Newsletter: Hirst Decision, calendar

posted in: Chair's Corner | 0

Greetings all!

Central Committee Meeting

this Saturday 


 11:45 am

Heritage Bank in Friday Harbor

All conservatives are welcome!


Since we are meeting this week, and there are a number of important deadlines early in the week, it is one of the rare weeks where I will email more than once. I will send out another reminder about our central committee meeting at the end of the week.

Note: OPALCO ballots must arrive by May 4th. Lopez special election ends today — the 25th. See last week’s email for more details. Sound Publishing has published a Q&A this week about OPALCO, found in the Islands Weekly and the Sounder.

Public Hospital District #1 is meeting tomorrow, 4/26, at the Legislative Hearing Room located at 55 Second Street. Michelle Loftus has sent us an update which can be read here. As she reports, there is a bit of a split, with several commissioners wanting to give the $50,000 in question to hospice and the paramedical program. See for more details about the meeting. Agenda can be found here.

Today is the last day to nominate someone (or yourself) for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (Islander reports here). We have previously circulated this issue, but by way of update, I emailed the contact, Marcia deChadenedes (SJI Nat’l Mon. Manager, Spokane district), and posted her reply on the website. It has the documents you need to apply and some explanatory information.

The Hirst Decision:

Are you are familiar with the Hirst decision? It is the court case in WA State that made it so that if you want to drill a well, you cannot do so if it might feasibly impact a river or stream. This is a major issue for property owners across the state, and a perfect example of how much local and state matters impact our daily life. It also gives the government tremendous control over whether you can build or not. State Representative John Koster (Arlington) has been doing excellent work to ameliorate the impact of this decision:

John Koster’s update here (posted on our website)
WA State Dept of Ecology has a concise overview here.
Seatle Times, March 1st: “State Senate passes bill to address ‘Hirst’ water-rights decision” (the house has not yet passed a similar measure)
To see the House bill on the table click here.
Seattle Times, April 13th: “Fix court decision: Property without water is worthless
The Washington Policy Center has an excellent article on the Hirst decision as well, and another on water issues generally.
If you want to do something about this, you could email the members of the Committee for Agriculture and Natural Resources, but you must do it soon.
The WA Legislature also has a website that direct you to the right place to comment on a bill.

Really, this is about much more than water rights. It prevents rural development of all kinds.

Also, does this change your mind about how important the 45th Legislative district special election is? It will determine which party controls the state legislature. (click here for our past coverage of this issue). It will be on the primary ballot in August.

The legislative term ended on the 23rd of April, they are currently holding a special session (Island Guardian Reports). This is the 7th special session in 8 years and is primarily to resolve budget issues resulting from the McCleary decision (where the state supreme court held that the state was not spending enough on education).

Other Links:

San Juan Island Real Estate update. This is of interest to property owners and would-be property owners alike. Island Guardian reports.

Seattle is considering an income tax. Seriously. Seattle Times reports.

Homelessness is a difficult problem to solve and has been in the news a lot lately. I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a man sleeping outside in Friday Harbor at about midnight. The Seattle area is attempting an integrated solution. Seattle Times reports.

The county council has altered the plastic bag ordance. The Journal reports.

County Calendar: (details here)

Public Hospital District #1 Meeting

April 26, 2017, 5:00 PM @ Legislative Hearing Room

Building Advisory Council Meeting
April 27, 2017, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Orcas Ferry Landing Building

Veterans Advisory Board Meeting
April 28, 2017, 11:45 AM - 1:45 PM @ Large Legislative Conference Room

SJC Council Monday Meeting
May 1, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

SJC Council Tuesday Meeting
May 2, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

Eastsound Plan Review Committee Meeting
May 4, 2017, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Eastsound Station 21

Noxious Weed Control Board Meeting
May 5, 2017, 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM @ WSU – Skagit Campus

Human Services Advisory Board
May 8, 2017, 11:45 AM - 1:15 PM @ Large Legislative Conference Room

SJC Council Monday Meeting
May 8, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

SJC Council Tuesday Meeting
May 9, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing Room

Please consider picking a meeting and attending it. If you attend any of these meetings, please pass along what you learn to me

BLM applications

posted in: Announcements | 0

In response to the Islander article regarding applications for a position on the advisory committee with the BLM, due May 26th: (email from Marcia deChadenedes follows)

Attached you will find the announcement, with links through to the nomination forms.

This is for a position on the National Monument Advisory Committee, not for a position relating to a San Juan County government, just to be clear. I attached an info sheet with a map so that you can see where the monument properties are located.

