Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All Things Port Require Public Scrutiny

Skip Houser, Attorney for Port of Shelton

Why Is Port's Legal Counsel Pre$ent at Every Meeting?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

I’ve been out of town on business these past few days, enjoying immensely an opportunity to discuss with intelligent, well-informed people, proposals that have nothing to do with Mason County politics or policies. I look on such opportunities as a welcome respite from having to stand by and watch our local officials engage in never-ending, petty, personal escapades that pass for business, especially at the Port of Shelton.

In the fifteen months I have been attending Port meetings, researching Port decisions and observing the personal behavior of those charged with managing Port property, I have come to one, inescapable conclusion; and that is that some folks charged with managing Port assets appear unable or unwilling to perform their duties in a fair and equitable manner, or even to comply with the spirit of the statutes by which they are governed.


The recent lease agreement between the Port of Shelton and Northwest Event Organizers, Inc., as sponsors of the Mason Area Fair may or may not be beneficial to the Port’s bottom line. But one thing is certain, and that is events leading up to the signing of the lease were atypical in that the opportunity to run the fair was not offered to a larger pool of entrepreneurs, and that the lease itself failed to follow standard Port procedures or to enact standard conditions.

Also worthy of inclusion is the fact that Northwest Event Organizers, Inc. is a profit driven company, not a non-profit, charitable organization. So why has the Port been so accommodating, and why are event organizers asking the public to donate their time, money and energy?

The fact that the proprietors of Northwest Event Organizers, Inc. are personal friends of the Port Executive Director, John Dobson, may be entirely coincidental, but if I have learned anything about Port business over these past few months, it is that personal friends enjoy a level of access not extended to the public at large.

It would appear, also, as was the case of Port employee and whistle-blower, Teresa Rebo, that if you witness what you believe to be questionable behavior on the part of Port management and bring those concerns to Commissioners, you may very likely find yourself fired, which is exactly what happened.

When the Commissioners were questioned as to why they let director Dobson fire Teresa Rebo, Commissioner Tom Wallitner went on record saying that it was not his job to interfere with the methods employed by Port Director John Dobson.


Had the above events occurred in the private sector, total reaction may have been to raise a few eyebrows. But when they involve the governing body of a public municipality, the consequences of those actions will be borne by the public. And it is for that reason the public needs to remain vigilant, and to oversee all questionable business dealings involving the Port, as they occur.


There is a reason the Port’s legal counsel is a fixture at every public meeting, but it is not a good reason.

Photo by Christine

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude

Jim Hightower: Big Coal Targets Children


Excerpt from:
Big Coal Buys Access to 4th Graders

By Jim Hightower

If some predator was stalking fourth graders in your community, there'd be a mighty uproar to make the predator get away and stay away from your schools.

But what if the stalker is the coal industry, dressed in an academic outfit in a gambit to brainwash fourth grade school kids? Unbeknownst to most Americans, grade schoolers are being targeted by the American Coal Foundation with a propaganda package stealthily titled, "The United States Of Energy".

It's not mentioned in the materials, but Big Coal paid big bucks to Scholastic Inc. to develop this shamelessly distorted promotion of the dirtiest fuel on Earth. The package fills little minds with the joys of having 600 friendly, coal-fueled utilities generating electricity 24 hours a day. Not a peep is made about the toxic waste, air and water pollution, mine explosions, black lung deaths, mountaintop destruction, greenhouse gas emissions, political corruption, and other decidedly unfriendly aspects of what industry propagandists simply tout as "black gold".

This "educational package" has been distributed to 150,000 fourth grade teachers, potentially putting its perverted view into the heads of more than a million children. Of course, the coal giants could not have entered so many schools on their own, so they bought access to our kids through Scholastic, a $2-billion-a-year corporation that places its materials in 90 percent of U.S. classrooms. Indeed Scholastic's InSchool Marketing division brags of its ability to "promote client objectives" by targeting teachers and students with classroom packages that "make a difference by influencing attitudes and behavior".

How sweet.

To help stop this kind of predatory marketing, contact
The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood:

http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/

Link to complete article:

http://www.jimhightower.com/node/7477

Saturday, June 25, 2011

PORT DIRECTOR DOBSON'S REVENGE

JACK MILES ON THE DISMISSAL OF TERESA REBO

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Jack Miles Mason County Progressive

TO: Constituents of Mason County Port District 216

To no one's surprise, the 6/21/11 Port Meeting was no different than any of the other meetings. For starters, I asked Commissioners Hupp and Wallitner if they believed that Mr. Dobson was justified in sending harassing emails to Teresa Rebo; coercing her to sign the "Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan"; and then subsequently firing her. The Hupp/Wallitner response was "absolutely". It is often hard for me to understand the mentality of my fellow commissioners.

I also found out that Mr. Dobson used Suzanne Michael, the outside counsel and same attorney who hired the investigator to address/whitewash Teresa Rebo’s concerns about the Port for the termination process. This same Suzanne Michael drafted the “Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan” that Mr. Dobson was coercing Ms. Rebo to sign.

Here is some background on this event:

On Monday at 8:21 am, Mr. Dobson sent Ms. Rebo a message to her personal email account, well knowing Ms. Rebo was already at work at the Port, and does not access her personal email account from work. The email stated that Ms. Reob had only until 10 am that same day to sign the "Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan" or she would be terminated.

Mr. Dobson most definitely did not give Ms. Rebo adequate notice that this document needed to be signed by 10 am, June 20, 2011. (This is a good example of how Mr. Dobson operates.) The e-mails and the "Last Chance Agreement and Disciplinary Action Plan" were designed to try to establish some sort of pretext critical of Ms. Rebo’s conduct at the Port. Mr. Dobson knew he had no documentation to support his claims that Ms. Rebo was insubordinate.

