Sunday, September 30, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Christine Armond    Mason County Progressive
100 years of buying,
bullying and cheating
our democracy

Take Action!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis          Mason County Progressive

Excerpt from:
Action Alert! FSC
Don’t Greenwash Green Diamond 
Resource Company!
By Gary Graham Hughes

Green Diamond Resource Company (previously known as Simpson Timber Company) owns over 400,000 acres of forested lands on the north coast of California in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.  These private lands surround Redwood National and State Parks, the Yurok Reservation, and the communities around Humboldt Bay, Trinidad, Klamath and Crescent City.  Therefore, these lands are critical to the integrity of our natural landscapes, water supplies, fish and wildlife, and productive communities.

Green Diamond is now seeking to certify its forest lands through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a non-profit organization that sets standards for forestry practices in an attempt to balance environmental, social, and economic values. While this could be a promising development, many questions arise because of Green Diamond’s aggressive clearcut logging, their legacy of toxic pollution, their decades long history of antagonistic relationships with local communities and civil society organizations, and their corporate culture of greenwash, impunity, and lack of accountability.

FSC is using a third party company, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), to conduct the audit of Green Diamond’s forest lands.  This process is open to public input and there was a public meeting on June 11th at the Bayside Grange near Arcata.  EPIC was there at this meeting, and the staff of our organization continues to believe that there is real opportunity in this certification process to bring about substantial changes in the manner in which Green Diamond (ex-Simpson Timber) treats public trust resources in our bioregion. We applaud the leadership at Green Diamond for endeavoring to enter into this process. 

Nevertheless, due to the dynamics at this meeting and concerns that FSC is not registering nor taking seriously the comments of the public, it has been become clear to us that there is a very real risk that the Forest Stewardship Council could provide certification to Green Diamond without bringing about the necessary transformation of their operations on the ground, and without seriously addressing the corporate culture that pays lip service to social and economic concerns while continuing to hide the impacts on our local landscapes and human communities that have resulted from decades of abuse by this privately held Seattle based company. . . .

  Don’t Greenwash Green Diamond!

Link to complete article:

Friday, September 28, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis   Mason County Progressive 

It was slim pickings for commission meetings this week as there were no County or Port meetings scheduled, and if the clock on the wall at the City Workshop hadn’t broke, there wouldn’t have been anything to talk about. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening in our fair County. Read on:

Seven Deadly Steps Toward Biomass

Is Simpson planning to build a biomass incinerator facility on Eagle Point? The Port owns some 20 odd acres out on the point and is looking into swapping it for a toxic piece of Simpson shoreline next door to the yacht club. The question is, why? Let’s look at the facts: 
Fact 1: Simpson announced its intentions to build a biomass to energy plant in Shelton.
Fact 2: The Port announced it is looking into a property swap with Simpson. 
Fact 3: The County assessed the Port’s Eagle Point property at $939,000; the Port has set its value at $232,000.
Fact 4: It’s easier to build a biomass plant on private property than on public property.
Fact 5: Currently, Simpson barges its wood chips (biomass) to Tacoma- Simpson Tacoma Kraft.
Fact 6: Over the water distance from the Shelton Harbor to Eagle Point is about 1,500 yards (a bit closer than Tacoma).   
Fact 7: The Shelton Wastewater Treatment Facility on Eagle Point produces a steady stream of nitrate pellets as a byproduct of its operations, which can be used as fuel in a biomass incinerator.
Of course, I’m just guessing here; there may be no plan to build a biomass incinerator on Eagle Point, and maybe Simpson has never considered the logistical advantages of doing so. Then again, you might want to keep a fry-pan on hand just in case it starts raining pork chops -- the chances are about the same.

One thing is for sure: Whatever is going on between the Port of Shelton and the Simpson Corp. is far larger than what we’re being told. And it is with that notion in mind I would rather appear foolish than be foolish.


Thursday, September 27, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Bill Allen   Mason County Progressive

In less than six weeks, the electorate of Mason County will make a decision that will have a far ranging impact on the County.  Mason is, by anyone’s assessment, the “red headed stepchild” of county governments.  

So why is this election any more important than the last one?  Folks, that’s the magic question, right there!  Do YOU care?  You’d better!

We finally have a chance to change the paradigm that has made Mason County the bad boy role model of Western Washington.  In Denny Hamilton and Roslyn Reed, we have two capable candidates that appear motivated for all the RIGHT reasons: 

  • Using tax monies wisely 
  • Gain collaboration between County departments; cross over the rigid job descriptions
  • Get people working together on solution based recurring problems that create results and problem preventative procedures
  • Focus on processes not problems
  • Align public/private partnerships to achieve a multiplier effect on needed capital projects, commerce, industry and services
  • Eliminate the “us and them” attitude that has characterized County employees, the public, and commissioner attitudes
  • Most importantly, develop a strategic plan for every department that considers the increasing human impact Mason County incurs
  • Do this without creating a bloated infrastructure, but work from the creative resources of the fine staffs we have

To do this, the important step is to uproot the “alpha dog” of the Commission, Tim Sheldon.  For years he’s used his considerable influence to dominate the Commission, intimidate opposition, and force feed his initiatives and views.  This might have worked in Southern Mississippi or twenty years ago, but we’re now in the 21st century.  It’s time for Mason County to take a fresh approach.

