Shotthafer resigns school board

11-05-17

An open letter to the Port Angeles School Board and Community:

A Change on the Port Angeles School board

 Dear Board Members and Superintendent Dr. Jackson:

When expressing dissatisfaction with the directions our nation travels, we often hear the suggestion, “Run for school board.” 

A powerful sense of duty to serve freedom motivated me to become a school director candidate. Transparently, I played the candidate role, making my best effort to win, while knowing if elected, I would place myself, publicly, in a most vulnerable and uncomfortable position. (more…)

Draft Shoreline Management Plan Reports

Clallam County Shorelines Master Plan

Report by Harry Bell
Covering the Draft Shoreline Management Plan for the
Port Angeles Business Association

November 12, 2017

On November 14 the last of four regional public forums will be held at the John Wayne Marina. These were scheduled by the Clallam County Board of Commissioners about the Draft Shorelines Master Plan (DSMP) recently approved by the Clallam County Planning Commission and the Department of Community Development (DCD). For emphasis, I am starting with the conclusion of this article—it is way too late to effect any substantial changes in the DSMP.

In 1971, the state legislature passed the Shorelines Act (SA). Forest landowners realized the potential impact on timber harvest and were able to get favorable recognition in the legislation. I suspect that, if you were here then, many of you were unaware or not well organized enough to affect that legislation. Since its passage the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) has adopted and periodically “improved” the rules (WAC’s) that implement that legislation. Each rule change was a lost opportunity better to balance shoreline use restrictions for the public good against the cost of those restrictions incurred by private landowners—yes, I know that the SMP applies to all non-federal and non-tribal lands but the majority of lands impacted are in private ownership. 

The SA and WAC’s contain periodic update expectations for local plans. As far as I know there are no consequences to not following that schedule. The Clallam County Plan was far past the update schedule. The current update only started when the county DCD requested accepted a (WDOE) grant to update the plan—another lost opportunity for rational and pragmatic input. The DCD then retained ESA Consulting to write the plan and created the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to “advise” ESA and DCD on the details of the plan. Note that the DCD and the CAC received a standard template plan that had been used in other areas and likely was either written or approved by the WDOE. The mission of ESA and the WDOE designated “smooth-talkers” was to gain broad acceptance of that plan template. That said, the CAC, ESA and county planners had very robust discussions and effected many positive changes in the final draft plan. I don’t believe that a citizens advisory committee was used elsewhere it Washington State and the DCD should be recognized for using it. I am sure the outcome is far better than it would have been without the CAC.

As I stated at the beginning it is way too late to effect any substantial changes in the proposed SMP. Because of the diversity of comments, the proposed public forums will have little effect unless the Board of County Commissioners is willing to reopen the planning process and possibly form another Citizens Advisory Committee.  For anyone wanting to make comments, here are those submitted by the Port Angeles Business Association in February 2015. The PABA had several representatives on the CAC.

 

  1. Section 10.3.5 (4) provides an opportunity for an applicant to request reconsideration of any final action on a permit. This request is to be “considered” by the “decision maker” without a written response or reasons for a change or for no change.  Section 10.2.6 (1) gives the “review authority” broad discretion to condition permits—including those for permitted uses.  Section 8.3.3 provides that the “administrator” shall specify mitigation measures to attain “no net loss” of ecological functions. Quantifying potential losses of ecological functions and mitigation for those losses will necessarily be very subjective because of the lack of site specific data that demonstrate cause and effect relationships. This creates the opportunity for ecological extortion on the part of the decision maker/review authority.

 

            Requested changes:

–  Establish a more robust reconsideration process beyond the county staff but less than the county hearings examiner—preferably to a local elected official.

–  Require that a written response to the applicant be provided with detailed written reasons for any denial.

–  Establish periodic citizens’ oversight to insure that mitigation conditions are proportional to the likelihood and magnitude of reduced ecological functions.

 

  1. The “no net loss of ecological functions” concept is stated as one of the “Governing Principles” of the State Guidelines (in the Washington Administrative Code but not the RCW). WAC 173-26-201(2)(c) explicitly allow impacts to ecological functions “necessary to achieve other objectives of RCW 90.58.020,” for example, priority for single family uses and recreational moorage.  The mitigation sequence can stop at the “minimize” step without mitigation for the impacts that could not be minimized. Under the State Environmental Policy Act (“SEPA”) a declaration of non-significance can be issued for non-material impacts.

