Jefferson Dems Endorse All Candidates

In a high spirited meeting running over three hours, Jefferson County Democrats endorsed all candidates presented on their slate. The entire list can be viewed under the tab at the top of this page, titled 2018 Elections.

The three candidates that drew the most debate were Joe Nole for Sheriff, Maria Cantwell for Senator and Derek Kilmer for House of Representatives.

The debate on Joe Nole’s endorsement came from a group of people in support of Sheriff Stanko who brought up issues that had happened under Nole’s temporary leadership as interim sheriff in the months before Dave Stanko’s election. They also discussed issues of aggressive policing, (not by Joe but by officers under his command at that point) and positions that Joe was claimed to have made. Ultimately, a series of speakers who have worked with Mr. Nole, including outgoing County Commissioner Kathleen Kler, allowed for a clear win for endorsement.

Opposition to Derek Kilmer came from what is known as the “Progressives”, who primarily are supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. They identified a number of issues that Rep. Kilmer has not taken a stand on, or has supported such as Single Payer Healthcare, bills that supported Israel to the exclusion of Palestinians, and his vote supporting the massive recent military budget (HR5515) and tax bills, which far exceeded the demands of President Trump. To be clear, many Democrats ended up supporting the bills as there were numerous items added that they requested. Representative Kilmer also has not achieved anything of substance around the expansion of the Navy airbase and it’s subsequent noise issues for the entire north Sound and Strait. He has done nothing of substance to also protect the west end of the Olympic Peninsula from being used as a Navy training ground with low flying jets over the west side of the Olympic National Park. These issues have engendered huge meeting turnouts and thousands of letters of support for him to take action. However, as of this writing, his efforts have returned nothing of consequence on the issue. Representative Kilmer  has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (92%). His entire voting record can be viewed here:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/derek_kilmer/412583

Similar issues were raised about Senator Maria Cantwell. Senator Cantwell did vote no on the Defense Appropriations Act. Senator Cantwell has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (91%). Her voting record can be found at

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/maria_cantwell/300018

Both these candidates have been strong supporters  of environmental bills.

Supporters of the two argued for Democratic unity in the face of goals to take back the House and Senate, along with positive bills that both had supported. Ultimately, both easily won endorsement.

 

 

 

Republicans kill the Land and Water Conservation Fund

One of the most successful conservation programs in the Federal Government, The Land and Water Conservation Fund, has been allowed to sunset by the Republican controlled Congress. This program, which has been supported for 50 years by both parties, up to now. What is it? What good has it done? Why not let it die?

According to the Land and Water Fund Coalition,

The LWCF state assistance program provides matching grants to help states and local communities protect parks and recreation resources. LWCF funding has benefited nearly every county in America, supporting over 41,000 projects. From building hiking and biking trails, to improving community parks, playgrounds and ballfields, this 50:50 matching program is the primary federal investment tool to ensure that families have easy access to public, open spaces.

Rep. Rob Bishop, a Republican from Utah who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee is the person responsible for this change, even though his state benefits from it.

If we just focus on Washington State, this program has used some of the royalties from off shore oil and gas leasing, (not tax dollars from US citizens) to fund a wide variety of projects, from maintenance of Mount Rainier’s Carbon River bridges, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, The Moses Coulee, North Cascades National Park, Mt St. Helens, the list goes on and on and can be found here http://www.lwcfcoalition.org/washington.html.

Closer to home, here on the Olympic Peninsula, this program has funded, over the last 50 years, the Bogachiel River Boat Launch repair, maintenance at Clallam Bay, Clallam Bay Spit development, Freshwater Bay development, Snow Creek Renovation, Salt Creek County Parks renovation, and the Shane Park Playground in Port Angeles. Remember, Clallam County usually votes Republican, and this is what you are getting folks for your support of that party, which now controls the purse strings at the Federal Level.

In Jefferson County, Fort Worden State Park was funded with over $156, 000, The Hoh River Boat Launch, Kai Tai Park, Fort Worden Breakwater, and the Point Whitney (south in the county on Hood Canal) acquisition all were supported by funding from this program. You can find the entire list of funded projects here: http://www.nps.gov/lwcf/index.htm

What did Congress want to use the funds for? They want to give this money to the oil and gas industry for employee training. You read that right. They want to give the money to private enterprises to offset their employee training, which will make them more profitable by not having to spend that money themselves.