To attend a Commissioner’s Meeting is to take a tour to a compassionate inquisition.  Public input is permitted, but limited and not really encouraged.  Legitimate issues brought up are met with defensive bombast as a minimum, and recrimination at the maximum.  If you’re on Tim’s side, life is good.  If not, beware.

This chaotic, contentious, and adversarial tone has now resulted in several lawsuits that cost the County dearly.  The financial surplus will erode in legal fees rather than shoring up laid off staff.  With what is left, staff of County departments are afraid to do anything out of a very narrow box, for fear of implied reprisal.  We have inconsistent policy development, and enforcement of land use regulations and water quality.  “Some are more equal than others” as Orwell said many years ago.  What master is Mr. Sheldon serving?  Follow the money to find out.  Is he really on “our side”?

Let’s keep something else in mind.  Mr. Sheldon has missed a Commissioner Meeting once a month for the last FOUR months!  If this was a volunteer position, one could tolerate some inconsistent attendance.  But no, this is a FULL TIME, benefit packed, professional job, or should be.  Eighty grand a year is a pretty good salary.  With that comes a responsibility to show up.  With any normal job, if you don’t show up...YOU’RE FIRED!  Hmmm, maybe it’s time!

For Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Reed, I’d offer the following: 

  • How much passion will you put into the presentation? You have the right stuff, so make it known.
  • Reach the people that are not satisfied with the “business as usual” and embarrass those that are.  There is something called civic responsibility.
  • Challenge everyone you meet to ask the tough questions.
  • The harder they look, the better you’ll look!
  • Get your supporters on the streets.

Mason is Magnificent!  We need to believe it!  It’s time for a change!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Pat Jerrells   Mason County Progressive

If you would like to know what is in your food by genetic manipulation, such as insertion of fish genes into corn, or inserting bacteria or herbicides and pesticides into the genetic makeup of fruits and vegetables, you can sign a petition at Healthy Benefits Market at 825 W. Franklin Street in downtown Shelton, or Fresh Start Market & Deli on 2810 East Spencer Lake Road, and in Olympia at Traditions Cafe (300 5th Ave. SW), or the Olympia Food Co-ops (3111 Pacific Ave. SE, and 921 Rogers St. NW) among many other locations throughout the state. A complete list of petition locations is available on the Label It Wa website.

The petition I-522, "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act", is an initiative to the Washington State legislature to establish mandatory labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering, so the public has a choice. 

Label It Wa's goal is to gather 320,000 signatures by December 31, 2012, to ensure we have at least 241,153 valid signatures needed to get I-522 on the ballot.  Anyone who would like to volunteer to collect signatures, such as outside grocery stores, or if you have a place of business and want to have a petition on the counter, can go online at or email, or call 253-256-1921.


Excerpt from:
It's Tim Eyman vs. the Founding Fathers
by Danny Westneat
Seattle Times Staff Columnist

As the State Supreme Court is about to hear arguments on initiative kingpin Tim Eyman's voter-approved law that requires a two-thirds vote in the State House and Senate to boost taxes, rather than a simple majority as with most other laws, a young attorney says his research into Washington's Constitution has found "original evidence" that the core principle of Eyman's push is unconstitutional.

It was more desperation than inspiration, David Perez admits, that had him poring line by line recently through a thousand pages of minutiae about the Washington State Constitution.

"I was really struggling," says the Perkins Coie attorney. "I had no argument, nothing. So I went back to the beginning."

What Perez stumbled on, in the middle of a bleary night 12 hours after starting, may mark the close of another chapter in Tim Eyman's ongoing crusade against the State raising taxes.

It's "original evidence", Perez claims, from the days of the State's founding. Proof, he says, that the core principle of initiative kingpin Eyman's work of late has been unconstitutional.

"Glaringly unconstitutional," Perez says.

This Tuesday (9/22/12) the State Supreme Court will hear arguments on Eyman's voter-approved law that requires a two-thirds vote in the State House and Senate to boost taxes, rather than a simple majority as with most other laws.

At the heart of the dispute is one line from the State's founding document: "No bill shall become a law unless ... a majority of the members elected to each house" votes for it.

Seems simple enough. But the Eyman side argues that the phrase "unless a majority" is flexible, and that since two-thirds is itself a majority — more than half — then it's OK. The other side argues that when the framers wrote "majority", they meant to fix the plateau to pass a bill at half plus one and keep it there.

The problem has always been that by the time the 75 framers voted on this exact provision, near the end of the convention 123 years ago, it passed without much comment. So no one knows for sure what they meant.

Enter Perez, who is only 27 years old — too young to be told there aren't new ways of looking at old debates. He was tapped to write a pro bono brief on the case for the League of Women Voters.

Stymied and running out of time in late August, he started reading the minutes of the 40-day convention — an account of day after day of amendments on dozens of articles with hundreds of sections, all from the summer of 1889. He was casting about for any clue on what the framers might have been thinking.

He was considering giving up when he noticed that this same phrase — "unless a majority" — pops up in one other spot.

