Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mission of Tyranny -- Second in a Series

Tyranny is the cruel use of power. Oppressing and harassing neighbors for no good reason is not a "value" our community should have to tolerate, but it has become the specialty of the “Friends."

Originally, this article was going to tell the tales of two sets of victims of "Friends" tyranny, but one of our stories ended up being too painful for the victims to re-tell. It was deleted ... testimony to the personal toll taken by the stress of being in a battle with the "Friends" of the San Juans. The grief and anguish of the ordeal with the "Friends" literally made the victims ill, and they did not want to re-live the pain. They are not alone. The "Friends" have plagued our community for many years, and there are many stories to tell.

Causing trouble between neighbors has nothing to do with saving the environment. Nevertheless, in a recent newsletter, the "Friends" of the San Juans stated their mission as:
To protect the land, water, sea, and livability of the San Juan Islands through science, education and advocacy. [1]
This is their public face. This is what they want you to believe, but the truth is starkly different. The "Friends" mission statement belies their practice of simply using our legal system to oppress people they don’t like. Their tactic is to turn neighbor against neighbor in order to raise money using a false narrative of environmental protection. They often exploit disputes between neighbors, waging vendettas that have nothing to do with their stated mission. 

The story of Helen King is a case in point.

Helen King is in her 80’s and has been running a small Bed & Breakfast on the west side of San Juan Island for many years in harmony with her neighbors. Evenutally, Helen decided she wanted to sell her B&B and retire ... that is, until the "Friends" got involved. As Helen explains it,
I have the Highland Inn Bed and Breakfast on Hannah Road, San Juan Island. The B&B permit does not go with the land but after trying to sell it as a residence for many years, I had a buyer who only was interested in buying it with a B&B permit.
The “Friends” objected to the sale of Helen's property as a B&B, and in so doing, they ruined her chances of selling her property, stopping her retirement plans cold. According to Helen,
ONE neighbor, active with the ‘Friends of the San Juans,’ objected. All the other neighbors were in support and most wrote letters praising my establishment.  There was never a complaint from anyone in fifteen years of operation.[2]
Helen describes what happened when she tried to get permission to transfer her B&B permit to complete the sale.
The “Friends” attorney (Kyle Loring) was at my hearing.  One of my neighbors read the Friend’s mission statement out loud and said to him, ‘I really don’t know how this concerns your group. Why are you here!’  The audience applauded in agreement! As a result of the Friends interference I lost the sale, as the buyers were only interested in having the property as a B&B.  I am still trying to sell as a residence with a vacation rental permit, but this is two years later!  How sad, but for the Friends, I could now be retired and the couple from Tennessee could have had their dream bed and breakfast inn. 
Using tenuous logic, the "Friends" justified their involvement by alleging that a B&B has a greater impact on the environment than a single family residence because of higher occupancy. Ironically, however, Helen was granted a "vacation rental permit" that allows even greater occupancy than a B&B ... so the proposed sale stopped by the Friends represented a lower occupancy than Helen was allowed by law.

In a postscript Helen writes:
In the end I was granted a "vacation rental permit" for anyone buying it, which allows NINE guests, (currently I am allowed two couples with the B&B permit), and no supervision.  The B&B permit requires the owner live on the premises. Is a vacation rental better for the neighborhood?
Helen’s experience with the “Friends” is unfortunately typical. The "Friends" escalate minor disputes into costly land use battles having nothing to do with the environment. It has become their trademark ... and has nothing to do with either their mission or with friendship.
__________________________________________________

[1] 2013 Annual Report, Friends of the San Juans publication
[2] Freedom Foundation

Helen King -- another Friends victim

69 comments:

  1. Kevin Ranker used to live out that way. I wonder who the one hate-driven neighbor was, the one who opened the gates to hell so the Friendly demons could fly out and shriek through the night?

    Would a public records request of the hearing give us a name?

    Oh wait. I bet David Dehlendorf knows. Sure he does. Let's ask him. He's reading this. Thin bead of sweat oozing across his brow. He obsesses over the Trojan Heron, in morbid fascination. Come on Dorf Boy. Show us some love.