 

            The “no net loss” requirement in the draft plan requires mitigation beyond that in SEPA and in the WAC. This excessive mitigation is also required in Section 8.3.4 that states “Compensatory mitigation measures shall occur in the vicinity of the impact or at an alternative location within the same watershed or appropriate section of marine shoreline (e.g., reach or drift cell) that provides greater and more sustainable ecological benefits.” 

 

            Requested changes:

–  Consider “no net loss of ecological functions” on an aggregate basis for the County shoreline as a whole and require such net loss to be material before an applicant is required to mitigate.

–  Establish a clear recognition that minimizing impacts to ecological functions is all an applicant is required to do if there is no material net loss for the County shoreline as a whole.

–  Ensure that the SMP requirements are not more onerous on the applicant than those currently existing under SEPA.

 

  1. RCW 90.58 makes a clear distinction between shorelines of statewide significance (annual flow 1,000 of cubic feet per second or more) and shorelines-of-the-state (annual flow of 20 up to 1,000 cubic feet per second). Different policies and protection measures exist for each. The draft SMP does not make that distinction, implying that either one is over protected or the other under protected.

 

            Requested change:

–  All of the setbacks and other protection measures for streams with flow rates between 1,000 and 20 cubic feet per second should be reduced.

 

  1. RCW 90.58.150 provides for legislated rights regarding timber harvest adjacent to shorelines of statewide significance. These are not exemptions or variances. As such, these rights should not be restricted, as they are in the “Natural” shorelines designation, and they should not require a substantial development permit or mitigation, under section 8.3.1, to attain “no net loss of shoreline ecological function”.

 

            Requested change:

–  Timber harvest as specified in the RCW should be a permitted use in all shorelines designations and should occur without mitigation or consideration for “no net loss”.

 

  1. There are substantial changes in the shorelines buffering requirements but there is no analysis of how often the existing plan buffers proved insufficient and what respects they proved insufficient.

 

            Requested change:

–  Document where and under what circumstances the existing shoreline buffers proved insufficient and what material harm was caused thereby.  Adjust the new buffer proposals to address these specific circumstances.  Leave the buffers unchanged where there is no documented specific reason for increasing them.  If it is not broken, don’t try to fix it.

 

  1. The county provided 14 scientific documents to support the draft buffer requirements. Virtually all of these studies involved streams much smaller than the “shorelines of the state”, thereby creating a false apparent need for larger buffers. For example, small streams are much more sensitive to stream temperature than “shorelines of the state” and therefore need larger buffers. Using small stream science for the much larger “shorelines of the state” therefore overstates the buffers needed.

 

            Requested change:

–  For “shorelines of statewide significance” adjust the buffers using only research from similar waterways. If such studies don’t exist, keep the current buffers unchanged.

 

  1. In its summary of the 14 scientific documents referred to above, the county reports a wide range of buffer requirements for various potential threats.  Even though the minimum buffer widths in these studies centered around 10 to 30 feet, the county elected to use “best professional judgment” to require much larger buffers. This is particularly true for shorelines of statewide significance.

 

            Requested change:

–  Unless specific scientific studies explain why a buffer at the upper end of a range might be required, and those reasons exist on Clallam County shorelines, use the minimum (lower end of the range) buffers from the studies. “Best professional judgment” is not science.  The Administrative Procedure Act requires that Washington State ecological rules adopt the Least Burdensome Alternative that would achieve the goals and objectives aimed for.  Buffers that are wider than the minimum that can be justified scientifically as necessary would violate the Least Burdensome Alternative requirement and be unlawful and invalid under RCW 34.05.328(1)(e).

 

  1. Proposed buffers were designed to address “Effects of climate change, including flooding, storm surges, and sea level rise, etc.” (ESA Memo 12/11/12). This should be stated up front in the SMP.

 

            Requested change:

–  Chapter 1 of the SMP should state clearly that the policies and protection measures were designed to address climate caused changes to flooding, storm surges and sea level rise.

 

  1. The Environmental Protection Agency has recently adopted “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands—a Synthesis of Scientific Evidence.”  Using this, the Washington Department of Ecology has drafted the Washington Wetlands Protection Plan (comment period ended 12/31/2014). These two documents greatly expand wetlands into areas that have little or no surface waters. Without site specific wetland delineation landowners have no way of making informed comments to this draft plan. Nor do they have any way of evaluating the impact of these two new documents.

