Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

The County Council passed an even more restrictive CAO than the previous dysfunctional 6-member Council did. Jamie Stephens and Rick "we can fix it" Hughes voted in favor, Jarman opposed. Someone live-blogged the proceedings and left them as comments on the previous post. We copy them here for your reading pleasure:

Live blogging:

Candace, ARC member, notes concern about Council caving to newly CDP restrictions on agriculture. She is in despair of impact of conditional use requirements. Wants council to take step back and allow ag reps to consider this to prevent the death of ag by a thousand cuts.

Hughes argues that AS APPLIED it won't be a problem. Candace points out concrete problems. Jamie asks via telephone (where IS Jamie??) whether she's happy with existing rules.

Peggy Bill of ARC says ARC worked really hard and made comments and had their work thrown out by CDP (and Council). Ag activity will now have to be treated like all development, which is going backwards. Condition and provisional use permits will be required for lots of activity.
March 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM
Peggy Bill--CAO goes to far and ag people are very angry. Says that Land Bank is merely trying to fence off streams to protect water but are being told that fences are development.

Hughes is "clarifying for record" that ag expansion in critical area is not ideal. Hughes is being schooled on the difference between what the rule says and what HE thinks it says.
Jamie claims that existing rules will continue unchanged for ag. [Neither Hughes nor Stephens seem to understand the difference between what staff told them the language means and what the language MEANS. We all read it to burden ag, but council doesn't. I guess council will be there to argue on each issue that arises.]

Where is Jamie? Anyone know why he can't show up for arguably the most important council meeting this year.
March 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Jane Cable points out the obvious: no one understands the proposed CAO. No one can read and know. Everything is going to be decided by the director. Jane doesn't understand what they are trying to do; she doesn;t think that COuncil knows what they are trying to do. Hughes takes umbrage.
March 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Stephanie Buffum: she thinks that Council understands what it is doing. COmmends staff for their work. Stephanie thinks that CUPs and PUPs are "opportunities" for farmers to do what they need to do. [Stephanie has a full-time lawyer that someone else pays for. Farmers, not so much.]
March 5, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Kyle Loring: the aforesaid paid for lawyer loves the changes. Surprise. even he thinks that there are still problems. Kyle predicts what his buddies at the Growth Board will do. [wait--if KYLE thinks there are still problems with this new CAO, why are we launching forward?]

Kyle again goes over time because the Friends are allowed to go over time--they are SPECIAL.
March 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Hughes and Stephens seem to be saying what Shireene Hale said from the very beginning--you can keep doing what you're doing. If so, why is the language changed?

Do you trust the CDPD to help and guide you and the Friends not to interfere? If so, this CAO is no problem.
March 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Council calls time out [to consult with staff?] and comes back to have Thomas recite all the answers. Thomas believes that it all comes down to implementation--relying on staff to work with citizens. That works so well, doesn't it?
March 5, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Jamie says something but can't be heard well. Where IS he?

Bob points out the basic issues that remain--the new rule still makes it very difficult to use their property. No problem identified and so burdensome solutions aren't related to any problem. Going to make it difficult and expensive for ordinary citizens to use their property.
Too complicated to understand. Too much discretion in Director. Why do we even have "tree protection"? [Good question--ask Shireene.]
March 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Hughes now claims that they have no obligation to clean up the new CAO but just to respond to the Growth Board. He seems not to understand that the Council response to the Growth Board must be coherent and logical.

Hughes seems to think that council must DO something today. Why? What can happen? Why didn't council appeal from the Growth Board demands?

Oh good, let's go back into the weeds.

WHAT? Council is planning to come back later to FIX this mess? Are they crazy??
March 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Well Rick really wants to do something today but he says he isn't sure quite what. Right.

Anyway, where is Jamie? Is this a little irregular, his big televised face staring down like Big Brother. What if the other council critters decided they wanted to phone it in as well. Is that a quorum is it even legal? This is truly wierd.
March 5, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Talking about ag limitations again, how the farm plan will become the "key to the door that will open many ag exemptions." Assuming an voluntary steward program is in place with more money of course to administrate it.

