Ancient warrior spirit endorses Democrats

An ancient warrior spirit named Ramtha has formally endorsed the Democratic Party this election cycle.  This is one endorsement that might be tough to beat.  Who else could travel 35,000 years through space and time to defy the laws of physics and common sense to make such an important declaration?

Near the City of Yelm, Washington State, local spirit channeller JZ Knight brought Ramtha to life once again in front of hundreds of her/it’s followers.  Ramtha has long been a financial supporter of the Thurston County Democratic Party.  According to Public Disclosure Commission Records, Ramtha (who can travel through space and time, but is unable to bring his considerable wealth with him (it?), so he/it needs to use JZ Knight to convert ancient gold into modern checks) has donated $50,000 to the Thurston County Democrat Party this year (see this PDC report).  

JZ Knight channels Ramtha, who has travelled through 35,000 of space and time to endorse (and give money) Democrats today
JZ Knight channels Ramtha, who has travelled through 35,000 of space and time to endorse (and give money) Democrats today

At this time, she/it (pronouns are difficult in this story) is the largest donor to the Thurston County Democrat Party accounting for over 30% of total funding this year alone.   She/it also donated $85,000 to the Thurston County Democratic Party in 2014 (see this PDC report, this one, and this one), which was 50% of all funds raised by the Thurston County Democratic Party that year.   She/it also donated $2000 directly to Democrat Thurston County Commissioner candidate Kelsey Hulse (see this PDC report) This is in addition to the many donations (see these PDC reports here , and here and here) she/it made to the Democratic Party and enlightened candidates over the past few years.

The Thurston County Democratic Party has relied on this supernatural support in recent years as more traditional support has dried up and fewer individual donors appear willing to financially support the party with their money.   From a recent article by KUOW:

“We’re considering handling it like any other contribution,” said Katie Nelson, chair of the Thurston County Democrats.

Obama and JZ Knight/Ramtha are close, so this endorsement should not be too surprising (JZ Knight/Ramtha on the right)
Obama and JZ Knight/Ramtha are close, so this endorsement should not be too surprising (JZ Knight/Ramtha on the right)

The Washington State Democratic Party has been less inclined to accept support from a 35,000 year old Lemurian warrior, in part because of racist diatribes Ramtha has revealed across the vast chasms of time, and in part because they don’t need the money that badly.  Ramtha/JZ Knight did serve on Obama’s reelection committee in 2012 after writing some large checks to his reelection campaign.  From the same KUOW interview:

Nina Martinez, Latino Civic Alliance chair, said she was disappointed to see Thurston County Democrats accept money from a source of anti-Latino rhetoric, when the state party had rejected money from the same source four years ago.

“I would like to see them donate the money back to a civil rights organization that will help all communities eliminate this hate rhetoric we’re seeing in our country today,” Martinez said.

ramtha-says
When Ramtha endorses, she/it is conveniently able to help his school (RSE =Ramtha School of Enlightenment) send donations and website links to enlightened followers

Meanwhile, the Thurston County Democratic Party is celebrating early as they plan to coronate their two county commissioner candidates next year.  After all, a 35,000 year old warrior spirit certainly knows a thing or two about local politics and politicians.  With Ramtha on their side, who can be against them?  

Despite the spirit warrior consensus behind the Democratic Party, all was not unified at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment.  Once Ramtha made her/it’s endorsement, several local residents walked out.  It is well known that the Thurston County Democrats have endorsed abusive land use regulatory policies which have harmed these people just like everyone else in Thurston County.

Commissioner candidates Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse are hoping Thurston County can pass more taxes on rural residents
Democrat Commissioner candidates Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse are now Ramtha approved.

Nevertheless, a timeless endorsement like this should have cosmic consequences for politics, even if only at the local level.  If you want to congratulate the Thurston County Democratic Party for their ability to reach across space and time for this endorsement and cash, you can email them here.  You can also call them at (360) 956-0235.  

Important – If you wish to connect telepathically, please notify them via email in advance so they can connect you to an appropriate party leader.

Telepathic communications are available with Ramtha's help
Telepathic contact with the Democratic Party may be available with a little help from Ramtha

If you want to congratulate the two prominent local Democrat politicians who have been blessed with this cosmic spiritual timeless enlightenment, you can send them your thoughts here:

Jim Cooper for Thurston County Commissioner (pos1) (for some reason he left out Ramtha’s endorsement on his campaign website, but you can make sure he knows):  Connect with Jim

Kelsey Hulse for Thurston County Commissioner (Pos2) (she also neglected to include Ramtha’s endorsement on her website): Connect with Kelsey here.

(Full Disclosure:  Ramtha and JZ Knight sued the author in 2014 in Federal Court for providing videos of various racist tirades she/it made in previous years to her/it’s followers as part of a public record to the Thurston County Commissioners (whose political campaigns she/it funded).  Ramtha/JZ Knight claimed that the videos were selectively “edited.”  She/it refused to release a full unedited video to prove the clips were edited out of context.  Finally, she/it wisely chose to drop the hopeless lawsuit in 2015 since it appeared that all claims were bogus).   __________________________________________________________________________

Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

For related stories on Thurston County and Ramtha:

KUOW – Democrats take $50k from warrior spirit “Ramtha” despite anti-Mexican slurs

Washington Democrats reverse course, shed JZ Knight contributions (2012) 

Cult leader joins public sector unions in political alliance

Freedom Foundation sued for exposing JZ Knight, Politicians

Glen Morgan on being sued by JZ Knight (or maybe its Ramtha) KIRO Radio

Possessed racist attacks freedom group for exposing racism

Question:  Just how insane, racist, and corrupt do you have to be before Obama returns your campaign donations

JZ Knight videos now a public record in Thurston County

Romanian couple join mystical cult to hide $73 million tax fraud

JZ Knight Tirade videos submitted to politicians she supports

JZ Knight’s anti-Catholic rant prompts call for Democrats to Return $60k in donations

Democrats criticized over Ramtha donations – Seattle Times

Thurston County Dems accept JZ Knight Money again

The truth about Jim Cooper

Lawsuit File:  JZ Knight vs Glen Morgan

Public Disclosure Reports:

Public Disclosure Report including $2000 donation to Thurston County Commissioner Candidate Kelsey Hulse July 26, 2016

PDC report $50k to Thurston Democratic Party – July 7, 2016

PDC report $50k to Thurston Democratic Party – Feb 25, 2014

PDC report $15k to Thurston Democratic Party – Mar 4, 2014

PDC report $20k to Thurston Democratic Party – Sept 17, 2014

PDC report $10k to Thurston Democratic Party -May 15, 2015

PDC report $1900 to Thurston Auditor Mary Hall – Sept 10, 2014

PDC report – $1900 to Thurston Auditor Mary Hall – Aug 5, 2014 (plus another few thousand from hard-core followers)

Thurston County staff create fraudulent data to justify tax increase

Thurston County staff have been caught, once again, knowingly falsifying data to justify another big tax increase.  Conveniently, for the bureaucrats involved, this proposed tax increase would add millions of dollars to their budget annually.  Now that the data is admittedly bogus, it appears that senior staff is continuing to push for the tax regardless of the truth.  Commissioner Sandra Romero and Cathy Wolfe appear willing to go along with the fraud – but not until after the election in Novemberthe-con-is-on-now
Government policy making theoretically requires accurate data to justify the actions and optimal public policy decisions elected officials and senior bureaucrats make.  Large sums of money are spent to collect data, conduct surveys, track policy efficacy, and produce reports in order to have the most accurate information possible.  Unfortunately, the trend in Thurston County has been to determine the desired outcome first – then produce reports that justify this desired outcome.

The most recent example of this problem is the popularly titled “Crap Tax”, which has been proposed by the Thurston County Commissioners and pushed by the Thurston County Health Department for many years now.  Thurston County staff call this tax a “Septic Fee,” and it is designed as the first step in a long term plan to turn septic systems into de-facto utility districts so that annual tax dollars can be collected from the residents who use them.  We discuss the history on this tax scheme more here.  

