There is a culture of government corruption in these islands, and its meme carries with it a narrative that says, "Give us money or else we'll all die." We've seen this meme at work when it comes to phony environmental "protection." It also seems to be at play with some of our police, safety, and fire departments on occasion. They're willing to save us, as long as they get lots of cash up front.
While attention has been focused on the San Juan Christmas hayride, some strange incidents also are being talked about on Orcas, where the nephew of Randy Gaylord, Kevin O'Brien, is Chief of the Orcas Fire Department. Orcasites approved a controversial levy several years ago that was advertised as necessary for capital infrastructure (another new firehouse and new fire-fighting equipment), only to have Chief O'Brien recently reallocate those funds to payroll, including creating new paid positions, including a new, highly-paid deputy. Now the "temporary" levy is up for renewal, and the Chief is claiming that if it is not renewed, services will have to be cut. These events have occurred against a backdrop of many rumors of bad behavior by the Orcas Fire Department ... everything from having dinner flown in from Bellingham ... to staff using the Fire Department washing machines as their personal publicly funded laundromat.
New questions have arisen about the Orcas Fire Department sparked by an accident involving Jack Delisle, one of those hired by O'Brien. In short, Delisle got into a single-car accident at about 2am back in March 9, 2013. He ran a car off the road and into a ditch. The car was owned by another member of the Fire Department, Nick Kiniski. Yet another member of the Fire Department, Seth Ybarra, came to Delisle's aid after the crash, pulled the car out of the ditch, and towed it to Fire Station 21, where Kininski was on duty that night as a paramedic.
As some Orcasites tell it, the gist of the concern is this: a member of the Orcas Fire Department (Ybarra) allegedly removed evidence of a crash involving a drunken driver member of the Fire Department, did not properly notify the police, and let the injured driver disappear from the scene. Earlier that night, the driver had been attending a party at the Chief's house to celebrate his (Delisle's) hiring. The Chief had served food and alcohol at the party.
A detailed report of what happened is provided in the scanned pages shown below, and it includes some commentary and questions inserted by a concerned citizen on Orcas. This story has not been reported anywhere, so perhaps Orcasites can shed some further light on these events. With the "temporary" levy up for renewal, issues of Departmental integrity and responsibility are on the minds of many on Orcas.
In other news, the latest draft of the CAOs is undergoing public comment this week. As bad as the last Council was regarding the CAOs, the new Council has been worse. Their public participation record is awful. Their ability to think through the issues is abysmal, and their "fixes" to the CAOs have done nothing to correct its fundamental flaws. In its latest CAO version, the Council has decided to abandon the last Council's system for buffers and replace it with another one that is equally flawed. For more information, please visit the CSA website. This Council is just as much in the pocket of the Friends as the last one.
In addition, Councilman Jamie Stephens was seen in Olympia this past week. He attended hearings put on by the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee regarding Ecology's practice of sending out threatening letters. Stephens didn't testify, but he sat in the last row near the door next to the Sierra Club representatives ... being very Friendly.