What a novel and absolutely liberal view of Whatcom County! This is a vibrant place where diversity and uniqueness are not only appreciated but unifying. Citizens rightfully want our representative government to reflect a wide range of views. WE applaud DOVE for this uplifting video about improving the key strength of this community, which is respect for our beautiful differences. WE like how this ends, by saying "...ensure we all have a voice" [by voting for county charter amendments 1, 2 and 3]. Who would want less?
WE checked this out, and it is definitely a 'real' movement (uh, surreal), self-described as
The Leap Manifesto: A Call for Caring for the Earth and One Another
This is our sacred duty to those this country harmed in the past, to those suffering needlessly in the present and to all who have the right to a bright and safe future.
Of course everyone wants a "bright and safe future." That sounds "motherhood and apple pie." But check out the terms and conditions they've got in mind.
This is a suicide pact. If everyone did what they demand, then food, medical, transportation ... would be gone. Death, poverty and pestilence would reign supreme. Smart phones and the internet that they use to network, and to organize all of their rallies would be gone too. Maybe they could be just as effective using the Pony Express.
Alternative power just doesn't cut it. Not at the current state of technology, and probably not in 20 years either. We can always be working on solutions, but you can't force it, and you can't legislate it.
"I kenna change the laws 'o physics, Captain!" ~ Montgomery Scott (Star Trek, TOS)
Oh yes, there would be food, medical and transportation for the elites, the rulers. But nowhere near the price and quantity needed to sustain the rest of the world’s current population. And doncha know, WE know, they want to reduce the world’s human population too. To them WE say, “Okay, if you want it so badly, you first!”
Oh yes, the Manifesto is definitely a leap, toward the Middle Ages. And this reads like various "action plans" some factions and bureaucrats are hell-bent on imposing here, dun' it? Mind you, these people are welcome to practice their religion, but how about keeping that out of the public square, please.
In response, and in humor, WE just had to share the following:
Life without fossil fuels: a modest proposal
by Christine Whitaker
The Leader-Post, Sept 30, 2015
Author Naomi Klein and her supporters, promoting their Leap Manifesto (otherwise known as the “Tommunist Manifesto”), proudly assert that they now have 10,000 signatures to this document, most of which are “celebrities” and left-wing politicians, including, of course, David Suzuki.
This document starts from the premise that Canada is facing the deepest crisis in recent memory. The basic concept is that we must put an end to the use of fossil fuels; that we could live in a country powered only by renewable energy; that we could get 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable resources within the next two decades.
I wonder if these people realize that, to achieve this goal, there would need to be hundreds of thousands of wind turbines across the land. There would not be a single acre of rural Canada free of those monstrosities. Someone would also need to invent commercial airliners powered by clean energy, and there would no longer be any trucks to deliver food to the city stores. The whole manifesto is ridiculous.
So this is my counter-manifesto. It is equally silly, but I make no apologies. This is how Klein and company want our children and grandchildren to live.
Article 1: All persons who sign the Leap Manifesto, including Suzuki, should be immediately placed on an international no-fly list. They must never again be allowed to travel on planes powered by fossil fuels.
Article 2: All signatories will immediately have all their gasoline-powered vehicles confiscated.
Article 3: All public utilities (power, natural gas, water, telephone lines) will be disconnected from their homes.
Article 4: They must construct, at their own expense, on their own property, solar panels and/or wind turbines to provide for their own energy needs — but no fossil-fuel-powered equipment may be used to do the work. They must also dig their own wells (by hand, of course) and install hand pumps to bring the water to their kitchen sink, or they may use their own wind power to pump the water to the house.
Article 5: They will no longer be allowed to own cellphones, televisions, any furniture or other article of any kind that is made of plastic.
Article 6: They may no longer wear any kind of clothing consisting of man-made materials. They must keep a couple of sheep, spin and weave their own wool and make their own clothes. They will also be permitted to cut down one medium-sized tree per year to carve out clogs for all the family, and handles for their tools.
Article 7: They may not eat any vegetables or grains produced by farmers who use tractors powered by fossil fuels, or transported to grocery stores by truck. They must grow their own produce on their own property and cultivate the land by hand.
Article 8: Likewise, they may not eat meat. They will not even be permitted to keep cows or pigs for meat as they produce methane gases. They may keep chickens for eggs, and they may eat fish if they live near a river or ocean where they can catch it for themselves, but they may only fish from the shore or from a row boat.
Article 9: If they produce enough of their own wind power, they may own an electric car for use on their own property. However, they may not drive it on any public roads made or maintained by petroleum products. If they need to leave their homes for any purpose, they must walk. They may not even keep a horse, as that, too, will produce methane gas.
Article 10: They may continue to live in the homes they already own, but may not build any addition, or a new house, using any materials produced or transported by fossil fuels.
