From Island County Commissioner Angie Homola- What is the cost of a life?

Author:Cliff

What is the cost of a life? This famous, or infamous, statement was made by Angie Homola when speaking of the costs associated with new proposed Island County code change to allow for firearm restrictions in Island County.

If this is what it has come down to, Angie speaking about the cost being irrelevant when saving lives with the new firearms ordinance where is the evidence that there have been lives lost in Island County due to private property owners shooting on their own property? I have lived on the Islands for most of my life and I can never recall a life being harmed or injured by citizen’s target shooting on their own private property. There have been injuries and deaths due to firearms on the Island. A couple of hunting accidents over the last 30 years, a couple of deaths due to the improper handling of firearms and yes there have been deaths due to the criminal elements we all live with on a daily basis. But where are the deaths or injuries related to private citizens shooting on their own property?

If we take Angie Homola’s statement to heart we would need to ban all firearms from the Islands because there have been firearm deaths here on the Islands. Along with that we would also need to make very severe changes to the rest of our activities here on the Islands. As our most frequent cause of death is our highways and county roads we should also be looking at major changes to them. Center line barriers would be the most effective effectively stopping all head on collisions. Stop lights at all intersections would also reduce the number of highway fatalities from people not yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic. The costs for all of these changes? Well as Angie states “What is the cost of a life?”

In society we all take risks, every time we choose to drive our roadways there is a risk that another driver can cause us harm or injury. Wildlife is also a risk for drivers, every year there are deer and car collisions which to my knowledge has never caused a death here on the Island but the potential is always there. We should consider removing all of the deer from the Island or fencing our roadways off because after all “What is the cost of a life?”

The threat to life here on he Islands does not stop there. What about fire? Can a neighbor’s recreational fire get out of control? Certainly it can and it certainly can cause deaths and property damage but are we advocating stopping all burning in Island County? No we are not.

Common sense at some time has to prevail. This new county code is not about saving lives, it is not about property damage and it is not about damage to livestock. It about guns and those that believe that it is politically correct to remove them from society. Fortunately we have a document, several of them, which protect us against this non sensical behavior. One is our US Bill of Rights where in article 2 it states:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The other is our Washington State Constitution which states:

“SECTION 24 RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

I strongly suggest that MS Homola pay attention to the 2 documents that the 2 above passages come from. These documents were not devised to control the citizenry, they were devised to reserve those enumerated rights to the citizens themselves not to the government.

If Ms Homola is truly interested in “saving lives” should first start with looking at areas where saving lives would be effective not in areas where there has been no evidence or proof that lives have been lost or people injured. The rights reserved to the people by our founding fathers and documents should be off the table until there is conclusive evidence that the exercising of these rights are indeed causing harm.

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20 comments

  1. avatar

    Neither the US national nor WA State constitutions differentiate between “legal’ and “illegal” firearms, but every time we pass more restrictive laws about their use and gun ownership, the only people who obey those laws are the law-abiding citizens. This misguided legislation by Ms. Homola seeks to restrict a very law-abiding citizen in his use of legal firearms in a safe manner on his own legally owned property, and under the typical liberal mantra of something like “..if it saves the life of just ONE child….”!

    As an example of how the liberal citizenry becomes led astray on such issues, the Atlantic published a piece that admittedly showed ZERO cause-and-effect but simple CORRELATION between 21 variable associated with injuries and deaths related to firearms and then ERRONEOUSLY concluded that these correlations showed, among other things, that “tighter gun laws” would somehow reduce “fatal gun violence”.

    The Geography of Gun Deaths
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/#

  2. avatar

    Homola will “spin” the topic to whatever way she deems just to try to justify her actions. Since there have been deaths associated with automobiles, I guess we’ll ban them next? She is soooooo out of touch with reality, but totally in touch with her West Beach friends. Who cares about the impact upon the whole County? Obviously she doesn’t!

    1. avatar

      Naaaaaaaaaaaa … I’m one of her West Beach neighbors — definitely not one of her West Beach “friends”.

      Point of fact: there’s several of us along the beach who fervently want Angry (sic) Homola to just go home and bake cookies.

  3. avatar

    Let’s shut down the streets and highways due to the likelihood of humans, animals and property being placed in jeopardy, and also NAS Whidbey. Solution: Rid this county of anything that makes noise or moves and avoid all possibilities of scaring someone. What scares me most? Angie Homola

    Good article Cliff. Thank you.