 

            Requested changes:

–  There needs to be a comprehensive analysis of how these two documents will change the proposed shorelines jurisdictional area.

–  In the interest of providing certainty to property owners as to what rights and restrictions attach to each specific land parcel, there needs to be a definitive map showing, for SMP purposes, the delineations of all wetlands with significance for the SMP.  Property owners should not have to bear the burden of any uncertainty of where the wetlands are or might be deemed to be in the future if definitions change.

 

  1. Section 10.3.1 states: “Permit applicants/proponents have the burden of proving that the proposed development is consistent with the criteria set forth in RCW 90.58 and this Program.” How is this possible when Section 8.3 provides for a county staff person to quantify a suspected “net loss” of ecologic functions and to specify permit conditions that mitigate for that potential loss? Section 8.3 creates a very subjective moving target that puts an applicant in the untenable position of having to accept the opinion of a county staff person that the proposed development, with that staff person’s conditions, is consistent with RCW 90.58.

 

 

            Requested changes:

–  Establish more robust reconsideration process beyond the county staff but less than the county hearings examiner—preferably a local elected official.

–  Establish periodic citizens’ oversight to ensure that mitigation conditions are proportional to the likelihood and magnitude of reduced ecological functions.

 

  1. WAC 173-26-186(5) requires the county or Department of Ecology to conduct a “Process for Evaluation of Proposed Regulatory or Administrative Actions to Avoid Unconstitutional Takings of Private Property”. Where is that evaluation?  How are the subjective concerns and mitigation requirements that surround the “no net loss” concept considered?  The standard in Section 8.3.1 of the SMP of “extraordinary hardship and denial of reasonable use of the property” is much too restrictive, as an unconstitutional taking without compensation can occur through a diminution in value of property far short of a complete “denial of reasonable use”.

 

            Requested change:

–  Prepare the property rights taking analysis required under state law.

 

  1. The buffer requirements for wildlife habitat and other ecological functions and for visual benefits appear to be a tax on individual landowners for a public benefit.  This is particularly unfair because the broad shorelines designations do not represent the very site specific variations in shorelines characteristics. Additionally, there appears to be no way (including financial feasibility) for a landowner to reduce the buffer requirements based on site specific conditions.

 

            Requested change:

–  Compensate landowners for the public benefits that they are being required to produce. Allow for alternate protection measures that take into account local site conditions.

 

  1. Section 10.2.10 reads: “Required fees for all shoreline substantial development permits, shoreline conditional use permits, shoreline variances, statements of exemption, appeals, pre-application conferences and other required approvals shall be paid to the County at the time of application in accordance with the Clallam County Consolidated Fee Schedule in effect at that time.”

 

            For permitted uses, especially single family homes, there is no evaluation of the total costs of obtaining a substantial development permit.  A high total cost of getting a permit can essentially be a prohibition against building and arguably a substantial taking of property rights.

 

            Requested changes:

–  Show the entire cost for some typical shorelines conditions and shorelines uses.

–  Cap the total cost of fees in connection with obtaining a substantial development permit for a permitted use such as building a single family home.

 

  1. Sections 6.3 and 6.5 imply that natural vegetation is preferred in buffers. While there is an exception for hazard tree removal it is not broad enough to remove trees that eventually will cause landslides because they have grown beyond the slope and soil capacity to hold them.

 

            Requested change:

–  Develop a procedure or guide lines to address tree removal when trees show signs of instability.

Venezuelan expatriate shares changes under socialism / communism

Helena Paneyko was the guest speaker at the CCRP dinner meeting held on Sept. 12, 2017 at Joshua’s Restaurant.  The meeting began at 6 p.m., with approximately 30 people present.  Chair Matthew Rainwater opened the meeting.  He introduced the speaker from Venezuela, who has been in the U.S. for 10 years. 

Helena earned a degree in veterinary medicine at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, and is a published author, columnist and interpreter.  Most recently, she taught Spanish in Jefferson County, WA. She was removed from her position as she was telling the students about life in Venezuela, she said.

We have to be aware of the role of the U.S. regarding the situation in Venezuela, she began.  She said, “I’m a survivor.”  She talked about three types of power – financial, religious and political.  Her talk was to focus on the political aspects.

Venezuela is a 3-hour plane ride from the United States.  It sits at the northern portion of South America, with a population of approximately 30 million.  Caracus has a population of approximately 3 million.

