by Goldy, 01/23/2005, 9:51 PM

I was on the phone talking to family back east after watching my beloved Philadelphia Eagles whoop Atlanta on their way to the Super Bowl (fourth time’s the charm), when I looked out the window, and there, standing by a rat my cat had killed, was a peregrine falcon. The falcon looked around for a moment, hopped on top of the rat, and flew away with the rodent secure in its talons.

It was probably the best catch I saw a falcon make all day.

This is a region of spectacular wildlife that extends into the very center of our cities. In my South Seattle neighborhood I see eagles, and parrots, and blue herons, and peregrine falcons… an aviary far more diverse than the crows and pigeons of my native Philadelphia.

As I prepare to join the fight to protect our zoning and growth management policies from the inevitable, extreme “takings” initiative, I do so, inspired by the great natural splendor that makes Washington such a special place to live. Yes, there needs to be balance in all our policies, and I look forward to an informed debate. But if anybody thinks we’re going to get a balanced initiative from the likes of Tim Eyman and the BIAW, then… um… well, I couldn’t think of anything particularly witty, but you get the point.

Millions of people watched the Eagles and Falcons on TV today, but I actually get to watch the real things from my back yard. And that’s something worth protecting.

31 Responses to “Fly Eagles Fly”

1. zip spews:

I agree with you that revisions to the GMA authored by Eyman and BIAW would be an over reaction to the problems with the GMA. Since you will be quite involved with this, I suggest you read up on “best available science” or BAS on the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development web site. It is my opinion that this absolute requirement that critical areas regulations conform to Best Science is the weak link of the GMA. It’s in there to provide uniform compliance across the state, and avoid the scenario where one county decides to do whatever they want even if not justified by scientific principles.

The way this has developed since the gMA was written, we have planners whose livelihoods depend on the GMA and whose careers have been spent entirely on GMA type issues making these huge decisions about what conforms to Best Science. The foxes are guarding the henhouse. Local government really does not have any say in GMA implementation because of this Best Science requirement.

The problem comes in when BAS conflicts with a common sense scenario of, for example, providing 90 percent of the protection that a Best Science approach would provide. The GMA does not allow a local government to decide to make that trade off, if necessary to allow growth or to avoid trampling on the property rights of citizens. And it should. The way the GMA is right now, the John Birch Society could vote in a whole new King County council and they would still be stuck complying with the Best Science approach in the new CAO.

A bigger but more subtle problem caused by the GMA is the impact of GMA-required density inside the urban growth boundaries. Residential suburbs that historically developed as single family neighborhoods are in danger of being spoiled by the zoning changes that are required in order to meet the GMA density requirement. If taken to the GMA required density of 4 units/acre, traffic and other impacts would ruin many single family suburbs. I am no expert on this one, but suggest that this be another area where some trade offs are allowed by a tweaked GMA.

Hopefully the legislature can be convinced to tweak the GMA before Eyman and BIAW destroy it. The only way this will occur is if the environmental special interest groups learn how to compromise. I have my doubts that they will. Their attitude seems to be that whatever is done to protect the environment is never enough.

3. Erik spews:

But if anybody thinks we’re going to get a balanced initiative from the likes of Tim Eyman and the BIAW, then… um… well, I couldn’t think of anything particularly witty, but you get the point.

Oh boy Goldy. You just barely saved that post. For a moment I was afraid that it was going to be on wildlife entirely.

Actually, since the cat killed the rat first, I was thinking you were going to make an analogy of Rossi, Gregoire, and the governor’s seat and the rat killing senario.

Unfortunately, the analogy wouldn’t have gone that well. Re-reading the story, Rossi would be the Falcon, the governor’s seat would be the rat and Gregoire would be the cat. The analogy would be that Rossi was trying to “steal” the election from Gregoire and fly away with it. Don’t tell me that the animal-person parallel never cross your mind.

(just trying to have a little fun folks)

4. Goldy spews:

Erik… actually, it was all an excuse to write about football.

5. zip spews:

A group called Lorman Education Services is putting on a seminar regarding the GMA Feb 22 in Seattle.

http://www.lorman.com

It costs $$ to attend but would be very enlightening, although the agenda seems slanted towards the regulatory side.

6. RDC spews:

Comment 1 by zip

A well-written, thoughtful post. If I understand your point concerning BAS, it suggests that King County really had little choice in the specifics of the CAO. Am I way off base here? I confess to ignorance, but am a quick study. I just need a little disinterested tutelage to head me in the right direction. Thanks.

7. zip spews:

That is how The GMA is set up. If the King County council had ignored the “Best science” when they set up their rules for rural east king County, the next thing that would have happened would have been the State telling them they had no choice.

Look at what happened to Snohomish County. They rezoned some land to provide for some economic development and got slapped around by the state because the rezone did not comply with GMA critical areas rules. The state extorted them by threatening to withhold some funding unless they cancelled the rezone.