Article 11: They may not have access to any medical procedure or diagnostic services unless they are absolutely sure that all devices are powered by clean energy.
Article 12: Each member of their family may speak only when strictly necessary, and only to a limit of 500 words per day. Unnecessary speech will produce extra CO2 — which, of course, eventually will kill us all.
Welcome to the Middle Ages!
Christine Whitaker is a freelance writer from Edgeley.
WE stumbled onto an comprehensive synopsis being circulated on the internet that explains what this years Whatcom County "charter propositions" are. More important, it explains how the Bellingham political elite has teamed up in an concerted effort to control all of Whatcom County.
If that sounds "extreme" WE assure you that we've followed this for some time and seen the evidence - emails that you can read for yourself (links are provided below, they're underlined) - and there's no question that a small circle of insiders has been slathering and snickering over ways to manipulate the political system so that Bellingham elitists can dominate the will of 60% of the county.
Seldom has the expression “elections have consequences” held more meaning to Whatcom County than it will this November. Fearing that Whatcom voters will approve ballot Propositions 1-2-3 to establish district voting for County Council, local “progressives” led by Lisa McShane, former Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas, Charter Review Commissioner Todd Donovan, and the environmental extremist group RE Sources for Sustainable Communities began planning a campaign to undermine
the work of the duly-elected Charter Review Commission soon after the Commission was elected last year. They were joined in early spring by County Councilmember Ken Mann and others, as revealed by emails produced by public disclosure requests.
You may have noticed that your perspective on local issues has little or no voice on our current County Council. Not satisfied with controlling seven out of seven council seats under our current system, on July 7 the liberal/progressive monopoly, with the help of their leader Council Chair Carl Weimer, rammed through Ordinance 2015-029, throwing normal process under the bus. This ordinance deliberately added yet another proposed Charter Amendment, ballot Proposition 9, to an already complicated and lengthy ballot.
Promoted by RE Sources using subtle warm and fuzzy propaganda terms like “equal” and “fair”, Council’s proposed Charter Amendment 9 would gerrymander Whatcom County’s long-established voting districts by redrawing the map to create five new districts out of three, two of them in Bellingham.
Using mandatory language contained in their ordinance (which carries the force of law), council directs that each of the five new districts “shall contain” specific small cities, communities, and areas of the county. The council would also add an additional at-large council position, making two “at-large” seats on the council of seven.
If voters approve Propositions 1-2-3 enacting district voting, and they were also to approve ballot Proposition 9, here is what you would likely see for the indefinite future, or at least until the next Charter Review is scheduled to take place ten years from now: two “safe seats” in Bellingham,along with two more seats elected “at large” (same system that produced our current monopoly), for a “permanent majority” of at least four of seven seats, before even considering the McShane/Donovan group’s defined and gerrymandered new county districts.
The exercise amounts to a carefully planned and blatant power grab by the progressives and their environmental extremist allies at RE Sources. The ultimate objective, of course, is to create as much chaos and confusion as possible among unsuspecting voters. the theory is that confused or angry voters would be likely to reject recommended Charter Review Commission amendments to the County Charter.
Last month the popular blog The Fourth Corner began publishing an expose’ series on behind the scenes workings of the Tom Steyer-elected Commissioners and County Council during the Charter Review Process. Here is a brief outline of the series, with links to each part:
Part 1: Much Revealed in Public Records Request … They met early and often
The Fourth Corner made a Public Records Request for the Charter Review Commissioners’ and County Council’s records, emails, and texts concerning the Whatcom County Charter.
Records reveal that barely ten days after election results were certified in 2014, the liberal faction of the Charter Review Commission had a plan to defeat fair district voting and present a 5-district proposal that would retain Democrat power.
Part 2: “Five Districts" was never meant to be Fair and Equitable….. "Five Districts" is about fighting against District Only voting (click “Part 2” link)
Part 3: Behind the scenes maneuvering puts the "5 District" proposal on the ballot Those with plenty of curiosity won’t want to miss the “live”, super-script sized numbered links to several of the more damning e-mails uncovered through public disclosure with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).
PDC Complaint filed against RE Sources
Finally, on September 3, 2015 Charlie Crabtree filed an official complaint with the PDC against RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, alleging numerous violations of our state’s Public Disclosure Act. (Charlie currently serves as Chair of the Whatcom County Republican Party). The complaint may be viewed in its entirety at the above link.
Part 4: Postscript: "You won't see this reported in the local media" (Charlie Crabtree, quoted in The Fourth Corner).
Part 4 provides additional background on the PDC complaint and events leading to its filing, including content from several key emails obtasined through public disclosure requests.
WE find nothing but bitter irony in the situation that's unfolding 'down south.' And when we say "irony" we mean it this form, as described in the Oxford English Dictionary:
A condition of affairs or events of a character opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected; a contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise and fitness of things. (In French, ironie du sort.)
