob rule, the ridiculousness of the arguments against locating the CBP office in GP's building were encapsulated in Lovell Pratt's "question" - the hypocrisy of insisting that "lost" sales tax revenue and the impact on local businesses be considered. This is by the very same woman who only a few months ago insisted that impacts on business be damned and by the way, get the hell out of the way of the CAO steamroller.

    As far as the cavity searches question - watch the video. However it was intended, the way the question was asked was downright creepy/prurient. I thought the purpose of the meeting was the siting of the CBP office & it immediately veered off into a question about where they'd be conducting cavity searches. A legitimate question about cavity searches belongs in a different forum, being asked of CBP management (or even more appropriately, the US Attorney General). This question in this forum simply came across as either a tawdry cheap shot or a request for an appointment (which probably would have been better handled in a discrete craigslist ad).

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  150. suilbup,
    pretty diverse community; I'm not sure you get to decide what the questions are.
    Don't try to tell me what to say in public, though...

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  151. http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/27/epa-preparing-to-unleash-a-deluge-of-new-regulations/#ixzz2lsMfk6kx

    Hmmmmm.... the EPA is trying to redefine "Waters of the US" to include EVERYTHING!
    Thankfully we have the new DHS office to expand and make room for the soon coming "environmental law violation taskforce".
    TEAM AMERICA!! F*&K YEAH!!!

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  152. @7:05 and @8:31

    You are being presumptuous when you talk about "legal is good." I don't feel legal is good, and I don't think the CBP location is right or good. Acceptance isn't the same as believing it's good. As one commenter said, sometimes you have to just suck it up.

    I'm not about to join in opposition with others who are trying to cure this situation by punishing a local business owner instead of going after CBP. That's just wrong piled on top of wrong. I'm not about to join an opposition that wants a tourist economy front and center but is surprised it got CBP front and center. By the way, I'm just as scared of the Park Service as I am CBP, so I couldn't disagree more with that former Park Ranger who spoke at the meeting.

    The alliance has made every mistake in the book, but the greatest mistake they have made is that their "movement" is erratic and confused with no real message besides a malcontent "we don't like this" and no real knowledge of what they are doing. Some of them don't like it for reason x and others don't like it for reason y. It's a hodge lodge coalition of unhappiness. Psychologically, they are all over the place. Make up your mind and get back to us, please. I don't see how the alliance has anything in common with itself, so I'm staying away from it, whether I like this situation or not. It's not that I don't support you because I don't see wrong. I don't support you because you're not right.

    And the last poster is right on. If you want to see raw government power ripe for abuse, take a look at the new proposed rule from EPA regarding waters. Where is the petition for that?

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  153. @10:07 am

    Fine - but don't try to tell me I can't make value judgments about you based on the questions you ask in public.

    S

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  154. @10:18 Very well said.

    The Alliance appears to be a group of unhappy, scared people taking out their fears and anxieties on the nearest available target - Petersen. The mob, lashing out, ignoring the rule of law, tearing the community apart.

    While our real foes sit back in their rumpled suits and smile at the show.

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  155. I am feeling so appreciative of many of the comments about this issue.

    My thought is that if a big gun touting government agency wants to rent retail space in that location in my small town complete w/holding cells and rooms designed for interrogation...they should have considered the residents. I am reading and re-reading all the thoughtful comments(I try to skip the angry rants) and trying to get both sides. Really trying.

    Legal does not always mean right. This does not feel right.

    We all felt the shudder when the particularly aggressive park ranger showed up some time back. Really...a couple bad apples is all it takes. He spoiled so much w/his attitude and the power he had been ENTRUSTED with.

    I cannot and do not like this turn of events and I believe that Gordy knew very well that people would not be supportive of this. He's a smart guy.

    Aren't the DHS people technically OUR employees? Don't we foot their paychecks w/various taxes? Our government is over reaching.

    If the renter was any kind of business not connected w/government I would accept it. But this is OUR government. And people on the right and left and in the middle are against this. That equals our community.

