Monday, October 28, 2013

Too much outside funding. Too many planners. Too little local food.

An enterprising grass roots group stirred controversy a couple of days ago. Shoppers returning to their cars parked in the Lakeway Fred Meyer parking lot Saturday afternoon found a snappy advertisement mini-flyer sticky tabbed to their windshields, inviting them to a balloting party. Free food. A free concert. Local candidates on hand to help answer sticky questions. A group dance taking the ballots to the mail box.

Political activist reactions from glee to outrage to the un-politicized urge to simply litter have surely given way to deeper musings. Some one must have a fair bit of cash to throw away in a far away city on parties and short lived friendships. Why the carrots? What is the back game?

Strategies. Goals. Influence. “Almost buying” votes. PDC filing violations.

Facebook pages of political activists these days are crawling with posts, fearing, anticipating, trying to foresee the results of the election in eight days. “These are terrible people…” “I am afraid we have overplayed our hand…” “We need more government—vote for…” “We need less government—vote for…”

Strategies. Votes. Representative candidates. The raw struggle between an increasingly polarized Whatcom County electorate.

A stunningly short planning commission meeting this last week left Planning and Development Staff gasping for air as the Planning Commission tabled their recommended rule changes without so much as a presentation. Was the issue really procedural restraint to protect the appeal over the Growth Management Hearings Board arbitrary water ruling last summer? Was the issue the clarification of impervious surfaces language and regulations in the County Code? Or was the issue the contentious insertion of sweeping well drilling restrictions within the rule changes.

Strategies. Rules. Rulings. Legal wranglings. Environmental precedent settings. Property rights protections.

An article by Ed Kilduff in the fall Business Pulse magazine spotlights the enormously successful Washington Growth Management Act—if measured by the exponential increase in public planners and planner wannabee activists.

Strategies. 1989. Grants. 2013. Large transfers of decision making powers from local to regional, state and federal bodies. An awakening electorate fumbling for their pens and phones and car keys; sharing shock over the reality of gross government over reach, waste and freedom takings; rediscovering public meetings and challenging the swarms of environmental protectionists that hover in the halls of power.

This Thursday, Oct 31/13, food growers, buyers, activists—it’s open to the public—can attend a symposium entitled Recipe for Tomorrow: Climate Change and the Future of Food. A large of slate of presenters representing farm, science, education, tribal and government agencies does not increase my peace of mind. The sponsorship of hardline environmental groups such as ReSources only steels my resolve to probe deeply into—you guessed it—strategies.

Strategies. Climate Change. Pollution. Grants!!! Radical environmentalism grows as long as there are grants for staff projects. Planner jobs proliferate as long as there is grant money to plan. Precautionary environmental protectionism provides an inexhaustible seedplot of grant ready projects. This is a public planner’s heaven. Total job security. An October 24/13 Washington State Commerce Department e-mail advertises, (broader web page here)

”Departments of Ecology and Commerce are offering funding through a competitive grant program for projects that fit under one of the following themes:

“Eligibility: Local governments, federally-recognized tribal governments, and special purpose districts are eligible to apply for all themes. In addition, non-profit non-governmental organizations and academic institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for Theme 3.”

Strategies. People. Food shortages. Family food sustainability. If a man does not work plan, he should not eat.

Retired WWU professor Don Easterbrook has survived the recent gang mugging by current WWU non-climate change experts, and posted a scathing review of both the 2013 IPCC report on climate change and the Oct’13 National Geographic featurearticles on rising seas.

Strategies. Facts. Fears. Politicized science. Media and academic suppression of genuine debate. Free internet speech. Angry embarrassment. Protecting tenured teaching posts.

May I suggest that a much bigger problem than climate change is dependence on non-local food distribution systems. We don’t grow local. We don’t eat local. But, planners and scientists write grants local and do property takings local.

Strategies. Working. Growing with your own hands. Value added locally grown food must be economically sustainable. Farmers will not grow what does not pay. Environmental takings do not grow food. Public planner oversight armies do not grow food.

Strategies. Environmentalist lawsuits. Buying votes. Happy face farm/environment symposiums. Academic muggings. Grants to fuel environmental takings. As Pete Kremen recently said, “Whatcom County is under seige by regulations.” So—when the outside environmental grant money runs out?? When scientists are paid to solve farm to table problems instead of ramping up UN change agency environmentalist hot buttons?? Probably, only then will a reduced roster of public planners figure out how to encourage a simply regulated local marketplace that provides truly value added locally grown food. -- JK

Balloting Party Flyer

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Low Impact Tourism Myth And The Whatcom County Economy

Low impact tourism is the cream cheese frosting of the Whatcom County economy.  

A philosophy that supplants more vigorous sectors of the local economy with Low Impact Tourism is like a philosophy aimed at eliminating vegetables, meats and, grains from a balanced diet and replacing them with cream cheese frosting.

