Wednesday, February 29, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

The regularly scheduled meeting of Mason County Commissioners on 2/28/12 included some agenda items that put a twist in the drawers of a few folks.

Out of the nine action agenda items, five were removed for separate votes. Four of those items had to do with pay grade raises for key department heads, and one was to set a hearing for a Belfair UGA issue.

Item 8.5 was a request by Vicki Kirkpatrick, Director of Public Health, for a pay raise to go along with the additional duties that came with her new title, Director of Public Health and Human Services. In a memo to the Commissioners, Ms. Kirkpatrick laid out her reasoning for a pay increase from $83,101/yr. to $92,928/yr.

But apparently Ms. Kirkpatrick was unaware that hiding in the budgetary bushes lurked a pack of fiscal conservatives just waiting to pounce. And when they were through, there was left neither hide nor hair enough of the Director to make even a decent soup. And it was after, and only after the feeding frenzy subsided, that Commissioners voted to table the matter for 30 days, or until it started raining money, whichever comes first.

Item 8.6 also involved a salary increase, this time for Tom Moore, interim Director of Utilities and Waste Management (i.e. the Belfair Sewer Project). Mr. Moore’s current salary was not stated, but the request was for an increase to 7,019/Mo. ($84,228/Yr.). Unlike the previous bloodbath, the Commissioners snarled and swatted at each other, but in the end, voted to approve the increase.

(NOTE: Taken separately, items 8.5 & 8.6 are very different in that one requires a higher pay grade to compensate additional duties and one doesn’t. However, taken together, a more cynical public perception may conclude that the County would rather flush its money down the sewer than invest in Public Health.)

Item 8.7 was approval to upgrade the jail clerk’s position to that of Financial Assistant, as per the Mason County Civil Service Commission decision of Feb. 1, 2012. Here too a pay raise went along with the promotion, but the relevant numbers were never revealed. Disposition: Approved.

Item 8.8 was to set a public hearing on March 13th to consider amendments to Sec. 17.03.030 of the Mason County Code relating to mandatory connections to sewer for new developments within the Belfair UGA. Why this was removed for a separate vote is still a mystery, but it came and went with all the approval of a new bride.

Item 8.9 was to approve Brian Matthews to the position of interim Director of Public Works, and a salary raise to $7,555/Mo ($90,660/Yr.). Brian will replace the irreplaceable Charlie Butros – who is retiring at the end of the month -- till such time as a clone can be found.

(As a side note, early on in the proceedings, a citizen stepped forward to offer a letter of commendation to Mr. Matthews for placing a road sign to alert drivers that a deaf person lived on the block. The citizen went on to say that since the sign went up the deaf person hadn’t been hit by a vehicle “not even one time”. Hey, Brian, there’s a stupid person who lives on my block, how about a sign?)

Among all these promotions and pay raises, Commissioner Sheldon reminded us that our County Prosecutor, Mike Dorcy, now makes $148,500 per year, as much as a judge. It wasn’t clear if Mr. Sheldon was proposing we lower the Prosecutor’s salary or raise the judges’, but that sucking sound we all heard didn’t come from me.

The March 6th BOCC meeting was cancelled (item: 8.1).
In its stead will be an informal
Community Get-Together

Commissioner Steve Bloomfield.

9:00 AM


County Administration Building #1
Commissioners' Meeting Chambers


Friday, February 24, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

This past Tuesday was a red letter day for attending meetings, four in nine hours. First the meeting of County Commissioners, then the League of Women Voters, then the Port of Shelton, and, finally, the City of Shelton. All things considered, it was a wonder I made it to the Martini Bar by 8:00 PM.

9:00 AM: Board of County Commissioners Meeting (BOCC)

The BOCC meet was particularly uneventful. Commissioner Steve Bloomfield was off sky-diving or something so the action agenda was short, and included no items other than those necessary to keep the wheels greased. There was, however, a hearing to authorize the Director of Community Development to sign an application to the State of Washington Dept. of Commerce in the amount of $1,000,000 for a Community Development Block Grant for Faith in Action to help fund a senior center in Belfair.

I didn’t like the sound of $1,000,000 of public money being given to what sounded like a religious organization when it was proposed a week ago, so I visited their website. What I came away with was a feeling of a bunch of well-intentioned church folk smart enough to keep the bible thumping on the low down. Still, I couldn’t help but ask the presenter if her organization caters only to the liver-spot generation or did their good works extend to, you know, everybody else. And, yes, God and Faith in Action do not discriminate based on age, race, or sexual proclivity (well, maybe not that last thing…).

