Friday, March 7, 2014

Broken Dreams - First In A Series

As anyone who has watched County events over the past few years would know, our local government is in the business of crushing dreams, not making them come true. If you've watched with anger and disappointment as our elected Council heaps abusive laws on us, you might have come to the conclusion that we should just let the Department of Ecology appoint our Councilmen so we can at least save money on elections. It couldn't be any worse. The abusive laws allow the Friends of the San Juans to harass us. The process has become the punishment. Tonight we start the first of a series telling the stories of islanders.

The Lopez Islander Resort

“Friends” and Neighbors in the San Juans

The ability to run a small lodging business in San Juan County is at risk as long as the “Friends” (of the San Juans) are your neighbors. They may say that they support tourism and small business but that is disingenuous and here’s why.

The Lopez Islander Resort has been a landmark in Fisherman’s Bay for almost 70 years. It was first established in 1945 when Nan and Otto Perkins moved to Lopez Island after the war. On a cold stormy night a few years later the resort burned to the ground. Neighbors held a party at Woodman Hall where they donated enough money to help rebuild the restaurant and a few guest rooms. That was back in the days when “friends” meant something entirely different than it does today.

In the following years the resort went through a series of owners. Mr. Wally Trace purchased the property in 1992 as Lopez Islander Inc. and immediately applied for and received approval of a Shoreline Conditional Use Permit for further expansion of the resort and marina. At that time none of the neighbors opposed the project. However, the resort went bankrupt after completing their improvements. It’s not easy to run a business like this in San Juan County, even with community support.

In 1997 Diller Associates purchased the resort. The place was a bit run down and had been for sale for about 3 years. Bill Diller made it very clear from the beginning that he would be “sprucing up” the resort. He had been a frequent visitor to the islands and was excited about the possibility of owning a small business that served his community and employed more than 25 local islanders during tourist season.

After fixing up the resort and getting it back into business, the Dillers saw the potential to do more with their investment. In 2010, Diller Associates applied for a permit to expand the marina to accommodate an additional 50 moorage slips. They ran into some roadblocks because of a small patch of eelgrass. At this point they didn’t feel like fighting for the permit, but two years later they needed to grow their business.

There were campsites on the property for families on a budget and the owners saw the need to add a few more as well as several RV campsites. They wanted to tear down and replace some of the older cabins and add a new building with 7 guest rooms, which was allowed outright under the zoning code. They also applied for a shoreline permit to build a small structure for a kayak rental business. They didn’t expect a fight over this modest expansion but they got one from the “Friends” of the San Juans.

The “Friends” were called into action by a small group of neighbors who for whatever reason wanted the project stopped[1]. The neighbors solicited by email, “tax deductible contributions to the Friends of the San Juans ... that will be applied directly to fund Laura’s work.” [2] (Former Planning Director Laura Arnold).

The “Friends” stepped in with their team of litigators and organized against the Dillers, even though the project was perfectly legal under the County’s land use codes.[3] This is an example of the “Friends” tactic of turning neighbor against neighbor. All of the surrounding neighbors purchased property next to an existing resort. Why would they all of a sudden object to the resort?

The Friends hired Laura Arnold to help them fight the project. In an email message Ms. Arnold said,
“It appears to me that the County Code anticipates this type and intensity of use in this land-use district and would, I expect, find it difficult to deny the proposal . . .”[4]
The Dillers held a public meeting in August 2012 to listen and respond to the concerns of their neighbors. They made concessions and changed the site plan in an effort to mitigate concerns.

This did not deter this group of activists and attorneys from going ahead and appealing the permit and arguing before the Hearing Examiner. It was a “change of use” they declared and therefore subject to mitigation. The Dillers persevered, and the “Friends” succeeded in adding substantial costs to the small business.

This time the Diller’s were determined to fight their way through the process. After hiring engineers and consultants to do all types of studies demanded by the “Friends,” and hiring land use experts and attorneys, they had invested more than six figures to get a permit that without the intervention of the “Friends” would have been routinely approved.

While this battle was being fought the “Friends” published a county-wide mailer entitled, “Shorelines: Where We Live, Work, & Play.” In it they say,
"Protecting our shorelines is good for our economy and our environment. Our visitors contributed over $158.5 million to our local economy last year,” said Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director of “FRIENDS” of the San Juans.
If the “Friends” acknowledge the importance of tourism to our local economy then why did they take up a fight to cripple a small scale lodging business by challenging permits for a modest expansion? The local lodging industry is the basic driving force for low impact island tourism and contributes millions each year to the community through lodging taxes. It is a fact that small-scale island resorts benefit the local economy in many ways, not the least of which is attracting customers who spend money and support other island businesses. The evidence suggests that the “Friends” don’t really want people to “Live, Work, & Play” anywhere near the shoreline.

The ability to run a small business is at risk as long as the “Friends” are your neighbors. For a business investor, risking capital to hire attorneys and other professionals to face endless challenges by the “Friends” for a simple permit reduces potential profitability and discourages investment. Who is it that makes a community thrive? Is it people who invest in it and work hard or the people who organize neighbor against neighbor to restrict the very things that create economic vitality? Perhaps the “Friends” need to find the answer to that question before they focus their special interest litigation machine against other island neighbors.
[1] Email from Mr. Rick Strachan, 5/20/13, “It may well be true that this application will be decided on strict issues enumerated in the application, but it seems that all our concerns stem from Mr. Diller himself, not from the proposal itself.” 
[2] Email 5/11/13 from Peter Cavanagh to neighbors. 
[3] A hotel/motel is allowed outright in the Village Commercial Zone.  Campgrounds (RV and tent camping) require a conditional use permit approval. This information is found in Table 3.1 of the Unified Development Code. 
[4] Email 5/11/13 from Peter Cavanagh to neighbors.


  1. Can anyone but wonder what FOSJ will do with all these new tools (regulations) at their disposal.

    It is depressing but also refreshing that the AG people, at last, have got the message they are screwed just like the rest of us.

    While it still may appear those three people behind the dais are the culprits, it becomes now obvious it ain't them, it is the County functionaries between the sheets with the State functionaries and that fraud named FOSJ.

    Welcome aboard AG people. Maybe you can come up with a legitimate Island farm family with a member suitable for public office.

    You won't need a machine to elect that person.

  2. Hell hath no fury like a farmer scorned. For so long the Lovel Pratts and Ron Zees and Kevin Ranqueers and Friends of the world claimed to be small ag heroes, friend to the family farmer.

    Manipulated and betrayed. Screwed. A betrayed voter is someone who got mugged by someone they helped elect.

    Welcome aboard. We won't be fooled again.

  3. If I were to witness Kyle Loring being hit by a large car at a high rate of speed, resulting in gruesome injuries, I wouldn't even offer to loan him a hammer.
    Stop. The. FOSJ.

