Friday, April 27, 2012


For information about May Day events in Olympia:

For information about May Day events in Bremerton:

For information about May Day events in Seattle:

Thursday, April 26, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

Several months ago, while leaving an evening meeting of County Commissioners that went on far too long, a woman stepped out of the shadows, and with a boney finger poking my chest demanded to know why I did not attend the Monday morning briefings of the BOCC. After regaining my composure, I answered, “Why should I, all the important decisions are made at the Public Hearings, right?” The look she gave me seemed to say, “How did you get to be so old and still be so stupid?”

How, indeed.

As it turns out, Monday morning BOCC briefings are infinitely more interesting than the regular Tuesday meetings because the briefings are where so many of our most important public policy decisions are made. Not the official decisions, of course, that require the dogs and ponies be given an opportunity to perform, but the results themselves are a foregone conclusion.

Such is not always the case, but happens often enough to be disconcerting when those decisions involve hot-button issues like the economy, special interests, the environment or decency standards. It appears some decisions are founded in political ideology or personal conviction. Call me old fashioned, but it would seem that if your job is to make public policy then you should wait till the public is heard from before adopting that policy.

And now onto our regularly scheduled program on Tuesday.

April 24, 2012

6:00 PM: Regular session of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

This was the third time in 2012 Commissioner Sheldon was not in attendance, and so is now deserving of the honorary title, “Part-Time-Tim”.

Fortunately, no public hearings were scheduled, and there were only two action items on the agenda worth the price of gas:

Item 8.2
Approval to appoint the following people to the Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Advisory Committee: Kimberly Klint, Executive Director, Mason Matters; Tom Davis, Citizen; Miles Nowlin, Homeless Liaison, Shelton School District; Gordon Craig, Citizen; Samuel Byrd, Citizen, Allyn; Gale Burke, Citizen; Raymond Lee “Randy” Olson, Citizen, VFW – Shelton Post; George Radovich, Citizen – Veterans’ adviser; Patti Kleist, Ex. Dir. Faith in Action, Belfair; Douglas Sayan, Citizen; Sue LaMont, Sergeant, Mason County Jail.

The new citizen committee was formed to advise County Commissioners what programs are worthy of funding collected from the 1/10th of 1% sales tax increase for mental health, substance abuse and therapeutic court programs. The entire community is being represented, with a broad cross-section of citizens offering a variety of differing viewpoints. But mixing it up, as it were, has always been part and parcel of the creative process, and I am expecting no shortage of passion being brought to the table of this committee.

Item 8.8
Approval to set a public hearing on May 8, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. to consider adoption of amendments to Title 17 of the Mason County Code pertaining to the zoning of Collective Gardens (medical cannabis) or extend the current Moratorium for six months to expire on November 16, 2012.

Wow, a real cliff-hanger. Will the county permit growers of medical marijuana to locate “collective gardens” in a particular zone, even though such gardens are illegal under Federal Law, or will salmon decide to migrate to Iowa this fall. The odds are roughly even.

There was no Port meeting scheduled, but I did attend a forum sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce held at the Colonial house. I arrived late, due to the BOCC meeting, and opened the door on a diverse group of people sitting in a circle. Admittedly, my first reaction to such a formation is to slowly back away. But a quick look around made me feel this was not some sort of ritual involving human sacrifice, so I pulled up a chair.

The gathering was led by two people representing the Pomegranate Center, there to advise the community on how to bring itself together under a common cause, and for the common good. I had arrived just in time for the part where each person was being given the opportunity to share their vision for our community.

What I took away from this was the notion that if the community needed to dig a hole, for whatever reason, we could argue about the details or we could find common ground and just start digging. (The whole hole analogy is mine.)

To further torture that analogy, when a hole in the ground is, indeed, the objective, I have found it expedient to just grab a shovel and start digging till such time as a more qualified digger of holes comes along to tell me that I’m doing it all wrong, and at which time I hand that person the shovel and take an almost imperceptible step backward. If no one comes along then I dig the hole myself. In either scenario the hole gets dug.

