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Accountability

Lane County prepares to join lawsuit against BLM

EUGENE, Ore. – This week, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $84,000 to join a potential multi-county lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management.

For the past several years, the BLM has been working on a new Resource Management Plan for the O & C timberlands and Commissioner Faye Stewart says the BLM is currently looking at a plan that would violate the O & C Act of 1937.

“There’s a minimum harvest level of 500 million board feet required by law,” Stewart said.

Stewart says the required harvest levels aren’t being met, and counties are missing out on timber dollars needed to provide county services.

“We believe that it’s important for us as counties to stand up and make sure that the law on the books is met by the agency,” Stewart said, “And for Lane County, it’s important because those are resource dollars that come to the county to pay for critical resources we provide.”

If the BLM doesn’t make changes to the plan, the Association of O & C Counties is preparing to take action. They’ve chosen a Portland law firm to represent them in the suit. The $84,000 would cover Lane County’s portion of the legal fees.

Faye says harvests are dwindling, in large part because of the Endangered Species Act, but he says it’s possible to boost harvests and protect endangered species.

“Our experts believe that they can do both, and they can do it at a level that would meet the law,” Stewart said. “It’s just unfortunately, we haven’t been able to see them recognize our comments, and recognize that it can be done.”

The lawsuit isn’t a sure thing. Stewart says the BLM could still make changes to the plan to satisfy the requirements of the O & C Act.

That will be followed by a public comment period, and a final decision is expected by July.

In defense of the Oregon protesters on the floor of the House

Posted on

On Tuesday, Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, whose district encompasses the county where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located, took to the floor of the House this week to give the back story that led to the occupation and protest that is currently underway. Continue reading

County investigation nixes Treasurer complaint on Veterans’ funds

December 14th, 2015

KONP News

(Port Angeles) – An investigation has cleared accusations of criminal financial issues brought by the county treasurer.

County treasurer Selinda Barkhuis two weeks ago filed the complaint that the prosecuting attorney had evidence of unauthorized and excessive payments from the county Veterans’ Benefit Fund.

She alleged the prosecutor refused to file criminal charges in the matter and further claimed a local newspaper reporter was a party to the case. Continue reading

Former Commissioner’s Claim Unsubstantiated

KONP News

December 9th, 2015

Port Angeles, WA – The Washington State Auditor’s Office has issued their findings regarding allegations from former County Commissioner, Mike Doherty, that two of his fellow commissioners violated the “Open Public Meetings Act.” Continue reading

SARC opens doors for high school swim team

Citizen  Review      Wednesday, October 28, 2015
by Lois Krafsky-Perry

Sequim, WA – Although the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) is closing October 30th, the high school girls swim team will be able to practice until November 12th as they requested.

The 16 swimmers are planning to compete on November 13 and 14th, in King County.

They begged the Clallam County Parks and Recreation  #1 Board, at the October  21st special meeting, for more time to practice.  At that time the board appealed to the community for help.

It has been reported that a newly formed  501(C )3 foundation has offered $7500 to keep the pool open, for the girls to practice.

There are 24 swim team members with 16 girls planning to compete.  Members of the team will serve as life guards, during the practice sessions.

This has offered a view of hope. to the swimmers, as well as local community members, who are still hoping for, more avenues to keep the facility open.
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Sequim, WA – Special meeting called for SARC

Thursday, October 29. 2015

by Lois Krafsky-Perry

Sequim, WA – The Board of Clallam County Recreation District 1, called a special meeting, Thursday October 29,  to discuss several issues.
Representing Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, (SARC)  four board members met with their attorney, Craig Miller.

Approximately 20 people attended, including the board.

Chair Frank Pickering, Gil Goodman, Sherrie Nagel, and Jan Richardson were present with Melinda Griffith absent. Continue reading

SARC board votes for closure

by Lois Krafsky-Perry
for Citizen Review

Sequim, WA – Thursday, October 22, 2015 – Although twenty four members of the girls high school swim team begged for time, the board voted to close the pool facility, Friday, October, 30th.

Approximately 150 people packed the meeting room, of the City hall, and people also gathered, in the hallways. Many attendees spoke in favor of keeping the facility open and two people suggested the board resign.

Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) formed  under  Clallam County Parks and Recreation District #1, was opened, in the Spring, of 1988. Continue reading

U.S. Representative Kilmer – Champion of Nature?

by Pearl Rains Hewett
Behind by Back.org

Posted 10/21/2015

 Rep Derek Kilmer Champion of Nature?”

Experts are often fallible, so expert advice should be examined carefully

Published 16 October 2015

snippets

“Experts must be tested, their biases minimized, their accuracy improved, and their estimates validated with independent evidence. Put simply, experts should be held accountable for their opinions.”

While many governments aspire to evidence-based policy, the researchers say the evidence on experts themselves actually shows that they are highly susceptible to “subjective influences” — from individual values and mood, to WHETHER THEY STAND TO GAIN OR LOSE FROM A DECISION — and, while highly credible, experts often vastly overestimate their objectivity and the reliability of peers.

—————————————————————————-

Fallible by definition: adjective. (of persons) liable to err, especially in being deceived or mistaken. 2. liable to be erroneous or false; not accurate: fallible information.

—————————————————————————————— Continue reading

SARC board member cites the law

By Lois Krafsky-Perry
Citizen Review     Tuesday  October 20, 2015

Sequim, WA – Gil Goodman, who is running again for Clallam County Parks and Recreation District #1, challenged fellow members to follow the law.

At the September 25, Board meeting, for Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, Goodman stated that some members have been, ‘polling’.

