Friday, March 30, 2012

OPEN LETTER TO GEORGE ZIMMERMAN


THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond Mason County Progressive

Dear George,

There are some things I would like to say to you. (I hope you don't mind my calling you George, but since I am more than twice your age, I feel it's okay to do so.)

People all over the world who read, watch or listen to the news, have all heard about what you are afraid of, George, and what you did as a result of that fear on the evening of February 26th, 2012.

So I would like to take this opportunity to tell you what I and many others in our country have become "afraid" of these days.

First, we are very afraid of the Stand Your Ground Law, George. If someone (like you) only "feels deadly threatened", this law entitles that person "to use deadly force" without any repercussions of any kind. (May this deadly law soon disappear into the annals of time.)

Next, we are afraid of you, George, and the fears that make you imagine things in your mind that do not exist, and make you commit actions that cannot be retracted. We pray there are no "loose cannons" like yourself roaming around the neighborhoods where we live.

Self defense you say, George? You say you acted in self defense? Across the globe, special attention has been paid to the police video in which you so effortlessly alighted from the back seat of the police car unassisted...even with your hands cuffed behind your back...even after you said you had gotten so brutally mugged. (I can't do that with my hands not cuffed, let alone mugged, but then, as I said before, I am more than twice your age.)

As the days pass on (no matter what well rehearsed stories are being told to the contrary by your family and friends who were not witness to the events), it seems to be getting more and more clear that the only person acting in self defense that evening was Trayvon Martin. Have you forgotten that it was you in your SUV (with a loaded gun) who was pursuing Trayvon who was on foot (with only a cup of iced tea and a bag of candy)? Across the globe, the rest of us have not.

You weren't so "afraid" of Trayvon that you just stayed in your car and waited for the police to come (as you were requested by the 911 dispatcher). No, instead, you left the "safety" of your SUV to pursue that "fearful" black someone in a hoodie who was on foot (but then, lest we forget, you had your loaded gun to give you courage).

That's the trouble with fear and guns, if you have fears and have a gun, you might end up using it without due cause. So that evening, the awaited moment to justify using your gun came to pass, George, except for one serious drawback...the only thing "up to no good" was your own mind making up imagined crimes that did not exist in the external reality. The external reality where Trayvon happened to be walking back to his Dad's house with snacks.

Self defense you say, George? Self defense? Really? So, yes, George, when we think of you, we are indeed afraid.

Afraid of your fears...

Afraid of your gun...

Afraid that you still have this gun...

Afraid of the law that allowed you to just walk away...

But do you want to know the scariest thing of all, George? The scariest thing of all is that you have expressed no remorse...not to Trayvon, as you allegedly straddled his face down body between your legs, while pressing both your hands down upon his back after you shot him dead. You only called out to the nearby woman (the witness to this scene) to call the police. I guess you thought Trayvon was still a threat to you even after you killed him? (Actually he is, George, but not in the way you may have thought at the time.)

Nor have you expressed any remorse to Trayvon's family or to your community. Expressing remorse would not jeopardize your trial, George (and I do believe you will eventually be charged and brought to trial).


I and many others are afraid for our country, George, really afraid. And what's more, we are ashamed.

May Trayvon Martin not have died in vain. May Trayvon's death (and those innocents killed before him for the same non-reasons) bring our country back to its senses. For starters, may this perilous Stand Your Ground law be retracted from sea to shining sea.

Meanwhile, the world is watching...

Do we in the USA let our citizens gun down innocent people walking back home from a convenience store, without even a slap on the hand that held the gun? Does our country let citizens who lethally shoot innocent victims continue to walk the streets with their loaded guns?

Yes, George, we are "afraid"...really afraid.

And what's more, we feel sorry for you, George.
Sorry your mind is so besieged with stereotyping and racial profiling. Sorry your mind is besieged with so much fear it makes you senselessly strike out when no danger exists. Sorry so many others in our country suffer from this same senseless mentality. Sorry for the law protecting this senseless mentality when it lethally strikes out when no danger exists.

And our hearts ache for young Trayvon whose precious life was senselessly cut so short. And our hearts ache for his family. And our hearts ache for our country, that in all these years we have progressed no further than this.

The whole world is watching, George. Much more is involved than simply justice for Trayvon or you being charged and brought out of "hiding" to trial, or retracting a dangerous law. Our democracy is at a critical crossroads for all to see.

Sincerely,

Christine Armond
Shelton, WA

PS

There is something else I would like to tell you, George. It's about an unforgettable experience I had when "I was your age".


It happened back in the early 1970's when I was residing and setting up art workshops for children in East St. Louis, Illinois, one of the most poverty stricken cities in our country at that time. I was one of very few white people in a city of 200,000 predominately black people.

And do you know what, George...I never felt afraid. Unfortunately, you probably won't believe this, or would ever want to believe it, but it is the truth.

I walked everywhere, George, because I didn't have a car (along with many others in this city at that time), and there was no public transportation. And do you know what, George? People who did have cars to drive didn't stop and get out to hassle me. They only stopped their cars to ask me if I needed a ride somewhere.