I decided to consult with a colleague who has a background in Human Resources. I asked him what would be typical to have in a personnel file. After my discussion with him, I gathered the following items that would usually be found in an employee's file:
  • A copy of Ms. Rebo’s personnel file (which I was given written permission from Ms. Rebo to obtain).
  • A signed copy of the "Last Chance Agreement" signed by Dobson and Wendy Smith as witnesses.
  • A copy of the Job Description of the Property Development Manager.
  • A copy of notes from Mr. Dobson relating to his initial consultation with Ms. Rebo when she was hired, and what his expectations were regarding her duties and responsibilities as the Property Development Manager.
  • A copy of notes from Mr. Dobson regarding Ms. Rebo's 6-month employee performance evaluation, and her 1-year employee evaluation.
  • A written response as to why Ms. Rebo was given a raise.
  • A copy of any and all notes, emails and/or letters advising Ms. Rebo of poor performance.
  • A copy of the Executive Director’s Employee Evaluation Program and Performance Evaluation written policy Guide Book.
Upon inspection of Teresa Rebo’s personnel file on Tuesday, NONE of that information was present in her file!

In addition, it should be noted that RCW 42.41 states: “The purpose of this chapter is to protect local government employees who make good-faith reports to appropriate governmental bodies and to provide remedies for individuals who are subject to retaliation for having made such reports.“

To date, Mr. Dobson has never established a policy for staff on the procedures to follow for reporting such information, nor has he provided information to employees regarding proper procedure should anyone believe misconduct has occurred as in RCW 42.41.020 (paragraph 3) defining “Retaliatory Action”. I invite everyone to please read this chapter. Some of the examples cited therein are: frequent and undesirable office changes; unwarranted and unsubstantiated letters of reprimand or unsatisfactory performance evaluations; disciplinary action or dismissal, etc.

Also, in RCW 42.41.045, “Prohibition on intimidation of whistle blower“, it states: “A local government official or employee may not use his or her official authority or influence, directly or indirectly, to threaten, intimidate, or coerce an employee for the purpose of interfering with that employee’s right to disclose information concerning an improper governmental action."

Bottom line: The Port Commission has put the Port in legal jeopardy yet again.

Currently, the Port is facing litigation for other actions by Mr. Dobson (referenced when I spoke at the Port’s 6/1/10 meeting), including the firing of (2) employees at the Port and calling it a “Re-organization at the Port”. This resulted in a claim of $700,000 in damages. Such damages would be paid for with taxpayer money if a judgment against the Port is entered.

After sounding the alarm for many months regarding Mr. Dobson’s failure to exercise acceptable judgment in the use of taxpayer money, perhaps it is time to renew calls for his resignation and/or termination. I suggest that citizens demand that Mr. Dobson be dismissed. Any Port decision to protect/rescue Mr. Dobson yet again may prove to be very costly to the taxpayers of Mason County.

I urge everyone to support Teresa Rebo!

Sincerely,

Jack Miles
http://www.WeBackJackMiles.com/

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:


SUPPORT TERESA REBO!!!

CALL, WRITE, OR FAX:

Commissioner Jay Hupp
jayhupp@comcast.net
Phone: (360) 426-1151
FAX: (360) 427-0231

Commissioner Tom Wallitner
TMW@Walitner.com
Phone: (360) 426-1151
FAX: (360) 427-0231

Executive Director John Dobson
johnd@portofshelton.com
Phone: (360) 426-1151
FAX: (360) 427-0231

Executive Assistant Wendy Smith
wendys@portofshelton.com
Phone: (360) 426-1151
FAX: (360) 427-0231

PREVIOUS RELATED POSTS:

REPRISAL REWARDS TERESA REBO'S COURAGE:
http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2011/06/reprisal-rewards-teresa-rebos-courage.html

PORT CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUE NOT OVER:
http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2011/06/port-conflict-of-interest-issue-not.html

PORT SPECIAL MEETING TUESDAY 6/14/11:
http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2011/06/port-special-meeting-tuesday-614-200-pm.html

PORT CONFLICT OF INTEREST SPOTLIGHTED
(Teresa Rebo's Letter of Concern):

http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2011/05/port-conflict-of-interest-spotlighted.html

Shelton Blog invites Port Executive Director Dobson to comment if he so wishes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

AL GORE: CLIMATE OF DENIAL

Excerpts from:
Can science and the truth
withstand the merchants of poison?

By Al Gore

The first time I remember hearing the question "is it real?" was when I went as a young boy to see a traveling show put on by "professional wrestlers" one summer evening in the gym of the Forks River Elementary School in Elmwood, Tennessee.

The evidence that it was real was palpable: "They're really hurting each other! That's real blood! Look a'there! They can't fake that!" On the other hand, there was clearly a script (or in today's language, a "narrative"), with good guys to cheer and bad guys to boo.

But the most unusual and in some ways most interesting character in these dramas was the referee: Whenever the bad guy committed a gross and obvious violation of the "rules" — such as they were — like using a metal folding chair to smack the good guy in the head, the referee always seemed to be preoccupied with one of the cornermen, or looking the other way. Yet whenever the good guy — after absorbing more abuse and unfairness than any reasonable person could tolerate — committed the slightest infraction, the referee was all over him. The answer to the question "Is it real?" seemed connected to the question of whether the referee was somehow confused about his role: Was he too an entertainer?