The teachers' union and the Washington Supreme Court have got to stop using kids as pawns this way. And all this is happening in the midst of the "McCleary Case." The irony is obvious; the tragedy is tangible; these educators are such ... tools!
In Washington State, Thousands of Kids Aren’t
Returning to School
The Daily Signal - EDUCATION NEWS
Kelsey Harkness / @kelseyjharkness / September 14, 2015
As charter school teachers in Seattle are showing up to work despite a court’s ruling their schools unconstitutional, public school teachers in the city are on strike, leaving 53,000 students at home for the first few days of the 2015-16 school year.
“There’s a big irony here right now in Seattle,” said Liv Finne, director of Education for the Washington Policy Center, which advocates for charter schools in the state. “The teachers are on strike in the traditional schools—there’s nobody going to school. Yet, the three charter schools that are in Seattle are open for business.”
The Lawsuit Against Charter Schools
Funding for Washington’s nine charter schools was abruptly cut off on Sept. 4—just days before some schools were set to open—when the state’s Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional.
Siding with the teachers unions and other organizations bringing the suit, the justices found “charter schools are not common schools” because they are run by independent operators instead of locally elected school boards, as the state’s Constitution requires.
“It’s really disheartening,” Hong-nhi Do, a 27-year-old 5th and 6th grade learning specialist at Rainier Prep charter school told The Daily Signal. “I think people are choosing politics over kids and families.”
Despite the ruling—and the future of their jobs at stake—Do and her fellow charter educators arrived to school this week, opening their doors to the 1,300 students they serve. In order to do so, they secured a $14 million private donation that will get them through the school year.
“All of our teachers are showing up,” Do said. “Every single one of us is fighting so hard and wants to do whatever it takes to keep our school open.”
After funding for the 2014-15 school year runs out, no one knows what will happen. Charter school operators, along with state lawmakers, are scrambling to figure that out.
One school, Seattle’s Summit Sierra High School, got creative in order to stay open, and had its 120 students fill out forms for homeschooling, the Seattle Pi reported.
The charter school ruling coincided with a strike that shut down schools for Seattle’s 53,000 public school students. The strike came after negotiations failed between the Seattle Educators Association and the Seattle School Board.
“Schools will be closed until further notice,” Seattle Public Schools states on its website.
Public school teachers have a variety of demands, including, a “substantial” pay raise, compensation for an additional 20 minutes of instructional time for students, “fair” evaluations and “workload relief.”
According to the non-profit education news site The Seventy Four, Seattle teachers’ median pay is $60,400, not including benefits, which exceeds the city’s median income of $43,200.
The Daily Signal reached out to the union for further explanation of its demands, but they did not reply.
The Seattle Educators Association feeds into the Washington Education Association, which was one of the organizations behind the charter school lawsuit. Ties between the union and the nine Supreme Court justices raised questions after the charter schools ruling came down.
“It’s the worst instance of machine-politics and kids have to be the causality of it,” Derrell Bradford, a Democrat who serves as executive director of NYCAN, told The Daily Signal.
You have a statewide referendum—it went to the voters and the voters said yes, you’ve got judges who are elected—who are bankrolled by the Washington Education Association, so they’re bought and paid for—who give a ruling based on local control and local elected governance that actually circumvents the local governance of the people because they had a statewide referendum.
Voters in Washington approved a charter school law in 2012, which allowed for the creation of up to 40 charter schools.
According to Finne, director of Education for the Washington Policy Center, four out of the nine Supreme Court justices received the maximum campaign contributions from the Washington Education Association union in 2014.
· Justice Mary I. Yu – $1,900 from Washington Education Association Political Action Committee.
· Justice Mary E. Fairhurst – $1,900 from Washington Education Association.
· Justice Charles W. Johnson – $1,900 from Washington Education Association Political Action Committee.
· Justice Debra L. Stephens – $1,900 from Washington Education Association Political Action Committee.
In 2012, the three remaining justices received maximum political contributions from the same union.
· Justice Susan J. Owens – $1,800 from Washington Education Association.
· Justice Stephen C. Gonzalez – $1,800 from Washington Education Association Political Action Committee.
· Justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud – $1,800 from Washington Education Association Political Action Committee.
In Washington, Supreme Court justices must run for office. Although they are prohibited from soliciting donations, their campaigns may receive them, so long as they abide by the guidelines.
“This is just the natural result of the leadership we’ve had,” Finne said.
A Fight for Control
The dueling situations, Bradford said, “really show you what these people want. And it’s not local control—it’s their control and their control only.” He added:
On one hand, [the unions] are saying, ‘We need elected school boards, we’ve got to have elected governance, and charter schools circumvent that.’ On the other hand, when they can’t get the deal they want from the elected governance they have, they strike and leave 53,000 kids in the lurch. They don’t want elected governance, they want their governance and when they can kill the competition, the next thing they do is jack up the price. That just hasn’t been, can’t be, and won’t be the best thing for every kid. It’s okay for some kids, but it’s not the best thing for every kid.