    The patronizing attitudes of the DHS reps is the tip of the iceberg if you ask me.





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  156. My wife has lectured me about my sheds whenever I build a new shed. Her thesis is that you will never have a partially empty shed. It is a natural law of the universe that crap accumulates to fill the shed no matter what. So according to my wife's theory even though they promise not to increase the number of dhs agents or the scope of their local mission it will happen. P.s. I just scored a kick ass lawnmower for free on buy, sell, trade. Oops. I did it again.

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  157. Did the Port, after somehow failing to get it together sometime back, made another attempt and get out bid by Gordy? (Seeing the bids could be very revealing, but certainly no way to change the outcome.)

    It appears the Port had the lead time and they had an established relationship, (government working with government) So what happened?

    The burn down of a building in a perfect location for the DHS customs made it easy for the Port to offer a fresh design for this large lot of a building with a secure, vehicle accessible ground floor for the DHS office and a retail or large restaurant use above. The Port in their bid could have promised just about any adjustment the GSA wanted for a "build to suit" DHS location.

    Did the Port even try?

    Looking at how long the Port is taking to do a three day dumpster clean-up of their burned out building, I think we can surmise that the Port blew it again, big-time.

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  158. When did the bidding process for this begin? Did it predate the Downriggers fire?

    Does/did the Port have any obligations to the existing tenants of Downriggers?

    Can the GSA accept bids/leases for DHS on buildings that haven't been built yet?

    What was DHS's schedule like, compared to the timeline of design/construction of a new building.

    Is putting a DHS office on a prime waterfront lot the best use of the land, for Port revenue generation?

    And so on.

    Things to look at, before going after the Port, or the "Gordy as GSA insider" conspiracy theories.

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  159. The Port blew it. As much as Gordy won it, the Port lost it. You heard the CBP guy say that they are not allowed to enter into a capital lease. Yet, what does Barbara Merrett bring up when she gets a chance to ask a question -- a capital lease. If you are going to be as dense as a bag of hammers, not listen, and not try to meet the government requirements, you are going to lose, even if you repeat your not-wanted offer ad nauseum.

    Boeing or Lockheed Martin doesn't say to the government, "We're going to ignore what you really want for the F-22 Raptor and give you F-22 Raptors with pink nose cones because that's just the way we roll and we think you should want to have pink nosecones instead of what you are asking for." If they were to do that, they wouldn't get the work. That's what the Port did. They were tone deaf because local government here thinks they can get whatever incompetent plan they want by just pushing hard enough. Well, our local government finally ran into someone they couldn't push around -- the feds. The feds said what they needed, and true to local government form, the Port ignored them and thought they could give them something else. It doesn't work that way. The Port thought they were sitting in the catbird seat. Wrong.

    When your customer or potential customer, especially the feds, say they want something and establish a requirement for it, you shouldn't be surprised when you lose because you can't fulfill their requirements. It reminds me of an old saying about the differences between Japanese and American companies. When DC passes new legislation about cars and air pollution, Japanese companies call in their engineers, and American companies call in their lawyers. The Port did not call in their engineers and get to work. They were overconfident. Tough luck.

    And @11:54, you have to get something through your stubborn head. You cannot see the bids. You can see the solicitation. You cannot see the bids because the bids contain business related information that is illegal to reveal. Wanting to see the bids is like wanting to see someone's tax return. It's off limits. Yeesh! You make fun of vaginal and anal searches and then want to see the bids? Crap, that's nuts!

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  160. @12:26

    That's a great point. The same people ranting about government intrusion want to intrude on the privacy of the bidders by seeing all the business information in the bids.

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  161. @12:32 Those same people presume to know best how to run other peoples' businesses, and want a voice in doing do.

    Maybe they should form some sort of co-op, buy the commercial properties in Friday Harbor, and have at it!

