Chef Renee Erickson pulls king salmon from menu after learning of starving orcas – KUOW

It seems there is something happening, right now. I called for looking into a moratorium on chinook harvest in the Salish Sea and just off the coast, and now (totally separate from my article) Canadian environmentalists and a restaurant in Seattle are also calling for a  halt for the demand for Salish Sea chinook. I’m reaching out to a Seattle fisheries expert who claims it won’t matter. We’ll see if he has time to help me and you understand why.  More to follow.

A Seattle restaurateur has stopped offering chinook salmon at her restaurants. Renee Erickson, chef and owner of a group of restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, said she made the decision after learning about the plight of J50, the young, ailing orca whale.

http://www.kuow.org/post/chef-renee-erickson-pulls-king-salmon-menu-after-learning-starving-orcas

 

Canadian environmental groups call for closure of chinook fisheries to preserve endangered southern resident orcas

Well, I guess my editorial of the other day was just an example of great minds thinking alike (small joke). Here’s our friends north  of the border asking for a closure on chinook.

The growing realization that southern resident orcas are starving to death has led green groups to urge stronger measures to save them. The David Suzuki Foundation and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation have called for an immediate closure of fishing for chinook salmon on B.C.’s coast. Orcas rely on chinook to survive and it’s their preferred prey…. Under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, up to two million chinook are caught each year on both sides of the border. According to the environmental groups, the southern resident orca population requires about 1,400 chinook each day to remain alive. Charlie Smith reports. (Georgia Straight)

Environmental groups call for closure of chinook fisheries to preserve endangered southern resident orcas

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Orca, two stories. A way forward?

Over the last few days, I saw two stories that really drove the message home to me that we are very likely to fail at saving the Southern Resident Killer Whales without new thinking, outside the box. And it’s really not a box, but about outside the silos. It’s not some dire story of good and bad guys. Just a reflection of what is our lack of being able to look at the big picture instead of silos of interests. One silo is the scientists along with the Tribes, the other is the sports fishing community and it’s state of Washington Fish and Wildlife people. My intent is not be critical of either side but to point out a gap that is likely going to doom efforts to support the Orca.

Over the last week, the Seattle Times and many other news outlets, covered the story of J50. J50 is the SRKW that is in poor health. Scientists and members of the Lummi Nation, are trailing around with the whales with live hatchery Chinook (King) salmon, the Orcas most favored food (though it prefers them wild from either the Frasier or Columbia river. This  is likely because, over thousands of years, these two river systems deposited the strongest and largest population of wild Chinook, every year like clockwork until white Europeans  arrived about 200 years ago, give or take 50 years. We all know what happened next. ) They are doing this because it is, to the best of our knowledge, that there is not enough Chinook salmon for the Orcas to survive. So they are bringing the salmon to the Orcas in order to see if they can nurse J50 back to health. A  noble and worthy effort.

So while the scientists and tribal members were doing their best to feed this wild animal,  another story caught my eye. The closing of salmon fishing for the summer by the State of Washington.

The Peninsula Daily News reported “Chinook Season Wraps Up”. The article stated:

SALTWATER CHINOOK FISHING has closed for the season for the bulk of the North Olympic Peninsula — while remaining open to hatchery Chinook retention off of La Push and south of Ayock Point in Hood Canal. The state estimated … chinook guideline estimates show that anglers caught 61.7 percent of the 4,900 kings allotted (3,023).

One thought is that if the Chinook fishing is still allowed out off LaPush, and the Orcas have gone there, it must be after the fish. So I’m left wondering, if we really wanted to save starving orcas, why on earth are we allowing recreational fishers to catch 3023 fish? As to the ocean limits, according to state F&W, the ocean recreational limits were:

 27,500 fish, which is 17,500 fewer fish than 2017’s quota of 45,000.

So this is approximately 30,000 chinook we are catching when the story of the day is that the Orcas can’t find these fish in the Salish Sea. And this is in addition to whatever the seals and sea lions  have been taking, The studies on seals and sea lions show that they eat primarily juvenile salmon, not as much the older ones! However the study concludes that the seals and sea lions are a problem.

See https://www.earthfix.info/news/article/puget-sound-orcas-salmon-sea-lions-seals-food-study/

and

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14984-8

 

I have not seen the numbers of the commercial and tribal catch of chinook, but I’m sure it’s higher than 3023 fish.  The State F&W web site stated this spring:

In meeting conservation objectives for wild salmon, the co-managers are limiting fisheries in areas where southern resident killer whales are known to feed. The adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for chinook and other salmon in areas critical to the declining whales, said WDFW.

This seems to say that they state only wants to restrict fishing in the areas where we know the Orca feed. Well, according to what I’ve read, they travel all over the Sound to feed, which is why we see them off Seattle, Tacoma and many other locations. To restrict fishing to some area that they spend more time in seems to be an arbitrary idea of humans as so as to allow fishing to continue.