An individual can nominate themself.

The nomination package must be submitted in hard copy, not email.

Only two letters of support are necessary, regardless of the number of positions identified as of interest.

I’d be happy to answer any other questions, just give me a call!

Marcia  deChadenèdes
San Juan Islands National Monument Manager . Spokane District

w: 360 . 468 . 3051

c: 360 . 298 . 4302

Download PDF:



More information:


Michelle Loftus on PHD #1

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

We received this note from Michelle Loftus about SJC Public Hospital District #1. (full disclosure: Nathan Butler, Chairman of SJCRP, has accepted a part-time job with PHD #1. He has no role in forming policy, but will generally recuse himself from PHD issues. Although we have been focusing on the PP issue, PHD generally does important work that makes a difference in many people’s lives. He is proud to be a part of it. We have a number of people intersted in the PP issue, Michelle Loftus among others, and we will continue to post and distribute their messages).

SJCPHD Meeting Wed 4/26  5:00 PM at County Council Chambers in FH

We outnumbered the PP supporters at the last meeting so let’s do it again.

 Today or tomorrow morning please send an email to the commissioners objecting to money going to PP before other needs in our community are met. An example of my email is below.

Tomorrow please attend the meeting and participate in the Public Access time. They will be voting to approve a contract with PP. There is a first objection in that services currently offered by PP here conflict with services provided by PIMC or physicians with leased space. By the 3rd Amendment of the district’s hospital contract, that is not allowed but we’ll see if the 3 follow this or not. The second objection pertains to funds used for abortions. Abortions cannot be performed safely in our remote location so our tax dollars would be used outside the district.
SJCPHD Commissioner,
Please consider real SJCPHD real needs when dispersing tax dollars. Hospice, Drug Abuse Treatment Programs, Paramedic Programs and Mental Health Counseling need financial support in our district.
Consider PP’s government funding has doubled in the past 10 years to $553,000,000  while their health services other than abortion has decreased 60-77%. PP Abortions have increased 27%.

   Consider: PP performs 323,999 abortions per year 

887 abortions per day

1 abortion every 97 seconds

Do not waste our tax dollars with PP. You can do better.
You must satisfy the 3rd amendment of the subsidy correctly. Don’t compete with PIMC and don’t use our tax dollars outside the district.
Sincerely,Michelle Loftus,Friday Harbor, WA

4-18-17 Rep John Koster on Hirst decision (water rights)

posted in: WA State Legislature | 0

04-18-17 – Rep. John Koster update: A message to Inslee — You are the governor for the entire state, not just urban King County! Fix Hirst!

You are subscribed to Rep. Koster for Rep. John Koster. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

04/18/2017 07:57 AM PDT

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

At a press conference April 6, Gov. Jay Inslee made some disturbing comments against the concerns of rural Washington, reflected in this Capital Press article.

waterfaucetApparently, the governor could care less about a fix to the Hirst decision, a state Supreme Court ruling last October, which has essentially closed rural areas to new domestic wells.

“It is not as important as funding the McCleary decision,” said Inslee, referring to the court’s order to spend more on education. “We’ve got to focus on that. We can’t let any other issues intrude on their ability to get the first job done, which is the McCleary decision. That’s Hirst or anything else.”

I invite you to scroll down to the bottom of this page and read the entire Capital Press article.

While McCleary is important, for the last two months I’ve been pointing out in my email updates on Feb. 13 and March 29, that Hirst may be the biggest and MOST EXPENSIVE issue to hit Washington state in many years!

Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber and I wrote about this in The Seattle Times – “Fix court decision: property without water is worthless.” The article appeared last Friday. You can read it here. Or on my website.

In this article, we are talking about everyone in the state of Washington who will be affected.

We need to ensure economic development continues statewide, not just within urban King County. We need a governor who cares about the rest of Washington — not just for those who live within the view from atop the Space Needle. Hirst will stop development in rural Washington and cause an enormous tax shift to those who own properties with access to water — including urban areas.

Gov. Inslee, you represent all of Washington — not just those within the view of the Space Needle. Rural lives matter too!

GovernorSpaceNeedleFive days remain of the 2017 regular session. Senate Bill 5239, the “Hirst fix bill” that would take our state back to the point prior to the court decision and put the onus back on the Department of Ecology to determine water availability, is sitting in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, awaiting action. If the bill dies in the committee, it will cost us all in terms of property values and taxes.