In the end, we all agreed to talk a bit more about what we had learned, and for each of us to bring eight friends along (like I have eight friends) at the next meeting, which is May 15 @ 6:00 PM, at the old County Fairgrounds, Building #13. So if you feel an overwhelming need to contribute to the future of our community but don’t know how, or if you just want to see how many people it takes to dig a hole, I’ll see you there. Just don’t forget to say that you’re a friend of mine.

It ain’t much, but that’s all I got.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Hood Canal, Mason County


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Scott Grout Mason County Progressive

The Mason County Commissioners' meeting on Tuesday, 4/17/12, was on the receiving end of some long standing and deserved frustration over lack of leadership and direction in handling water quality and sanitation issues. These are symptoms of what is a pervasive inability to establish a proactive strategy to deal with growth and environmental pressure, and it’s time to get into the 21st century.

Over the last four years there has been no shortage of crises. We’ve had fecal closures in Hood Canal; we’ve had zoning violations that are unattended to; we've had septic systems that clearly fail; and it’s getting worse by the month.

It does not mean some of our County staff don’t make the effort. I should point out that Debbie Riley of Environmental Health, Barbara Adkins from the Land Planning office, and Steve Bloomfield, our newest County Commissioner, have demonstrated awareness, concern, and passion toward the “cesspool” that is becoming Mason County in general, and Hood Canal in particular. The problem is that these hard working people are not supported, nor empowered by other leaders, to reverse the pattern and follow through on the toothless decisions made by the Commissioners on sanitation and land use, and get to the finish line.

So, we have lots of motion and little movement. As General Patton surveyed the carnage at El Alamein, he could have accepted the status quo, or chosen to do something totally different. He chose to change the culture of the situation, and made a choice to deal with the situation decisively, quickly, and irreversibly. He empowered people to plan and act, and our County leadership must compel their staffs to fulfill their tasks to a point of completion.

At the meeting on April 17th, my comments were taken as “exaggerated”. Folks, this is an excuse. It’s not taking ownership and accountability for what is a clear problem. For years, the responsibility for water quality has been thrown to state agencies, and by and large, they have been helpful once you get to the right person and the right agency. But this has been citizen work. There have been a handful of dedicated citizens who have committed hundreds of hours to point out needed solutions. Their reward is indifference or resistance, passive and active. Where is the County when it counts?

Our leaders are in denial. They will point the finger in any other direction and claim “ain’t my job”. In doing so, they tear the heart out of the energy and momentum of their own staff to make a difference. Why should the state or federal agencies have to shoulder the burden and the initiative? The County is the "grassroots" and should be leading the charge and demanding the support, coordination, and collaboration of any other agency that can streamline results.

From the Puget Sound Partnership, to the Department of Health, to the other County governments, to our own citizenry, Mason County is regarded as a laughing stock of efficiency and effectiveness. It can change. It must change. If our Commissioners do not feel up to shaking the trees to establish a new way of generating a new culture, then someone else needs to step in.

This statement also appeared in the 4/19/12 issue of the Shelton-Mason County Journal as a letter to the Editor.

Scott Grout is the owner of Gold Coast Oyster Company.

Photo by Christine Armond

Sunday, April 22, 2012



Master Ziyong said
"Each and every person has the sky over their head;
each and every one has the earth under their feet."


Photo by Christine Armond
Quote from "Eminent Nuns: Women Chan Masters of Seventeenth-Century China"

Links to articles on the history of Earth Day:

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Miles Nowlin Mason County Progressive

Edwin Loza


Edwin Loza was an exemplary student who was deported to Guatemala the day after he graduated from CHOICE High school in Shelton, WA
on 2/4/10. Edwin’s mother, Claudia, was deported the same year after 8 months in detention. Neither Edwin nor Claudia had ever committed a crime. Edwin has since been legally adopted by his stepfather and has been approved to apply for residency. He is eager to return home, see his family reunited, and attend college in the United States.