  4. Thank God we elected Hughes so he could fix it.

  5. I want Lisa. She may be a communist, but at least she's a loyal communist. Paraphrasing Sam Houston, Hughes has all the characteristics of a dog, except loyalty.

  6. That series of emails must be the most forwarded emails in county history. Not without reason since they're remarkable in their bald-faced reliance on form over substance to attempt to create an undeserved tax deduction for a few rich Seattleites who own weekend property ringing Fisherman Bay. The supposed hiring of Laura by Friends when in fact she'd already been hired by the neighbors directly is remarkable not only in that it was attempted essentially in public but that a 501c3 like Friends would risk their tax exempt status by agreeing to such a flakey scheme. Reading through the emails, I suspect that this is not the Friends' first time at that particular type of rodeo. It'd be just awful if some enterprising IRS auditor decided to take the terrible power of the state out for a spin. Just awful.

    For every rich Seattleite who was part of this and wished for bigger county government to save their precious ambiance - be careful what you wish for because big government isn't nearly as fun when you're at the other end of the gun. Tax filing season is upon us, whatcha gonna do?

    Hopefully the Diller's plans don't require any assistance from the council - those shriveled pips in Stephanie's purse are the current council's balls.

  7. We recently heard Stephanie Buffum characterize conditional use permits and provisional use permits as "opportunities" for farmers seeking to expand their fields. The time and money that these processes require would discourage any person of normal means; and that's before the Friends weigh in opposing the application and the hearing advisor piles on all sorts of conditions. Yes, the Friends support agriculture here just like they support tourism--not at all. The only economic activity they seem to approve of is their continuous sucking of federal and state taxpayer dollars down into grants for them to conduct studies and demonstration projects.

  8. But that wasn't the whole context of Stephanie's explanation - in response to a direct question from Rick about the ability of existing ag users to expand use of their own land, Stephanie said that there is already under utilized existing ag space in the county and that utilizing that should be considered before allowing someone to expand. No one on the council apparently understood her answer, because they nodded like bobble heads. In essence, what she's saying there's no reason for the county to allow you to plant more on your own land when someone else on your island or elsewhere in the county isn't maximizing the existing allowed use of their land. That that doesn't help you is simply evidence of her collectivist views. The whole exchange was f'ing stunning in that not one of the bobble heads was outraged - they acted like this made perfect sense.

  9. Ah Laura Arnold, Queen of the MRC, proud Uber Planner from the good old days and walking moonshine pot still. Pickled to the gills in her Utopian dreams of collectivist glory paid for rich liberals from Seattle.

    Which reminds me for no particular reason other than Laura and Lisa were both installed and activated here in the early '90s as GMA was ushered in was the then chair of the Planning Commission, who now sits on the bench of District Court who has shown himself to be no friend of the working man or farmer, Judge Stewart Andrews. It is time to take a closer look at this chap, and look for candidates as I believe both he and Don Eaton may be up for re-election.

    Oh yeah. So is Randy Gaylord.

    Vote for Change? I'm in. How about you all?

  10. @9:15

    We want the Friends stopped, but we don't want to see anyone hit by a car.

  11. I had a conversation w/Don Eaton a few years ago about the GMA. I believe he considers the islands participation inappropriate. (Don, if you read this blog please correct me if I misinterpreted!)

    He told me that per the GMA the towns are required to provide (annex) additional build-able lots whenever the numbers of those dip below a certain point. I said something like..."You mean town could sprawl all the way..(out into the valley..(paraphrase))?" and he was silent. He had visited an island of similar size to San Juan where the freeway traffic (!) was so immense it took him two hours to go a tiny distance.

    I believe we need to beg, steal, borrow, pay...whatever! our way out of the GMA. Our initial participation was voluntary believe it or not. Distressing.

  12. True. I would rather they rot in a border patrol containment cell and be subjected to interesting mitigation demonstration projects. Tie them to the boats, float them around the festering Eastsound mosquito swamp slathered in milk and honey attracting flies while they reflect on their sins. Just kidding. That would be illegal, an affront to our Constitution and civilize way of life.

    But Kyle: Shuddup you face. You cross the line.

  13. Rick Hughes is the perfect embodiment of Willy Loman, in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.

    Hughes is a sales guy, he's used to manufacturing agreements where they probably do not exist. As in trying to sell a new phone system to corporate management by saying "Everyone is on board, and those gals down in accounting just love the speed dial buttons."

    And he imagines it is the force of his congenial and persuasive personality that is landing the deals. Like Willy, Rick wants to be "well liked." He sees that as the key to success.

    But he actually delusional, and in denial. His talents at sales and in the marketplace are pretty marginal. But he keeps trying to slap together deals where he can imagine everyone is on board because of his charm, sparkling smile and winning personality.

    That is why if he cannot have consensus he starts falling apart. The fantasy he lives in is forced to contend with reality.

  14. Ahh…Bill Diller, sigh. He's a tough one to defend. I think Rick Strachan's email hit the nail on the head, the "problems stem from Bill Diller himself, not the proposal." Quite simply, he's been a bad neighbor.

    But there was no box to check for that being the reason for objection, so people stooped to trying to block his expansion with things like the "need to study the impact on transportation" - including ferry traffic! (I always thought the concern was the need for more ridership, but I digress). This sleazy back-door approach reminds me of the use of the spotted owl to shut down the logging industry on the coast.

    I, for one, think that Bill Distler should be held to account for any bad neighbor behavior he might commit, AND that he should get his permits. We can't allow back-door sleazy ways to win. It's not open or transparent, and favors the politically connected. In other words, it's downright un-American.

    (PS, in case you didn't know - in the end, it turned out it was never a matter of habitat decline that was threatening the Spotted Owl. Not only can they be found in managed forests, but their decline is due to their cousin, the barred owl, that likes to eat them for snacks.)

  15. Until there is a counter to the Friends small business owners and those unlucky enough to have a "Friend" as a neighbor will face an onslaught of litigation. We desperately need the CSA to be well funded and have a full-time staff attorney to step in and counter sue the FOSJ everytime they rear their heads.

  16. Trying to get out of GMA opportunity had come and gone. Several small counties worked on a bill in 2012 to opt out. Rick and Bob were told about this. They chose to ignore the opportunity.
    New council and better management is what is needed.
    I don't think we can even recall Hughes until he does something actually illegal. Be worth trying.
    I hope princess Rickki is grounded enough in reality to know that he is a 1 termer. Most of would vote for anyone else to keep him out.

