Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mitch's Kool-Aid: Special FISHY Flavor for Election Time

For those who didn't see it in the October 4, 2007 issue of the Whatcom Independent, I am reprinting Mitch Friedman's latest opinion piece on page 9.

While this is certainly not Mitch's best effort, it does seems to reflect much of the negative tone of attacks we've seen evidenced from him lately, especially in the Mayoral race.

But, more troubling is the attitude that this is the plan he wants done, and any expressions of concern or doubt are totally unwelcome!

Some kings or emperors have gotten away with that, but in America?
OK, maybe too broad an example.

Anyway, I've annotated and inserted in CAPITALS a few comments to serve as quick replies to parts of this particular rant.

Come on, Mitch, we're all in this effort together!

Aren't we?
There is something in the water [KOOL-AID?]

The surreal [SUPPRESSED?] public debate over the proposed reconveyance of county forestland in the Lake Whatcom watershed raises questions either about the mental health of our citizenry [THAT DOESN'T SOUND NICE!] or about the honesty and quality of politics in our mayoral race [THERE ARE TWO CANDIDATES, WHICH ONE DOES HE MEAN?].

Either could be an indication of something amiss in our drinking water: an insidious neurotoxin or perhaps something worse [LIKE ANGER AND DELIBERATE MISINFORMATION?].

First let’s cover the basics:

Reconveyance is a home run for the watershed. [BUT AREN"T MORE GAMES WON BY SINGLES, WALKS OR SACRIFICES?]

The opportunity to move 8,400-forested acres from state timber management into county park management is a huge gain for both water quality and public safety [MAYBE IT COULD BE], not to mention public recreation [NO SURPRISE THERE].

This will greatly reduce the threat of logging-caused landslides which have in past harmed both the lake and property and could do worse in the future.
Natural forest is the best water filtration system, explaining why cities from New York to Portland manage their watersheds in this way.
The steep, unstable slopes of Lookout and Stewart mountains make the matter of greater urgency in our watershed [STIPULATED GOOD IDEA, BUT THE QUESTION IS HOW THIS WILL BE DONE AND MANAGED].

It’s true that the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages timber around Lake Whatcom under the most restrictive plan in the state, [BUT IT IS STILL NOT RESTRICTIVE ENOUGH] thanks to years of hard work by people like Linda Marrom, Jamie Berg, Alan Soicher (a past member of the state Forest Practices Board), Lisa McShane (of Conservation Northwest), Tim Paxton, and Dave Wallin (a prominent forest scientist). [ALL GOOD PEOPLE, BUT THERE IS MUCH LONGER LIST OF NAMES!]

It’s also true that all of these people felt the plan was a compromise and that exclusion of logging on these lands would be preferred.

Furthermore, the state management plan is under litigation by Skagit County and cannot be taken for granted.
All of these people, along with others like April Markowitz chair of the Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board, are thrilled with the prospect of reconveyance [APRIL IS A VALUED AND KEY MEMBER OF THIS CITY ADVISORY BOARD].

Concerns raised over reconveyance are mostly bogus [WHO APPOINTED YOU TO MAKE THAT DETERMINATION?].

Of course we need more information and public discussion before finalizing a reconveyance, and we’ll have many months of that ahead [AFTER THE HOPED FOR ELECTION BOUNCE FROM THE ANNOUNCEMENT].

But most of the questions being raised are obvious red herrings [WHO APPOINTED YOU TO MAKE THAT DETERMINATION?].

If somebody asks you whether a county park would encourage more [HOW MANY MORE, AND FOR WHAT PURPOSE?] people and pets to come into the watershed, simply remind them that hikers cause far fewer landslides or other harm than would the 43 miles of road (and consequent clear-cuts) that DNR would soon start putting in even if the current management plan survives the Skagit lawsuit.
(About 60 percent of the roads and cuts would be on these 8,400 acres.)

Those voicing these concerns have something suspicious [IS THERE ANY REASON?] in common.

What do Tom Pratum, John Servais and Marian Beddill all have in common? [PROBABLY MULTIPLE THINGS, INCLUDING BEING LONG-TIME CONCERNED LAKE WATCHERS]

They have all vocally declared support for Dan Pike’s mayoral campaign [THAT'S ONE THING THEY HAVE IN COMMON WITH MANY OTHERS] and they are all voicing these so-called questions [NOT SO-CALLED, THEY ARE QUESTIONS, AND LEGITIMATE ONES AT THAT!] about the reconveyance, presumably [THAT'S WHY THIS CALLED AN OPINION PIECE] in an effort to undermine much-deserved public credit to Dan McShane for this great breakthrough [EVEN DAN ADMITS IT WAS NOT HIS IDEA, AND SAID SO TONIGHT].

John Watts, who also supports Pike, was critical of reconveyance [ESPECIALLY THE SECRECY AND TIMING OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT] until he studied the matter and showed the dignity of changing his position [THE IDEA STILL REQUIRES CRITICAL ANALYSIS, WITH MANY MORE FACTS. THAT HASN'T CHANGED].

There was a time when we environmentalists [WHO IS INCLUDED IN THIS 'WE', BESIDES YOU?] tried to broaden our political tent in order to achieve environmental gains.

Of what possible benefit could it be now to do the opposite, and actually try to undermine a huge environmental gain in order to narrow the political tent? [THIS STATEMENT DEFIES LOGIC, BECAUSE IT IS BASED ON ASSUMPTIONS AND OPINIONS, WITHOUT ADEQUATE PUBLIC PROCESS AND PROOF]

There’s something in the water.[KOOL-AID?]

Here’s how we get to the heart of the matter: we ask Dan Pike [GOOD IDEA! WHY NOT CUT HIM IN ON THE PLAN? HE KNOWS ABOUT PITCHING A BROAD TENT].

When I used to fish in lakes of the Midwest, I would encounter two kinds of pike.
Walleyed pike swim in the clear, cool depths and are a delight to catch.
Northern pike are bony, teethy, and mean, lurking in the reeds.
I’d like to believe Dan Pike is of the former sort [NICE. ARE YOU CALLING HIM A FISH?].


Pike’s had plenty of time to study the issue, talk to experts, and so forth [CERTAINLY NOT THE EIGHT YEARS THIS HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN IN THE MAKING!].
He even says he stands for improving Lake Whatcom.

So if he supports reconveyance he should come out and say so, maybe even congratulate those who deserve credit [WHY NOT CUT HIM IN ON THE PLAN? HE'S A BRIGHT, FAIR-MINDED PERSON, BUT PROBABLY LIKES TO MAKE UP HIS OWN MIND, BASED ON FACTS, NOT SUPPOSITION. UNLESS, YOU THINK HE'S A FISH].
That should show he places policy above politics [CERTAINLY YOU MEAN GOOD POLICY ABOVE CHEAP POLITICS] and has character worthy of being mayor.

If Pike doesn’t follow that path, we can assume [REMEMBER HOW THAT PARTICULAR WORD CAN BE BROKEN DOWN?] that the foray of attack dogs from his camp has his blessing [HERE YOU SEEM TO BE ADMITTING YOUR OWN FISHY GAME PLAN!].

If he opposes reconveyance, I want to hear his reasons, and they had better be better than the vitriolic drivel we’ve heard so far [IS THIS THE KIND OF DIALOGUE AND THREAT LIKELY TO ACHIEVE SOME POSITIVE OUTCOME?].
Mitch Friedman is a conservation biologist and Executive Director of Conservation Northwest, which has worked since 1999 to protect state lands in the Lake Whatcom watershed.
Whatcom Independent •