  • To support the reuniting of the Loza family by raising $4500 for visa and travel costs by May 1st, 2012.
  • To continue raising awareness about the injustices of the U.S. immigration system.
  • To pressure legislators to act now on comprehensive immigration reform.



6:00 PM

(across from Safeway)
601 W. Franklin St., Shelton

free admission
(donation suggested)


Photo and logo:

Link to Loza Family Fundraiser flier pdf:

Link to related WIP article by Alice Nelson and Miles Nowlin:

Thursday, April 19, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blob by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

April 17, 2012

9:00 AM: Regular session of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

While last week was slim pickings at the regularly scheduled meeting of the BOCC, this week’s agenda held a plethora of issues: no less than 12 action items and 4 public hearings. And while several are worthy of reporting, it is on public hearing Item 9.3 that I wish to focus.

But first, under the category of “Wow, did he really say that?”

During the public comment segment, a rogue shellfish grower went to town on our beloved Commissioners, accusing them of being unwilling to seriously address ongoing water pollution problems in Hood Canal, which, he said, jeopardize his very livelihood. It would be imprudent of me to identify Mr. Scott Grout, owner of Gold Coast Oyster LLC by name, because his assertions were tantamount to an indictment of Mason County’s approach to some of our pollution problems.

It has long been asserted that the County’s approach to air and water pollution has been superficial, though when it comes to hemorrhaging grant money, generating reports and holding meetings, few are more aggressive.

Unfortunately, at the very end of what was a very informative rant, Mr. Grout chose to surrender his righteous indignation to a bit more visceral and irrelevant personal accusations than may have been necessary to make his point, and then stormed out of the chambers. Way to kill a roll, Scott.

Okay, back to Item 9.3: Public hearing to consider amendments to Title 8, Section 8.52 and Title 17, Section 17.05, regarding Long Term Commercial Forest.

The purpose of this little item was to bring the County Resource Policy and Zoning ordinance into compliance with recent revisions to its Comprehensive Plan. And it is to these amendments I am most stringently opposed. Here’s what it looks like, up close and personal:

Long Commercial Forest Lands
[new policy]

RE-105 Land
that is designated as Long Term Commercial Forest may be redesignated to non-resource land, provided that the Board, in the same resolution that effects such re-designation, also designates as Long Term Commercial Forest an equivalent or greater number of acres that meets the criteria in subsections A- E, so that the overall acreage and quality of Long Term Commercial Forest land in the County is not diminished:
A. The land to be newly designated must have an equivalent or greater Douglas Fir Site Index, as calculated using a weighted average, as the land that is redesignated.

B. The land to be newly designated must be assessed as open space or forest land pursuant to Chapter 84.33 or 84.34 RCW.

C. The land to be newly designated must be contiguous with an existing Long Term Commercial Forest in Mason County, or contiguous with land in an adjoining county that is similarly designated as forest resource land under the Growth Management Act, so that no area of forest resource land is created that is smaller than 5,000 contiguous acres in size.

D. The Long Term Commercial Forest from which land is re-designated must remain at least 5,000 acres in size after there-designation.

E. The areas proposed for designation and re-designation must each be a minimum of 100 acres in size.
In-Holding Lands
(new subsection under Policy RE200)
D. Once designated, In-holding lands shall remain In-holding lands even if they no longer meet the criteria in subsection A due to the re-designation of adjoining Long Term Commercial Forest lands pursuant to policy RE-105. Any subsequent re-designation from In-holding to non-resource land shall require the owner to demonstrate that the In-holding designation is no longer needed to mitigate potential incompatible land uses with the remaining, adjoining long-term commercial forest lands.
With the apparent exception of RE-200 (D), the language was lifted, verbatim, from a letter dated June 20, 2011, sent from Eric Schallon, Manager, Land Management and Business Development, Green Diamond Resource Company, to Barbara Atkins, Director Mason County Dept. of Community Development. In other words, Green Diamond wrote the precise policy language that was to be incorporated into the Mason County Comprehensive Plan.