So one can only assume local politicians intent on promoting low impact tourism to the detriment of more vigorous economic sectors are really promoting low wage jobs with limited hours and equally limited sales tax and other tax income for the economy.

Cream cheese frosting simply hasn’t the nutrition to support a large economy but I would never want to do without it; and, I’d never want to downgrade, or eliminate tourism as an important part of the local economy; but facts are facts.  

I will be issuing a short white paper on so called, “Low Impact Tourism” in the near future but, for now, here are some easily checked facts that help put the whole issue in perspective:

1.  Leavenworth is one of Washington’s most famous destination cities for tourism with a Bavarian Village theme, ski slopes at the edge of town, climbing, biking and hiking trails throughout the surrounding area and, according to the Mayor’s report to the people, more than 2 million visitors a year.

Leavenworth’s total Sales and Use Tax Distributions in 2012 according to the Washington State Department of Revenue was $936,242.  

Based on recent conversation by the City of Bellingham as it examines a move from one area of town to another by Costco Corporation, the entire city of Leavenworth receives less in sales and use tax, despite having 2 million tourists visit, than a single Costco Store in Bellingham provides the city in a year.  

2.  By way of further example, the City of Blaine alone received $1,122,250.96 in sales and use tax distributions in 2012.

3.  According to the 2013 report on Washington State Tourism by Damon Runyan Associates, of the six tourism oriented activities examined statewide, Beach, Cultural, Fine Dining, Outdoor Activity, Shopping and, Rural Sightseeing, the three sectors generally defined as low impact tourism are last in terms of dollars spent per partyengaging in the activity while shopping, cultural activities and fine dining led.  It has long been known that Bellis Fair is Whatcom County’s number one tourist attraction and that seems to remain the case though Wal-Mart and Costco are probably close behind.  

NOTE:  It is interesting that a travel industry sector touted as “low impact,” the Outdoor Activities sector, reports, by a considerable margin, the highest spending levels on transportation.

4.   Also based on the Runyan report, two persons working in the Whatcom County tourism industry will earn about 64% of the median family income for the county, qualifying them for low income housing subsidies and other income supplements.

5.  The travel/tourism industry is largely a provider of part time work.  Nationally, the average hours per week an employee works peaks in the third quarter of a year at about 26 hours.  

In short, while the tourism industry truly is an important sector of the Whatcom County economy it is equally, the frosting on the more substantial cake of that Whatcom County economy.  

That means efforts to build the industry beyond what it is today at the cost of more substantial industries and the family wage jobs they provide involves a tradeoff.  

The recent conversion of nearly 9,000 acres of forest land dedicated to use by the forest industry to the 800,000 plus acres of land in Whatcom County already dedicated to tourist uses stands as an example of the tradeoffs made by accentuating a part time, low wage industry in favor of an industry providing a significant number of family wage jobs to county residents.

Frosting is delicious and delightful to behold.  Frosting cannot be the basis of a healthy diet; for an individual or for an economy.

-Jack Petree

Utopian Carrots For Whatcom County. No Sticks?

Who Is "Uniting Creatives"? What Are "Vibrant Futures"? How Big Should A Mouthful Be?
Saturday, an organization called “Uniting Creatives” hosted a conference on “Vibrant Futures” at Syre Hall. Someone had sent us a link to a 4th Request for Proposal Submittal to the Bellingham Port Authority, a late entry from Uniting Creatives. I went to the Uniting Creatives website, and found the conference promo the day it happened, October 5, 2013. Too bad—I had scheduled a client that day.

Request For Proposal Submission To Port Of Bellingham Re: Downtown Waterfront Redevelopment

Public Private Partnerships - 2 Locals, 4 Outsiders That Would Re-Make Whatcom County

Port Of Bellingham's Request For Proposals

Bellingham City Council/BIAWC Members Deny Push To Restrict Construction Hours In Bellingham
BIAWC was successful Monday night in helping defeat a proposal to cut back residential construction hours in Bellingham by about 17 percent.

City Council considered a proposal to cut construction noise hours in residential areas (BMC 10.24.120 C4).  Construction is now allowed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily – as it is in the surrounding commute area of unincorporated Whatcom County, Ferndale and Lynden. The proposal was to end residential construction at 8 p.m. on weekdays, and to limit it to 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekends and federal holidays.

Ken Mann 2009 Campaign PDC Investigations Show More Irregularities
Ken Mann, Whatcom County Councilman and Chair of the Whatcom County Finance Committee, is under investigation by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for significant financial errors and omissions that occurred during his 2009 campaign.