“For the past ten months, since before the run up, for the first levy action, I noticed certain board members pushing  their agenda, by cornering other board member, comparing questions on a one-on-one basis, then going to the next board member and so-forth.  This serial one on one effectively behind closed doors makes board decision time a formality and precludes the public from seeing the ‘collective decision making process.’  Polling such as telephone, email, or in person, of a majority or more of the council or board, outside a meeting that is open to the public, can be violation of the Open Public Meetings Act,” announced Goodman. Continue reading

Kilmer named “Champion of Nature” by The Nature Conservancy

Washington, D.C. – 10/19/2015 – U. S. Rep. Derek Kilmer has received the “Champion of Nature” award from The Nature Conservancy, an organization well-known for its drive to place millions of acres into wildlands and out of the hands of citizens.

According to a news report in the Peninsula Daily News, the award was presented Oct. 8, 2015 after the state director, Mike Stevens, urged Congress to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired Sept. 30.

Kilmer is a Democrat from the 6th Congressional District in Washington State.

Kilmer, along with Denny Heck (D-Olympia) introduced an act, the “Promoting United Government Efforts to Save Our Sound Act”, to “protect tribal treaty rights and bring much-needed resources to restore the Sound.”  It would designate the Puget Sound as a “water body of national significance, required that adequate federal resources are allocated to Puget Sound recovery and coordinate and align federal agency efforts with the state-led efforts under the Puget Sound Action Agenda.”

RELATED STORY:

Commentary:  Abolish Puget Sound Partnership

More Information about The Nature Conservancy – Income, etc.

Commissioners move policy issue to the courtroom

By Lois Krafsky-Perry
for Citizen Review

August 25, 2015

Port Angeles, WA – For the second day in a row, County Commissioner Mike Chapman lashed out at the other two commissioners on the Clallam County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) – Chair Jim McEntire and Bill Peach – for pursuing the possibility of a declaratory judgment regarding the position taken by the elected County Treasurer. The regular Tuesday meeting of the Board took place at the county courthouse starting at 10 a.m. Chapman expressed that he thought it was the wrong course of action.

Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols, when questioned, made it clear that such a lawsuit would answer the question once and for all about what the duties and responsibilities of the Board of County Commissioners hold as compared to that of the County Treasurer, and clarify the process being used. A memorandum of opinion to be issued by a judge would include both sides agreeing to the judge’s order, he said.

At issue is a move of funds already budgeted from one area, where it is not needed, to another, where it is needed. Funds that were originally set aside for the Carlsborg sewer project, which has been postponed because of regulations that have not yet been met to satisfy the State Department of Ecology and other agency requirements, were moved to assist new economic development opportunities in the City of Port Angeles and the Port of Port Angeles. The estimated $1.3 million was moved as a budgetary item, covered in open public meetings, and needed no further action on the part of the BOCC.

Two economic, pro-growth projects were to be funded with the transferred funds. The draft had been approved, authorized for disbursement by the elected county auditor, and sent to County Treasurer Selinda Barkhaus for issuance of the checks. That’s where the problem began. Barkhaus refused to issue the checks unless the county commissioners complied with her demands, claiming the transaction had not complied with the law.

For months, Barkhaus has been attempting to convince the county commissioners to change their actions which they had taken in accordance with established county policy – a policy that had been in force since 2002. Ironically, that policy was signed by Chapman and two prior commissioners, who now says he doesn’t like it.

The county commissioners, in an attempt to bring the dispute with the Treasurer to an end, held two additional hearings and issued two resolutions, which were not required, as a compromise to her wishes. Nothing the commissioners have done so far, however, has been satisfactory to the Treasurer, who wants the BOCC to hold a budget emergency hearing or hold the matter over for a new budget season. (A budget emergency hearing is used only for an “increase” in county budgeting, which does not apply to this case, according to County Administrator Jim Jones.)

Treasurer Barkhaus did not agree, and refused to issue the checks when requested by the Auditor.

According to the county policy, established in 2002 and signed by the county commissioner who is now objecting to its provisions, the budgetary move is a normal and acceptable transaction. “This issue affects all counties regarding the process in adjusting the budgets,” said Chair McEntire. “If we take a path inconsistent with our own policy, it affects all counties. It’s not good. Do not set a bad precedent, not only for ourselves, but for other counties.”

“This was a budgeting decision, not a funding decision,” Jones said. He pointed out that all the actions had been properly taken and several additional ones added, in an attempt to compromise with the Treasurer.

Commissioner Chapman railed and filibustered, siding with the Treasurer, and saying that it would go to the State Supreme Court, accusing the other commissioners of “suing” the Treasurer. Commissioner McEntire corrected Chapman, stating that the lawsuit was not against the Treasurer personally, but rather to establish the roles each elected office should play in accordance with the state and county laws. “I’m not interested in suing a person; the third branch of government can declare the process and explain the duties of us all,” he said. “This is a question of law, not one of behavior,” he added later.

Chapman called himself the “lone person in Clallam County” disagreeing with the decision of the other two. He said sometimes he “lets his volcanic temper” get hold of him.

After much discussion, Commissioner Peach moved that the issue be resolved by the Court; Commissioner McEntire seconded. The motion carried with a two-to-one vote, Peach and McEntire in favor, Chapman opposed.

Watch the entire meeting here: 2015 08 25 Clallam County Board Of Commissioners Regular Meeting

Board of County Commissioners


County Commissioners meeting – L to R: Mark Nichols, Prosecuting Attorney, Commissioner Mike Chapman, Commissioner/Chair Jim McEntire, Commissioner Bill Peach, and County Administrator Jim Jones.

Sequim, WA: SARC plans for the future

By Lois Krafsky-Perry
for  Citizen Review

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sequim, WA – The five board members of the Clallam County Park & Recreation District 1 (also known as SARC – Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center) met August 18, at the Sequim library. Forty-eight citizens attended the special meeting, which was announced the previous day. Also present was the SARC secretary and SARC attorney Craig Miller.