A spokesperson for Washington’s Supreme Court declined to comment on allegations surrounding union influence on the nine justices. On Friday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced his plans to ask the court to reconsider its decision. The ruling, he said, “also unnecessarily calls into question the constitutionality of a wide range of other state educational programs.”
Programs like Running Start and Washington State Skills Centers provide career and technical education to high school students via state funds, but aren’t controlled by locally elected school boards. For this reason, critics feel the justices targeted charter schools for political purposes.
For some Do, a teacher at Rainier Prep, the situation hits close to home. Do grew up in the same town her charter school is located, and says she “knows what the public schools were like.”
“I have a lot of friends in the area who are now incarcerated or wish they got more out of their education here,” she said. “To see us not be able to accept something that is new and innovative is really disheartening.”
Whatcom Excavator is hooked on truth and science. Real science. Rigorous science. The kind that involves, well ... you know ... actual evidence.
Recently, on August 27, the Bellingham Herald ran a panicky climate change story that featured photos of Oliver Grah who works for the Nooksack Tribe and others poking at Mt. Baker's glaciers. The article included dire predictions, like: “At the rate it’s losing mass, it won’t make it 50 years,” said Pelto, a glaciologist who returned this month for the 32nd year to study glaciers in the North Cascades range. This is a dying glacier,” he said."
WE just learned that on September 8 the Seattle Times ran a story heavily tied to this same tale (Grah and Pelto), citing them and expanding the theme. Maybe you can see the Seattle Times article here for yourself.
The public is being fed dramatic stories by these newspapers, loaded with hyperbole but no evidence. Check out the evidence. (Editors at the Herald and Times - WE ask, 'Do you fact-check your "science stories" at all?')
Mt. Baker glaciers disappearing? A response to the Seattle Times
by Don J. Easterbrook
at Watts Up With That? September 13, 2015
The headline of the September 8, 2015 Seattle Times states:
‘Disastrous’: Low snow, heat eat away at Northwest glaciers
“Glaciers across the North Cascades could lose 5 to 10 percent of their volume this year, accelerating decades of steady decline. One scientist estimates the region’s glaciers are smaller than they have been in at least 4,000 years.” “The best word for it is disastrous,” said Pelto”
This was a multi-page story with numerous photographs and many predictions that glaciers in the North Cascade Mts. will be gone in 50 years. Having just finished a major analysis of Mt. Baker’s glaciers dating back thousands of years, I thought, what kind of nonsense is this? So I put together some of the data on Mt. Baker glaciers that will soon be published.
Photos and maps from a large collection dating back to 1909 document exactly what Mt. Baker glaciers have done in the past. What these photos and maps clearly show is the Mt. Baker glaciers reached their maximum extent of the past century in 1915 at the end of the 1880 to 1915 cold period. The glaciers then melted back strongly during the 1915 to 1950 warm period. The climate then turned cool again, and Mt. Baker glaciers advanced strongly for 30 years. In 1977, the climate turned warm again and since about 1980, glaciers have been retreating again. However, photos and maps prove that all Mt. Baker glaciers are more extensive today than they were in 1950. Here are a few examples.
Roosevelt and Coleman glaciers
Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Roosevelt glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2014 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 1). Both the Coleman and Roosevelt glaciers are more extensive now than they were in 1952. Figure 2 shows the advance and retreat of the two glaciers measured from vertical air photographs.
Comparison of photographs of the Roosevelt glacier in 2015 and 1950 confirm that the glacier is more extensive now than in 1950. In the photos below, note that the terminus of the glacier reaches to the edge of dark cliff (left photo) in 2015, but was well upvalley from it in 1950 (right photo). The X on the photos is a point of reference for comparison.
Figure 3. Comparision of photographs of the Roosevelt glacier in 2015 (left) and 1947 (right). Note that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1947.
Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Deming glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2014 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 4) show that the glacier was more extensive in 2014 than it was in 1952. The right side of the figure shows that rates of advance and retreat of the Deming glacier from 1940 to 1990 (plotted from data in Harper, 1992).
Figure 4. Comparison of the position of the Deming glacier terminus in 2015 and 1952 taken directly from USGS topographic maps (left). Graph on the right shows rates of advance and retreat of the glacier from 1940 to 1990.
Photographs of the Deming glacier 2011-2015 confirm that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1950-52. In the photos below the X is a point of reference and the yellow diamond is the terminus. The 2011-2015 terminus is far downvalley (see map) from it’s 1950-52 position.