In the end, the good Lord took care of his own, and the Faith in Action grant application was blessed by unanimous approval of the two Commissioners in attendance.

11:30 AM: League of Women Voters Meeting

My beautiful and brilliant bride had arranged for two participants of the Occupy movement to give a presentation to the LWV at Olympic College. Guest speakers, Miles Nowlin and Brian McCracken wasted no time informing those in attendance that they did not speak for the Occupy movement. They said no one speaks for the movement, which is what makes it so effective. They did, however, offer a history of how “Occupy” came to be, how it works, why it works, and demonstrated some tools used to communicate in crowd situations, such as the “People's Microphone”.

The audience, comprised almost entirely of long time subscribers to AARP, asked questions about the structure and purpose of the movement, and it soon became clear that some methodologies being utilized by this new generation of activists, proved unable to span the 30+ year generation gap.

At the end of the day it was a great opportunity for young and old to share their ideas on how to bring about a more transparent, more equitable and more responsive government, just like dear old Mom and Dad did.

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

Normally, I consider the first and third Tuesdays of the month – when the Port holds its regular meetings – as a test of my will to live. So far so good.

If you remember when last we left our beloved Port, two members of the public had requested a bit more courtesy be extended in the form of identifying those items on the agenda meant for discussion and those destined for action. To my utter amazement, the day’s agenda not only identified these items as such – steady now, big fella – but also included a bit more information than we, the mere public, had come to expect. Lesson to be learned: Never say never.

Of course, by now we all know that three years of Port chest-beating legal action against the City and Shelton Hills has morphed into something of a sweet lullaby that might have been penned by Rodney King, titled “Why can’t we all just get along…” And while it is my usual custom to go around and shoot those wounded while in the pursuit of foolish endeavors, in this case, I gladly entrust that task to the self-inflicted.

Which brings me to a hunch: According to the Port’s budget narrative of 2012, the $350,000 estimated cost to connect City water to the Port was to be funded by a loan from the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB).

But last week the Port asked the County to have the project included in the County’s Comprehensive Economic Development (CEDS) list, thereby making it eligible for alternative funding. I asked for and received from Director Dobson an explanation that seemed quite plausible.

But this week the Port was looking into harvesting some 7000 trees from a hundred acres of property, including the old ADAGE site, as a possible source of revenue. Is the Port having financial problems? Will Commissioners be holding a bake sale? I hear cupcakes are all the rage.

Then it was on to the topic of Commissioner Hupp’s latest passion: Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs), not to be confused with Free Trade Zones (also, FTZs), in other countries. (Psst! They’re really the same thing!)

Anyway, being an untrusting environmentalist type, I called the Free Trade Board in Washington DC, the Dept. of Ecology and the EPA to ask if these zones were in any way, shape or form, exempt from any federal, atate or local regulations? In each case my inquiries were met with a resounding “NO, FTZs are subject to any and all environmental regulations, just like any other business. So lay your little tree-hugging heads on a pillow my fellow wing-nuts; everything’s going to be all right...the government says so.

There’s more to this issue of having two general FTZs and who knows how many sub-FTZs in our County, but I’m a firm believer in the theory that you can’t beat a man at his own game, and I am not yet up to speed on the topic to sound any alarms.

Oh, before I forget, the Mason County EDC, under authority of its not-so-open-minded director, Matt Matayoshi, presented a leadership award to our very own Port Director, John Dobson, for all his hard work getting City water to the Port.

I guess I can live with that.

6:00 PM: City of Shelton Commission Meeting

I enjoy going to City Commissioner meetings because I don’t have to look under my car for bombs when I leave (though that may change).

There were two items on the agenda worthy of reporting: under “Old Business”- recommendations by the Shelton Alliance for Viable Economic Revitalization (SAVER), presented by Steve Goins, Director of Community Development and Hedi McCutchen, Director of Mason County Chamber of Commerce.

Presented were five points to encourage new businesses to the downtown sector: 1) A temporary moratorium on signage requirements; 2) One year relief from Business & Occupation Tax (B&O); 3) A waiver of Traffic Impact Fees (TIF); 4) Creation of low rent (incubator) spaces and 5) Provide a means to market available (vacant) storefronts.

And everything was going all hunkey-dory till Citizen of the Year, Forrest Cooper showed up to oppose waving any fees or taxes for new businesses, saying (effectively) if new business owners don’t have a business plan that can absorb a couple of hundred dollars in City fees, then their plan stinks (my words, not his); and that giving tax breaks to new businesses that were not extended to old businesses, is even more stinky (again, my words). So the Commissioners decided to do the old political side step and kicked the can down the road for a bit more research and discussion.