It was announced that the Board was to make a decision on a Resolution (No. 08-18-2015-01) – a Resolution of the Board of Commissioners of Clallam County Park and Recreation District No. 1.  Consolidating Funds.

Section 1 of the Resolution states that all funds currently contained within the Reserve Fund Number 66853 and the Construction and Equipment Fund 66854 are hereby transferred to the General Fund Number 66851.

Section 2 calls for Fund Numbers 66853 and 66854 to be closed. Continue reading

Community gathers to consider ideas for SARC

by Lois Krafsky-Perry
for  Citizen Review

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sequim, WA – “This is a very important meeting for our Board of Commissioners.  It appears public funding will not be available,” said Chairman of the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) Frank Pickering.  “Do not refight election or place blame.  We are looking for broad scale ideas.  What is practical and what happens as a Board.  How long funds will last depends on monthly review.  If we cannot find anything, there will be a shut-down,” continued Pickering.

A meeting of approximately 150 people rallied August 12, at the SARC  gymnasium to try to figure out what to do about the reported threat for running out of funds this next year  for SARC.

New business included:
1-Briefing of options (Legal and Financial) Facing SARC – Craig L Miller Atty.
2-Consolidation of SARC Accounts (Craig L Miller)

Many people were there to offer innovative ideas on keeping  the pool and  not relying on giving it to other sources.

Craig Ritchie, speaking for  the City of Sequim,  and YMCA representative Gary Huff,  expressed an interest in taking or sharing SARC.

SARC owns 5.0400 acres, and was purchased for $100,000, according to Clallam County assessment records.

The pool was voted on by the people in 1984, and after much opposition, was passed by a little over 60 percent.  The people were promised  they would have a swimming pool, for the community, if they passed that levy. (The summer only outdoor pool, located NW of  Sequim high school,  was later destroyed.)  The plan was to make the new indoor pool self-sufficient, as soon as possible.

Several  years later, the tax-payers were relieved as that goal was met as promised and SARC became self-sufficient.

Many people in the community, at the time of the building, worked on raising funds through donations and selling memberships.

Excitement filled the air with the realization that children could learn to swim all year round and adults could also enjoy year- round recreation.

SARC was built in 1986-87 and opened Spring of 1988. The facility housed a swimming pool, a small children’ pool, a sauna, a hot tub and a diving board. There was an upstairs office section, and a workout and/or meeting room. A gymnasium downstairs, two exercise rooms with exercise machines, a small racket-ball court and small handball court were also included. It was publicized, at that time, that it would be a two million dollar building project.  The exact figures may have been lost in records which have been reported as destroyed, with the exception of the past five years.

Since the building of our community pool, there have been expansions such as: extra rooms with work-out equipment, steam room and large pool slide.  Maintenance and operations expenses have increased. Many blame poor management, in the past. These reasons have been given to challenge the community for more tax dollars.

An appeal to the tax-payers for another six year levy operations and maintenance levy failed in November 2014. They asked for 12 cents per thousand assessed value, of property taxes.

In August 2015, an independent group, Citizens for SARC, placed Proposition 1 which would have created a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) on the August 4 ballot. It failed by 60-40 % vote. They suggested 12 cents per thousand; however, according to state law, it could have run as high as 75 cents per thousand.

An August 13 letter of support was sent to the Board Chair, Frank Pickering from Dist 1 Clallam County Commissioner Jim McEntire. He wrote, “As for me, now that the people have spoken, I want to be part of the solution in finding a way forward for SARC’s survival.  If we can find a business model that solves SARC’s cash flow issue, I will be happy to support a grant from the Opportunity Fund to solve the pool air handler problem.”

Attendee Rick Zander said he talked to a lot of people about ideas to save money.  Close the big pool in the winter,” suggested Zander. “Perhaps a small levy,” was another idea.

” A levy just for the pool?” asked Board Chair Frank Pickering. “I will put it on the list, ” he added.

One Sequim citizen, who had worked on the original plans for the pool, shared some history.  “We helped build the pool with fundraisers. It was positive.  Nobody paid except for what was necessary.  We built the pool for education and children.  That pool is the foundation of SARC.  We all pitched in and sold over 2,000 passes,” she said.

The longtime resident exhorted people to turn negative around now.  “We paid for this pool, in the black, for years,” she recalled.

She complimented Director Scott Deschenes and asked for support for the elected board. “The City gave us a headache, when we started,” she said. She recommended fundraisers, grants, bricks etc, for ways to keep the pool. She received a large applause for her comments.

Dick Hazleton, said he was a member, but not a user.”I voted yes each time,” he announced. He continued, “this is a valuable asset.  Look at the pool to look at the future.  “Save SARC why,” he asked. He suggested good marketing to let people feel ownership.  “There is a lack of sense of ownership,” said Hazleton.

A gentleman, in response to an earlier presentation by City of Sequim, Craig Ritchie, asked if the park district does not go, will it go to the school district?  “What if the school district does not want it, can they sell it?” he asked.

“The Superior Court would ask for someone else,” was the answer, from  Board attorney Craig Miller.

Eckart Mildenstein, who ran for commissioner, if the Metropolitan Park District levy had passed, shared some ideas.  “It needs to be a community effort, not just taxpayers,” he announced. He suggested raising money through drives. He offered to give a thousand dollars of his money if others would donate a certain amount. He also suggested, ‘a legacy program’.

Volunteers was another suggestion, but Miller stated that SARC insurance does not allow it. “Lower the hours and create another fee structure,” was also suggested.