The facts on the ground (or sea) remain. Some orcas are starving. Many scientists believe we are on the edge of the end of these whales, because the breeding pairs are just too small a number to survive. Calves are dying at birth or shortly after. The Governor has stated that it is unacceptable to lose them and radical ideas need to be implemented. He has dozens of people working on a plan. In the meantime, thousands of chinook are being caught and eaten by us, who have other sources of protein! 

Do we really want to save the resident orcas? Then instead of chasing them with a boat with a few live fish on it, maybe we should consider not competing with them for their food source. Just for a few years, maybe a decade. we may also have to cull sea lions and seals for a few decades to see if it also helps put more fish in the sea, more to placate the fishing interests that routinely claim that they are one of the main competing mammals out there.  The sea lions and seals seem to have rebounded and if the scientists say that a cull of some size is warranted, then let’s do it. Then scientifically see  if things improve. We have alternatives for salmon from Alaska. We don’t need to stop eating the fish. Consider putting a moratorium on catching them in the inland waters and the coast  for five to ten years.This is not a new idea It’s been done all over the world to recover decimated fish stocks. They are called Marine Reserves . It’s a controversial topic to be sure, but it seems to map to our current needs to save the Orcas by giving them more food. And it’s been an idea that many old time fishermen I’ve personally talked to say is needed.

I say this as someone who has done salmon fishing in the Sound in the past, who ate salmon twice in the last three days (and likely will have leftovers of it tomorrow), and who’s son is an avid sports-fisherman with a small boat.

A moratorium is  the fastest way to give more fish to the whales. All other means, whether radical protection of the shorelines, tearing down dams or whatever, will take decades.   But it will take a lot willingness by various groups to put the long range health of salmon ahead of their own short term financial gain and personal pleasure fishing.  Anyone willing to give it a try? If not, why not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Port of Port Townsend aims to develop joint request to help orcas – PDN

Port Commissioners across the North Sound, led by our three Jefferson County Commissioners, have decided to weigh in to the Governor’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery and Task Force. But their comments make one wonder where is the science that comes into  their personal opinions and assumptions on what’s needed.

I have tracked the decline of the Orcas in this blog for over 10 years. I have never heard scientists arguing on the points that Commissioner and whale watch boat captain Pete Hanke, was quoted on in The PDN. Let’s look at his comment.

“Turn the hatcheries on, go full bore, get a lot of fish in the water,”he aid. “Why not? It’s not going to hurt anything. The idea of keeping this native thing going is short-sighted. There’s a lot of science out there that questions whether the [southern resident orcas] will survive at any rate.” Hanke also said that he believes the Fraser River to be of the most polluted rivers in the region. The salmon coming out of the river are quite high in PCBs and contribute a lot of damage to the [southern resident orcas],” Hanke said. “So saying we want to get more fish out of the Fraser River doesn’t really solve the problem.

For a man who is in charge of helping determine the effective use of tax dollars in a local port, it’s a remarkably odd statement. The Port has itself wrapped around the axle on finding the funds to replace an aging breakwater, Pete has not shown any great ideas to the community about how this is going to get funded, and the Port’s leader, Sam Gibbony just resigned, with no explanation. So what about Pete’s comments?

Hatcheries already are doing their job for decades and haven’t been contributing near enough. We spent about $3M last year with virtually no science to show that it’s been of enormous help. There is also no science saying that by miraculously expanding hatchery output (even if we could do it quickly) that we will save the Orca.

According to the State of Washington Fish and Wildlife web site “During the 2018 legislative session, WDFW and other state agencies were provided about $3 million to support new and ongoing orca recovery efforts, such as reducing the presence of toxic contaminants in Puget Sound, and increasing hatchery production of Chinook salmon and other prey species.”https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/orca/

Reducing toxins in the water takes decades to see significant results. Pete’s comment that the “salmon coming out of the Fraser are quite high in PCBs…” is the first I’ve heard of this issue. Rather than saying that the US should be doing something, he pushes the problem to Canada, where we have little or no influence. However, a 2018 study from the WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife pointed out that , contrary to Pete’s assumption, that 98% of PCBs are accumulated by the fish in salt water, not fresh water, such as the Duwamish or Frasier. “The amount of PCBs in adult salmon that is acquired in the freshwater environment, including hatcheries, varies from approximately 1% in undeveloped rivers to 4% in developed river where out-migrating juvenile fish acquire more PCBs. Hatchery feed is estimated to contribute a maximum of 1% of the PCBs measured in adult Chinook from Puget Sound that originated in hatcheries.” Read the whole report on PCBs in salmon here:

However, the science does not support the notion that the hatcheries  are adding significantly to the food the Orca eat, which scat samples from scientists show to be Chinook from the Frasier and Columbia rivers, which find their way to the Salish Sea. The most effective way to quickly raise the number of fish available for the Orca, would be to stop*all* fishing in the Strait and the Sound, as the Canadians did on June 1 in the Gulf Islands. Perhaps a moratorium on catching any Chinook for ten years would be a good start. I’ve heard this thought supported by any number of old time fishermen. Would the Tribes be on board? Not likely from the tribal members I’ve heard quoted in the news.