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  2. Helen King is a nice woman. This is a shame. We had hoped by electing some new candidates that the FOSJ would be curtailed.
    Wrong. Only more empowered.
    Rick, you are adding to the list of disappointments.
    And Dorf, since you read this, when a previous letter to the editor liken you to a rat, it was spot on.
    Your hypocrisy is stunning. Your whining shrieks were notably absent when 1/2 the PC was stacked with FOSJ members, including that Susan lady.
    Want to look at the MRC? Funneling grant money to special interest by special interests. Holy smokes.
    You are, as always Dorf, quite the entertaining little fella.
    I still use the word Dorf as a profanity substitute.
    Hilarious.

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  3. I've seen this kind of abuse firsthand. It takes a personal toll and can harm a persons health. I hope Helen is ok. This kind of needless drama is not what makes a community healthy or strong. I don't understand why anyone would want to be part of such a destructive negative organization. The Friends should be ashamed for this kind of behavior!

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  4. I feel like the planet can breathe easier knowing that Helen King can't retire. This is right up there with saving the whales. I already feel the planet getting cooler too. Thanks Friends.

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  5. Bravo. Kudos. And very important to note that at the end of all this Sturm und Drang the property was actually permitted for a higher density use than previously. But the Friends didn't care. Their only objective was to hurt someone and drive their deal down.

    Well played Vile Boring. Well played.

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  6. 2014 bumper sticker:

    "I'll get you, Helen...and your little B & B too!" -"Friends" of the San Juans


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  7. There was another classic "Friends" intervention with single family homeowners on Pearl Island. I admit I don't know the details, but these folks had gone to enormous trouble to get a permit to build a boat dock. (Pearl Island is not very big and most properties have or share boat docks.)

    The folks had finally got all their permits for the dock after satisfying the demands of several heavy duty agencies.

    Enter the "Friends" filing appeals and what not to stop this single family homeowner. I don't know how it turned out, but I'm sure this unwarranted attack by the "Friends" was expensive to combat and exceedingly unpleasant, as in pure Hell.

    I was new here then and was appalled any group could have such power.

    I look forward to the day when all of us affected by the guest house fiasco and all those who have suffered at the hands of the "Friends" join together in a class action lawsuit against that organization and I do mean a suit slamming each and every person who is a "member" of FOSJ.

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  8. Can they be stopped?

    The money just keeps coming…

    Friends of the San Juans: Total Income from Annual Reports:

    2005: 380,037 -- See Page 11 of the Friends 2005 report for donors:
    http://www.sanjuans.org/news/2005_annual_report.pdf

    2006: 417,175
    (They stopped naming donors and instead went to "Thank you, Members!")

    2007: 518,059

    2008: 548,338

    2009: 401,124 (donations took a dive)

    2010: $652, 538

    2011: $495,308 (donations down, assets down for the 1st time in a long time)

    2012: $523,660 (donations back up, assets rising again)

    2013: $809,208 (HUGE YEAR for donations, assets still rising)

    For a look at ALL the financials and the “work” they’re doing, look here:

    http://www.sanjuans.org/Annual_Reports.htm

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  9. You need to compare that level of fund-raising to the local United Way, which is actually out there making a positive impact in the community.

    It's sickening, disgusting really.

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  10. When you look at the hard ball tactics FOSJ has adopted in the last few years, it can be understood and very revealing as to what keeps their motor farting along.

    Look at the play they took with the anniversary of the Alaskan oil spill disaster, something everyone can be depressed/unhappy/pissed-off about.

    But wait, it was bad, very bad, but so was slavery, so was the 2nd World War and countless other wars.

    So let's float some little signs around and say "This Could Be OIL!" Then get people to responsibly contact us with info about where the little float was found...and my guess, FOSJ gets contact info for their next fund raising letter.

    These people truly are scum.