That is pretty much the role now being played by most of the news media in refereeing the current wrestling match over whether global warming is "real," and whether it has any connection to the constant dumping of 90 million tons of heat-trapping emissions into the Earth's thin shell of atmosphere every 24 hours.

This article appears in the July 7, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available on news stands and in the digital archive on June 24.

Admittedly, the contest over global warming is a challenge for the referee because it's a tag-team match, a real free-for-all. In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues.

Link to complete article:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-of-denial-20110622

Thursday, June 23, 2011

LEADING US DOWN THE WRONG PATH

WHO'S DICTATING WHAT TO WHOM?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

This past winter, a few Mason County residents had a guest column in the 12/9/10
Shelton - Mason County Journal titled “The time is now", with this opening sentence: “Job creation, growth and development are not just political promises…” These residents styled themselves “Citizens for a Prosperous Mason County", and their charter members included such well known biomass-supporters as Dick Taylor, Matt Matayoshi and Steve Bloomfield.

I was re-reading their guest column today and one passage in particular struck me: “Allowing a small segment of our community to dictate what is best for our community will lead us down the wrong path.” I could not agree more.

However, Mr. Taylor and his friends would have us believe that the significant opposition to the ADAGE facility was “a small segment of our community".

Unfortunately for Taylor, Matayoshi, Bloomfield, et al., the ADAGE proposal has been scrapped. ADAGE has withdrawn their permit application to ORCAA, and the air-breathers of our community are breathing easier.

However, fast on the heels of the relief that ADAGE was leaving, came the City’s disastrous decision in determining that a second biomass incinerator in the harbor will not have a significant effect… as in the City’s “Mitigated Determination of Non-significance” concerning Simpson’s proposed Solomon Renewable Energy Company plant.

I am sure it is simply an oversight that the Citizens for a Prosperous Mason County have not yet added Solomon to their website as businesses they support. Currently, the only business they do support on their website is ADAGE.

I agree with Taylor, et al., that allowing a small segment of our community to dictate what is best for our community will lead us down the wrong path. In fact, it has lead us down the wrong path. I suggest that allowing one family, the Reed family, a/k/a Simpson and all of its incarnations, to dictate what is best for our community for more than a century, is to allow “a small segment of our community" (a very small segment of our community) to dictate what is best.

With all of the scientific and medical studies available which prove biomass incineration to be a highly polluting method of producing electricity, allowing a small segment of our community to continue to lead us down the wrong path (the path to additional tons of pollution by situating a second biomass incinerator in the Shelton Harbor) is not in the best interests of the residents or the businesses in Shelton.

Dick Taylor would like to be a Port of Shelton Commissioner; Matt Matayoshi is the Executive Director of the Mason County Economic Development Council (a huge supporter of ADAGE); and Steve Bloomfield styles himself as a “Clam Pirate".

These folks are the people who actually represent that small segment of our community who want to continue to dictate what is best for everyone. You will find their names on county and city advisory groups, advisory commissions, advisory committees, and advisory councils. The same names, again and again, and yet these same folks caution against “Allowing a small segment of our community to dictate what is best for our community…”

I suggest we already have a “small segment” of our community dictating what is best for us, and it is time that the citizens take a hard look at who these people are and what their agenda is.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude

Reprisal Rewards Teresa Rebo's Courage

Whistleblower Dismissal Cloaked in Unrelated Charges

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive
On Monday, Teresa Rebo, Port of Shelton employee and recent “whistleblower” was fired by Port Executive Director, John Dobson. Ms. Rebo’s dismissal is being cloaked in unrelated charges of alleged insubordination. Such action confirms suspicions held by many citizens that management at the Port needs to change.

For some months now Port Commissioners Jay Hupp, Tom Wallitner, and Director Dobson have been engaged in an ill-advised effort to exclude citizen input. To this end, the Port has discontinued publicly attended workshop sessions, ignored public requests for more information regarding action agenda items, and does not respond to emails and/or letters.

Favoritism in Port dealings has been a major concern of citizens, and nothing has brought this more to light than the recent decision to grant long-time friends, John and Rachel Hansen operation of the Mason Area Fair, the transaction at the root of Ms. Rebo’s allegations, which includes “gifting of public assets.”

Prior to blowing the whistle on such shenanigans, Ms. Rebo was considered a valuable and respected employee, whose duties were to assist in management of Port property, including leases. Before Ms. Rebo challenged the Port’s apparent policy of favoritism, she had received positive evaluations and a raise for excellent performance of her duties.

However, after her allegations were filed with the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office, Director Dobson presented Ms. Rebo with a laundry list of her professional failings, which he called a “Disciplinary Action” and demanded she sign the document or be fired. Ms. Rebo declined to sign and her termination was effective immediately.

This most recent action by the Port will undoubtedly result in yet more litigation, more legal fees and perhaps a significant award granted Ms. Rebo under the “Whistleblower Act", all at public expense.

Amid all its recent unsavory dealings, it is easy to forget the Port is a public municipality that exists solely as an economic engine. It would appear, however, that management of the Port of Shelton is far too busy waging war against all those who would challenge their behavior to have any time left over for job creation, or to find new sources of income generation.

Monday, June 20, 2011

OAKLAND BAY WASTEWATER DILEMMA


Simpson Timber and Olympic Panel Products:
Wastewater Chemical Content Excedes Ecology Standards


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive


Public notices were published in the Journal recently by Simpson Timber Company (May 26 and June 2), and Olympic Panel Products (June 2 and June 9) in connection with the inability of these two industries to stay below the standards set by the Department of Ecology regarding the chemical content of the wastewater these industries allow to flow into Oakland Bay.