  17. Everyone is a bad neighbor. If that's the justification for getting treatment like this, then we all got it coming.

  18. Rich guy Strachan built a goddam monstrosity of a house with a windmill the size of a NASA launch pad. The county put him through permitting hell too, including about his solar panels. If there's anyone who lives in a figurative glass house, it's him. If there's anyone who should lay off other people trying to get permits, it's him. If we're gonna start talking about bad neighbors, we'll never stop.

  19. @12:05

    That's the point of the article. Welcome to the world the Friends have created, where neighbors turn on one another because everyone is bad. The incredible thing is that people who have been victimized by the system are nevertheless eager to participate in it as long as, for the moment, someone else is targeted.

  20. How dare the TH post an oblique aerial photo of the Lopez Islander Resort on it's website! Did we not make the point clear last year that we don't want our privacy invaded by such low-resolution angled Pictometry imagery?

  21. Don Eaton as Superior Court judge will be hearing the initial CSA appeal of the GMHB decision, later on this month.

    Let's find out the exact date and time and get out a call for folks to show up and bear witness to the proceeding. Judges notice.

    Here will be our opportunity to see him in action, observe the questions he asks. The hearing will likely be pretty short, you can't watch it online.

    The judge will then issue a written finding later on.

    This is probably going to boil down to an issue of nexus and proportionality. I would imagine Eaton would rather that issue be dealt with further up the food chain and will look for a legal means to punt and make CSA burn more donor dollars. But he does have to do that. He can be like Bob and just do the right thing.

    Eaton has the legal power to start the hard work of steering the Titanic CAO away from the on rushing iceberg. Is he up to it?

  22. Good point @2:55
    Be great to see Eaton side with CSA and make FOSJ burn the money instead.

  23. Yes. Let the Friends take this to WA Court of Appeals, not CSA. Eaton has flexibility, there are complex issues at stake. He can come up with his own legal rationale one way or the other. In other words, his findings will need to be based on his interpretation of the arguments, largely based on his OPINION.

    If his opinion sides with the Prosecuting Attorney and the Friends when an equally arguable opinion would have interpreted findings toward CSA's position, it is time to elect a new judge who will use their legal power to protect citizen rights, not abridge them.

  24. I agree with needing new judges. Andrews has a proven track record as a complete clown.
    Who will run?

  25. Some believe Stephen Brandli wants the job. He does not work well with others. It would be good to see a younger professional with good track record as a consumer advocate. If that person was a woman, I'm in.

  26. NOTICE!!! It should be obvious to all readers of the TH, and I do mean those young wickedly smart people who want upward mobility, that there is fertile ground here in San Juan County.

    We have several well paid County positions currently filled for many years with persons that could be easily beat by a person willing to actually work for the PUBLIC! (Instead of FOSJ and the State.)

    I firmly believe there will be substantial funds available for you contenders if you can garner a little seed money, and convince most of us you are honest and have the general island population as the only thing you will answer to.

    Independence from major political parties, special interest groups and shake down artists is mandatory.

  27. Hey AG people: This just in, you folks need to go out with pooper scoopers every morning and pick up after your livestock.

    FOSJ says they have a hundred well trained volunteers using drones to record every poop as it falls.

    Trending: The Indian paintbrush is budding nicely on the Loring homestead. Golly, no place to park.

  28. @ 9:10 PM

    Younger professional men and women, women especially. Run for county clerk. Are you attorneys? Run for judge and PA positions. Are you within the ranks of the Sheriff department? Run for Sheriff, state law allows anyone to run and be elected Sheriff as long as they get their law enforcement credential within a year. There is a reason for that law and its a good one. Send Jamie Stephens to the showers, give Bob a working coalition. Rick will vote happily with a new majority, so he can believe he's in with the in crowd.

    If you are interested, talk to your loved ones and trusted friends, feel it out but know this: You will be supported, and you can win. It is time for change. We need you now. Please step up to the plate.

  29. @9:17
    You didn't mention auditor. Milene "my husband fleeced the county for a quarter milly" Henley will be swept in again, barring any opposition.

  30. Yes, by all means we need some new & younger blood for elected office in this county. There is a lot of tired & dead wood to trim. Excellent gigs if you can get them. It is a shame that for the good salaries + bennies, that many of them run unopposed. Some of these folks really need to go (fill in the multiple blanks)but instead they keep getting voted in. Then again, you do open yourself up to being fresh meat to the haters on this site and the object of scorn on facebook rants.

  31. It's about time that someone is finally stating the facts about the grief the "friends" cause to fall on people who are only trying to make a business grow in the islands. It shows what a bunch of hypocrites they are. Why do they hate hard working people so much?

  32. They hate everybody who doesn't pretend they are green! BTW they could care less about the "environment." It's all about power.

  33. I understand that there are plenty of other seriously aggrieved folks in the islands. Must be plenty of stories of the FOSJ turning their litigation dogs on regular folks trying to do what they reasonably believed they could do on property that some of them have owned for decades.

    People need to come out from under their rocks on these issues. I have seen posts urging the marginalization of the FOSJ. This seems to me like the opening that we needed.

    If this is the first in a series, I suggest that we marshall our stories and let the folks know how pervasive and hypocritical the abuse of the FOSJ is.

  34. Hey "friends" Excuse me for livin' here!

  35. Remember back when the good people of San Juan County voted heavily in favor of guest houses, which provide housing and income for many of us here? And then the "Friends" stepped in with a bunch of baloney arguments, and crushed the peoples' will?

    They showed their colors that day - they are no friends of those who live here, unless you are a rich donor or want to reside on one of their ghettos for the little people and vote their party line.

  36. Building a dock? don't forget this one weird trick. (Here's a hint).
    Make a big donation to the friends.
    It's like magic!
    No hassle, no appeal!
    eelgrass? no problem.
    Eagle nest? not gonna worry about no stinkin national bird.
    Bull kelp? Blue heron? Forage fish spawning beach?
    The friends will fix it for ya!

  37. I understand that certain "Friends" have been previously, and maybe currently, among those who own big waterfront "Pollution Machine" homes and docks that are eel grass killers and an affront to the sensibilities of all folks that have to look at them.

    If this is correct, I think that a story needs to be written on it. I am tired of being told that my presence here (I do not have a waterfront home!) is a threat to the environment. If I am a threat, what kind of a disaster is a "Friend" waterfront mansion and dock?

  38. One might almost think that the wealthy Friends backers want the rest of us to go away, so they can have their exclusive, expensive island paradise all to themselves, and their property values driven up.

    Certainly their activities suggest they don't want anyone else here using the land or working or able to afford a normal home.

    How did the Ag Summit go this weekend? Have the Ag people figured out yet that the Friends have thrown them under the bus?