According to Helena, Venezuela became a “paradise” to Russia, China and Iran.  Russia used Cuba to get to Venezuela.   Chavez came to power by “promising it all” to the people.  The country was corrupted in part because of the government-controlled oil.  Chavez started taking property.  He told farms what to grow; when they refused, the owners would be executed and the property became the State’s.  Chavez went to Cuba for advice.  Fidel Castro convinced Chavez to get Russian intelligence to protect him.  This was given “free”, in exchange for “free oil”, which in turn, they would sell to the U.S. at half price.   Also, Venezuela would welcome doctors, teachers, and other professionals from Cuba.  Russia was given the right to issue passports and ID’s, by way of Cuba.

Read More

Helena continued her story about her homeland. The president of Iran became a “brother” of Chavez.  There were (are) ghost flights from Iran to Venezuela every week.  They closed the international airport once a week, and brought in trained terrorists. Venezuela sent uranium and other materials to Iran for making bombs, she affirmed.

Hezbollah was also in Venezuela.  Columbians were there, too.  Venezuela has camps – sections where the citizens can’t go.  The U.S. used to have military bases, but don’t have them anymore; now, Russia has military bases there, and they are expanding. 

North Korea is opening an embassy in Venezuela.

There is no free speech, newspapers, radio, etc.  Opposition – those speaking out against Chavez – would be put in jail or “disappear.”

Oil priced dropped.  Venezuela began exporting drugs – and is now first in drug distribution to Europe.  The Vice President is from Syria.

Venezuelan people are dying – there’s no food, no medicines.  Her sister is an eye doctor. There is no money to pay for doctors, Helena stated.  The only exceptions are those who are working with the dictatorship.

Helena said that growing up, Venezuela was a beautiful and happy country.  University was free to everyone.  She studied veterinary medicine, and became a vet. Now, more than 200 million people have fled the country.

We (the US) need to stop them sooner rather than later, she said.

Caracus has some of the highest rate of crime in the world.  People are killed for such things as their cell phones.  People have died for lack of insulin.

There is terrible inflation.  It was once an American dollar to 4.6 bolivars; now, it is 15,000 bolivars to one American dollar, and quickly getting worse.  Hyperinflation has begun.

Chavez has changed the name of the country; changed the national seal, the currency, everything, she said.

They bought two satellites from China so they can spy, in exchange for China having deals with all the mines (gold, etc.)  They are contaminating the rivers; indigenous people are dying; China doesn’t care about them.

Now, Venezuela is not going to use the US dollar as an exchange any longer. US currency is forbidden.  In its place, they are using the currency of the Russian ruble, the Chinese yen and the Indian rupee.

Human rights are nonexistent.  When a country tries to send medicine or other aid, it is returned. 

Russia now owns the company that owns Citgo Gas, which is distributed in the US.  “When you buy Citgo Gas, you are supporting the Russians to continue their stronghold in Venezuela,” she said.

Now the government wants to keep the people from fleeing the country.  They increased the tax rates so that it’s almost impossible to pay to get out by air.  People trying to leave are told their passports are not valid, and they must get a government ID in order to obtain a new passport – both of which are issued by the Cubans and costs a lot of money.

She cited examples of human rights abuses.  Anyone who goes or speaks against the government goes to jail or disappears.

Children can be removed from their homes at age 3, to be raised by the government.  During the final two years of high school, military training is mandatory.

Iranians have Venezuela passport, and are coming to the US through Canada, posing at Venezuelans.

We need stronger economic sanctions.

Interpol has a list of Venezuelan people they would capture if they leave the country, among which is the vice president.

After he became ill with cancer, he died in Cuba.  Despite the fact that he died in December, (and by the way, the doctors who treated him died shortly thereafter), Venezuela didn’t learn of his death until the following March.  He apparently appointed a successor (while he was in a coma) to replace him.  The new president, Nicolas Maduro, is a Columbian – a Cuban puppet, according to Helena.

She said the U.S. needs to find common ground – create a block with help from the United Nations.

Helena said there is a new law to change the Constitution.  No private property will be allowed; all property belongs to the state.  A census is being taken, and homes are being counted for rooms; if a house has a bedroom not being used, the government will place a homeless person in the house to live there.

One section, she said, states that at three years old, children belong to the state.  They will come and take them from the parents to “educate” them, and the parents won’t see their children again.

To get to this point in Venezuelan history, we “never thought that would happen in Venezula”, she said.  When asked, she said she sees parallels to what happened there, to what is happening here in the U.S.