  4. avatar

    I agree we are in a society todaty that feels we must regulate to protect. One must remember if the property owner has rights, so does his neighbor.
    so in this world of anarchy, so who protects the neighbor I ask?

    1. avatar

      First of all we do not live in a “world of anarchy”.

      We have well defined laws to protect both the homeowner and the recreational shooter.

      In the case of Mr Watanabe’s private use of his land for target shooting he is bound by our laws that protect against damage to persons, property and livestock from the discharge of firearms. The sherriff has determined that there is no danger to persons, livestock or property in his use of his land.

      This is a made up issue. Made up by those who chose to move to a rural county and buy a home in a subdivision that is surrounded by rural property and then attempt to change the laws to reflect their beliefs and practices.

      If it was about protection the sherriff would have determined that Mr Watanabe’s actions were not safe, told him he could not continue to discharge firearms on his property and if he continued to do so seize his firearms and cite him for reckless endangerment.

      This is not about “protection” or “protecting” someone. That is what our sherriffs department is for and as far as I am concerned they do a exemplary job in doing so.

  5. avatar

    Sheriff Brown has not been to Mr. Watanabe’s property. Two sheriff deputies, one which said it was safe and one which said it is not.
    So who is to decide?
    Mr. Watanabe can certainly do what he likes on his property providing he follows the defined laws you speak of. So far I beleive he is not. Again I will state he has no permits for the following activities:no burning permit for the continous burning on a daily basis, no permit for coverting a garage to a living quarters, no electrical permit for the electric gate he installed. Now he rents space to RV’s.

    This issue of his shooting in a safe environment still remains unanswered. These neighbors also have the right to know whether it is or it is not safe.

    The last I read our constitiution allows everyone the right to be heard.

    The Anarchism I speak of is often considered to be radical left-wing ideology.

    1. avatar

      From what I understand a Sherriff deputy came to his property inspected his range and told him he needed to make improvements to continue using it. Mr Watanabe made improvements and was visited by the Sherriffs department again and was told he was OK to use the range. It was not Sherriff Brown himself that visited the range it was one of his deputies. I am sure that the Sherriff has full confidence in his deputies to make the right decisions. I do.

      This certainly seems like a personal attack on Mr Watanabe. What does his building issue or burning issue have to do with the use of his range? Is Mr Watanabes real problem that he bought a piece of property next to a bunch of busy bodies? People who will do anything, including harassing him to get their way? I would hope that is not the case but it certainly seems so from your comments.

    2. avatar

      dwa, “…he has no permits for the following activities:no burning permit for the continous burning on a daily basis, no permit for coverting a garage to a living quarters, no electrical permit for the electric gate he installed. Now he rents space to RV’s. ”
      I can’t believe those code violations exist
      Homola would be the first to tell Pederson, Planning Director to send an enforcer out to inspect and correct permits and code violations
      She would have done that before even starting her Gun law revision
      If you have any proof those violations exist you should file a formal complaint with Planning Dept with a copy to each Commissioner
      Following is my favorite complaint that’s gathered dust for >2 years because the property owners controlled Homola and Pederson
      http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v346/zrwon/WEANie%20%20estate%20COVs/

      1. avatar

        Bill, you made me chuckle this morning,
        as I was thinking about a reply to your comment, I realized I might be coming around to your way of thinking.
        I took a look at your web link of the gathered dust for 2 years.
        I believe the reason is the same, it will just gather dust.
        I beleive Ms Homola is aware of these issues.

        The gun law revsion has been gath
        ering dust since last March. I suspect it will gather a lot more or get swept under the rug for awhile.

        1. avatar

          Emerson was able to introduce delaying issues that postponed the vote until after Homola was history
          She will be most likely be voted Chair after the first meeting of the new “Board” in Jan
          I suspect the Gun law will never again be on their agenda
          The spicial Interest group will need to find another way to dispose of their unwanted neighbor
          My bet is they will try the code violation approach with Homola/WEAN
          (http://www.whidbeyenvironment.org/WEAN/Cartoons.html ) still in the background trying to get even for not being Re elected,
          That’s typical of her incurrable Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. This condition affects one percent of the population.

      2. avatar

        This is obviously a problem that goes deeper than Mr Watanabe’s use of his shooting range on his private property.
        I don’t think that there is anything that Mr Watanabe can do to satisfy these neighbors from the comments by dwa. Nothing will satisfy them until they stop Mr Watanabe’s activities in any way they can. This is why the petition method is such a poor way to determine no shooting areas. It allows people to stop activities on private property that has nothing to do with the safety of humans, livestock and property.