The purpose of these notices was to advise the public that these companies are seeking an additional twelve month extension (beyond the initial twelve months they have already had) to come up with an appropriate plan which will result in their not exceeding the standards established by the Department of Ecology.

It strikes me that these businesses have had twelve months to solve the dilemma of exceeding the proscribed chemicals flowing from their plants into Oakland Bay. Rather than give these business another twelve months to comply, or to bring themselves below the standards established by Ecology, I suggest that Ecology enforce their standards.

Simpson and Olympic Panel have already had an additional twelve months of washing these chemicals, with their wastewater, into Oakland Bay.

If they do not have a solution which will bring them into compliance after twelve months of studying the problem, does giving them another twelve months of washing chemicals into the Bay really make sense?

How about fining them for every day they are out of compliance? Perhaps that would be a greater incentive to them to come up with a solution, than simply allowing them another twelve months to fail to find a solution, at the end of which time they can request another twelve month extension.

Photo by Christine

Mason County Clean Water Program

Water is the sustenance of life

STATEMENT PRESENTED TO COUNTY COMMISSIONERS 6/14/11

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Pat Vandehey Mason County Progressive

RE: MASON COUNTY 2011-2012 CLEAN WATER PROGRAM

Some things should be considered regarding our aquifer system before embarking on this very expensive project.

Correct aquifer classifications for different sections of the County need to be clarified (this is particularly important for the Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas [CARA] because they are extremely susceptible to contamination): and we need to know what industries are operating in these very sensitive areas

The United States Geological Study (USGS) being done for the John Basin Area is extremely important. The Phase I portion will be finished by September 2011. This will be invaluable in starting a complete aquifer study. The dispute over the aquifer areas classified as Class I needs to be resolved.


We have seen the work Gordon Adams has done mapping the critical areas. If there is any question about his work, a hydrologist/geologist could look over his information and make an intelligent evaluation of his reports. If we do not know where and what classifications there are, how can we protect and manage our aquifers?

Another pertinent issue is the enforcement of the rules, regulations and ordinances that are already in place. Here are some of the references:

  1. WAC 365-190-100 Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas
  2. DOE “Status of Active Groundwater Monitoring Programs in Washington State 2002”
  3. Mason County resource Ordinance Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas 17.01.080 CARA (as approved by the Board of County Commissioners - December,2006)
  4. Comprehensive Plan April 1996 –Updated 2005) Section Land use Section-5 Wetlands and CARA
  5. DOE CARA Guidance Document Contact Laurie Morgan, Page 57, Appendix D Example Costs and Consequences of Ground Water Contamination
  6. The most egregious pollution offenders must be stopped and the contamination be cleaned up. This should be paid for by the contaminators.
Resolution No. 50-10 to Establish the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Project Lis for 2010-1011: dated July, 2010 was set up to be implemented by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The total amount was totalled at $250,677,651.00. Some of the projects are:
  1. City of Shelton Infiltration and Inflow Control project $25,000,000
  2. Olympic Hwy N Major Overlay $1,666,651
  3. JP Brownfield Cleanup. $100,000.
  4. Wallace Kneeland Blvd. Overlay $1,500,000
  5. Fairgrounds Relocation $2,000,000
  6. Port of Shelton Renovation of Building 1. $1,600.000
  7. Port of Shelton SF Cold Storage facility engineering and construction $2,500,000
  8. US 101/Wallace Kneeland Interchange Improvements Project $27,000,000
  9. Mason county Hospital District #1 $33,000,000
These are just some of the proposed projects. I don’t understand why some of this money can’t be used for aquifer protection. I believe that providing for aquifer protection should be Priority No.1. Funding by an excise tax; increasing real estate taxes; increasing permitting fees and other licensing costs are not fair to the average citizens who are barely able to keep up financially as it is. Industry needs to step up and pay more of the costs.

Our 24,970 critical aquifer acres are some of our most precious resources. Their protection should be of utmost concern.
I would like to know if the public is allowed to be involved in the County Commissioners' deliberations on this matter.

Patricia Vandehey
Shelton, WA

Photo by Christine

Sunday, June 19, 2011

MASON COUNTY PUD NO. 3 GOES SOLAR

Excerpts from:
Mason PUD News
Solar Array to Provide Power at PUD 3 Operations Center
PUD 3 Agrees to Proposal from Private Developer

What may be one of the largest solar power arrays so far in Western Washington will be constructed this year on the site of Mason County PUD No. 3’s Johns Prairie Operations center near Shelton.

PUD 3 commissioners Tuesday voted unanimously to authorize a contract with Adolfson & Peterson Construction (A&PC) of Minneapolis, MN and its Tacoma-based subsidiary, Rushforth Construction for installation of a nearly $1.24 million, 225 kilowatt photovoltaic system and enter into a power purchase agreement for the output. No additional engineering or structural enhancements are necessary to accommodate the proposed solar energy panels, which will be placed on the roof of one of the vehicle storage buildings. The array will cover approximately 22,000 square feet...

A&PC will fund 61 percent of the project and obtain federal and Washington state tax credits and renewable energy incentives. PUD 3 will be required to pay 39 percent of the capital costs, with an option to purchase the solar power system outright at the end of ten years.

A&PC will maintain and operate the project, selling the output to the PUD. PUD 3 will also receive “renewable energy credits” from the project, which because of its nature would be counted at twice their value. This will help meet a portion of the PUD’s renewable energy requirements under state law.