And you know what else, George? I felt so safe and felt so much good will coming my way that I always accepted these kind offers for rides (contrary to lifelong admonishments), and always got to go where I wanted to go without incident.

I was fortunate to have a taste of how things should and can be in this country between people, George, and I will never forget what that "tasted" like....It tasted like freedom. And my heart is forever grateful for the experience.

Sadly, this story cannot be repeated today in East St. Louis, or any other American city for that matter, as the times have radically changed in so many different ways. But I've tasted freedom from fear, George. It is liberating, and it is not found in a loaded gun.

This freedom is found in mutual respect and understanding; in love and compassion; and in respect for all human life, regardless of sex, race or creed. This is the America I and many others would like to see come to pass. Jai Ma!

Link to sign the Justice for Trayvon Martin petition:
www.change.org/petitions

Graphic: eyesoftheworlds.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WEEK of 3/19/12 SHELTON POLITICS

BRING YOUR OWN AXE

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

Here’s a fun game - let’s roll back the clock a week for a commentary on political events:


Monday, March 19, 2012

6:00 PM: City of Shelton Commissioner Meeting


Public Hearing - Ordinance No. 1801- 0312 - First and Final Reading
An Ordinance of the City of Shelton, Washington Extending a Temporary Moratorium on the Establishment, Maintenance or Continuation of Medical Cannabis Collective Gardens.


Needless to say, there will be no pot gardens in the City of Shelton any time soon. In a unanimous decision, Commissioners agreed with Community Development Director, Steve Goins, that six more months were needed to research this mind altering topic, or until the Feds find a way of taxing the public perception of marijuana into a new morality.

Personally, I still like the idea of growing pot at the Port of Shelton; it’s very economical, and changing the signage would only require blocking out one letter: POT OF SHELTON. Kind of has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

9:00 AM: Regular Session of the BOCC


Only two Commissioners showed up: Steve Bloomfield and Lynda Ring-Erickson. The action agenda consisted of twelve items, but it was Item No. 8.9 that caught my attention:

Approval of the resolution approving the sale of the real properties located at E. 11, E. 21, E. 51 and E. 71 Agate Beach Drive for $5,000 cash to Gary L. Stout and Colleen S. Dugan-Stout.

The property(s) in question consist of five contiguous unimproved lots the County foreclosed on for back taxes back in 2003. In 2010 and 2011, each lot was assessed at $15,000; in 2012, the assessed value was lowered to $4250 per lot. Now the County proposes to sell each of the lots at $1,000. If you consider back taxes, plus interest, plus foreclosure costs $3,573.90, you must also consider that maybe the County has a lot to learn about the foreclosure process.

Be that as it may, how does the County expect owners of similar size lots up and down the street to pay taxes on the full assessed value of their properties when the county, itself, accepts a bid 75% lower than its own appraised value? And what of the $1,426.10 remainder after the tax deficiency is satisfied? Does the County give this money back to the foreclosed upon property owner? Nay, nay, Nanette...those monies go into County Coffers too.

When the dust settles over this questionable practice, the County loses, the public loses, and the ex-property owner is left with a hobo and a freight train ride out of tent city. I tell you, it just ain’t right.


Same day, 2:00 PM: Regular scheduled meeting of the Port of Shelton

Action/Discussion Item: Forest Management Plan Review Update


Okay, grab your socks, we’re going for a ride:

After some discussion about whether or not a public hearing was required to update the Port’s 2002 Forest Management Plan, Commissioner Hupp put the hammer down, and a public hearing was called for April 3rd (don’t kid yourself, Jay still runs the show).

So here’s what’s happening:

As has been reported, the Port wants to harvest a 100 acre timber stand (two stands, actually) adjacent to the new Capital Hill Road. According to Port hired forestry consultant, Joe Staley of North Wind Forestry Consultants LLC, 23% of the trees are infected with what is called Laminated Root Rot (Phellinus Weirii), which travels from tree to tree through the intertwining of root systems (isn’t that how we all got here?).

Mr. Staley tells us that if nothing is done, tree mortality is only one to two years away. Not un-expectantly, a quick search of the web suggests that clear cutting is the most effective remedy if more than 20% of the trees in a stand are infected.

As luck would have it, the current price for logs is sky high, so it’s a really good time to kill a bunch of trees and sell the logs to local lumber mills. Not as good as if the logs could be exported, mind you, because federal law PROHIBITS THE SALE OF LOGS HARVESTED FROM PUBLIC LANDS INTO THE EXPORT MARKET. This is a hard bullet for the Port to bite, since exported logs are valued at 60-80% above those destined for the domestic market. (Ah, you can almost hear the wheels turning.)


Now back to Mr. Staley and his timber consulting company, North Wind Forest Consultants (NWFC), which he started with partner, Bob Schwartz, way back in June of 2010. LookUpBook.com reports the company address as being 314 Harrison Ave., Centralia, but lists no phone number. The Washington Secretary of State, Corporation Division, lists the agent for NWFC as one James M.B. Buzzard, a lawyer (but then what other profession could the poor man have possibly gone into?). A quick look at the Lewis County Assessor’s office, however, lists the registered owner of the building at 314 Harrison Ave. as - wait for it - “Company of Buzzards”. Honest to God!