It's in a different section of the Constitution, about moving county boundaries. But it turns out it prompted one of the most charged debates of the convention, with insults lobbed between delegates from Tacoma and Seattle and repeated attempts to amend how many votes it should take to change a county line.

"A determined effort to change from a majority to two-thirds or three-fifths met with failure," the Journal of the convention summed up.

The phrase "unless a majority" won. But only after the framers had considered, and rejected, a series of higher vote thresholds, including two-thirds, which some delegates argued was "prohibitory" — that is, too high a bar.

Bottom line: The phrase "unless a majority" obviously didn't mean a flexible standard that could include a two-thirds requirement, à la Eyman, because the framers had rejected that very thing.

"They were very precise about what they meant," Perez says. "And intense. They debated voting limits more than any other issue."

If the find by Perez persuades the State Supreme Court — always a big if — it means the only way to have a two-thirds bar for raising taxes is by amending the Constitution itself. That would require, ironically, a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, as well as a majority vote of the people. Eyman could no longer do it by initiative.

Perez's find is fascinating because it has turned the usual political order on its head. The conservatives, who claim to be all about honoring the framers and their intent, are dismissing it as irrelevant while the liberals, who typically insist constitutions are living documents more subject to modern interpretation, have suddenly turned into originalists.

But Perez says he's most shocked that apparently nobody looked before, despite nearly two decades of fighting about the issue.

"It was right there all along," Perez shrugs. "Hiding, but there if you looked."

This story makes me wonder. For all the talk about the founding fathers, maybe we don't really care what they thought.

Link to complete article:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012



Terminology: Biomass Incinerator vs. Power Plant

There is nothing the biomass industry hates more than their facilities being called "incinerators". Here's a recent article in the UK speaking to that, likely in response to Biofuelwatch's and GAIA's (and others') excellent anti-biomass incineration work:

There's also the instance of Seattle Steam biomass threatening to sue Duff Badgley for calling it an incinerator: 
Obviously that touched a nerve.

Of course, the dictionary definition of incinerate is "to burn to ashes" and an incinerator is something that "burns waste", (which the industry insists they are burning, along with whole trees of course), so it's completely accurate. We know from industry conferences and webinars that they do everything they can to avoid the term "incinerator".

Mike Ewall (founder of Energy Justice Network) pointed out that their strategy backfires because when people do online searches for "biomass incinerator" or "biomass incineration" they often come up with anti-biomass stuff rather than pro-biomass, since the industry avoids using those terms. While it's tough to get top search engine hits for "biomass," we can dominate "biomass incineration." Some of us have even gotten newspapers to start referring to things as "biomass incineration."

Just a reminder that a lot of what we're trying to do is messaging and while we must always be accurate in our terminology, let's not underestimate the power of language and the very different images conjured up by "biomass plant" (sounds green and lovely, doesn't it) vs. "biomass incinerator" (sounds industrial and dirty, which it is).

Josh Schlossberg
Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign
Energy Justice Network

Monday, September 24, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by James Dunne
   Mason County Progressive

Our family has had a residence at Lake Nahwatzel for six years. It is our intention to maintain this property for generations to come.

Our extended family has personal experience with lakes in British Columbia that have been ruined by both algae and overuse caused by poorly planned residential expansion. This is why we located in Mason County at Lake Nahwatzel. The situation proposed now, locally, seems headed that same direction. This is a huge concern to us, from our observed experience in B.C., as it is irreversible on a practical basis.
I have serious concerns regarding the recent Mason County acceptance of the required State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) study submitted by Green Diamond Resource Company (GDR).

There are many things that concern me about the situation at hand, but the overarching issues fall into three primary categories:
1. Residents, such as ourselves, were not notified until very recently, in spite of the process being in play for over a year.
2. The poor quality of the SEPA study submitted by Green Diamond,
3. The acceptance of the SEPA study and "Determination of Non-Significance" by Mason County.
Early notification of people directly affected by such proposals is part of the intended process for such matters.

The SEPA report is admittedly "observations" made at random. This report has numerous errors, due to the process by which the study was conducted. There are several examples of wildlife not included in the report, such as otter and loons that are not common to the surrounding valley area. These two examples alone should be more carefully studied to determine the impact such action would have upon them.

It is clear to me that a complete Environmental Impact Statement should be completed – with the normal process and care that is due such a matter. I am very surprised by Mason County's acceptance of the shoddy SEPA report submitted by Green Diamond. It is probably due to the longstanding good working relationship of GDR with the County and community – but this action is a mistake, or more simply – wrong. The GDR proposal needs to be properly managed, before it becomes impossible to reinstate Lake Nahwatzel to the healthy, vibrant, natural lake and wildlife habitat (in delicate balance) as currently exists now for fisherman, visitors, and residents.



An appeals hearing for the Lake Nahwatzel SEPA DNS was held on September 19th and 20th. The outcome is yet unknown. 

Previous related post: 

Previous related posts with info in "Regular Session of BOCC" sections:

Sunday, September 23, 2012


EIS Scoping Meeting for Shelton Hills 
600 Acre Mixed Use Development  
(Shelton, WA)

Good Afternoon!