BIAWC Requests Public Comment At Planning Commission Hearing On GMHB Water Rules
Friends – can you help with testimony at an Oct. 10 W.C. Planning Commission hearing?
Gary Davis sent out an announcement on the hearing Monday.  In essence:
WC PLANNING COMMISSION will hold an Oct. 10 public hearing on staff proposals designed to comply with GHMB’s June 7th decision on water-related issues.
6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Northwest Annex

Monday, October 21, 2013

Money That Bites

Money. There has been much bluster about outside money in Whatcom County’s 2013 election. The early, high profile, aggressive entrance of environmentalist big bucks from Washington Conservation Voters, and the more recent and quieter arrival of free market big bucks from proponents of the Gateway Pacific Terminal have raised eyebrows everywhere in Whatcom County.

Today I learned of a larger proposed influx of outside money into Whatcom County, $300,000 from the Puget Sound Partnership to “develop a stakeholder process”, facilitating the planning stage of repairing flood control levees. $300,000 for a contractor/facilitator to do something different than campaign against or for a bulk shipping terminal. A larger sum. A very quiet entry. An agreement recommended to County Council for approval. The second coming of the failed WIT / public planner driven process. A mercenary gauntlet thrown down to mock and demoralize the volunteer stakeholder process of the resurrected WRIA 1 Water Planning Unit.

Recently, I saw an interesting infogram. An iceberg was floating in the water. Visible above the surface was a layer labelled “The Exciting Green Marketplace”. The first layer below the water was labelled “Usable Social and Environmental Disasters”. Below that was a layer with three community ideals: 1) Social Equity 2) Public/Private Economic Partnerships, and 3) Sustainable Ecology. Finally, at the bottom was the philosophical foundation layer: eradicate individualism, capitalism and free markets, and implement communitarian groupthink with big government control of everything.

Did you get that last mouthful? Did I lose you there? I hope not.

What will happen in Whatcom County after this election? What is going on under the cover of election noise? Tuesday, County Council is scheduled to look at bill AB2013-335. It is proposed that Whatcom County enter into an agreement to receive $300,000 via the Puget Sound Partnership, the Washington State Governor’s flagship regional non-elected board tasked with “cleaning up” Puget Sound, among other things. Puget Sound Partnership is a regional board. How clean is clean? Who knows? How can voters hold the PSP board locally accountable? Ensure cleanup or “flood control” standards that don’t shift at the ratcheting whim of communitarian puppet masters.

Regionalism. In 2012, Stanley Kurtz published a book entitled, “Spreading the Wealth: How Obama Is Robbing The Suburbs To Pay For The Cities.” An in depth researcher of community organizer infiltrations, Kurtz points out how unelected regional boards are the tool of choice to bring huge social change all across America.

Kurtz also brings to light a new network for White House community organizers. (Not a new network for UN based NGO Smart Growth activists). Traditionally, socialist community organizers have worked closely with liberal church groups to achieve their goals of inner city social upheaval. Recently, however, the newly minted agency Building One America (formed by leaders of the scandalized Gamaliel Foundation) has added a new social change sector—public sector employees sympathetic to the progressive goals of socialist community organizers. The Chicago-Alinsky molded friends of the Obama White house are noisily linking into the network quietly developed by the UN Smart Growth radicals. There will be more big government courting of local public planners. Liberal churches are passe.

In other words, in addition to religious social terrorists like Jeremiah Wright, the USA now will have public planner social terrorists to deal with. (Something Whatcom County has been dealing with for two decades—think multiple Resources lawsuits (Carl Weimer) and Futurewise and its unofficial first review privileges at the County Planning Department.  A key element of this movement is the shifting of governance from local elected councils to regional, appointed boards. Does this sound like Puget Sound Partnership? Kurtz’s book deals primarily with urban/suburban community tax base mingling. A few months ago, in a three part series of articles linked to in today’s news digest, Kurtz pointed out another critical mass development.

Students at Harvard recently “pressured” the administration to divest Harvard of the stocks of fossil fuel industry corporations. The uber progressive Harvard administration cheerily complied. Seattle mayor, Mike McGinn has also jumped on Bill McKibben’s bandwagon, instructing the city of Seattle to avoid holding these stocks as of now. Gas and oil stocks are hot commodities, and such actions will really do little to harm these corporations at this point.

BUT—and this is important, a generation of college students are practicing “killing”, imagining the death of industrialized society—studying fossil fuel stock divestment on their i-pads, texting about it on their i-phones, and dreaming about it while flitting about in their parents’ Toyota Prius cars—industrial enabled conveniences. At some point, “the mother of all dialectic struggles” will begin, and the industrial complex will be carved up and redistributed by a matured generation of millenials.

I finish with a nod to another recently released book, “This Town”, by veteran DC reporter Mark Liebovich. “This Town” humorously and cynically profiles the “Beltway Club”, bloated by both Republican and Democrat lobbyists, making fabulously huge salaries in K Street offices on the backs of tax payers. Has K Street come to Whatcom County in the form of PSP funded facilitators? Is the end of local volunteer government at hand?