Trainer Alicia Demetropolis asked if they could file a new levy ballot, but Miller said the date to decide for the November ballot would have been August 4th.  That was the deadline date for the Proposition 1 election.

Craig Ritchie, attorney for City of Sequim, was introduced by Pickering, to speak about Legal Options. “I’m not a finance person. The matter is left to those responsible for funds,” he said.  He noted some matters exist for a shut-down.

Ritchie discussed dissolution of SARC,” as a ‘separate entity’.

“Authority is vested in the [SARC] Board of Commissioners. That has not changed. The Board is the best way to proceed.  They have the power to determine closure, if necessary, use of funds and alter operations in any fashion,” determined Ritchie. He said the Board  determines closing all or part of the facility and also hours reduction.

“What happens in the event SARC does not find a way to proceed for future? There is a State Park Resolution that deals with dissolution. It is a type of municipal entity,” noted Ritchie.
He stated that the SARC Board of Commissioners can declare to dissolve or declare other districts for succession for transfer of assets, if not indebtedness, transfer contracts or real property.  All districts, if they want a successor taxing district, when you have had discussion and is acceptable to Board.

Ritchie gave an example of a Port District amendment or Statute, dealing with dissolution of non-functioning district. A Superior Court hearing for a petition, if solvent, and all assets would be transferred to School District. He did not note the Statute number.

An audience member then uttered, “no way.”

The City representative then continued, “If a court determines, assets could be sold at a Sheriff’s sale (distress not fair market) for cash, etc.  It would be applied to Park and Recreation District  obligation.”

Ritchie stated there could be a levy to taxpayers to pay off debt.  “Not aware that latter procedure to be triggered,” he added.  He said there could be transfer to another taxing district, which brought sighs from several attendees.

Chairman Pickering announced, there has been a lot of mis-information going around.  We will discuss at a Work Session or Board meeting–to be announced.”

“Asking  questions and also asking the Public and City of Sequim.  “the Board would like to see a 3 way partnership City, County, and SARC and a win, win, win combination,” announced Pickering.

Craig Ritchie continued by pitching for MPD (Municipal Park District), combining several ideas, for the future. “I feel more comfortable with a written intergovernmental document or agreement,” he announced, as he mentioned a Statute. He did not supply the statute number, which is apparently a statute about a Municipal Park District.  He offered a prepared  sample agreement for the Board.

It should be included in Board minutes, for approval at the next Board meeting.

“How an MPD is run and how funds are distributed… terms should be in there.” stated Ritchie.
He stated that SARC is top number one of Clallam County.  A constant figure is $384,000 starting off as soon as we can get money–2017. He mentioned tennis courts and the school district, and  stated that the Senior Center could be a contract for  supplemental activities.

Ritchie discussed Master Projects and also City operation with Boys and Girls Club.  He stated that Kirkland’s- National was $1,000,000 for a Recreation Center. “The City paid the rest and contracted back,” he said.

Ritchie said that 19 cents per thousand would be a starting figure for a levy.

Board member Sherry Nagel asked,”Why does the City think 19 cents might work? It is actually 75 cents figure.”

Ritchie answered, “We are planning on asking for this.”

Miller asked if the people would vote for it.  It was discussed that a larger amount of people users increases the voter base. “Typically elected officials don’t want to increase taxes, or they don’t get elected,” offered Ritchie.  Miller said, “Trust that they will do what they say and not what they want to do.”

Citizen David LaFreed asked,” Does the law allow when formed, what taxes will be for start?” Ritchie said, “no” and they could not tell voters.

Pickering stated, ‘we said we would work with the City Council.” He said they are working to get a group together. Board member Gil (Goodman) will be working with you,” he said.

Pickering  then remarked, “the only people that lose are the citizens of the area”

“We could reach agreement for a temporary financing that would have to be contingent on the MPD and the MPD money would come in later,” said Ritchie. Then he added, “we could possibly get bonds.”

Attorney Miller said, “Yes, they could sell it, ” which was in answer to a question, by an attendee. The question was about a sale of SARC.

Port Angeles YMCA (Young Mens Christian Association) Financial Director, Gary Huff was introduced and voiced some possible ideas. “I am here to suggest or at least look at an option.  Unfortunately we are not a white knight,” he announced.  Huff said they have the same mission as SARC.  “We  have 80 percent membership and 20 percent is raised….We have a policy that nobody is turned away, ” he said.

YMCA also has scholarships. Huff offered a Consultant at the YMCA’s expense.  “Could we really make it work?” he asked.  He said it would take a couple months to do fund raising possibilities, business plan and audits. “Duplicating and competing is not our business,” said Huff.

It was announced that Frank Pickering and Sherry Nagel will work with Huff.

Tom Locke, Chairman of Olympic Medical Center, said, “we also are not a white knight.” He expressed an interest in examining ideas to work with SARC.

Robert Hitchcock, General manager of Sherwood Village said,” we are looking for memberships for all our residents.

SARC Board chairman Pickering announced that they are still meeting their budget.

July Vouchers  were $37,939.

Director Scott Deschenes reported that the National average is 65 percent spent and 68 percent was spent.

Pickering said he is being asked if SARC is remaining open.  “Based on future sales, 80 percent revenue is good,”he said.

The board chairman is hoping the community will keep up revenue and keep SARC going.

Landowners express anger over water rights issue that blocks their ability to build

By Shannen Kuest
Skagit Valley Herald

The meeting was called by the Skagit chapter of the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights.

About 120 people filled the American Legion Hall on Tuesday night to discuss the water and property rights issues facing Skagit County. Among them were property owners and Alliance members, who took the state’s 2001 instream flow rule to task.

When some at the meeting suggested building on their properties without county permission, one audience member shouted, “To hell with the county!”

