Tarboo Ridge Coalition Update

Opinion: Peter Newland

September 15, 2019— Day 887 of the resistance

Thank you for joining us today for an update on the Tarboo Ridge Coalition’s efforts to prevent a paramilitary training compound from being sited at Tarboo Lake. Jefferson County government thinks of Fort Discovery’s proposal as “a commercial shooting facility”. Our research indicates Fort Discovery Inc. has far more ominous plans and dreams.

I’ve been asked to spend 10 minutes briefing you on legal and county government matters.
As many of you know and Saturday’s PDN article confirmed, “Mr D’Amico has a history of
abusing the legal process to bully local governments whenever our community wants him to play by the same rules everyone else is expected to follow.” And I would add he employs the same tactics towards citizen groups and individuals who oppose his plans. That has been a hallmark of Mr D’Amico’s behavior for nearly 15 years. Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been wasted. Like the County, TRC’s coffers have also been diminished defending spurious lawsuits and threats. In all our cases, when push came to shove Mr. D’Amico folded, afraid to sit for a deposition. We have a lot of questions he did and does not want to answer.

Tomorrow we will receive the GMHB decision on our challenge to Jefferson County’s Title 8
ordinance passed in December 2018, regulating “commercial shooting facilities”. We are hopeful the Board will side with TRC and instruct the County to issue a State Environmental Policy Act checklist and give the planning commission and the public a chance to weigh in on substantial changes to the zoning code that were erroneously couched in Title 8 as “health and safety” matters. If TRC does not prevail then any application will be processed under a wide open katy bar the door ordinance that allows shooting facilities to be built in 76% of unincorporated Jefferson County with no limits on size, number of firing positions, type of weapons or who can train. There are absolutely no bright line rules. If we do prevail, we will all have the chance to work for a sensible and fair ordinance that includes specific siting criteria and does not allow a popular public Jefferson County Lake to be usurped for corporate use and private profit. Please stay tuned. To date our expenses for legal defense are approaching $50.00 per day. This is day 887.

We have said from the beginning, TRC’s task will be long, arduous and expensive but we will not be deterred. How long you ask? If history is any guide, recall that Richard Butler set up his Aryan Nations compound at Hayden Lake, Idaho in the early 1970’s. In 2001 the compound was shuttered, bankrupted by litigation by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Far better to resist one being built than to try and shut one down.

Speaking of the Southern Poverty Law Center they recently mapped 1020 active Hate Groups all across America including ones that are active on the Olympic Peninsula. You may have seen the news report about the noose hanging in a local storefront. Slowly the dots are being connected.

Let talk a minute about Jefferson County government. They likely mean well but have not done well. They say they are intimidated by continued threats from Mr. D’Amico and his attorney, Greg Overstreet, including one spurious claim for $100,000,000. One Commissioner said they were being “blackmailed”. It has never been disclosed to the public what the threat, if any, is. Thus, we have no ability to judge the accuracy of county officials’ fear.

I can think of a lot of words beginning with “C” that apply here. Courageous is not one of them. Conflicted might be one, Complicit and Complacent definitely are. At the other end of the alphabet is “S” which stands for Secretive so let’s start there.

On December 18, 2017 the County declared a moratorium on gun ranges and announced an
intent for a citizen’s committee to study the matter and make recommendations to the County. On January 15, 2018, twenty- one days before officially establishing the moratorium, the County entered into a “mediation agreement” with Fort Discovery Inc. “over what the moratorium on new shooting ranges means for Joe D’Amico’s proposed facility near Tarboo Lake.” A $435 an hour mediator was hired and thus began what is now 608 days with no appearance before the mediator but continued communications between the parties. Those communications remain secret because the County says that they are in discussions in preparation for mediation. State Law allows preparatory discussions to be withheld from the public.

18 months of preparation for mediation is hardly credible, and the continued secrecy raises all kinds of questions as to how much influence Fort Discovery had in shaping the new ordinance which is much less restrictive than what existed prior to the moratorium. Mr. D’Amico, in addition to participating in the secret meetings with the County, also served on the Citizen’s Committee that advised the County.

Apparently only a public records lawsuit stands a chance to get answers to the question of
whether there was any undue influence, or if the County has been complicit.