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  11. If this was any group not hiding behind the " environment " they would have been called out a long time ago. This just like any other protection racket. Give a DONATION and you are above the law. Otherwise we will cost you more in legal fees than its worth. Or give a donation and we will ruin anyone you wish. Our elected officials are accepting donations as well. Throw in some grants and you get a pretty good living. This is not news to anyone that's supposed to be watching but guess what , they get donations too. This is no different than the " pay us to protect your place from burning down" gang. This is just a criminal gang with a very good PR person. And your tax dollars help fund it with grants.
    You kind of have to admire how well it works and how long they have been at it. Now with the new CAOs they will increase their income 100 fold. Randy Gaylord's new sales tax will help pay for the enforcement of the now criminal building violations.

    Or pay the "Donation" hmmmm I wonder what people will do.
    Ps look up the RICO act.

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  12. Ref the comment on the Pearl Island boat dock. My understanding is these people reached an agreement with the DOE or some other government agency and then the Friends attacked the government agency for making the agreement.

    The agreement was about eel grass.

    Is there anyone else who wonders about this whole eel grass thing.

    Millions in State money has been spent on special gangways that let light through, even where there is no eel grass. Look at any park dock, that's your money. Is it being wasted?

    I have always wished I would be wealthy and be able to hire divers to take pictures under docks with eel grass and eel grass in general.

    I just don't believe this whole nonsense about eel grass.

    1. I don't love docks and I don't have one, but docks rise and fall with every tide and these tides vary every day.

    2. The Sun travels through the sky in a changing arc each day.

    3. There are many days when daylight and sunlight are obstructed by clouds and rain.

    4. The shadow of a dock changes daily because of the above.

    5. The combined effects of Sun travel, tidal influence, and gray days is significant.

    Eel grass is affected by docks?

    That appears to be a huge assumption. And, a very expensive one.

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  13. I have worked on a few dock projects in the islands. You pay to have an Eel Grass study which doesn't find any only to have to build docks floats and gangways with these light permeable grates. These grates cripple the structural integrity and add significant costs and reduce the life of the structure and can be hazardous to walk on. In exchange for building a "normal" dock I offered to spend the savings to plant Eel Grass...was told instead I could develop a under float led system on timers if I didn't use grates. All of this nonsense about a site without any Eel Grass to begin with. I assembled materials and research on this topic and tried to find someone at the state to talk to who could listen. No one cares. It was/is no ones decision. Its like some summer intern came in with some wacky idea that sounded good to sime kind of cubicle environmental scientist who drafted some crazy report never gets a reality check and ends up somehow as a policy of some state agency wuth no accountability or oversight or justification or need and then it just stays because no one gives a fuck and its too much work to look into it or it would look bad or they need justification for more money to staff and enforce these policies or whatever...I just don't understand. I have globs of info on this and so many other Bermuda triangle type regulations. No one to give it to who can and wants to do something about It...

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  14. Just donate to the FOSJ and be above the law. Might want to do some campaign money too. I hear Randy and the judges are up this year. It takes oil to have a well oiled machine.

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  15. Some people believe the Sun orbits around the earth and stays at a fixed spot above us.
    Look over and into the water of any dock and what do you see? Little fishy's darting in and out of the sunlight. Dive under a dock and see the kelp growth teeming with numerous and various life forms.
    It appears to me that young aquatic life thrives on shelter.
    Seems the f's should be in favor of creating more habitat.

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  16. Don't go to confession, suffer in the fire.
    Don't vote yes, suffer in the fire.
    I will gladly pay the fee to either party.
    As soon as I receive a get out of hell free card.

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  17. And the voice of the Dorf shall be heard throughout the land.

    What a tool

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  18. Up for grabs this election year:

    Rob Mooo
    Randall Paylord
    Don Eatme
    Stewed Android

    Getting some fresh blood, ideas and civic mindedness into this positions will lighten things up around here an awful lot

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  19. Too bad some National News media doesn't investigate the "Fiends of the San Juans." (Yes, I mean FIENDS)

    I think it's hilarious (NOT) that we live in the islands but can't build docks unless we throw thousands of dollars at the legal system to fight The Fiends. I think my neighbors have the most expensive ever "natural" rock bulkhead (demanded by the Fiends in a lawsuit.) The funny thing is, all the OTHER neighbors already had bulkheads, but the Fiends did not think this particular neighbor should build one. The legal fees alone to fight the Fiends were astronomical.