The City of Shelton is holding a Public Meeting/Open House to commence the environmental review of this proposed master-planned mixed use development. A public EIS scoping meeting will be held on
Wednesday, September 26th, at 5:30 p.m. in the City of Shelton Civic Center, located at 525 W. Cota St. in Shelton. This meeting will provide an opportunity to learn more about the project and proposed actions, and to provide input on the environmental review process. A brief proposal description and directions to find more on-line information is provided in the attached (.pdf) document.

Please contact me should you have any questions regarding this.


Jason Dose

Senior Planner and Recycling Coordinator

City of Shelton

525 West Cota Street
Shelton, WA 98584

Phone: (360) 432-5102

FAX: (360) 426-7746

Link to Hall Equities document: 
Hall Equities Scoping.pdf

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Craig Watson  Mason County Progressive


Thursday, September 20, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis    Mason County Progressive
Monday. September 17, 2012
6:00 PM: City of Shelton Commission Meeting:

Old Business:

Ordinance No. 1809-0912 – Second Reading -- An Ordinance of the City of Shelton, Washington Amending Chapter 8.64 of the Shelton Municipal Code Relating to the Regulation of Fireworks (Tab 2) Action Public Comment on Action Item.

City Administrator Dave O’Leary introduced an ordinance that prohibits the sale or detonation of fireworks within City limits, because it’s stupid to blow things up for no reason (my words, not his). Several purveyors of recreational explosives testified that rarely did anyone lose a body part while handling their quality products, and what better way was there to celebrate freedom from tyranny than to terrorize old women and pets? In the end, it was decided to forgo a vote until the Oct.1 meeting to allow more erudite testimony from the public.   

Under Administration Report

Development Standards:  

Steve Goins, Director, Public Works, addressed the sidewalks issue, or more precisely, the no sidewalks issue. It’s good to know the City is looking into alternatives to the "cow paths" serving as pedestrian conduits on some city streets, and it would be difficult to overstate the value added benefit of such improvements. City Commissioners are waging an uphill battle against money and history, so we need to be supportive.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

 9:00 AM: Regular session of Board of County Commissioners

Hello, anybody home? That’s the question citizens are asking of Commissioner Tim Sheldon as his absence at meetings goes from the occasional to the habitual. By the end of this month Mr. Sheldon will have missed, and/or caused to be cancelled, a total of 9 out of a possible 36 meetings, three in the past 30 days alone. Here now are the stats:

(Does not include Belfair meetings*

No. of meetings scheduled: 36
No. of meetings held: 33
No. of meetings cancelled: 3
(1/31; 5/15; 9/25)

Commissioner Sheldon absent: 7+2**         
(1/24; 2/14; 4/24; 6/19; 7/10; 8/28; 9/18)
Commissioner Ring-Erickson absent:         

(5/22; 6/26)
Commissioner Bloomfield absent: 2

(2/21; 3/20)

Out of 33 meetings held, 11 were conducted with only two commissioners in attendance. 

Percentage of meetings in which all three commissioners were present: 66.6%
(Does not include late arrivals, early departures, or BOCC Briefings.)

*Belfair Meetings Scheduled: 3    No. Held: 2   No. Cancelled: 1
**Two of the three cancelled meetings were due to Sheldon and one other commissioner being unable to attend.

But here’s the thing, absenteeism costs money. Of course, considering that Sheldon managed to waste $600,000 on unnecessary lawsuits when he did show up, maybe we should be supporting his absence, permanently.

2:00 PM: Port of Shelton Commission Meeting

A funny thing happened at the Port today. And by “funny”, I mean scary. Brandon Palmer gave a presentation to inform the public of benefits to be derived from swapping a piece of desirable waterfront property owned by the Port for a contaminated stretch of collapsing shoreline owned by Simpson Lumber. 

The two properties are located thusly:

Port property: is at the tip of Eagle Point, which is at the southerly reaches of Oakland Bay, directly across from Shorecrest Estates.

Simpson property:
is adjacent to its waterfront mill, between the Shelton Yacht Club and a log dump.  

I don’t know if I’m confused or conflicted about this issue because I’m not sure what’s really going on.  Commissioners Taylor and Wallitner say they want to restore the contaminated shoreline that makes up most of the Simpson property, and then improve it with a park, a boat ramp and a trail to connect the marina to downtown. And for the privilege of assuming this environmental headache, the Port intends to give up ownership of a waterfront paradise with views to die for.  

At first blush this proposal makes no sense, and on close inspection it looks even worse: The public has an asset and Simpson has a liability. After the swap, Simpson walks away from a contaminated site and gets to use pristine land as a bargaining chip to mitigate future contamination. What we get is to clean up after Simpson. 

So, now that the umbrella is up there good and tight, let’s open it up: If this deal goes through, Simpson will likely transfer ownership of Eagle Point over to Forterra, a dubious “conservancy effort” backed by -- you guessed it, Simpson -- that is dedicated to controlling when and where future development occurs. It’s kind of like the left hand of the Port washing the right hand of the private sector, and then both hands giving the finger to the public, albeit with clean hands. Still, it’s not an entirely bad idea. If Simpson cleans up their own mess and the Port buys the property outright at its market value of $232,000, we can turn it something worth having.

But the question that still haunts me is why the Port, a municipality with a history of insensitivity toward the public, is suddenly compelled to build a community park?  