Many Thurston County residents and people familiar with septic systems have questioned the scary data invented and pushed by Thurston County staff to justify this tax.  The staff along with Commissioners Romero and Wolfe have frequently claimed that septic systems were threatening the watersheds and water quality throughout Thurston County.  Scary statistics about the massive numbers of “failing” septic systems have frequently been cited with claims that millions of gallons of untreated waste are leaking into our drinking water.  

It now appears that most, if not all of this scary data has been knowingly falsified or faked by staff under great pressure from senior management at Thurston County.

A watershed is generally defined as the area from the top of a hill or mountain to where the water flows into a stream or sea.
A watershed is generally defined as the area from the top of a hill or mountain to where the water flows into a stream or sea.

Since 1997, most planning efforts as related to water quality involving wells, stormwater, or septic systems is based on watershed planning districts (RCW 90.82).  Both the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency support this approach.  A watershed is defined as “an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas.”  The attached map shows Thurston County, which has nine major watersheds.  Typically, as part of the watershed planning process, Thurston County appoints citizens who live in each watershed and interested organizations participate in the “planning” process while staff do the research, present the data, and attempt to control the final outcome.

Map of all nine Thurston County Watersheds. Deschutes Watershed is Pink colored band stretching from Center to Right
Map of all nine Thurston County Watersheds. Deschutes Watershed is Pink colored band stretching from Center to Right

In the Deschutes Watershed – indicated in the above map, serious questions were raised by some of the members of the Deschutes Watershed Workgroup about the primary claim, made by Thurston County staff, that 14% of the septic systems were “failing” or in some type of failure on an annual basis (see p.25 of this document created by staff).  This is scary stuff.  After all, if the septic systems are failing, that can’t be good for anyone.  The problem with this claim by Thurston County staff is that the math just didn’t make sense.  After all, if 14% of the septic systems were failing, it would only take seven years and every system would have failed in the watershed at least once.  This defied all industry data on septic systems and it defied the common sense of the citizens who live there.

King County Turd Tax - Fall City Hearing June 28, 2016
King County Turd Tax – Fall City Hearing June 28, 2016 – 1500 residents showed up at hearings like this opposing a similar tax effort in King County – now King County is trying to copy Thurston County’s Crap Tax scheme…

However, Thurston County staff religiously used these numbers and the fear they generated to push the clear goal of a tax increase (plus lots of other regulatory goodies).  Jon Petit, a recent candidate for Thurston County Commissioner (he did not make it through the primary), had been pushing for hard empirical data to support this irrational number.  Finally, last week, he was given the true data.  It turns out, based on actual permits filed over a 6 year history, that less than 1% of total septic systems had failed (on an annual basis this would actually be ⅕ of a percent).  This was more than an order of magnitude difference between the fake data used by Thurston County staff to gin up support for the tax, and the truth

Thurston County tried to sell Crap Tax to residents in the City of Rainier. Not many were buying the sale
Thurston County tried to sell Crap Tax to residents in the City of Rainier late last year – local residents did not believe staff’s claims or support the proposed tax scheme

Where did the phony data come from?

Thurston County once did a study on the Henderson Watershed on a limited subset of septic systems and supposedly 14% of them were “failing.”  Despite the fact this study result was an extreme outlier, and should be challenged by people who understand math and science, this magic 14% number has become the default assumption for every watershed in the county.  This is particularly troubling because Thurston County spent a $247,000 grant from the Department of Commerce to “study” the Deschutes Watershed, and they didn’t even bother to get original data or look at their own repair or permit records for failed septic systems.  In fact, that information was never presented to the public in this multi-year process.  They did spend the money on something, but finding the truth was a much lower priority than pushing the agenda.

pile_of_cash
For Thurston County staff – there is never enough money in taxes to support their schemes.

How many other times has Thurston County falsified data?

There is a bigger question this small example highlights.   How often is data falsified, twisted, or modified by staff to fit a pre-determined agenda?  Nobody can really answer this question.  Every time we look closely at these reports or “studies” we find problems that are hidden from the public.  This appears to be a growing trend.

The problem of creating false data to justify aggressive and unnecessary regulation is compounded when that same regulation or “solution” comes with a big price tag in tax dollars that will go to support an expanding budget for the very bureaucrats creating the data in the first place.  They are incentivized to lie and invent phony data to expand their budget, increase their pay, and justify their existence.

Art Starry, Director of Environmental Health for Thurston County has been aggressively lobbying for the Crap Tax to give his department more money
Art Starry, Director of Environmental Health for Thurston County has been aggressively lobbying for the Crap Tax to give his department more money. Creating fake data appears to be okay in this lobbying effort.

Right now, senior management led by Art Starry, Thurston County Environmental Health Director is actively lobbying the Thurston County Commission to pass the proposed “Crap Tax” ordinance.  Commissioner Romero and Wolfe have delayed the vote until after the election so that it doesn’t impact their chosen candidates – Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse (both of whom appear to support the tax).  Commissioner Bud Blake has raised questions along the way and outside observers expect him to oppose the tax.  Candidates John Hutchings and Gary Edwards appear to oppose the tax.  There clearly are two camps on this tax policy.

However, regardless of whether you support or oppose the Crap Tax, we all should find common ground on the question of information created by staff.  This information should be accurate, honest, and based on reality.  Even in Thurston County, this shouldn’t be too much for us to expect.  

fraud
It would help if Thurston County staff were educated about fraud (not how to commit it, but why it is bad), particularly when it is used to push policy.

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Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

For more background on Thurston County – read these articles:

Thurston County discovers new cash cow in the “Crap Tax”

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Total citizen opposition to questionable rural car at public hearing

Thurston County wants to force another illegal tax on rural residents

Thurston County backpedals from fireworks ban, fumbles through hearing

Thurston County celebrates Independence Day with Fireworks Ban

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

What Happened to the County Charter Movement?

Thurston County Invents $42,000 pocket gopher tax for new homeowners

Thurston County Manager Cliff Moore quits, will now plague the City of Yakima

Thurston County spends $8 million and 18 years to make a $4 million empty building worth $2 million

Thurston County spends $5k for a $3k computer, then loses 12 of them

Thurston County finds missing $60k computer inventory, uses 3 card monte excuse

Thurston County punishes rural serfs again

Sandra Romero – the $200 million Commissioner

Recent elections in Thurston County shock the establishment

Thurston County Commissioners Deny the Reality of Math

Hunters fighting to stop Thurston County’s gun ordinance

A Plague of Consequences in Thurston County

Thurston County to Citizens:  Living here is a real gamble

Childish Political Leadership in Thurston County is costing Taxpayers Millions

Thurston County Demonstrates How Not to Build a Jail

Tales of Tyranny – Bert Wasch Story – Thurston County denies his right to build a home for 5 years

Tales of Tyranny – Misti Chastain – Thurston County attempts to destroy her farm business

The Cross family story – Harassed by Dept of Ecology until farm animals dead

Government bureaucracy often feels the need to invent excuses to harass and destroy the lives of property owners.  This is often done so they can justify their own budget and existence.  The Washington State Department of Ecology provides particularly egregious examples of this.

In Whatcom County, the Cross family, and many of their neighbors are suffering from legal and financial threats and harassment from the Department of Ecology.  This agency is only satisfied when the farm animals are dead or gone.

Science has nothing to do with this harassment.  The “potential” to pollute is excuse enough.  No evidence is needed, and no evidence is allowed by this agency which would convince them to abandon their harassment.  As the testimony from State Representative Vincent Buys verifies in this video – the State Department of Ecology is content to lie if they must to promote their extreme agenda

Politician steals opponent’s campaign signs while on the taxpayer dime

Grays Harbor County Commissioner Frank Gordon had a busy day Tuesday.  In between county meetings of the budget and finance committees, he had to make a quick stop and take down his political opponent’s campaign signs.  Unfortunately for Democrat Commissioner Gordon, his actions were caught on camera, and his stealthy campaign strategy was exposed.  Much drama ensued.