Figure 5. Deming glacier, 1950 (left) and 2011 (right).The yellow X is a point of reference and the diamond shape is the position of the terminus in 1950 and 2011. These photos show that the Deming glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1950 and confirm the positions of the terminus shown in Fig. 4.
Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Boulder glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2015 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 6) show that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1952.
Figure 7. Photos of the Boulder glacier in 1950 (left) and 2014 (right). The yellow X is a common point of reference and the yellow diamond marks the glacier terminus.
Photographs of the Boulder glacier 2014 confirm that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1950-52. The present is far downvalley (see map) from its 1950-52 position.
All of Mt. Baker’s other glaciers show the same thing. They are all more extensive now than they were in 1952 and nothing unusual is happening to them—they have been where they are now many times before. Data similar to that shown here for the Coleman, Roosevelt, Deming, and Boulder glaciers is also available for the Easton, Squak, Talum, Park, Rainbow, and Mazama glaciers.
The Seattle Times states that “Riedel estimates the region’s glaciers are smaller than they have been in at least 4,000 years.” However, the photos and maps of the Sholes glacier, the featured in the Times article, below prove that these claims are totally false˗˗the Sholes glacier has not changed at all in the past 70 years.
Figure 8. The Sholes glacier in 1947 (left) and 2011 (right) are virtually identical.
These photos prove that the Sholes glacier today is identical to what it was in 1947. In addition, comparison of the glacier terminus on USGS topographic maps of 1952 and 2014 (below) show that the Sholes glacier has not changed since 1952.
Figure 9. The blue line is the margin of the Sholes glacier shown on the USGS 2014 topographic map. The green line is the terminus position shown on the 1952 map. These maps prove that the Shole glacier today is identical to what it was in 1952.
As site regulars know, WE take science very seriously. No rigor? Not science. (Take a quick hop to the Vator "Best Available Science" page if you haven't seen that before.)
UW Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass seems to be taking a reasonable tack lately on the impacts of climate change in the Pacific Northwest (check out this 2014 video on YouTube). Dig this observation-based piece at his blog. Laissez la science prospérer!
at Cliff Mass Weather Blog
September 2, 2015
Environmental monster match-ups are familiar to many of you.
For example, who could forget Godzilla versus Hedorah, The Smog Monster?
And then there was the remarkable battle between Godzilla and the storm-producing Mothra.
But many are enthralled with the outcome of the latest super-monster battle, this time a real one:
Godzilla El Nino versus The Pacific Blob
The media is covering this battle with substantial attention, with headlines bannering the conflict in many outlets:
OK, let's deal with the big question. Will Godzilla El Nino and the BLOB battle each other? Or will they combine forces to produce the warmest period in NW history? Or the stormiest?
Much is riding on this conflict and this blog will consider the potential outcome.
On one hand, one of the strongest El Ninos in decades is developing, the Godzilla El Nino. NOAA is so sure about its effects this winter that it is going for a 90% chance of a strong El Nino, which would make the Northwest warmer than normal, slightly drier than normal, with roughly 20-30% less snowpack than normal in the mountains.
El Ninos are associated with warmer than normal water in the central/eastern tropical Pacific and along our immediate coast.
Then there is the BLOB, the name affectionately given to an area of warm warm over the northeast Pacific. There is strong evidence that the BLOB has warmed surface temperatures over the Northwest by 2-4C over the past year, contributing to our record high temperatures and lack of snow.
Together, will they destroy Northwest snow and normal weather? Bring another torrid winter in our region? Terminate our ski industry?
I suspect I know what will happen.
They will NOT combine forces. They will fight, and one will win.
Just like in the movies, Godzilla will become our ally. And it makes sense that the mighty Godzilla will prevail.
Let me tell you why.
The BLOB, as documented in a nice paper by State Climatologist Nick Bond and colleagues was the stepchild of a huge area of high pressure along and east of the West Coast of the U.S. High pressure resulted in less wind and mixing of the upper ocean layers, leading to reducing mixing of cooler sub-surface water to the surface. Thus, the ocean surface was warmer than normal.
The anomalous high pressure also resulted in less movement of cooler Pacific waters from the north. Weaker cold advection in technical terms.
Here is an example of the sea surface temperature (actually the difference from normal, or the anomaly) associated with the BLOB. BLOB is warm.
But now El Nino is forming...and not just any El Nino...a SUPER GODZILLA El Nino. The warm waters over the central and eastern tropical Pacific associated with El Nino have a big impact on the global atmosphere, alternating the global circulation. Let me show you.
Here is the typical sea level pressure anomaly associated with El Nino (the difference of pressure from normal). Pressures are LOWER THAN NORMAL over the eastern Pacific (purple colors). A BLOB KILLER. Why? Because it is exactly opposite of the pattern that produced the BLOB--- high pressure in the same area.