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  162. We have witnessed the largest expansion of Federal Government powers, ever, under the current administration.
    Gordy has elected to support and profit from that.
    I don't begrudge that. It's his right. I don't like DHS having a larger presence, but that is how it's going to be, so I won't complain about that.
    I do have issue with Gordy's hypocrisy. That is the issue for me.

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  163. @1:02

    Hypocrisy is subject to debate of course and you seem like your mind is set. That's okay.

    Gordy spent big bucks to build that place. Funny how he is vilified and then people say it is the most beautiful corner in town.

    When you have to answer to a bank every month with a loan payment I can't blame the guy. He sure as well wasn't getting DHS money from that smarmy Howard!

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  164. "We have witnessed the largest expansion of Federal Government powers, ever, under the current administration."

    Yes, that's true and bitterly disappointing. You want to get really upset--look at the DHS home page and see the different "directorates." Scary and sad that the best candidate we had has just let them continue doing what they're doing, and worse, with NSA.

    All that being said, the landlord is not "supporting" government expansion by renting out office space to the existing Customs office that has been here for 100 years, and Customs officers, individuals who live in our community and have kids in our schools and go to PTA meetings with us. Customs has been asking for decent space for ten years, and for some reason the port couldn't provide that space, so they're moving one block up from the port to this building. I think he said there are 7 agents and another 5 in summer. The same as it has been in the past decade, I take it. Even as boat traffic has increased.

    The people who are going to work there said that the outside of the building won't be changed. So what suddenly has become the "heart" "core" "jewel" of Friday Harbor won't be changed in appearance.

    The parade of horrors at the meeting were incredible. Innocent tourists wandering into the office and being shot down by crazed customs agents with PTSD who can't control themselves. Is this what you really think of the customs people? I've had a bad time at the customs crossings once or twice, and whether it was me being tired after a long trip or the agent, I don't know, but I'm still not willing to paint our neighbors with that broad brush.

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  165. @10:47 am

    "My thought is that if a big gun touting government agency wants to rent retail space in that location in my small town complete w/holding cells and rooms designed for interrogation... they should have considered the residents."

    My first thought is "why"? They are moving two blocks from their existing cramped quarters.
    But more important you don't get to repeat rumors that have been debunked. Rooms designed for interrogation? Nope. Even "holding cell"--They said that they will have some kind of presumably locked room where people who have been arrested can stay while awaiting transfer. Now, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that these detainees are going to be the ones found with drugs or exotic pets or even outstanding felony warrants. The Customs manager said that now, they have to handcuff detainee to a bench. Not nice for the detainee, not safe for the staff, not pretty for the tourists.

    By the way, where were you all when the big gun-toting sheriff got his 3/4 million for a new DHS-funded gunboat?

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  166. @ 6:36 am "Gay Wilmerding"

    I guess my question is, why--as the first community speaker--do you start a meeting like this with those questions?

    Not productive. Not intended to engage the visitors, not really related to the issue, but rather to your own personal rages--why else ask about Peace Health? But oh so 60s confrontational.

    This kind of stuff is entertaining in movies, but you are supposed to care about the community.

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  167. "I do have issue with Gordy's hypocrisy."

    Let's see--Gordy invested a whole lot of money time and energy in replacing the burned out shell of a building that used to sit at the "core" of Friday Harbor. ("Core" of Friday Harbor--sorry, but it makes me giggle.) Building won awards and everyone now apparently thinks it's sacred.

    Yet when the town empties of retail businesses due to the recession, and the only tenant for the space in question is a second-hand store, he applies for the Customs contract. Seems like a logical way to keep paying the mortgage to me. Or do you all assume that the landlord is one of the 1%?

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  168. My favorite sound bite was the woman from the agency that gets half a million to promote FH demanding a commitment from the Customs peeps to participate in the Island Friendly program, and reminding them that they should smile. Literally.