If we can’t get a fix on Hirst, the next step is to pass House Bill 2195, which would ensure tax relief to property owners affected by the Hirst decision, reflecting the true value of that property once the water ruling has taken effect.

Please call 1-800-562-6000 and ask that a message be left for the governor about the importance to move the Hirst fix measure, Senate Bill 5239, out of committee. Tell Gov. Inslee he finally needs to represent the rural issues of Washington — not just the issues surrounding the Space Needle. That includes pushing for passage of the Hirst fix.

Watch my video for more about this issue.

Rep. John KosterCAPITAL PRESS ARTICLE – April 7, 2017

Inslee: Rural well issue shouldn’t distract lawmakers
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s short list of legislative priorities doesn’t
include reopening rural Washington to new wells

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee outlined his legislative priorities Thursday for the last weeks of the session, a list that doesn’t include responding to the state Supreme Court decision that has closed rural Washington to new domestic wells.

“I think it would be most helpful in many, many places to find some solution to it, but it is not as important as funding the McCleary decision,” said Inslee, referring to the court’s order to spend more on education.

Senate Republicans say they want to address this year both McCleary and the Hirst decision. The 6-3 ruling in October will require individual property owners to prove their well won’t draw water from existing uses. Dissenting justices said the decision puts a massive and likely insurmountable burden on people applying for a building permit.

The Washington Farm Bureau has been among the Hirst decision’s leading critics, saying it will stop families from building homes for the next generation of farmers. Tribes and environmental groups say the decision recognizes that new wells could draw down fish-supporting rivers that already have low flows at times.

The GOP-led Senate has passed a bill to nullify Hirst. The Democratic-controlled House has not advanced legislation, though Democrats have proposed in two similar bills to create watershed-level committees to approve projects to keep new wells from usurping other uses of water.

“I think the House, from what I know of their proposal, has a more stable system … that I think would reduce litigation,” Inslee said, speaking to reporters. “I’ll have more to say as these bills progress.”

The sponsor of the Senate bill, Moses Lake Republican Judy Warnick, said she was disappointed that the House hasn’t offered a bill and that Inslee hasn’t made passing one this year a priority.

“Obviously, I disagree with his assessment on this. We do need to deal with it,” she said. “It’s absolutely a slap in the face of rural Washington.”

Warnick said she’s ready to talk with House Democrats and come to an agreement.

“My leadership has asked me to negotiate with them,” she said. “But I don’t know what I would be negotiating with. I don’t want to negotiate against myself.”

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, said last week he hopes the chamber can produce a Hirst bill, though no legislation had enough support to move from his committee.

Inslee said education funding was the top issue, but he volunteered other priorities. “There are a handful of other bills that I’m also tracking, and I’m hoping that will be delivered to my desk,” he said.

The list, which Inslee said was not exhaustive, included bills to help the homeless, and crack down on distracted driving and human trafficking.

Inslee placed an especially high priority on legislation to bring state driver’s licenses into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. “This bill is very important to pass this session. They need to reach that agreement and get that bill to my desk this session,” he said

Asked whether a Hirst bill was must-pass legislation, Inslee returned to education funding.

“They’ve got to focus on that. We can’t let any other issues intrude on their ability to get the first job done, which is the McCleary decision. That’s Hirst or anything else,” he said.

In a follow-up question, Inslee was asked whether lawmakers can handle more than one issue at a time.

“Well, they can obviously. What I’m saying is, they ought to focus on McCleary first,” he said. “We’ve got Hirst, we’ve got all kinds of bills, and we need to get down to business on McCleary first. And I think it’s a mistake to say, ‘Well, let’s pass all these bills, and we’ll get around to McCleary in June.’ It’s just not acceptable.”

As of Thursday, the Senate had passed 300 bills this session, and the House had passed 375 bills. Inslee has signed three bills, including one related to education funding.

# # #

Final thoughts

I welcome your thoughts and comments on this or any other issue related to state government. You’ll find my contact information below.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you!


John Koster


State Representative John Koster
39th Legislative District
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7816 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000

Weekly email 4/20

posted in: Chair's Corner | 0
Greetings fellow Conservatives!

Our next Central Committee Meeting is April 29th
Heritage Bank, Friday Harbor
11:45 am
If you have not heard about the special election for the 45th legislative district, it matters because it will determine which party will control the state Senate. You can read about it here. It has tremendous significance for all residents of our state, and because it is a special election it will have the attention and effort of both parties across the state. We are considering a vote at our Central committee meeting to make a modest donation as SJCRP to support GOP candidate Englund. Do you agree/disagree? Let me know.