Continue reading

PLF sues the Corps and EPA over expansive water rule

July 15, 2015

SACRAMENTO, CA;  July 15, 2015:  On behalf of a number of landowners and major organizations representing landowners, including the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico, Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) sued the Obama Administration today over its vast new expansion of Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction — an expansion that could bring virtually all the nation’s water and much of the land under direct federal regulatory control.

Continue reading

Op-Ed: REINS Act needs support to pass

Op-Ed by Phil Kerpen, President
American Commitment

Posted 7/9/2015

The House may only be weeks away from a vote to fix the country’s regulatory system and restore the basic constitutional principle that Congress – which for decades has gotten away with passing broad, vague laws that shift all the real decision making to bureaucrats – will again be responsible for legislating.

The bill, HR 427, known as the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, didn’t come from any of the think tanks or so-called experts in Washington: it came from a veteran, former judge, and longtime political activist named Lloyd Rogers in Alexandria, Kentucky. Continue reading

A visit to the past: One reason Clallam County made the DCD an elected position

Posted 6/22/2015

(Editor’s note:  This letter from 2001 is self-explanatory.  Shortly after, Clallam County, as a Home Rule Charter County, placed a change to the Charter to see if the DCD [Director of Community Development] should be made an elected position instead of an appointed one.  The issue went on the ballot, and the voters said “yes” to an elected, rather than appointed position for the DCD Director – the first and only in the nation so far.  When the next Charter Review Commission convened, the issue was placed on the ballot again – pressed by those who thought the DCD Director should be an appointed “expert”, despite the fact that the elected position had been working quite well.  The second time – the voters AGAIN voted to keep the position elected.  There is a movement afoot to bring it to the ballot a THIRD time by the current Charter Review Commission.  We shall see if that comes to pass. LKP)

LETTER FOLLOWS:

Frustrated Clallam County citizen speaks out about extraordinary requirements to place part of his property into a “pre-man” condition as a result of the Critical Areas Code Continue reading

Recreation group declares victory over wilderness claims

CLEARWATER SETTLEMENT APPROVED – RECREATION GROUPS DECLARE VICTORY ON RECOMMENDED WILDERNESS CLAIMS

BOISE, ID (April 21, 2015)–A federal court has accepted the settlement agreement that resolves a lawsuit claiming that the Clearwater National Forest illegally closed recommended wilderness areas (RWA) to motorized use. The agreement, between the Forest Service and lawyers for the Idaho State Snowmobile Association and BlueRibbon Coalition, requires the agency to conduct a new analysis and issue a new decision to evaluate “motorized and over snow access management” in the areas. The Forest Service “dispute Plaintiffs’ claims” but acknowledged “that regional issuance of documents described as guidance for forest planning, including planning for RWA management, has led to confusion and misperception regarding the role that such documents serve ….”

The areas in dispute were decades ago recommended for wilderness designation by the Forest Service, but Congress has not acted on these recommendations. The areas have always received motorized use, and more recently mountain bike use, that would be prohibited in formally designated wilderness. Neither the initial ratings nor the present wilderness suitability have been diminished by these uses, and the “wilderness character” of the areas has remained the same under Forest Service evaluations.

The agreement, initially filed in October, 2014, contemplated a Forest Service effort to complete the new analysis prior to the start of the 2014-2015 winter snowmobile season. In the absence of a new decision, the agreement provided for management to revert to the 1987 Plan, which would allow snowmobile use. The Court did not complete its review of the agreement until the 2014-2015 winter use season had largely passed, and declined to vacate the challenged plan’s prohibition on motorized access. The Court “conditionally approved” the remainder of the agreement, and the Forest Service and Recreation Groups accepted the Court’s interpretation.  The agreement also provides for payment of $30,000 toward legal fees incurred by the Recreation Groups. 
 
“We have learned in decades of litigation that our court system produces imperfect outcomes” said Sandra Mitchell, Public Lands Director of the Idaho State Snowmobile Association, the lead plaintiff. “We would like to eliminate the effects of what we consider an illegal decision, but getting a new decision is a significant step. Ultimate progress must always occur through the agency, and we hope we have sown seeds toward that outcome here,” Mitchell noted.

# # #

The ISSA is an Idaho nonprofit corporation providing a unified voice for the Idaho snowmobile community, seeking reasonable snowmobile access to public and private lands in Idaho, and educating public and private interests on snowmobile use, safety and access. www.idahosnow.org


The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well — all sports; all trails. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB – 
www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org

NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Paul Turcke, (208) 331-1800
Date: April 21, 2015

6.5M people with active Social Security numbers are 112 or older: IG Agency urged to update its files

Posted 3/17/2015

By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times

Roughly 6.5 million people with active Social Security numbers are age 112 and older, according to an audit by the Social Security Administration’s inspector general.

The March 4 audit concluded that the administration “did not have controls in place to annotate death information” on the the main electronic file, called Numident, for Social Security numberholders who exceeded maximum reasonable life expectancies and were likely deceased.

“We obtained Numident data that identified approximately 6.5 million numberholders born before June 16, 1901 who did not have a date of death on their record,” the report states. Continue reading

Senate passes transportation bills after controversial ruling. House passes minimum-wage increase

Posted 3/5/3015

Lawmakers are working to act on dozens of bills this week ahead of the next deadline coming up March 11, the last day on which each chamber can consider its own bills.