TRC, Department of Ecology, The Army Corp of Engineers, Jefferson County Department of Community Development and the Leader have all documented that the encampment at Tarboo Lake is under construction. A gun range has been built, toilets are being flushed, group training has commenced, wetlands have been filled, and buildings red tagged in 2005 have been moved onto the site and are in use. No permits have been granted and the County will not publicly divulge the status of any applications for permits or what, if any enforcement actions are being pursued. Our request for a briefing was denied and labeled as “political”. When notified of the danger posed to the public by the makeshift gun range, the County ignored the public safety ramifications, took Mr. D’Amico’s word that it is a private range for his friends’ recreational shooting and that no money changes hands. That is the essence of “Complacency

After nearly 15 years of Fort Discovery’s prevarication and routinely ignoring Jefferson County rules, the County continues to show great deference to the Corporation and continues a pattern of failing to enforce.

It raises the question; Is there is any rule that Fort Discovery Inc. will respect? Or in the
alternative, how flagrant does a violation need to be or how much danger to the public must be demonstrated before Jefferson County will choose to enforce its own ordinance?

To borrow a phrase, Let’s hope that past performance is no guarantee of future results!

Peter Newland, Board Member, Tarboo Ridge Coalition

Foreigners with Beards

Mike Regan

I’ve always been aware that something was amiss. Even when a child, I couldn’t accept the way conditions were. It didn’t have to be that way. Why were my parents failing to deal effectively with the way society was?

Why were the Boy Scouts so regimented? We were ordered around like little soldiers, taught to stand in lines and march. Treated with little respect as individuals.

Why was it that, walking up a long hill on my way home from school I had to breathe the stinky, poisonous fumes coming from diesel and gas vehicles? Why couldn’t “they” do something about this, and about that? Who was running the show, anyway?

The media and the politicians seemed to know the cause of all our problems: Foreigners with beards.

If it wasn’t Fidel Castro, it was Ho Chi Minh. Recently it was Osama Bin Laden, and a whole long list of bearded Middle-Easterners. Also apparently, the other the bad guys were the ones with mustaches: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and more recently, Saddam Hussein.

But, anyone could tell that it wasn’t Ho Chi Minh that was making me choke. It was my own country that planned to send me off to kill or be killed in Viet Nam. It was our own corporations that produced these polluting vehicles and fuels, and our own government who failed to regulate them, and who colluded in the war-profiteering.

Was it really “our” government, who did this in Viet Nam, or “we” who sent support to the tyranny in El Salvadore? It didn’t feel like anyone I knew supported these things. It wasn’t “we” in Seattle who were selling so many Boeing jets this year. Who are “we”, and do we really own “our” government or “our” corporations?

Do corporations have the right to sell poisonous tobacco products or polluting vehicles and fuels indiscriminately? How do the pharmaceutical companies get away with a slap on the wrist after so many have suffered and died from their addictive drugs?
There is a common thread here: Big money rules, and you don’t have it. There is no one running things in the public interest. Just big money interests whose only interest is to make more and bigger money for their own interest.

Occasionally, rich philanthropists like to look like they are looking out for people, and this is good. But, do they give up control to truly democratic and better intended groups like the non-profits? Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or Mothers Against Guns, or environmental groups like Green America or World Wildlife Fund?

Not to be too cynical, but it just seems like whenever one of these grassroots organizations makes a little progress, the rug is jerked out from under them by the power of big money, buying Congressmen and Presidents, who change the rules.

The only real solution is to have a constant drumbeat of public pressure, from a very large majority of the people on all the major issues. To get this, we would have to have a much better level of public understanding and education . . . which we are not getting, because of the private and increasingly centralized control of the big media. But that’s OK… Most of the men there are clean-shaven, anyway.

There once was something called the “fairness doctrine”… A law that required all big media outlets to provide equal time to opposing points of view whenever a political issue was aired on their stations. How could they be required? Because they are using the public airwaves and public roads for the wires and cables to propagate their massages. And the corporations were not claiming they were “persons” with rights of free speech.

We can no longer blame foreigners with beards, women, gays, blacks or whoever. They are we, and it’s about time for us human persons to take back our rights and the power to control our own destiny.

POLLING: To Care or Not to Care

By Linda Sutton

We are being subjected to the continual release of poll after poll. It becomes an emotional roller coaster, as we are either happy or sad with the resulting numbers. But should we pay attention to them?

