Pend Oreille County, extreme northeast corner of Washington State. Rural, real rural, forests, mountains, next to Idaho and British Columbia. Pend Oreille River is like the people, backwards. Just kidding, river does flow north, and the original small population of loggers, farmers and old hippies is an independent lot. Although, since area is beautiful and river lots were cheap an influx of summer residents and retirees have flooded the county. As an aside, winters usually drove away the less durable after a few of them. Now, a phenomenon known as "Snowbirds" has developed. Seasonal residents, retirees on the river for summer who move to Arizona for the winter. The county votes conservative, for some reason, as we are a depressed area. Usually tied for most depressed in state. Our Congressional Representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, keeps getting elected. For the life of me, I can not understand why people vote against themselves.
So, the county has been politically conservative, but is being forced further to the right, Tea Bagger Whacko right. The Oath Keepers get their own clubhouse, promoted by the Sheriff and at least one county commissioner, a Cliven Bundy supporter. Open carry is a second amendment right god dammit. Although, nobody is that goofy, yet.
Latest turn of events is the takeover of Federal lands by the locals.
Check out this draft resolution, leaked to Pend Oreille County Democrats:
At Monday's POC Commissioners' meeting, 10:00 A.M., there will be discussion of transferring federal land to Pend County ownership. If concerned, plan on attending meeting at POC Courthouse. If you have questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
RESOLUTION NO. ___ DRAFT ONLY
A resolution by Pend Oreille Board of County Commissioners to promote the future health, education, and well-being of the children of the State of Washington.
Whereas: Our children are our most precious Natural Resource treasure we have and are the future of the State of Washington; and
Whereas: We have the solemn duty of ensuring the health and education of our children through the preservation of families and the sound administration of the resources available to us; and
Whereas: The wise use of our renewable forest lands and the natural resources they contain are an integral part of our heritage and the foundation on which is built a nation of freedom and accomplishment; and
Whereas: As a result of well-intentioned but ineffective management the health of our forests has degraded to a point where they become a liability to our nation rather than the asset they once were, and negative impact on our local economic stability; and
Whereas: As a result of poor management recent years have seen an increase in the number and size of catastrophic wildfires each of which has resulted in long term harm to the quality of our water, air, human health and wildlife and has expended resources that could be directed to improving the health and education of our children; and
Whereas: The federal budget can no longer absorb the cost associated with the mismanagement of our forest land under federal ownership; and
Whereas: The federal budget can no longer absorb the cost associated with payment-in-lieu of taxers to state and local governments nor can state and local governments plan their budgets effectively due to the uncertain nature of PILT payments; and
Whereas: It is long held the most effective government is that which is closest to the people; and
Whereas: It is historical fact that forest management conducted on the county and state level is more efficient resulting in higher levels of forest health while generating greater income from forest products; and
Whereas: at statehood the federal government promised all states, in their enabling acts, that it would transfer title to the public lands within the newly-created states; and,
Whereas: the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled these promises to be ‘solemn compacts’, ‘ bilateral agreements’ and ‘trusts’ that must be performed in a timely manner; and,
Whereas: states like Illinois, Missouri, Florida and others were once up to 90% federally controlled; and
Whereas: those formerly ‘western’ states, as they were known, succeeded in compelling the federal government to transfer their public lands; and
Whereas: It is imperative that government act today to implement a more effective management strategy before the current approach results in long term or even irreparable damage to our forest and the eco-systems and economies they support.
Therefore Be It Resolved: The Pend Oreille Board of County Commissioners supports the transfer of all federally managed public land not currently in wilderness designation within the boundaries of Pend Oreille County to Pend Oreille County ownership and management or Washington State ownership and management.
Be it further resolved: We call for the federal government to obey the constitution, the Supreme Court rulings, honor its solemn compact, and transfer all public lands within Pend Oreille County to County or State ownership.
Be it further resolved: The Pend Oreille County Board of County Commissioners call on the Governor and Washington State Legislature to adopt appropriate legislation transferring the management of all Federal Public Lands to the to the Department of Natural Resources with the directive that these lands be managed to assure long term health of these lands and to generate the income necessary to comply with the constitutional mandate to provide for the education of the children of the State of Washington.
Dated at Newport, Washington this ___ day of ______, 2014.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Pend Oreille County, Washington
Karen Skoog, Chair
Stephen Kiss, Vice-Chair
Mike Manus, Member
Elizabeth Braun, Clerk of the Board
PAGE 2 OF DRAFT
My friend Gayle, was asked her thoughts on this state of affairs, and said:
“This is the first time the Pend Oreille County Democratic Party has undertaken this type of effort, but POC County Commissioners, especially “one commissioner” has pursued moving Pend County toward transferring federal lands into local hands.
It started two years ago with small items, including sponsoring the development of a local branch of Oath Keepers, using our local tax dollars to join the American Lands Council (an entity with the sole purpose of privatizing all federal land), replacing 3 experienced intelligent POC Planning Commissioners with cohorts that support private property rights over public good, moving to abandoning longstanding state mandated land use laws in favor of local control and taking steps to privatize our U.S. National Forests.
With few exceptions, we did little to oppose these steps, but feel it is time to speak up. We are not asking members to become involved, but understand that we need to let people know what is happening. If we continue to allow our local political leaders to move ever closer to privatization of our public commons without informing others, we are also to blame for the outcomes.
Thus, this e-mail is to inform others, but POC Democrats are hoping that those who are concerned about this issue will attend the meeting to better understand what POC Commissioners are doing.
Thank you for asking about this communication.”
"Do nothing, share the guilt." goutytophus