Dems speakers address salmon, taxes, elections and wildfires (STEW).

senator cantwell with Alise Moss Vetica

Jefferson Democratic Precinct Committeewoman Alise Moss-Vetica and Senator Maria Cantwell at the 2018 Fish Feast. Photo by Pamela Roberts

The annual Democratic Fish Feast took place at the county fairgrounds Sunday the 19th. While according to officials it was slightly smaller than during the 2016 election year, it still almost filled the dining hall. Keynote speaker Department of Natural Resources head Hilary Franz joined surprise guest, Senator Maria Cantwell, along with 36th District State Representative Noel Frame who is also the Vice Chair of the State House Finance Committee, who is working on state tax issues. Of course, in this election year, State Representatives Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger from the 24th District also gave short speeches to make way for the keynote speakers, along with a number of local county and city politicians.

Senator Cantwell thanked the crowd, describing her narrow win in her first election, back in 2000, by saying it was only a few thousand votes that carried her and the large turnout in Jefferson County, which traditionally has one of the highest voter turnouts in the state, was, in her mind, a reason she won. She went on to discuss the need to get as much done as possible to win back the House and Senate in the fall. Her key topics were her work on helping fund the tug pilots training program here in Port Townsend at the Maritime Center, along with her work to get parental leave into government agencies such as the Coast Guard. She attacked the Trump Administration plans to open drilling off the coast of Washington, and their plans, now abandoned under intense attack, of tripling national park fees. She also reminded the audience that “climate change is real” and that she was supporting research and initiatives to help industries such as the shellfish industry to weather the changes. She also championed the Democrats and her efforts to strengthen healthcare for lower income people. Her message was that the Republicans attempts to exempt pre-existing conditions would lead to massive increases in insurance costs.

Following Senator Cantwell was Hilary Franz, who reiterated the notion that “climate change is real and here now.” Ms. Franz oversees DNR, which manages over 2 million acres of forest land, 1 million acres of agricultural land, 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, along with the firefighting teams currently engaged in hundreds of fires across the state. She mentioned that 97% of the state is in drought conditions currently, 60 plus days of no rain in much of Western Washington and record temperatures again this year. No part of the state is free from smoke currently. They have been battling over 1100 fires this year, and the end of the fire season is a long way away, possibly into October. The good news is that her teams have used new tactics to lower the amount of acres burned from these fires. The State has spent over $650M in the last four years fighting fires. That is money that could have been used in a variety of more useful ways, or even to have lowered taxes. This is the cost of our inability to effectively stop climate change. Ms. Franz said that in traveling the state she has met people of both parties being impacted by a changing climate, and that they are effected by it almost daily. The question she stated, was “not whether we act but  how we act. We should stop debating whether climate change is real and we need to take the steps to prepare and adapt.”

She went on to discuss the situation with Orcas. She stated that DNR is going to be much more diligent in reviewing lease holders to ensure that fiascos like the net pen failures of last year won’t happen again. Additionally, DNR has fixed all but one of the many culverts that they had blocking returning salmon. She is pushing for more resources to fix culverts on the city, county and state.  She is going to work at a watershed level to restore upland and shoreline areas for salmon habitat beyond what is currently being done.

When this reporter asked her what could be done about the use of glyphosate (Roundup is one), on DNR forest lands, her answer was that while she understands the issue the reporting on it has not understood the legal issues. DNR has legal authority to approve aerial spraying and guiding when and where it will be done, but the authority to determine what is sprayed is the jurisdiction of the federal Department of Agriculture. While she would like to have the authority, all DNR can currently do is manage whether it is appropriate to spray, and how to spray, but not what to spray. DNR apparently cannot stop them from spraying if they follow the rules of spraying. They can only make sure that they have properly planned for it.

She also discussed the Rural Communities Partnership to do a better job of including the needs of rural communities in DNRs planning. This is an effort to reverse the feelings in many rural communities that being ‘environmental’ is bad for the economy and the economy is bad for the environment. Her work is to bring more science to the discussion to help better understand the issues and work closer to the people affected to come up with solutions that are bought into by them.