In my mind I see a "slasher movie" that has an axe murderer on the loose and some guy hears a noise coming from the basement and he goes down to investigate because he thinks it’s his friend and then the light goes out and the door swings shut and all of a sudden there’s an axe and there’s blood everywhere and it’s spurting from where the guy’s head used to be.

Then again, maybe everything will work out just fine. 

I have to go now. I think I hear a noise coming from the basement.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


As Ice Melts, World Powers Vie for Arctic Supremacy
Resource depletion feedback loop generates race
for previously inaccessible oil, gas, and minerals

By Common Dreams Staff

The dramatic melting of arctic ice sheets and glaciers caused by climate change is creating a new—and experts warn dangerous—race for oil, gas, and mineral reserves previously not accessible to the world's largest and most powerful countries.

And, as Elisabeth Rosenthal reports for the New York Times, the race for those resources is setting in motion a geopolitical chess match that plays world powers against one another and puts once isolated communities and outposts at the center of an emerging story about how the Arctic's natural treasures will be managed and by whom.

As The Guardian's Damian Carrington wrote this week, warning about the overwhelming evidence of climate change's impact in the arctic and elsewhere. "Our planet is waving the white flag of surrender. But as the polar flag becomes ever more tattered, with holes scorched by hotter ocean waters, humanity pumps ever more globe-warming gases into the air."

"The shrinking ice has not opened new leads for decisive global action to tackle climate change," Carrington lamented. "Instead, in a vicious irony, the new channels are being exploited for oil and gas exploration, unearthing more of the very fuels driving the warming."

And Rosenthal reports:
So far there has been little actual exploitation of Arctic resources. Greenland has only one working mine, though more than 100 new sites are being mapped out. Here, as well as in Alaska, Canada and Norway, oil and gas companies are still largely exploring, although experts estimate that more than 20 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves are in the Arctic. Warmer weather has already extended the work season by a month in many locations, making access easier.
At one point this summer, 97 percent of the surface of Greenland’s massive ice sheet was melting. At current rates, Arctic waters could be ice-free in summer by the end of the decade, scientists say.
“Things are happening much faster than what any scientific model predicted,” said Dr. Morten Rasch, who runs the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring program at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Ownership of the Arctic is governed by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, which gives Arctic nations an exclusive economic zone that extends 200 nautical miles from land, and to undersea resources farther away so long as they are on a continental shelf. The far northern Arctic Ocean belongs to no country, and conditions there are severe. In a place where exact boundaries were never much of a concern, haggling over borders has begun among the primary nations — between Canada and Denmark, and the United States and Canada, for example.
The United States has been hampered in the current jockeying because the Senate has refused to ratify the Convention of the Law of the Sea, even though both the Bush and Obama administrations have strongly supported doing so. This means the United States has not been able to formally stake out its underwater boundaries. “We are being left behind,” Deputy Secretary Nides said.
But experts say boundary disputes are likely to be rapidly resolved through negotiation, so that everyone can get on with the business of making money. There is “very little room for a race to grab territory, since most of the resources are in an area that is clearly carved up already,” said Kristofer Bergh, a researcher at the Stockholm Institute.
Even so, Arctic nations and NATO are building up military capabilities in the region, as a precaution.
Read the full story here.

Link to complete article:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Big news today for the Arctic. Shell announced that it will not be drilling for oil in the Arctic this year!1

Shell's long list of mishaps, accidents and broken promises in their rush to strike oil this year made clear what we already knew — there is no safe way to drill for oil in the Arctic, and the Obama Administration should not allow Shell or anyone else to do so.

In the past year, CREDO members sent more than half a million petition signatures to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and President Obama, and made thousands of calls last month to urge EPA not to cave on Shell's air pollution bait and switch.

Even as the Obama Administration allowed Shell to move forward and even weakened some rules, your pressure kept President Obama on notice that we were paying close attention and would hold him accountable for the future of the Arctic.

It's not all good news. Shell will remain in the Arctic for at least a few more weeks, to begin drilling the top holes in the wells that they intend to drill for oil next summer.

Shell began this work last week, and was forced to stop just hours later, after a 30 mile long iceberg began moving toward the drilling ship. But the last straw came over the weekend when Shell damaged its oil spill containment equipment during a routine test.

If these aren't strong enough warning signs for the Obama Administration and Shell to pick up on, then we'll have to keep the message going even louder.

We will not stop fighting until the Arctic is safe from dangerous and unnecessary offshore drilling.

Thank you for your activism, it makes a difference.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "Shell Delays Arctic Oil Drilling Until Next Year". New York Times, 09/17/12.

Sunday, September 16, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Katherine Price Mason County Progressive

The Case for Lynda Ring Erickson, Democratic Candidate for the 35th Legislative District, Position 2:

I am no fan of Lynda Ring Erickson. However, after listening to her opponent's recorded interview (link below), I am tempted to send her a donation. This radio interview is perhaps the best argument FOR Lynda Ring Erickson yet.

Drew MacEwen has no new ideas, and has instead memorized the rules the really crazy freshman Congress used to get elected in 2010. He has their lines down pat.

He does not seem to know what he is talking about when he talks about running the state government in Olympia. He just applies what worked for the farthest right fringe of the country in the 2010 elections, changes the dysfunctional "Washington" to "Olympia", and hopes that for some folks that will be enough for him to get their vote.