Action on a transportation plan in the Senate stalled last Friday when Democrats raised the question of whether it would take a two-thirds majority vote to advance the legislation, according to a Senate rule passed at the beginning of this session. The rule provides that any measure that creates new taxes would need a two-thirds majority to move it to a final vote. Final passage would still only require a simple majority. Continue reading

Clallam County Charter Review Commission begins its year-long work

by Lois Krafsky-Perry

Citizen Review
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Port Angeles, WA – Clallam County, WA is one of only 7 counties out of 39 in Washington State that operates on a Home Rule Charter.  Often referred to as a “county constitution”, the Charter offers more local control and guidance for the county, with reviews and input from citizens done every 8 years (changed from every 5 years the last time it met in 2007).
Fifteen citizens from across the county (5 from each district) are elected to review, hold public hearings, and offer possible amendments to the Charter, which are then voted upon by the people in November.
The individual garnering the most number of votes convenes the first meeting within 30 days of certification of the election (Nov. 25th, 2014).  Sue Forde received the most votes overall, so called the initial meeting for Dec. 18th.  The county failed to properly post the event per the Open Meetings Act, however, so it was rescheduled for December 25th.  That meeting was scheduled to review bylaws, rules, and elect the permanent chair, first and second vice chairs and parliamentarian.  Forde offered an alternate agenda for consideration because all members could not be present due to the holidays, which was passed.
The next meeting was held on Jan. 5, 2015 at the Clallam County Courthouse, with a full commission in attendance, and approximately 25 citizens.  The first order of business was the election of the chair.  Two individuals were nominated:  Sue Forde and Norma Turner.  Turner, District 2, received the majority of votes.  The Bylaws call for each of the lst and 2nd vice chairs to be from the remaining two districts.
Chair Turner took over the meeting and called for election of first vice chair.  Two names were offered:  Sue Forde and Ted Miller, both of District 1.  Forde received the strong majority of votes.
The election for 2nd vice chair saw two nominees again; this time, Barbara Christiansen and Connie Beauvais of District 3.  Christiansen received the most votes.  The three elected positions will comprise the executive committee, responsible for setting the order of business for the next meeting.  The chair prepares the Agenda, which is then voted upon by the whole commission at the next meeting.
The meeting’s agenda called for review and approval of  bylaws and rules of procedure, and discussion for videotaping of meetings. The group spent most of the meeting wordsmithing and making minor changes and/or additons to the bylaws and rules.
After complaints by two members of the commission about using Roberts Rules of Order, the commission adopted by a vote of 13-2 that Roberts Rules of Order would continue to be used for meetings, in that it has been successfully used for all past meetings.
Discussion about video taping meetings was entertained and the commissioners decided that for now, the audio tapes would be used and posted for meetings, on the county site.  If individuals videotape meetings and post, for example, on Youtube, that could be done independently.  The question was asked about submitting videos to the commission, with the emails, phone calls, and other means of public comment.  After discussion, it was determined, by Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols that videos could also be admitted.
The next meeting was scheduled for February 2 at the Clallam County Courthouse, Commissioner’s meeting room, starting at 6:30 p.m.  At that meeting the commission will decide on dates for future meetings, as well as the process to be used for gathering information from citizens, county elected officials and some employees.
The 15 elected commissioners are:
District 1 District 2 District 3
Sue Forde Glenn Wiggins Howard “Mike” Doherty
Ken Hays Norma Turner Barbara Christiansen
Ron Bell Maggie Roth Connie Beauvais
Nola Judd Steven Burke Cheryl Williams
Ted Miller Selinda Barkhaus Rod Fleck

Continue reading

2015 legislative session convenes on Monday, January 12th

News Release from Washington Votes.org

Posted 1/9/2015

Court-mandated basic education funding will occupy center stage when the 64th Legislature convenes at noon Monday for what many observers see as one of the most important sessions in memory.

Top priorities include a voter-approved class size reduction measure and a comprehensive transportation package. Above all, a new two-year budget will dominate the 105-day regular session, with possibly special sessions to follow. Continue reading

Unconstitutionality Index: Feds Issued 27 Regs for Every New Law, 3,541 in 2014

Washington Examiner
Clyde Wayne Crews

January 5, 2015

Wayne Crews discusses the year in regulation with  Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard:

In a brand new calculation done by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the president’s team issued 3,541 rules and regulations in 2014 when Congress OK’d 129 laws he also signed.

That, according to the president’s critics, means that Obama and his crew have usurped Congress when it comes to writing laws. Continue reading

The Out-of-Town NGO’s Are Back

Posted on

by Pearl Rains Hewett, BehindMyBack.org

Funding for this work is provided by SURFRIDER FOUNDATION, PATAGONIA, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Rose Foundation and the Coastal Watershed Institute.

WHO ARE THESE OUT OF TOWN Living on the Edge  NON-GOVERNMENT SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS?

WHY ARE THEY HERE?

Big meeting? Landowner Update and Discussion?

———————————————————–

WHO INVITED THEM? Who’s collaborating with them?

AND WHO AUTHORIZED PAYMENT OF COUNTY FUNDS FOR THIS?

http://www.coastalwatershedinstitute.org/earthEconomics.pdf

Continue reading

Meeting scheduled in Pacific Beach on Navy War Games

KXRO

Posted 11/12/2014

Grays Harbor Fire District #8 Community Liaison Stephanie Allestad, an active … Pacific NorthwestEW Range Environmental Assessment.

Meeting scheduled in Pacific Beach on Navy War Games November 11, 2014 By KXRO Leave a Comment The Navy will be coming to Pacific Beach to answer questions about planned testing in Grays Harbor. The Navy has announced that they plan to conduct training using electromagnetic radiation emitting trucks on 15 sites on the Olympic Peninsula, including 4 sites in Grays Harbor. Along with sites in local forestland, and increasing air traffic, they would be installing a larger emitter at the Pacific Beach Naval Annex. Continue reading

Local Governments Throw a Tantrum in Response to Citizen Initiatives

by Scott Roberts
Freedom Foundation

Posted 9/18/2014

Residents of Sequim, Wash., are taking the city to court this Thursday to settle who maintains power and control of our government. On one side stands the volunteer activists trying to change their government by citizen initiatives. On the other side is the government, which would rather have its constituents take a knee than exert their rights.

