Over the last week, I’ve read or listened to the most bizarre stories about our Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Democratic Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark. After courting the environmental wing of the Democratic voters with their long standing support of environmental protection, we now find both of them throwing this base under the bus.
It wasn’t bad enough, that Inslee named former head of the Department of Ecology, Ted Sturdevant, to be his Policy chief. Sturdevant, who appeared clueless through the battles over the net pen controversy in Puget Sound in the last few years, and allowed DOE to fight Jefferson County for refusing to allow net pens, which DOE had allowed to be banned in another county previously.
Now, Inslee has hired a coal lobbyist, albeit a Democratic one, to direct his policy office. Matt Steuerwalt, is going to run the policy wing of the governor’s office. Steurwalt has recently been the lead advocate for coal fired power plants and coal ports in the State. To be clear, Mr. Steurwalt might be a perfectly wonderful Dem, but in politics perception trumps reality. Why would any Democrat or environmentalist put a coal lobbyist in charge of policy at a point when policy for coal trains is being debated?
Yesterday, Inslee announced that he also would likely trade away concerns of the Tribes and the environmental community, and support business demands, by raising the limit of possibly cancer causing fish a person can eat. This was in lieu of asking for stricter controls on pollution by the likes of Boeing, whom promptly announced that they were shipping 1000 high paying jobs out of state anyway. Interesting who was behind the decision, none other than Ted Sturdevant.
Analysis by Billie Frank Jr. on behalf of the NW Indians Fisheries Commission
Also, in the last two weeks, we’ve had Department of Natural Resources head Peter Goldmark, first state, after the Oso landslide that his agency shouldn’t be blamed for allowing timber harvest on the top of the land that collapsed, instead blaming environmentalists for attacking DNR. There are a number of highly critical articles to his stand, including one in the New York Times, and one in the Stranger. I think that the lawsuits coming down the pike by the surviving homeowners and the estates of those who didn’t, will clearly establish who should be held responsible, and that is likely both Snohomish County land use staff (who might have changed zoning regs and given greater warning, no scratch that, any warning to the homeowners there) and the politicians who supported those decisions, along with the departments in Olympia that did the scientific research, then ignored it, which seems to clearly be DNR. But fear not, you and I, the taxpayers, will likely foot the liability.
Then yesterday, Goldmark announced that, contrary to what he told supporters when he ran for the position, that he would never take industry money, actively reverse that stance and take $90,000 from the very interests that he regulates. While he may argue no quid pro quo, we all know that those with the biggest donation get the loudest voice in the battle for access to the powerful. If I had to venture a guess here, that in order to find the school funding that has been forced on the legislature by the McCleary Decision, that the pols in Oly have decided to get the funding by clear cutting their way out, enviros be damned. This so they don’t have to raise the Tax word in an election year. This puts Goldmark squarely in the hot seat, and my other guess is that he will not run again in 2 years. This would allow him to turn on his original funders, and never pay a price. In the meantime, Peninsula pols like Tharinger and Van de Wege, will be able to show support for the logging industry, which helps their Clallam County base. Just look at the parcels being clear cut on steep slopes on both sides of Hwy 20 near Eaglemount in Jefferson County near 101. Shades of Beaver Valley Road cutting in the early part of the 2000s.
With the announcement that Inslee is not getting his way with the nomination of Jaxon Ravens to State Democratic Chairman instead of his choice of Dana Laurent, it certainly brings into question whether the base has turned on the elected officials in Olympia for failing to achieve anything of substance in the last session. It will be interesting to see, as Inslee and Goldmark get out to stump in the hinterlands this year, if they even do, whether they will face hostile party faithful in the areas that poured money into their campaigns and now find themselves wondering who these people actually represent.
Goldmark biting the hand that feeds…
Article questioning DNR decision to allow logging.
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/03/27/is-there-a-connection-between-the-mudslide-and-our-states-historical-mishmash-of-logging-regulations that points to DNR ignoring scientific research on this very parcel.
Goldmark on campaign contributions:
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