I was present on December 13, 2011 when County Commissioners unanimously passed Ordinance No. 92-11 (adopting the revisions), without so much as a hint of curiosity about what impacts such policy might have on the economic and environmental future of our community. I should have said something, but confess to being caught completely unaware at the time, happily day-dreaming about a hot pastrami sandwich I had at Max’s New York Deli, back in 1972. I now regret this gastronomic distraction. But in my defense, it was a really good sandwich.

Cut to a little history:

June 11, 2011: Green Diamond submits Comp. Plan amendments to Mason County Department of Community Development (DCD).

Sept. 19th, 2011; 6:00 PM: DCD holds a public hearing but lacks a quorum, so the hearing is continued to Oct. 17th.

Oct. 17th, 2011; 6:00 PM: The seven members Planning Advisory Commission vote to recommend amendments to the BOCC. The vote was 5 yeas to 0 nays (check the math).

Dec. 13th, 2011; 9:30 AM: At a BOCC public hearing the DCD recommends approval of the amendments. Mr. Eric Schallon of Green Diamond is the lone testifier. Commissioner Sheldon says he thinks the new policy is “far-reaching” and that it will “benefit citizens” (hold on a second while I slip into a pair of waders).

Cut to supporting documentation of item 3.9 on the BOCC agenda:
(New language in bold – PAC revisions in red)
(c) Redesignation. Lands designated long term commercial forest may be redesignated to non-resource land pursuant to policy RE-105 of the Comprehensive Plan, and non-resource lands may be designated long term commercial forest pursuant to policy RE-105 of the Comprehensive Plan even if they do not meet the criteria in subsection (a) of this section, provided that they do meet the criteria of policy RE-105.
(New language in bold – PAC revisions in red)
(b) Designation
(3) As stated in policy RE-200 of the Comprehensive Plan, inholding lands shall remain inholding lands even if they no longer meet the classification criteria in subsection (a) of this section due to the redesignation of some portion of the long term commercial forest land which had previously caused the subject property to meet the criteria for classification as inholding land.
(New language in bold – no PAC revisions)
(c) Initial Zoning after Redesignation of Resource Land. Subsections (a) and (b) do not apply to a decision to initially zone land when it is redesignated from long-term commercial forest pursuant to policy RE-105 of the Comprehensive Plan. The board of commissioners shall determine the initial zoning for such redesignated land by applying the planning policies in Chapter III of the Comprehensive Plan.
Strip away the officious language and here’s what we get:

Green Diamond (and other) land designated as long term forest lands (natural resource land) can now be swapped for non-resource land (with a little help from their friends, of course). And land once designated as in-holding land (typically smaller parcels surrounded by large tracts of designated timber land) retains its in-holding status, even after it no longer meets the criteria for in-holding land, so long as it was once designated as in-holding land. All of which leads me to believe that, for some in our County, a rose is still a rose, even when it becomes a dead skunk.

Adding insult to injury, all this was done under the umbrella of allowing Mason County greater “flexibility” to re-designate timber lands that may be more suitable for other purposes. (Whoa! The stuff is coming right over the top of my waders!)

What this means is that the boundaries of long term timber lands is a thing of the past. As a result of the newly amended Comprehensive Plan and companion Resource and Zoning changes, Green Diamond has achieved what up till now only God and nature had been able to perform: real estate mobility. And so it came to pass that timber lands can now hop-scotch around the County, future development and economic diversity be damned.

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

The milk of human kindness has settled over Port meetings, with Chair Dick Taylor encouraging public input into the decision-making process. This is a far cry from the atmosphere fostered by past chair, Commissioner Jay Hupp, when the spectre of public involvement hung like a boil on the neck of management.