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  169. "The government had a choice to conduct public outreach. They chose not to because Gordy asked them not to." Any chance you can back this up with a time on the video? Because what I heard was that this has been going on with the port for years and that several businesspeople bid for the lease, including that guy out on Beaverton Valley Rd who was all upset because he hired a consultant and expected to get the lease. Surely you are not suggesting that Gordy was wielding his extensive influence with the Obama administration in depriving the locals of input? because that would be pretty funny. Why didn't Mr. McCauley (sp?) raise the alarm that the feds were coming? Because he wanted to rent to them.

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  170. Sorry, this may need some back reading.

    First 12:19. The Port has the inside edge. As the existing landlord they could of and should of been on the inside track on any effort by their long time tenant for a new space. This is basic. There is no time line. You work to get it done or you don't. The burn down would have been fortuitous (sorry to those who lost jobs)in a Port bid.

    "Build to suit" is also basic. Most likely many GSA leases are on this basis.

    I'm sorry; sorry for Port Directors who now seem like Howie, and sorry for the Town. No one marched. No one minded the store. Shit man, it is island time!

    And 12:26. Maybe there was some confusion, but my post was never about any vaginal stuff. (Darn it a guy can still dream, I guess.)

    Seeing the bids, as I noted would be a waste of time if you are looking to change the outcome, however these bids are crucial, I think, into a look at the Port directors doing, or not doing their job.

    I leave it to the expertise of the TH to tell us the truth.

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  171. Well said...what a pity that so many people "who work hard" to build a fence around their neighbors and then complain when their lives are affected by the fence they worked to create.

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  172. @ 5:35 - actually, the GSA guy explains in at least two places in the video that the GSA is barred from doing build-to-suit leases.

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  173. Psssst. Hey TH, guess what day it is. GUESS WHAT DAY IT IS!!
    Hey Heron, I know you can hear me. Guess what day it is! Guess...What...Day...it....is!!!!
    Psssst, hey Anonymous, I know you can hear me. Guess what day it is!!

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  174. @6:03

    Um, Friday November 29, 2013?

    Did I win?

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  175. It be Black Friday and time for Swearin' Heron and here we have the single most divisive issue to hit this community since the Brickworks, home to the Alliance it seems. Mere coincidence? My brain hurts.

    In the midst of all this, maybe it is time to revisit the Committee on Stability? Still hoping the Heron peeks under their skirts and does a little investigative journalism on this shadowy group organized to shoot down Charter initiatives.

    Why? We have two staunch members of the Committee now bullying the rest of us to shut up and mind our own business and lecturing that we should be proud to have an iconic Federal police force presence in the center of town. So who are these guys and why, on the one hand do they rage against government expansion and over reach and then eagerly jump in bed with them at the first opportunity? This makes no sense at all.

    Now I agree that the Alliance is a bit of a rag-tag band being manipulated by the Panem Dem Machine and I have no patience for that; I will have nothing to do it, they do not represent me in any way. But that does not have anything to do with the fact that general indignation is wide spread, nonpartisan, very mainstream and growing. That includes me and a lot of folks I know right and left, rich and poor, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Protestant, Catholic, Jew, red, white and blue, black, brown, white.

    I have deep and abiding respect for John Evans. However, John should be a bit more careful. His attempt to frame anyone who feels deep concern over this as little more than Jew haters is a bit off the edge, is only throwing gas on the fire and won't work.

    http://www.islandguardian.com/evans/index.html

    Really now, because general sentiment finds the idea of the Department of Homeland Security on Spring Street a bit unsavory, we are now nothing more than Jew haters, segregationists, anti-Catholic bigots?

    I John suggesting the Department of Homeland Security should be protected as an oppressed minority group? Next John will advocate Affirmative Action for the Border Patrol?

    Really? I expect much better of John. And, what about that Committee on Stability that both John and Gordy and a small but powerful group of insiders are involved with?



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  176. ....hmmmm .... hmmmmm ...

    Brickworks vs Committee on Stability?

    ...hmmmm...