        This is also the danger we face when we allow developments of these types in a rural neighborhood. These people buy homes in a development and then attempt to extend their control over the surrounding property by any means possible including harrassing their neighbor until they get what they want.

        My suggestion to Mr Watanabe is that if he does lose the right to use his private property for target practice is to take his range and turn it into a swine pen. Then the neighbors can complain about flies and smells from his farming operation…

  6. avatar

    These activities violate the well defined laws we have to protect home owners, yet your view appears no one should have right to ask if the area for his shooting is safe or if the toxic smoke blowing across the neighbors property is legal or using his property for something the zoning or law does not allow which would change ones property values.

    I also have all the confidence of the Sheriff’s Department. Island County has very first rate professional department.

    I have never met Mr. Watanabe. I have never lodged a complaint in regards to the actiivty on his property. you “assumed”

    This process of the shooting issue complaint went through the process as outlined by county code. It just so happen Ms Homola is this district’s comnissioner.
    You views toward Ms Homola are illrelevant. The people in the West Beach neighborhood are required to contact the commissioner in their district.
    Regardless of democrate or republican, we the people have the right.

    Unless, your a radical left-winged idealist where you can pick and choose which laws apply.

    I admit it takes real nerve to call these people busy bodies because they are excerising their rights.

    Again, I would like to see the Sheriff’s department to perform a formal inspection and provide a statement on this issue, then I would hope we can all move forward.

    My final comment, this is all just ….. “nuts”

    1. avatar

      “These activities violate the well defined laws we have to protect home owners’

      So you feel you need protection against Mr Watanabe installing a new gate without permission? Against him burning on his own property? Which BTW is legal up to a certain sized fire. The problem is that either you or the homeowners complained about Mr Watanabe shooting on his property and were told that what he was doing was legal and safe. Now you are attempting to create a new county code, a new law, that affects all county residents based on your perception of how Mr Watanabe should be using his property. In the case of the shooting issue Mr Watanabe is following the law.

      I guess you should consider yourself lucky. Your neighbor could be running cattle on his property or have a pig farm. Then you could complain against flies and smells eh? Those that buy a home in a neighborhood surrounded by rural property need to accept that the property they do not own and that does surround them is still be used for rural purposes.

      “This process of the shooting issue complaint went through the process as outlined by county code.”

      The process you or the homeowners are following is NOT county code. The sherriff has determined that the uses Mr Watanabe has for his property are not endangering humans, property or livestock which is the determininng factor in our State law but that is not being accepted by the neighbors. They are attempting to create a county code that does not presently exist in order to curtail the activities that they deem unacceptable.

      Thankfully we have laws on the books that protect landowners like Mr Watanabe from people with your mindset. I suggest you familiarize yourself with them. Here is a link to the applicable law concerning weapons and local laws and ordinances:
      http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.300

      Pay particular attention to sect 2A where it states:

      (2) Cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities may enact laws and ordinances:

      (a) Restricting the discharge of firearms in any portion of their respective jurisdictions where there is a reasonable likelihood that humans, domestic animals, or property will be jeopardized. Such laws and ordinances shall not abridge the right of the individual guaranteed by Article I, section 24 of the state Constitution to bear arms in defense of self or others; and

      If there is no reasonable likelyhood that humans, domestic animals, or property will be damaged Mr Watanabe is in his legal right to continue his activities.

      “I admit it takes real nerve to call these people busy bodies because they are excerising their rights.”

      And just what “rights” are they excercizing? The right to harrass their neighbor?

      1. avatar

        Ok, I have one question.

        Do I have the right to file a complaint against my neighbor if he or she is impacting my health, safety or welfare?

        1. avatar

          You certainly do have that “right”. But after a determination is made that your complaint is unfounded continueing to complain verges on harrassment. This appears to be the case here.

          You allege Mr Watanabe is harming humans, property or livestock. which according to our Sherriffs department is unfounded.

          You allege that Mr Watanabe built a electric gate which according to our County Code is no violation of anything. Citizens are allowed to do their own electrical wiring and build gates. Another unfounded accusation.

          You allege Mr Watanabe burns on a daily basis. Our county code allows for a fire under 10 feet unless there is a burning ban in progress. Another unfounded accusation.

          You allege that Mr Watanabe has converted his garage into living quarters. As far as I know that is allowed under our county code and no permit is required. Another unfounded accusation.

          You allege that Mr Watanabe rents out a space to an RV. If you know of an applicable county code that disallows this I would like to see it. And just how would this effect your health safety or welfare as you claim?