Another program she discussed is a new effort in Grays Harbor and Ilwaco to better manage derelict vessels. It is looking a public private partnership to remove the vessels and sell off any valuable gear on them, before adding the vessel to the waste stream.

Lastly, she said that her agency was working with the shellfish industry to find alternatives to spraying pesticides on lands where shellfish are harvested, to deal with ghost shrimp problems on the coast. To be clear, from the science that this reporter has read, the problems with ghost shrimp came about after the Columbia was dammed, as the amount of fresh water entering the ocean was reduced in force and size, leading to greater salinity in the area,  which in pre-dam times was able to flush the area, lower the salinity and keep the shrimp in check.

Along with these two women, the crowd heard from 36th district State Representative and  Vice Chair of the House Finance Committee Noel Frame and Democratic Chairwoman Tina Podlowdowski. Rep. Frame is traveling the state to meet with business leaders and other interested individuals to find a way out of our ever increasingly antiquated tax system in the state. She stated that there are over 700 exemptions due to the failure of the system to address the needs of a modern state, and she correctly addressed the fact that small businesses have to pay taxes on their gross, not net. So even if they have a loss they have to pay taxes on money they never profited on.  She is wanting to find a way forward that can fix this without a constitutional amendment.  While our forefathers (and mothers) who crafted our State Constitution were wanting to make a state without an income tax, due to what then appeared to be a inexhaustible amount of natural resources, the current situation, with the vast forests and oceans of salmon reduced to a fraction of their former sizes, it’s time to find a new way forward for our needs that does not put the burden on home owners. There is a building frustration and consensus that this needs to be fixed, and her work is to find a framework that can be agreed upon to do just that.

Ms. Podlowdowski, having taken the helm of the party after the 2016 elections, has gone on to craft a powerhouse for getting new Democratic blood out to run for elections, as well as a long needed campaign strategy to take back every county in the state. Her work has already led to the amazing results in Spokane, where a new Democratic challenger is essentially tied with an established Republican incumbent, along with great results in the 8th and district and others. If the Democrats decisively take over control of more of rural Washington, it will primarily be the work of this woman.

By the way, the acronym STEW is my invention. For your use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JeffCo Democrats to hear about orca protection at annual Fish Feast Aug. 19

It is one of the beauties of small town living that you can actually get to know politicians and them know you. This year, the Jefferson County Democrats will be holding their annual Fish Feast at the County Fairgrounds as usual. Having been at these in the past, they are a great way to meet like minded neighbors, pigeonhole politicians and present a short bit about issues you care about, have some good locally made food, and hear from State politicians on what they are doing with your tax dollars. Additionally, there will be discussions on the upcoming election, along with the efforts of the state Democratic party to win key seats in such districts as the 8th (East Side King County to Wenatchee), Spokane’s 5th, and the Vancouver WA district. All are going to be very close battles given the outcomes of the primaries. 


Hilary Franz, Washington’s commissioner of public lands, is expected to update Jefferson County Democrats about actions by her department to protect southern-resident orca in Puget Sound. Recent pictures and videos of a mother orca carrying her dead calf for days have captured public attention around the world.

 

Franz will be the keynote speaker during the JeffCo Democrats’ 24th annual Fish Feast at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Erickson Building, 4907 Landes St. Doors open at 4 p.m. for refreshments and socializing, followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m., and speeches by Franz and others.

The Department of Natural Resources headed by Franz is part of a task force on orca recovery that Gov. Jay Inslee established in March. The task force is charged with examining the threats and conditions that have depleted the southern-resident killer whales and then recommending a recovery program.

(Also, I am board chairman of the non-profit Sound Action that is also represented on one of the task force subcommittees by our Executive Director, Amy Carey.)