    If our island community is going to sink this group, it will have to be in the pocketbook. Honestly, how is that possible when they are so well-organized and have SO much money and we don't?

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  20. Kiss their ring and beg for mercy?

    Come on its not like they are marching through the streets with heavy weapons. Really now, inside they are little cowards. That is why they act like bullies. They are amplified and emboldened by money. But that is not really power, if you think about it.

    They are paper tigers.

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  21. Money is power in the islands, no?

    And if Friends of the San Juan are bringing in donations of nearly a MILLION DOLLARS a year and that, combined with assets on the rise, they are getting mighty powerful.

    They continue to spin their "victories," in newletter form, to the public and to their donors, and appear to be learning the 501(c)3 ropes very quickly.

    Here's how we turn the tide:

    When the PEOPLE start showing up in DROVES at these "bully" hearings and court appearances, the press will get interested. And if, in the press, a public outcry is made, things will begin to change.

    BAD PRESS is bad for the Friends of the San Juans, but the press won't report unless LOTS OF PEOPLE are present and MAKE A STORY INTERESTING.

    Can someone get a list of hearings in front of the hearing commissioner and court hearings scheduled? The key words are Friends of the San Juans in the "Plaintiff" bracket or, alternatively, a public notice of some sort, announcing commissioner hearings on the poor folks being bullied.

    How many people HERE attended - or even KNEW - about Helen's hearings and legal battle - until after it was done? She needed a PUBLIC OUTCRY; she needed SUPPORT when it was happening! IT'S TOO LATE NOW.

    Who was there for her?
    Or the others?

    Stay quiet and watch them reign. It's happening now.

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  22. A docket calendar of hearing examiner hearings would be really helpful. It's possible to set up SMS alerts to mobile phones.

    Smart mob the Friends. They hate social media. There's a good reason for that.

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  23. I never wanted to build a dock, but I did want to build something else and I want to thank 11:51 for coming to the TH.

    The bullshit is so deep, I was convinced at one point it was a conspiracy by high paid "consultants" to keep dollars flowing over the threshold.

    A family on the North end of SJI wanted to have a boat lift. Required of them was the hire of an orthologist (bird man) to sit on a plastic chair and scan the horizon for eagles (since delisted) and then when a bird would alight he would run the boat lift motor (a low electric hum) and see if it affected these mighty killers and nest robbers.
    By golly it did not, along with lawn mowers, nail gun noise and truck noise.

    Again, thanks to 11:51. Obviously there is much self serving nonsense out there, based usually on garbage "science."

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  24. We could change this, if we organized and stepped up to support every citizen with every conceivable problem associated with code compliance and friends.
    For example friends destroyed our guest house ordinance.
    Funny thing is they were not stood up to using better understanding of their supposed concerns.
    Urban sprawl, my ass. What we lost was protection from just that. Not to mention so many arguments that stood to encourage ecological protection of a much larger degree than a demand to develop into critical land. The entire guest house issue was exactly he opposite of common sence. It should be won using friends arguments against friends themselves.

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  25. When I read the enforcement ordinance,, I get sick inside
    Sick enough to want to burn the damn thing and take a stand in support of people, this isn't about ecology but control, too much control the opposite of ecology. Mother Earth doesn't care if I take one year or ten to build my habitat , and she doesn't care if I have an expensive heating system, windows, doors or appliances either, but I know she cares that I have a place to call home. That's good enough. The prosecuted can just fuck himself

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  26. Connecting to the ag community workshops in permaculture and community support therein.
    Very supportive society we could turn county government
    As it exists " on its head"

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  27. Yes, finally many of the AG people are coming into an understanding that FOSJ cares not who their organization attacks even AG people. It only cares about making a buck as it builds its axis power into a private police force. Can FOSJ gunboats and drones be far off?

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  28. @10:42
    Re: gunboats. That isn't some far fetched crazy notion. We saw Amy Winthrope last year get jiggy with Princess Hughes at a council meeting when the subject of armed officers in boats patrolling the shorelines looking for violators.