PUD staff noted that the price for the energy is within the normal range of current costs for renewable energy from wind, solar, and other qualifying sources identified in Washington State law.

By using electricity generated by the solar power system, the PUD would avoid purchasing an estimated 189,000 kWh annually. The alternative power production would also reduce the PUD’s carbon footprint by about 13 tons per year...

Link to complete article:

http://www.masonpud3.org/newsdisplay.aspx?newsid=878

Saturday, June 18, 2011

DID YOU NOTICE THE PUBLIC NOTICE?

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude

Ah yeah...ah well...something will be taking place in the near future and well...ah we are required by law to make a public notice...about it as it might ah...well will probably, actually negatively impact you as citizens and again we are required by law to allow you to comment about it...but we really don’t want to receive any comments... because...ah...it causes us to actually have to respond in some manner... again required ah ...stipulated by those pesky laws...and well frankly we’re going to do what we can get away with anyway...so...ah if anybody wants to make a comment send it to the following address ...where we will try our best to stonewall you into frustration and eventual apathy...which is the mental state we’d like all of you citizens to be in...in this Great State of Washington.

Thank you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ecology: Permitting Agency for Polluters?

Current DOE System Prevents Citizens from Accessing
Pertinent Information for Timely & Informed Comments

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

CERTIFIED MAIL/RETURN
RECEIPT REQUESTED

June 15, 2011

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


ATTENTION:

Ted Sturdevant, Director

Post Office Box 47600

Olympia, WA 98504-7600

SUBJECT:

Simpson Timber Company
Olympic Panel Company


Dear Mr. Sturdevant:

On May 26, 2011, a public notice was published by the Simpson Timber Company in the Shelton-Mason County Journal. On June 2, 2011, a public notice was published by Olympic Panel Company. A copy of both notices are enclosed for your information.
Both public notices were woefully inadequate in terms of informing the public, each containing at a minimum, the following deficiencies:
  • The notices contained no information concerning the entity on whose behalf the notice was published. This resulted in many citizens, myself included, believing that the notice had been published by the Department of Ecology since we were instructed to make public comment to the Department of Ecology.
  • The notices contained no permit number, or other identifying information, which would have assisted the citizen in requesting and obtaining underlying documents in a timely fashion.
  • The notices lacked specificity in connection with what Ecology had previously required of Simpson and/or Solomon, which is something they have clearly not done, and therefore said notices did not give the citizen a clue as to what to comment on.
This is the system you presently use, and Simpson and Olympic Panel probably feel they have complied with the system as it exists today.

The comment period for the public notice published by Simpson Timber Company expires on July 2, 2011, (30 days from the second publication). The comment period for the public notice published by Olympic Panel Company expires on July 9, 2011 (again, 30 days from the second publication).

In an effort to obtain information concerning these notices, I left numerous messages for numerous employees of Ecology over a two week period. I finally got a call, on June 15, 2011, from the Industrial Stormwater Facilitator for Ecology, who knows as little on this date about what the underlying issues are as I do.

On June 14, 2011, I did receive from Ecology a link to what appear to be the underlying documents. I have not been able to open all of the documents yet, but it appears that they will exceed 1,000 pages when I print them.

Receiving 1,000 pages of documents with approximately two weeks to digest and comment intelligently and timely on them is entirely inadequate. In my opinion, the system as it exists is designed to prevent the citizen from accessing the pertinent information in a manner that allows intelligent and timely comment.

THEREFORE
, I respectfully request that you, as the Director of Ecology, engage with citizens and industry to put in place a system which serves BOTH industry and the citizens. Such a system must include, at the least:
  • Identification of the publishing party in the public notice.
  • Permit numbers or other identifying information which would lead the citizen to the pertinent documents in the fastest way possible.
  • A greater period of time within which to comment. Thirty days notice, when one spends the first two weeks trying to track down pertinent documents, and another week waiting for receipt of those documents, is insufficient.
I am sure that there are other things that the citizens would like to see in place in connection with the process as it exists and that while it may feel to Ecology that they work for industry, as a permitting agent, the citizens have a vastly different view of what the Department of Ecology is and/or should be.

Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and let me know if you would be willing to meet with a group of citizens from Shelton/Mason County who would like to see the system work as well for the citizen as it does for industry.


Very truly yours,


Katherine Austin Price

Shelton, WA


/kap

Enclosures

The Truth About the Economy in 2 Minutes

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Pat Jerrells



Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said he could explain the problems with the economy in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds—and he did it (with illustrations to boot).

MoveOn.Org video link:
http://front.moveon.org/scribbling-sharpie-illustrates-the-truth-about-our-economy/?id=28085-18285015-zYtipbx

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cartoon for the Day

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Claude

Port Conflict of Interest Issue Not Over Yet

Jack Miles making statement during Commissioner Comment Period
Port Special Meeting 6/14/11


Initial Investigation found no conflict of interest or misconduct
but Port Director Dobson not off hook quite yet

Further Investigation Requested of Attorney General

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Jack Miles Mason County Progressive

Statement presented to Port of Shelton Commission on 6/14/11:

The Seabold Group was retained on April 14, 2011, and requested to investigate and provide findings regarding an employee complaint. Nine interviews were conducted, including those with all of the Port Commissioners, the Executive Director, (3) employees of the Port, and one other person.


Where are the statements, and why are they not included in this investigation report? I seem to have my own section with what appears to be a statement or interview summary, which is mostly inaccurate.

After several attempts to interview the employee who made the complaint, why is there no response to the investigator from the employee? Why are the questions asked by the investigator to the employee not included? And was there enough time for the employee to respond? Was there a set time frame given?