She stated that she is neither Republican nor Democrat, but an independent. “Bernie Sanders scared me because of the support he had – with no clue as to the consequences,” she said. 

Chavez had all the support when he came to power, she said.  If you want to know what it’s like to live under communism, “go live in Venezuela”, then come back here to appreciate what we have in the US.

More about Socialism in Venezuela

How Socialism Ruined My Country

February 2017

Well, here we are, almost a month into the Trump Presidency, and the Democrats are losing their mind!

They are already calling for impeachment, and are crying about the irreparable harm he has done in just 28 days….the world (at least theirs) is coming to an end! Michael Moore is out and out calling for the Supreme Court to get rid of President Trump, Vice President Pence, ALL Republicans in congress, and replace them with Hillary.

We have seen the riots, the carnage, the chaos that the left is capable of. They claim that the ones causing the violence are being paid to create that chaos, but then, somebody on their side is willing to pay those that are willing to engage in the violence, right?

What does this tell us? It tells us that those that are on the left will do whatever they can in order to FORCE us to live by their rules. It shows us that, given the chance, the left will utilize any and all means they can in order to take away our rights to free speech. They will shout us down if they can. If that doesn’t work, they will block roads, buildings, bridges, in order to keep us from being able to assemble and exercise our rights.

The left has the mainstream news. They have Hollywood. They have most of the musicians. They are in the schools, at all levels. They have access to our kids from the cradle to the grave, and often even use the grave as a way to get more votes!

As Republicans, we have a long way to go. Yes, we are in the majority in Congress, and we have the Whitehouse. Chances are, we will have a couple of conservative Supreme Court Justices appointed in the next few years.

However, now is not the time to sit on our laurels.

Here in Washington state, we have a slim lead in our Legislature. We have not had a Republican Governor in over 40 years.

We have A LOT of work to do. We need conservatives to rise up, to run, and to WIN.

However, in order for them to win, they need YOU and ME to be there. They need US to be involved. Whether that be by working with and for their campaigns specifically, or by volunteering for the Republican party, they need US.

So, I ask you: What are you willing to do? Are you willing to knock on doors? Are you willing to make phone calls? Are you willing to write letters to the editor? Are you willing to spend time out of your day to help getting people that share your values elected?

The party needs YOUR help. We need YOUR thoughts, YOUR ideas, YOUR involvement. If you get this newsletter, it means that most likely you care. You reached out to us, and asked us to keep you informed.

Now, we are letting you know that WE need YOU. Please, reach out, and let us know that you will help.

Until next time,

Matthew Rainwater, Chair
Clallam County Republican Party

December 2016

To my Democrat friends… if I have any…

Discussions between Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats can frequently become acrimonious if not out-and-out hostile.  Not only do they disagree, but they tend to disagreeable in doing so.

In my opinion, the problem is pretty basic in nature… Republicans think the Democrat is wrong but the Democrat thinks the Republicans are simply evil and, therefore, do not see the need to apply any supporting logic to their arguments.

As an example, the Republican may note a flaw in, for instance, Obamacare but the Democrat contends that the Republican is just a racist that hates Obama because he is black.

Or, similarly, the Republican might suggest that Hillary Clinton’s usage of a private mail server was inappropriate because of the ensuing vulnerability to hacking, but the Democrat claims the Republican is a misogynist that hates her because she is a woman.

Really guys?  Do you really think that everybody that voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, white power Nazi?  That half of America is composed of bigots?  That the sole rational in voting against Hillary was that she was a woman?

Did you not notice that, in the last eight years under Barak Obama, the Democrats lost 69 house seats, 13 US Senate seats, 12 governorships and 913 legislative seats?   Can you not understand that people disapproved of him because of his ideas and not the color of his skin?

Would you, just for a moment, consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, Trump won 306 electoral votes on the merits of his positions – and, perhaps more tellingly, the lack of merit in Hillary’s positions?  That it was not a “white backlash” against Obama but, merely a repudiation of his stunningly unsuccessful programs and the direction he was pushing the country?  And that the electorate, in its wisdom, correctly assumed that Hillary was simply more of the same?

It was not about their color or their sex, it is what they want and how they think.  It is not a case of good vs. evil but, rather, it is a case of what is right and what is wrong for the country.  And most Conservative Republicans think that most Liberal Democrats are wrong.

And so does much of the rest of the country.

Dick Pilling, Chair