Off target over ‘conflict of interest’ | Guest Column

Submitted by the Board of Common Sense Alliance

Special to the Journal

Commons Sense Alliance would like to set the record straight in response to statements made by David Dehlendorf in a recent rhetorical essay in the Journal (“Poster-child for conflict of interest”, pg. 7, April 2, 2014) and certain statements made by the Friends of the San Juans on the same day in a pleading to the Growth Management Hearings Board on the county’s recently adopted amendments to the Critical Areas Ordinance.

First, we thought that Mr. Dehlendorf’s piece must have been a day-late April Fools joke.

While he is obviously no fan of CSA (or, we suspect, anyone who stands up to challenge the party line he supports), his comments display nothing but blatant mischaracterizations and/or confusion regarding the role of the Planning Commission, the county’s conflict of interest policy, and the Common Sense Alliance. Evidently, Mr. Dehlendorf wants to tell planning commissioners with whom they may associate.

Like Mr. Dehlendorf, the Friends are also annoyed by CSA board members’ participation on the planning commission. The facts, however, are:

n There are nine positions on the Planning Commission. Three of the planning commissioners happen to include CSA among groups with whom they associate.

n It is true that the Friends asked CSA board members to recuse themselves from the planning commission’s deliberations on the CAO amendments. It seems the Friends would also like CSA to simply go away, allowing Friends to continue controlling policy making in San Juan County.

It is also true that CSA board members declined to recuse themselves, because there is no legal basis for it, as the prosecuting attorney has previously confirmed, and on several occasions.

n None of the issues addressed in the recent CAO amendments that were before the planning commission were issues appealed by CSA.

n Regarding the biggest change to the CAO in response to the Growth Board ruling (that is, converting the new ordinance to the Department of Ecology’s buffer approach), only two CSA board members were present for the vote. One voted “No.” The other “Abstained,” believing further analysis was necessary before recommending such a significant change.

n CSA recently welcomed Brian Ehrmantraut to our volunteer board. And (in case you are wondering), Brian voted “Yes” on recommending the DOE approach.  Does this sound like a “voting bloc”?

Mr. Dehlendorf says he “trusts islanders to do the right thing.” CSA too, trusts islanders to see through his emotional outburst. CSA was formed to give voice to islanders who want the county to ask the right questions and insist on proper analysis before taking regulatory action.

Thanks for your continuing support.

— Editor’s note: For more about Common Sense Alliance, visit its website, www.commonsensealliance.net, where you’ll find a list of the organization’s board members.


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