  39. I just looked at the Friends web site. Their list of staff members is large:

    Stephanie Buffum Field - Executive Director
    Tina Whitman - Science Director
    Kyle Loring - Staff Attorney
    Shannon Davis - Grants Manager
    Jana Marks - Program Assistant
    Katie Flemming - Community Engagement Director
    Julie Hanks - Office Manager

    That doesn't include their interns.

    So don't complain about the Friends not wanting people working in the San Juans, they are looking to be one of our major employers, with plenty of job growth on the horizon!

  40. Good point 6:09 but permit us to turn back the clock a bit.

    FOSJ was a premiere force and gained major prominence in the Jet ski regulation. For most of us it was all down hill from there with this outfit.

    More and more, FOSJ became an interference in the lives of the common people, the public at large.

    This overbearing rectitude came to the ultimate costly end of all ends with the guest house debacle.

    There never was a guest house problem, just as there is not a CAO problem. FOSJ is the problem!

    This organization now is relying on the worst traits of mankind to rat out their neighbors.

    Don't do this! Lopez people should condemn this behavior.

    We must live in harmony with our neighbors or at lease be tolerant of the weird things they want to do. (After all, you might seem a bit weird to them at times too.)

    Above all, none of us ever should buy into the current FOSJ program of hate and ratting out your neighbor or anyone else you don't like for some reason.

    If you are upset and want to vent, there is no more deserving target than FOSJ. Leave your neighbors in peace and my guess is they will do the same for you.

  41. The FOSJ is a malignant tumor, a cancerous disease becoming metastatic through infected committees, advisory boards, county staff.

    This is the disease that is killing our communities, setting neighbor against neighbor, consuming resources and precious time on council agendas and sucking our life blood.

    They are simply evil.

  42. Shutting up the masses:

    "Officials believe there are more people interested in local government than ever before. These citizens treasure their ability to comment and take exception to being shut out."...

  43. The Friends are following and old and time-tested formula. Time to stop it.

  44. @ 8:29 AM

    Oh. My. God. Read this "time tested formula" people. I always thought the FOSJ were just a pawn of the rich who wanted to get rid of plain folks and pull up the drawbridge. Well, here is proof.

    During last years election we learned a lot about Lisa and Lovel's blue blood New England patrician roots. This article explains their intentions perfectly.

    And explains the real story behind the newly minted National Monument. Be afraid. Be very afraid but be ready to fight like hell!

    TH: Please, please profile this article. We have to get the word out about this story.

  45. We need MUCH MORE detail on the FOSJ donor list. Names of individuals, names of Foundations, and names who donate to those foundations.
    Data Mining can be our friend. Find the name of a rich Seattle or Los Angeles person who gives big bucks year after year. We might find a relatively small number. The 80/20 rule; 80% of FOSJ money comes from 20% of the donors. Use the Alynsky "Rules for Radicals". Pick the targets, personalize, and demonized. Dry up the FOSJ funding. Shine light on the vermin trying to drive away the people. Turn the 1%/99% meme on FOSJ.
    They are waging "class" warfare on thousands of property owners in the county.

  46. It is interesting to note that the Wikipedia "List of National Monuments" shows 108 entries. The one titled "San Juan Islands" gives the impression that the ENTIRE group do islands is the National Monument. No specific mention is given of the fact that it is only the BLM lands that are included.

  47. The nice thing about Wikipedia is that we can edit it ourselves if we want.

  48. @10:53 When was the last time the Friends published their donor/supporter list? I vaguely recall that they used to provide this information, then they went dark.

  49. @7:29
    You have diagnosed the FOSJ as a "malignant tumor on the islands". You fail to mention their previous status as a "hemorrhoid on the ass of San Juan County"
    Is this considered a pre-existing condition under our new health care law?

  50. Comes a headache, you can lose it in a day
    Comes a toothache, see your dentist right away
    Comes the Friends, nothing can be done

    Comes a heat wave, you can hurry to the shore
    Comes a summons, you can hide behind the door
    Comes the Friends, nothing can be done

    Comes the measles, you can quarantine the room
    Comes a mouse, you can chase him with a broom
    Comes the Friends, nothing can be done

    Comes a nightmare, you can always stay awake
    Comes depression, you might get another break
    Comes the Friends, nothing can be done


  51. These days, I imagine the FOSJ "Donor List" is only on a hard drive and that it is very well cared for. (Read locked away.)

    However, shit happens. The feds/tax people have likely had this list for years. And, is there anything that can't be hacked?

    Real people still do screw up. Wells Fargo Bank once sent me a print out of every business payroll client they had in the Bay Area instead of my payroll.(After we called, there was a guy on the front door step in about 38 seconds, but not with my payroll...that arrived two hours later.)

  52. Well, here's a starting point for looking at the FOSJ finances/officers/supporters:


    Probably the bulk of FOSJ money comes from grants from places like this. Plus the "contributions" from rich Seattleites to oppose their neighbors trying to add to the economy in the county.

  54. The Bullit Foundation is a catalyst and enabler. It has funded Friends-type groups all over the northwest for decades, and FOSJ typically receives annual funding in the range of $35k/yr.

    One of those grants was explicitly stated by Bullit on their web site, as intended to fund the FOSJ to "influence land use policy in the San Juan Islands."

    You can't be more up front than that.

    So, learn about the Bullit Foundation. As these things go, the story can get complicated they have done some good work too, but as part of the eco-movement goes, they are increasingly strident and enabling corruption.

    Denis Hayes is the head. He was the guy who launched Earth Day back in the '70s.

    Between him and Kieran Sucking from the Center for Biological Diversity you got lots of money and well armed mercenaries behind the FOSJ fronting as community-based organization. They are no such thing.

    Oh, and we can't forget the Pt Reyes debacle and how that relates to us here, and the fact that former staff attorney Amy Trainor has been attacking small organic oyster farms and other family ag businesses down there for years.

  55. Fact is FOSJ has been riding the rails of their "non-profit" tax exempt status for years. Is it not time for another audit?

    Hello IRS. What is FOSJ anyway?

    Sorry CSA, but this business where the very rich get to donate and get it all back through tax deduction makes me want to liberate my stomach.

  56. "There is this phrase my mother made me memorize. It goes "The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make""
    -John Connor

  57. How many have noticed in, the response to amicus curiae the county states absurdly " the restriction of some activity within a buffer "
    A straight out lie,, the regulations clearly restrict every gd activity a person my consider, in calling out the allowed and extremely limited activity that can be conducted. This police power is akin to demanding specificity of every identifying characteristic of the human persona it is disgustingly shallow evil and below any consideration that would be legal in a free society

  58. So much evil lies within the office of the prosecutors.

  59. So much stupidity lies outside of it,
    Ie planners council members and all affiliated with the regulatory chain.

  60. If it is true that the Friends took on the unfounded battle of the neighbors against the expansion of the Lopez Islander Resort based solely on a tax deductible contribution, what they did is nothing more than environmental prostitution.

