Following are my responses to Mr. Graves’ biased error laden “Editor’s Opinion” public hatchet job on Commissioner Emerson
Graves: :Island County Commissioner Kelly Emerson has, for the second time in three years, filed a lawsuit against the planning department concerning the same tired issue — the dispute over a building permit.
ME, Wrong,Mr. Graves, The original suit was filed only for Trespassing and Defamation. It had nothing to do with a “dispute over a building permit ”
Graves: How tiresome, how unfortunate and how embarrassing that the fires of this seemingly endless debate have again been lit under the banner of righteousness.
ME: “under the banner of righteousness”. Where did you dig up that BS Mr Graves? It’s not from any of Emerson’s documents in the 94 pages of evidence stated in the Emersons’ suit against County filed November 1, 2013
Graves: This long-drawn-out controversy began in 2010 during Emerson’s race to unseat former District 3 Democrat commissioner John Dean. Word got out that Emerson and her husband, Kenneth, were building a deck at their Camano Island home without a county permit.
It became a campaign issue and Emerson was quick to cast the blame on Dean, former county planning director Bob Pederson and others. The Emersons even took them to court, but a Superior Court judge did not see it their way.
ME: WRONG Mr. Graves at the end of Judge Hancock’s hearing the subject of Pederson wetlands actions was discussed
As a result of all that, Judge Hancock’ s decision in the case was:
1. “The court notes, in passing, that presumably nothing would prevent the planning director from voluntarily reconsidering certain of his findings and/or conclusions based on the receipt of additional information, but that is beyond the scope of the issues in this case.”
2. “Nevertheless, the court declines to find that the action as a whole was frivolous and advanced without reasonable cause, and therefore the motion for attorney fees under RCW 4.84.185 is denied.”
Graves: But the debate didn’t end there. Instead, the Emersons again shouted their war cry and battled it out with the county — that time over the existence of an alleged wetland on the property — until earlier this year when it appeared peace had finally been won.
Me: … County’s claims of wetlands on Emersons’ property have ALL been proven by professional licensed experts in wetland sciences to be unfounded; there has never been wetlands on or near their property
The settlement agreement that County created is a legally binding contract with stated performance requirements by all parties to be completed on a specific date
Graves: It came after Pederson ended the stalemate by ordering the Emersons to pay $37,000 in fines or face the prospects of a lien on their property. It was one of Pederson’s last acts as planning director before he resigned.
The county, which had to get special legal representation from Snohomish County due to conflict of interest issues, brokered a deal with the Emersons’ lawyers where the couple would only have to pay a fraction of the original fine — $5,000, but only after the county returned $2,000 in filing fees.
ME: Wrong Mr. Graves. It was a legally binding contract with stated performance requirements by all parties to be completed on a specific date. Emersons performed ALL contracted requirements. County DID NOT perform as contractually required; they are in default, and the current suit is to resolve that default
Graves: While the details of the ongoing dispute are somewhat complicated, having to do with wetland requirements, the Emersons’ argument is based in an idea that government has overstepped, that its power and might has inexcusably infringed on their constitutional rights.
ME: Mr. Graves. The situation now is, “only complicated” for you because you neglected to read the suit. Your complicated claim is based on your faulty bogus opinions, totally lacking of facts
Graves: There are times when people must stick to their ideals and fight for what they believe, but that time has long since passed. The issue has been debated in court, by lawyers in private discussion, and by county and state regulators, and none but a few paid consultants and a handful of constituents have sided with the Emersons
ME: Mr. Graves, those empty words are nothing but your opinion; your claim of “been debated in court, by lawyers in private discussion, and by county and state regulators” is totally incorrect. You can’t provide one document to prove one word of your statement, because none exist and the 94 pages if evidence in the current suit support my commen
Graves: Emerson was elected by the people to lead the county, not sue it, and the time has come to end this issue once and for all. Put aside your righteousness, commissioner, and show your constituents what it really means to lead by example.
By continuing the argument with another lawsuit, the Emersons aren’t being the self-sacrificing
ME: HOG WASH Mr Graves YOUR Opinions can only be explained with the following:
By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. Oscar Wilde
“I’m not sure I want popular opinion on my side — I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts. ” ― Bethania McKenstry
My summary comment is …
Mr. Graves, it might serve you well to have a conversation with Sound Publishing’s legal representatives regarding common law, i.e.,
to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed.
Some common law jurisdictions also distinguish between spoken defamation, called slander, and defamation in other media such as printed words or images, called libel
Nothing limits intelligence more than ignorance; nothing fosters ignorance more than one’s own opinions; nothing strengthens opinions more than refusing to look at reality
AND Yellow Jourrnalism has taken over Whidbey News Times