What do our latest seasonal forecast models predict? Let me show you.
Here is the predicted sea surface temperatures for this winter. A narrow zone of warm water immediately off our coast (which is typical of El Ninos), but no BLOB. In fact, cooler than normal waters offshore. You can see the very warm water over the central and eastern tropical Pacific...a sign of a powerful El Nino.
We are already seeing evidence of these changes. The water in the central Pacific is cooling. The ridge of high pressure over us has weakened and high pressure has established itself over the central Pacific. Precipitation is increasing over our area.
And there are other signs in the sky that suggest my hypothesis is correct....
The BLOB is vulnerable. And I believe that Godzilla El Nino will destroy it. Nature is cruel.
What does that mean for our weather? A strong El Nino bring modestly warmer than normal temperatures, with a snowpack about 20% below normal. Much better than last winter. The correlation with Northwest precipitation is weak. Less lowland snow and fewer major storms. Enhanced precipitation over southern/central California.
In short, far more normal conditions than the weird weather we have experienced during the last year. Our region should rejoice in Godzilla El Nino's strength. But deep down we will be sad for the vanquished BLOB.
“The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory." — Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
WE are not always the first to cover a story. While some feel this anniversary is old news, it's worth revisiting. Here in Whatcom County eminent domain per se does not occur often. What's clearly underway is a slower, deeper, and more insidious form of public theft, but in another form -- uncompensated regulatory takings meant to whittle (and sometimes cruelly jerk) away the use of private land for any cause. Kelo still matters; the core lesson is the same. Cozy relationships exist between council, cities, planners, outsider enviro-control interests, and parasitic institutions like the Land Trust. These are working to systematically deal away rural and ag land use through new "planning tools" like mandatory TDR trades (transfers of development rights) to favor urban growth areas above other land use. As cities grow, rural areas will be made increasingly locked down and useless over time. Conniving developers who are involved: shame. WE will report more on that. But for now, know that
Government Celebrates Ten Years of Stealing Private Land
The News Talkers, June 23, 2015
Today is the tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Suzette Kelo and the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. The Supreme Court of the United States found that the government has the right to take private property for the purpose of turning it over to private developers. A stunning admission by a state Supreme Court judge emphasizes the fact that this is one case which must be overturned.
A journalist, who wrote a book about the Kelo case gave a keynote address at a private dinner in 2011, in which he talked about Suzette Kelo’s personal story. In a most astounding statement, one of the state Supreme Court judges, Richard N. Palmer, approached Suzette Kelo and the journalist, Jeff Benedict, after the address, and said, “Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently.”
Suzette and the journalist were speechless because his vote would have changed history. The Justice “turned to Suzette, took her hand and offered a heartfelt apology. Tears trickled down her red cheeks. It was the first time in the 12-year saga that anyone had uttered the words ‘I’m sorry.’ It was all she could do to whisper the words: ‘Thank you.’”
Developers are almost always tied to a political party which makes this decision a political and unsavory one.
Over the years, Eminent Domain has gone from being used solely for public use to use by the public for private development, including privately owned shopping centers, conference centers, resorts, auto malls, movie theaters, and so on. A developer who curries favor can claim public use for land that would normally be sold privately.
The case of Kelo v. New London on June 23, 2004 (Kelo v. New London 2004) was the deciding case.
The state decided to take Suzette Kelo’s beautiful waterview home, nicknamed The Little Pink House, and her neighbors’ homes, for use as a resort hotel and conference center, a park, and 80-100 new residence with office space.
Suzette fought the case. The Supreme Court of Connecticut found that the economic project would create new jobs, increase tax revenues, and revitalize a depressed area, thus making it a public use case. On June 23, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the State of Connecticut (Kelo v. New London 2005).
The City eventually agreed to move Susette Kelo’s house to a new location and agreed to pay substantial additional compensation to other homeowners, something they were not willing to do originally.
This was an entire neighborhood they were willing to destroy, a long-privately-held community, and they did.
As it turned out, ten years later, it’s still an undeveloped, bulldozed area. All projects have fallen through. It cost the city $78 million to destroy the homes and prepare it for development.
The original redeveloper was unable to obtain financing and abandoned the redevelopment project, leaving the land an empty lot. It was eventually turned into a dump by the City.
Jeff Benedict, Hartford Courant journalist, has written a book about Suzette Kelo’s story called The Little Pink House.
It’s an American tragedy of stolen land that is playing out all over this country. It’s being abused in state after state, with New York the worst offender.
The Daily Signal had a story about it today and interviewed some of the victims of this government overreach.
“They put in infrastructure and roads to nowhere, sidewalks to nowhere with always the thought that they were going to have this redevelopment plan where a hotel would come, a health club, cafes, restaurants and stuff like that that never came to be,” Kelo told The Daily Signal.