He uses the tea-bagger trigger words and phrases: he promises to fix what is wrong; he promises to bring big changes (without elaborating on what those changes are or how they will be delivered); and he promises to bring jobs, jobs, jobs (how did that work out for us on the federal level?). He believes that because he operates a small business, he is qualified to help run something as large and complex as Washington State.

Drew MacEwen does not appear to understand the public school system, or the real hardship that system operates under because it is not fully funded. This is made clear by his use of such political platitudes as our kids having to take remedial math courses when they get to college.

Someone should tell him that it is not because the split between what makes it to the classroom and what is used to administer public schools is unbalanced, but rather it is because our schools are given so much less than what they need to operate effectively that they cannot meet the necessary standards. The budget constraints are such that it cannot be done. These students reach college unprepared because in Washington State, even though the voters told our Legislature to fully fund our education system, our schools are not fully funded. Not at all...

Why are our schools not fully funded?

Because we cannot raise taxes on the small minority of folks who are doing really, really well in this otherwise down economy. Not everyone is hurting; only the majority of us are. There are some folks who are doing better than people have EVER done in this country and on this planet -- EVER. And we are not able to raise taxes on them in order to raise revenue to efficiently operate our State!

Without the needed increased revenue, we find ourselves constantly trying to operate the massive, complicated and amazing State of Washington, on a smaller and smaller and smaller budget.

Our public education sometimes seems to suck. But do not blame it on the administrators, or the teachers, or the caring parents and volunteers who try so hard to make things work year after year, with less and less funds. It is not because we spend too much money on our schools, but because we don't spend enough! It is not because not enough of what the state provides gets to the classroom, it is because not enough money gets from the state to the schools.

The police, firefighters, and teachers...these are the people who folks like Drew MacEwen see as the problem. With their modest benefits packages, and barely living wages, are they the ones breaking the back of the American and Washington State economy? What about the 1% who have gotten rich from 10 years of really generous tax cuts?

Lynda Ring Erickson's opponent is a knock-off of the 2010 far-right radicals who hijacked the Republican Party, and who replaced the last moderate Republicans for the crime of wanting to work with the President and the Democrats to find solutions for our country's ills. He is the mirror image of the whack-jobs who were elected on "jobs, jobs, jobs", and who then proceeded to talk about a woman's reproductive rights every day since taking office, and who voted against the President's jobs bill.

Perhaps with the positive influence of Kathy Haigh, Lynda Ring Erickson could become a good representative for the 35th District. It could happen! I have no such hope that her opponent could ever become a good representative for our district. (Please listen to Drew MacEwen's interview for yourself, and vote wisely on November 6th.)

Return Kathy Haigh to Olympia, and send Lynda Ring Erickson along with her! We could certainly do worse.

Link to KMAS radio interview with Drew MacEwen:


Friday, September 14, 2012



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

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

Commissioner Ring-Erickson called for a moment of silence in memory of the people who died in the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, now simply called 9/11.

My wife Amy and I happened to be in New York at that time, though far from “ground zero". It was days before the public was allowed near the site, and by “near” I mean about a half mile away. The streets were barricaded and you had to show identification just to be in the area. We never did see anything but a patch of blue sky where the buildings once stood, but it was enough to drive the event home.

Now, in the awkward silence of the Commission Chambers, I recalled taking some photographs of the original excavation work, done back in the late 1960’s. A construction crane sat at the bottom of a pit -- a cavern, actually -- so deep that the boom on the crane barely reached up to street grade. I took a shot of a worker as he hitched a ride to the surface on the crane’s construction hook. As he passed by what was obviously a small group of tourists gathered on the sidewalk, the worker bowed, tipped his hardhat and clowned for the appreciative audience. It was a quintessential New York moment.

I hadn’t thought about that scene for some time, nor had I reflected on being there at both the beginning and at the end of the World Trade Center. But I was sure thinking about it now.

So that’s the kind of mood I was in when the happiness buffet went into full swing, with Debbie Riley of Mason County Environmental Health giving up a big wet one to the folks who serve on the Oakland Bay Clean Water Citizens Advisory Committee for helping to improve water quality. Not to be outdone, Lynda joined in the love fest to say how pleased she was to have started the whole thing; Steve thanked the group for allowing him to participate; and Tim said something about a blind squirrel finding a nut. All in all, it was a good example of three very different viewpoints.

The Public Comment period produced a lone speaker, former County Commissioner, Annette McGee, who did a superb job of making an 11th hour appeal to save the County Fairgrounds, ironically to the same "body" that tanked it three years earlier. But this is an election year and with the guillotine poised to drop, Tim & Lynda were all up in the “we’ll try to save it” mode. Lynda suggested the Board write a letter asking the Port to clarify its position; Tim said he asked Senator Patty Murray to intervene on behalf of the County. While these efforts are good and admirable, I couldn’t help thinking, first, why the County and Port don’t simply sit down and talk to each other and, second, given Tim’s betrayal during the state budget process, how receptive to a “favor” will Sen. Murray be?