8. Chuck spews:

I was on the phone talking to family back east after watching my beloved Philadelphia Eagles whoop Atlanta on their way to the Super Bowl (fourth time’s the charm), when I looked out the window, and there, standing by a rat my cat had killed, was a peregrine falcon. The falcon looked around for a moment, hopped on top of the rat, and flew away with the rodent secure in its talons.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Implying your sweet cat helped the falcon survive???? No it was lunch of convinience ….sorry big guy

9. David spews:

“A group called Lorman Education Services is putting on a seminar regarding the GMA Feb 22 in Seattle.”
Comment by zip— 1/23/05 @ 11:32 pm

Timing is everything.

10. bj spews:

Goldy –

Glad for you that the Eagles won. But I have to say that if that ass**** Terrell Owens were still active on the roster, I’d have rooted against them.

As another omen — while I was walking on Alki yesterday morning, there was a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree right above.

11. Goldy spews:

Interesting historical note about the Eagles… they were named after the symbol of the the Depression era National Recovery Act. So they are a New Deal Democratic team!

12. jcricket spews:

Goldy – I’m having a tough time deciding who to root for here. For family reasons I have to back to the ‘Pats. But personally, I spent 5 years in Philly, and always held a soft-spot for them (who doesn’t love cheesesteaks and South Street?). I’m going to have to back the Patriots (I might be disowned otherwise).

It’s an all blue-state east-coast Superbowl!

On a side note – the new Patriots logo sucks.

13. RDC spews:

Comment #7 by zip

Thanks for your response; this is something I need to become better informed about. At the level of my current knowledge,though, I can’t agree with you about what happened in Snohomish county, except that Gov. Locke may have acted prematurely and certainly with a heavy hand. The ultimate outcome, though, from my point of view, was favorable.

Speaking of Snohomish county, I was encouraged by their refusal to give in to the small but growing extortionist element of the business world, in turning down the race track.

14. Aaron spews:

Slapped around by the state? Gov. Locke acting prematurely with a heavy hand? Balderdash! Snohomish Co. was sued in court and lost when they made illegal changes to their comprehensive plan. Sure is a pain when you have to follow the law:
http://www.1000friends.org/current_work/legal/legal_summary.cfm

The court battles continue, since there seems to be a contingent on the Snohomish County Council that would rather ignore the law.

15. jim spews:

I lived in Philadelphia the last time they made it to the Super Bowl…that was the time the Flyers were flying, the Phillies were superb and the Eagles were in the big game — the basketball wasn’t too shabby either.

GO EAGLES….but be prepared for a non-stop Patriot onslaught. That coach knows how to play, how to win and how to exploit even the smallest weakness. Let’s not have false expectations, just high hopes.

16. jcricket spews:

This is the first time in a while when the two best teams in their conference will actually meet in the Superbowl. Personally, I think with Terrell Owens and Chad Lewis likely out for the Eagles, they’re going to have a tough time.

And with Bill Belichick able to alter his defense to take apart even the strongest quarterbacks (see the Colts), I think the Patriots have the edge.

Note that I said edge, not guarantee. A bad turnover or two, a couple of questionable calls, a mid-game injury could all radically alter things for the Pats (or the Eagles).

Should be a fun game. If one team ends up winning by less than 3, I’ll demand a do-over.

17. RDC spews:

Aaron…thanks for the link. As I stated, I was pleased with the outcome in Snohomish county. Perhaps Locke acted quickly and confrontationally because the end of his term was fast approaching.

18. LittleS spews:

Hey Goldy, are all those Oregonians a bunch of extremists too? They overwhelmingly (60%!!!!) passed a takings initiative mandating that if government passes land use restrictions after they bought their land, they are exempt from the restriction or government has to cough up the $ to compensate them for complying. Wow, that’s really extreme, forcing government to abide by the constitution and compensate land owners for “takings.”

I can only hope and dream we’re next. And if I had to take my pick on who could make it happen–Tim Eyman or BIAW–I’d put my money on BIAW.

19. RDC spews:

I haven’t followed pro football since Bobby Lane and Doak Walker played for the Lions. As a good liberal, though, I have to go with the Eagles. Share the wealth, you know; Boston already has had its triumphant moment this season. Best of luck to the Eagles, Goldy, but don’t put much stock in my karma. I was crushed when the kicker from Texas put the ball through the uprights to defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

20. zip spews:

Comment by Aaron— 1/24/05 @ 10:33 am
Comment by RDC— 1/24/05 @ 12:51 pm

According to the 1000 Friends link:

“1000 Friends appealed to the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board five illegal comprehensive plan changes made by the Snohomish County Council. ….1000 Friends prevailed emphatically on three major issues as the Hearings Board took the extra step of finding the county’s actions were “invalid.” Under the GMA, a finding of invalidity is the strongest ruling that the hearings board can deliver.”

Whether we agree or disagree with Snohomish County’s attempt is not the relevant point here; the point is that the elected representatives of the County have no authority to regulate land use under the GMA. The GMA trumps them. And because GMA requires the use of “best science” in these matters, the “best science” trumps all other considerations that may come into play. We elect representatives to look at all factors but they are not allowed to under this current GMA. That part of the GMA over-reaches and should be changed.

21. Community Member spews:

Why? So a popularly elected leadership can ride roughshod over long term planning for the sake of political expediency?

