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Video of April 13, 2015 Island Transit Special Board Meeting and Work Shop
(There is no audio for the first 15 minutes for video #1)
Thanks to Gayle Z!

More video below:

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Rufus’ Report- Island County Commissioners’ Work Session, Wednesday, 8 April 2015 [The audio recording is available on the County Commissioners web site]

9:11 Human Resources: Sheriff’s Department budget adjustment. Fewer prisoners are being transferred in the Island, Skagit, and Whatcom Region. Costs less now.

9:16 A Commissioner noted that Law Enforcement is the #1 Mental Health service provider.

9:21 Agenda insert- Commissioners’ discussion: The Island County Logo Committee is trying to “standardize’ the County Logo. Currently several Departments use different Logos that identify their Department. “Doing nothing is not an option.” “Go with a simple design.” Also discussed changing the Island County web site from .com to .gov.

9:30 Facilities: Investigating Camano Annex Front Counter improvements. Improve ADA accessibility and create four workstations where there is now only one. If money available 3-years and $9,300 00 to finish, including 2nd-hand furniture ($2.000.00)

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Please Join South Whidbey Republican Women
Tuesday, April 21st 11:30 a.m. At the Useless Bay Golf and Country Club

A  conversation  with  your  newly  elected County  Commissioner
RICK HANNOLD

Get to know your new Republican commissioner, find out what’s happening with your local government and how it affects you!

Luncheon is $16.00 which includes tax, tip, dessert, coffee/tea. The meeting starts at 11:30; and runs about an hour. For reservations contact Marlene 360-331-3548 or Jean at poorjean@whidbey.com or 360-579-5348 before Saturday, April 18. Please pay at check-in; checks or cash only please.

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Rufus’ Report of the Island County Commissioners’ Regular Meeting, Tuesday, 7 April 15. [The audio/video recording for the Tuesday Meeting is available on the County Commissioners web site]

Regular Meeting, 7 April 15- [No press attended]

10:03-Public Input or Comments:

A. I asked about Agenda Item #5, Grant Agreement with Whidbey Camano Land Trust (WCLT) in the amount of $610,000.00 for the Monroe Landing Conservation Easement Acquisition Project (RM-GSA-2015-81). The Project Background/Summary states:

This project protects the 319 acres while keeping it as productive working farms. Additionally, this project links 2 isolated Island County owned parcels and will have a trail easement provided in the future. Island County gains a legal access point to a landlocked piece of Island County owned forest habitat.

The Conservation Futures Fund in this project are being leveraged with funds from the US NRCS (up to $850,000) WA State RCO (up to $560,000), and US Navy ($300,000).

The funding agreement allows for GSA to pay the $610,000 into the escrow for the closing of these conservation easement transactions.

B. The apparent total cost of this Project is “up to” $2,300,000.00

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On April 21st the Republicans of Island County (RIC) will hold a special presentation by Eric Marshall editor and publisher of the Whidbey Weekly.

The event starts at 6:30 PM and ends at 9:00 PM and will be held at the Coupeville Library 788 NW Alexander St, Coupeville, WA 98239

For more information view the flyer for this event

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Rufus’ Report- Island County Commissioners’ Work Session, Wednesday, 1 April 2015 [The audio recording is available on the County Commissioners web site]

Public Works: 9 – 10:12 am & 2:17 – 2:30 pm

A. Island County is planning to build a new 1+ mile long road that parallels SR-525 between Huston and Race Roads southeast of the Navy’s Outlying Field. The new road is needed as a Detour road in case the highway is closed because of an emergency. This is the only place on Whidbey Island’s ‘spine highway’ where no Detour is currently possible.

There are wetlands in the proposed new road’s path. Wetland Monitoring is required where wetlands are disturbed. A Supplemental Agreement with the Engineering Contractor for $100,000.00 is needed. The entire project will cost several millions of dollars. A County Commissioner wondered if County Staff could do the Wetland Monitoring to save some money. The money needed will mostly come from Government Grants. The Grantors prefers to do the Monitoring to be sure their money is being properly spent.

B. Island County bought approximately 196 acres, including some tide lands, of low lying Agriculture Zoned land, known as “The Iverson Property,” on the east side of Camano Island on August 10th, 1999 for $645,000.00 using Conservation Futures Funds (CFF) money. That was done to prevent non-agricultural use of the land forever and to use the land as a Park Preserve. A farmer has a 4-year renewable land use Service Agreement with Island County to grow crops on approximately 60 acres, and to maintain the ditches that drain the land. The soil and wet conditions on the land severely limit what can be grown profitably. The farmer decided to grow tall fescue grass as a seed crop. The neighbors claim the pollen from the tall fescue grass causes allergic reactions for about 2-weeks each summer. The neighbors want the County to make the farmer stop growing tall fescue grass. The tall fescue grass must proceed through the pollination phase or there will not be any seed to sell.

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This is the third consecutive Island Transit Board of Directors Meeting, where the Public has repeatedly questioned ‘inoperable bus radios w/ safety concerns, emergency communication systems safety concerns, and other Information Technology, Safety and Security devices, as well as, qualifications of both Island Transit’s Information Technology Managers’.

I point out my prior request for Info Tech Manager’s presence at this meeting, as to help us better understand radio issues and fixes. I also noted, the Info Tech Managers were, obviously, not here.

Thus far, the Public, the Employees, and the Board have been lied to “three times” by Operations Manager Shawn Harris, regarding Radio Safety Issues and Concerns!