What can you do? There is a letter called the “Dear Colleagues” that is a method that Congress uses to show support for various funding programs.  Representative Derek Kilmer has yet to sign one, while most of our other representatives have. (see the list at the bottom of the page here (http://www.lwcfcoalition.org/washington.html). Call or email Derek and ask him to sign one now.  UPDATE: Representative Kilmer’s Olympic Peninsula Field Representative Judith Morris wrote back this morning to let me know that Representative Kilmer has in fact signed a letter sent by 129 Democratic members of the House ( and a similar letter was penned by many Republicans), to reauthorize the Fund.

In the letter sent last week, the members wrote: “LWCF is our nation’s premier program to help local communities protect the places they love. It has conserved iconic landscapes in every state and is responsible for more than 40,000 state and local outdoor recreation projects such as playgrounds, parks, refuges, and baseball fields.”

It goes on to state that Rep. Kilmer is a cosponsor of a bill that would permanently reauthorize the LWCF.

If you happen to live in a county that has a Republican representing you at the Federal level, give them a piece of your mind. If you belong to an organization that supports outdoor recreation in any form, get them to act nationally. And vote idiots like Rob Bishop out next year. He has wasted an enormous amount of time from Congress for an idea that no one but him and other oil and gas funded Congresspeople wants to see implemented.

This week…VOTE

Have you sent in your ballot? Time to get it done! And help a neighbor remember too!

The primaries are on. For Jefferson County, there is a bit of confusion as the Republicans have vanished and “independents” are now the label that they are taking.  But let’s look at some of the races.

US. House of Representatives.  Derek Kilmer 

Derek has done an admirable job of navigating the House of Representatives, which are currently controlled by a radically anti-environmental group of Republicans who insist on trying to overturn key legislation, or open more locales to mining, fracking and the like.

The League of Conservation Voters has a good overview of his voting record here.

http://www.lcv.org/elections/environmental-facebook/derek-kilmer.html

Derek has teamed up with Republicans to create a bi-partisan Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, to continue to fight for funding to promote Sound cleanup.

Vote backgrounds

http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/51516/derek-kilmer/30/environment#.U8075OZdXhA

While I applaud the idea of the Green Party coming to the field with Doug Milholland, I would not recommend voting out a successful and proven Congressman with an unproven candidate, no matter what his promises might be. If the current position was filled by an anti-environmental legislator, then I would be seriously considering Mr. Milholland’s candidacy. I attempted to get an interview with Mr. Milholland but apparently we were unable to connect in the last two weeks.

 

State of Washington House of Representatives.  Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege

Both these candidates have proven themselves to support environmental law and policy. I have met them over the years, and witnessed them working. I fully support their return to office over any of the possible other candidates.

Jefferson County Commissioner District 3 – Kathleen Kler. 

Ms. Kler is the hand picked replacement for a very supportive environmentally oriented Commissioner, John Austin. While I have only interviewed two of the other candidates, their lack of depth and experience in environmental issues, and their focus on jobs over all other issues, leaves me coming back to the fact that Ms. Kler has worked closely on a number of issues throughout the County as documented on her  web page:

http://kathleenkler2014.com/about-kathleen/

She is endorsed by the Jefferson County Democrats, which also means that she has proven herself adept at working with large diverse groups. With the County Critical Areas Ordinance up for revision during the next term, it’s important to have  a clear environmental supporter on the Commissioners, along with the current two.

Public Utility District #2       Ken Collins

I think it’s time to swap out Mr. McMillan  after the disaster of the switch over to the PUD. Low income people have had their power cut during winter, billing was poorly executed, and support of environmentally friendly power generation is put on the back burner. A lack of sensitivity to the customer permeates the current PUD, and  Mr. Collins brings experience dealing with other power and energy companies, and also a commitment to help serve low income population, which comprises a large percentage of the county.

 

Derek Kilmer on why he is supporting Wild Olympics – PDN

I’m proud that we have a representative that is willing to climb into the trenches and work on these issues. Regardless of the outcome, we need more representatives like Derek, from both sides of the aisle.

I reject the proposition that we must choose between economic growth and environmental protection.

As long as we define success in our region as a zero-sum game between those who want to protect our environment and those who want to create jobs, we’ll be as dysfunctional as Washington, D.C.