And for Kelo and Michael Cristofaro—who grew up in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood and whose father was one of the plaintiffs in the case—the wounds from their battle with New London haven’t yet healed.
“If you look out, this is what the city of New London wanted,” Cristofaro told The Daily Signal, standing in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. “This is what they took our homes for—this vast amount of land. This is what the U.S. Supreme Court said that the city of New London was justified in taking our homes—an empty field. As far as I’m concerned, it’s an empty dream.”
The way things work up here in the northwest corner of the Left Coast, it's probably just a matter of time before this Brave New World intrusion concept washes up onto the shores of Bellingham Bay, like so much other intellectual flotsam has. Watch your can, man.
Here's to PLF's fight against Seattle's mad-hatter unwarranted surveillance.
Seattle declares war on privacy
Pacific Legal Foundation
July 16, 2015, Brian T. Hodges
The city fired its first shot in January, when it adopted a regulation that penalizes residents if they dispose of recyclables or food waste in their garbage cans.
How can that be a bad thing, you ask? After all, who doesn’t want to reduce the amount of waste that could be recycled or composted?
Look closer at the law. Lurking beneath its seemingly benevolent surface is a mandate that threatens the privacy rights of each and every person who lives in Seattle.
The regulation directs city garbage collectors to search your garbage cans in order to determine whether you garbage can contains 10% or more recyclable or compostable materials. If it does, you’ll be subject to fines and/or a brightly colored shame tag pasted on your garbage bin—a scarlet letter to proclaim your crimes to your friends, neighbors, and passers-by.
While the city tries to paint a happy face on its program, internal training documents obtained calls for “zero tolerance” war on privacy. Lest there be any doubt that the city wants its garbage collectors to search through garbage cans, the training materials show garbage collectors removing bags to inspect a garbage can, peering into the contents of translucent bags, and opening torn or untied bags. Somewhat laughably, the training materials claim that calculating the 10% compostable materials threshold should be easy. After all, shouldn’t every garbage collector be able to determine on the fly whether the amount of food waste in any given bin is equal to or greater than 10% of its gross volume (x > πr2h ÷ 10)? Despite the math, it appears that Seattle garbage collectors are on pace to issue upwards of 100,000 citations this year.
The invasiveness and coerciveness of Seattle’s garbage snooping, standing alone, is objectionable. But worse still is the fact that the regulation deprives Seattle residents of a constitutionally protected right. Washington State recognizes that privacy, like property, is a fundamental right. In fact, Washington constitutional article I, section 7, goes much farther than the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, providing that “[n]o person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.”
Washington courts “jealously guard” the right to privacy, and have long-held that individuals have a reasonable expectation that the contents of their garbage cans will remain private. In the case, State v. Boland, the police and prosecuting attorney’s office received anonymous letters alleging that Boland was illegally selling prescription drugs out of his home. After an attempt to purchase drugs from Boland failed, the police searched his garbage cans without a warrant, uncovering evidence of drug-related activities. On review, Washington’s Supreme Court held that the government’s examination of the contents of a garbage can was an unconstitutional intrusion into a person’s private affairs. Particularly noteworthy, the court explained that “While a person must reasonably expect a licensed trash collector will remove the contents of his trash can, this expectation does not also infer an expectation of governmental intrusion.”
It is unclear why Seattle has chosen to do exactly what Washington’s constitution outright prohibits. It’s not like Seattle doesn’t recognize the vital importance of privacy—one week after adopting its garbage snooping law, the city announced its intention to be at the cutting edge of privacy protection by adopting a code of “privacy principles” when dealing with the data it collects from its residents—principles that are incongruous with its garbage inspection law. It would be funny, if the city wasn’t so sadly tin-eared to its citizen’s right to privacy.
The city’s inconsistency is whiplash inducing. Not only does the garbage inspection law authorize a massive and repeated intrusion into the private affairs of Seattle’s citizens, it also operates solely on the word of garbage collectors. With one exception for repeat commercial offenders, the city code doesn’t require any preservation of evidence (such as photographs) and doesn’t provide any opportunity for appeal. The garbage man is the proverbial judge, jury, and executioner—and snoop.
While composting and recycling are laudable goals, we should not allow our government to run so ridiculously roughshod over our rights. Nor should we allow our government to treat us with less respect than is due to criminals—most of us are everyday homeowners and business owners, not suspects.
Brian T. Hodges is the managing attorney of PLF’s Northwest center. He is a strong proponent of individual and property rights and actively litigates in the areas of regulatory takings, due process, land use, water law, environmental law, growth management, Indian law, and administrative law.
View all posts by Brian T. Hodges
Our pals at the Environmental Protection Agency who are deviling Whatcom County farmers at an ever-increasing pace deserve a new moniker: Environmental Pollution Agency.