In between committee meetings, incumbent Grays Harbor County Commissioner apparently likes to take a break to steal opponent's campaign signs at 1:30 in the afternoon
In between committee meetings, incumbent Grays Harbor County Commissioner apparently likes to take a break to steal opponent’s campaign signs at 1:30 in the afternoon

In Grays Harbor County, located on the west coast of Washington State, local politics can get tumultuous at times and even a little confrontational, however, there is nothing like getting caught red-handed (or sign-handed?) to generate attention for local politics.  It is unlikely that long-time incumbent Frank Gordon wanted the attention to be on this aspect of his campaign strategy.

Incumbent Grays Harbor County Commissioner in between meetings apparently likes to spend his time stealing opponent's campaign signs
Incumbent Grays Harbor County Commissioner Frank Gordon claimed he was “helping” his opponent by taking his opponent’s signs.

We briefly referenced the local Grays Harbor County Commissioner races a few weeks ago when discussing the changing trends throughout Washington State as political party control from former Democrat party strongholds appears to be shifting towards more conservative or independent choices.  These choices are sometimes affiliated with Republicans, but increasingly these new political candidates are unaffiliated independents.  In Grays Harbor County, based on the primary results, it appears likely the three member county commission will be led by one Republican and two independents.  Long time incumbent Democrat Frank Gordon’s recent sign theft scandal probably seals his political fate (not that his 38.5% showing in the recent primary was too impressive).

Spelling was a lower priority for this person than pleading with their county commissioner to stop stealing their political signs
Spelling was a lower priority for this Grays Harbor resident than pleading with their county commissioner to stop stealing their political signs (Source:  Facebook)

Sign wars are nothing new in politics.  These fights are as old as political campaigning itself.  Political candidates always claim victim status because their signs are destroyed or stolen.  However, it is worth it to have your signs taken if you can catch the perpetrators in the act.  Usually, the sign thiefs are lower level political minions or night-time anonymous hoodlums.  It is rare to catch an actual politician in the act.  It is particularly unusual to catch a politician in his suit, in between county meetings in broad daylight.  This is why this story has received so much attention.

Kiro7 news interviewing candidate Randy Ross about his signs being taken by incumbent Commissioner Frank Gordon
Kiro 7 news interviewing candidate Randy Ross about his signs being taken by incumbent Commissioner Frank Gordon yesterday (source:  Facebook)

Multiple radio interviews about “Sign Theft Gate” have occurred.  Local radio station KBKW Coffee talk  discussed the story yesterday.  Additionally, local television jumped on this juicy story and Kiro7 covered it here and King-5 news covered it here last night

Commissioner Frank Gordon has various stories to explain his theft of his opponent's campaign signs
Commissioner Frank Gordon has various stories to explain his theft of his opponent’s campaign signs

(Gordon’s portion of these interviews was particularly cringe worthy).  Local articles have been written detailing some of the background linked here and here.  

Unfortunately for Commissioner Gordon, his varying stories justifying his behavior only dug the hole deeper, and he did himself few favors trying to talk his way out of this one.  Favorite excuses were offered like the following:

  • Commissioner Gordon claims he was “helping” his opponent by “returning” his opponents signs he “found.”
  • Commissioner Gordon claims there was no photo of him actually “removing” the sign, so he argues he was “set-up.”  A mystery person put his opponents’ campaign signs in the back of Gordon’s truck. (my personal favorite)
  • Gordon also claimed that the property owner had not given his opponent “permission” to put up his signs.  The property owner, the local Lutheran Church, contradicted Commissioner Gordon and indicated they allowed all politicians to place signs on their property.

The “Sign Theft Gate” scandal occurred within the city limits of the City of Aberdeen, and since it is a crime (RCW 29A.84.040) to destroy legally placed political campaign signs – the local police

Randy Ross, the candidate running against Frank Gordon is holding the one campaign sign Commissioner Gordon can't take
Randy Ross, the candidate running against Frank Gordon is holding the one campaign sign Commissioner Gordon can’t take (source: Facebook)

department have opened an investigation.  There is no word yet if Commissioner Gordon has retained legal counsel or has changed his story yet again.

However, this sad and silly story does have a few lessons for everyone.  They are not hard to remember:

  1. Don’t take down or mess with political signs of your opponents
  2. If your signs are disappearing or being vandalized, install a camera to catch the bad actors.  Photos and video are worth it.
  3. If you get caught committing some mischief, it might be wisest to fess up rather than dig a deeper hole for yourself.
  4. For the taxpayer’s sake, if you just can’t restrain yourself from stealing signs, and you are an incumbent politician – please do it on your own time, not on the taxpayer dime.

Frank Gordon is the most prominent elected Democrat in Grays Harbor.  Although his time in political office appears to be short, the local Grays Harbor Democratic Party organization appears to be rallying behind their leader Gordon and have not denounced his actions.  This might be one reason why, starting next year, for the first time since the Roosevelt administration there will no longer be a Democrat on the Grays Harbor County Commission.

Grays Harbor County Commissioner Frank Gordon is the highest ranking Democrat in the county, and his leadership remains unquestioned by party officials.
Grays Harbor County Commissioner Frank Gordon is the highest ranking Democrat in the county, and his leadership remains unquestioned by party officials.  This might be one reason Grays Harbor is becoming less “Blue” (source:  Facebook)

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Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

Related Articles on this story:

Local county election results preview state wide political trends

The Vidette – Commissioner Gordon Accused of Stealing Campaign Signs

Commissioner Gordon Accused of Stealing Campaign Signs

King5 news interview with both Commissioner Candidates about Sign-Theft Gate

Kiro7 – Grays Harbor Commissioner Accused of Tossing Opponents Signs

East meets West in Defense of Property Rights – event in Ellensburg this month

The Citizen’s Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) is hosting a networking, education, and training event in Ellensburg, Washington.  The event is titled “East meets West in Defense of Property Rights.”  This event is held on Saturday, September 24 at the Central Washington University Ballroom from 9am to 5pm.  Elected officials and activists from all around Washington State will share their experiences, tactics, and strategies for restoring property rights, transparency, and government accountability in Washington State from the local government level all the way to the State Capitol in Olympia.  There are a  variety of training sessions, seminars, videos, and panels being presented.  Download the Flyer here, and register online here.capr-conference

This is an important and unique  opportunity for local activists, candidates, and concerned citizens.  Those who attend have opportunities to compare notes with like minded people from around the state (and outside the state) who are often facing similar challenges protecting property rights and restoring freedom in their communities.  All participants will be empowered to develop and  apply news skills to succeed in their local political and policy battles.  Learn from other’s mistakes, imitate their successes, and return home energized for the continuing fight where you live as well.

san-juan-county
It is worth noting what other people around the state are experiencing with their property rights

A variety of breakout training sessions will be presented including how to effectively use the public records act to improve government transparency, how to overcome the obstacles that bureaucracy creates when friendly elected officials take over, and other practical training from local experts.  I will also be presenting the latest Tales of Tyranny videos from around the state and we will explore how to produce similar stories in your community.  

Pre-register online for $30.   It will be more at the door.  The day is sure to be one that attendees won’t soon forget.  Freedom requires eternal vigilance, effective activism, and a strong networks of allies to  make progress towards the goal of individual freedom and the restoration of our property rights.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Go here to register

property-rights-are-human-rights

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Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

When Democrats go full Tea Party for votes

Pandering and politics go together like Seattle and rain.  However, sometimes even the most cynical politico can only gaze in wonder and awe as the pandering touches a level of absurdity that few could predict this political season.  In Thurston County, home of Washington State’s capital City of Olympia, Democrat Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper is campaigning for a seat on the Thurston County Commission.  It appears that his effort to appeal to rural (and one assumes, more culturally conservative) voters, this well known Democrat politician has chosen to cover himself with “Tea Party” symbols like the Gadsden flag when he goes to small town parades.    