As a freedom evangelist, I travel the state preaching the gospel of liberty and extolling the need for everyday people to engage and shape their local government. Perhaps the most pure expression of citizen involvement is petitioning government by initiative.

It so happens that groups around the state have taken two ideas written by the Freedom Foundation and introduced them as local initiatives. Continue reading

Editorial: Out of State Money into Local Races as Easy as 1-2-3

from The Fourth Corner
by Charlie Crabtree

Posted 9/7/2014
I receive e-mail updates from an organization called: The Environmental Priorities Coalition :

Their stated Mission:

“A network of leading environmental groups in Washington state. Formed in 2003, the Environmental Priorities Coalition selects priority issues each legislative session that make Washington State a better place to live.”

 

Read on to see how one member seems to see the mission and how it excludes many members of our society in making Washington State a better place to live.

Current Members: Continue reading

Proposed federal rule would hurt beer brewers, ranchers

By Katie Fiegenbaum
Durango HERALD STAFF WRITER

Posted 4/11/2014

For centuries, breweries have donated or sold their spent grain, a high-protein oatmeal-looking byproduct of the brewing process, for use as livestock feed.

On a ranch east of Durango, Justin Werts, with El Dorado Cattle Co., feeds his longhorn cattle with spent barley from Durango Brewing Co. A relationship allowing microbrewers to easily rid themselves of spent barley and ranchers to obtain a delicious and nutritious meal for their cattle may soon be strangled by regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration that would make the practice cost-prohibitive. Continue reading

EPA News from Liberty Scene

Rep. Darrell Issa calls for Pebble Mine probe

House Republicans are calling for an investigation into whether the Environmental Protection Agency planned to kill a controversial Alaska Copper-and-gold mine from its inception, according to documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

 

The EPA last month moved toward issuing a preemptive veto of a key mining permit for the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska.  The agency said the mine would destroy salmon runs that are home to nearly half the world’s sockeye salmon, and would disrupt the lives of native tribes.

 

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., urged EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate the agency’s handling of the Pebble project Friday, saying it had planned to use a preemptive veto to block the mine from outset.

(Washington Examiner)

 

 

Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children. 

 

But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine. 

 

 

Will the Supreme Court permit EPA climate fraud?

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The case will determine how far EPA can extend its regulatory overreach, to control “climate changing” carbon dioxide from power plants and other facilities – by ignoring the Constitution’s “separation of powers” provisions, rewriting clear language in the Clean Air Act, and disregarding laws that require the agency to consider both the costs and benefits of its regulations and what it is regulating. Put more bluntly, the Court will decide whether EPA may deceive and defraud the American people, by implementing regulations that have no basis in honest science and will be ruinous to our economy. It is the most important energy, economic and environmental case to come before the Court it in decades. 

(Cfact.org)

 

 

Watch Trey Gowdy’s epic speech on the floor of Congress that may be a defining moment for America 

We’ve finally gotten to the point where Congress had to pass a law to make sure that the laws they pass are enforced.

 

In a speech that Representative Trey Gowdy really shouldn’t have had to make, he explains angrily to the Congress what its job is, and to Obama what his job is. Members were heard to applaud as he reached the crescendo.

 

Five Democrats joined Republicans in passing a bill that directs Obama to follows the laws – clearing the House by a 233 to 181 vote.

(IJ Review)

 

 

California’s drought is a dam problem 

Congressman Tom McClintock brings some common sense to California’s drought crisis. There is no reason for the current drought problem. California needs more water storage and more dams. Instead Sacramento is considering the opposite – they want to remove dams.

(YouTube)

 

 

IG report: EPA employees used federal charge cards for gym memberships, gift cards

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees used federal charge cards to buy gym memberships, gift cards, hotel space and items at dance halls and music venues, according to an inspector general report released Wednesday.

 

“The EPA did not provide effective oversight to ensure that purchase card holders and approving officials comply with internal control procedures,” according to the report, entitled ”Ineffective Oversight of Purchase Cards Results in Inappropriate Purchases at EPA.” Seventy-five of 80 reviewed transactions were not in compliance with EPA policies.

(Watchdog.org)

The Liberty and Property Rights Coalition is committed to promoting and preserving Constitutional rights to liberty and property in public policy and the law.

A service of Liberty and Property Rights Coalition, 2013.

Bill passed helps ‘environmental protection’ turn into a lucrative business

 
Posted 3/18/2014
 
In the dark of night, while most folks were sleeping – oblivious – a piece of legislation that only had its “first reading” in Olympia twelve days ago passed by a vote of 93-5. This little slip of a bill, a mere three pages, will kick the principles of justice and liberty as we know them closer to the proverbial cliff.

      That sounds mighty dramatic, maybe over the top.  What’s this bill about?

Waal…  HB 2454 is a bill that paves the way for “water quality trading” in Washington State. Painted as accommodating and innovative, and dressed-up as so many bills are nowadays in predictable, wolf in sheep’s clothing buzzwords like “voluntary” and “market-based,” the legislature is setting up tables in the temple of environmental justice for the sale of Get Out Of Jail Free cards.  Instead of nabbing those who pollute, and correcting real problems appropriately, this bill says:
Continue reading

The “rain man”, er, government, cometh

Commentary by Pearl Rains-Hewitt
www.behindmyback.org

Posted 3/17/2014

Don’t you just love a guy with a sense of humor, attitude and documentation

His bottom line

Sorry, the environment comes first.