Okay, that was fun, but it really has nothing to do with Mr. Staley’s qualifications, as it appears he has previous experience in managing the sale of timber and holds a BS degree in Forestry from Oregon State. But does this qualify him to assess the extent of laminated root rot in the port’s timber stand? Maybe. Let’s wait and see what documentation is offered at the public hearing.

Apropos of nothing, I walked much of the stand and saw no indication of yellowing tree-tops, considered to be the defining symptom of laminated root rot. But then there was only one tree where I grew up in Brooklyn, and someone wrote a book about it, so what do I know.

But here’s what I do know: The Port never looks at trees; they hate trees; trees get in the way of planes and attract huggers and all manner of fauna the Port couldn’t care less about . Matter of fact, the Port has always given the public impression that the only good tree is a dead tree going down the road on the back of a truck, a la Tim Sheldon. So why all the sudden concern over forest health? Could it have something to do with the 55 acres of land adjacent to the airport the Port would like to annex into their domain?

No matter, there are a host of reasons not to harvest the timber, not the least of which is it triggers a mandatory moratorium on non-forestry conversion if the site is not immediately developed. So what is it the public doesn’t know about this deal? Does the Port have a tenant waiting in the wings? Is the proposed harvest a “sweetener” attached to another deal? Or is the Port just broke and needs to start selling the furniture?

These and other questions can be asked at the public hearing to update the Port’s forestry plan on Tuesday, April 3, 2:00 PM at the Port of Shelton administration building. BYOA (bring your own axe).


PORT OF SHELTON PUBLIC HEARING

2002 FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN UPDATE
on
Tuesday, April 3rd
at
Commissioners' Chambers
Port of Shelton
21 West Sanderson Way
at
2:00 PM

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

CHANGE.ORG PETITION FOR TRAYVON

WHAT KILLED TRAYVON MARTIN?

Excerpts from:
The Scariest thing about Trayvon Martin
by Alexandra Petri

Fear.

You could smell it all over the story of Trayvon Martin. Fear in the call that George Zimmerman, self-appointed neighborhood watchman, placed to the 911 dispatcher about a suspicious figure in his gated community “looking about".

Fear in the phone conversation Trayvon had at the same time with his girlfriend, saying that there was a man following him and that he’d put his hoodie on.

Fear in the agonized pleas recorded in a neighbor’s 911 call as the two struggled.

Fear of the nameless, faceless menace of the You-Shouldn’t-Be-Here. It’s the fear that makes you appoint yourself neighborhood watchman in the first place, to make sure nothing Out Of Place shows up. Fear that what you don’t know will hurt you. Fear, followed by rage.

Trayvon Martin was 17 and looked younger. He was carrying iced tea and Skittles. He was unarmed. George Zimmerman must have been terrifying — larger, older, carrying a weapon. Instead, Zimmerman was, by his own account, terrified. He pursued, shot and killed Trayvon.

Fortunately for the fearful, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has their interests at heart. To get away with murder, you need not prove that anyone intended you harm before you shot him. All you need prove is that you were very, very afraid. You need a real and reasonable fear that your life is in danger.

But so few fears are. We’re more frightened of public speaking than drowning, of spiders than driving. What the law says is that force is justified if someone “reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” In a word — fear. If my fear is big enough, it can outweigh your life.

This law terrifies me. I don’t suppose I can shoot it?

To Zimmerman, the figure in the hoodie was a nameless, faceless menace. But he wasn’t. His name was Trayvon Martin, “Slimm” or “Tray” to his friends.

He wanted to be an engineer, the stories report. He was taking flying lessons. He got A’s and B’s and was majoring, said his teacher, in cheerfulness. . . .

We don’t know what might have become of Trayvon. Every possibility ended with those frightened pleas and the gunshot. . . .

Nice people don’t have racism, these days. What they have is something else. Localized fear. Fear of the life outside the gates. You go here. We’ll go here. This is your street. This is my street. This is my school. This is your school. Stay where you don’t look Out Of Place to George Zimmerman, and you’ll be safe. . . .

“I was afraid of him,” you say. “I was entitled to shoot. You never know what might have happened if I hadn’t.”

If George Zimmerman hadn’t, there would be one more face in the hallways at Dr. Michael Krop High School. And after that, who knows.

Trayvon Martin wasn’t a saint or an allegory.

Neither was he a faceless menace. . . .

This is where the fear gets us, and it’s a horrible place.

The Justice Department is investigating the case, after weeks of cover-up and bungling and failure to press charges by local law enforcement. But the standards for prosecuting someone for hate crimes are some of the highest set by law. The standards for shooting someone? Fear is enough.


Link to complete article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/the-scariest-thing-about-trayvon-martin/2012/03/20/gIQAfKlLSS_blog.html

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TELL TIM SHELDON TO PASS SB 6185

Email from: Campaigns@DailyKos.com
Subject: Pass the Reproductive Parity Act


Had enough of playing defense against crazy conservatives in their war on women? Then let's go on offense for a change and start passing laws that protect and expand women's rights.

Send an email to your Washington state senator, telling him or her to pass the Reproductive Parity Act, which requires health insurance plans that cover maternity care to include the full range of reproductive health care options, including abortion.

Link to send a message to Sen. Tim Sheldon:
http://campaigns.dailykos.com/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=90

Link to more info on the Daily Kos re: the War on Women:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/17/1075332/-This-week-in-the-War-on-Women-Who-s-ready-to-go-on-offense-?detail=hide

Monday, March 19, 2012

Women as "State Property" Revisited


HAVEN'T WE BEEN HERE BEFORE?

1970 LETTER TO EDITOR STILL RELEVANT IN 2012

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond
Mason County Progressive


While going through our home files recently, much to my surprise (and interest), I came across a letter I wrote to the Editors of The Boston Globe that was printed (an unanticipated gratification at that time) in March, 1970 with the header: "Women as State Property".

What appalling synchronicity! How can it be that the very same issues I was addressing as a young woman in 1970 continue to be of concern 42 years later in 2012? How long must women in this country find ourselves living the same days over and over again? ANSWER: As long as it takes!


___________________________________________

March 3, 1970

Women as "State Property"

Editors, The Boston Globe:

Re: Abortion Law


This country theoretically has the separation of church and state inherent in its foundation. It also proclaims in its Declaration of Independence, the equality of all mankind, although only relatively recently in its history has it extended this Elysian Field of equality, at least on a political if not yet social level, to encompass those who are black, and regrettably even still later, to those who are female.

If supposedly there exists a political freedom for those of any or no religion, for those of any race, or for those of either sex in this country, then what right has the state to claim the wombs of its female constituents as state property if it is not confusing the religious with the secular, or if it is not perpetuating the now unconstitutional myth of the patriarchy? The state in this country, if it does indeed adhere to the constitution, should be concerned with the collective welfare of its constituents, and not the individual and personal paths that its members may choose that in no way alter the common good.

Therefore, it is difficult to comprehend in what way a woman's personal decision to undergo the medically simple operation of the removal of a fertilized egg (in which only the potentiality for human life is present) from her uterus, a crime against society.

May I also suggest that perhaps those persons who in this era eclipsed by pollution and overpopulation, who prohibit or arbitrarily discriminate in the distribution of birth control information and methods, and who declare self-righteously that abortion is immoral and therefore illegal "in most cases" are the very persons who are committing a crime against society.

To anyone who denies the population explosion as a reality that must soon have a workable solution, I can only say that they need only to glance at our congested cities or perhaps ponder for a moment upon the countless numbers of people that we are already unable to feed. It is no longer, in terms of the continuing existence of human society, merely ignorant or inhumane to have children that are unwanted or to have more children than one can adequately provide for, but is equally ignorant to have an excessive number of children even if they are desired and can be provided for.

If a certain religious organization is so seemingly concerned with safeguarding human life, why did it not speak out against the Nazi atrocities? May I also question the methods in which that same organization dealt with human life throughout history, when it defined it as "heathen" or "infidel". That belief system which has discriminated so violently against those who were not among its constituents to the point of torture and death, now seems to be ridiculously protective of human life not yet born, and which would not be born into its membership. May all religions dictate only to their following, and not the masses existing outside of their dominion. The separation of church and state must be upheld. If one needs a church to tell one what to do, one may easily join such an organization.

Technology has indubitably tampered with the balance of nature, and if we do not soon make amends to restore that balance, our civilization is doomed for annihilation. The benefits derived from the extension of human life through the curing of disease will be undermined by creating a situation in which there will be too many people for this planet to provide a tolerable environment, if steps are not immediately initiated (not to mention the grave numbers of people who already exist today in intolerable circumstances).

We issue fertility pills for those who cannot have children so unaided. Why is it that we cannot, in such a small way, attempt to restore balance to a ravaged nature by making the option of birth control a national policy (if not international), and to legalize abortion so women can make their own choices about their own bodies instead of being dictated to by the state.

Christine Armond
Boston, MA
____________________________________________

Now 42 years later, If nothing else, I can look at myself in the mirror and tell that young woman of decades ago that I have never wavered from pursuing her yearning for justice...and I never will.


Graphic: zazzle.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A CITIZEN ORCAA DIALOGUE


IMAGINE THAT!

Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox
Mason County Progressive

There is a long history of the downtown Shelton area being inundated with air pollution, odors and noise pollution from Simpson Lumber Company and its blood relatives operating on the shoreline of Dioxin Bay...oops, I mean Oakland Bay.

We citizens complain to Simpson, and that goes nowhere. We citizens complain to the City, and that goes nowhere. We citizens complain to ORCAA (Olympic Region Clean Air Agency), and that too goes nowhere. ORCAA sends its "nose pros" out to sniff the air and finds nothing. Dave McEntee (a Simpson Vice President) tells us that he has never noticed bad odors coming from Simpson.

Do you get the picture?

We in Shelton know there are days when it stinks downtown. We know there are days when our throats and eyes burn after just going to the Post Office. We know there are adults and families with children with asthma who have to increase their medicines in order to breathe on those days.

When ORCAA relocated the PM 2.5 air monitor to the roof of the new Public Safety Building, we had hopes that this would support our complaints to ORCAA and maybe, just maybe, they would do something about it.

A few months after the new monitor had been in operation, we had an opportunity to talk to Dave McEntee after the public hearing for the Simpson Lumber pollution permit renewal. We expressed our concerns that the monitor did not seem to be actually measuring anything from Simpson. We expressed our concerns about the malodorous and polluted air. This is when Mr. McEntee declared that he had never noticed any bad smells coming from Simpson. He then mentioned that one of the Simpson engineers had done a study comparing the incinerator output and the monitor levels, and had found (suprise!) no correlation. So we asked for a copy of the study and it was sent to us.

As advertised, the study did not show any correlation between the air monitor readings and Simpson's incinerator operation. None! Simpson is burning tons and tons of wood and whatever else 24/7, which according to their permit, releases tons and tons of particulate matter (PM 2.5)...and the monitor, located a few hundred yards away, does not indicate it. Imagine that!

Our conclusion from this was that either the study wasn't done correctly, or the monitor just doesn't work in its present location, or both.

We sent the study to ORCAA engineer Mark Goodin for his opinion. He basically said that the study was not detailed enough to be able to draw any conclusions from it, i.e. bad study design. Our interpretation was a bit more harsh. We think the study was designed to show exactly what it does...nothing.

In order for a study to be valid, it would need to use hourly incinerator output data, hourly monitor readings, and wind speed and direction data. We could get the monitor data online. We could get the weather information. What we needed was the Simpson incinerator output data. So we asked for it.

We were eventually told by Dave McEntee, V.P., that Simpson just wasn't interested in providing the data. Imagine that!

So we tried ORCAA. Part of Mark Goodin's response to our request for his opinion about Simpson's "study" was to state (see email in post directly below) that ORCAA received hourly data from Simpson that included this information. We asked for the data as it would qualify as public information if ORCAA had it. ORCAA then changed their story to say that they didn't really have it. They could get it if they wanted it, but they haven't wanted it. Imagine that!

So that's where it stands for now. Simpson Lumber won't give us the data. It's not like it would be a lot of effort for them. A few computer keystrokes, save to a file, and then email it. That's it.

And ORCAA, the protector of our health and environment, is not interested in helping citizens to help themselves either. Imagine that!


Those of us who participated in or followed the recent ADAGE saga will likely notice more than a little correlation with this ongoing Simpson saga.

As with ADAGE, we approached ORCAA as an organization that would help us, as an organization that was there to protect us and the environment. That's all part of its "mission statement". Unfortunately that's a fa├žade. The real function of ORCAA is to "permit" polluters. ORCAA is there to decide how much our community will be exposed to various health hazards. And all this time we thought ORCAA's main job was to protect us. Imagine that!

As a local community, we currently have no say about this. The deck's been stacked by the corporations and their lapdogs in Congress. If a corporation wants to come here and pollute our air, water and land, they have to go through the permitting process. The permitting process is essentially controlled by Congress, and Congress is essentially controlled by corporations through lobbyists. The bottom line is, if polluters want to come, they will be "permitted" to do so. Imagine that!

Presently, local communities have little choice about allowing a corporation or other entities to begin polluting or otherwise destroy the local environment. If a corporation goes through the permitting process, that's it. The corporate gambit to control the process has paid off with profits for the corporation, and polluted air, polluted ground water, environmental destruction, and all manner of other evils for the community.

In Pennsylvania, coal companies will mine coal seams under towns causing buildings to collapse but it is "permitted". In New York state, companies are using the fracking process to extract natural gas while polluting the ground water and it is "permitted". The current permitting process does not allow local communities to exert any control beyond the permitting process itself.
But there is some hope.

Local communities in several states including Washington, have begun passing ordinances that return control of the local resources and environment to local control. In order to do this, we must elect officials that are sympathetic to the will of the people. Please think about this when you vote. Every single member of the current Port of Shelton Commission and the Mason County Board of Commissioners supported ADAGE.

If we want things to change, we must elect officials who will support the will of the people.

Imagine that!

SHELTON BLOG NOTE:
See the post below for the most recent emails with ORCAA.

SIMPSON DATA REQUEST REBUFFED


EMAILING WITH ORCAA: AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY

Submitted to Shelton Blog by John Cox & Christine Armond Mason County Progressive
As there was no response to our repeated requests to Simpson for boiler data, we decided to request the information from ORCAA:


FROM:
John Cox and Christine Armond
TO: "Mark Goodin" mark.goodin@orcaa.org
DATE: February 20, 2012
SUBJECT: ORCAA SHELTON MONITOR/SIMPSON BOILER OUTPUT DATA

Dear Mr. Goodin,

We would like to obtain the Simpson Lumber Shelton boiler output data for 2011 (starting in April when the new air monitor was installed) that Simpson submits to ORCAA. We are not sure what format the data is in, but we would like the output (lb/hr) at hourly (or less) intervals. We have previously requested this information from Simpson to no avail, hence our request to ORCAA for this information.


We intend to look for correlations between boiler output and air monitor readings, also taking into account wind direction which is likely to be a major factor due to the current location of the air monitor.


We hope you can help us with this request. We aren't sure if you are the correct person to ask. but you, at least, are aware of our earlier request(s) to Simpson.


Thank you for your time.


John Cox
Christine Armond

Shelton, WA

________________________________


We received no response directly from Mr. Goodin. Our request was passed onto Debbie Moody,
ORCAA Administrative Assistant:


February 24, 2012

FROM: "Debbie Moody" debbie.moody@orcaa.org
TO: John Cox and Christine Armond
CC: "Mark Goodin" mark.goodin@orcca.org, "Robert Moody" robert.moody@orcaa.org
DATE: February 24, 2012
SUBJECT:
ORCAA SHELTON MONITOR/SIMPSON BOILER OUTPUT DATA

Mr. Cox and Ms. Armond


Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) has received your records request. At this time, we do not have records of data as particularly specified to your request. Record related to your request are attached. (See link below.)

ORCAA has completed their obligation in fulfilling your request and consider this request for public records closed.

Due to the limited number of pages, there will be no charge at this time.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our agency. Thank you.

~Debbie

Link to document pdf:
http://myweb.hcc.net/pkands/docs/Simpson_schedule.pdf

_______________________________


No charge to send us a PDF in an email? Now we know where our tax dollars are going! We didn't like the "data as particularly specified to your request" part, so we tried to make it more specific:



FROM:
John Cox and Christine Armond
TO: "Debbie Moody" debbie.moody@orcaa.org

CC: "Mark Goodin" mark.goodin@orcaa.org
DATE:
February 27, 2012
SUBJECT: ORCAA SHELTON MONITOR/SIMPSON BOILER OUTPUT DATA

Dear Ms. Moody,


In a previous email (below) dated 11/28/11 from Mark Goodin, he stated:

"The ORCAA operator reviews the hourly data on a monthly basis..."

and

"We know this because output of the boiler and performance of air pollution control devices are monitored continuously. This data is sent to ORCAA semiannually and reviewed. "

To us this means that there is hourly data given to ORCAA for the Simpson wood boiler output.

Are you saying this isn't so?

We are requesting the hourly steam production data for the output from Simpson's boiler-wood/bark-EU1 (lbs/hr) which Simpson Lumber sends to ORCAA for review for the period of April 1, 2011 through Dec 31, 2011.

In order to save trees and printing costs, we are requesting a digital version of the data.

Thank you.

John Cox
Christine Armond

Shelton, WA

_______________________________


Now Ms. Moody will make it all perfectly clear:



FROM:
"Debbie Moody" debbie.moody@orcaa.org
TO: John Cox and Christine Armond
CC: "Mark Goodin" mark.goodin@orcaa.org, "Robert Moody" robert.moody@orcaa.org
DATE: February 27, 2012
SUBJECT:
ORCAA SHELTON MONITOR/SIMPSON BOILER OUTPUT DATA

Mr. Cox and Ms. Armond

It is my understanding that we do not have the specific information you had requested.

We do receive reports from Simpson and I have attached a copy. The report I am attaching is received by our office on a semi-annual basis.

I have asked staff to clarify the comments you have highlighted.

"The ORCAA operator reviews the hourly data on a monthly basis..." This statement was in regards to ambient monitoring data-not Simpson data.

"We know this because output of the boiler and performance of air pollution control devices are monitored continuously. This data is sent to ORCAA semiannually and reviewed. " Though it is monitored continuously, we do not receive those records. We may examine these data during onsite inspections.

To us this means that there is hourly data given to ORCAA for the Simpson wood boiler output. This is not a correct statement. ORCAA has the following information for the hog fuel boiler on a monthly basis: hours of operation, hours of downtime, number of start ups, number of shutdowns, ESP hours offline, steam generated, excess opacity events, tons of CO emitted during the month and the last 12 months. This information is included in the attached document.

Again, if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.

ORCAA feels we have fulfilled your request and consider this request closed.

Thank you.

~Debbie

Link to above mentioned Simpson report sent to ORCAA:
http://myweb.hcc.net/pkands/docs/Simpson_semiannualreport.pdf

This report is IT? This is all that Simpson is required to send to ORCAA semi annually? Imagine that!


Links to previous related posts:


http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2011/12/simpson-data-saga-update.html

http://masoncountyprogressive.blogspot.com/2011/12/simpson-data-questioned.html

Monday, March 12, 2012

SEATTLE STEAM GETS STEAMED!

Excerpt from:
Seattle Biomass Developer
Threatens to Sue Biomass Opponent
By Josh Schlossberg

An attorney for the Seattle Steam Company sent a letter to biomass opponent Duff Badgley of Seattle, Wash. forbidding him from making certain public statements—including use of the term “incinerator”—in reference to air pollution threats from the company’s existing downtown biomass incinerator and another proposed natural gas facility.