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  177. @8:36am

    Perhaps someone can explain exactly what it is that they think is going to happen once DHS takes up residence on Spring Street. I hear lots of concerns about...what? We know one woman has worries about cavity searches. I would like to hear some specifics, so we can check back a year from now and see if all the fears have come true. Or, not.

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  178. Yes. That John Evans letter was a huge swing and a miss. Usually I agree with the guy but that was pretty fevered and frothy. Unless you are talking about some huge humanitarian atrocity like Somalia you do NOT compare your tempest in a teapot, indulgent, narcissistic local political kerfuffle to the Holocaust. John did the rationalist a huge disservice by out irrationalizing the irrationalists.

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  179. Here is a link to a fantastic more or less liberty minded and common sense commentator. All sides here better WTFU to the reality of the security state before you are all gung-ho about this new location or dismissing the alliance, a term i think originated in this thread. For the old guard: you all are out of touch with the reality of how the security state has grown and better listen twice, just to make sure you get it. remember that for the vampire to come in your house, you must invite him.
    For the "core" people, you had better understand that you are now trying to work within the system to change things. There have been literally dozensanddozensanddozens of whistleblowers that have tried to go thru official channels and it is all for naught, nada, zilch. They get swallowed alive wholesale by the monster, and at the very least, they eat you most precious commodity: your time.
    Does anyone remember Clovis? He was famous for having lavish parties for the large royal family and killing off all the potential threats to his reign. Later in life he lamented that he had no family and sent messengers far and wide to find some to have some closeness late in life. Of course this was a ploy to flush them out. So it is with the government, now. If you go thru official channels for anything, you simply put yourself on the radar. Listen then listen again. I did.

    And the cavity search question keeps coming up. Those that think this is ridiculous, perhaps you should take advantage of the internet and have a look around. There is so much that will shock you if you have the eyes to see it.


    http://www.dancarlin.com//disp.php/csarchive/Show-265---Old-School-Whistle)(Blowing/William%20Binney-Thomas%20Drake-Edward%20Snowden

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  180. To my Republican friends:

    What would Senator Rand Paul have to say about all this?

    Think about it

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  181. @9:57

    As far as life here on a day-in and day-out basis, if you were to look at a pie chart of security-state activities, the activities of Homeland Security would be a sliver compared to the contributions of the county, state, and even the National Park Service.

    You can rail all you want about the security state, and for good reason, but it wasn't Customs who arrested someone in their home and successfully prosecuted them for land use violations (county). It wasn't Customs who spied on shoreline owners with armed boats (WDFW). It wasn't Customs who arrested and prosecuted a dog owner for not using a leash at American Camp (National Park Service).

    I'm not defending Customs, but I am saying that you are as off-topic as you can be when you talk about the security state and then pick on the most minor threat we face, and try to make it into the biggest threat. You are picking a national issue with little relevance to the local scene, like people who want to inject abortion or the national debt or some other national wedge issue with only distant links. I'm not saying those issues don't deserve their own forum, but we have much bigger local fish to fry, and bigger local villains in our midst.

    Since you say the old guard is out of touch with how the security state has grown, I would answer that you are out of touch with how the security state has grown HERE.

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  182. @10:38
    I guess I would say that you should peruse the CBP website and understand that their prime directive or mandate is about stopping terrorism. So, we can dink around about how they are just checking in small boaters all you like but the reality is that when TSHTF, these fine gents at CBP are fully trained and can be Tooled. The. Fuck. Up. Like right now. Understanding their mandate at the national level is not off topic but clearly central to understanding how things go in the future.
    And on a side note, an earlier commenter talked about how the islands could just be cut off, ("The likely contingency plans, if a serious incident presented itself out here, would be that the islands simply be cordoned off from the mainland. Ferries will stop. All other traffic stopped. The security zone is drawn between Anacortes - Bellingham. We are quarantined.") you know, for our safety if something happens out here. which, of course, makes the island a perfect offshore prison, y'know, Gitmo style.

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  183. Huh?? Wow. The security state is growing here, we know that. Why do you suppose the locals are annoyed? Get a grip, please.