In life, only three things are certain — death, taxes and RAIN.

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Let’s examine a preview? of WA STATES future stormwater runoff tax

 


Consider all the ways we’re taxed. When we’re born (birth certificate), when we die (death certificate), when we make money (income tax), when we spend money (sales tax), when we own property (property tax), when we sell property (capital gains tax), when we go to a concert or ball game (amusement tax), when we own a vehicle (license, registration, tolls, gas tax) and special taxes on cell phones, tobacco, alcohol, energy, etc. Then, when we die, they tax our income all over again (death tax). Heck, they even tax our bowel movements (flush tax). Continue reading

Supreme Court to Government: Stop Railroading Property Owners

by Trevor Burrus
for Cato Institute

Posted 3/17/2014

Today, in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, the Supreme Court rebuked another attempt by the Obama administration to adopt a novel and extreme litigating position that was contrary to well-established precedent. Eight justices agreed with Cato’s amicus brief, holding that the United States does not retain a property interest in former railroad lands that are no longer used by railroads. Although this may seem like an arcane issue for Cato to be involved in, the case actually resembles a typical takings case, but this time the government tried to define a property right out of existence rather than pay compensation to the owners. Continue reading

U. S. Supreme Court rules in favor of property owner over railroad right-of-way

by David Roland, for
Freedom Foundation

Posted 3/17/2014

On March 10, 2014, eight of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices responded to the U.S. government’s efforts to bully property owners by punching the bully square in the nose. Continue reading

Supplemental budget, veteran and homeless bills pass as session ends. Bills on other big issues fail

from Washington Votes.org

Posted 3/14/2014

The House and Senate gavels came down simultaneously at seven minutes to midnight on Thursday, as the legislature adjourned “sine die” (Latin for “no more meeting days”) to the cheers of lawmakers and staff who had been working at a fast pace to finalize and pass legislation.

Lawmakers passed a compromise supplemental operating budget (SB 6002) that adds about $155 million in spending to the $33.6 billion 2013-15 budget, including $58 million more for school supplies and technology, $22 million more for mental health programs and $25 million for the Opportunity Scholarship fund. The bill passed by large bi-partisan votes, 83-15 in the House, and 48-1 in the Senate. Continue reading

“Email Privacy Act” bill would require IRS, other govt. agencies to obtain warrant

Posted 3/13/2014

News Release

Jaime Herrera Beutler Backs Bill to Broaden Protection for Citizens’ Online Communication against Government Surveillance

“Email Privacy Act” requires IRS, other government agencies to obtain warrant to view citizen’s emails

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced today that she has cosponsored legislation that would extend protections relating to citizen’s private e-mail and online communication.  H.R. 1852, the Email Privacy Act, would extend the same privacy protections to electronic communications that exist for hard mail and other personal, paper documents.  Under this bipartisan bill, a government agency would not be able to access a U.S. citizen’s emails without a court-ordered search warrant. Continue reading

What is ‘PILT’ and why do we need a permanent solution?

Arizona Capitol Times

Feb. 17, 2014

The acronym “PILT” is more than just an odd abbreviation. PILT stands for Payment In Lieu of Taxes, a program created by Congress in 1976. Simply put, PILT provides federal funding to counties that host large tracts of non-taxable federal land, reimbursing the counties for services required on those lands and making it possible for county governments to provide police and fire protection, road maintenance and necessary health care services.

In the nearly four decades since PILT’s creation, counties all across America — and especially in Arizona and the West — have come to rely on these funds, especially after the recent economic downturn slashed county budgets and resources to the bone and beyond. Continue reading

Big issues, including transportation, pending as 2014 session winds down to adjournment

Washingtonvotes.org

Posted 3/11/2014

State Senate lawmakers put in some overtime on Saturday to clear their concurrence calendar—actions on bills that were passed with changes by the opposite chamber. They also passed SB 5887 to merge the state’s medical marijuana system with the use of recreational marijuana as approved by voters in Initiative 502. The bill would reduce the amount of marijuana and the number of plants patients can possess, does away with collective gardens and establishes a patient registry. Passing by a vote of 34-15, the measure garnered the supermajority support required to amend an initiative and now goes to the House, which passed a similar bill last month.

The medical marijuana bill is just one of the measures that needs to be settled between the House and the Senate before lawmakers go home on Thursday, March 13th. Continue reading

Pay raises given to more agency directors

Posted 2/16/2014

by Brad Shannon
The Olympian

Gov. Jay Inslee granted pay increases to three more state agency directors Feb. 1, bringing to nine the number of cabinet agency leaders who received raises in the past six months.

Increases in the 2 to 3 percent range went to Maia Bellon at Ecology, Joel Sacks at Labor and Industries and Carol Nelson at Revenue.

 

Bret Daugherty, adjutant general of the Military Department also received a 1 percent raise on Jan. 1, but his pay is set by statute. Continue reading

Suspense in Senate: Debt Vote shrouded in Secrecy

By Andrew Taylor
AP World Magazine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Financial markets were watching, the retirement accounts of millions of Americans on the line.

Nervous senators were watching too, well aware that political fortunes could be on the line.

So on perhaps the most important vote of the year, the Senate did something extraordinary this week: It tried to keep the vote tally secret until the outcome was assured. Continue reading

Gibson launches ‘Government Series’ guitars with tone-wood seized in 2011 raid

By Jessica Chasmar |The Washington Times

Posted 2/5/2014

Gibson has introduced its Government Series II Les Paul guitars, made from the returned tonewood the federal government initially seized from the Nashville company in 2011.

The Department of Justice had raided Gibson Guitar facilities in name of the Lacey Act, a law that bans the importation of certain kinds of wildlife, plants and wood, Breitbart News reported. Continue reading

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