Am I cynical? Yes. Is there a path through all this? Yes. “Let him that stole steal no more, but rather, let him work with his hands, that he may have to give to him who has need.” Will you or I learn to work and share from public planners whose environmentalist consultant/facilitator friends feed off planning grants from Puget Sound Partnership? Probably not. Could we learn to work under the tutelage of outside fossil fuel interests running at an environmentally sound bulk shipping terminal at Cherry Point? That would be more probable.

Even better, learn the ropes and start your own business. Avoid the philosopher king urge to “kill the masters” that give us lights and communications and wheels and wings. Question the establishment environmentalists. And, learn to appeal regional board grant driven power grabs. In the event of failed appeal, graciously hold your nose and work the bridges. Remember the hidden hand. All hard work brings a benefit.

And, please vote. Vote for candidates who will deprioritize the group think zoned high density urban globalist university talking head enclaves. Vote for candidates who will support work ethic building clean heavy industry and the sweat of the brow value added agricultural farmer (not just farmerless Ag land). Vote for the choice to work local and live local—in the whole county, not just in Bellingham. --JK

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A New War. In Whatcom County. Showing At The "Town Hall."

Wake Up, Conservatives In Whatcom County. Your Draft Number Is Up.
375 years ago, did the framers of American town hall democracy envision the election stew that ferments each fall in this land and culture we have inherited? 

The dumplings on top of the pot are the main Whatcom County candidates, clapping each other on the back as they try out one liners and cagily frame their image. Boiling in the middle are campaign managers, political party operatives, activists and reporters. A thicker layer of businesses, educators and public officials ooze money and/or endorsements up to the top, and gummed at the bottom are the rest of the community, watching, wondering, dozing it out.
Washington Conservation Voters Prime The Ballot Pump - Buying Canvassers For Progressive GOTV.
 Hot off the Public Disclosure Commission website is a report showing that Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund, the political-action arm of Washington Conservation Voters, spent $93,303 to back four Whatcom County Council candidates: Rud Browne, Barry Buchanan, Ken Mann and Carl Weimer.

Read more here:
Read more here.

Local Conservative PAC Accepts Donations Over $900 Personal Limit; Seeks Jobs In GPT Bulk Terminal
The Bellingham Herald - Politics Blog, just released a piece showing a $93k donation sent to Whatcom Wins (aka: Whatcom Democrats - wordsmithing their image?) slate of candidates: Buchanan, Browne, Mann and Weimer.  This generous gift of $23,325.00 each, comes from Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund (aka: Political Action Committee) who are frantically working to insure that the Gateway Pacific Terminal project never sees the light of day in Whatcom County.

Read more here:
Read more here.

Come To The GPT Debate, Wed, Oct 9, 5:30 P.M At The BIAW Hall.
So here’s the deal: Whatcom Tea Party invited Terry Wechsler and Craig Cole to debate on the Cherry Point, Gateway Pacific Terminal Project. But Terry Wechsler regrets that she cannot attend the debate. The search for a replacement proved fruitless.

Read more here:
Read more here.

GPT Response To Anti- Terminal Accusations

Wechsler/Protect Whatcom/No Coal - GPT Objections 
There are currently plans to develop the largest coal export facility in North America at Cherry Point, in northwest Washington state.  The Gateway Pacific Terminal, a project of Pacific International Terminals, would be owned by SSA Marine, which is owned by Carrix, partnered with Goldman Sachs.
Read more here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cracking Open Closed Doors

Last night, participants and observers at the WRIA 1 Planning Unit meeting were given a teller size window peep at what has happened in Whatcom County ground and surface water actions between 2009 and 2013.  A brief, tiny postage stamp of a report. But, what a glorious flash of information!

The hot question in my mind this morning is what do the “dear leaders” want? It is obvious that the processes of water management take time, dedication, negotiation, money, skill, information… the list of costs and qualifications is big. Water rights and usage touches everyone, all the time. Do local leaders want to draw qualified local citizens in, to increase the “bench strength” of the local public policy team? Or do they prefer to let citizens snooze on while opportunistic agents feed on the public purse?

In spite of the civil dialogue of last night, the Planning Unit appears to be a foster child in the eyes of the most vested interests. It took threats of a lawsuit to force the County Executive’s office to even consider the role of the planning unit. The setting of legal fractures poked through briefly last night, as reference was made to the working out of PU procedural suggestions between the lawyers of the Whatcom Water Districts Caucus and the Whatcom County Executive Office.

What is my point? The reconvening of the Planning Unit has required threat of legal force. The public policy leaders of water management in Whatcom County have been dragged kicking to the table. If their work is so beyond question, why the secret executive sessions? Oaths of confidentiality? Failed spin campaigns like the WIT process that blew up recently? If the Vibrant Futures of Uniting Creatives is such a juicy piece of toast for public well being and input, why has that model not been applied in water management?