Getting back to the guillotine, I had prepared my own beheading of commissioner salaries for 2013 but couldn’t bring myself to pull the lever, what with all the good cheer going around and a trip down nostalgia lane. Shame on me.
Commissioner Salaries (Total):
$242,154 ($80,718/ea.)
Personal Benefits (Total):

Now the breakdown: $106,814/yr. in wages and benefits for each commissioner, or $8,901/Mo, or $2,054/Wk, or $292.64/day for every day of the year.

Additionally, in 2011 (the last year any commissioner took a travel allowance), Lynda came in "First" @ $1,293.08; Tim "Placed" @ $809.40, and Jerry Lingle and/or Steve Bloomfield "Showed" @ $396.10.

I won’t even mention the $1,260 combined allowance for phone fees -- that would just be cruel.

What’s the damage to taxpayers for having three County Commissioners whose hands seem always to be tied just when you need them most? Well, let me see…carry the two…dues and tools…insurance bond (yeah, like that’s gonna’ help) shoes…then there’s the chickens…Okay, the grand total is $330,554, or as I like to think of it: two years of County Fairs.

Why did the County really dump the fairgrounds? The answer, Grasshopper, is hidden in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (ZAMM), by Robert Pirsig, 1974..

The book examines two different views of the world: the “romantic” and the “classical”. The “romantic” motorcycle rider knows nothing of how to maintain or repair his mount; when something goes wrong he complains all the way to the repair shop. The “classical” rider is mechanically intuitive; attuned to his machine, he notes small differences in sound and performance and makes adjustments to compensate for changing conditions. These very different approaches are extended to include a philosophical discussion about the "meaning" (as opposed to the definition) of what is "quality", and "value".

So what does all this fuzzy-headed liberal, commie-pinko propaganda have to do with a County Fair?

Glad you asked:

Unlike racing around a track in pursuit of meaning, a County Fair is quite a different animal. Measured against a cost/benefit analysis it may seem an unworthy venture, but in terms of community pride and area promotion the benefits are boundless. I would argue that if a so-called "leader" cannot appreciate the "value" of spending a few extra dollars of public money on a "quality" community event, perhaps that person is in the wrong line of work.

In closing, you might have caught onto the fact that I long ago ran out of things to say about the BOCC meeting, and now that I have examined my belly-button from every possible angle there is nothing left to report, but you’d be wrong. Our Commissioners are like an artesian well of controversy; bubbling over with bad judgment and self-service they erupt each week a new geyser of wrongs to send citizens screaming naked into the night.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Graphic "Peace w/US flag":



Submitted to Shelton Blog by Tom Davis Mason County Progressive

It’s raining lawsuits in Mason County again, and the most recent downpour could wind up soaking taxpayers for as much as two million dollars:

Legal clouds started gathering back in 2009, when the County suddenly ducked out of a labor contract with Teamsters Local 252, after it had been ratified by union membership. Ironically, the conditions from which commissioners were trying to escape were largely of their own making.

So the union filed a complaint, and Hearings Examiner Joel Green ruled that the County had failed to bargain in good faith. The matter then went before PERC (Public Employment Relations Commission), which affirmed the Examiner’s findings.

Meanwhile, monies that should have gone toward salaries and benefits of County employees were accruing interest at an alarming rate (12%). Regardless, the commissioners chose to enter into a lengthy appeal process. And on July 11, 2012, three years and two months after walking away from the agreement, Thurston County Court of Appeals upheld PERC’s decision, and put an end to the County’s round-robin attempt to thwart the original ruling…maybe.

With a boatload of money and an election on the line, the County has but two options: negotiate a settlement with the Teamsters, or file an appeal with a higher court and hope for the best.

But if the commissioners choose to gamble against the odds, they will be doing it with public money. And if the County loses again, cost to taxpayers will be in the ‘how high is up’ category.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, Commissioners: Do we roll the dice or cut our losses? Well, that depends on if you’re feeling lucky.

So how about it, Commissioners, are you feeling lucky? Well, are you?

Because we’re not...


Monday, September 10, 2012


The Hunter Farms "fishing camp"


Submitted to Shelton Blog by Bill Allen Mason County Progressive

It seems as if things begin to heat up with the summer, and especially so in an election year. For several years now, I have exposed and reported on the frequent problems with water quality in our area in general, and Hood Canal in particular. We’re not done yet!

During the course of this summer, there have been some heated presentations at the County Commissioner’s meetings, and letters to the editor of the local paper. Five years ago, I wondered why all three commissioners felt compelled to write a somewhat intimidating letter to me when I was pushing the agenda to redress the Bio Recycle dumping facility. Three years ago, the disaster and fecal outbreak in the Skokomish river fishery was exposed. While the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) stepped to the plate at the last minute, it was perplexing why the County did not take more of a role with health and zoning issues.

It is further perplexing why zoning and land use issues are not enforced for “certain” individuals. It is also perplexing when hard working County staff are suddenly silenced when inquiries on specific follow up procedures that they are committed to act upon are "tabled".

Hunter Farms "fishing camp" waste products

Mason County’s administration is regarded as the black sheep of good government in the eyes of any other county in Western Washington. The reason for this is lack of good strategy, lack of good leadership, and lack of consistent and even handed follow through on decisions that are made.