Jim Cooper at a parade in the City of Rainier showing his Tea Party credentials to the rural folk
Jim Cooper at a recent parade in the City of Rainier flying his Tea Party credentials to the rural folk

Political pandering is never a pretty sight, and the process is not confined to politicians from any one political party.  When Hillary Clinton changes her accent depending on her audience – it is an action of deserved ridicule.  Jim Cooper is well known in the City of Olympia, and he grew up around politics. Most political observers expect at least some nuance from experienced politicians like him.  The rural voters of Thurston County are only starting to understand the “Progressive” plans he has for them if he gets into office.  No honest person could believe that Mr. Cooper would last for 30 seconds flying the Gadsden flag at an Olympia City Council meeting, or at the Democrat Party headquarters for that matter.  A rainbow flag?  Of course.  A United Nations flag?  Hang it high and proud.  But, a Gadsden flag?  Flying this symbolic flag in Olympia is like waving a cross in front of Dracula, or unfurling an Israeli flag in ISIS territory.  Why would he do this out in the rural parts of the county?

Jim Cooper grew up around politics. pictured here with his father, Mike Cooper, former City of Edmonds Mayor
Jim Cooper grew up around politics. pictured here with his father, Mike Cooper, former City of Edmonds Mayor

Democrat Jim Cooper has a lengthy history of supporting all tax increases (including an illegal income tax proposal).  He believes in much bigger government, and he has become a poster child for incompetent and unaccountable government.  This history is unlikely to endear him to the average “Tea Party” voter.

However, based on primary election results and other recent county-wide elections – he is aware what works in the progressive bastion of Olympia will not play well in the rural parts of the county.  So, in an awesome chameleon strategy of political pandering, he pretends to be whatever he believes people want him to be.  This politician pulls out the Gadsden Flags, the gas-guzzling yellow truck, and the straw hat to ride in the small town parades of Thurston County.  Because, that is what those hicks in the sticks want to see in their politicians.  Don’t tread on me, hell yeah!

jim_cooper_ tea party truck
Jim Cooper goes full Tea Party for those rural votes in 2016

Exposing this pandering spectacle is not an attempt to deny Jim Cooper the right to wave whatever flag he wants.  It is still a semi-free country.  In the rural areas of Thurston County, few would care regardless. However, most people – rural or urban – don’t admire hypocrisy and pandering.  It insults the intelligence of the very people at whom the pandering is directed.  It is far better to be true to your beliefs, even if they are politically harmful.  People may disagree, but at least they still respect their differences, and they know where you really stand.

A self-identified “progressive” Democrat may wrap himself in the Gadsden flag in an effort to virtue-signal Tea Party solidarity.  However, actions speak louder than flags.  Just how stupid does Jim Cooper think voters are?

Jim Cooper has Big Plans for Thurston County

_________________________________________________________________________

Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

For more background on Thurston County – read these articles:

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Total citizen opposition to questionable rural car at public hearing

Thurston County wants to force another illegal tax on rural residents

Thurston County backpedals from fireworks ban, fumbles through hearing

Thurston County celebrates Independence Day with Fireworks Ban

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

Thurston County discovers new cash cow in the “Crap Tax”

What Happened to the County Charter Movement?

Thurston County Invents $42,000 pocket gopher tax for new homeowners

Thurston County Manager Cliff Moore quits, will now plague the City of Yakima

Thurston County spends $8 million and 18 years to make a $4 million empty building worth $2 million

Thurston County spends $5k for a $3k computer, then loses 12 of them

Thurston County finds missing $60k computer inventory, uses 3 card monte excuse

Thurston County punishes rural serfs again

Sandra Romero – the $200 million Commissioner

Recent elections in Thurston County shock the establishment

Thurston County Commissioners Deny the Reality of Math

Hunters fighting to stop Thurston County’s gun ordinance

A Plague of Consequences in Thurston County

Thurston County to Citizens:  Living here is a real gamble

Childish Political Leadership in Thurston County is costing Taxpayers Millions

Thurston County Demonstrates How Not to Build a Jail

Tales of Tyranny – Bert Wasch Story – Thurston County denies his right to build a home for 5 years

Tales of Tyranny – Misti Chastain – Thurston County attempts to destroy her farm business

Complaint filed against Sound Transit for illegal collusion with ST3 lobby group

The supporters of ST3, a massive $54 billion tax proposal for light rail on the ballot this November, appear to be violating campaign finance rules.  There is great political and financial pressure to ensure passage of one of the biggest tax increases in Washington State history this November.  

A formal complaint was filed with Washington State’s Public Disclosure Commission on August 20, 2016 by Tacoma resident and citizen activist Conner Edwards against Sound Transit for violating campaign finance and public disclosure rules.  The status of this complaint can be tracked and read on the Public Disclosure Commission website here, Case #7823.  The text of the complaint is as follows (and linked here):

To Whom it May Concern —

Conner Edwards, Tacoma resident and citizen activist filed PDC complaint against Sound Transit this week
Conner Edwards, Tacoma resident and citizen activist filed PDC complaint against Sound Transit this week

I am filing a formal complaint alleging that the public agency Sound Transit violated RCW 42.17A.555 by illegally releasing an exempt list of contact information to the campaign committee “Mass Transit Now” in violation of the Public Records Act.  

The improper release of this list is evidence that the government agency Sound Transit is improperly coordinating with “Mass Transit Now” committee to influence the outcome of the ST3 ballot measure.

The contact list containing 227,000 names was used to send out a mass e-mail electioneering communication from “Mass Transit Now” promoting a “yes” vote on ST3, which will be on the 2016 General election ballot.

Public agencies routinely respond to public record requests. Designated officers keep redaction logs, containing the PRA exemptions that are most applicable to the documents the agency possesses. Experienced attorneys advise staff on what information can be released and what is exempt. It is simply not conceivable that Sound Transit was not aware of the exemption in RCW 42.56.330.  It is far more likely that they intentionally did not apply the exemption so as to benefit the “Mass Transit Now” campaign.

Any campaign with punctuation in their name is very serious indeed
The exclamation point conveys urgency!

If one person among the 227,000 had not registered for the ORCA program with a separate e-mail address, it is likely that Sound Transit’s violation of the law would not have been discovered. It is likely that the collaboration between Sound Transit and “Mass Transit Now” goes deeper than the violation I am currently writing about.

If passed, ST3 will dramatically increase Sound Transit’s taxes in Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties. Both the “Yes” and the “No” campaign have a right to be heard, but as a government agency, Sound Transit must stop influencing the outcome of the election with public resources.

Lori Anderson, spokeswoman for the PDC, summed up the issue well: “If there’s protected records that they wouldn’t give to you or I, then they shouldn’t be giving those to the campaign… … that’s a restriction on using public facilities to support a political campaign’s ballot initiative.”

While I rely heavily on the facts written in Mr. Kamb’s 8/19 article (attached), I have also made a public record request to Sound Transit for documents related to the violation I have just described. When I receive more information related to the violation, I will share it with the appropriate PDC compliance officer.

In addition to filing this complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission, I will also be notifying the Attorney General’s Office and King County Prosecutor’s Office pursuant to RCW 42.17A.765 (4).

I reserve the right to enforce RCW 42.17A via citizen’s action in the name of the state if the Attorney General and Prosecuting Attorney fail to act within the time period prescribed by law.

Best,

Conner Edwards

As indicated in the complaint, formal notice was also sent to the Washington State Attorney General’s office and the King County Prosecutor’s office.  Not surprisingly, the King County Prosecutor’s office has deferred to the state on this one (as indicated in this letter) sent to Mr. Edwards.

As long as you can fill in the blank with "more tax dollars," Sound Transit wants to hear from you.
As long as you can fill in the blank with “more tax dollars,” Sound Transit wants to hear from you.

This complaint is based, in part, on the Seattle Times article from August 19, which exposed the fact that Sound Transit colluded with the Mass Transit Now Political Action Committee, which is largely funded by special interest corporations lobbying to profit from the tax burden Sound Transit plans to impose on local residents in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.   This massive $54 billion tax proposal is called ST3 and it will be on the November ballot in all three counties in the targeted precincts (not all voters in these counties can vote on this tax, because the less supportive precincts were gerrymandered out of the voting district area).  

