Setting the record straight
To the gentleman excoriating two opinion writers, in the Chinook Observer, about censorship, regarding Cate Gable’s political left-wing tirades, in her “Coast Chronicles” columns (which I often enjoy): Assuming I was one of the aforementioned, I would like to set the record straight:
First, I abhor censorship, though you seem to favor my opinion be shuttered, by Matt Winters.
Second, she is paid contractor.
Third, if she wants to espouse her opinion and political rant, use the “Letters to the Editor” space, like the rest of us.
Finally, I disdain that all of her links are to left-wing blogs and media, which she often declares “these are just the facts, ma’am.” Hardly.
Time for serious response to DV
On Dec. 15, I sent an email to Commissioner Ayers. Despite her invitation in last week’s Letters to the Editor asking the public to question her directly about her comments, she has yet to reply.
I started my email with “I was shocked and appalled at your quotes to the Chinook Observer in the most recent article regarding JD Rossetti.” After reading her 744-word Letter on Dec. 28, I am still shocked and appalled.
Ayers used four paragraphs of her letter to defend her comments and accuse the author of bias; two paragraphs to defend abusers-emphasizing that they can be rehabilitated; one paragraph to discuss actions taken by the commissioners to address serious issues like domestic violence (DV); and one sentence to point out that victims should be supported.
Ayers states that her comment should have read ““He is no longer running for office, he is no longer our state representative, why is the guy getting beat down over and over?” My answer: Ayers used her political power and vote as a commissioner to appoint Rossetti to the 19th LD House of Representatives. She was the only Pacific County Commissioner to do so. That fact alone makes her not only qualified to comment, but in part, accountable for his behavior while serving in the office she helped appoint him to.
DV does not occur in a vacuum as Ayers implied with her comments, “I am not going to bring this to the forefront because of somebody in another county. We already have other issues here. I just don’t see why we need to acknowledge it when we already work on DV issues here.” Again, I would like to point out that she used her political power and vote to appoint Rossetti to govern over the entire 19th LD. That vote demands that she consider his actions in all areas of the district, not just those that occur in Pacific County. In addition, DV is not just a county issue. It must be addressed at the local, state and national level.
I urge each and every citizen of Pacific, the 19th LD and Washington State to take a stand against DV and support victims any way that they can. I cannot stress enough how common DV is and how devastating the impacts of it are.
• DV is a serious social problem and a health concern that creates negative impacts on individuals and our communities.
• DV is the primary cause of injury to women in the US, more than car accidents, robberies and rapes combined.
• 1 in 3 women in the US are physically abused by a partner at some point in their lives.
• 44 Washingtonians were killed in DV homicides in 2014.
• 72 percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94 percent of the victims of these crimes are female.
• DV is illegal.
Driscoll responds to latest court action
Having failed to convince Judge Goelz and Superior Court Faubion that unproven and untrue allegations of shoreline violations by Oysterville Sea Farms have merit, Pacific County Commissioners and its Prosecutor now want to overturn decisions favorable to OSF on technicalities. If Pacific County can’t win on the merits of the case, why are they still pursuing it? Why does Pacific County government continue to defame and vilify OSF rather than hold accountable county employees who created this expensive and unnecessary mess?
Thank you to the Chinook Observer for running a history of Pacific County’s ongoing efforts find OSF guilty of selling “non-grandfathered products,” “Retail sales of non-seafood-related items” and “unauthorized commercial uses on a conservancy shoreline.” I hope that someday soon reporters will visit OSF and do a comprehensive story on interactions between the development department and OSF prior to Dick Sheldon making complaints against OSF.
Prior to Pacific County issuing (without warning, investigation, hearing or right to appeal) OSF a nonsensical June 14, 2011 Cease and Desist letter, there were no “grandfathering agreements” between Pacific County and OSF. All OSF’s retail operations operated under a Pacific County-issued Food Establishment grocery/seafood market license. Pacific County had approved OSF’s Oyster Bar. Pacific County’s Sheriff, Board of Commissioners and Development department signed off on all the applications OSF made to receive its liquor licenses. None of these licenses had verbal or written “grandfathering agreements” attached to them. When the issue of OSF grandfathering was first brought up with past DCD Director Faith Taylor, her initial response was to deny the very existence of grandfathering. In a Nov. 15, 2011 email she told my mother “No one is grandfathered when it comes to zoning.” Pacific County’s bizarre and expensive attempt to become the first government agency the Untied States to grandfather items rather uses came later.