          Again, this seems that this is a case of neighbors being busy bodies and harrassing one of their neighbors because this neighbor does not have the same self imposed restrictions on his property as they do.

          When you bought your property and agreed to the codicels and bylaws of your development did you realize that these restrictions do not apply to your adjoining property owners? Maybe you should have considered whether or not your development has a buffer zone surrounding it to protect you against other rural property owners before you bought it.

          This is really what all your complaints are about isn’t it? You have decided that your codicels and bylaws should also apply to your neighbors. You have restricted the activities of yourself for some perceived benefit to your development and now you want everyone surrounding you to also restrict their activities.

          My suggestion to you is to move back to the city, do not attempt to bring the city here and certainly do not attempt to force your city living standards on the rural neighborhood you live in. Did anyone ever inform you when you bought your property that you are living in a rural county that has a rural lifestyle?

          I mean really…you actually want to change us to suit you and your needs by restricting other private property owners use of their land?

          You are what we need to protect ourselves against.

          1. avatar

            Cliff, “You allege that Mr Watanabe rents out a space to an RV. If you know of an applicable county code that disallows this I would like to see it. And just how would this effect your health safety or welfare as you claim?”

            Remember the “Mr Graves” code violations complaint?

            “Despite growing pressure from the constituency to fire Bob Pederson, Helen Price Johnson maintains that there aren’t significant grounds.
            A recent Public Documents Request for complaints about the Planning Department resulted in a 6 inch stack documents.
            One complaint sent to Commissioner Price-Johnson October 10, 2010, by a property owner was especially disturbing.
            In no uncertain terms the property owner in his letter made it very clear that, he is “African American and his complaining neighbors are Anglo American“ he continued with “ One of my neighbors said that she has a friend who works for the county who would give me hell if I decided to build on the rear of my property…water well …garden…trees are there”.

            His closing statements to HPJ, included, “I have talked to many, many people in and out of government who feels that this type of injustice is not suppose to be happening in America…causing extreme hardship economically and emotionally for me”.

            “…applicable county code” is not a factor in how County Government operates

        2. avatar

          dwa, Yep if you can prove it and are willing to pay the lawyers fees in any litigation that could result
          In the WEAN property complaint case Steve Erickson and Marianne Edain tried bluff with IMPLIED COMMENTS OF Defamation, Libel and Slander Laws to get our complaints withdrawn but in the end they finally decided it was best they stroke Homola and Pederson for resolution.
          They paid to get the required County Permits and now have 2 years to correct their COVs… they probably hope 2 years will pass and it will all be forgotten; they will have done nothing

  7. avatar

    You certainly do have that “right”. But after a determination is made that your complaint is unfounded continueing to complain verges on harrassment. This appears to be the case here.

    1. Your assuming the complaint has been addressed, yet there is no documentation.

    You allege that Mr Watanabe built a electric gate which according to our County Code is no violation of anything. Citizens are allowed to do their own electrical wiring and build gates. Another unfounded accusation

    2, The gate is physically there cliff, step away from your blathering and get out more. Of course home owners can do their own wiring, but not without the proper permits.

    You allege Mr Watanabe burns on a daily basis. Our county code allows for a fire under 10 feet unless there is a burning ban in progress. Another unfounded accusation.

    3. Go back and read the law. Recreational fires allowed providing they do not exceed 3 feet in diameter. Anything over that requires a burning permit from the local fire district. You don’t get out much do you.

    You allege that Mr Watanabe has converted his garage into living quarters. As far as I know that is allowed under our county code and no permit is required. Another unfounded accusation.

    4. Only sturctures less than 200 square feet are exempt from permits. a conversion of an accessory building to a different use is a zoning violation. I’m not saying it can’t be done and I’m not opposed to it, however there is a process which has not been followed.

    You allege that Mr Watanabe rents out a space to an RV. If you know of an applicable county code that disallows this I would like to see it. And just how would this effect your health safety or welfare as you claim?

    5. This is a change of use per IC Zoning. It affect ones property values. Cliff, I encourage you to get out more, or buy a lap top and take with you.

    When you bought your property and agreed to the codicels and bylaws of your development did you realize that these restrictions do not apply to your adjoining property owners? Maybe you should have considered whether or not your development has a buffer zone surrounding it to protect you against other rural property owners before you bought it.

    6. There was a buffer zone, he has cut it down for his gun range.

    This is really what all your complaints are about isn’t it? You have decided that your codicels and bylaws should also apply to your neighbors. You have restricted the activities of yourself for some perceived benefit to your development and now you want everyone surrounding you to also restrict their activities.