Pretty pictures won't be enough to convince voters to support ST3 in November, but apparently handing out personal contact information of the riders to lobbyists will help
Pretty pictures won’t be enough to convince voters to support ST3 in November, but apparently handing out the personal contact information of the riders to lobbyists could make a difference

Mr. Edwards formal notice to the State Attorney General’s office triggers a 45 day window where the Attorney General can choose to prosecute Sound Transit for the violation, or they can take a pass.  After 45 days, if the State AG chooses to not pursue, then local citizens can take direct legal action against Sound Transit themselves.  However, this will be a difficult case for local citizens to prosecute because Sound Transit has, over recent years, hired or “consulted” with the top 57 law firms in the Seattle area.  This means those firms are conflicted, and couldn’t be used by any plaintiffs wishing to sue Sound Transit.  

If the Attorney General chooses to pursue Sound Transit (see the confirmation letter from AG to Mr. Edwards here), most observers believe that a softball approach will be taken due to the political clout and financial support Sound Transit receives from powerful political insiders in Washington State.  

Sound Transit loves throwing itself parties on the taxpayers dime.
Sound Transit loves throwing itself parties on the taxpayers dime.

Sound Transit has, in the past, been found in violation of many public disclosure rules, illegal use of paid lobbyists, and other questionable actions.  Sound Transit is also willing to mislead the public and elected officials about their past failures to complete projects on time or on budget (even while they throw expensive parties for themselves).  This recent violation should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Sound Transit.  Although small fines have been imposed against the agency in the past, these fines have been treated as the cost of doing business for this agency.  

Conner Edwards said earlier today:

Sound Transit has repeatedly violated state law prohibiting public agencies from engaging in campaign activities with taxpayer money. This needs to end.

Taxpayer should not be forced to assist the pro-ST3 campaign in their goal to take even more money from working families in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties.

Sound Transit need to be held accountable, and I’m willing to go to court if necessary to enforce state law.

Only transparency demanded by citizens and their elected officials can keep the Sound Transit juggernaut on the legal track and not off the rails violating the law and abusing the power they have over citizens.  Unfortunately, for the small number of riders who use Sound Transit, their personal information it appears will be distributed to any politically connected corporation or organization who can use this information in whatever means necessary to promote their special interests.  The rest of us can only observe and monitor the agencies that enforce the law.  We must ensure that there is not one set of rules for us and another for Sound Transit.

Just a start

If you want to contact the Public Disclosure Commission Directly to support this complaint, you can call or email them:

Phone       (360) 753-1111
Email         pdc@pdc.wa.gov

If you want to contact Sound Transit and tell them what you think about their tax proposal, giving out personal information on the people who use their trains and buses, or on anything else, you can contact them at main@soundtransit.org or their board of directors here.

_________________________________________________________________________

Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

Documents Referenced in this Article

Case #7823 – Public Disclosure Commission – Sound Transit Complaint w/ Attachments filed by Conner Edwards August 20, 2016

King County Prosecutor’s office response letter to Conner Edwards complaint – deferring to State AG – August 23, 2016

Washington State Attorney General response letter to Conner Edwards acknowledging receipt of complaint and 45-day window for private legal action – August 24, 2016 

Serious reasons to be concerned about ST3:

How is ST3 like an STD?

Rueven Carlyle is right to be asking the driving questions about ST3 

Sound Transit 1 ran twice over budget.  What about Sound Transit 3?

Sound Transit throws $858k party for itself

Sound Transit 3:  Big bucks and insider consultants fuel “people powered” ST3 campaign

Sound Transit improperly send 173,000 ORCA card users info to supporters of ST3 campaign

Sound Transit fined $15,000 for lobbying violations

Vote No on ST3 – People for Smarter Transit

We Save our trail – No Transit on Trail for ST3

Smarter Transit.org

Why Sound Transit’s ST3 Timeline doesn’t matter

Sound Transit’s ST3 campaign kicks off with deception and sketchy finances

Who is benefitting from ST3?

ST3 would result in sales tax rates as high as 10.4%

Sound Transit Touts highly skewed survey to support ST3

Sound Transit should “tap the brakes” on ST3

Sound Transit’s new ST3 scam

Related articles:

Gang Green and the Government Staff Infection

The City of SeaTac suffers from a serious staff infection

Why can’t we build bridges in Washington State?

Despite desperate claims – Thurston County’s rural car tax still illegal

An assortment of local political observers went public last week in support of the legality of Thurston County’s proposed rural car tax.  Their defense of the car tax is fascinating, but it is lazy and wrong. 

We wrote last week about Thurston County’s proposed illegal car tax and wrote again about the opposition to the car tax by local residents at the public hearing. After the Olympian wrote a fawning and uncritical review of the car tax proposal and did a better job

Graeme Sackrison defends Thurston County's illegal tax
Graeme Sackrison defends Thurston County’s illegal tax (Mr. Sackrison does not support this tax now)

reporting on the hearing itself a few days later, several local commentators challenged claims that the proposed tax was illegal. This included a short article by local talk show host and long-time writer Ken Balsley with whom I often tend to agree.  The supporters of the tax also included local politicos like former Lacey Mayor and current North Thurston School District Board Director Graeme Sackrison.  (Correction:  at this time, Mr. Sackrison has confirmed via Facebook post that he does NOT support this tax). 

Due to the legal confusion among folk who should (and usually do) know better, it is worth clarifying why this proposed tax is illegal.  Against our better judgment we will also outline the three actions that could be taken to make the proposed illegal tax a “legal tax.”

Why this proposed tax is illegal

None of the Thurston County Commissioners live within the newly incorporated Thurston County Transportation Benefit District (TCTBD), which is the primary reason the proposed tax is illegal.  All taxing districts are managed by a Council, Commission or Board of elected officials who live in that district.  All of them. No exceptions.  Multiple statutes deal with taxing districts individually by category.  Examples of this are RCW 35.57.010 (3)(c) and RCW 85.38.070 (3) and (6) .  However, it is true in the state law that was passed to create Transportation Benefit Districts, this legal fact is not specified (although it is implied).  Fortunately, the statute doesn’t have to specify this fact because state law (and recent legal precedent) is very clear.

Not everything Thurston County wants to do is illegal, but this rural car tax certainly is
Not everything Thurston County wants to do is illegal, but this rural car tax certainly is

Specifically, RCW 42.04.020  “Eligibility to Hold Office” clearly states:

“That no person shall be competent to qualify for or hold any elective public office within the state of Washington, or any county, district, precinct, school district, municipal corporation or other district or political subdivision, unless he or she be a citizen of the United States and state of Washington and an elector of such county, district, precinct, school district, municipality or other district or political subdivision.” RCW 42.04.020

This statute was recently reaffirmed in a local Thurston County 2012 lawsuit (Parker v. Wyman), which was filed to challenge the eligibility of candidate (and now Superior Court Judge) Christine Schaller who had filed to run for Superior Court Judge that year.  Thurston County Auditor (and now Washington Secretary of State) Kim Wyman was named in the lawsuit because the plaintiff was challenging  the auditor’s decision to allow candidate Schaller to be on the ballot since she did not reside in Thurston County at the time.  The court affirmed that ALL elected officials EXCEPT judges must live within the boundaries of the district for which they are running for office.

The TCTB is a separate and independent municipal corporation.  It is a unique taxing district.  This is clear both under state law and the incorporation documents (attached below) It is not just another division of Thurston County for the Commissioners to run any way they want.  

How come the other Transportation Benefit Districts don’t have this problem?

The most common (and the laziest) argument made for the legality of this proposed rural car tax is this.  Everyone else is doing it, why can’t the Thurston County Commissioners?  

Commissioner Romero is looking towards retirement and seemed relieved to finish this hearing.
Commissioner Romero ponders the illegal car tax at a recent hearing.