At this point it is time to tell the story of a “love triangle”. The players are the County land use staff who “know their place”, the “boss” who is Tim Sheldon, and the “good ole boy” that is Hunter Farms.

In this story, we have the recurring theme of “don’t rock the boat with the Hunter people”. After all, they are a good hard working fourth or fifth generation Mason County family. Does that mean they play by the rules?

Not really. For years, Hunter Farms has had an agreement with the WDFW wherein the Hunters receive cash for allowing unimpeded public access through a designated right of way to enjoy fishing on the river.

The Hunters are to provide 200 spaces for cars to park and access the river. Further, the Hunters receive funds to create cattle diversion mechanisms that keep the cattle out of the river area. So far, so good, if this was the end of it...but it’s not.

Former President Reagan said “trust but verify”. Two weeks ago, Scott Grout of Gold Coast Oyster and I visited the public access area of the Hunter property
to determine if the lease agreement was being carried out. On the outskirts of the area in question, the WDFW seemed to be doing their part.

While portable toilets were pretty full, and the dumpsters overflowing in the initial “access area”, we found that pickups are being made, albeit a little less frequently than we’d like. Better yet, several garbage sacks were being provided in areas that were not close to the Hunter access area. Our state agencies were apparently appreciative of our attention on the matter, and were following up with our previous recommendations.

"...pickups are made, albeit a little less frequently than we’d like"

However, when we ventured further into the public area, it was an entirely different story. First, there was no sign designating a parking area. Beyond what we took to be the public parking area, a drive continues toward the fishing area. This "public access" road was gated with an armed guard being kept company by Mr. Bill Hunter and a money box (the annual parking permit fee is $75.00, and camping fee $125.00).

When they learned we were there to take a look at the toilet facilities and garbage provisions as stipulated by the lease between the WDFW and Hunter, we were thrown off the “public access area”.

It becomes apparent why they would not want us around:
1. For years, Hunter Farms has operated a “fishing camp” and trailer area in direct violation of the zoning ordinances. Over 100 trailers and tents do NOT constitute “normal and accustomed” use of that agricultural land.
2. Our inquiries about why this is allowed to continue year in and year out are met with deaf ears. Any other event like this would require, you guessed it, an EVENT permit. This invokes oversight of litter, sanitation, and garbage.
3. So it is clear why we would not be welcome. We were there to determine accountability, and whether the County was following through on it’s own land use policies. We were there to determine whether or not there was an event permit, and if Hunter Farms was following through on proper garbage disposal, river protection, animal access, and toilet facilities. Our current photos determine that this is not the case. So far we’ve not had a fecal outbreak like in 2009. Are we just lucky?

"...portable toilets were pretty full"
4. Hunter Farms is in clear violation of the terms of the lease from other perspectives. There are (as of August 17) no marked public access areas. The public is required to pay at the “armed gate” in violation of the lease’s wording and intent to allow public access. Despite being compensated for providing cattle stiles, cattle are free to access the river and use it for their own comfort station. Why is there no accountability here on the part of the County? Are the Hunters “untouchable” for some reason?
5. One would presume that for all this consideration and compensation, Hunter Farms would, permit or not, keep up the site. As the recent photos included with this article demonstrate, the maintenance of dumpsters and sanitary facilities on this property are woefully inadequate. This has been a pattern for a long time, and the County simply turns a deaf ear to doing anything about it. Did the “boss” say something? The Hunters do not take responsibility for the costs here because they do not have to do so.
“...don’t rock the boat with the Hunter people"

It’s clearly time for change. It can’t stay the same. To say our County government has lost the respect of our State agencies is the least of it. Yes, the State Department of Ecology, Department of Health, and Fish and Wildlife have all had to do the County’s work for them.They stop when it comes to land use issues, as they should. It seems to me, I recall that Mason County has a land use and zoning office. Why are they not placing the same expectations on the Hunter property that they would require for any other special event elsewhere? It seems like there is an uneven playing field here. It’s called protectionism.

"...zoning and land use issues are not enforced for 'certain' individuals"

In the confrontation Mr. Grout and I had with Mr. Hunter, we made it clear our purpose had nothing to do with any kind of issue we had with Hunter Farms personally. It had everything to do with protecting water quality, and the County not having oversight on the permitting, as well as sanitation standards and practices pertaining to their “fishing camp”. Where it does get a little personal is when Hunter Farms imposes selective access to an area that is specifically intended for the public (in direct violation of the lease agreement).

When Mr. Grout and I were being thrown off the "public access area", I asked Mr. Hunter a question: Why is somebody with the wealth, the reputation, the legacy and yes, the responsibility of the Hunter name, playing a minimalist role in providing clean and responsible access?
Maybe we all need to look in the mirror.

We are in the 21st century, and it’s time our County government and the Hunters got off their asses and acted like it. Let’s end the “selective application” of the rules. Let’s come up with people and business friendly land use and zoning standards, and become proactive in applying them before we ruin the waterways and lifestyle we all enjoy.

I challenge our commissioner candidates to seriously commit to a spirit of “we can” when it comes to streamlining and applying County systems and providing leadership.

We’d better get better!

Photos by Scott Grout

Link to State Lease to Hunter Farm:


Hunter Farms is invited & most welcome to respond to this posting.