    John Connor.

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  29. Herein lies the problem.
    The FOSJ are the tip of the iceberg. There are countless organizations like them that have infiltrated every level of local, state and federal government.
    I am starting to think we are screwed.
    We tried the ole' "all politics is local", voted out the machine candidates, and got.....
    That's right, bumbling Bob and princess Rickky.
    Back to the whole, "we're screwed".

    I do appreciate the TH bringing stories to our attention that would otherwise not.

    Thanks.

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  30. Well if Eaton rules in favor of the CSA and the FOSJ have to appeal, there may be hope.
    Perhaps someone will be emboldened to punch back then with a harassment suit.
    We must stop the FOSJ

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  31. The FOSJ are organized, funded, and their supporters are involved.
    They attend every council hearing, they volunteer for every open seat on every committee, and attend every public hearing.
    Trojanites blather on an anonymous blog...and you wonder why they are winning?

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  32. Probably because the Trojanites all have jobs and have to work for a living, and aren't trust-fund elites.

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  33. Who's "they" ... Trojanites or the Lovelisa Show? The Machine's big bankroll and political network sputtered and failed. Why?

    In part thanks to this blog, the Trust Islanders folks and the word getting around that the Friends are just a creepy local mafia running a protection racket.

    The real question to me is why are you so obsessed with the Heron?

    http://youtu.be/dEHkAw_FFg4

    Why is it so important to you to try to minimize, demonize this blog while telling us the situation is hopeless against legions of well financed, dedicated disciplined activists who have sewn themselves cleverly into the fabric of local government?

    Only to utterly fail at the polls ...

    Right. Got it.

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  34. The FOSJ have been at this a long time. The reason Rick Hughs did not make any difference is because the FOSJ backed both Orcas candidates. Ask Rick he might tell you the truth. They have had 25 years to put people in government jobs and get people elected. Shining a light on them is the only way to make a difference . If you come right out in the open they can really make your life hell. It can come at you in a way you may never connect. It will take people of extraordinary character. These people are mobsters and are used to getting their way. Shine the light.

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  35. Reality is what it is. FOSJ is well organized and very good at picking fights they can win.

    It is amazing how within a few months anyone elected seems to support them. I mean, does Bob Jarman have whip marks on his back?

    What caused Patty Miller and Fralick to become complete patsy's to the FOSJ agenda?

    We can win at the ballot box, BUT we need to elect people who have guts and the younger the better in my view. I feel strongly, if Brian had been elected with Hughes and Jarman we would have a very different County Council.

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  36. Judge Eaton gets to show us if he is bought and paid for.
    The big cases are why you buy a judge, this will be interesting.

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  37. I'm getting a little better idea about who to support next time around. Last time we supported anyone new. We'll ask more questions next time. No wonder we got a curious phone call after a donation, it's all starting to make sense.

    My dollars will go local next election. I'd like to think the money we contributed against Obama last time around helped but apparently not. Think global, support local.

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  38. Just read that Rick Hughes is endorsing the fire levy.

    Thanks Rick, that makes up my mind!

    Vote No.

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  39. He has no choice. It's like his CAO vote. He will toss and turn into the night. Ah the moral ambiguities of politics.

    But fortunately, he's absolutely ready on the other hand to be Dr. Fix-It. Yes, on balance he realizes there may be legitimate concerns and maybe a few things needing to be tweaked going forward, we can always come back and revisit this, at least that what his handlers always tell him, the public attention span is so short these days, just let them wind down.

    Carry on. Carry on.

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  40. This is the way St. Stupid would have wanted it.

    Had he thought about it.

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  41. I do respect this guy Judge Eaton and I expect he will have good reason for his ruling. However, I also expect his ruling to be based on other local (State of Washington) decisions. Surely that is why CSA Mackie works so hard to pump those favorable ones up.

    So keep your fingers crossed, but given the appointed State level judges we have, well, good luck on appeal.

    Seems like we would get a fair hearing at the US Supreme Court, but it would cost a small fortune to get there. (My guess is they would deny hearing it, as the issue has already been decided by them...but the lower courts are not paying much attention.)