Now what one little fiefdom have we here that holds those fun filled farm plan keys to your "right to plant stuff"?

The Conservation District of course. Remember them? Sure you do. Bwahahaha
March 5, 2014 at 11:08 AM
Jamie is at some friends house and plans to raid their refrigerator. So that is good to know.

Rick is the chair so he likes to play the role and believes he has an agenda to get done. He also gets to decide when to call a one hour lunch break because he needs to go off and think things through. Since he already said he does not not know what to do, he needs some time now (one hour) to go touch base with the folks who will tell him what to do.

When he returns, will he be Mr. Decision Man?
March 5, 2014 at 11:39 AM
Staff trying to mollify Bob, Bob is pushing back. Rick is frustrated, he really wants 'concensus.' Jaime glowering down from a big screen.
Staff basically comes out and says oh you poor thing, you must be so confused, it is true these regulations are so complex only planners who live and breathe this stuff 24/7 believe they understand them. And, hey, its pretty easy, come on over we'll give you a slice of Shirene's famous Marionberry pie and a cuppa and we'll just skip through this. 
But you must pass this today blah mumble burble ..."Bob. 
Bob: Just Say No. The Hairball from Hell.

Bob just said he would not vote for this, at least I think so ...
March 5, 2014 at 1:07 PM
Bob votes 'Nay'

Good for Bob.

As a gesture, Bob actually made the motion for this thing knowing it would pass anyway, but he did it in a humorous way saying he didn't want Rick to have a heart attack.

Chuckles all around.

Now, Rick wants the council to draft a resolution to lay out the road-map for the "fix-it job" he wants to press on next.

End of session.

Want something in this resolution? This might be fun. The Friends may entertain a modest proposal or two.

My brain hurts.
AP Seattle: March 5 2014

"San Juan County today passed what will widely be considered the most restrictive and onerous land use regulations in the United States. The Special UN Envoy for Human Habitation praised the County Council for its foresight and perseverance in advancing the goals of Agenda21. He said, "San Juan County has shown the world that the evils of private property need never again hinder the quest for climate justice and whirled peas!"
When the County passed the first dysfunctional CAOs we posted these photos and joked  that these were photos of the actual moment the CAO passed. We repeat them again for emphasis. Stephens and "Mr. Fix It" Hughes just burned this County.


  1. When will this fix happen?

    What will they fix?

    Is the fix already in?

  2. It's a myth Rick tells himself because he is too weak to do the right thing and too weak to confront his own massive inadequacies, so he tells himself stories where he's really the hero.

  3. Can you imagine being Rick tonight? Think of the mental gymnastics that will let him go to bed feeling just fine about his performance today. In fact, better than fine. With his leadership, a painful chapter has been closed. Why, it will probably only take an hour or two and a few votes to "fix" the relatively minor deficiencies in this model of environmental stewardship. Now, the Council can focus on the really important matters for the people.
    Like Eel Grass, and Grants, and the new Light Rail line from Roche Harbor to Cattle Point...The Monumental Express!

  4. You could have stopped at, "Can you imagine being Rick?"


  5. Watch for the FOSJ to soon initiate a major fund raising drive! Codenamed, "Wetland Jihad", the goal is to fill the coffers with $1 million.
    This money will go to add another Attack-Solicitor, and half a dozen "interns" (spies) who, armed with Go-Pro cameras, will soon spread out and document how "current uses" are already degrading "values and functions". Look for a blizzard of complaints to the County, calling for Cease-and-Desist Orders against opening/closing your front door, walking to the mailbox, and letting your dog pee within 150 feet of a seasonal stream that feeds salmonid breeding waters!

  6. There is no "pleasure" in reading this stuff. (Many thanks to the person who did the write ups. Excellent!)

    Rich Peterson did more damage than he did good through no fault of his own. He was our talisman. There was little worry because we had Rich, he would protect us. Rich was a good person, but no salesman and certainly not a out spoken leader at the bench. This man never was able to get even a second yes vote, he was marginalized and thrown on the scrap heap of unimportant.