As soon as I became aware that my Uncle and previous owner of the Oysterville cannery structures (Dick Sheldon) considered all OSF commercial activates illegal, I contacted DCD’s Director (Faith Taylor) and Assistant Director (Tim Crose). I asked for an administrative decision regarding Mr. Sheldon’s allegations. I told Ms. Taylor and Mr. Crose that I wanted to take positive steps to prevent harm to Willabay Inc., the citizens of Pacific County and the government of Pacific County. Tim Crose responded on May 23, 2011 with a administrative decision that supported OSF’s commercial activities. “You are in an Urban Shoreline Environment, Commercial Use is permitted.” DCD employee Megan McNelly scheduled a June 17, 2011 meeting between OSF staff and DCD staff to discuss OSF’s commercial operations. Prior to that meeting Pacific County wrote its June 14, 2011 OSF cease and desist letter. The actions of this letter were justified by unproven and untrue allegations of Shoreline violations by OSF. All subsequent administrative and enforcement actions Pacific County has taken against OSF have been based on unproven and untrue allegations of land use violations by OSF.
Judge Goelz said that Pacific County acted egregiously by ticketing OSF for activities it was aware of and in some cases had even required. The DCD’s ludicrous lie that it had no knowledge of OSF doing anything besides oysters before being informed otherwise by Mr. Sheldon have been shown to be false by documents responsive to public record requests. With accurate background information and proper investigation, everyone sees Pacific County’s pattern of false and damaging information (disinformation) against OSF is part of a deliberate campaign designed to advance a private agenda through bullying and intimidation. It is particularly disturbing when this abusive agenda is carried out by County officials who use their privileged podium to lend the credibility of their office to spread nonsensical gossip. Their coffee shop and cocktail party convictions of OSF play well to cronies eager to believe, but petty coffee shop and cocktail party convictions don’t stand when vetted by due process.
Oysterville Sea Farms was built — step by step and stage by stage — openly and in plain and full view of Pacific County government, under their review and according to DCD’s various requirements. Because of this cooperation on my part, DCD progressively authorized the ongoing development of the business through their power to issue licenses and permits, which they did repeatedly. When, later, the Department of Community Development chose to reverse the County’s position, it becomes the agency responsible for creating the current “mess” — not Oysterville Sea Farms, or me. The truth should matter, and on this topic it is this: by their sudden change of position, Pacific County government did not respond to a problem but rather created one. The crucial question to be publicly asked and answered is “why?”
As Court briefs continued to be filed, the reality emerges from behind the smoke and mirrors of an attack campaign directed against OSF. It is becoming obvious that the only reason these various accusations were ever made was to influence the political, regulatory and legal process in favor of the personal agenda of a few private citizens — who have deeply antagonistic attitude towards OSF and myself. This should not be able to happen, neither here in our county nor anyplace where democracy operates and the rule of law prevails. Yet it is still happening in Pacific County. Pacific County has finally given up trying prove its case against OSF on merit, but instead wants to win on technicalities. Pacific County is no longer fighting for truth and justice. It simply wants to win. Pacific County government is as committed as ever to an unjust and expensive campaign to destroy a community asset. Instead of holding the individual within its DCD who created this mess accountable, Pacific County commissioners just rehired her. Who will stand up and demand justice? Or at the very least stop allowing their money to be squandered on such a mean-spirited and useless endeavor?
P.S. Who said allowing OSF to operate “could harm the surrounding environment?” I don’t see it in the infraction ticket. Assistant Prosecutor Donald Richter did tell Judge Goelz that if OSF were allowed to continue to operate it could turn into a Wal-mart. Judge Goelz laughed at Richter’s ludicrous justification for the County’s infraction case against OSF.
Oysterville Sea Farms