No word is mentioned as to whether the Port supports breaching the lower Snake River dams, which many scientists believe will add significant amounts of salmon into the system quickly. Want to know why some scientists are supporting doing this? Read the information at this web site to start. http://www.wildsalmon.org/facts-and-information/why-remove-the-4-lower-snake-river-dams.html

It states:

An extensive modeling effort completed in 2000 analyzed of the causes of mortality for Snake River salmon. The model demonstrated that the four lower Snake River dams were the most significant factor preventing recovery. The cumulative effect of eight dams on the lower Columbia and lower Snake Rivers is too much for salmon survival and if the four dams on the lower Snake were removed (cutting the total number of dams Snake River stocks face in half), these salmon can rebound to healthy levels.

More recent studies also show that populations of other Columbia Basin salmon that migrate through four or less dams and reservoirs, such as those from the Yakima and John Day rivers are performing significantly better than those from the Snake river. Those populations, like the Snake, also encounter mortality as a result of habitat destruction, harvest, hatcheries, predators and ocean conditions, but they are not imperiled. The difference lies in the number of mainstem dams they encounter. A key benefit for Snake River populations is the amount of high quality habitat they have that is not found in the other Columbia basins.

One of the main people doing scientific research into saving the Orca is Ken Balcomb. He recently addressed the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) Recovery and Task Force and posted to Facebook a message that included the following statement:

“…The human population and its appetites are growing too fast in the region to keep up with the clean-up. My analysis of the potential food resources for the SRKW led me to the Snake/Columbia salmon stocks as the only saving possibility within US and State of Washington jurisdiction…The basic biology and ecology of these amazing animals is fascinating, and their habits belie your  (Senator Kevin Ranker’s) hypothesis that a vessel regulatory approach will “save these incredible creatures.”

They will travel to wherever the food is most available, and by their absence they are illustrating that the food is not sufficiently available in San Juan County anymore. Nor in the Salish Sea. We all remember the heyday of fishing and the weeks-on-end of superpods, but those days are over throughout their foraging range.”

His web site states:

The larger environmental question reflected in the J35 story is that both the USA and Canada MUST redouble efforts to restore wild (emphasis mine) salmon (particularly Chinook) throughout Washington State and British Columbia for a food supply for the SRKW in this region.

On June 1st the Canadian government took drastic action.

“…the Government of Canada is imposing fishery management measures to reduce the total harvest for Chinook salmon by 25-35 percent. These measures include closures that will help increase the availability of this critical food source for Southern Resident killer whales.

The closures will take place in three key foraging (feeding) areas: Strait of Juan de Fuca, Gulf Islands and the mouth of the Fraser River.

These measures will be implemented for the 2018 salmon fishing season, with monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the closures.”

Ken believes we have only about five more years of breeding before the population is unable to support itself going forward. A ban for 5 to 10 years on all take of Chinook can immediately start to rectify the problem.

REGULATORY FAILURE

Another area of concern is our ongoing destruction of the shorelines where forage fish, another favorite food of salmon, spawn. Sound Action (I am Board President of Sound Action)  has stated,

In Washington State, our primary law governing nearshore habitat protection is called the Hydraulic Code, and any in-water development work requires a permit called an HPA which is under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Unfortunately, there are significant gaps in the WDFW administration of the law with the department approving every permit, regardless of scale or impact. Similarly, issued permits are commonly missing important environmental regulations developed to protect fish life and habitat.

Multiple parties, including environmental groups, public agency employees and the Northwest Treaty Tribes have all raised concerns related to habitat loss as a result of WDFW administration of the HPA permit program. Even WDFW has documented this issue with internal program evaluation finding only a small portion of HPAs reviewed were appropriately protecting important ecosystem functions.

This means that nearshore habitat is lost every day with each new dock, bulkhead, marina, dredging operation or export facility permit issued without appropriate environmental regulations. Eelgrass beds that were once vast ribbons of green are shaded out until they’re gone. Forage fish spawning grounds are decimated. Important sedimentation processes that nourish beaches and give them life are choked off.

So just properly implementing our existing regulations would also have an impact.

Outside the jurisdiction of these permits is the ongoing conversion of shoreline habitat to commercial geoduck farms. Thousands of acres have been converted to mono-culture permanent farms for Chinese buyers since 2000.  Over 98% of the harvest is sent there. No one in government has seriously talked about when enough is enough. The question to be asked is, “When will say that we have reached carrying capacity for converting our wild shorelines to industrial geoduck farms? How much is enough?”  

I have not even addressed the issue of pollution runoff from our roads. To fix that  known problem (recent scientific studies at the UW have shown 100% death rates on salmon exposed to rain runoff from roads like 520), would take far more money and time than the Orca have left. At least we can start that though sooner than later.

Are we serious about making the enormously unpopular and painful changes we need to save the Orca? While I have no doubt that Commissioner Hanke, who makes his living running a whale watch business is serious about wanting to save the Orca, jumping to poorly considered assumptions is just condemning them to an even faster end.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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