Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Invasion -- Third in a Series

“Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens.” James Madison, The Federalist, November 22, 1787.

The “sphere” Madison writes about is a community of individuals. Lack of diversity of opinion in this island community has caused exactly what James Madison feared more than 200 years ago. Mob rule. This phenomenon exists here where a majority of people think it is acceptable to invade the rights of other citizens.

The invaders are green but they aren’t aliens. We know them as the “Friends of the San Juans” and they will invade your rights because they fundamentally believe they have more rights to your property than you do. This green elite mob seems to enjoy the fact that they can control your undeveloped shoreline, and they have contempt for anyone who has a dream to build near it or alter it in any way.

First the mob must be engaged. The truth won’t always do that, but exaggeration will. So willing accomplices in the media must blow the story out of proportion so that any suspected violation appears egregious. A villain is created to be the central focus of the mob’s wrath. Then the community will predictability react with horror and contribute to the cause. Over the years the “Friends of the San Juans” have learned to play this game for profit. This story is about their latest victims.

Dave and Nancy Honeywell dreamed of moving to the Washington coast when they retired. After winning a lottery jackpot their dream came true, but they never considered that an invasion of their rights was about to occur. That’s how the Honeywells’ dream turned into a nightmare.

The Honeywells purchased Mar Vista Resort on the west side of San Juan Island. They renamed the property “Orca Dreams” because they love these mammals and the whales are frequently seen from the property. Instead of expanding the use as a resort (with all associated negative impacts) they planned to turn it into a full time residence for themselves and their family.

The previous owners had let the property deteriorate, and weeds and scrub trees had taken over some of the shoreline area where previously rare wildflowers grew in abundance. They wanted to improve the landscape and provide more sunlight for the endangered golden paintbrush plants, but they didn’t intentionally want the majority of the vegetation in a section of the property removed. In their absence, a misunderstanding between the owner and their contractor caused the removal of much of the vegetation in one area near the shoreline. In a statement made to the planning enforcement department Dave Honeywell said, “The amount of clearing on the hillside was far greater than we had directed or anticipated.” When the “Friends” (acting like self appointed “earth police”) discovered the mistake, all hell broke loose and the green invasion and smear campaign began.

Led by an agenda-driven local press and an angry news blogger, the story began to unfold. The caretaker of the property witnessed several vehicles driving past the “no trespassing” signs onto the Honeywell’s property to take photographs of the area where brush and some trees had been cut down. He saw two women in a car that sped away but was unable to get the license plate number. He reported the incident to the Sheriff but was only able to identify one of the alleged trespassers.

The trespassers, the press, and the “Friends” accused the Honeywells of “clear cutting” the property even though several large fir trees remain along the short segment of the shoreline. Some trees were cut down and some brush was removed, but the activity hardly fits the definition of the “clear-cut” that was reported. There was no intent to do anything illegal, but that didn’t stop the press or the “Friends” from threatening to teach them a lesson.

“Stephanie Buffum, executive director of Friends of the San Juans, was irate when she saw photographs of the area. She believed the photographs showed dozens of trees had been removed and areas of native flowers and other vegetation removed.

"This will take decades to repair," Buffum said. "It's a great example of property owner irresponsibility. You do it right or you do it right, and Friends will make sure they do it right." Journal

Here we have an example of the “Friends” poisoning the public image of new residents who got caught up in a misunderstanding, paid a fine, and are committed to fixing the situation by replanting. It hasn’t stopped the vitriol. In fact the “Friends” mob have decided to ramp-up the campaign against them. How’s that for a warm Island welcome?

The “Friends” did not think the fine was sufficient and want to punish them even more. “We've heard from many that you feel this (fine) is insufficient. We encourage you to contact the San Juan County Council to ask for more meaningful code enforcement provisions for situations like this in the future. In fact, you could ask the Council to restore the stronger provisions cut from the County's enforcement ordinance just last year.” Friends Facebook

Those stronger “provisions” referred to by the Friends were for criminal penalties including imprisonment.

That’s not all. The Friends started a campaign by lobbying the Governor and a past Friends Executive Director (now in the State legislature) to use their power with state agencies like the Department of Ecology and Fish & Wildlife. Once again the charges seem to be exaggerated. The truth will eventually be known, but by that time the reputation of the Honeywell’s will have been trashed and the “Friends” mission of making an example of them will have been accomplished.

Is this how we, as a community, want to treat people? Is it an example of our “Friendly Island Spirit” or an example of mob rule?

Was the Friendly Island Spirit any part of the reason the Honeywell’s decided to move here? It certainly seems like they had a warm feeling about our community because they generously supported its institutions. They spread some of their good fortune among charities. They have given more than $4 million dollars to a community foundation. Locally they have completely funded the Food Bank’s fresh fruit and vegetable program, they pledged funds to make the Whale Museum accessible to the handicapped, they paid for the new 3-D map at the Historical Museum, gave $10K to Brickworks, and $10K to the Community Theatre. They built a 30-thousand KW solar array that provides power to people who could otherwise not afford it. The United Way Family Center and Island Rec have also received generous donations from the Honeywell’s.

In many “mob free” communities these generous and unpretentious people would be welcomed warmly, but not here. Here the “Friends” and some in the local press want to make an example of them as villains guilty of crimes against mother earth in order to raise money (link). They ignore the fact that the endangered wildflowers and the vegetation near the shoreline have made a dramatic comeback.

“Theodore Thomas, an ecologist with Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, who has monitored paintbrush at Mar Vista since 1995, concluded that no damage was done either to golden paintbrush plants in the area or to the paintbrush habitat” (Journal). In fact, according to experts, since the sunlight has been let in, there is a 30% increase in the golden paintbrush plants (Journal). Since when is increasing habitat for endangered species a crime against nature?

We hope the Honeywells will accept the sincere apology of many fellow Islanders for the treatment they have received at the hands of the deceptively named “Friends.” The fact is our environment is healthy. Thanks to the “Friends” our community is not.

If you thought that this was the end of the persecution of the Honeywells, you would be wrong. Once on the “Friends’” radar, you can be their victim over and over again. In our next installment you will learn how the “Friends” treat the Honeywells who have had the temerity to apply to re-build an old dock.
After "clear cut" photo, with alder trunks already re-sprouting

Another after "clear cut" scene

Friends schadenfreude fundraising email

10 comments:

  1. It seems that the Honeywell's neglected to donate to the friends.

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  2. Perhaps there a few of the well off who are still righteous in their refusal of the shake down. Unfortunately, FOSJ has found that most would rather pay than submit to the onslaught the Honeywells have been subjected to.

    And so in every way shape and form a few paid individuals prance and dance about demanding constant attention and in fact getting it.

    This whole bit of power they assume could be ended by one or two tough council members in a very few put downs.

    Will it ever happen?

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  3. No mention of the recent large Ecology fine that the Honeywell's will have to pay. The county's fine is paltry compared to the state's large fine. Is Ecology part of the conspiracy too?

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  4. Speaking of mob rule, I distantly recall a rather comical if not scary re-election of then mid-east tinpot despot Saddam Hussein. Remember that? Basically 100% of the votes were to re-elect that good 'ol boy.

    Can't happen here? Just did. The foaming radical San Juan County Democrat Central committee just endorsed their own "independent" challenger candidate to the hopelessly middle of the road mainstream long serving Democrat Congress-critter Rick Larsen.

    David Dehlendorf, current Fearless Leader of the EcoDems of San Juan County proudly reported his island minions voted 100%.

    That's right. 100% folks. That's democracy in action. At least for good old Sadam, and I guess old Dehlendorf too, who seems to have a penchant for muffling inconvenient dissent.

    This is Mob. It is just a local mafia. Not even Rick Larsen will take these guys seriously. Think about it,

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  5. Of course Ecology is part of the conspiracy. Paul Anderson of Ecology is beside himself about the Honeywells; he's the classic small-minded bureaucratic dictator. Ecology dances to the tune played by the Friends, anyway.

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  6. More Anonymous than youAugust 8, 2014 at 12:39 AM

    Have you seen the new discussion board at the new site? It's laid out really well and easy to use. You can start a topic discussion, specific to DOE or Lord Anderson if you want, or chime in on others.
    I know, they are your favorite movies, why would you ditch a closet full of VHS tapes?

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  7. The situation over on Mar Vista reminds me of the ecosystem problems we create for ourselves by our out-dated fire management practices. The improved habitat created for the endangered Indian paintbrush out there, as a result of the removal of other vegetation that tends to dominate if natural fire conditions are suppressed, is a good example. Any number of experts over the years have tried to help the Friends and their Friends understand that the out-dated policies they are pushing here are also setting up the islands for one hell of a wild-fire situation. The Native Americans understand that perfectly well and in their work as gardeners and stewards did plenty of controlled burning out here back in their day.

    By the way, I've also been curious how the State Parks were able to CLEAR CUT an awful lot of trees out of Moran State Park a year or so back. New trees were planted, being cultivated by humans and are beginning to grow where all the vegetation had been slashed out and removed. Apparently to control disease. I guess. But what is the basic difference between what the State can do on local lands with impunity which a haplass homeowner gets slapped with tens of thousands in fines, has their reputation raped by mindless maniacs and all the good these folks have done for our communities completely ignored?

    It it really disgusting to watch the Friends actually trying to make money over this situation. It is sign of desperation.

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  8. Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.com,

    Not long ago, I felt compelled to address the idea of self defense as a moral imperative in an article titled “Violence In The Face Of Tyranny Is Often Necessary.” My intention was to perhaps undo some of the propaganda conditioning that Americans have suffered over the decades that has taught them that “all” forms of violent action are “immoral”, including the defense of one’s person, one’s property, and one’s freedom.

    The recent uprising at Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., confirmed my predictions that many Americans are tired of playing by rules chartered by the establishment and are ready to take measures outside of the boundaries set by the system. The reality is that change will never come without consequence and cost, and when faced with an entrenched tyranny, if the citizenry cannot present the threat of physical consequence to their oppressors, the oppressors have no motivation to relinquish power.

    To use the schoolyard analogy yet again, it is a fact of life that the class bully will not leave a victim in peace because he is enthralled with the feeling of power over others. The bully will not stop because he has no incentive. Protesting only encourages him. Using the system as a shield only amuses him. Logic and reason only anger him. Punching the bully in the teeth is the only incentive he will respect. If you show that you can disrupt a tyrant’s abuse of power anytime you wish, if you show that you can hurt him back, only then will he take you seriously.

    There is a rather insane notion within modern activist movements that self defense represents an abandonment of higher principle. They argue that to fight is to automatically lose, and to prepare for conflict is “extreme.” I would say that self defense is actually the HIGHEST principle one can value, for without the courage to physically resist tyranny, without the will required to put one’s life at risk to stand against the evils of the world, ALL other principles will be lost. Even Gandhi, the man often idolized by pacifists and “non-violent” activists, recognized this fact:

    "Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor…"

    "When violence] is offered in self-defense or for the defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission…"
    I believe that the idea that self defense is a morally unacceptable option for dissenting groups is an obnoxiously false one, promoted by the establishment itself and sold to easily brainwashed dupes to steer the public away from the only method that could in fact do harm to the elitist power structure. The holier-than-thou attitude of the pacifists is encouraged as the system plays to their exaggerated sense of righteousness. Good people want to remain seen as good people, and even though deep down most of them understand that fighting back against aggression is not wrong, the peer pressure of the sunshine patriots often convinces them to keep their mouths shut, or otherwise they might “hurt the cause.” I say that without self defense and the possibility of action, there is no cause.

    I would ask one simple question - If we are doing what is right and what is practical, why should we limit ourselves by catering to the unreasonable fears of others?

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  9. Sometimes it is even possible to stave off a marauding bear with a sharp whack across its nose with a stout stick along with a cold level unwavering stare. This also tends to work with school yard bullies. I remember stabbing a fellow on his head with a pencil. Not only did he back off beating me up he broke down in tears transformed into a bitter victim. A teacher came over to separate us. Her response to the little creep was priceless I will never forget: "oh look at you, now you're air conditioned. Go cool off" I was never bothered by that clown again. More importantly, neither was anyone else ...

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  10. Being from Virginia, I'm glad to hear that the Honeywell's aren't being discriminated by everyone in Washington State!

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