The state DNR manages and protects nearly 6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic, and commercial lands for more than $200 million in annual financial benefit for public schools, state institutions, and county services. Jefferson County is in DNR’s Orca-Straits District for protecting habitat and providing public access in state-owned aquatic lands.

Also scheduled to speak are state Rep. Noel Frame of Seattle, vice chair of the House Finance Committee, discussing her work on behalf of labor, unions, small business and tax reform with a focus on the business and occupation tax. Other speakers will be the two state representatives for the 24th District (including Jefferson County), Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, and the Washington State Democrats chair, Tina Podlodowski.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has committed to the fundraiser with her financial sponsorship of a table for 20 Young Democrats. She had hoped to attend the Fish Feast but can’t because there is no August recess for the U.S. Senate.

Claire Roney, Fish Feast organizer, said the Fish Feast is the JeffCo Democrats’ major fundraiser of the year. The cost per ticket is $50. Ticket contributions support party work for Democratic causes and candidates. One dollar of each ticket is donated to the Jefferson County Fair Board. If you want cannot afford the tickets, but want to volunteer to work on the event in the kitchen or serving, there is a limited set of tickets for volunteers. Contact the number below for more information.

Tickets may be purchased online at https://jeffcodemocrats.com/fish-feast-2018/. For more information, call or text 360-379-5655.

The menu includes sockeye salmon from Key City Fish, BBQ by Dos Okies’ Larry Dennison, shellfish courtesy of Taylor Shellfish, Port Townsend Brewing Co. beers, Pane d’Amore rolls, greens and veggies from local farms, wine from the Wine Cellar, and cake.

 

 

 

 

Dems maintain control in Peninsula primaries

If there was any question about whether the Democrats (and Democratic incumbents at that) would maintain control of offices here on the Olympic Peninsula, that was pretty much laid to rest with the outcome of the primaries.

Senator Maria Cantwell (against a vast array of challengers), U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer,  State Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, all easily shook off the opposition, by very large percentages. In the hotly contested 5th District of Spokane, the race against the incumbent Republican Sally McMorris Rogers against newcomer Lisa Brown is in a virtual dead heat. Democrats from across the state have converged on Spokane to get out the vote, and they obviously succeeded. The November race will be one of the most closely watched in the country, along with likely being one of the most expensive as both parties will pour the money in to hold or win the seat. Obviously, the shenanigans in the White House and Congress did not help Ms. Rogers.

The 8th district is going to be tough. Dino Rossi easily overcame any opposition, and the Dems are going to have to coalesce behind their candidate, who at this moment appears to be Pediatrician Kim Schrier. However that race is too close to call at this moment.

In the usually Republican safe district 3,Jaime Herrera Beutler ran against the two Democratic opponents, Carolyn Long who brought in 36.1% of the votes and David McDevitt won 8.1% of the vote. If the Democrats can iron out their differences and show up to vote as a block in November, they should win.

Clallam County, which went for the President in the last election, decidedly shifted back to blue with the primary.  Republican candidates did very poorly in voter turnout. Democratic incumbents easily crushed Republican numbers.

In Jefferson County’s third district, the south part of the county, Greg Brotherton, a well liked owner of businesses, won over Ryan McCallister for the chance to run against Jon Cooke, the Republican challenger.

The Jefferson County Democratic faction called the “Progressives” did not succeed in their attempt to take over the  Jefferson County Democrats, as a majority of  the “Back on Track” Democratic Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) won the precincts that they needed to win by approximately 21 to 38 (some are still too close to call).  The “Back on Track” faction is primarily those Democrats who have successfully destroyed Republican candidates for a decade, delivered Jefferson County to Obama twice, Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and then successfully delivered the county to Hilary Clinton, which angers some of the Bernie supporters, who felt that because they had won the primary in 2016 and Hillary lost (although she won the popular vote both in WA and nationwide, only losing in a few states that had nothing to do with the local Dems), that they were entitled to take control of the local party. That’s the backstory of why you saw more PCO candidates this year than ever before in the history of the county.