Some things should be taken out of the hands of local leaders. The GMA is not anti-growth, quite the contrary. It simply exists to channel growth into means that don’t result in the LA-ification of remaining undeveloped lands in an indiscriminant fashion. Yup, that means some developers (loosely speaking, and including folks who purchased farm lands thinking they are guaranteed a profitable development in the future) don’t get to realize their suburban cul-de-sac strip mall fueled dreams.

22. DP spews:

Good Grief Goldy – I was afraid you were going to say the falcon grabbed your cat! A neighbor lost her kitty to an eagle last summer.

23. zip spews:

Comment by Community Member— 1/24/05 @ 8:24 pm

I’m trying to work with you here, Community Crackpot, quit with the knee jerks. And you liberals wonder why we Republicans get so cranky. I put some serious compromise-type, find the common ground comments up there and Community Madhouse Member has to twist everything all around to the typical “anybody who doesn’t like the GMA as it presently exists is evil” routine.

As I said earlier:

Hopefully the legislature can be convinced to tweak the GMA before Eyman and BIAW destroy it. The only way this will occur is if the environmental special interest groups learn how to compromise. I have my doubts that they will. Their attitude seems to be that whatever is done to protect the environment is never enough.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Crackpot. If the enviros won’t find some common ground here with the rest of us and tweak this, Eyman and BIAW will ruin it.

24. RDC spews:

Comment 23 by zip

I’m not convinced that an anti-GMA initiative would get the backing of the majority in this state. The related-issue vote in Oregon may have been a fluke related to the wording of the initiative and the weakness of the campaign against it.

That aside, the environmentalists’ viewpoint may be that the compromises you seek have already been made, and were incorporated into the GMA. The legislation to establish the GMA reflected the will of the people as determined by the elected representatives of all the citizens of the state. Presumably, those representatives were aware of the impact the BAS provision would have, especially on limiting the ability of counties to do end-runs around the BMA.

The Snohomish county case is illustrative. By the tone of your comments I assume you believe the county and the landowner got a raw deal. At the same time you seem to concede that the GMA does give the state the right (and probably the duty, as the law is written) to trump county determinations which are not in compliance with the GMA. Personally, I like this provision. I like it because county lines are legally imposed demarcations which do not neatly fence in the results of land use. A simple, admittedly extreme example, would be the construction of any large project near any county line.

But….you still have a point. Legislation this far-reaching should be looked at regularly, and, if necessary, tweaked (to use your word) to reflect the current thinking of the state’s elected representatives.

25. Community Member spews:

Zip, I’m with RDC, I think the concessions are already in the GMA. I’m not particularly inclined to accommodate the “property rights” nut wings. I don’t think Eyman or the BIAW will win on this one, WA is not OR (thankfully).

RDC, it sounds like you’re talking about the Brightwater waste water treatment plant King Co. is building. Right over the county line, and servicing both King and Snohomish Co. (facilities in King Co. have been servicing Snohomish Co. for years). Yet when the location process was being completed, we heard over and over again how Snohomish Co. shouldn’t be forced to take King Co. waste, and how modern sewage treatment was a great idea, as long as it was done far from any area that any given politician was representing. (See http://dnr.metrokc.gov/wtd/brightwater/servicearea.htm for reference.)

Same goes for GMA. All that is desired is good urban management and protection of the open areas that make us different from so many overbuilt areas. Oh that and an exception for the little subdivision I’d like to put in so I can retire and buy a nice timeshare condo in Mexico.

Personally, I’m glad that politicians beholden to “local” interests aren’t able to run roughshod over the GMA restrictions.

26. zip spews:

I didn’t actually follow the Snohomish County car dealer case closely, so don’t have a clue whether it was a reasonable end result or not. I did pay attention to the County Council having no say in the matter.

I think the GMA “big brother knows best” approach to local land use will eventually be its Achilles Heel. As I hear planners in various suburban cities use the excuse “we don’t have a choice. We have to do this to be GMA compliant,” it causes me to think this will not be a long term solution. The public will eventually decide to throw it out to regain local control over land use decisions. The solution would be to tweak it now before the public gets fed up with this aspect of it.

27. RDC spews:

zip….You may have read the lead story in the Seattle Times today, reflecting the discontent of at least some rural property owners. The story didn’t really present a balanced picture. Anger seems to be directed at King County government, which, as you have pointed out, is anger misdirected. Ron Sims seems to be as unpopular with rural residents as Dean Logan is with Rossi backers; both, I think, unjustifiably so.
I could agree with your position more if I hadn’t witnessed, over and over again, east coast to west, the results of local control over land use. Not pretty. On the other hand, some of the anecdotes I’ve heard about the extremes of the CAO make me scratch my head (can’t cut out blackberry bushes, can’t replace a footbridge over a stream, that sort of thing). If (a BIG if) such anecdotal evidence is correct, then yes, I would agree, some tweaking needs to be done.

28. zip spews:

Tweak it or lose it. Some day the legislature will realize that this is a reasonable way to reach “win-win” policy in these initiative-driven issues.

I’d be surprised if groups like 1000 Friends will stand for even the minorest of tweaks.

29. +14582214544 spews:

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31. Andry spews:

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