Two other Transportation Benefit Districts exist within Thurston County already.  These are located in Olympia and Tumwater.  Each TBD conforms to the same boundaries as the existing respective city boundary.  The city council members in both cities sit on both the city council and the board of the TBD.  This is legal and the taxes they charge are legal (if misguided and wasted) because the elected officials all live within the boundaries of their respective district.  According to our research, all the other TBDs around the state have similar arrangements.  It is only Thurston County who chose to take the road less travelled and the one with a few more legal landmines.

The statute governing TBDs (RCW 36.73) allows for a multi-jurisdictional boundary (covering combined county and city jurisdictions), however, it also provided for very detailed and explicit representation requirements on the final municipal corporate board so that each municipality had proportional representation on that board.  This also implies that it was the intention of the legislature that the board members would all live within the taxing district itself.  What party of illegal

Because, as referenced in the original ordinance (link here) forming the district, Thurston County was not able to politically convince the other jurisdictions to join in a multi-jurisdictional TBD, Commissioners Sandra Romero, Cathy Wolfe, and Karen Valenzuela decided to create a rural county district only.  None of the current Thurston County commissioners live within the taxing district boundaries.  Any creation of a new tax using the TCTBD is not legal.

Creating the district was legal, but imposing the tax is illegal

There is some nuance in this argument because it does appear that the formation of the TCTBD is legal (if misguided and a poor policy choice).  However, since none of the elected officials live in the district, then any effort by them to do anything with the district would be illegal.  

Which creates a quandary.  Quandaries, like quagmires are not uncommon in recent Thurston County Commission history.

How to make it legal.  Three options

Commissioner Romero is looking forward to retirement using our tax dollars
Commissioner Sandra Romero has some options to make this illegal tax legal, but it might require her to move

Against our better judgment, because we do not support the tax or the district, we will still do our civic duty  to help Thurston County understand how to stop violating the law.  

First, since this TCTBD is a separate municipal corporation from Thurston County itself, there is a clear legal requirement for independent counsel. This is logical because of the obvious self-dealing conflict of interest problems.  However, it is also spelled out in the TCTBD charter itself (section 5.06).  Thurston County needs to do this quickly because they have obviously been giving themselves poor legal advice up to this point, which opens up the county to litigation and the staff attorneys to bar complaints.    

The three options the commissioners have to make the proposed tax legal are as follows:

  •  All three commissioners can move into the taxing district, or
  • They can initiate the process to create a new taxing district board comprised of elected officials who live in the district, or
  • They can lobby to change state law 

Since it is unlike all three commissioners would move anytime soon, the Thurston County Commissioners could initiate the process for the TCTBD to set up a new three or five member commission of elected officials to represent the residents of this new taxing district.  They can be elected on a staggered term as is traditionally found in all taxing districts.  For example, if five members – three would have four year terms, and two would have two year terms the first cycle.  After that, all would have a full four year term staggered, three one election cycle, two others the next.  This isn’t rocket science.

Commissioner candidates Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse are hoping Thurston County can pass more taxes on rural residents
Commissioner candidates Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse are hoping Thurston County can pass more taxes on rural residents

Alternatively, Thurston County Commissioners Romero and Wolfe, being former legislators themselves, can take the final option and lobby their former co-workers in the state legislature to change the law and the state constitution to allow local elected officials to run for office in districts where they don’t live.  This is a tough road to travel, but Thurston County usually doesn’t pick the easy way.

In conclusion, there are legal paths to impose the desired tax.  The Thurston County Commission has so far failed to take them.  Due to a combination of ignorance, poor legal advice,  and no shortage of incompetence, Thurston County has chosen the wrong path.  

We have done our civic duty, and the county has the opportunity to avoid a class action lawsuit next year.  Better yet, the citizens should have a reprieve from a poorly planned illegal tax.  A new commission can just dissolve this silly effort and start working to use the transportation dollars more efficiently in the future.  The choice, ultimately, rests with our elected officials, but at least ignorance can no longer be Romero, Wolfe, or staff’s excuse.  what if they are really that stupid

_________________________________________________________________________

Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

Specific documents referenced in this article:

Transportation Benefit District Ordinance #15103

Thurston County Transportation Benefit District Charter

For more background on Thurston County – read these articles:

Total citizen opposition to questionable rural car at public hearing

Thurston County wants to force another illegal tax on rural residents

Thurston County backpedals from fireworks ban, fumbles through hearing

Thurston County celebrates Independence Day with Fireworks Ban

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

Thurston County discovers new cash cow in the “Crap Tax”

What Happened to the County Charter Movement?

Thurston County Invents $42,000 pocket gopher tax for new homeowners

Thurston County Manager Cliff Moore quits, will now plague the City of Yakima

Thurston County spends $8 million and 18 years to make a $4 million empty building worth $2 million

Thurston County spends $5k for a $3k computer, then loses 12 of them

Thurston County finds missing $60k computer inventory, uses 3 card monte excuse

Thurston County punishes rural serfs again

Sandra Romero – the $200 million Commissioner

Recent elections in Thurston County shock the establishment

Thurston County Commissioners Deny the Reality of Math

Hunters fighting to stop Thurston County’s gun ordinance

A Plague of Consequences in Thurston County

Thurston County to Citizens:  Living here is a real gamble

Childish Political Leadership in Thurston County is costing Taxpayers Millions

Thurston County Demonstrates How Not to Build a Jail

Tales of Tyranny – Bert Wasch Story – Thurston County denies his right to build a home for 5 years

Tales of Tyranny – Misti Chastain – Thurston County attempts to destroy her farm business

Union Protests Incompetent Thurston County Commissioner

Total citizen opposition to questionable rural car tax at Thurston County hearing

At the Tuesday hearing for Thurston County’s proposed rural car tax for the new Thurston County Transportation Benefit District generated very little love from local citizens.  Every phone call, email and resident who testified was in opposition.  This isn’t a new experience for the Thurston County Commission, but historically they have been able to drag at least one hardy soul to the hearings who at least pretends to support the proposals.  At the Tuesday hearing, no supporter (other than the government staff) was to be found.

Thurston County Public Works staff did not seem to be enjoyed the hearing as much as those making public comment
Thurston County Public Works staff did not seem to be enjoying the hearing as much as those making public comment. They may have been the only supporters in the room.

We have argued that the proposed tax is illegal for a variety of reasons including the fact that none of the Commissioners actually live in the taxing district, so they won’t be subject to the tax themselves.  We pointed out that the charter of this taxing district requires them to obtain outside (not from the Prosecutor’s office) legal counsel, which they failed to do, and which means the legal advice they have received to date is conflicted and probably worthy of a bar complaint against internal legal staff.  However, concerned citizens in opposition to the tax also raised a number of other insightful and pertinent questions.  

Apparently some bridges in Thurston County were built in 1920s, but staff just figured out they might need to be replaced.
The county has been around a long time, and some bridges in Thurston County were built in 1920s, but staff just figured out they might need to be replaced.

Staff produced a vague map showing some old bridges in Thurston County that were built in the 1920s and needed to be replaced.  It was pointed out to them by citizens that the money Thurston County was trying to raise with this tax wasn’t even enough to fix one of the bridges.  Others pointed out the $69 million Thurston County already gets for roads.  If Thurston County had 90 years to plan maintenance and replacement on bridges, why hadn’t they prioritized this and been budgeting for it long ago?  Why was it suddenly an emergency right now?  Many people suggested that the Commissioners just postpone the vote until a new commission is in place since the tax itself wouldn’t go into effect until next year anyway.

Commissioner Romero is looking towards retirement and seemed relieved to finish this hearing.
Commissioner Romero is looking towards retirement and seemed relieved to finish this hearing.

Other people discussed how they knew people who worked as flaggers for public works in the summer and how when their projects were completed they were told by supervisors to go hide out and just get paid for the extra hours.  This one got some harsh looks from Commissioner Romero directed at the Public Works staff.  Examples of other Thurston County waste was given.  Other people pointed out that Thurston County was attempting to shove through too many last minute taxes like the pocket gopher tax, the crap tax, etc.  There were multiple complaints about property tax increases, and the disproportionate impact on low income residents.