Read the whole story at:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140117/NEWS/301179978/point-of-view-in-his-own-words-kilmer-explains-why-hes-backing

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New Partnership Between Industry and NGOs on the Olympic National Forest

Representative Derek Kilmer has convened a new partnership organization that is bought into by both industry and environmental NGOs to try and break the log jam (pun intended) in both timber harvest and forest protection.  It appears to be welcome by all parties. This is Representative Kilmer’s first real foray into moving towards solution. Since election he has primarily focused on listening to the various parties. Anything that gets the various factions talking is work in a positive direction.  Devil is always in the details.  A couple of them might be a lack of Tribal representation and a lack of workers, like unions. We’ll see if he addresses those shortcomings in the next few weeks.

Here’s the press release. More analysis on this at a later date.

—————————————————

FROM THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSMAN DEREK KILMER

Representing Washington’s 6th District  

 

EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:30AM                                                   CONTACT: Stephen Carter

December 2nd, 2013                                                                                       (202) 225-3459

New Partnership Aims to Improve Environmental Quality and Economic Vitality of

Olympic National Forest

 

Representative Derek Kilmer and a group of conservation, timber and local government stakeholders today announced the formation of new partnership called the Olympic Peninsula Collaborative. Members of the partnership approved the following statement to explain its purpose and goals:

The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative will bring together stakeholders from the environmental community, the timber industry, and representatives from federal and local government around shared goals of increasing timber harvest from the Olympic National Forest while benefitting the environmental quality of our forests and watersheds. The Collaborative will work together and with federal officials to address issues that stand in the way of achieving the stated goals. Ultimately, the purpose is to show we can simultaneously create a more environmentally sound forest, provide for increased, sustainable timber harvests on the Olympic National Forest, and provide economic benefits to timber communities on the Peninsula.

Goals include:

·         Increasing the amount of acres treated and total harvest volume produced in forest restoration projects under the Northwest Forest Plan and increasing the number and footprint of aquatic and other non-thinning related restoration projects.

·         Creating a framework of agreement on the type and locations of forest restoration treatments that benefit the ecosystem and provide for increased harvest levels under the Northwest Forest Plan.

·         Improving treatment effectiveness and working to reduce the time and cost required to plan and prepare projects through increased efficiencies for the Forest Service.

·         Creating a framework of agreement around innovative forest practices, treatments and techniques that integrate ecological, social, and economic goals, and exploring whether the Adaptive Management Area (AMA) established under the Northwest Forest Plan provides an opportunity to test these alternative approaches.

·         Collaborating on specific projects, as needed, to create an environment that reduces conflict and seeks to achieve a common vision about the future of the Olympic National Forest.

·         Creating a forum for addressing any problems that stand in the way of accomplishing our stated goals with the active involvement of federal elected and agency officials.

Organizations and representatives supporting the Olympic Peninsula Collaborative include:

American Forest Resource Council

American Whitewater

Cosmo Specialty Fibers

Green Creek Wood Products

Interfor

Merrill & Ring

The Mountaineers

Murphy Company

Olympic Park Associates

Olympic Forest Coalition

Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society

Pew Charitable Trusts

Sierra Pacific Industries

Simpson Lumber Company

Washington Wild

Wild Olympics Campaign

The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative, modeled on similar partnerships elsewhere in Washington state and around the country, is a grassroots, stakeholder driven partnership and the first of its kind to be solely devoted to building greater consensus around public lands on the Olympic Peninsula.  Since early this year, Representative Kilmer has convened discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders on solutions to problems facing the Olympic National Forest including a field hearing in August in Port Angeles dealing with collaborative forest harvest agreements.

“I have always said that we don’t have to choose between economic development and environmental protection. This is the beginning of a long-term partnership that I hope will help prove that’s true,” said Representative Derek Kilmer. “The Olympic Peninsula Collaborative will show we can build consensus and can bring folks together to simultaneously create a more environmentally healthy forest, provide for increased, sustainable timber harvests on the Olympic National Forest, and provide economic benefits to timber communities on the Peninsula.”

“We thank Congressman Kilmer for bringing all parties to the table to focus on areas where we agree rather than disagree.” said Olympic Forest Coalition President Connie Gallant and Olympic Park Associates Vice President Tim McNulty in a joint statement. “This collaborative process will improve habitat conditions in the forests and streams on the Olympic Peninsula for a range of species. Currently, there are thousands of acres of dense and structurally simple forest on the ONF that provide poor habitat. Increasing the amount of carefully designed, habitat restoration thinning treatments in these types of forests will improve diversity and encourage the development of more complex, older forest conditions. Combining thinning with holistic watershed restoration projects will improve water quality and fish & wildlife habitat. OFCO and OPA will be helping to craft and monitor these projects to ensure they follow the best available science and the Northwest Forest Plan.”