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  42. Gordie and John had this dream of turning back the clock and making this right in San Juan County.

    It did not work. Newly elected County Commissioners were going to, and are, be paid to get to work every day and dig in the trenches getting things done for the public at large.

    No, it did not work. These paid elected officials failed to transit through the County workforce to get input and first hand knowledge and instead quickly relied on well paid County staff members to give them advice and in fact get things done.

    So a 7% raise is in order for the person who did your work for you.

    I seriously suggest we ask Hughes and Jarman to refund their pay for the past year. Why not Jamie? You may hate his work, as I do, but he did do it. Hughes and Jarman did absolutely NOTHING of value.



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  43. Jaime was already well entrenched before the others arrived, who then got yanked around between a 6 member council, a second election for the same office after hardly catching their breath.

    It takes a year to even begin to understand how things work, to add the charter fiasco into the blender was nothing but an advantage to Jaime.

    Take a deep breath. Bob and Rick are going to be around for awhile. Learn to work with them. They can't use attitude they can use honest feedback and frequent direct communication.

    Jaime's seat is up for grabs this year. That matters. And the law/justice leadership in this county is quite the mess. A new Sheriff and PA at least, and some younger perspectives on the bench would do us a world of good.

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  44. For a good chuckle, read the Island Guardian article re tree ptotection vs repair/placement of a septic system. Ok to cut the tree but don't remove the stump. Idiotic.

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  45. Could someone please repost the letter or email Helen King wrote after her hearing?

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  46. @8:08 on 4/7
    They have had a year. It's not looking promising.
    The CD got more money than even they hoped. Thomas got a substantial raise after 9 months.
    If I got hired to work for a contractor, or any job for that matter, you think "it will take a year for me to get up to speed" would fly?
    Almost sounds like it was written by Rick.
    They want our feedback? We tried for a year and realized that it is falling on deaf ears.
    Continue to fight. I guess. Realize that we are screwed. For sure.

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  47. Has any press done interviews with people that the Friends of the SJ have skewered? Why is this NOT a "story?"

    Is there any REAL truth to the stories that the members, staff, and supporters get guest houses, docks, gardens, out of teh ordinary grading, etc?

    Why isn't this interesting to the press?

    Why do the Friends of the SJ keep getting away with crucifying property owners?

    Do the Friends of the SJ own the press TOO????

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  48. The Journal has always followed the party line editorially and in coverage.

    I assume the publisher has surveys showing where they need to stand to be popular with the majority of likely readers.

    So we all get David Dorf thrown at us on a regular basis along with stories generated by FOSJ.

    It truly is a wonder they can sell advertising as most of this spew is extremely negative for the economic activity of these islands. (There is going to be a huge oil spill at any moment...being the current one being published.)

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  49. FOSJ had to get a new panic button because it seems the fish are doing better than anyone expected.

    Then we have the complete collapse of the FOSJ years long prognostication with their associated shriek about "over population."

    At this point, we would be darn lucky to get some population growth, instead it is going down not up and especially not up in the demographics we need.

    How ANY Islander can be a member of FOSJ is beyond any reasonable excuse.

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  50. If you want to know what the next FOSJ hammer will be here is a clue. "Rising sea levels".
    The CAO's are a bulldozer not a hammer.

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  51. "Press"? What press? We have community bake sales reports masquerading as journalism.

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  52. Our press coverage is dictated by advertising.

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  53. 4:47 Why so? Who's advertising is driving the Journal to run a David Doofus screed?

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  54. @8:09
    Well, the brickworks for one.

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  55. @8:27 AM

    Most real world jobs a person might get hired for don't come with a four year term of office under the glare of the public spot light. Let's not compare apples and oranges.

    And you are free to run for office. See if you can get elected to clean up the mess on a reform agenda. See how long it takes for you to get your arms around that big fat squealing squirming greased pig called county government.

    While the rest of the Animal Farm hoots and shrieks at your every move while not lifting a finger to help.

    Good luck to you and God save us all.

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  56. 7:11 Sorry, there can be no excuse for the lack of productivity by Jarman and Hughes.