Each poll is a snapshot in time. Each is controlled by the METHODOLOGY used in the sample of people who are polled, as well as the questioning techniques employed.

Online you can get an in-depth education on polling. Aapor.org comes up first. Then the New York Times and Pew. The following is a brief overview.

Each poll selects a group of people to record their opinions and views. How large the sample is matters, and the selection process is critical. In probability sampling, the gold standard until recent years, “all persons in the target population have a chance of being selected.” From these results, the poll extrapolates to the entire population AND can calculate a margin of error for the poll. Usually, the larger the sample size, the smaller the margin of error.

A main problem with this type of polling is that only those who agree to answer the questions are included. And, because the polls are by phone, specifically landlines, the population polled has skewed older and more settled. As in, how many younger people have landlines now? I’m not sure the extent to which cell phones have become part of the mix on sample selection.

Some of the most egregious polls are those done with non-probability sampling in which people are NOT selected at random, but opt in to participate. This could be by email, but more likely by a website. The results in this type of polling are inevitably biased and do NOT represent the population at large. There is also no way to calculate a margin of error. They are usually called STRAW polls and cannot be relied on at all because of the inherent bias.  A good for instance would be the Daily Kos polls. Most of these polls should be ignored.

In addition to sampling techniques, the QUESTIONS asked matter and can be manipulated by wording or sequencing of questions. To get to these, you have to go to the website of the polling firm. Usually, the size of the poll is disclosed in media reports.

So, next time you are subjected to the latest poll results, look beyond the numbers to HOW the polling was done, size of the sample, and the polling firm that did it. There are some that skew conservative and others who can be more trusted to give accurate results. But again, each poll is only a snapshot of that moment in time and can flip quickly as we’ve seen throughout recent elections. 

What Does Being a Progressive Mean To Me?

Mike Regan, Irondale

It means working for progress towards a better, fairer society: A society of mutual respect between human beings.

When you look at our positions on this list of issues what is the common thread?Medicare for all, College tuition, The We the People Amendment, A ban Nuclear weapons, Help to those fleeing oppression. Defense of voting rights. A Green New Deal.

Why are our opponents not so concerned about these issues? What sets us apart?

The answer is, that we are for human rights, not corporate rights..

We are for Human rights, not military might.

Human rights, not property rights.

Human rights, not gun rights.

Human rights, not money rights.

The right to breathe clean air, not the right to pollute.

The rights of Nature to survive and flourish, not the right to extract minerals from the environment to extract money from the people.

We do not want to live in a me-first adversarial relationship with Nature, and with each other; but in cooperation and mutual support.

Me-first is not an ideology, It’s just selfishness.

And America first is just an extension of the same thing.

Being Progressive doesn’t mean we want people to give up anything.

We want Markets, not Monopolies.

We want what is good for everyone, which then results in the good for the individual.

We oppose the unlimited accumulation of wealth and power.

We depose anyone who uses his position of power to abuse people, to manipulate and violate them.

Not only do we want these people removed from power, we want the positions themselves to be changed so that power is strictly limited.

We want protections for the powerless, not power to the powerful.

We want democracy, not autocracy. Democracy, not oligarchy. Democracy, not plutocracy.

The rule of the people, not the rule of money.

Equality under the law for all persons regardless of race, creed, color, economic status, or any other quality that may be used as an excuse to divide us.

We do not want division. We want unity.

At bottom, I am an optimist and I believe great things can be accomplished; but we can only achieve a fair and just society when we come to hold the rights of Nature and of Humanity above those of money and power.

2019 Statement for Pamela Petranek, Candidate Port of Port Townsend Port Commissioner District 1

A lifelong Washingtonian, Pam Petranek is running for Port Commissioner, “To support the strength and vitality of our maritime trades, our shared maritime heritage, our environment, and living wage jobs for this and future generations – and to ensure that our Port facilities remain accessible to the residents of Jefferson County.”

Pam can rebuild trust in Port leadership. She supports updated, straightforward, transparent financial reporting.  She wants the commission to make spending and management decisions based on accurate facts.

As a citizen advocate and Port Townsend Marine Trades Association leader, she is working on solutions. She co-coordinated a rate analysis to fill the boatyard. She co-coordinated the 2018 Jefferson County Maritime Trades Economic Study. 

With her spirit of collaboration, Pam can help lead our Port with living-wage jobs, commonsense approaches to infrastructure needs, clarify the role of executive director, and focus on environmental stewardship. 