This brought us to Resolution #1038-0212: declaring that the City certifies compliance with all requirements to submit an application for a Community Development Block Grant, to help the Mason County Senior Activity Association purchase the old PUD 3 building. (Wait a minute; didn’t we just go through this exercise with the County and Faith In Action?) Well, right you are, bunky; it’s the great geezer throw-down, with two armies of seniors - the Silver Tsunamis VS. the Belfair Bone-Breakers - battling it out for $1,000,000 in cash and prizes.

I asked the City if these two groups weren’t in direct competition, and was told, “Nah, the State had $11,000,000 in grants to throw around.” I’m not so sure, but if I’m wrong, my monies on the Bone-Breakers.

That’s it for now. Is it Happy Hour yet?


Thursday, February 23, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Citizens for Roslynne Reed
Mason County Progressive

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive



Shelton Hills Rezone Approved - On February 9, 2012, the Thurston County Superior Court ruled in favor of the City of Shelton and Shelton Hills Investors LLC and upheld the City’s decision to rezone 160 acres of the Shelton Hills property to residential. This overturns two previous decisions by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearing Board against the City and Shelton Hills Investors.

The Superior Court ruled that there is substantial evidence in the record to support the City’s decision to rezone, and that the City had taken all necessary steps to comply with the law and the required consultation with the WSDOT Aviation Division. With this decision, the rezone is effective and the Shelton Hills project can move forward as planned.

Mark Hall, President of Hall Equities Group, developer of the Shelton Hills project, stated; “We are pleased with this decision and we believe this should bring to a close, once and for all, the controversy surrounding our carefully prepared and studied application. We look forward to a positive working relationship with the Port of Shelton, and we hope the Port will join us in a constructive manner going forward to create an environment where jobs, retail services, and quality housing can coexist harmoniously with Sanderson Field operations.”

Shelton Hills is one of the largest private projects ever undertaken in Mason County. The Shelton Hills project is expected to consist of a major regional retail center and hotel totaling some 500,000 square feet on more than 45 acres; a 50 acre professionally designed Business Park offering build-to-suit and “For Sale” commercial office buildings for area businesses; over 350 acres of new Public Parks, trails, and wetland reserves; and over 1,000 new residential units of varying types and sizes.

The project is expected to cover some 800 acres in total west of Highway 101 near the Wallace Kneeland Interchange. Hall Equities Group has spent over five years working with the City of Shelton, the State Department of Transportation, the State Department of Ecology, and other interested stakeholders to secure approvals for the design and re-construction of the Wallace Kneeland Interchange at Highway 101, and various environmental remediations to impacted wetlands in the area of Goose Lake, as necessary preliminary groundwork needed for the project to proceed.

The project has been effectively stalled for the last two and a half years by the legal challenge brought by the Port of Shelton against the project. Resolution of this conflict now allows this project to move forward.

Link to Court Decision Document pdf:


Thursday, February 9, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

Readers of this blog have probably noticed little has been reported on Port of Shelton activities over these past few months. The reason for this is twofold:

First, reporting the goings on at the Port has been like watching a train wreck happen at the same time and at the same place, month after month. Even considering the tragic consequences, the events themselves tend to become less interesting with the passage of time.

Secondly, given the abdication of Jay Hupp from the Chair position, I wanted to give our newest Chair, Commissioner Dick Taylor, an opportunity to introduce a bit of professional reasoning to a dysfunctional process. That time has now passed.

So it was with these thoughts in mind I found myself on the way to the most recent regularly scheduled Port meeting on February 7th. Here’s what happened:

First, there was the ubiquitous public comment period that precedes the cryptically written action/discussion items, this day sparsely listed as: “A. FTZ” and “B. Fairgrounds”, with no further information provided. I had brought this particular failing to the Commissioners' attention several times in the past, but to no avail. Still, with the heart of an eternal optimist, I decided to give it another whirl, broaching the topic before the new body, hoping for a more positive outcome. After a bit of head-bobbing, eye-averting and double-talking, Chair/Commissioner Taylor said the board would take the matter under consideration. This particular response has been aired before, but with no action forthcoming. I’ll let you know if a more “user friendly” agenda materializes at the next meeting.

As it turned out, the “FTZ” (Foreign Trade Zone) topic was a discussion item, whereby Jay Hupp informed the public that the two "FTZs" he had so gallantly proposed last year included a provision that allowed for the transfer of these zones to anywhere in the county, a fact Mr. Hupp failed to disclose at the time he presented his proposal. Apparently, Mr. Hupp enjoys hiding his light under a bushel, and delights at the prospect of outmaneuvering the very people he has sworn to serve. And, while I am not at this time opposed to transferring a "FTZ" to another part of the county, it has been my experience that things that do not begin well, seldom get better over time.