    Been there, done that, the spotlight and community engagement is what makes this not a "job" but a responsibility.

    Name even one thing either one of these two has proposed and followed to completion and I'll shut up.

    No motions, no proposed law, no investigative on the ground work, no nothing. And this is in a place that needs sooo much of that kind of thing.

    Many think Jerry Brown was someone they could not like. In his first term as Governor of California he walked around and politely asked capital city workers what they did for the California State public. Shockingly, few knew.

    Our chosen dudes have done nothing of importance and to say it takes a year to get going is total horse shit.

    Two months maybe.

    These two have not earned their pay or anything thing close to it. Most people in these positions get no pay at all.

    Gordie and John could never have contemplated such a lack luster performance by a County Council, so these guys are free and clear in my book.

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  57. There is a lot Gordie and John failed to contemplate and we all got what we deserve. But rather than just being another Monday morning quarterback, what would you have them DO? What would you DO if you were in their place, right now.

    The reality is they are in office for several years yet. Have they hit their stride, maybe yes, maybe no.

    Most real world jobs of a high level management/professional nature take 3-6 months to kick in. Three months to sense if the fit is there, 6 months for the learning curve to mature and accelerate. Again I say, toss the Charter bullshit into the blender knocks the performance curve to hell and back.

    So, I will agree about Jerry Brown, what a remarkable politician he is, and effective. I would take him over our Fred Flintstone in Olympia any day.

    Anyway, if these guys cannot get their arms around a good agenda, then it is up to us to do that and push them to achieve an agenda that will be good for the folks that live here.

    That's right. Active management of the agenda. That's what we have to do. Now let's hear the hoots and shrieks from the barnyard on that. We've heard it all before.

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  58. @8:08am

    Active management of the agenda? What would be the first thing we should try and get these guys to do? Examine the budget? Go back an revise the buffer sizes around the wetlands? Sell the property purchased to be the new solid waste facility? I'm willing to jump in and work with others to force these guys to be productive. But what do we want them to do?

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  59. Yeah, sorting the priorities is a toughie but I always like the notion to "just follow the money" as a way to start ... so a budget examination actually might be a pretty powerful first step. I understand some communities around the country are involved in open budget efforts with school districts. Or even at the municipal level, speaking of Jerry Brown, check out "Open Budget Oakland" as a model: http://openbudgetoakland.org/

    If citizens of San Juan County started to use web tools like this to make the county budget process more transparent, it could really clear the air, and make council led efforts at reform a lot more effective. And, more than anything, it will flush out the rats and cockroaches from their hideholes. And as the Irish say: "We shall know them by their limping."

    I'm in.

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  60. I want one of our Council members to cowboy up and make a motion to do *anything* of substance. Then for one of the others to second the motion, discuss it, and vote on it.

    Instead of being lead by their noses to the slaughter by the professional staff.

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  61. What do we want them to do? How about ask basic questions of every bureaucrat proposal? We're looking forward to --what--forty new SCENIC BYWAY signs on each island (except Lopez which somehow wriggled out of the Martha's Vineyard conversion plan)--who wants them? Who wants to spend $3 million to replace a classic old wooden bridge that works just fine, thanks? Who wants guardrails and 50 foot wide roads with bike lanes everywhere? Why are we in the Puget Sound Partnership? Basic questions like that. But no--it's rubber-stamping the bureaucrats, then congratulating them, chuckle chuckle.

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  62. 11:28 I'm with you! If any of them would just DO SOMETHING! Hells bells, it is not as if it is difficult to find something that needs action.

    A firm command of department heads might be a modest start. NO! we don't just do stuff like guard rails just because we can get money to do em.

    We don't do things because King County does those things.

    We are independent and solve our problems with careful thinking, NOT someone else's money.

    We don't need some outsider's money and we don't need the control that comes with it. Just hang up on them.

    We live in the State of Washington, but we belong to us not them.

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  63. Thank you William Wallace, my thoughts exactly!
    (Name withheld for fear of persecution)

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  64. Why is it so much evil not only resides in men, but once entered into the society of governing others, they fail to recognize the evil of all they undertake,

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