    7. One thing we may agree on is the Island County laws apply to everybody. As everone knows , except maybe you the bylaws and ccr’s only apply to the deveolpment.

    I mean really…you actually want to change us to suit you and your needs by restricting other private property owners use of their land?

    8. No, I want to be treated the same when it comes the requirements of the law. At least I’m not bulling people into thinking we have no rights.

    My suggestion to you is to move back to the city, do not attempt to bring the city here and certainly do not attempt to force your city living standards on the rural neighborhood you live in. Did anyone ever inform you when you bought your property that you are living in a rural county that has a rural lifestyle?

    9. This statement is harressment. your telling me becuase you don’t like my point of views to get out. I guess the constitution doesn’t apply to me.
    Did anyone tell you there are laws in a rural community that eveyone is required to live by. I suspose not in your world of anarcy.

    Cliff, I hope you live a long lonely life in your world.

    1. avatar

      “1. Your assuming the complaint has been addressed, yet there is no documentation.”

      Documentation of what? What more documentation do you need than a sherriff visiting and determining that he is not endangering humans, livestock or property? Ask the sherriff for the police report and you will have your documentation. Next time he target practices call the sherriff yourself and make a complaint then ask for a copy of the complaint to receive your “documentation”.

      “2, The gate is physically there cliff, step away from your blathering and get out more. Of course home owners can do their own wiring, but not without the proper permits.”

      And you have proof he had no permit? And you are certain he needed a permit? There are many types of wiring that do not need permits. Check with L&I not the county on this however. The evidence that you give that “gate is physically there” is not disputed however whether a permit was required and whether Mr Watanabe got one or not seems to be in dispute. My suggestion is that if you think you are somehow “harmed” by his action call L&I, get the facts and file a complaint instead of making accusations.

      “3. Go back and read the law. Recreational fires allowed providing they do not exceed 3 feet in diameter. Anything over that requires a burning permit from the local fire district. You don’t get out much do you.”

      You are correct on this. The law has obviously changed. Never the less I am sure from the tone of your complaints you and your neighbors have repeatedly called the fire marshall and now Mr Watanabe only has a fire under 3′ and it is of course a recreational fire also right? I bet you even complain about his burning with a permit correct? A permit does not stop you from burning, it only makes yu legal.

      “Only sturctures less than 200 square feet are exempt from permits. a conversion of an accessory building to a different use is a zoning violation. I’m not saying it can’t be done and I’m not opposed to it, however there is a process which has not been followed.”

      Is it an accessory building or a garage? What was the status of the garage in the first place? Using a garage as a bedroom is not against any zoning I am aware of. If water, sewer, electrical or structure is not changed and it was not an accessory structure to begin with he may be legal converting it to a bedroom or guest cottage.

      “5. This is a change of use per IC Zoning. It affect ones property values. Cliff, I encourage you to get out more, or buy a lap top and take with you.”

      Oh my. The horror. The absolute horror!

      “6. There was a buffer zone, he has cut it down for his gun range.”

      He cut trees down on your property? Oh I see…you believe your buffer zone should be on his property. Right? To protect you because you object to his lawfull activities right?

      “9. This statement is harressment. your telling me becuase you don’t like my point of views to get out. I guess the constitution doesn’t apply to me.
      Did anyone tell you there are laws in a rural community that eveyone is required to live by. I suspose not in your world of anarcy.
      Cliff, I hope you live a long lonely life in your world.”

      I feel sorry for you and Mr Watanabe. You for being a self righteous busybody and Mr Watanabe for having to put up with you and your ilk. There used to be a time when neighbors got along and had an understanding that their property rights stopped at their property lines. Now we have a new breed here on the Island, those that believe their property rights extend onto their neighbors property and that they should have some control over what the neighbor does with their property. They believe if that neighbor does not dot his i’s and cross his t’s and follow every rule in the book that they have every right to harass him. They believe that if they have a neighbor that will not bend to their will they will do everything in their power to make him do so up to and including changing the laws for all residents of the county.

      I will enjoy life in my world Mr dwa, in my world my property rights stop at my property line so I have very few disputes with my neighbors. I don’t need to watch them and document their errors in life to demonstrate anything to others. I may not like their cows and the flies or their loud music or their loud cars or their gunfire but because I do respect the rights of my neighbors I just live with it as I always have.

      Yes Mr. dwa I will enjoy the world I am in…thank you for reminding me how fortunate I am.

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