Local water management is a huge chess game, and stake holder outcomes could be spoiled by public pervue. In the public comment period last night, Greg Brown reported on his attendance at a statewide meeting last week of representatives of 35+ WRIA boards in Washington State. What was the key concern of other WRIA boards? A flood of regulations emanating from state level departments that is overwhelming local water public policy boards. Wake up, Whatcom County! There are state departments that want to gain and maintain control of local water policy. The PUD and the tribes may seek local oversight and jurisdiction, but the Puget Sound Partnership of the Governor’s Office, and the State Department of Ecology are pushing very hard behind the veil of media silence here.

The child of favor in Whatcom water management has been the Joint Board. Last night, the representative PUD District 1, Stephen Jilks, made it clear that the PUD does not want to become just an equal member of a Planning Unit with teeth. He inferred that the it was the Joint Board that created the PU, and that the PU is only advisory to Whatcom County Council. PUD District 1 has had a favored seat in the Joint Board, and is up to speed on everything that has transpired behind the closed doors of the last four years of water management activity. Are they willing to let other caucuses join them at the table?

Behind closed doors. Last night we heard a very, very brief recounting of how the water management projects of today flowed from the Bertrand Creek and the Nooksack Middle Fork pilot projects that were the last sighting of the PU open process in 2009. Emphasized was the frustration of the 2009 PU participants as closed door negotiations sealed by oaths of confidentiality burrowed on in 2009.

In conclusion: what goes into minutes of public meetings is only part of the record. The speeches at the meetings may be encapsulated nicely in minutes, but the attitudes in the faces and voice tones of the speakers and moderators are what is burned in the memories of the observers.

A sticky item last night was public input. Is the Planning Unit subject to the Open Public Meetings Act? Must there be a period for public comment? Claire Fogelsong of the City of Bellingham objected very intensely to public comment. Perry Eskridge, the political consultant for the Whatcom Realty Board objected less strenuously. What do they fear? A motion Perry made during the meeting was turned back. Roberts Rules of Order are not part of the consensus process. What is this consensus process? How really does it work? How can the procedural problems of 1999 – 2009 be avioded this time around? Could public comment help keep things on track?

The public comment period happened at the end. Claire Fogelsong (COB) and Greg Young (small cities) and Kasey Cykler (DOE) walked out just before public comment was approved. By design? I do not know. The tribes were absent. The Herald, the Tribune, and the Cascade Radio Group were absent. Stephen Jilks stayed to listen. There is hope. There is also a long road ahead to regaining public consensus.

The body language is speaking. What do you hear? Wake up, Whatcom County. It is your water. It may not be your water for long. This PU process is one more chance for American citizens to do more than just memorize baseball scores.                           -- Submitted by John Kirk for Whatcom Works.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WRIA 1 Planning Unit Meeting – What’s In It For You?

Control water (and property), and you control a people. The citizens of America have enjoyed extensive lifestyle and faith freedoms, made possible by foundational freedoms in managing water and property since 1776. All these freedoms are at huge risk today, thanks to a dedicated group of progressives who are reshaping public policy on water and land use.

In the last forty years, there has been a different, environmental only drumbeat. Industrialization has left a mixed legacy to our generation. Our generation hopes in technologies, yet at the same time fears the industrial and resource use processes that give them to us. Slipping quietly through these discussions is the spectre of communitarianism, the new socialist, group think, precautionary principle. (That should be another post). Stall all new development until the educated few control the unwashed many.

Whatcom County has two very diverse interest groups. There is a power struggle going on between them. The WRIA 1 planning unit is a prime example of this.

On the one hand are technocrats in public works and environmental agencies, many with considerable educational credentials. They live in world of grants and tax revenues, and are quite good at developing complicated mechanisms for achieving their ends, and using public sentiment to give themselves a unilateral playing field. They are water “managers”.

On the other hand are water users. Tribes. Fishermen. Farmers. Rural families. Small Whatcom cities. Most are not paid to deal with water management issues during work day hours. Some of these groups have put together caucuses to represent themselves. They are rough and ready, and usually kept out of the public eye unless it suits the media and the water managers to make a public example of them.

(Note that the media organs of Whatcom County sent no reporters to the first reconvened WRIA 1 Planning Unit meeting last month.)

The WRIA 1 RCW mandated process brings these two groups together.

A particular concern of the water users is being shut out of the decision making process by the water managers. An undetermined number of closed door meetings were held between 2009 and 2013, where water managers took actions that have raised a considerable pushback from the water users. The tribes were given special seats in the recent closed door meetings, even after they torpedoed aspects of the process right from the beginning in 1999. The tribes did not come to the first reconvened PU meeting last month.