    Bob Jarman is the same person. Totally useless.

  7. Found out this afternoon that Jarman is running for a seat on the OPALCO Board of Directors in the May election!
    Now we can have the Electric Company run just like the County.

  8. Newly elected officials cannot compete against career bureaucrats who are professional liars.
    Last year we had so much hope, now it's gone at the hands of the liars and the inept.
    If we do get another shot we must insist that the person running commits to firing every manager and director in the county.

  9. Linda Kuller said Jamie was in Salt Lake City yesterday. His father has passed away.

    What I do not understand is why tHughes and Stephens would single out their concern for only the farmers, who I support, but not give equal consideration to the other property owners. Talk about killing industries--farming, real estate, construction and others.

  10. Rick has a farm.

  11. Many of us owe a big thank you to Bob Jarmin for having the backbone to vote no on the CAO in the face of the planning staff, the Prosecutors office, the County Manager, the Friends and his two fellow Council members.

    I don't think there is anything that Bob could have said that would have changed the minds of Rick and Jamie. They bought the flawed science, the State Fish and Wildlife and DOE party line, the half truths presented by County staff, and the fairy tale that they have to do whatever the Growth Board says.

    Bob stood tall with the citizens and property owners of San Juan County and for that I am grateful. He understood the implications of this sad piece of legislation to island farmers, to our overall economy, to working families, and to the dreams of owners of undeveloped property.

    John Evans
    Doe Bay, Orcas Island

  12. A real farm or a tax break funny farm?

    Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?

    Hmmm ... no foolin' ...

  13. What has been done to us is a consequence of the Washington State Growth Management Act, and a long series of Court decisions rubber-stamping the goals of Urban legislators in Olympia. In essence, these urban thieves said, "Rural lands need to be preserved, managed, and acquired so that the people who live in cities have some nature to go to when the "vibrant urban culture" gets too intense". So they set about a long term plan to "control" the ignorant hicks who dare live in what rightfully belongs to the city dwellers. After all, " the San Juans are a jewel of nature that belong to everyone ( except the people who love there)".

  14. Hughes is always looking for cover. That's the way he manipulates people. He's used Jarman for cover, so when anyone criticizes Hughes, he can say, "Bob supported it" or "the Planning Commission supported it." Hughes is an idiot, but he's a genius at co-opting people. He appoints people to committees who will will give him cover. He is part of the Ag Guild, and he hoped that would give him cover too. That all fell apart yesterday. All the people and groups that have given Hughes cover for the past few months abandoned him. That's why Hughes was concerned. Hughes doesn't care about farms, but the people who have been providing Hughes cover care about farms.

  15. OMG @9:47a -- Nailed it!

  16. @9:47

    You are right. Rick surrounds himself with enablers who make excuses for him.

  17. We have two councilmen. We have a voting block named Hugh Stephens with two votes and the other guy.

  18. Rick is not stupid. He is a crook and a liar. He doesn't do these things to us because he is not smart, he is a bad person.

  19. Exactly 10:00am. And that is why a three member Council is a poor organization. The only reason it worked when John Evans was on board was because Evans had such a strong personna and so many good ideas that he could not be parked out of the action.

    Right from the get go, Jarman got dumped. The other two will never stop voting together because it gives them exclusive power and even if they totally disagree they will still find a way to vote together.

    Only a very strong out-spoken person can break down such a cabal.

    Yes, it's nice Jarman voted no, but it means nothing, and just maybe that is why he did. (I personally believe he was sincere in his vote.)

    With a five member board, alliances do happen, but usually you have at least two in the minority who together can scheme to bust things up.

  20. Wife actually read the County Auditor's report on our island economy. She relates the following along with some observations of her own.

    A. The constant movement of the County toward a tourist base revenue stream was again reconfirmed by the rise in lodging tax receipts and the small rise in sales taxes.