Be that as it may, the times are changing and I, for one, am more than willing to change with them. On this day, the Port enjoyed a warm and fuzzy place in my heart, at least up to the point when Hupp decided to talk about a great new biomass business model that was developed to assess the industry’s future possibilities.

Needless to say, upon hearing the “B” word uttered in so favorable terms, the hearts of every environmentalist in the County started to thump outside their chests. I don’t know why Jay thought it a good idea to share this information with the attending public. What I do know, is that dealing with Jay Hupp is a lot like playing poker with an iguana: you know he wants to win or he wouldn’t be sitting at the table, but that’s all you’ll ever know.

As always, there’s more news to report in our County, such as the happenings at the City Commission meeting, and more. But for now, enough is enough, and there’s a frosty glass up at the Martini Bar with my name on it.



Monday, April 16, 2012



Sunday, April 15, 2012


Mason County Progressive
An Historical Perspective on Voting Rights for Women

Friday, April 13, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Amy Davis Mason County Progressive


Has Big Money Taken Our Government Hostage?

The League of Women Voters Mason County will hold the Tuesday, April 17th meeting in our usual venue, the Library of Olympic College, from 6:00 - 8:00 PM.

You will notice that the regular meeting time has been changed to the evening. We hope that League members or guests who work during the day, or who otherwise have schedules that don't permit them to attend the daytime meetings, will be able to be present for this very important program. Given the hour, we will provide finger food for attendees.

Our presenter will be Kim Abel, Co-President of the Washington State LWV.
She will address two very timely issues:
Voter Rights and Campaign Finance Reform.

Voter Rights are being challenged in many states all across the country. There has been a recent flood of discriminatory voter ID laws passed in more than a dozen states. The overriding "rationale" for these laws is "voter impersonation". Below you will find an addendum with some of the common myths about voter impersonation.
5 Myths About Voter Impersonation

Myth: Voter impersonation is a widespread problem.
Fact: Between 2002 and 2007, after undertaking a massive investigation into voting irregularities, the U.S. Justice Department did not prosecute a single individual for impersonating another voter at the polls.

Myth: Third-party registration drives contribute to voter impersonation.
Fact: Since 2008,only 31 cases of suspected voter impersonation have been reported to Florida authorities. But due to a restrictive new law there, the League has been forced to suspend its Florida registration activities for the first time in 72 years.

Myth: Everyone either has an ID or can easily obtain one.
Fact: 11 percent of eligible voters, or about 21 million people, don't have updated, state-issued photo IDs. Furthermore, most states require producing a passport or birth certificate to get one. This presents a tremendous burden for people who work multiple jobs, lack transportation, have disabilities, live outside the state where they were born, and who are poor and elderly.

Myth: Election Day registration invites voter impersonation.
Fact: An investigation by the Secretary of State in Maine - which was the first state to adopt Election Day registration - did not find evidence of voting irregularities due to same-day registration.

Myth: Early voting increases voter impersonation.
Fact: Incidents of impersonation in early voting are just as rare as they are in Election Day balloting. A CBS News report on 17 early voting states revealed no widespread signs of irregularities in the 2008 election.
Campaign Finance Reform has been a cause for some time. What would it look like? How would it work? In light of the enormous sums that are being spent on this up-coming presidential election where it appears that he who has/spends the most money is the winner, this is a very timely issue.

For more information about both Voter Rights and Campaign Finance Reform, go to the national League website: and do a search for either or both concerns.

Don't forget that our website:, is being continually up-dated. There you will find the results of our latest study on privatization.

Voters Rights and Campaign Finance Reform
Kim Abel
Co-President, Washington State LWV
Tuesday, April 17th
6:00 PM
Library at Olympic College, Shelton


Thursday, April 12, 2012


This Is Your Community,
If You Don't Own It, Someone Else Will

Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis
Mason County Progressive

Not much happened at Tuesday's Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting this week. Mostly, the usual suspects were being funded, appointed or thrown open for competitive bids. The lone public hearing was to establish a Lake Management District (LMD) for Island Lake, aimed at managing noxious aquatic plants. It wasn’t that I was uninterested in killing some weeds, I just thought our County’s unhealthy rating of 35 out of 39 should have been the larger topic for discussion.