Pam is working with a team of community experts to create an accountable, accessible and sustainable Port for everyone in Jefferson County.

Pam is endorsed by the Port Townsend Marine Trades Association, former Port Commissioner John Collins, former Mayor David King, City Councilmember Michelle Sandoval, along with many county residents and small business owners.

BIO:

Elected Experience

I am currently serving on the Board of the Port Townsend Marine Trades Association.

Other Professional Experience

I have been a public and homeschool teacher for 30 years, most recently as a music teacher for Port Townsend School District. I have earned my U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License and taught sailing lessons. I am currently a commercial fisherman with Cape Cleare Fishery.

Education

BA in Education, Western Washington University

Community Service

I have been nominated for Citizen of the Year 2018, for co-leading the Jefferson County Maritime Trades Economic Study. I am currently co-leading a citizens advisory group.

Contact Information

Pam Petranek

PortCommissionerPam@gmail.com

www.pampetranek.com

360-316-9802

Jefferson County Citizens To Occupy Pope Resources Land

Jefferson County Environmental Coalition Jefferson County area citizens to occupy Pope Resources Land due to aerial spraying near city reservoir Citizens of Jefferson and Kitsap County will occupy a clear-cut land area owned by Pope Resources.

The land in question is next to City Lake, the water reservoir for the city of Port Townsend. The occupation will start on Monday, August 19, 2019 in the early morning and will extend to as long as Pope Resources tries to aerial spray the land.

Citizens of Eastern Jefferson County are occupying the land that Pope Resources clear-cut because our local and state governments have failed to protect our human health, land, water, air, and wildlife.

We are therefore preparing to protect our health, water, and environment. We will start the occupation on Monday, August 19th, and stay on the land until Pope Resources agrees not to aerial spray the area and agrees to stop using glyphosate and other dangerous toxins to control unwanted plant growth on their lands. Safe alternatives to aerial spraying are readily available.

Three weeks ago Pope announced they would NOT aerial spray or use glyphosate in Kitsap County this year. We insist that the health and safety of Jefferson County residents and its environment deserve the same protections. Pope’s double standard flies shamelessly in the face of reason and equality.

In 2018 Pope Resources aerial sprayed the area around City Lake and evidence was found by nearby residents that chemical drift had occurred near and possibly over the lake itself.

The City of Port Townsend was notified. Community members have continued to notify the City of Port Townsend and the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners about the potential for drift and chemical contamination by harsh and dangerous chemicals used to kill plants on the nearby clear-cut. The chemicals that Pope has posted on the site are as follows: Accordxrt2, Oust Xtra, Rotary 2 XL, Superpread SO and OustXP, Transline and Grounded W. All are extra loads of glyphosate.

This is different than what Pope reported they would spray on this site on their website which was Imazapyr, Glyphosate, Sulfometuron Methyl + Metsulfuron-Methyl, and vegetable oil. The Washington Department of Natural Resources has allowed 20 different chemicals to be sprayed on this site. (FPA/N# 2616127)

Pope Resources gave notice of impending spray activity throughout Eastern Jefferson County in July 2019 via an organization website called “popeneighbor2neighbor”.

In the past, Pope Resources contacted the Jefferson County Conservation District of impending spraying of herbicides on their land in Jefferson County. The conservation district then published the information in the local Port Townsend newspaper, The Leader. Pope no longer communicates with the conservation district or local media about impending herbicide use.

Community members had to sift through the company website to find what would be sprayed and how it would be applied. The website did not publish dates of application. The spraying by Pope will impact Port Townsend, Chimacum, Quilcene, Port Ludlow, Port Hadlock and other small communities.

Community members then started a campaign to ask the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners and the City of Port Townsend councilors to stop the spraying because it creates a public health emergency in the county. Watersheds throughout eastern Jefferson County will be impacted with toxic herbicides which kill bees, fish, impact organic farms and gardens, wells and springs, wetlands, lakes, cause hoof rot in wildlife and disrupt the viability of lakes, streams and ultimately the Puget Sound and Hood Canal.

We, citizens of Jefferson County, Washington ask that you as journalists cover our action and inform Washington State communities that we intend to defend our communities from Pope Resource’s destructive actions.

For more information contact Ellen O’Shea elleno@peak.org