It is stated in the investigation that: "However, the employee has sent the Commissioners and the Port counsel several emails which have been taken into account in this investigation." Why are those emails to the Commissioners and counsel not included or provided?


Investigator, Martha Norberg claims she reviewed hundreds of pages of documents concerning pertinent Port activities related to the fairgrounds. Where are the documents that were reviewed? Why are they not identified, and why are they not included in this investigation? Where is the written request for those documents? I know for a fact the investigator did not spend hours in this office going over documents. Which means she either took documents from this office, or she never reviewed documents from this office. She also states: "This report is intended to be a summary report and is not intended as a comprehensive detail of the information that was collected, reviewed and considered."


There is no evidence provided. No statements are provided of those interviewed, other then mine and those are inaccurate. No documents are provided supporting any of the findings, and no emails are provided to support evidence collected.


Therefore: I find this investigation to be incomplete and inaccurate. I'm sorry, but I fail to see an investigation as being a summary, or not intended to be comprehensive. In my experience with investigations...investigations are comprehensive! They do provide every piece of detail gathered and all interviews are included in an investigation.

Where is all of the evidence? Where are all of the documents reviewed by Martha Norberg to support the findings? Who were the employees interviewed? Where are these interviews in this investigation?

Based on the lack of evidence in this "final report", I can not accept this investigation as being complete, accurate or comprehensive by any means.


I will be forwarding a request to the State Attorney General's Office, along with a copy of this so called investigation, asking that it be reviewed. I request all documents reviewed by investigator Martha Norberg be available for additional review, and request the Attorney General to conduct a proper comprehensive investigation.


Thank you.

Jack Miles


Photos by Christine

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Port Special Meeting Tuesday 6/14, 2:00 PM


COME, WATCH & WONDER

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

The Port of Shelton is holding another one of their now infamous special meetings on Tuesday, June 14th, at 2:00 PM.


The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and evaluate an employee complaint, under RCW 42.30.110 (f). This is just a new twist in the Port’s ongoing efforts to keep public comments from getting into the official record until after action has been taken on an agenda item.

The Port has long embarked on such shenanigans to circumvent public input, starting with discontinuing the workshops, cryptic announcements of agenda items, and now special meetings, which allow no period for public comment. Any reasonable person who has taken the time to observe Port behavior can come to only one conclusion: the Port desires to operate in an atmosphere of secrecy, with as little transparency as is legally possible.

In my opinion, two Port of Shelton Commissioners and the Executive Director have abused their authority as stewards of the Port responsible to the people of this community. Come, watch and wonder how it is this governing body has been allowed to operate in such a contemptuous manner.

_____________________________________________________






I. CALL TO ORDER

II. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

III. ADOPT AGENDA

IV. ACTION/DISCUSSION ITEMS
A. Executive Session pursuant to RCW 42.30.110 f
Employee Complaint
V. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

VI. ADJOURNMENT

$olomon's Separate Source Request to DOE


$OLOMON'S ATTORNEY PRESENTS CASE TO ECOLOGY

Submitted to Shelton Blog via Public Information Request by Katherine Price
From: Kirk Lilley [kirk.lilley@comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, July 23, 2010 2:23 PM
To: Newman, Alan (ECY); mark.goodin@orcaa.org
Subject: Solomon Renewable Energy Co. - Separate Source Determination Request
Attachments: cover ltr.pdf; Sep source determ request.doc; Attachment cover sheets.doc; Cogen Site Plan.pdf; Attachment 2 - Agreement provisions.doc; Siemens calc expected perf.pdf

Alan and Mark – Here is a determination request for the proposed Solomon Renewable Energy Co. cogeneration facility. As noted in the cover letter, please contact me or Dave McEntee with questions or requests for additional information. Dave will be passing through Lacey later today and plans on dropping a hard copy of this request with Alan.

Thank you,
Kirk Lilley

Kirk Lilley PLLC
kirk.lilley@comcast.net
206-271-1425

EXCERPTS FROM:

Separate Source Determination Request


Proposed Solomon Renewable Energy Company
Biomass Cogeneration Facility

A. Background and Project Description

Solomon Renewable Energy Company, LLC (SREC) will own and operate a proposed 31 MW biomass cogeneration facility in Shelton, WA. The facility will be located on property leased from Simpson Lumber Company, LLC (SLC), in the same industrial complex that houses the SLC lumber mill and the Olympic Panel Products (OPP) plywood mill. The SREC boiler will be designed to burn biomass fuel, including sawmill by-products such sawdust, bark and shavings, and forest slash from logging operations.

SREC is motivated by Washington State Initiative 937 and subsequent renewable energy legislation that encourages “green” power production using biomass-powered facilities. Locating the facility adjacent to two existing wood products mills makes good business sense, but as discussed below, SREC will not have to depend on those mills for fuel. The Shelton area is a prime location for access to biomass fuel.

The following descriptions provide background information for each facility.

SREC. Solomon Renewable Energy Company, LLC is a Washington limited liability company. The SREC cogeneration plant will be comprised of a stoker wood-fired boiler, a steam turbine generator, an evaporative cooling tower, a condenser, and a fuel storage building. The boiler will be rated at 437 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr) and designed to produce up to 250,000 lb/hr of full load steam to supply a steam turbine generator with a nominal gross electrical output rating of 31 MW. The unit will be capable, through heat recovery, of selling lower pressure steam from two extraction ports. The boiler is intended to run as continuously as possible, but maintenance will require occasional shutdowns. During shutdown periods, the adjacent mills will have to provide their own steam to continue operations. As part of its cogeneration function, SREC is entering into steam agreements with the owners of the two adjacent mills to provide each with process steam and into wood fiber supply agreements with the mills for biomass fuel from the companies. The primary function of the facility will be to produce power that qualifies as biomass renewable energy under state law, for sale to the power grid. A site plan showing the location and layout of the SREC facility is provided in Attachment 1.