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Join Us to Celebrate Rick Hannold’s 100th Day in Office As Your Island County Commissioner, District 3
When:
Monday, April 13th
6:30—8:00 PM
Where:
Coupeville Recreation Hall
901 Northwest Alexander Street

Dessert will be served
RSVP: eventsandinfo@comcast.net

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Oak Harbor City Councilman Bob Severns filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission on 3-16-2015 as a candidate for Mayor of Oak Harbor. His committee is named Committee to elect Bob Severns, Mayor.

I don’t think too many people are surprised at him officially announcing as he previously “announced” to the Chamber of Commerce by stating in his BIO that he was “Mayor Elect”.

You can view his PDC filing here.

Councilman Severns has an interesting history in the Oak Harbor Council, he voted for the Pioneer Way one way street “revitalization” project even though there were claims he should have recused himself for being partners in property along the Bayshore DR. He was at odds with the Washington State Attorney Generals Office over the legality of the standing committee meetings which were considered at the time directly against our open government and transparency rules.

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1. I attended the Wednesday, 18 March 15 Work Session of the Board of Island County Commissioners. Public participation is not usually allowed. You can hear the recording of the Work Session by going on-line to the County Commissioner’s web page. It is an excellent example of doing the public’s business ‘in the open.’ It was not always pretty, but it was genuine and important for the public to hear.

2. Public Works:

a. Grant shuffling encouraged by the State will pay for both a grant related to the 600+ acre Trillium property and for the ‘Local Match’ of money previously required. This seems to be ‘easy money’ gone wild. County and Whidbey Camano Land Trust do not understand why, but are pleased to accept the (free?) money. Listen to the recording.

b. Results of the (South) Whidbey Air Park Access Feasibility Study seem too expensive. Light Industrial Development is permitted at the Air Park, but there are significant transportation limitations. Discussion of the Economic Benefits to individuals, potential businesses and employees, and to County and State revenue was not included in the oral report of the Study. The Economic Development Commission was not part or aware of the oral report. Listen to the recording and look at the Study on line in the Public Works part of this Work Session element.

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Helen Price Johnson visited Washington DC with the Washington State Association of Counties last week and met with Navy officials in the Pentagon. She discussed the local “community impacts” from the Growlers at the Coupeville NOLF and gave the officials a letter signed by her and co-signed by Coupeville Mayor Conard which is linked below.

The letter sounded like it was written by COER (Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve) the anti Navy special interest group here on the Island.  In the letter to the officials she mentioned “significant impact”, harm to “water, air, soil and wildlife” and health effects like “sleep disruption, hearing damage,blood pressure and cardiac problems, effecting “community members, medically fragile, senior citizens and children”.

Helen Price Johnson IS COER. She is their representative not ours. She is representing a small, increasingly out of county, special interest group over the entirety of the citizens of Island County. At least now we know for sure where she stands on the issue of the US Navy on the Island.

Letter to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic from Helen Price Johnson and Nancy Conard

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It’s official, the downtown “revitalization ” project known as the Pioneer one way street and revitalization project has led to more empty businesses on Pioneer Way than I and many other long time residents have ever seen. I recently walked our historic downtown and was shocked at the number of empty store fronts. Many businesses have gone under since this revitalization project, some have been replaced by new businesses but many others have not. On Pioneer Way between Midway BLVD and SE City Beach Street I counted 14 empty store fronts. (See images at biottom of article).100_1825

In 2007 the board of Island County Commissioners awarded the city $1 million in Rural County Economic Development funds to help move this $8.35 million project forward and it has been everything but a revitalization or economic development success.

Hundred of pages of documentation was presented to the council about the plan and how one-way streets are detrimental to residential shopping areas. All of that evidence was ignored.

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“Dear Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,

As a private citizen, a firearms business owner, and an avid shooter, I oppose your attempt to thwart our constitution through administrative action, by attempting to reclassify M855 as armor piercing; thereby eliminating a very specific caliber of rifle ammunition used for sporting purposes.

The ATFE bureaucrats can’t change our lives and direct our futures by further attempts at manipulating the GCA, the most obvious connection being the “sporting purposes test” – which matches the Nazi law almost word-for-word once translated – that is now being twisted to ban M855 ammunition.

The merits of the agency position do not pass muster, and are is in direct violation of  the recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court; that the Second Amendment protects an individual\’s right to keep and bear arms, by necessity also protects an individual\’s right to have ammunition designed for use with those arms.

For the discussion, I offer additional points below as argument and evidence against the agency desire to ban M855 ammunition, and request all my comments be entered into the public record for this matter.

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IRAN’S CONQUEST OF AMERICA- Mark Lijek

IRAN – Conquest of America! In 1979, Iran attacked the US Embassy and took 52 Americans hostage. Mark Lijek and his wife were there at the time along with 4 other Americans. Lijek worked in the Foreign Service and his wife worked at the US Embassy. Only by a fluke did these 6 people escape being hostages themselves. They were given refuge by the Canadian Embassy until they could escape. (The movie “ARGO”, Ben Affleck’s top grossing movie, is based on their experiences.)

Mark will share this terrorizing true story, which he calls “The Canadian Caper”, and give us his perspective on the ongoing crises with Iran today. He will also have copies of his book, “Escaping Iran”, available for purchase.

Join us Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 6:30 PM, Coupeville Public Library. No charge; donations appreciated.

Space is limited so please RSVP to 360-341-2355 or RSVP2RIC@mail.com.

Sponsored by Republicans of Island County (RIC).

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