Most of the real action took place on Monday, at a 1:30 meeting billed as: Community Development/Utilities Waste Management/State Agencies.
Subject: Mandatory sewer connections for new development.

Several departments from the County and State were represented in a gallant revisionary effort to reassign blame for the much maligned Belfair wastewater project. Tim Gates was there to speak for Ecology, and if anyone had it in their head to lay that dead dog on his porch, they had another thing coming. I sit on a city advisory committee with Tim, and the official hasn’t been born that can talk him into sticking his neck into a noose of someone else’s making.

Nevertheless, this political football went long and high, looking for a receiver, but by the time it came down, all the players had left the field. And so it is within this vacuum of administrative accountability, I offer the following:

There will be no – there can be no – radical change to the timing of Phase ll of the Belfair Sewer Project; too much money has already been invested and too many careers hang in the balance. It’s a good idea to have an advisory committee, but it’s a better bet that the sewer system will be built out as currently proposed; and that a newly elected Tim Sheldon will be right there to cut the ribbon on its completion.

Here’s why:

You don’t charge halfway up Pork-Chop Hill and then stop for lunch. And you don’t build the first Phase of a four phase sewer project and then start second-guessing what you should have second-guessed before you started. Residents of Belfair need to come to grips with the fact that they were conned, snookered, duped and piked, and now there’s no going back to that little outhouse on the prairie.

After being saddled with a monolithic sewage plant many did not want, citizens of Belfair need some financial relief. Fortunately, this is an election year and it is likely Commissioner Sheldon will take a run at a third term, providing, of course, Senator Sheldon can slip out of the Capitol before being tarred and feathered. Perhaps citizens should tie the Belfair sewer project around the Senator’s neck till he ponies up enough grant money to pay the connection fees of every single family residence in the Belfair UGA with a working septic system. Who-Ya!

There was no Port of Shelton meeting scheduled, but I did offer some written suggestions for consideration into the Port’s Forest Management Plan, as invited. In a letter that was wordsmithed not to offend, it was suggested that selling timber to fund capital improvement projects was unworthy of consideration. Also implied was that such a measure would likely be perceived as an act of desperation, rather than some new “flexible” business model, as one staff member had suggested. I could say more about this issue, but I’ve already had one flat tire this week.

Next Monday, there’s a County briefing at 9:00 AM, and a City Commission meeting at 6:00 PM. Tuesday the BOCC meeting is at 9:00 AM, and the Port meets at 2:00 PM.

Like my dear ole daddy used to say, “This is your community, if you don’t own it, someone else will.”



Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Becky Penoyar Mason County Progressive

Monday, April 9, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Roslynne Reed Mason County Progressive

Excerpt from:
Koch-Funded ALEC Behind State Attempts

To ‘Reclaim’ Your Public Lands
By Jessica Goad

In the last few months, Republican presidential candidates from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum have shown their ignorance about the value of public lands. And recently a handful of states have joined the fray, with state legislators introducing bills that demand Congress turn over millions of acres of public lands to the states or face a lawsuit. Utah has taken this idea the furthest, where two weeks ago Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed a bill into law demanding that Congress give 30 million acres of federal land located in Utah to the state by 2015 or it will sue.

But buried under the headlines is the fact these bills are being quietly drafted and promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing corporate front group that provides draft legislation to state lawmakers and is funded by some of America’s biggest corporations including Koch Industries, BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell.

As the Associated Press reported:

Lawmakers in Utah and Arizona have said the legislation is endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that advocates conservative ideals, and they expect it to eventually be introduced in other Western states.