“The language you have used publicly is a commercial disparagement of Seattle Steam’s legitimate business and will cause it harm,” reads the letter from Edward W. Pettigrew of Graham and Dunn law firm to Badgley, coordinator for No Biomass Burn and a member of Occupy Seattle. The letter warns that “having advised you of the falsity of your statements, your continued use of them will render you liable for defamation and commercial disparagement.”

“This is a national story about toxic incinerators and freedom of speech and the right to protest—anywhere,” wrote Badgley via email.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to “incinerate” is to “cause to burn to ashes.” “Incinerator” is defined as “a furnace or a container for incinerating waste materials.”

“Approximately 10 to 12 truckloads of clean urban waste wood will be delivered to the site daily. Seattle Steam will use approximately 250 tons per day,” reads a “Frequently Asked Questions” link on Seattle Steam’s official website under the heading “Where does Seattle Steam get the wood it burns and how much will it use?”

Seattle Steam’s letter also takes issue with a statement allegedly made by Badgley that the existing biomass incinerator emitted particulate matter at levels so “lethal it can kill ‘on the very day’ of exposure.” An American Lung Association report State of the Air: 2008 claims “First and foremost, short-term exposure to particle pollution can kill. Deaths can occur on the very day that particle levels are high…”

Particulate Matter can cause decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeat, nonfatal heart attacks, and premature death in people with heart or lung disease, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Air pollution control permits have documented that significantly higher levels of particulate matter are emitted from biomass incinerators than from even facilities that burn coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

In response to the letter, Occupy Seattle is asking Seattle residents to file a complaint with the Washington State Bar Association against Seattle Steam’s attorney, Edward Pettigrew. The complaint reads that the letter sent to Badgley “contains knowingly false statements of facts, violates the constitutional rights of free speech of Mr. Badgley and Occupy Seattle, maliciously seeks to curb lawful protest by Mr. Badgley and Occupy Seattle, and constitutes harassment of both Mr. Badgley and Occupy Seattle.”

Seattle Steam did not respond to a phone call asking for comment.

Link to complete article:
http://climate-connections.org/2012/03/12/seattle-biomass-developer-threatens-to-sue-biomass-opponent/

Link to No Biomass Burn:
www.nobiomassburn.org

Link to Occupy Seattle:
www.occupyseattle.org

Saturday, March 10, 2012

HAS HYPOCRISY HIJACKED WA BUDGET?

TWO FACED TIM

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

As a long-time member of the "independent party", I choose to forge my political opinions around the merits of an issue, rather than blindly follow any party line. But even the most independent of thinkers would think twice before turning against their own party.

By joining with Republicans in an arcane “Ninth Order” process aimed at hijacking Senate control from Democrats, Senator Tim Sheldon, a registered Democrat, may have stepped off a political cliff and dragged the entire 35th District along with him. To be clear, there’s a world of difference between reaching across party lines to work with the “other side”, and joining in an attack against your own side.

If Sheldon seeks to take advantage of the current political winds, he should declare himself for what his actions indicate: not a “maverick” Democrat, but as an Independent, unencumbered by party loyalty.

That’s not to say Sheldon has no loyalties -- a laundry list of corporate supporters attests to his unwavering allegiance to special interests. Unfortunately, those loyalties do little to benefit the ordinary citizen.

I would argue that Sheldon’s recent behavior may not be what voters in the 35th District had in mind when they sent him to Olympia. Indeed, in the eyes of the body politic, it is reasonable to assume some will look unfavorably when the time comes to award grants or create public sector jobs. So the question begs: was it wise to build an economy so dependent on government largess, and then gamble away all your political good will on a single capricious act? Time will tell.

One thing is for certain: by engaging in high fashion antics against his own party, Tim Sheldon has put the economic future of the 35th District at risk.

And the timing couldn’t be worse.

Graphic: clipart.com

Friday, March 9, 2012

3/6/12 SHELTON MEETINGS IN REVIEW


TOM'S TALES OF TUESDAY

March 6, 2012

9:00 AM: Community Meeting with Commissioner Bloomfield

The regularly scheduled BOCC meeting on Tuesday was cancelled due to Commissioner Ring-Erickson being out of town and Senator Sheldon busy taking over the State Legislature. This left Commissioner Bloomfield to wander the halls of the county administration building looking for trouble, which he found.


As arranged, a small group of citizens met with Mr. B. for a gorilla roundup -- which is what I call those issues of concern about the environment, public policy and the economy that every politician is sworn to avoid. It was a good opportunity to bend the ear of a Commissioner, at least until the Sheriff showed up and chewed it completely off.

To his credit, Mr. B. took it all on the chin and was receptive to our concerns. But in the end nothing of significance was resolved, other than his leaving with a clear understanding of the issues and maybe a strong resolve never to do this again.

Outside it was a beautiful day, full of sunshine and hope. A gentle breeze blew out of the south and it felt good to be alive. Then I remembered the Port of Shelton regular scheduled meeting was today.