    B. Resident serving businesses continue to lose value along with development and building of any kind and was once again supported by low permitting fee receipts. (She opines that the flat lining of these sources of revenue is really a lot worse because fear of the CAO regulations has boosted a bump in permitting.)Myself, I felt this bump would be a lot bigger. Maybe people think their home site dreams are hopeless and are throwing in the towel.

    C. As the social focus shifts from resident serving to tourist based business, more and more tourist serving businesses simply shut down during the "quiet time."

    D. She claims it is her observation that that more and more grandparents no longer have the family frequently here and more frequently go to wherever their kids are. More and more people leave the islands during the "quiet time" trending toward the final kill off of local and resident serving businesses.

    I unfortunately have to agree with her. Having lived in a tourist economy (Sausalito Ca) we have approached and maybe passed the tipping point toward T-shirt shopping only.

    Certainly, I think most would agree that anyone who can spend time elsewhere is no longer living here year round.

    It will take many months before the CAO debacle takes full effect. With any luck Rick Hughes will be one of the first to see his balance sheet crumble.

  21. And as a mother with kids in school, declining enrollment and cut backs can't be far behind.

    Thank you, Councilman Hughes!

  22. Guess we were holding out (false) hope that maybe, just maybe, when little princess Rikki got his tiara this year it would usher in decisive leadership.
    Disappointed is an understatement.

  23. It was left to Rick Hughes to wrap up what Jamie Stephens began. Rick has been actively managed behind the scenes to complete the Stephens agenda, and Rick sought to cover his ass with consensus but he could not accomplish that.

    As a result Rick Hughes and his handlers have won only a Pyrrhic victory. What Bob Jarman did was the right thing, and that one vote means a lot. It means there is hope, and that is a big deal. Rick has lost any moral authority he may have once had. Bob just gained on that front in spades. I am glad he is back in office, and look forward to more leadership from him as his health and strength return. A lot of people will rally around him if he plays this well.

    I am sorry to learn of the passing of Jamie's father. Given those circumstances I am saddened somewhat that Rick Hughes could not see fit to move this hearing up one week so that Jamie could be fully present. Obviously if he had sought to be excused, very understandably, and Rick had held the hearing with Bob it would have resulted in a split vote and no decision, unacceptable to Rick and his handlers.

    They could not wait one week? For shame. They had to compel Jamie to videoconference in from his laptop on a friends kitchen table in Utah during a difficult time? That's unconscionable.

    Who are these people who would do such things? I think we know.

  24. @6:13 As a contractor I'm thinking permitting under the new regulations will drop dramatically. People will do everything they can to avoid getting a permit because that permit application can trigger very large extra expenses and time wasted on consultants and studies.

    I think most will agree to take the risk, but only if the property owner agrees to pay ALL the fines if they happen. Now that's a legitimate risk assessment. Things get real nasty.

  25. Yes, it has to be viewed as new cost of doing business that unfortunately has to be passed along to the customer. That is what always tends to happen with unnecessary regulatory burden. No win.

  26. This is probably the death knell for a semi-robust (chortle) construction industry on the islands. I can't see any way that construction continues even at the anemic pace it's been rolling along since 2008. On Lopez, construction of high end homes has been a reliable employment engine for a few contractors, and the jobs created have been definitely nicely paid middle class jobs. No more - unless someone has an existing connection to the county, why wouldn't they be looking to build in any of the less-difficult-but-still-beautiful places (by that, I mean anywhere else) in this state?

  27. Like all the others looking forward to Rick Hughes schadenfreude (my favorite TH word), when his business suffers and goes under, the shame of it won't be the end of another business here on Orcas. The shame of it will be that Rick ever lived here in the first place.

  28. The problem with schadenfreude is that many of us won't be around to see it. We'll go bankrupt before Rick does.

  29. Benedict Hughes

  30. I can not believe anyone, council or otherwise, would listen to the untrained, inept Mr. and Mrs. Hale or the agenda laden conservation district with Dr. Change and Mr. Madrona Institute sucking all public money to line the coffers.

    What dirt do they have, and a direct link to the money of the state or Mr. Ranker.