“The current approach to managing the Olympic National Forest is not meeting the economic, social, and ecological needs of the forest or communities on the Peninsula.  Common sense solutions to create jobs through increased active, sustainable timber management on the Olympic National Forest is urgently needed to address chronic local unemployment and poverty rates that are among the highest in the state and nearly double those of the Seattle area,” said Matt Comisky, Washington Manager of the American Forest Resource Council.  “The volume of timber currently harvested from the Olympic National Forest is less than 10 percent of historic levels, only 13 percent of the volume of timber that dies each year, and a mere 3 percent of the annual forest growth.  Our industry looks forward to working with Congressman Kilmer and other partners to promote more balanced, innovative approaches to timber management that provide a sustainable future for our industry and the local communities as part of continued discussions about the future of the Olympic National Forest.”

Heck, Kilmer launch new caucus to support Puget Sound priorities

It’s gratifying to see that newly elected Derek Kilmer (who represents the Peninsula in the House), has stepped up and is attempting to take on the mantle of serious oversight on Puget Sound issues. Given the recent findings that sediment in the Central Sound has been getting more polluted rather than less, it’s time to aggressively change the game plan. Having met with Representative Kilmer at length not long ago, it was my impression that he is a ‘wonk’ very able to understand the complexities of issues. We will find out how much ability he has to deliver solutions, especially in a deeply divided and uncompromising House in WA DC.
Press Release from the Puget Sound Partnership
—————————————————————–
Reps. Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer stepped up as Puget Sound protectors yesterday by announcing that they are co-founding the Congressional Puget Sound Recovery Caucus, devoted exclusively to promoting Puget Sound cleanup efforts. For the immediate future, the caucus work will focus on promoting the three recovery priorities, as identified in the Puget Sound Action Agenda: preventing pollution from urban stormwater runoff, protecting and restoring habitat, and restoring and re-opening shellfish beds. Reps. Jim McDermott, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene have signed up as charter members. We appreciate the leadership and support these Members of Congress are providing for addressing the region’s highest priorities to restore and protect the Sound.
Kilmer’s news release: http://1.usa.gov/11iYDuhhttp://
Heck’s news release: http://1.usa.gov/1b18biehttp://

UPDATE ON: Rep.-elect Kilmer won’t support Wild Olympics bill as it is now–PDN

Trying to figure out whether the Demo who ran with heavy environmental support on the Peninsula now abandons one of his base, who worked hard for his election, or if this is just somewhat slanted reporting by the PDN. Kilmer could have said that he supports what he’s seen but needs more consensus building before he can push it over the top in DC. But he didn’t even apparently say that. He comes out in favor of increasing harvest levels in federal forests, with no explanation of why, or what’s currently wrong with the system.

While we agree that jobs are the primary thing to focus on, there has been an enormous amount of legwork done by the supporters of Wild Olympics, there does not appear to be any large scale negative issues with it, (read the scientific literature done researching it’s affects) and only a small contingent of folks against it, from all the polls that have been put out. Vocal opposition to be sure, some with big money, but not a majority of the public. 

UPDATE AS OF 12/14/2012 at 5:26PM

We contacted Connie Gallant, of the Wild Olympics Campaign. Her quote to us was:

"In speaking with Congressman-elect Derek Kilmer earlier today regarding the statements published on the PDN about his opposition to the Wild Olympics, he claims the PDN "mischaracterized" his statements, that he never has said he opposes Wild Olympics, that he simply wants to see some changes made and more consensus reached. After clarifying several points to  him about the proposal and the bill, he requested a meeting with the Wild Olympics coalition team very soon so that he can understand the issue better."

This update quote first appeared on the Olympic Peninsula Environmental News.

Read segments of the interview with him on the PDN today.

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20121214/NEWS/312149989/rep-elect-kilmer-wont-support-wild-olympics-bill-as-it-is-now

subscribe to the PDN. Keep local journalism alive.

To find out more about the Wild Olympics Campaign, see

http://www.wildolympics.org/

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