WE have good reason to believe that the information being presented will be insidiously stacked for a pre-determined outcome. If you attend, it’s certain you’ll be “educated” that:
- The “science is in.”
- There isn’t enough water for both people and fish.
- Climate change is going to make this worse.
- “Exempt” water use, if not “illegal,” must be policed.
- Tribal claims about water rights are rock solid; better not question them.
- Property owners should put their fate in the hands of public-private partners to manage their resources and land.
- It’s all too complicated for you to deal with – leave it to the “experts.”
- If you don’t get with the program, you’ll be in a world of hurt.
- Voluntary land use trades for water and mitigation will bring certainty (for your own good).
- Halting rural and ag development will be necessary soon.
- No other approach is “sustainable”.
- And above all, don’t ask too many questions. There are no answers but these official answers.
Look at the list of presenters, and you’ll see that big money interests behind this symposium have everything to gain. The symposium is about land control as much as water resources (this land is your land, this land is their land). The program will pitch an elaborate system of autocratic control through trusts, a "natural resources marketplace," and a water management board that in all likelihood would never be directly accountable to anyone, just as notorious and remote as the WTA and PUD #1.
News flash! The Pacific Ocean isn’t going to go dry and it’s highly unlikely that the North Wind will ever stop blowing rain our way.
So, while Whatcom County will always be one of the wetter counties in the entire state and nation, numerous well-known rent-seekers stand to make a fortune if citizens can be convinced that they should check their freedom at the door. [Musical note/quote: Bob Dylan, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," and "The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handle." Subterranean Homesick Blues.]
Whatcom Planning & Development and Public Works departments (and their cohorts at the City of Bellingham) have been directly involved, along with WWU/WSU based WWIN. Now, WWIN stands for the Whatcom Watersheds Information Network which claims to be a community group, but it's obviously run by bureaucrats. And the contractor hired to put this together is directly affiliated with the Puget Sound Partnership, who tirelessly promotes its "Action Agenda". Farm Friends (a grant-dependent lobby more than a real farm group) is involved, along with Futurewise's Jean Melious and the tribes. These special interests have their DNA all over this “free” informational extravaganza. The truth is, this event is being put on at considerable public expense to push official programs.
And none of the agencies behind this -- not one -- has an interest in protecting private citizens' water rights as they've existed historically. The thing is, we citizens aren't organized, and our interest in this topic is diffuse -- we're all busy working at our livelihoods. For the organizers, promoting the planning, "conservation" and "restoration" trade is their livelihood.
WE wonder, "Who approved the grand plans that these people are presenting?" Look through the two day play-by-play script. Most of the presenters are staffers and middle-management types, lawyers, and a truckload of tribal employees. Some have extremely thin credentials to present the topics slated.
Events like this are professionally orchestrated by promoters, and loaded with shills -- with a few token “outliers” invited to make the event look fair. But the "fork in the road" outcome on Day 2 is designed for a crescendo of applause, and the illusion of community support and consensus. (While there are methods to keep heavily programmed meetings on the up-and-up, they require encyclopedic knowledge of the material plus intensive training. Amateurs confronting the ersatz authority of blue-ribbon panels often find themselves lambs to the slaughter.) If you don’t want to be manipulated, you may be better off elsewhere.
The bureaucratic overtake of water resources and land management can proceed only if the public goes along willingly. “Low information voters” are all-too willing to support the idea that others' rights are arbitrary. This event aims to manipulate with slick presentations, while impressive looking "experts" spout unfamiliar material and cite law cases. A big gobsmacked crowd is essential to make the junta look good.
But some people have decided not to go. Sentiments heard about town include:
On A Fair