Lacey resident Robert Slater, who doesn’t live in the taxing district came to support his friends and fellow veterans who do live in the district.  Mr. Slater pointed out to the commissioners

“A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency for us now.  Stop some of the vanity projects, and cut them out first before you try to raise more money from us.”  

Due, in part to the new cameras installed in the hearing rooms or because some staffer thought it was a better location, the podium was located at an awkward angle to the commissioners dias.  This encouraged the speakers to look at the staff who were seated where the podium was pointed.  At one point, Commissioner Romero scolded a speaker who was directing his comments at staff instead of her.  

The room was filled with opponents of the questionable rural car tax proposal. Plus a few boy scouts who got their civics lesson for the evening - don't trust Thurston County
The room was filled with opponents of the questionable rural car tax proposal. Plus a few boy scouts who got their civics lesson for the evening – don’t trust Thurston County. Note the people brought their own cameras.

A few boy scouts were attending this public hearing as part of acquiring one of their merit badges.  They were able to witness a true civics education as the public comment period demonstrated universal opposition and quite a few verbal barbs tossed at the hapless county commissioners and a stone-faced staff.  Staff did not appear to enjoy the hearing as much as the citizens venting at the microphone.  

Jim Cooper doesn't always dress like a pirate, but when he does he carries a parrot
Jim Cooper doesn’t always dress like a pirate, or carry a parrot, but he does expect to be elected to County Commissioner this November, and he wants these taxes on the books before his coronation (source: Jim Cooper’s Facebook Page)

No action was taken by the commissioners.  Most political observers believe that Commissioner Bud Blake is opposed to this tax.  Commissioner Wolfe appears very supportive and determined to shove a lot of ordinances out the door before she retires.  Commissioner Sandra Romero, it is suggested, is a key player in the Coronated Candidate for Commissioner Project (or “CCCP” for short), which is the effort to get Jim Cooper elected.  Some rural residents are calling the constellation of taxes being rushed through the process the “Cooper Tax Crunch” because they believe Jim Cooper wants some politically painful votes finished and on the books before he becomes commissioner.  Jim Cooper, however, was only present at Tuesday night’s hearing in spirit, not in fact.
It is still a good idea for residents of Thurston County to email the County Commissioners here to let them know your opposition to another tax.  If you missed this hearing, this county is likely to have a few more on other equally troubling proposals before the year is out – come join us next time.  Meanwhile, don’t forget to vote in November.  The future ultimately belongs to those of us who show up.

Jim Cooper has terrible plans for Thurston County, but voters get to decide if they want to experience these plans
Jim Cooper has terrible plans for Thurston County, but voters get to decide if they want to experience these plans

_________________________________________________________________________

Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

For more background on Thurston County – read these articles:

Thurston County wants to force another illegal tax on rural residents

Thurston County backpedals from fireworks ban, fumbles through hearing

Thurston County celebrates Independence Day with Fireworks Ban

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

Thurston County discovers new cash cow in the “Crap Tax”

What Happened to the County Charter Movement?

Thurston County Invents $42,000 pocket gopher tax for new homeowners

Thurston County Manager Cliff Moore quits, will now plague the City of Yakima

Thurston County spends $8 million and 18 years to make a $4 million empty building worth $2 million

Thurston County spends $5k for a $3k computer, then loses 12 of them

Thurston County finds missing $60k computer inventory, uses 3 card monte excuse

Thurston County punishes rural serfs again

Sandra Romero – the $200 million Commissioner

Recent elections in Thurston County shock the establishment

Thurston County Commissioners Deny the Reality of Math

Hunters fighting to stop Thurston County’s gun ordinance

A Plague of Consequences in Thurston County

Thurston County to Citizens:  Living here is a real gamble

Childish Political Leadership in Thurston County is costing Taxpayers Millions

Thurston County Demonstrates How Not to Build a Jail

Tales of Tyranny – Bert Wasch Story – Thurston County denies his right to build a home for 5 years

Tales of Tyranny – Misti Chastain – Thurston County attempts to destroy her farm business

 

Union Protests Incompetent Thurston County Commissioner

Local County-level election results preview state-wide political trends

Local elections  during a Presidential election year are typically ignored by political commentators. However, they are often strong indicators of future political trends.  In Washington State, there are some interesting local primary election results that appear to demonstrate voter frustration with politics as usual.  Here is an analysis of a handful of these races around the state.  This article looks at Thurston, Douglas, Spokane, Clark, Pacific, and Grays Harbor counties.

Thurston County – changing of the old political guard

The primary results from earlier this month had few surprises to political observers, but they do reinforce the fact that significant changes are coming to local politics.  If the primary trends continue into the general election – it appears that the Thurston County Democrat party will no longer control the Thurston County Commission.  Interestingly enough, neither will the Republicans.  

Thurston County is paying a high price for Sandra Romero's happiness
Commissioner Sandra Romero is a good example of the old political order coming to an end.

The Thurston County Commission has often been dominated by establishment politicians – often former state legislators.  County Commissioner Cathy Wolfe is finishing up her last year as county commissioner – a position she has held since 2000, after serving eight years as a Democrat legislator from the 22nd Legislative district.  County Commissioner Sandra Romero is finishing up her last year – a position she has held since 2008, after serving twelve years as a Democrat legislator from the 22nd district as well.  Romero had originally been forced to resign from the state legislature after an embarrassing DUI conviction for driving the wrong way on I-5 and attempting to elude police in Olympia.  Before that Romero had served on the Olympia City Council and as a Granite Falls School Director.  

Commissioner Bud Blake is the only Thurston County Commissioner not on the ballot in 2016
Commissioner Bud Blake’s election in 2014 was a shock to the political establishment

In 2014, the political recipe for becoming an elected county commissioner in Thurston County was changed with the election of independent Bud Blake who defeated incumbent Karen Valenzuela in a surprising upset despite Valenzuela’s strong Democratic Party support.  Karen Valenzuela had been a former Tumwater City Council Member, and Commissioner Bud Blake had no prior elected experience.  Commissioner Bud Blake was also outspent, and his election still causes anxiety within the political establishment as they repeatedly analyze the 2014 District 3 commissioner election results.

This year’s primary results point towards the very likely outcome ofseeing former Thurston County Sheriff Gary Edwards becoming the next Thurston County Commissioner from District 2.  Edwards received almost 60% support in the primary election, and while the general election will cover the entire county rather than

Gary Edwards has supporters flocking to his events and donating money to his campaign
Gary Edwards has supporters flocking to his events and donating money to his campaign. Primary election results point towards a good day for his campaign in November.

just District 2, his support, volunteers, and fundraising efforts continue to grow.  Even with his opponent getting financial support from JZ Knight (aka “Ramtha,” a 35,000 year old Lemurian warrior who has travelled through space and time to control JZ Knight and ensure she supports the Thurston County Democrat party with large donations).  Edwards path to the commission seems likely.  He is running as an independent.

Jim Cooper doesn't always dress like a pirate, but when he does he carries a parrot
Jim Cooper doesn’t always dress like a pirate, but when he does he carries a parrot, and he is the best the Thurston County Democrats can offer voters this year (source: Jim Cooper’s facebook page)

In District 1, the Olympia political establishment has coronated Jim Cooper, current Olympia City Councilman to fill the last seat, but his path to power is not as clear as anticipated considering his anemic support in the primary.  Cooper will be facing off against independant John Hutchings, who squeaked out a second place finish in a 5-person crowded primary field.  This race will be bitter and aggressive, but if Hutchings wins in November this will be the first time in history when all three partisan positions are occupied by politically unaffiliated officials.  Political parties seem to be losing their value in Thurston County.

Douglas County – Incumbents have lost public support

Kyle Steinberg demonstrated strong numbers in the primary.
Kyle Steinberg demonstrated strong numbers in the primary.

