Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Whatcom Counties

Sad to say, it's hard not to conclude that we're two countries, here in Whatcom County.

Shane Roth recently summarized an interview with Whatcom County Council Chair Kathy Kershner on KGMI.  The interviewer was Kris Halterman, whom I have never met but Shane describes as a member of the Tea Party. She has, in fact, posted recently on the Whatcom Tea Party web site.   

That was quite an interview.  The topic was the Rural Element and the Growth Management Hearings Board's recent conclusion that the County remains noncompliant with the Growth Management Act.

Ms. Halterman had a lot of preconceived notions of the most dramatic, and often incorrect, kind.  And some of Council Chair. Kershner’s responses had me scratching my head as well:  
  • Futurewise wants more development in cemeteries  -- huh? 
  • David Stalheim and I prepared the (serially invalidated) Rural Element – huh?  

The fact is that neither David nor I have been affiliated with the County in any way for years -- which Ms. Kershner must know, since she voted against my reappointment to the Planning Commission at the end of 2010. 
The Council took several years to mold the Rural Element into its own likeness before approving it in 2011.  These were the changes, of course, that have led to serial determinations of noncompliance.
So really, Ms. Kershner was giving discredit where no discredit is due, and not claiming sufficient discredit for her own role in voting for the noncompliant, invalidated Rural Elements as they come before her. 
The interviewer's dramatic reading of Mein Kampf before concluding by warning everyone to keep an eye on the Growth Management Hearings Board was another highlight.

And then there’s Karl Uppiano's most recent comment on the Whatcom Excavator, that “anonymous” web site that has all the same information as the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) and its political branch, the Whatcom County Planning Commission. 

Mr. Uppiano apparently was very upset that CAPR’s favorite wetland specialist, Steven Neugebauer, lost yet another case for yet another property owner.  The Whatcom County Hearing Examiner found that a whole raft of wetland specialists, ranging from consultants to Whatcom County’s wetland specialist to a state wetland specialist, were right about the existence of a wetland on a property.  And that Mr. Neugebauer’s assessment of the site, which – surprise! – lead to the conclusion that there was no wetland on the site, was insufficient. 
Mr. Uppiano was so upset, in fact, that he appears to be proposing the overthrow of the government. 

After quoting the Declaration of Independence, including this statement – “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security” – Mr. Uppiano states:   

“Just how much abuse are we supposed to suffer before we are driven to invoke this argument a second time? How much is enough? Are we not citizens? We are subjects!”


You know what?
The Growth Management Hearings Board does not resemble Adolf Hitler, and the Growth Management Act is not a second Mein Kampf. 

The conclusion that a property contains a wetland, which the Hearing Examiner stated “likely can be filled” with a “modest amount of offsite mitigation,” is not an affront that demands the overthrow of the government.


  1. A new study, cited in the Puget Sound Business Journal, listed Whatcom County as our state's most prosperous county. This certainly under cuts all the whining about lost prosperity from the environmental burden imposed by government. I suggest we "overthrow" the Council majority through the electoral process, and elect people who will uphold the GMA and stop wasting public funds.

  2. " ...listen closely to the arguments by the Republican vote riggers, you can hear rationalizations, yes, but also a real idea: Rural Americans deserve disproportionate political representation. Who Needs to Win to Win? - Jonathan Chait