We will also be planning our events for this summer, our fair booth, potential 4th of July parade float, upcoming ezine, new database tools, and more. All conservatives are welcome to attend. If you are confused about what the central committee is, we have an article about it on our website here.

OPALCO Election:

As many of you are aware, OPALCO is going through an election cycle. Ballots should be arriving this week. OPALCO must receive your vote by May 4th. There is no voting on the ferry as has been done in the past.


This is a nonpartisan race, and SJCRP is not endorsing anyone. However, we want to make sure that the public is aware of the race and knows how to vote in a procedural sense. We also want to help facilitate candidates in getting their message out, as in these down ballot issues it can be hard to get information adequately disbursed.


I received the following from Herb Meyer endorsing Vince Dauciunas:


“The OPALCO board elections are coming up, and I’m writing to urge you to vote for Vince Dauciunas.  Vince has enormous financial and technical skills, and we really need him on the OPALCO board. Vince says we should also vote for Mark Madsen. Please pass on this endorsement to as many voters as possible. A link to the OPALCO ballot is attached here. Thanks, Herb Meyer”
We are happy to accommodate other endorsements or comments.
Vince and Mark ably advocate for themselves in the San Juan Journal here as well. I looked but did not see any letters or endorsements for the third candidate, William Seversen. The voter’s guide is posted here. Note that this is all handled through OPALCO, not through the County Auditor’s office, so you will find no information on MyVote and the ballot does not look like the ballots for state or county elections.


I have seen only one letter about this, by Councilman Rick Hughes, in the Sounder here (his bio here)


There’s lots more information on the OPALCO website.


Lopez Public Hospital District Vote
Ballots for Lopez-only measure are due by 8 pm on April 25th. The Island’s Weekly is full of letters about it, mostly “for,” which probably reflects the fact that proponents have succeeded in casting it as a referendum on whether the clinic will stay open.


Those who oppose the measure generally don’t want the clinic to close either, but want to delay a decision on the matter until next year so that a more substantial proposal can be put together. Based on what I’ve read, the clinic will continue to be solvent for 3-5 years.


You can review some of our past coverage of this issue here. This remains a non-partisan issue and SJCRP does not have an official position. I certainly do not pretend to know what is best, and if any readers have input let me know (although my next newsletter will likely not come out until after the deadline I can post things online).


The Island’s Weekly covered this issue a few days ago as well.


We aren’t the only county with a special election, as the Wire reports.


Some other Links:
A group of people (including several prominent dems) are blaming vacation rentals for the lack of affordable housing in our county. You can read the statement here. (Journal)  Do you agree?


Community Treasures has cancelled it’s state e-recycling contract. The Journal reports. Many of you may have read Frank Penwell’s article in our ezine on this subject last month.
WA State legislature passed a distracted-driving bill to take effect in 2019. Seattle Times provides coverage here. Distracted driving (such as texting) has indeed been shown to be every bit as dangerous as drunk driving.


WA State has streamlined the process of getting a business license. The Guardian reports.


Dinesh D’Souza created a minor stir lately, when, as the person who sent this to me said “Dinesh D’Souza destroys Everyone in live speech.”


A PCO sent me this timeline of Obama-era Surveillance. From the Fast and Furious gun scandal to various wire-tapping revelations this unnerving timeline which may be a little discouraging. Journalist Sharyl Atkisson is no fringe reporter or conspiracy theorist, but a hard-nosed, award winning journalist.


County Council Calendar (further details here)
Land Bank Commission Meeting — 
April 21, 2017, 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM @ Grace Church
SJC Council Monday Meeting

April 24, 2017, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Council Hearing RoomCitizens’
Salary Commission Meeting

April 26, 2017, 12:00 PM - 2:05 PM @ Council Hearing Room
Building Advisory Council Meeting
April 27, 2017, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM @ Orcas Ferry Landing Building
Veterans Advisory Board Meeting
April 28, 2017, 11:45 AM - 1:45 PM @ Large Legislative Conference Room


April 22nd is the Great Islands Clean-up. We occasionally get flak for this by people claiming “No Republicans show up,” which is certainly factually inaccurate. I do not know how island clean-up could be a partisan issue, but it occasionally is. If you have time it’s a good cause, even if some of the people may be insufferable.

Nathan Butler

Chair, San Juan County Republican Party
Cell: (360) 298-4489
“No matter how conservative your views may be, unless you do something about it you really aren’t that conservative.”