  61. Here's something that the FOSJ and the supposed "donors" in the anti-Islander expansion fiasco should noodle about before filing their respective returns: maybe rather than being a deductible "charitable" contribution, their self-interest in the outcome of what their donation had SPECIFICALLY been earmarked for rises to such a level that there was no charitable intent. A whole host of interesting questions arise from that open question. First - is FOSJ engaging in a taxable activity (contract land use consulting) not within the parameter of their tax exempt status letter? Will they be filing a corporate income tax return showing such activity as a taxable activity and paying the appropriate income tax? Did they pay Washington state B&O tax on the revenue derived from such activities? Does personal liability attach to the the organization's officers for failure to do either of those things? Did they provide donor letters to the supposed donors indicating that the "contributions" are tax deductible? Pause for a second and think about that: a _group_ of people engaged in a common enterprise/plan to encourage taxpayers to file _under penalties of perjury_ possibly, shall we say, _inaccurate_ income tax returns? What would an enterprising prosecutor (so here, I'm not speaking of someone like Randy) make of that group effort?

    Those are all interesting questions, but here's one that's a real hoot: What do you call a transfer of money with no _charitable_ intent? One possible answer: a gift. Wonder if any of the "donors" will be filing gift tax returns to declare and pay tax on their gift to the the FOSJ? Oops! Better add something to the list of things talk over with the tax attorney before signing that return.

  62. Tis the gift to be simple
    Tis the gift to be free
    Tis the gift to come down
    Where you want to be
    And when we find ourselves
    In a place that's right
    We will be in the valley
    of love and delight.
    When true simplicity is gained
    To bow, and to bend
    We will not be ashamed
    To turn, turn
    Will be our delight
    Till by turning and turning
    We come round right.

  63. I am a forest biologist, conservationist, and owner of property in San Juan County. Several years ago I joined Friends of the San Juans because I thought, and still believe, that the county could benefit from a reasonable and rational not-for-profit conservation organization. The operable words here are "reasonable and rationale." I learned the hard way that Friends of the San Juans is neither. I dropped my membership in their organization and now contribute to Common Sense Alliance. I had asked Friends' executive director by phone and e-mail what the scientific basis was for their over-the-top promotion of unsubstantiated one-size-fits-all, so-called Critical Areas Ordinance requirements, rather than site-specific performance standards that actually bear some resemblance to the property in question and any potential risks that can be expected to result from residential development of the property. The executive director didn't even have the courtesy to provide the information. The reason is simple. She couldn't.

  64. So many of us have had the same experience over the years. A lot of folks when they move here for the first time make a point to join the Friends, believing it to be an honest community-based conservation organization.

    Joiners want to help out on beach clean up projects, bird counts, public education, low impact building. But every few years, the Friends will inevitably pull some stunt that leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and they lose that member's trust, and that person does not not renew. And that person comes to understand that friends don't let friends join the Friends.

    I do not really believe the Friends attempts to operate as a membership organization any longer, and have not in years. The last time I recall a proud listing of membership in the annual report was back around 2004 or so. It would be interesting to look at that list from back then, and go around and ask folks on that list if they are still members or not, and why? The answers might be revealing.

    FOSJ are donor driven and grant driven, not influenced by any local general membership that I can see, not any longer. They have become a special interest group whose activities are funded largely by outsiders who for some sick reason just seem to hate the working folks living here.

  65. 5:48

    I love your post and agree entirely.

  66. FEEL it coming FOSJ management! You are done! The Island community has had it up to their throats with you, and you know it.

    Please just go away quietly before you become fodder for a Quentin Tarantino film.

  67. Damn: 1:48, 5:48 6:43...will I have to finally drop my dislike of poetry? You other two are, in my opinion, worthy of the post of the week award. (Given the great ones herein this should not be taken lightly.)

  68. ctrecycling2@gmail.comMarch 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Prohibitionists are the best way to describe the Friends of the San Juans, see:
    While the Friends did not officially and legally challenge CT Recycling's land use issues last year, their attorney, Kyle Loring, made negative public comments about CT not following the law, when it was following the law. The laws change over time and grandfathering is a joke in this county. In addition, several of the Friends’ members spoke adamantly against CT at public meetings, even though we are doing boots on the ground conservation activities. CT recycled over 255 tons in 2013. All in all, the negativity created from Friends’ members were pivotal in costing CT over $20,000 in legal fees, permit fees, professional reports, and other related costs. Money that would have gone to local scholarships and other community needs. The Friends have become negative over the years because they are not really about conservation. They are about obtaining power and control, to the detriment of individuals and businesses in our community. For many years now, I have noted that the Friends are always spoiling for a lawsuit against any neighbor who wants to make changes and improve his/her property. The Friends do not care about their neighbors’ safety, true conservation, or what seems like common sense to most islanders. They are Prohibitionists. See the above link: Conservationist vs Prohibitionist paper by Gary Tripp. If you are really interested in finding out where we are headed, I suggest that you read Elizabeth Nickson’s book, ECO-FASCISTS.
    Frank Penwell

  69. Can you believe some idiot dumped a load of tires down the hill at Deadman's ?

    Makes it hard to" Trust Islanders".

  70. @6:47
    Hi Dorf. That's the closest thing you've come to being clever but it still falls short.
    Nice try though. Good luck David.

  71. No, I'm not Dorf...who ever that is ? I'm just someone who is very sad to see those tires and to think someone" here with us" on the island would do such a thing. I hope they get caught !!

  72. @6:47

    Thanks for letting us know. We will look into it.

  73. I thought we were not doing poetry and song lyrics anymore? Please?

  74. But for so long as we have these posts, can we get the lyrics right?

    'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free

    'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

    'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

    When true simplicity is gained,

    To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,

    To turn, turn will be our delight,

    Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

  75. @6:47 What leads you to believe that Islanders would really do something so awful to our beaches?

  76. Even though large tracts of Washington and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Friends and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in Lopez, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the Mosquito Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

  77. To 9.21 I don't know who did this and where they are from , however, it would not seem likely that a person from the mainland would drive over here to dump their tires on a San Juan Island beach.

  78. This little dumping is a simple matter related of the price of steel.

    Note many of the tires are cut across. The individual wanted the steel wheels to sell at the recycle yard.

    So a sheriff with any moxie could simply interview the paying recycle yard entry folk to get info on who got a payment for a bunch of naked steel wheels.

  79. That 9.50 is on to something ! Good going 9.50. I'm calling the Police in the a.m. just to be sure they are aware of that angle.

  80. That 9.50 is on to something ! Good going 9.50. I'm calling the Police in the a.m. just to be sure they are aware of that angle.

