Friday, June 21, 2013

News and Views

Shamelessly emulating other bloggers, I thought I'd do a news roundup today.

I have an Op Ed in today's Bellingham Herald.  I submitted it on Monday, and on Tuesday, the County Council voted to spend your tax dollars to go to court.  The County would rather fight than work to prevent pollution or to make sure that farmers have water in the future.

That's your County Council, folks.  They say that voters get what they deserve.  Is this what you deserve?

Riley Sweeney blogged today about some folks who are going to be front and central in the County's water issues.  If their views are your views, then not paying attention to County politics over the next year or two will be a good strategy.  On the other hand, if you think that fighting against tribal water rights is a bad approach, you might want to participate. 

Riley directed my attention to the Whatcom Excavator, an "anonymous" Tea Party blog that tends to predict the words and  deeds of our Planning Commission and County Council.  Does it reflect or inform those views?  Only the anonymous Excavator, and our public officials, know for sure.

The most recent article on the Excavator is a particularly splenetic rampage about our water case.  

Nobody could accuse the Excavator of a sense of irony.  Apparently the authors find nothing ironic about screaming that they, and the County Council, are being "bullied" by David Stalheim and me -- who participate in the public process publicly, under our own names, making our interests and identities clear to all. Heck, we even blog under our own names.

While the Excavator authors, lilly-livered chickens that they are, hide behind anonymity.  

My favorite part of this week's Excavator hissy-fit is their outrage that the Hearings Board cited scientific sources to support its water decision.  Look at all the footnotes in the Hearings Board's decision! complains the Excavator.  Be outraged!

There's an old saying in the law:  When the law's on your side, argue the law.  When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts.  When you don't have either the law or the facts, pound on the table.

The Excavator is an outlet for table-pounders.

Update:  Including the 42nd Legislative District's own State Representative Jason Overstreet, who posted a link to the Excavator article on his Facebook page. 

The Excavator altered Futurewise's slogan ("Building Communities, Saving the Land") to read instead "The ends justify the means."  One of Representative Overstreet's Facebook friends commented that he was astounded by Futurewise's "fascist slogan."

Vintage Excavator tactics: libel and confuse from behind the wall of anonymity.  Lilly-livered chickens, the lot of them, and everybody who links to them, too.


  1. For all it's bravado and bluster, the Excavator is sadly lacking in commentary on the local issues routinely highlighted by NW Citizen, GWP, etc.

    It's not a lack of issues; just a lack of will

    eg; Greg Brown and Chet Dow attended the entire GMHB hearing in April, but I did not see any WE commentary on these proceedings until recently, and the comments were short on specifics and long on well as a long time coming

    If the WE folks are so concerned about property rights Whatcom County, you would think the E and it's members would file an amicus brief or something.......

  2. Jean and David,

    I you know, I always blog and otherwise interact under my own name but, I'm not so sure about the disdain for anonimity. Some of the most influential works in our history were written by the "bloggers" of the day under anonomous names. I'd refer you, for example, to the "Federalist Papers."

    Less worthwhile efforts use the veiled curtain as well, witness on your own blog today, citizen Steve who doesn't seem to get the irony of his anon. comments.

    Being upfront can be dangerous. For example, not so long ago the largest client I've had in my career was advized by a very high ranking County official that things would go better for that client if I weren't in the picture anymore. I was quickly erased from the picture and, as a result, the client go screwed anyway. Another potential client was advised by staff in a local jurisdiction that using my services would be a negative so, I was not employed. The potential client also did not get what was wanted. I have other, similar war stories to tell as well.

    I'm not whining, just putting forward personal expernience. You are fortunate enough to be in a position to not have much risk but, still; If I had any advice for you I'd say, "Be a little less thin skinned." If you step in front of a speeding locomotive you are sometimes going to be bruised. If you can't take the wounds, don't step in front of the loco.

    Fear is one of the major reasons... well, anyway, you get the point.

    The Whatcom Excavator, and I don't know who runs it, does some really great work as does, once in awhile, Get Whatcom Planning and, both are often less than illustrious. I'm glad for both.

    1. Jack, there's a lot of false equivalence in your post. The Federalist Papers is not similar to, and not an excuse for, the whole universe of unfounded, mean-spirited anonymous social media commentary that's so prevalent -- the Whatcom Excavator, the Herald website, and on and on and on.

      Any comparison of Get Whatcom Planning to the Whatcom Excavator is another example of false equivalence. We back up what we say with facts, and we post under our own names.

      Our situation is also very different from your situation, since you're paid to take certain positions and we're not. It's easy to be "fortunate" enough to be in a position with little risk. Just stop taking on clients.

      I agree that "Citizen Steve's" contribution was not helpful and removed the post.

    2. Jean,

      Your assumptions are showing. How do you know what I get paid for and what I do not get paid for? I never discuss the issue because it is no one's business but this one time I'll go so far as to say you are wrong in your assumptions for the most part. By the way, I seem to remember your soliciting funds for a suit against the county... I also have a donation button on Hope you had better luck with donations than I did.

    3. By the way, I should make it clear... I am not adverse to being paid... It is a logical fallacy to assume that because someone is making a living at something their opinion is colored, meaningless or otherwise made invalid as a result. Jean's rather insulting insinuation is that I take the position an employer wants me to take but the truth of the matter is I won't take on an employer I disagree with. Are Kate Blystone's opinions valueless because she works for Futurewise? And what does her employment with Futurewise have to say about the things she did as a Whatcom County planner. I don't sneer at her simply because of what she is, or was, even when I disagree with her positions.

    4. Huh? So touchy, and I honestly don't understand why.

      You were the one who brought up the risk to you of posting under your own name because of your clients, and then (insultingly?) said that we're fortunate enough to be in a position to have little risk. That's what the discussion was about, I thought -- how to have or avoid the risk of posting under your own name.

      And I wasn't actually insulted, but if we're going to be so touchy, perhaps I should have been. If one says that I have little at risk, it discounts the hundreds and hundreds of hours that I've devoted to County issues. Hours that I'll never get back and that I could have spent doing something else. Working, spending times with friends, hiking, cooking better meals than I've been eating over the past few years.

      I've never solicited funds for a suit against the County, but I agree that if I ever did, the proper response would be -- so what?

    5. Well, we're both stuck on the hundreds and hundreds of hours... maybe we need to get a life?

  3. For a chuckle, here's a prime example of the wit and wisdom of anonymous commentary on the Whatcom Excavator:

    "'The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.' KARL MARX

    When you stretch Stalin you end up with Stalheim; WOW I just stretched Marx and got Melious (they even kinda look alike when you squint!), amazing how that works, how the world changes but evil remains the same!"

    Yup, that's some contribution to fact and reason.

  4. Yeah, there is a real nexus between the original Federalist Papers and the Whatcom Excavator.

    In fact, The Federalist Papers example is cited in the About Us section of the Excavator's Home Page. Jack's semi-original quote is nearly identical to the one offered up by the Sunshine Patriots over at the Excavator.

    By the way, who IS the Editor of the Excavator ? How many blogs have anonymous Editors?

    In the next paragraph, the Excavator notes that, "A risk of anonymity is irresponsible journalism". Thanks to the Excavator for providing a convenient example in the posts from "Comrade X", which still remain up, last time I checked.

    Although the EX says they, "do not engage in or tolerate libel", they have no problem in altering the logo and slogan of Futurewise to "FutureLies, The End Justifies the Means".