Take some time to read the following two submittals for tonight’s water planning unit meeting. The city of Bellingham speaks for its residents. The water districts association speaks for a farther flung group of interests. Note the application of the RCW law (or lack thereof) in the two proposals.

My questions. Can the managers make a place at the table for the users? Will the managers try to run out the clock and budget of these first four meetings with procedural discussions? Should state (DOE) entities be given a full voting position? Should a statement limiting federal participation to ex officio positions be adopted? Come. Listen. Compare the reality with the RCW requirements. Speak if you have a chance.

See you tonight!

WRIA 1 First Meeting Minutes

10/16/13 - WRIA 1 Water Planning Unit
6:00 PM; Civic Center Building Garden Level Conference Room, 322 N. Commercial Street, Bellingham, WA 98226

City Of Bellingham On Voting Positions

Water Districts Caucus On Voting Positions

Water Districts Caucus On Voting Positions



OCTOBER 15, 2013 

General Comments. The Water Districts Caucus reviewed Bellingham’s proposal on Planning Unit representation at our meeting on October 14, 2013. It would have been our preference to move the process forward without reviewing credentials, at least at this point, but are cooperating with the preference of the group to perform this assessment. With that disclaimer, we find Bellingham’s suggestions to be reasonable, on the whole, but do have a few comments and would like to place a few questions on the table.

Bellingham treats every member of the Planning Unit as a caucus, posits three types of such caucuses and proposes categorizing participants into those three categories. However, Bellingham, the PUD, the County and the Port are not caucuses – that is, groups of entities united by particular interests. They are specific local government entities that have been deemed sufficiently distinct to warrant direct representation on the Planning Unit. We agree with the process proposed for validating the representation of these entities.

The WRIA 1 Planning Unit caucuses consist of other local governments, certain local interests, and state and federal governments. As proposed, Category 2 would consists of caucuses of smaller local government units, state and federal governments and the Non-Municipal Water Systems.

Those local governments with caucus seats (Small Cities, Water Districts and Diking and Drainage Districts) have been created pursuant to enabling statutes and are headed by elected officials. Every one of the local government caucuses represents a relatively small number of entities, each having identical statutory powers. The 10 water districts in our caucus, for example, are organized under RCW 57 and headed by elected commissioners. These smaller local government entities were organized into caucuses for administrative convenience, in order to allow for a manageable Planning Unit meeting process. The inherent legitimacy of such entities, which represent voters and property owners pursuant to state law, is precisely equal to that of those local government entities having direct representation at the Planning Unit. We agree with the process proposed for validating the representation of local government caucuses as described under Category 2.

Non-Municipal Water Systems. The Non-Municipal Water Systems (i.e., water associations) are private business interests - not local governments. We understand Non-Municipal Water Systems Caucus represents a very large number – perhaps hundreds - of water associations. As such, we believe the Non-Municipal Water Systems Caucus should be subject to the process proposed for validating the representation of other interests under Category 3.

State. For several reasons, we question DOE’s participation as a full-fledged voting member of the Planning Unit. The Watershed Planning Act envisions a planning process driven primarily by local citizens and their governments, with participation from the tribes and a wide range of local water resource interests. 1 The role of the state in this process was to be mainly advisory and not directive:

 “If a planning unit requests technical assistance from a state agency as part of its planning activities under this chapter and the assistance is with regard to a subject matter over which the agency has jurisdiction, the state agency shall provide the technical assistance to the planning unit.” RCW 90.82.030(2),

“Each state agency with regulatory or other interests in the WRIA or multi-WRIA area to be planned shall assist the local citizens in the planning effort to the greatest extent practicable, recognizing any fiscal limitations. In providing such technical assistance and to facilitate representation on the planning unit, state agencies may organize and agree upon their representation on the planning unit. Such technical assistance must only be at the request of and to the extent desired by the planning unit conducting such planning. The number of state agency representatives on the planning unit shall be determined by the initiating governments in consultation with the governor's office.” RCW 90.82.060(7).

The latter citation contemplates that non-state members of the Planning Unit will decide on state participation. We believe that DOE has a valuable role to play in coordinating presentation of technical information from state agencies to the Planning Unit, but that continuing to vote on the same basis as local governments will prove problematic.

The Watershed Planning Act states:

“The planning unit shall not add an element to its watershed plan that creates an obligation unless each of the governments to be obligated has at least one representative on the planning unit and the respective members appointed to represent those governments agree to adding the element that creates the obligation. A member's agreeing to add an element shall be evidenced by a recorded vote of all members of the planning unit in which the members record support for adding the element.” RCW 90.82.130(3).

This provision applies to the narrow question of obligations created in the proposed plan. It does not require DOE to vote on all aspects of the local plan. Placing DOE in the position to frame recommendations for its own consideration is illogical and inconsistent with the intent and design of RCW 90.82.