Five days after the EPA had their little oops moment, releasing toxic chemicals into a 126 mile river which is a tributary of the San Juan River and the Colorado River System, news agency CNN described it's utter frustration in this news report, Pollution Is Flowing Faster Than Facts: "The mustard hue of the Animas River in Colorado -- the most visible effect of a mistake by the Environmental Protection Agency that dumped millions of gallons of pollutants into the water -- is striking.
Just a glance at a photo of the orange-yellowish slush is enough to know that something seems wrong. Scientists will have to say just how wrong, and possibly dangerous, the contamination is, though five days after the spill answers are few.
Just how polluted is the river? Is drinking water in peril? Are businesses dependent on the river out of luck?
One question that has been answered is the size of the spill: more than triple than originally estimated. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the size of the spill to be more than 3 million gallons, compared with the initial EPA estimate of 1 million gallons." ...more
Sooo .... just two days after that revelation, EPA began to claim that the river is “restoring itself." So said the country’s top environmental official on Thursday. And she added that deep-pockets-EPA is coughing-up an absurdly low $500,000 to help the locals. WE couldn't make this up - see the video of this statement yourself below.
Yes indeed. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that the water quality has returned to “pre-incident conditions” after toxic sludge from an abandoned gold mine upstream in southern Colorado flowed into it. “The very good news is that we see that this river is restoring itself.”
Her agency has taken full responsibility for the spill, in which more than three million gallons of toxic wastewater spewed out of the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, while an EPA crew was cleaning it up.
On Wednesday, Colorado officials said it was safe for Durango — the town just downstream from the spill site — to pull drinking water from the river again. [NBC video and story]...
Click on the picture above, see and hear the statement yourself. WE couldn't make up such a thing. WE do wonder what brand of brownies our pals at the Environmental Protection Agency might be snacking on in Colorado, to hallucinate so.
WE guess it goes without saying that humans were blamed for the original problem; nothing new here. It could have been our pesticides, our GMO crops, or something else completely natural. Yes, these things happen. WE're talking about colony collapse disorder. As in, honey bee colonies.
A story in National Review, Bee-pocalypse Now? Nope. describes the situation:
You’ve probably heard by now that bees are mysteriously dying. In 2006, commercial beekeepers began to witness unusually high rates of honeybee die-offs over the winter — increasing from an average of 15 percent to more than 30 percent. Everything from genetically modified crops to pesticides (even cell phones) has been blamed. The phenomenon was soon given a name: colony collapse disorder.
The media love to hype the negative, especially as it applies to original sin of the Gaia religion.
Ever since, the media has warned us of a “beemaggedon” or “beepocalypse” posing a “threat to our food supply.” By 2013, NPR declared that bee declines may cause “a crisis point for crops,” and the cover of Time magazine foretold of a “world without bees.” This spring, there was more bad news. Beekeepers reported losing 42.1 percent of their colonies over the last year, prompting more worrisome headlines.
Anybody up for another Silent Spring?
And, right on cue, facts not in hand, government comes galloping in to the rescue.
Last year, riding the buzz over dying bees, the Obama administration announced the creation of a pollinator-health task force to develop a “federal strategy” to promote honeybees and other pollinators. Last month the task force unveiled its long-awaited plan, the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The plan aims to reduce honeybee-colony losses to “sustainable” levels and create 7 million acres of pollinator-friendly habitat. It also calls for more than $82 million in federal funding to address pollinator health.
Ah, yes. The habitat. What habitat? Bee keepers love their bees. WE see bee boxes all over the place, and the bees are very well cared for. Pampered even, which brings us to this:
There are more honeybee colonies in the United States today than there were when colony collapse disorder began in 2006. In fact, according to data released in March by the Department of Agriculture, U.S. honeybee-colony numbers are now at a 20-year high. And those colonies are producing plenty of honey. U.S. honey production is also at a 10-year high.
Well, there goes the neighborhood. In fact, one of our contributors told us of a honeybee migration into their front yard a couple of days ago. Millions of bees followed their queen to a juniper bush in the front yard. A call to a local pest control outfit put them in touch with a beekeeper, who enthusiastically responded within minutes. He located the queen, and moved her to a cardboard box. All the other bees dutifully followed her to the box, which the beekeeper set in the passenger seat of his car, and drove away. Honeybees are very docile if you treat them with respect. Those bees will be well cared for.
This is not to deny that beekeeping faces challenges. Today, most experts believe there is no one single culprit for honeybee losses, but rather a multitude of factors. Modern agricultural practices can create stress for honeybees. Commercial beekeepers transport their colonies across the country each year to pollinate a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. This can weaken honeybees and increase their susceptibility to diseases and parasites.
Not every problem requires a government solution. We're a resourceful lot. Humans and nature can exist together, for mutually beneficial ends. (Read the entire article...)
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