  81. Maybe someone with big cash decides to sue the Friends for some reason, there are certainly plenty of those. And then through discovery motions all of the donors of FOSJ are ID'd.

    Since FOSJ is run by a board that I believe is elected (I could be wrong on that as it is also very likely that total fools do it on a volunteer basis.)

    But surely an argument could be made that anyone connected through donation to FOSJ is culpable along with the board for the damages a court may impose as the result of a righteous suit.

    I do like the idea an exposure of people using FOSJ to cheat on their taxes could also be exciting for them.

    "Oh yeah Mable! We'll screw that damn resort for overcharged me for the beer last year. We'll give some cash to FOSJ and get a tax deduction for doing them in."

  82. Re the Tires: So... is it unfeasible that the tires would have washed up after being lost from a transport by sea rather than rolled down a hill? Just asking, I've not a lot of faith in our local deputies sometimes in light of all the bomb scares.

  83. @9:20

    Nice catch, I thought about using the traditional words, but decided to transcribe the Alison Krauss interpretation, which differs a bit. I posted the link, check it out, lovely rendition.

    Of course with the seasons changing Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring makes for nice listening, and based as it is on Simple Gifts.

    I am looking forward to an Islanders Spring. It time we woke up ...

    Personally I don't mind the occasional poetry, if its relevant, creative spirit inspires me to act sometimes.

  84. I have a suggestion about the tires. The people on San Juan have a couple of choices. Sit and gripe on your computer or go down to the beach and clean up the mess. Drive your BMW down to the beach and load up one or two tires and dump them at the transfer station for free as beach cleanup.

    In San Juan County I see our Friends getting out there and doing stuff and the rest of us just complaining. We need more action and less fat butts.


  85. The friends have full time paid organizers.
    Public works also has employees, isn't this there job?

  86. The tires are a crime scene. Please leave them alone for a few days and trust that they will be cleaned up.
    It is in the works.

  87. @5:22 PM

    Well I guess you heard it here first. And, it does sound like a good job for the Friends.

    Sorry I don't drive a BMW so I guess I can't help, but I do know who drives a Jaguar.

    Puzzling situation. The few repair shops left out here arrange to take old tires to the mainland for recycling and would not be happy at all about some clown pulling a stunt like this.

    I would hate to imagine someone trying to frame these hard working folks. I know how the Friends can get out there doing stuff and all.

  88. I am just frustrated. What can I do? I want to do something, but what? Our Friends are full steam ahead and we are getting sucked along. I know who drives a Jag and I am sure he could haul at least one tire at a time between CC meetings.

  89. 10:26 a.m. "I know who drives a Jag and I am sure he could haul at least one tire at a time" Hopefully that was just a rhetorical flourish. Have you ever shaken hands with him? He has the uncalloused hands of someone who's never done anything more laborious than raising a hand to signify "aye" when voting on something the Friends want. Picking up a tire? Oh, my, who knows where that icky tire has been. Might break a nail.

  90. Oh, OK, so I get it. The council is really Three Stooges independently operated by the Department of Ecology ... please, whatever you all decide to do, please do not nominate or support for re-election the following:
    Shemp (Stephens), Moe (Jarmin), or Curly (Hughes) ... all gotta go. This County is represented by followers no leaders in sight.

  91. @10:21
    Great suggestion.
    Only one problem. The lockstep voting of Lopez, thanks to the CRC gives them a huge say in the reps. It was an uphill battle before, now it's uphill, battle, carrying a huge pack, with a broken ankle.
    Rick is for sure a one termer. The only way he even runs again is if he is as delusional as he is spineless.
    Ayers would have been much better. Hell, Byers would have been better.
    Devil you know thingy.

  92. Bob's OK and on the mend. No he is not Tom Cruise or Jesus Christ. He is just your standard issue islander and not up for fancy words or speeches. Just plain talk. And he stood up for all of us and he needs our support.

    Jamie needs to go. Bob just needs someone he can work with. We just need a working majority and we don't need Jamie any longer. We need someone from that district who understands the threats we all face, who is electable county wide and who is willing to toss their hat into the ring. That conversation is taking place ...

    Rick will be around for a few more years. Who knows, he may weather all this right now, who cares. It is Jaime who is up for re-election and it is up to that district to offer up an option, and up to the rest of us to help make it so.

  93. F H port commission is having a special meeting on Lopez? to approve design for new building.
    Guess they are not interested in what the people on San Juan think, but that's only where its going to be built.
    Why is the council going to Lopez to discuss a solid waste agreement?

  94. @4:07 The County Council is meeting on Lopez" to discuss the Lopez Solid Waste Lease".

    The Friday Harbor Port Commission "will hold a Special meeting (agenda below) on Monday, 03-17-14) at 5:30pm. at the San Juan Island Yacht Club to discuss, among other things, "Approve "Architects Task Order for design development" & "design changes to SSL Building [Downriggers].""

  95. Actually, nothing wrong with the Friday Harbor Port Directors taking a trip to Lopez to see what those folks think, as long as it is viewed by the directors as being nice and informative to all islanders. (Read, we love your idea of no building at all, but we'll get back to you.)

    Meanwhile, our ever quick thinking directors can't guess how to use the existing property for parking or anything else.

    Even releasing the ON STREET six parking spots now inside a chain link fence seems beyond their mental ability.

    Question, Port of Friday Harbor Directors: What do you intend to do with this huge part of the Town of Friday Harbor while (years) you fart around hiring and goofing off with lack luster architects.

    Of course we have the no presence, no comment, no nothing, by the Mayor of Friday Harbor. Hey, you town people voted for the lady. Seems she sleeps most of the time too. Some marriages ARE perfect.

  96. "Environmentalists champion 'de-growth'"

    Sound familiar?

  97. @6:59am

    So true! Interesting article. There are those who think we should all live in straw bale houses, eat nothing but raw vegetables, and walk everywhere. There is a little known blog published almost 10 years ago by one of Lopez Island's leading minds that fantasizes about cutting the electric cable to the mainland, stopping the ferries, confiscating the houses of the "rich", and in general, living like the survivors in an episode of The Walking Dead. And these people outvote the rest of the county.


  98. Transportation district for Friday Harbor? There's a grant available. Only other thing needed is some minor taxing.
    At least, unlike the county grant fishing folk, they are revealing the details before signing the papers.
    As Randy will tell you. Even he cant stop the train.

  99. Gotta love the Friday Harbor Mayor's missive to State Senators: Tourism, Tourism, Tourism! Oh, golly, did I forget the ferry boats supply the grocery stores, building materials, and vital trips to off island hospitals.

    Next up. FOSJ, who else, reaches back twenty five years to a drunk skipper driving his tanker on the rocks as a shout out for people to be upset and join up with them. (Via, a large donation, of course.)(Yes, I'd like to apologize for slavery, but to whom?)