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

It was a sitting room only at the Port. Rod Powell, co-owner of the Ridge Motor Sport Park, gave a presentation on the newly completed racetrack on Eells Hill Road. After taking a few minutes to polish the chrome on Matt Matayoshi, Mr. Powell took us on a photo trip back to yesteryear, when the port was epicenter of the drag-racing world. And now, with the help of the EDC they would be able to introduce a whole new generation of enthusiasts to their wasteful pastime.

Mr. Powell then went on to explain that, while the track was designed to accommodate expensive Ferraris and Lotuses that go from zero to mock 1 in the blink of an eye, it was also open to those less fortunate, whose cars couldn’t get up to sixty MPH by lunch time -- for a fee, of course.

Obviously, I do not share in the unbridled enthusiasm of those who beamed and giggled like June brides through the entire presentation. There is little reason to celebrate a facility that surrenders development potential of adjacent land to provide a Mecca for the mindless. There is, after all, very good reasons why so many communities declined to host a racetrack. And the few that do are smart enough to stick them out in the boonies. So the question begs: Is this to be the foundation of our economic recovery? Jet cars, private planes, skydiving and a racetrack? While "toyz for boyz" is not necessarily a bad thing, I hope it doesn’t turn out to be the only thing.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s little doubt Ridge Sport Motor Park will have a positive economic impact on Mason County; and un-muffled engines, burning tires and conspicuous consumption, certainly meet the Port’s criteria for support. But is pandering to a market of self-indulgence really the key to our success, or is that how we got in this mess?

Okay, I’m finished whining -- here’s the numbers we were given:

The track is built on 176 acres, and includes a 2.5 mile race track and a ¼ mile drag strip (not open till 2013). The facility will be used only by car and motorcycle clubs that pay a fee for usage; it will not be used for professional racers and is not designed to accommodate spectators.

According to the archangel of economic dreams, annual income generation is as follows: 3.5M in hotel bookings; 1.8M in restaurant and entertainment consumption (most of which will be beer) and 2.5M in fuel sales. Total: 8.6M (yes, I know it doesn’t add up, but that’s because EDC forecasts include indirect and induced income to the second power).

When given these numbers Commissioner Tom Wallitner said, “Thank you Ridge Sport Motor Park you really saved our yogurt.” No one knew exactly what he meant, but it’s a little too late in the game to bring up so fine a point.

I asked a couple of sensible questions about noise pollution, and if the race track had some form of treatment for storm-water runoff? It was the only time the toothy smiles disappeared from round the table, and I swear I saw a tiny drop of blood drip from the mouth of Matt Matayoshi.

Never content to leave things alone, Jay went on to say how important it was for the Port to spread the word that it was “business friendly”. In the past, such remarks signalled a need for increased public vigilance, as the phrase “business friendly”, in the contest of the Port usually means “environmentally unfriendly”. Why business and the environment continue to rattle ‘round Jay Hupp’s head in mutually exclusive patterns remains a mystery to me.

Perhaps, someday, our leaders will realize that environmental issues are deserving of attention, if only because all business depends on its condition. But such renaissance will likely require the absence of political ideology in the decision making process, and I don’t see any pigs flying out there, so don’t hold your breath.

That’s all I got...

Graphic: mediabistro.com

STOWAWAY AMENDMENT REJECTED

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

Excerpt from:
Senate Rejects Stowaway Amendment
That Would Cause Thousands of Deaths

Americans remain protected from nation’s second worst toxic polluters

March 8, 2012

Washington, D.C. —

Today, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment that would have exempted industrial power plants (a.k.a. boilers) from the Clean Air Act, thereby leading to the deaths of up to 8,100 people every year. There are approximately
1,750 major industrial power plants at more than 700 facilities across the country that must reduce their toxic emissions of lead, mercury and other toxic pollutants under standards recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The amendment rejected today, offered by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, would have allowed these polluters to go on polluting without any enforceable limits on their toxic emissions.

Below is a statement from Trip Van Noppen, President of Earthjustice:

“Today marks an important moment in the struggle for clean, breathable air. The congressional allies of big polluters have been trying for the past two years to exempt industrial power plants from the Clean Air Act, and they’ve used every sneaky trick in the book to get it done—repeatedly attaching policy riders that wouldn’t stand a chance of passing on their own to pieces of unrelated, must-pass legislation like the Transportation bill.

"That devious strategy was just rejected, and the health of the American public is far better off for it. It’s time to move forward with reducing the burden that industrial power plants put on the health of the American public: thousands of premature deaths, 5,100 heart attacks and 52,000 asthma attacks every year.

"We appreciate the stand that many senators took in rejecting this dangerous amendment. The owners of industrial power plants are well connected and have deep pockets, but today’s vote also demonstrates that concern for constituents’ health is also alive and well.”

Learn more about the location and emissions of industrial power plants.

Link to complete article:

http://earthjustice.org/news/press/2012/senate-rejects-stowaway-amendment-that-would-cause-thousands-of-deaths