SML Contributors

Saturday Morning Live for Feb. 17, 2018

Host Kris Halterman will interview Gary Hagland, Pres. Skagit Co. Chapter of CAPR and Mike Newman, CAPR member, about the Hirst Fix – ESSB-6091 and why this bill specifically carves out Skagit County.

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Hirst Plaintiff – Stalheim Blasts Council With Emails Asking Them to Vote “NO”

It appears that one of the plaintiff’s from the Hirst Case has been busy sending out emails with his opinions asking the Council to deny Whatcom County properties a lawful permit to build. Hirst plaintiff, David Stalheim (former Whatcom County Planning Dept. head) has sent numerous emails to the Council asking them to vote NO on tonight’s action to lift the moratorium on permitting for well-dependent properties. The Washington State Legislature gave all counties the lawful tool needed to address the Hirst case and restore private wells as an exempt right in the eyes of the Washington State law, by passing ESSB-6091. Will the Council listen to David Stalheim? Or, will they continue to do the right thing for the “all” the people who live here? We’ll know soon. ~ LR Attached Message: From David Stalheim <stalheim@aol.com> To council@co.whatcom.wa.us; bbrenner@co.whatcom.wa.us; rbrowne@co.whatcom.wa.us; bbuchana@co.whatcom.wa.us; tballew@co.whatcom.wa.us; tbyrd@co.whatcom.wa.us; ssidhu@co.whatcom.wa.us; tdonovan@co.whatcom.wa.us Cc jlouws@co.whatcom.wa.us; ‘Mark Personius’ <MPersoni@co.whatcom.wa.us> Subject RE: AB2018-057a Date Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:27:54 -0800 Please add the additional review of inconsistency with the comprehensive plan to the record for this action: Land Use Chapter Policy 2A-15: Strive to improve predictability to property owners regarding the connection between legal water use, and land use …

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Understanding Hirst

Over almost a decade of see-sawing litigation on whether or not private-wells should stay exempt if water is available on the property and the state law which allowed the property owner an exempt right to use it; the Hirst decision ruling by the Supreme Court of Washington State (SCOWS) in Oct. 2016, turned all of this on its head by requiring each property to prove that water available on or under their property would not negatively affect the ground water of a senior water right. On Jan. 29th, 2018 the Washington State Legislature passed a bi-partisan rule which addressed the Supreme Court of Washington States’ ruling. A ruling, that upheld the Hirst case brought before the State Court claiming that Whatcom County had failed to properly quantify and ”state’ how much water is available and for what purposes. This is referred to as water planning.  SCOWS found in favor of the litigants, Futurewise, Eric Hirst, David Stalheim, Laura Brakke, and Wendy Harris, but the State Legislature always had the power to fix Hirst by legislative authority. Then what was the problem? The problem was that the State House of Representatives refused to bring to a vote of the House floor, the many machinations …

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Saturday Morning Live for Feb. 3, 2018

Host Kris Halterman will interview Dr. Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst at the Washington Policy Center. What changes are happening in health care and insurance with the Trump Administration? How or will residents of Washington State benefit, too? What’s the big deal if Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan partner to provide a non-profit health delivery business?       

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ESSB-6091 Exempt Well/Water Update

Saturday Morning Live has repeatedly stated that the Hirst decision was made with flawed information to solve a problem that does not exist in Whatcom County. That said, ESSB-6091 does bring needed relief to most of Washington States’ properties. The most important piece in ESSB-6091 is the requirement to update county water plans, with the lead agency overseeing water planning to be the counties Planning Unit. Once complete, it will ensure that each county retains their autonomy based on good water planning that includes the stakeholders of each Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) Planning Unit. ESSB-6091 gives a narrow window of time for our Planning Unit to successfully address this update. The County Council and Washington State must give public and financial support to the Whatcom County Planning Unit, so they can get the job done tasked of them and bring permanent water security to our community. Exempt Well/Water Update On January 19, 2018 Governor Inslee signed ESSB 6091 which became effective immediately. The new state law addresses the use of permit exempt water withdrawals for development purposes. On Tuesday January 30, 2018 the Whatcom County Council passed Emergency Interim Ordinance 2018-001 enacting the provisions of ESSB 6091 for the Nooksack River Basin (WRIA …

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He Said – She Said … You Be the Judge

At last Tuesday’s Whatcom County Council meeting, Councilmember Browne took issue with the public’s perception that the Council was being falsely accused of seeking ways to change and subvert the recent passage of ESSB-6091, which restored water rights to lawful and legal properties reliant upon a private-well for potable water.  Councilmember Browne took a considerable amount of time commenting on what he believes to be fake news used to drum-up anger aimed at the County Council. Provided here is the video which starts at Councilmember Browne’s comments made prior to the vote being taken. This audio file is a recording taken from the Whatcom County Surface Water Advisory meeting held on Jan. 23rd, 2018. It clearly shows that there was conversation about whether or not they have the ability to seek more restrictive measures than the state allowed with the passage of ESSB-6091, and the advice of WC Atty. Karen Frakes that it would not be wise to discuss this in public.

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Testimony Supporting Emergency Ordinance Vote of “Non-Approval” on Jan. 30th, 2018, WC Council Meeting

These two testimonials from Natalie McClendon, Whatcom County Planning Commissioner, and Robin Dexter of Pro-Whatcom spoke clearly for their reasons why the Council should vote against passing their emergency ordinance. Natalie McClendon is a key leader in the local Whatcom County Democrat Party who ran unsuccessfully for election to the 42nd Dist., Pos. 1, in 2012. Ms. McClendon was reappointed to her seat on the Whatcom County Planning Commission by a vote of 5 to 2. Buchanan, Ballew, Browne, Donovan, and Sidhu voted to approve her selection. Byrd and Brenner, voted against. Robin Dexter is a key leader in Pro-Whatcom, an organization whose stated mission is to slow growth in Whatcom County.

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Testimony Supporting Emergency Ordinance Vote of “Approval” on Jan. 30th, 2018, WC Council Meeting

These two testimonials from Roger Almskaar, Land Use Consultant and Whatcom County Chapter President for CAPR, and Perry Eskridge, Government Affairs Director for the Whatcom County Assoc. of Realtors, were instrumental in clearly communicating why the Council should vote affirmatively to pass their emergency ordinance.

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Saturday Morning Live for Jan. 27, 2018

Host Kris Halterman will interview Nick Adams, Founder and Exec. Director of FLAG, the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness.   

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County Council Set to Vote for Repeal of Moratorium on Permits for Well Properties

The Whatcom County Council has put forth a substitute version to repeal Ordinance No. 2017-057 which denied the issuance of a building permit to properties affected by the Hirst decision. This substitute version will be put forth, discussed and voted upon at their Feb. 13, 2018, 7:00 PM regular evening meeting.

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