In District 2, it looks like the incumbent Douglas County Commissioner, Dale Snyder is trailing the challenger Kyle Steinburg, which is a sign that local residents might be waking up to the strange and bizarre financial shenanigans of the incumbent commissioners.  We wrote about the problems with strange property sales, missing capital assets, and other strange happenings here, here, and here.  All the candidates who made it through the primary self-identify as Republicans, so these races are less about partisan preference than about the political leadership each candidate can offer.  The incumbents are falling short.   In District 1, the incumbent is not running, but his endorsed supporter, Pat Haley had 47% support in a 3-way run-off.

It is rare to see incumbents lose reelection in Douglas County, so these election results are more significant than they might appear at first.

Pacific County – Challengers are a sign of partisan changes and lack of trust in the establishment

Challenger Lisa Olsen led the incumbent after the primary election results in Pacific County
Challenger Lisa Olsen led the incumbent after the primary election results in Pacific County

Pacific County has been reliably supporting the Democratic Party politicians since the 1930s.  Culturally, the district is rural and appears to be fairly conservative.  It could be that the political winds are catching up with the political culture.  Incumbent Pacific County Commissioner Steven Rogers is trailing challenger candidate Lisa Olsen who is running as a Republican in this District 1 race.  In District 2, the political battle is between Democrats, challenger Fred Hill and incumbent Frank Wolfe but the challenger is only a few votes behind the incumbent.  

Faith Taylor-Eldred was rewarded for the abuse she inflicted on local residents as the chief Central Planner in Pacific County
Faith Taylor-Eldred was rewarded for the abuse she inflicted on local residents as the chief Central Planner in Pacific County

Among other scandals in this county, the long term abusive reign of Central Planner Faith Taylor-Eldred has created friction between local residents and the elected officials who are theoretically tasked with managing their staff.  This planner was exceptionally hostile and aggressive towards local businesses like Oysterville Sea Farms.  Meanwhile she openly violating environmental rules herself when she installed a pump in a salmon stream to irrigate her own yard.   The Pacific County Commissioners repeatedly turned a blind eye to staff infections like this in the bureaucracy.  However, with the recent welcome resignation of this planner, local residents are hopeful that a new direction is in the future.  

Grays Harbor – Trending independant and more conservative

All politics may be local.  In Grays Harbor County, they have been

Grays Harbor Commissioner Wes Cormier held of all challengers during the primary
Grays Harbor Commissioner Wes Cormier held of all challengers during the primary

largely dominated by the local Democrat Party machine.  Like neighbor Pacific County, this community has been reliably supportive of Democrat politicians, but culturally it has been rural and trending conservative.  In 2012, current commissioner Wes Cormier won an upset election as one of the first Republicans to hold a Commision seat.  His reelection seems likely this year as he soundly beat the combined vote totals of both Democrat challengers.  Additionally, the other Commissioner incumbent was Frank Gordon who had recruited one of Cormier’s challengers, but Gordon was soundly beat by “no party” candidate Randy Ross.  Ross won over 60% of the primary vote, which doesn’t bode well for Gordon’s reelection efforts.  Incumbent Commissioner Vickie Raines is also an unaffiliated independent.  Assuming Ross wins his race, it looks like Gray’s Harbor could be another county with a majority of elected officials who are formally unaffiliated with either the Democrat or Republican Party.  .

Spokane County – Insurgent challenger changes dynamics of county commission

Challenger Josh Kerns pulled off a significant political upset by unseating an incumbent in the primary
Challenger Josh Kerns pulled off a significant political upset by unseating an incumbent in the primary

The primary race for the District 1 Commissioner seat, Republican challenger Josh Kerns handily defeated incumbent Republican Nancy McLaughlin in a three way primary.  Kerns will be facing off against Democrat candidate Candace Mumm (current Spokane City Council Member)  in the most populous Commission County in Washington State in November.  Spokane County tends to elect Republicans as commissioners, so Kerns has the wind at his back in this political race.  However, defeated incumbent McLaughlin was strongly supported by the establishment political class.  Kerns will have to demonstrate the ability to attract her supporters in the general.  This outcome was not predicted by many of the local political observers.  It may appear to be intramural political confrontation from the outside, but Kerns is going to be one of the younger commissioners in recent Spokane County history.

Clark County – The winds of change have been stopped for now.  Reforms will be reversed.

David Madore will no longer be Clark County Councilor after 2016.
David Madore will no longer be Clark County Councilor after 2016.

In Clark County, Incumbent Councilor David Madore was soundly defeated in the primary.  As we discussed here, here, and here Clark County has some serious problems, and the total war on David Madore was impressive and unprecedented in Washington State.  The message sent by the political establishment of Clark County to any would-be government reformers is to shut-up, be quiet, and go away.  This bodes poorly for the future of the Clark County Council and, more importantly, the residents who live there.  After the hubbub of the 2016 elections die down, and David Madore goes back to being a private citizen, it looks like the bureaucracy and political establishment can settle back into the cozy, comfortable corruption that gave Clark County the C-TRAN fiasco, the Columbia River Crossing scam, plans to toll the bridges, and whatever schemes the central planners cook up next.   It appears that the internal purges of government staff is in full swing by the senior bureaucrats.  It should take a few years before this becomes obvious to everyone except the local newspaper editor.

The Columbian editor (in purple hat) will likely be the last to notice problems in Clark County
The Columbian editor (in purple hat) will likely be the last to notice problems in Clark County

Few observers expect David Madore to go quietly into the night with nary a whimper.  There is general curiosity about what he chooses to do next with his free time.  Madore is a reformer who has battled government abuse from the outside, experienced the challenges of reforming it from the inside, and who has the resources to do some good in the future.  He clearly made mistakes, but there is some suspicion that the Hate Madore crowd including the trinket-selling local paper – the Columbian will need to work overtime to justify and cover up the inevitable declines and scandals over the next few years.  

In conclusion, local politics are often impacted as much by the individual personalities and issues uniquely found there as they are by any partisan influence.  However, it is possible to extrapolate some trends from these and other local races around Washington State.  The shift in rural voting to more closely align the independent, rural cultural conservatism with more independent, conservative politicians is inevitable.  This trend is likely to push upwards into the state representative races as well.  This has been particularly pronounced in rural districts like the 2nd (Pierce/Thurston), the 35th (Mason/Thurston/Kitsap), the 31st (King/Pierce) and now the 19th (Cowlitz/Pacific/Grays Harbor/Wahkaikum/Lewis).  

Partisan lockstep politics is becoming less important than a focus by local candidates on the issues that actually matter to the people who live there.  Incumbents who fail to understand these facts will eventually lose their political positions regardless of their political affiliation.  As the Clark County example also illustrates, the establishment will fight back when their power is threatened by anyone who is different.  This year’s elections at the local level will be directly impactful to local residents, and it will influence the balance of power in the state legislature.  It is worth paying attention, even if you don’t live there.vote for change

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Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.”  It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people.  It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government.  It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.”  Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed

Related articles for reference and background:

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

Thurston County punishes rural serfs again

Sandra Romero – the $200 million Commissioner

Recent elections in Thurston County shock the establishment

How Bud Blake won in Thurston County

JZ Knight tirade videos submitted to politicians she supports

Freedom Foundation sued for exposing JZ Knight, politicians

Democrats take $50k gift from warrior spirit Ramtha, despite anti-Mexican slurs

Douglas County politicians hide capital assets, file phony inventory documents, call it good.

Douglas County Commissioners commit gross misdemeanors 

Government Watchdog Doubles Down on Douglas County – KPQ interview

Is it incompetence or corruption?  Douglas County continues to hide capital assets

The war on David Madore

The war on David Madore (video version)

Petitions to recall a majority of Clark County Councilmembers filed today

Clark County deputy prosecutor arrested, convicted, probation, donates to political campaign, continues to manage department

The Columbian creates a news void in Clark County

The Clark County Council desperately needs some adult supervision

City of Vancouver Mayor and Council forced to abandon 117% pay raise

The Clark County Charter – a quest for utopia or inevitable fiasco?

Despite charter vote, Clark County trends more conservative in 2014

Primary elections – 2016 Senate Surprises and Democrats Delight

Primary election results – unanticipated outcomes and major contrasts for November

Kitsap County ground zero as 2014 conservative success demonstrates

 

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