This inconsistency is especially troublesome in connection with modifying instream flow rules, an activity included in the scope of work for WRIA 1. The Watershed Planning Act provides that 3 instream flow rules shall not be modified “…unless the members of the local governments and tribes on the planning unit by a recorded unanimous vote request the department to modify those flows…” RCW 90.82.080(1)(a)(i).2 At that point, it would seem to be the intent that DOE would undertake rule-making. RCW 90.82.080(1)(b). DOE’s participation in formulating proposed minimum stream flow rules as a full voting member of the Planning Unit prior to rule-making, however, could invalidate the rules under the Administrative Procedures Act (RCW 34.05).

We believe the best procedure would be for the non-state members of the Planning Unit to define the state’s technical assistance role and for the state’s voting to be confined to those instances where obligations would be imposed.

Federal. We could find no grounds for including the federal government as a voting member of the WRIA 1 Planning Unit. We recommend the federal government be invited to participate ex officio.

Agriculture. Since the Planning Unit was first formed in 1999, two irrigation districts have been formed. We believe these are governmental entities under RCW 87 entitled to representation on the Planning Unit as an additional local government caucus. Because these districts are defined territorially, we propose that the Agricultural Interest caucus should remain and be filled by interests not included under the irrigation districts.

Procedure. The procedural matter we would like to point out is in connection with a request to DOE to modify instream flow rules, as noted above under RCW 90.82.080(1)(a)(i). This situation would require a recorded unanimous vote of only the local government members of the planning unit (since the tribes are not participating at the Planning Unit). Not only does this procedure exclude interests and state government from voting, it may prevent caucus representation for that particular question. This should be reflected in the Process and Procedural Agreement.

1 The statute provides that the tribes will be invited to participate. RCW 90.82.060(4).

2 We note that DOE is precluded from voting on this question.

City of Bellingham On Voting Positions

From: Clare Fogelsong, City of Bellingham Planning Unit Representative
Date: October 10
Subject: Planning Unit Caucus Representation

There are three basic caucus types; 1) those that represent a single entity (City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, PUD 1, and Port Authority), 2) those that represent a relatively small and identifiable group of entities and have a structure for meeting and selecting a representative (Federal and State governments, Small Cities, Water Districts, Diking/Drainage Districts, and Non-Municipal Water Systems), and 3) caucuses with dispersed constituencies and a range of organizational ability to represent their constituents (Agriculture, Environment, Fishers, Forestry, Land Development and Private Well Owners).

The differences in organizational structures should be reflected in the requirements for caucus representation. To that end the following suggestions are presented for consideration.

Representatives of the Type 1 caucuses, City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, PUD 1, and Port Authority, will present to the Whatcom County Council some indication of appointment from the mayor, executive, or respective commission.

Representatives of the Type 2 caucuses, Federal and State governments, Small Cities, Water Districts, Diking/Drainage Districts, and Non-Municipal Water Systems, will present to the Whatcom County Council some indication of appointment resulting from a vote or assignment registered by the group of participating members of the caucus, e.g. a vote taken and recorded in the minutes of a meeting.

The Type 3 caucuses, Agriculture, Environment, Fishers, Forestry, Land Development and Private Well Owners, are similar in that their constituents are dispersed throughout the community. However they vary widely in the degree of organizational structure available for selecting a Planning Unit representative. It appears that Agriculture and Land Development have the most established organizational structures, representing a significant portion of their constituent groups. Fishers, Forestry and Environment may also be able to rely on existing organizations to serve the purpose of selecting representation. The Private Well
Owner caucus seems to be the most challenged in this regard. For all these caucuses a meeting should be held inviting members of the public, who are associated with the issues represented by the caucus, to participate in the selection of a representative. The selection action could be added to the agenda of a regular  meeting of an existing organization that is recognized in the community for its representation of a single caucuses' issues, or the meeting could be held for the single purpose of organizing a caucus to select the representative and establish a means to keep caucus members informed of Planning Unit issues. Representatives of these caucuses will present to the Whatcom County Council a copy of the meeting notice, list of attendees and some record of the action taken to select a  representative.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Seeing The Dots. Voting For More Than Coal.

Warning. Voter Candy. Watch Out For Razor Blades.
This is a thought piece. Connecting the dots. Or maybe just seeing them.

How much could food cost in years ahead?
How many people can a non-industrialized farm worker feed?
How many people could a hunter/gatherer feed?
How many college students will dirty their hands for one year in a market garden business?
How many days will Bellingham have food if the food transport system breaks down?
What is the food shortage record of Marxist economies? Could hunger games happen here?
La Montana. Trailer de la Paz

La Montana. A True Story. A "New" Dialectic Peace In Colombia

Alinsky Is Alive And Well In 2013
JERUSALEM – In his address in Jerusalem today, President Obama channeled Saul Alinsky, citing the radical community organizer’s defining mantra as he urged young Israelis to “create change” to nudge their leadership to act.
Obama told a crowd of college students at Jerusalem’s main convention center that Israel “has the wisdom to see the world as it is, but also the courage to see the world as it should be.”
Read more here. 