And in January, Utah Pulse noted that:

Lawmakers in four western land states will be running similar bills in their legislative sessions this year – Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Idaho. Ivory’s bill will be unique to Utah, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has turned his bill into model legislation that other western land states can use. While ALEC is a conservative legislative/business group, Ivory says he hopes to get Utah Democrats onboard with this new effort.

ALEC is behind many controversial state legislative efforts, including Wisconsin’s anti-union legislation, “stand your ground” gun laws, and teaching children climate denial.

Bills similar to the one passed in Utah have been introduced in Arizona and Colorado, while legislators in Montana, Idaho, and New Mexico are said to be considering introducing legislation next year. Many legal experts—including Utah’s own Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel—have stated that such a lawsuit would not pass constitutional review. Additionally, the efforts and lawsuits could cost the state millions of taxpayer dollars. The Utah legislature authorized the attorney general to spend $3 million on the anticipated legal fight.

ALEC’s attempts are not new, but are getting more traction this year. Documents posted on, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy, show that as far back as 1995 ALEC had drafted the “Sagebrush Rebellion Act,” which was “designed to establish a mechanism for the transfer of ownership of unappropriated lands from the federal government to the states".

ALEC’s other attacks on the public lands and wildlife that belong to all of us include a draft state resolution that would undermine the President’s ability to use the Antiquities Act to designate new national monuments, urging Congress to roll back the Endangered Species Act, and a resolution to prevent federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing. . . .

Link to complete article:

Friday, April 6, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

If it’s Tuesday, it must be time to tell the truth about what is going on in the County.

April 3, 2012

9:00 AM: Regular session of Board of County Commissioners (BOCC)

The agenda was as packed as the chambers, with eleven action items and five public hearings. Item 8.8 was the first hot ticket: Approval to raise the pay of Vicki Kirkpatrick, Director of Public Health and Human Services, from pay range 39 to 45. The particulars of this issue were discussed previously in a 2/28/12 post, titled "Agenda Watch".
But read it fast because right from the bell the public came out swinging, and two minutes into the first round Ms. Kirkpatrick’s pay raise hit the canvas like a bucket of meat.

Next up were five public hearings, four of which are not worthy of reporting. Which brings us to the big dog: Hearing No. 9.2.3, an innocuous sounding issue, but judging from the public’s reaction, packed all the punch of gay marriage, religious persecution and puppy abuse rolled into one. Read it and weep:

Hearing No. 9.2.3: $218,404 budget transfer from Ending Fund Budgeted Balance for the Mason County Sheriff’s Office.

The breakdown for the Sheriff's request is as follows:
1) Byrne Grant Computers $17,880.00
2) MACECOM $45,502.00
3) Sergeant Salary $61,236.00
4) Chief Salary .6FTE $44,784.00
5) Sergeant Salary .5FTE $35,514.00
6) Industrial Insurance $ 1,523.00
7) Social Security $ 6,143.00
8) State Retirement $ 5,822.00

Total: $218,404
Supporting Information:
Byrne Grant: $17,301 to purchase patrol computers. The revenue was budgeted but not the expenditure.

MACECOM: $45,502 higher than what was budgeted and approved.

Sergeant Salary: $61,236.00. A clerical error in submitting the 2012 budgets for the jail operations inadvertently omitted this item.
Items 5-8: As a result of the setting of the Traffic Policing Road Diversion at $875,000, and subsequent reduction in the adopted CE 2012 Budget to that level for Traffic Policing, MCSO needs to move two partial supervisory FTE’s from the Traffic Policing budget to the Sheriff’s Patrol budget, to include their proportionate Industrial Insurance, Social Security and State Retirement costs in the amount of $93,786.

I’ll leave Items 1-4 to your discretion, but Items 5-8 belong to me.