  100. I've been keeping a tally over the last year of the positive comments and actionable ideas for dealing with the challenges our islands face that have been posted on this web site. I supposed I should stop waiting for the first one. Not what it is about, is it?

  101. Poor Stan. Poor County. Always the victim.

    The County receives plenty of actionable ideas which it thoroughly ignores in place of whatever the state or the Friends tell it to do.

    Give credit where credit is due, Stan. None is due.


    Stan - I imagine it's embarrassing being essentially a fluffer for FOSJ, but, no one made you take the job.

  103. The County is a community, not a victim and no, no one made me take the job. It was a choice. I believe in public service.

  104. You used to have to stand up and be publicly acknowledged before you cast your you can sling mud in all directions anonymously.

    I too have wondered what this blog intends to accomplish. It clearly states its purpose but without solutions its reduced to a place where grownups can scream and shout like little children. Not unlike the jerry springer shows audience that I watched in college. Fox news. Beck. Rush. Its all the same formula. And its all just entertainment.

  105. @Stan

    Nice equivocation by substituting your own definition of County for what was clearly intended as the County government. No. The County government is not a community. The community is the community, which is comprised of individuals. County government is a one-sided, non-diverse, agenda-driven, masterpiece of dysfunction, and if you were interested in public service, you'd care about cleaning up the place instead of whining about not receiving enough praise all the time.

  106. Ah, but is being a tool for the narrowest of special interest groups a "public service"?

  107. @ 9:38 said, anonymously:
    "You used to have to stand up and be publicly acknowledged before you cast your you can sling mud in all directions anonymously."

    How sad - your computer is broken and this is apparently the only web page you can look at.

    Hint: don't ask Stan for help, he's apparently in the same boat as you in his off (non FOSJ) hours.

  108. Stan - I know it is St. Patrick's Day, but maybe you shouldn't drink and post.

    As a taxpayer, btw, I think your position should be eliminated, and you should be voted off the island. Have a nice day.

  109. Boo hoo. My taxpayers don't love me enough.

  110. Fluffer! WTF.

    Seriously. How old are you dude.

    The play ground bully.

    Straight to the name calling.

    So predictable.

  111. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

    Keep it going guys...this us good stuff.

    I bet they will cut to commercial soon...

    The anticipation!

  112. I know I know. Talk bad about him momma!

    Yeah...that would be awesome.

  113. "The play ground bully."

    Good one - you really elevated the level of discourse with that one.

  114. Yes, the lack of awareness never ceases to amaze -- calling out someone for name calling by calling them a name.

  115. Gosh, your so right. Your level of clarity is like dalai lama level. How improper. Calling someone a play ground bully is totally on the same level as calling someone a fluffer.

    How do we correctly refer to someone who is engaging in cyber bulling.

    Calling them out as a bully is just pure hypocrisy.

    Its probably better to just call them an asshole, at least that would be playing fair.

    Game on fuckers!

  116. What game are you referring to? Or should I say, what game are you referring to dude asshole dalai lama playground bully fucker hypocrite?

  117. Here comes Stan and his Community Conversation trolls and troglodytes, right on schedule.

    Looks like we're about ready for the next installment of the series dear Friends.

    Looks like we got their attention. Being an election year and all.


  118. Hi Stan. There is no need for you to subject yourself to slumming in the toxic wetland that is the Herons lair.
    Ever since you announced the "For the record-Fact check" at, in response to the pictometry flap, I have checked it regularly.
    The last posting was on May 16, 2013. So, I assume it is the county's opinion that every thing is just peachy and the stone wall is holding.

  119. Stop criticizing Stan and the county. They're doing the best they can on the measly best paid jobs in the county. Just because even part-timers get benefits to die for doesn't mean you can lay into them. They put in long hours burying reports, reading blogs, giving nonsensical directions, and ignoring taxpayers -- when they're not abusing them of course. You can't get this kind of help just anywhere. We import whiny bureaucrats from all over the country to meet our highly selective criteria for unhelpfulness, entitlement, and flat-out stupidity.

  120. My people, they love me!

    They would die for me!

  121. Don't cry for me San Juan County. . .

    Stan Mathews is Eva Peron.

  122. Every last one of you have proven Stan's point.
    ECK does a heroic job of putting forth good information that can be formulated into actionable ideas; but alas the screamers would rather scream than listen, and certainly don't want to participate.
    How many of you applied for county jobs? How many of you would gladly accept a county job? I have a feeling the answer is most of you - which of course makes you hypocrites.
    But if I were to ask how many of you seek out positions on committees, go to public access time, run for elected offices the answer is not many, easier to sit on the sidelines and bitch about those in the game.

  123. @8:29

    Your assumptions about "us" are incorrect.

  124. @8:29

    I've done plenty of work for the county and other public agencies over the years. Served on local boards, spoke at public access, written letters to the papers, etc. Folks like Mr. Matthews (whom I am unsure is speaking only for himself, for his employer or some special interest) give the rest of us who do take public service seriously a bad rap.

    Kudos to ECK, this is all an act of heroism and also due to a lot of other people who have contributed ideas, issues and facts for a number of articles. I guess you could say we're a community here.

    And so we have our share of village idiots. And some of the commentary does make my teeth grind, especially the hand wringing, don't victimize yourself, you just give your own power away by behaving powerless.

    But a lot of the commentary is quite spot on, well written, sometimes funny as hell. Irony and satire are great teachers. I sure would like to see some "data mining" of this blog, there are a lot of actionable ideas here that can be set in motion. It is only a matter of time I think.

    But really, Jerry Springer? Rush? Outer Glen Beckistan?

    I think this is a lot more like Comedy Central World Wide News Headquarters. It's our very own Daily Show.

    If you don't like it but you find yourself obsessively glued to this little backwater blog, you are one serious victim of something far beyond your control or understanding. Go get a life.

  125. TH provides accurate info? You've go to be kidding. Here's just one recent example: FH Port Commissioners meet with Lopez Port Commission on Lopez.

    The FH Port Commission met in FH.

    At least by having an outlet for your hate speech and bizarre conspiracy theories, the rest of us - the grown-ups - can get on with contributing positively to the community.

  126. @1:32 PM

    You are not correct and might be advised to troll for a better example.

    I see that someone asked a clarifying question about the Port meeting, wondering if it was being held on Lopez (utilizing a question mark at the end of the sentence, connoting an inquiry not a statement of fact).

    About an hour later, a helpful reply clarified the date, time and location, and cited a source. Not a convincing example of hate speech is it?

    That is an information exchange among folks in the community to simply try and understand what their government is doing. That is a service this blog provides, and folks fact check here all the time.