Marx, Lenin, Lucifer - Bitter Roots. Alinsky, Gore, Whatcom Wins! - Bitter Fruits

Faux Environmentalists. Sierra Club Takes Millions From Gas Industry To Fight Coal
A Time magazine blogger reported Thursday that the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and most august environmental organization, accepted millions of dollars in donations from one of the nation’s biggest natural gas-drilling companies for a program lambasting coal-fired power plants as environmental evildoers.
Read more here.

Mormons Without Neckties

An advertisement placed by TerraStrategies appeared on Bellingham Craig’s List September 26, 2013, updated October 7, 2013, soliciting canvassing street walkers to promote “progressive candidates” in this years County Council Elections. Terra Strategies is a heavy hitter strategic grass roots mobilizing agency headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. They service progressive, Democrat politicos.

Door to door, face to face is the powerful campaign strategy. But it takes time, discipline, organization, motivated staffers, and an unswerving, strategic message.

The environment. This is the season of harvest for environmental crusaders. After decades of sensitization, wrapping a package in a green, eco friendly color almost guarantees universal American acceptance. One size fits all. The environment. Saving the forests, the streams, the fish and the views.

Terra Strategies should have no trouble hiring a motivated canvassing staff.

When $90,000.00 plus is provided by a King County lobby group to a US Midwest state grass roots mobilization agency for a small county election in the farthest corner of the country, one asks why? If the environment is so obviously a priority, shouldn’t the Cherry Point industrial zone just fall into the sea? Why create an army to mobilize something that should take care of itself? Maybe Whatcom County voters don’t think like the outsiders. We might do something independent and smart, like fit an environmentally safe, market driven energy and food grains and wood products shipping terminal into an already zoned industrial port area. We might elect County Council members who defy the progressive drumbeat in many other areas. We might not drink the kool-aid of the Department of Ecology.

So now what? The streets will be swarming with fairly paid, eager volunteers ready to spend a few minutes earnestly saving the environment through your vote. Phones will ring regularly to test your savvy of all the terrible impacts of a bulk shipping terminal.

Who really is the underdog here? Questioning tradition with an air of wisdom is intoxicating, both to the young and the gray headed. The outer garments of trade and business life are drab and boring and rough, and the soft underbelly of work often has a greasy odor. But the exponentially increasing burden of the national progressive machine, I think, is a much greater evil.

Do you really desire to have thousands of emerald green mini worlds, always at hand, hourly escapes into a weightless spiritual nirvana, fleeing the drudgery of earning a living and serving family and job mates?

What do you really want, Whatcom County? Are the czars of smart only to be found in some far away, financially endowed center of power? When outsiders tell you that you are beautiful or smart or rugged, do you really believe the flattery?

What can be done? Terra Strategies wins policy and election campaigns by pre-empting their opposition. Positioning their workers at the gates and intercepting the messages from their opponents. Tipping the messages slightly, shifting your concerns and momentum to their advantage. They are here for war.

What can be done to take back the control from the outsiders? What can be done to stop the polarization? What can be done to strengthen families who support themselves? What can be done to decentralize government powers and promote checks and balances in local public policy?

1. Get out of your house into the neighborhood. Watch. Be alert.

2. Counter the Terra Strategies people; make your own canvassing list. Challenge your brother, your sister, you son, your aunt with the benefits of market driven modernization of energy, and with the open ended benefits of hard work, even if not at the ideal green job. Why let outside groups return us to the stone age in energy provision. Solyndra failed. Electric cars don’t cut it yet. Time and market demand will give enduring energy solutions, not pre-emptive legislation and top down financial hemorrhaging driven by social change engineers.

3. Be gracious. Don’t get rattled by the marching of outsider boots. Cheerily extinguish the “sky is falling” extremism of university level social change activists. Help your neighbors separate science and group think. Maybe get to know your neighbors?

4. Use social media and traditional meeting points like crazy. Be kind and persistent. Terra Strategies has to glom on to a network. You already have one. They likely have access to the several thousand names who signed the Bellingham Proposition One. They will need more votes than that to split Whatcom County open to the outside.

5. Ask leading questions. Many hard working locals will not be able to name the candidates for County Council. Educate them with the rest of the story. Sign them up to vote.

6. Don’t give up. It is not over until the votes are cast. Reach back to timeless faith. There is a hidden hand that controls the affairs of men. The question is whether we will be found worthy of good governance or bad, of coming together locally, or being split apart and devoured.    JK.