    Once again you airbush the facts. It's real simple. A private business person can make whatever private business decisions they want. That is their right. And the public has a right to freely associate to push back with all legal and political means available to stop a private decision from being implemented if enough folks don't like the way it impinges on them. Everyone is protected here and has rights. We will see how this plays out.

    Where were you born, North Korea? This is the United States. We will duke this one out until it resolves. Quit the bullying, the labeling, the partisan posturing, the demonizing and get real.

    You really have to be a bit more careful with an islander.

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  184. lol…"Rights" granted on hemp paper by men can be revoked…you are not paying attention to the wider world, the US since 9/11, nor to history…"Legal" is nearly irrelevant for those of us down here at street level. You clearly haven't listened to the link I posted

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  185. No one is happier about this issue right now than Shireene Hale. The CAO redo is about to come back in to focus. Nice to have a great distraction from the work product that is, well, the words to describe it can't even be used on Swearin' Heron Friday, it's that bad.

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  186. Trolls trolls trolls. Focus 100% of everyone's attention on 1% of the problem. Distraction. Look over here at this shiny object. Customs and border are 1% of the problem in this community. Next you'll be telling us that customs and border are causing global warming and are going to use sea level rise to kill us all, and that's Gordy's fault too.

    This discussion has run its course. Nothing left to see here except people who want us looking under our beds for customs spies. I'm sure there are people spying on us, and in fact, there are groups here who readily admit to spying on us all the time. I would imagine that the ones who have already been caught spying and who openly admit to it are bigger threats.

    I know, I know. Gordy is a hypocrite who negotiated in secret with the feds for months because he knew the community would be in violent opposition to the rental of the town's downtown core and most iconic building. He did so because he wanted to lower tax revenues for the town and establish a beachhead for the security state to harass, intimidate, and spy. He's going to destroy us all while getting rich from government grant money.

    The story that Gordy needed a reliable long-term tenant because the economy has gone south because of nanny state overregulation and bursting tech/property bubbles, or that Gordy won a technically acceptable low price competitive bid, or that customs has always been here is just that -- a fabricated story. Moreover, two of the bidders who lost to Gordy --McCauley and the Port -- were vocal during the community meeting only because, unlike Gordy, they really care about the community, not because of sour grapes. They would have been there protesting themselves if they had won. Customs has been in Port property for years, but that's okay because customs only becomes evil when they move 2 blocks away to the iconic downtown core, which was built, paid for, and is owned by Gordy. The difference between good and evil is 2 blocks I guess. The fact that customs tried to tell their current Port landlord what they wanted for a decade but got nowhere with them doesn't matter. Gordy needs to be punished for being a better businessman than the inept Port who had a captured client and perfect location and let them get away.

    This really is the end of life as we know it, but as saving grace, we'll all be long gone because of our dying ecosystem before Homeland Security gets us.

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  187. I've heard tell that the Customs guys wanted to move uphill two blocks simply to avoid the massive sea level rise Shireene Hale and her Friends are predicting.

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  188. This issue truly sums up the absolute insanity of the crazies that live here, meaning everyone.
    Godamn County is a bunch of Jack-booted Thugs destroying our liberty through the implementation of Agenda 21!! AGHHH, Agenda 21 ...OH NOOOO - the loudest screaming this paranoia was Gordy Peterson and John Evans but when it comes to greenbacks, WELL HEEELLLOOO Big Federal Agency!
    I love John's praise of the Big Federal Agency protecting all of us, from you know, THEM.
    Then John goes on to demonstrate the lunacy with the slipper slope argument followed by the straw-man bogey man alarm.
    John, the same person who bemoans how the Friends smear their opponents now does the same, John, who rails against the evil agencies of WDFW and the Dept. of Ecology has now only LOVE for Big Federal Agency Inc. so long as they're shoveling big bucks to his other blow-hard pal Gordy.
    And then we have the "Alliance" the same dipshits who truly love them some Bid State & Federal Agency to enforce (force) their insane whacked out environmental laws - you're all bunch of fucking whacked out looney tunes with too much time on your hands (as apparently I do too).