And then it was onto item “B. Fairgrounds”, which, as you might suspect, turned out to be the lease of the Port’s Fairgrounds to the Hansens, or more precisely, Northwest Event Organizers, Inc. Well, shut my mouth and light me a-fire, who would have guessed the Port would circle back to that old dog? Everybody, that’s who.

Immediately after the meeting, and with an arm draped around the shoulders of Commissioner Wallitner, Rachel Hansen accepted the “Key” to the Fairgrounds. Yes, grasshoppers, an actual key was presented. But like a story about a one-legged duck, this one sounds funnier than it actually is. That said, I extend my best wishes to the Hansens for success, and hope their efforts will attract more tourists and bring more business to our community (along with untold wealth to themselves and their foster child, John Dobson).

But the height of the meeting was embedded in its final moments, under the heading, “Commissioner Comments”. Dick Taylor announced that the Halls Equity Proposal known as Shelton Hills was “going to happen”; we don’t know when, he said, but it is definitely going to happen. Given the money, time and effort involved in bringing us to this point, I view such news as a bittersweet victory over one's own failings. But before my tongue becomes too acerbic even for me to tolerate, I want to publicly thank Commissioner Taylor for his efforts in bringing the Shelton Hills issue another step closer to its inevitable conclusion.

As you may suspect, there is also much going on at the county level: discussions revolving around privatizing water, sewer and solid waste systems; policy decisions aimed at who can serve on how many citizen advisory committees; and always Belfair wastewater issues up the wazoo. (And some other issues too sensitive to discuss at this time.)

But right now, there are many things to do and not so many people to do them. So, do all that you can with all that you are, and remember: Life is short and you’re dead a long time, so get on with it.

Truth is power (TIP).




On 2/8/12, WA marriage equality bill passed the WA House of Representatives, 55-43. WA is now set to become the seventh state to achieve marriage equality for LGBT couples. Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the bill early next week. Opponents have promised to fight gay marriage with a ballot measure that would allow voters to overturn the legislative approval.

However, last October, a University of Washington poll found that an increasing number of people in the state support same-sex marriage. If a challenge to gay marriage law was on the ballot, 55% said they would vote to uphold the law, and 38% said they would vote to reject a gay marriage law.
Graphic by the Human Rights Campaign:

Friday, February 3, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Citizens for Roslynne Reed


January 30, 2012

Roslynne Reed, Democrat, announced she is running for Mason County Commissioner, District 2, stating, “We need to get serious about the business of governing the county. Pretending it is a part-time position is still not working. We need to fill local positions with qualified individuals, not career politicians.”

Besides full-time representation, actual budget oversight and program management will be necessary to assure fairness and equity of the public’s resources. Reed will work with the other local governments, chamber organizations, and community members to develop a vision for the county and a plan to reach stated goals. People like living in Mason County because it is a beautiful place and has a lot to offer. However, jobs continue to be a problem and no cohesive plan has surfaced to bring compatible businesses to the area.

Reed further says, “I have extensive experience in personnel management, conflict resolution, budgeting and fiscal management. I have a commitment to community demonstrated by my active participation in community projects and events, and a regular attendee at County meetings to keep informed on issues and problems facing our district and region. I have been a small business owner, and have an appreciation for the challenges facing our local businesses.”

Roslynne Reed is a native of Shelton, born in Mason General Hospital in 1952. She is a Skokomish Tribal Member and related to members of the Squaxin Island Tribe. Roslynne Reed retired from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1997 at the age of 45, after working in various positions such as Air Traffic Controller, Program/Management Specialist, Human Resource Specialist, Drug & Alcohol Coordinator, and Training Supervisor. She was elected to the Skokomish Tribal Council for a 4-year term and during that time, elected to General Council President for two one-year terms. She held management positions in the Skokomish Tribe and continues serving on various Tribal committees.

Roslynne Reed is a Hood Canal School Board Member, Vice-Chair of the League of Women Voters Mason County, Skokomish Precinct Committee Officer, and a member of the Shelton and North Mason Chambers of Commerce and the Union Tourism Association.

A meet and greet will be held at the Alderbrook Golf and Yacht Club House in Union on February 19 from 2-5 p.m. Appetizers will be served by Smoking Mo’s Kitchen, complemented by music and a no-host bar. The campaign can be contacted at (360) 877-0628 or


Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club House
Sunday, February 19th
2:00 - 5:00 PM

Contact the Campaign at:
(360) 877-0628 or