The tactics of the “progressives” appeared to turn off a lot of Democratic voters. Having been at a few Democratic meetings, the take no prisoners attitude and lack of decorum shown at the monthly meetings by some of their supporters seemed better suited to the rough and tumble world of Seattle politics, rather than the laid back nature of Jefferson County.  Hopefully both  factions will  hold hands in a circle and sing  “Kumbaya” at the annual Fish Fry.  Sitting back and not participating because your candidate didn’t win is not an option.  All hands are needed on deck in November to ensure that environmental and human rights protections are retained in WA DC, against the onslaught of the current administration. There is  no time left to stop man made global warming. The goal now is to start to understand how to live with it, along with how to help the climate refugees of Puerto Rico, Redding,  Santa Rosa, and many other locations burning up in this country.  For all we know, we may be next. The Republicans would do well to own up to global warming destroying the lives and homes of their constituents (Redding went heavily for Rs in the last election, including the President). Why not create a war on carbon based global warming? We’ve crushed ISIS. We are in an endless war on terror. The next endless war should be with anything involved in using the internal combustion engine or coal. That will last a lifetime or two.

Other news is that Joe Nole trounced Sheriff Stanko. This was perhaps the surprise of the election.  His common sense approach to tackling the issues of the sheriff’s department and concerns of collusion between the sheriff’s office and ICE was on the minds of voters.

Kennedy beat Haas for prosecutor’s office.  Kennedy very successfully pointed out that he had quit the office and went to work for Clallam County (while still living in Jefferson) and wanted to bring back what he considered better management of the office. Apparently voters agreed.

Kudos need to go out to State Democratic chairperson Tina Podlowski, who tirelessly hammered away at Washington Democrats to donate and get out the vote. Locally, the Democratic party at many levels, both “Progressives”and  the “Back on Track” people all did huge efforts to get out the vote for their candidates, which helped overall turnout. While some lost and some won, democracy was affirmed by the large voter turnout in Jefferson County. It is hard to say you didn’t have someone to vote for that could affirm your point of view, whatever it was. And a reminder that some of the greatest politicians our country has ever seen, from many political perspectives, were losers at least once. Losing in politics only means that your tactics and timing were off. Maybe next time they will align. No hard feelings. This is politics. Someone always loses. Figure out why. Then fix it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can Olympia oysters make a comeback in Quilcene Bay? – PT Leader

Good work being done by the Jefferson Marine Resources Committee, now expanding their efforts to restore the Olympia Oyster from Dungeness Bay to Quilcene.

Many hands sought to make relatively light work out of an ambitious undertaking May 16 in Quilcene, as roughly a dozen volunteers assembled at the end of Linger Longer Road to take stock of the area’s remaining Olympia oyster population. Before over-harvesting and pulp mill pollution forced Pacific Northwest oyster farmers to turn to the Pacific oysters of Japan as a substitute, Olympia oysters were the dominant native species, and various environmental and oyster farming-affiliated groups are keen to see the molluscs make a comeback. Brian Allen, a marine ecologist with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund (PSRF), instructed the volunteers who arrived at the Quilcene Boat Ramp to record not only where they found any Olympia oysters as the tide went out, but also where the oysters tend to aggregate. Kirk Boxleitner reports. (Port Townsend Leader)

Can Olympia oysters make a comeback in Quilcene Bay?

Job listing: P/T Program Assistant – Jefferson MRC

 

2018 Program Assistant Job Posting – Temporary, Part-time 

APPOINTMENT:   July 1 – Nov. 30, 2018.  Total of 325 hours over 5 months. 

ORGANIZATION/LOCATION:   Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), based at the WSU Extension Office, 121 Oak Bay Rd, Port Hadlock, WA  98339  

SALARY:   $20.00/hour, no benefits. Workdays and times will vary.  

JOB DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:  This person will assist the MRC in bringing stormwater-related educational programs and activities to 3-5 communities or neighborhoods in Jefferson County.   