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  189. @ 12:12 PM

    ROFL

    Gordy's name mentioned at least 8 times here. Blahblahblah ... remind us all again who this isn't all about? Remind us who would blush to see their name in the paper thumping at some social deviant bogeyman of the day?

    No one has forgotten Shirene at all, don't worry your pointed little head about that.

    Gee whiz you'd think 300 stoned New Age airheads would be nothing stacked against the mighty Gulag Gordy and his Goon Squad. So stop shrieking like some girlie guy standing on a little footstool with tiny mice running about.

    Oh gosh this is funny.

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  190. First World Problems on an isolated island full of me-first narcissistic out of touch Dino earth muffins and Rhino dinosaurs with too much time, money and Chardonnay on their hands ... White Whine ...

    “I went to go babysit for an hour and the kids didn’t know what their own wi-fi password was.”

    "Sniff. Someone on the Internet disagrees with me."

    "This store is only offering 25% off for their Black Friday sale"

    "The free beer at work is no good"

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  191. From a previous poster:

    "...if a serious incident presented itself out here, would be that the islands simply be cordoned off from the mainland. Ferries will stop. All other traffic stopped. The security zone is drawn between Anacortes - Bellingham. We are quarantined."

    What sort of "serious incident" are you imagining? An Ebola outbreak? Zombies? What could possibly happen here on these islands that would cause the Federal government to decide to step in and take such action?

    What communities in our nation have they ever done such a thing to before, and why? (Ignoring for the purposes of discussion the shameful way we handle our inner cities.)

    It's the San Juan Islands - we have no heavy industry, no top secret military facilities (except the one on Mount Constitution that everyone knows about when it is active), no chemical manufacturing, no refineries, nada.

    Madness.

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  192. @ 12:57 PM

    It may be madness to you but it is very rational policy. Has been for a long time. We are generally not worth bothering over out here and easy to seal off if need be.

    As to Ebola, that is pretty exotic and a bit of an exaggeration, but do keep in mind that a tight-nit population can be an epidemiologist's nightmare. They didn't name Small Pox Bay for nothing. Think about it.

    Or Smuggler's Cove either. You think a porous border is only about running whiskey, guns, cocaine, heroin and meth labs? What other commodities can you imagine the authorities might want to contain here if discovered before moving elsewhere? Think about it.

    What kinds of quiet contingency plans and exercises take place in these waters that did not 10-15 years ago? Think about it. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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  193. We are plagued by people living in a doomsday cult state of mind. If it's not ecosystem annihilation because of sea level rise or surfactants, it's someone obsessing about being cut off from the outside world by CBP, and if it's not that, it's worrying about a Homeland Security pogrom.

    I'm not scared of Homeland Security. Sometimes they annoy me, but they're not the Friends. I'm not scared of the county, either, but I want them to go away. The same goes for the Department of Ecology. They are useless, not terrifying. Just go away, and take all the doomsdayers with you.

    Relax. It's not the end times. Let's get rid of the pathologically panicked who always push for more laws because they are "afraid" of some cockamamie threat. Let's just get on with living and doing.

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  194. Now that the turkey tryptophan is wearing off, I've got time to get back to the Heron and what do I see but 180 some posts on last Sunday's story about the Customs bureau moving their offices. What?

    The prior poster has gone on at great length, and after reading all of the posts (and getting some mincemeat pie to keep up my strength), here's my 2 cents.

    "single most divisive issue to hit this community since the Brickworks"

    I don't think so. You apparently missed the Charter revision.

    WHAT is the Committee on Stability?

