To the King County Council, County Executive, Rural Landowners and the news media:

The following article (see below) appeared in the King County Journal this morning.  Carolyn Duncan is quoted as saying in the article:  ``We had a major change in land-use regulation and we had a duty to explain those changes to citizens,'' Duncan said. ``It's a standard communication tool.''
 
What Carolyn Duncan, a shill for County Executive Ron Sims, and her Democrat Colleagues on the Council, had a duty to do, was to abide by the Constitution of the United States and the State of Washington, which they chose to totally ignore, along with 12 of the 13 goals and objectives of the Washington State Growth Management Act, because they are blinded by the environmentalist's mantra of protect the environment at any cost, including your freedom, liberty, increasing taxes and property rights.
 
From our Public Disclosure Act document request, what Carolyn Duncan and multiple department staff members actually said, "in their own words", is as follows:  

On November 10th 2004 in an e-mail from Jessie Israel to Laurel Preston, cc: Carolyn Duncan (Subject "The Brochure") where it quotes "Laurel, I got a message from Carolyn [Duncan] that she wants this to get mailed out sooner rather than later."  Why the hurry?

On November 12, 2004, even before staff obtained quotes for the brochure, Carolyn Duncan in an e-mail to several staff recipients says; "We need to get the brochure to the print shop Tuesday.  We still don't have the cost estimate for printing and mailing, but will have that by Monday."  So to Hell with the cost, they were going to do it anyway.

On November 17, 2004 in an e-mail from Jessie Israel to Karen Wolf, Jessie says; "Waiting to hear back about how long the print shop will take but they are ready and willing to move fast."  Does this sound like a long-term, well thought out informational piece to be distributed on a rational basis to rural landowners?  Hardly.

On or about November 19, 2004 Laurel Preston said in an e-mail to other staff that; "We just got notification that we need to get legal approval prior to printing.  I don't know for sure if this will affect my 10 AM projected ready time tomorrow, but it seems likely."  They were worried about legal approval?

On November 29, 2004 in an e-mail from Wendy Collins to other staff, she says, "The full-color CAO brochure that you just sent out from printing for Laurel was so well received that the Exec's office (Ron Sims) wants to print 120,000 additional copies.  The Exec's Office is very anxious to get this reprinted as soon as possible."   So what's the rush if not for it being an advocacy piece?  So well received by whom?

Then on December 1, 2004 comes an e-mail with suggested talking points from Susan Oxholm to Jessie Israel and Karen Wolf, with copies to Carolyn Duncan and others.

Subject: CAO for urban audiences

From Susan Oxholm and I quote:

"Here are some quick comments:

1.         Make clear that the clearing restrictions (be they 65 or 50%) (and stewardship planning) don't apply in urban areas - only rural areas.

2.         Speak more to urban audience i.e. stream and wetland buffers in most urban areas are considerably lower than rural.  This is in step with the intent of the spirit of the GMA to concentrate growth in urban areas.  It is not our intent to hamper growth in urban areas.

3.         Highlight the preservationist ethic of maintaining the natural systems, beauty and resource of a functioning rural area. (You know how much city slickers enjoy your Sunday drives in the Country)

4.         King County conducted an analysis of potential effects of this ordinance in urban areas and concluded that no measurable reduction in the ability to build in the urban areas would result from the land use constraints found in the CAO.  (This was controversial with the Master Builders, but its been our line all along…)"

 
Please take note of the statement in parentheses in Item 3, highlighted in blue.  Pretty condescending, isn't it?  I'll bet Susan wishes she had never made that statement now that it is public.
 
Now you decide if the above statements boil down to a "standard communication tool", as Carolyn Duncan says, or was it rushed into print for the sole purpose to derail the signature gathering drive for Referenda to repeal the CAO in violation of state law.  Hopefully, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) will see through their smoke screen and investigate, but I'm not holding my breath.  As I was quoted in the following article, the PDC is just "government overseeing government".
 

Complaint alleges tax dollars used
to illegally promote Critical Areas Ordinance
http://www.kingcountyjournal.com/sited/story/html/203398
 
2005-04-06
by
Dean A. Radford
Journal Reporter

 
A Fall City man has filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission against King County, claiming the county illegally used taxpayer dollars to promote the new Critical Areas Ordinance.
 
Ron Ewart's target is a brochure the county sent to about 125,000 rural and urban households in late 2004 and early 2005 to explain the county's new environmental regulations.
 
However, the mailings were timed, he said, to derail a citizens' effort to collect enough signatures on petitions calling for a vote to rescind the new regulations.
 
About 18,000 signatures were collected, but a Superior Court judge later ruled that a referendum can't be used to overturn state-mandated regulations.
 
``The CAO brochure was misinformation at best and blatant propaganda at its worse,'' Ewart wrote in his complaint. He is one of the most vocal critics of the new regulations as an attack on private property rights.
 
Carolyn Duncan, a spokeswoman for King County Executive Ron Sims, said that's not the case.  ``We had a major change in land-use regulation and we had a duty to explain those changes to citizens,'' Duncan said. ``It's a standard communication tool.''
 
The county spent about $82,000 for brochures and newspaper ads to alert the public to the initial meetings about the critical areas ordinances and to explain how they work.
 
Ewart said he's not expecting much from the Public Disclosure Commission.  ``That's government overseeing government,'' he said.