SLC. Simpson Lumber Company, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, owns and operates a sawmill and planing facility that produces green and dried dimensional lumber. An existing steam generating plant produces steam to heat lumber dry kilns and buildings at the sawmill. Additionally, SLC provides high-pressure steam to the adjacent Olympic Panel Products plywood mill pursuant to a steam agreement between the two companies. The SLC plant uses lower pressure, 100 psi steam. SLC will retain the ability to use its existing hog fuel boiler in the event SREC does not provide SLC with process steam.

OPP. Olympic Panel Products operates a plywood manufacturing facility adjacent to SLC. It produces higher-end specialty plywood, including use of overlays, for use in concrete forms, road signs, and other specialty applications. OPP requires high pressure (300 psi) steam for its veneer dryers. This steam is currently produced by SLC’s existing boiler. SREC plans to provide 300 psi steam to OPP, while the existing SLC boiler would remain available as an alternative source of steam.

B. Definition of “Source”

This request addresses two different regulatory definitions of “source.” First, under state and local new source review rules, “source” means all of the emissions units … located on one or more contiguous or adjacent properties, and under the control of the same person or persons under common control, whose activities are ancillary to the production of a single product or functionally related groups of products. WAC 173-400-030(76); ORCAA Reg. 1.4. Second, under NESHAP rules, “affected source” means the collection of equipment, activities, or both within a single contiguous area and under common control … . 40 CFR § 63.2, adopted by reference in WAC 173-400-075(6)(a), and applicable under ORCAA Reg. 6.1.4(a)(1). The relevant criterion shared by these two definitions is “common control.” This request, therefore, asks Ecology and ORCAA to make a case-specific determination that SREC will not be under “common control” with SLC or OPP, to confirm that it is a separate source for air regulation applicability purposes.

C. Common Control Analysis

EPA regulations do not define “control,” so a case-by-case evaluation is to be guided by the SEC definition of control. 45 Fed. Reg. 59874, 59874 (Sept. 11, 1980). Under SEC rules:
Control is the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person (or organization or association) whether through the ownership of voting shares, contract, or otherwise.
17 C.F.R. § 240.12b-2. In applying this definition in determinations over the past 30 years, EPA has looked to see if (1) control is established through ownership by the same parent corporation or subsidiary of the parent corporation, (2) direct control is established through contract, or (3) indirect control is established through a support or dependency relationship such that one would not exist but for the other, or a contract-for-service relationship in which one sells all of its product to the other. See, e.g., Letter from Richard Long, EPA Region 8, to Margie Perkins, Colo. Dept. of Public Health & Env’t, Oct. 1, 1999, p. 2.
1. There is no control through ownership: the SREC plant will be owned by a separate company and will not share the same parent as SLC or OPP.
EPA guidance and determinations on common control generally first ask whether control through common ownership exists. Using the SEC definition, the question is whether the owners of one company have the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the other through the ownership of voting shares. EPA interprets this to mean that a person with as much as 50% voting interest in an entity should be considered to control it. Letter from Douglas Skie, EPA Region 7, to Jeffrey Chaffee, Montana Dept. of Health and Envt’l Sciences, March 22, 1990, p. 2; letter from Jewell Harper, EPA Region 4, to Ron Methier, Georgia Dept. of Nat’l Resources, July 20, 1995, p. 1 (citing a March 16, 1979 memo from John Seitz). In particular, EPA states that the “determination must focus on who has the power to manage the pollutant-emitting activities of the facilities at issue, including the power to make or veto decisions to implement major emission-control measures or to influence production levels or compliance with environmental regulations.” Letter from Robert Miller, EPA Region 5, to William Baumann, Wisconsin Dept. of Nat’l Resources, Aug. 25, 1999, p.2; see also, memo from J. Seitz, EPA OAQPS, August 2, 1996, p. 10.

In this case, there will be no common shareholder or member with a 50 percent or greater voting interest in SREC and either SLC or OPP. As a result, there will be no common owner with the ability to exercise control over SREC and SLC or SREC and OPP. This fact distinguishes the SREC plans from determinations in which EPA found common ownership through voting interest. See J. Harper, EPA Region 4, July 20, 1995 letter (United Technologies and Precision Components plants were under common control because UT had 50% voting power over Precision through another company, which UT had 100% control over); letter from D. Neely, EPA Region 4, to E. Reksten, Chattanooga-Hamilton Air Pollution Control Bureau, Aug. 8, 2001 (DuPont and DUSA facilities were under common control because DuPont had 50% joint ownership in DUSA); letter from D. Skie, Letter from Douglas Skie, EPA Region 6, to C. Rhodes, Colorado Air Pollution Control Div’n, Aug. 22, 1991 (two cogeneration turbine projects were under common control because CTI Partners, the 100% owner of one project, was also 50% owner in the other).