TASKS:  The Program Assistant will:  

  • Write and submit short articles on stormwater management and rain gardens for community/neighborhood newsletters 
  • Work with each community association’s board or designated committee to plan and implement at least one action-based program 
  • Establish a mechanism for disseminating and managing short-term community incentive programs that would encourage participation and collaboration 
  • Submit press releases to the Peninsula Daily News, Port Townsend Leader newspapers, and other local news outlets 
  • Utilize social media to disseminate announcements, invitations to participate, and project news 
  • Work with volunteers to assemble public outreach table displays and provide staffing for selected community events 
  • Share written materials with 2 other MRCs 

 

SUPERVISED BY:  Bob Simmons (WSU Extension) and Cheryl Lowe (MRC Coordinator) 

 

QUALIFICATIONS:  

The successful applicant will be self-directed and motivated; able to work independently; and have strong organizational skills. S/he must have a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively (verbally and in writing) with diverse audiences; be familiar with online technology including website updates and social media tools: and have experience working with volunteers. Some knowledge of stormwater issues and/or experience with environmental education is preferred.  

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of post-secondary coursework.  
  • Successful completion of a background check.  
  • Possess a valid WA driver’s license and have reliable transportation with current automobile liability insurance. 

APPLICATION & DEADLINE:  

Submit a letter of intent and resume to the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee at Cheryl.lowe@wsu.edu . 

 

Deadline for submitting application is June 7, 2018. 

 

In your letter of intent, please answer the following questions:  

  • Why do you want to be an MRC Program Assistant?  
  • How do you see yourself contributing to the stormwater management effort through this position?  
  • What skills do you have that will be particularly useful for this position?  
  • How does this position fit into your future plans?  
  • How do you think you will benefit from this position?  

A selection committee will review the submitted materials and contact qualified applicants to schedule interviews, tentatively scheduled for June 14-15. Hiring decisions will be made within the following 2 weeks.   

 

Nurse to run against Chapman – PDN

So a self described supporter of Donald Trump (“he has grown on me”), pro NRA, against helping house low income people in our community, against supporting more money for education, against environmental protections, and against lowering property taxes (which was done by the Democrats after the Republicans, when in power, raised them radically which was one good reason that the low income  housing initiative failed), is going to challenge Mike Chapman. Should be an interesting race.

I don’t think that the Democrats should underestimate this woman’s ability to run against Rep. Chapman. Clallam county is a mixed bag when it comes to voting and could very likely go for Ms. Wilke. Her politics won’t play in Port Townsend, but might in the central and south county.

Port Townsend Republican Jodi Wilke said Monday she opposes the one-term Democratic incumbent’s yes vote on using the rainy-day surplus to pay for education and for property tax relief.

Wilke, 58, also is against additional gun regulations on assault-style rifles and bump stocks, a rifle-firepower accessory, and says the state Department of Natural Resources has overstepped its authority on rules setting aside marbled murrelet habitat, claiming the state Legislature should have more say in setting policy.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/politics/nurse-to-challenge-chapman-for-district-state-rep-seat/

A Fight Over Salmon-Killing Roads Is Now A Supreme Court Case About Native Rights – KUOW

Well, it’s coming down to a Supreme Court showdown over how fast we have to replace the culverts, which have been proven to be keeping returning salmon from getting to spawning streams. This is part of 100 years or more of destruction of salmon habitat and the Tribes are pretty hard core about us getting this done sooner than later, given returning salmon numbers.

Seventeen years ago, 21 tribes sued the state of Washington to fix those culverts. On April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to take on the case. The question is whether or not state taxpayers should have to dish out billions to dig up roads so salmon can get through. And the court’s decision will have repercussions for tribes all over the West and Midwest. Eilis O’Neill reports. (KUOW)

http://kuow.org/post/fight-over-salmon-killing-roads-now-supreme-court-case-about-native-rights

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