    The writer just confused the Council and Port schedules. That does not seem like a bizarre conspiracy theory to me?

    But to you, it does?

    What do others think?


  127. The point is we are not supposed to be wondering if the county is looking out for our best interests. That is what we pay them for so that we may work also.
    The ADU nonissue was when it became clear that things were amiss. We voted, the majority wanted guest houses, and were ignored. After 10 year moratorium we got a lottery system for permits and every year there are leftover permits.
    The county spent years of time and money not to please us, but rather a nonprofit.

  128. Re the 3/16 8PM post about Friday Harbor Port Directors taking a trip to Lopez and saying it seemed OK as long as it was nothing but political lip service, that was me and I do hereby apologize, if in fact the Port Directors NEVER went to Lopez. (They do seem to need to get out more and going to Lopez might have been a nice little jaunt.)

    However, it greatly concerns me, as to the "Stan Matthews" ranking of the drivel here on the TH. Just how does that work, anyway, Stan? Surely, you only drift here once in a long while?

    Let me assure you that we do make mistakes, but our mistakes don't cost buckets of County money like yours do.

    (I'm sure you might be looking up the word "drivel" as it is the word you might have used had you any useful words in your head.)

    It's remains available for your next post.

  129. The feeling is mutual Mr. Matthews. If you see nothing of positive value in the TH, TH readers and commenters feel the same about you and county government.

  130. Yes Mr. Mathews, there is nothing positive about the county government - those stupid parks, well, they suck and obviously clean themselves, and all the roads, BAH we don't need them!
    And let's not even talk about police or fire, we got along just fine before they were around, hell, we don't need no courts either.
    We don't need law, look how reasonable we are here, live and let live, that's us you commie Agenda 21 fascist piece of shit.

  131. Whoa--did the county management staff have a St Paddy's Day party and then hit the internet?

    Hope it wasn't on the taxpayer's dime.

    And how much time does Stan Matthews spend on monitoring the Heron?


  132. Yeah! That's what we need, more people on committee's!
    The monument folk are forming a new one. The San Juan Islands Resource Advisory Committee.
    There will be 12 members with one slot to represent private property owners.
    Whoever set the guidelines for this stacked the deck from the git go.
    Think the committee will come up with any new rules and regulations?
    Here one I have seen used elsewhere. No alteration of the views from national recreation areas. But they will cut you some slack if you want to frack. Just don't try to build yourself a home or plant a garden.
    The feds are the friends on steroids, combine them, and its like something Monsanto would create in their sterile laboratories.
    No more local oysters or locally grown produce. Our county has already started its attack on our farmers using building codes.
    The USDA must think we can get fresher oysters from Asia. Even though they have slashed inspectors. We can now purchase certified organic foodstuff's from China.
    Our, I must say it again Our
    government has opened the flood gates to poison and repress us. Our state "The Evergreen State" will have a tough time being surrounded by more "green" than the other Washington.
    Please our state and county governments, stay in touch with your people, don't be a tool.

  133. I suspect one of the first recommendations to come out of the Advisory Committee is that the "Monument" should be protected with "buffers"!
    And then they will get a grant to survey the "best available science on the protection of national monuments". And presto, buffers will magically become one of the preferred protection mechanisms. Science says so! Then the Emiment Domain engine can be rolled out of the garage and fueled up. Munch, munch, munch!

  134. Yea! And then they'll have UN "peace keepers" guard the monument, and a new international court to try poor farmers, it's all Agenda 21 implementation, I also heard re-education camps are being constructed on Waldron!
    We need to do something! I know, let's actively manage the council!

  135. How would the Council be "actively managed?". First, I have no real clue what these guys want to achieve. Jaimie appears to have his strings pulled by the Lopez machine and a possible run for a higher office, somewhere. Rick puzzles me. Bob wants to turn the clock back to 1950 but can't find coherent words to explain anything. We are in the hands of...can't really think of a way to describe the whole crew.

  136. "Death by a 1,000 cuts" has now become "death by a 1,000 committees"

  137. I have been a visitor to this site nearly daily from its inception. It is a valuable alternative to the local news sites which appear to be only shills for the local progressive groups. Most of what they print are regurgitated press releases from other "mainstream" organizations or hagiographic puff pieces honoring various community "leaders" whose politics are acceptable to the editors.

    However, the TH has become infested with trolls who provide zero value and make the site an intellectually and morally degrading experience for most visitors. I am convinced that a substantial percentage of these trolls are deliberate false-flag operators who create emotional turmoil to demean and marginalize the useful and factual content that ECK and others provide.

    When I was in college I had a part-time job cleaning and sweeping a university laboratory. Primates were caged in the facility and when you entered the room in which they were kept, the monkeys typically hurled their feces in protest of their captivity. That for me has become a personal metaphor for the current TH.

    I thought that ECK was coming up with a site redesign where those who wished to hurl verbal feces at their supposed enemies could be relegated to a playpen or padded cell that could be avoided by non-haters. I would like to see that.

    Personally, I think more active editing is needed to simply bounce the trolls and haters for good. I recommend that ECK visit "The Big Picture" weblog run by Barry Ritholz. Mr. Ritholz is ruthless in keeping commentary useful to the vast majority of his readers. His comment policy is worth reviewing as he has thought long and hard about the realities of troll behavior on the internet.

  138. The best editor for comments is you. I don't want ECK to be "ruthless" with respect to censorship. It's up to you to figure out what constitutes a good comment from a bad one.

  139. So if I post a general comment about what an absolute moron Ed Hale is, where does that fall?
    It's true the guy is a complete dunce, but then it's not new info by any stretch.
    Does it add anything of value? Probably not, except a new reader may be unaware of the level of stupidity demonstrated by our utility manager, whatever that is.

  140. Since you asked ...

    A critical editor would dump such a comment into the Ranter Room because first, it's not true; second, it's off-topic; and third, it's not helpful.

    If Ed Hale were truly an absolute moron, he would be institutionalized. This thread is supposed to be about the Lopez Islander Resort. Finally, ad hominem attacks accomplish nothing but devalue the discussion by turning off anyone who might be helpful in advancing our objectives of increasing transparency and accountability in county government.

    On the other hand, if your post was on-topic and provided a narrative linking Ed Hale's job description, the mosquito breeding experiment in Eastsound, and the county's failure to maintain the existing storm water system thereby resulting in costly flooding, then you provide value. And you might convince a newcomer of your opinion.

  141. online definition. Moron. Noun. 1. a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment

    A case could be made either way.
    I thought the TH was allowing rants and expressions of discontent.

  142. Hmm! this seems appropriate.

  143. Stan Matthews: What "challenges" do our islands face? Other than bureaucratic mission-creep moving faster than sea-level rise?


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