In addition, neither SLC nor OPP will otherwise have the power to manage the pollutant-emitting activities at SREC, and vice-versa. Under the Solomon Renewable Energy Company, LLC Operating Agreement, which serves as SREC’s charter, the business and affairs of SREC will be managed by an Operational Manager and an Administrative Manager. Initially, both posts will be held by a single individual. Under Sections 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 of the Agreement, the Operational Manager has the sole power to manage the plant, including construction, operation, production, emission control measures, and environmental compliance. Copies of relevant agreement provisions are provided in Attachment 2. SREC is wholly-owned by a limited liability company, which was formed by nine investors whose ownership interests range between approximately 9 to approximately 14 percent per investor. While each of these nine investors is a direct or indirect shareholder of SLC's ultimate parent company (of which they collectively own a majority share), the initial Operational and Administrative Manager is the sole “active” investor with any operational or administrative control over SREC; the eight other “passive” investors have no voting or other power to direct the management or policies of SREC. The person serving as the initial Operational and Administrative Manager for SREC is not a director, officer or otherwise a control person of SLC, its parent or ultimate parent, or OPP. Moreover, the Operating Agreement (in Amendment 1) requires that any person deemed to be a control person of SLC, its parent, or ultimate parent, is disqualified from serving as SREC’s Operational or Administrative Manager.

Link to SREC/DOE determination request cover letter pdf:
http://myweb.hcc.net/pkands/docs/DOE-SREC/SREC-DOE request cover letter.pdf

Link to complete SREC/DOE determination request letter pdf:

http://myweb.hcc.net/pkands/docs/DOE-SREC/SREC to DOE letter.pdf

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:

SREC/DOE determination cover & request letters also in blog reference documents.

Department of Ecology's response to follow.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

6/6 Week in Review: Commissioner Meetings


OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

So many uninteresting things happened this past Tuesday, I don’t know where not to begin.

First up was the Mason County Commissioners Meeting at 9:00 AM:


The agenda included nine “action” items, all of which passed unanimously in about 2 1/2 seconds. Then came an invitation for the public to serve on two advisory committees: Area Agency on Aging, and Solid Waste (pun unavoidable).

Next on the agenda were two public hearings: Adoption of the Shoreline Master Program, and Resolution 11-05 to annex four properties into Belfair Water District #1. The first hearing went off without a hitch, passing unanimously, but the resolution was poorly written, and Tim & Jerry sent it back to the water district for a little nip and tuck.

Then, just as I was about to nod off, the chamber erupted into what can only be described as the Great Geezer Throw-Down: two elderly gentlemen apparently escaped from the Belfair Water District, and one of them accused the other of trying to trip him while leaving the commission chambers. Words were thrown in lieu of punches, but someone went looking for a defibrillator, just in case. Voices and blood-pressures rose to dangerous levels, but the altercation ended as suddenly as it began, with the bang of a gavel. In the end, two red-faced geriatrics hobbled out to their respective ox-carts followed by what I hoped was the odor of revisionism.

The next uninteresting thing happened at the Port of Shelton Commission Meeting, at 2:00 PM:


I got there about 5 minutes late because I still had a piece of hearing-aid stuck in my shoe. But I could have saved myself the trip, because I walked right into Jack Miles and Jay Hupp knee-deep in a sand-box fight of epic proportions.

It seemed that Jack wanted the documents he requested through a freedom of information act put in his Commissioner’s box at the Port’s office, and Jay wanted Jack to shut up and die. As expected, Port Director, John Dobson took Hupp’s side, and both men held Jack while Commissioner Tom Wallitner kicked him repeatedly in the testicles. (Okay, that’s not what really happened, but for those familiar with Port shenanigans, that’s what it looked like.)


After that, things went pretty well:


Dobson availed us of a fascinating scheme whereby the Port shrewdly accepted $180,000 worth of manufacturing equipment from Oly-Fab’s parent company, Sealaska, in lieu of cash to satisfy lease obligations; and then magically turned the equipment into surplus to be sold back to the new and improved Oly-Fab, now called TruFab.

But did such asset juggling represent a Fab deal for the Port? All we know is that the general manager of the now defunct Oly-Fab and the newly formed TruFab is one and the same, Donald Putvin. And in yet another torturous twist of events, it was revealed that Commissioner Hupp’s Son-In-Law is Mr. Putvin’s Nephew.

Wow, who would have guessed? But not to worry, because the Port’s legal tight end, Skip Houser, jumped in to say he had called a bunch of his colleagues to ask if such a situation might constitute a conflict of interest and, unremarkably, everyone queried told him, “No conflict, no problem. God bless you, my son. You’re doing the Lord’s work out there.”

Now for a real Hallmark moment:

It turns out that Commissioner Hupp’s long-lost, non-blood relative, Donald Putvin, was present at the meeting. Apparently unbeknownst to Commissioner Hupp, Uncle Putvin had been working right next door for about 20 years. Jay was so moved that he walked around the table to shake hands with his distant relative and new Port tenant. I tell you folks, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

But the day had one more uninteresting factoid before surrendering to reality, the dreaded public comment period:


I testified that maybe the Port should present the fairgrounds to potential special event promoters at the Special Event Trade Show held each year. More potential promoters, more money for the Port, right? But apparently that’s not how the Port does business; guess it’s just easier to give it to the Hansens.


And just to drive the point home, John Hansen takes to the podium and says, “I have two words for the bloggers out there: Internet Libel,” and then he goes on to trash the Port whistle-blower in an open public forum while she’s in the performance of her duties. A real stand-up kind of guy.


Blessedly, the end of the meeting was now in sight, and we were all waiting for Commissioner Hupp to put us out of our misery. But he just couldn’t resist one last slap at the public, and announced there was a group of people out there intent on tearing the Port apart, and how he wasn’t about to let that happen. To which I can only say, all the people who are trying to tear the Port apart, Mr. Hupp, are living right there in your mirror. But then isn’t that always the last place we look?


Enough for one day...

Photo by Terry Why