    Two staunch members of the Committee (reading and reviewing, it would appear that these be John Evans and Gordy Peterson) "bullying the rest of us to shut up and mind our own business"--bullying? Gordy won a federal bidding contest to get office space in his big and often empty building space. He is then vilified by a bizarre cast of characters who raise issues that are just plain nuts, especially after the facts to the contrary are confirmed. The building is not going to be changed from the outside, not "bristling with antennae," or gun turrets. Customs has always been here and has for years been looking for decent space. The Town has failed to produce any. Gordy has vacancy and steps up. Who's bullying whom? He has the property (and no doubt a hefty mortgage and he rented out the space. Terrorists are not likely going to be targeting that space for bombing. Tourists will not be running screaming from the glass door with the Customs Office logo on it. There will be no water-boarding on the premises. But all the locals are berating Gordy in the press and in person about his choice, as if he had some obligation to ask each one personally what their most irrational fears and prejudices against the customs agents are.

    And there's a difference between reminding people that the customs folks are a part of the community and have been since the turn of the last century, and critically important to the vaunted tourist trade. No customs, no port, no ferry. Nobody's "jumping into bed"
    with an expanded federal presence. Gordy is renting to the same guys who have worked a block or two away for decades. Gordy, who rebuilt the "core" and now has to find a way to pay for it.

    "General indignation" perhaps, given the crazy rumors that have been going around. Oh, even more devious, the "Oh I have no problem with Gordy renting his space BUT what if aliens attack from outer space?" But indignation about WHAT, exactly? Renting office space to a government agency that has been here forever.

    CONtinUED

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  195. continued
    If you have a "deep and abiding respect for John Evans" you would not mischaracterize his letter.
    He is not chiding those who feel "deep concern" when they have a reasonable basis for doing so. Using a wide range of outrageous charges, and painting all customs agents as jackbooted thugs is very much akin to the mindless prejudice that this country has put behind us in the past. It is also reminiscent of the bonehead commenters who makie the same comment on every story, no matter the subject: "It's Barry the muslim socialist's fault."

    Does "general sentiment find the idea of the Department of Homeland Security on Spring Street a bit unsavory?" First, I think the general sentiment has yet to be determined, to the extent it matters. Second, you know it's not the Department of Homeland Security. It's Customs which had the misfortune, like the Coast Guard, to be absorbed by the DHS. If you insist on looking at it that way, you should really be saying the Obama administration is setting up camp on Spring Street. Third: "unsavory"? Here again, you are trying to say that this is the evil jackbooted DHS, I guess. Or that the open bid process was somehow underhanded? Gordy's close personal friends Obama, Ranker, and Cantwell and Murray all got together and greased the skids for him? Yeah, that's a non-starter. SO what's unsavory? You prefer the second hand store, no doubt, or a yoga studio?

    Finally, how is the customs agency different than the sheriff? they look the same in terms of guns and "scariness" as that term seems to be tossed about. The sheriff is another block away. I hope that he does not destroy the vital beating heart of the "downtown core" of Friday Harbor by being so close.

    As for size, the manager reporter that the size of the staff has if anything decreased even in the face of an increasing workload. What is the magic number of customs agents that you will accept as nonthreatening, I wonder? 7 + 5 in the summer likes it's been for a while? Is 8 too many?

    Can't wait to see the end of this.

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  196. It is so easy to tell which posts are from Gordy! I'll bet you crack yourself up big guy! Your condescending "comical" writings are really consistent. I'm trying to think of a worse person that has inhabited this island, I think he gets the award.

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  197. You know it is all a bit like the Obama Administration setting up on Spring Street.

    Gordy would have no trouble jumping in bed with Barry, either if he could laugh all the way to the bank in the bargain.

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  198. I wonder what Ron Zee knew about this.
    (I just had to get his name in here after his absence was mentioned by a comment on the next post).

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  199. This topic is starting run its course and the comments are getting off course.

    Trying to grind the CRC axe against Gordy is silly. You lost and got shot down again a few weeks ago. Move along now.

    So much hate, anger, conspiracy theories, etc. is getting to be too much. What's next for our lovely little community?

    Can't wait until we start talking about where the pot farms will be.

    Am I poster 200?

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