Here’s what happened:

It was a dark and stormy night in November 2011, as County Commissioners plotted to reduce the Sheriff’s Traffic Policing budget by $125,000. But what the Commissioners did not know was that this particular $125,000 was the glue that held together the entire Sheriff’s Office, and without which our County would experience a crime spree the likes of which we had never known.

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but when Sheriff Casey took a swing at the Commissioners in his Mason County Daily News post of December 8, 2011, he made it very clear that if the County cut $125,000 out of his 9.6M budget, there would be no joy in Mudville.

I watched this story unfold, and I’m here to tell you that the Sheriff’s department is in no danger of collapsing, nor will citizens notice any change in the crime rate: your jet-ski will still go missing from your carport, and you’ll still wake to an empty toolbox in your pick-up truck. In other words, everything will be just as it is now.

Overall crime in Mason County is already high, and it’s not going to get any worse because Commissioners cut a few bucks out of the Traffic Policing Budget. Instead of trying to scare the public into submission, the Sheriff’s Office might want to focus on the unacceptable number of property crimes and their dismal clearance (crimes solved) rate, and leave the drama and finger wagging to the public.

Why were County Commissioners so adamant about cutting the Sheriff’s Traffic Policing budget, and then so docile about approving $93,000 in supplemental appropriations to offset the very same cutback? That is the question. Only Commissioner Bloomfield seemed to recognize the irony. A good caption to go along with the deafening silence of the other two Commissioners might be: “Okay, we’ll give you the money, this time, but don’t you ever dare pull a trick like that in a non-election year.”

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

A Public Hearing for Amending the Port’s Forest Management Plan:

Right from the get-go it felt like the public was going to get the bum’s rush: Dick Taylor took to the room like Admiral Nimitz, and announced testimony will be limited to three minutes per each member of the non-commissioned public. The fact there were only two of us who signed up to testify seemed not to be particularly relevant, leaving the crew with an impression that the ship had already listed heavily to starboard (that’s, far right, for all you landlubbers).

We were instructed to limit our comments to the Port’s Forestry Plan, and not to address the 100 acres of merchantable timber along Capitol Hill Road they wanted to harvest. But in mutinous fashion, both speakers ignored the warning and launched into some very good reasons why harvesting timber on Port property might be counterproductive to their primary mission of attracting new business.

But we might as well have saved our breath, because Commissioner Wallitner’s loose lips pretty much sunk our ship when he revealed that the reason the trees needed to be harvested was to fund the Port’s capital improvement projects. What this means is that the very municipality charged with growing our economy is in such poor financial shape that it has to sell trees to fund their plans.

Somewhere there’s a plank out there that needs walking.

Written public comment pertaining to the Port's Forest Management Plan will be accepted till April 11th, at 4:00 PM.



Wednesday, April 4, 2012



Excerpts from the legendary Mountaintop speech
given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
in Memphis, Tennessee
the day before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39.

"And then I got to Memphis. And some began to talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? (Previous lines often not quoted.) Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't really matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."


The Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. often sent his wife, Coretta Scott King, a bouquet of fresh flowers when he was traveling around the country.

In March 1968, three weeks before his assassination, Rev. Dr. King sent his wife a bouquet of artificial red carnations. Mrs. King was later to comment, "What was so strange was that he always sent me fresh flowers, and these were artificial. When I asked why, Martin said he wanted me to have something I could keep, as if he knew they would have to last a very long time."

This was the last bouquet Mrs. King was ever to receive from her husband.

Since Mrs. King's death in January 2006, the bouquet of red flowers has been on display in a glass case at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change ("The King Center") in Atlanta, Georgia. Mason County Progressive

Monday, April 2, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Roslynne Reed Mason County Progresive

Excerpts from:
Lobbyists, Guns and Money
By Paul Krugman

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it’s the same old story — the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It’s neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along. . . .

Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?

Yet that’s not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its “life preserver.”) This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it’s exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona’s draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim.

Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

Now, ALEC isn’t single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters — a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda — is one good way to highlight what’s going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back.

Link to complete article: