Open letter to King County about Critical Areas Ordinance
Mr. Sims and All Council members:
As a national and international property rights researcher, I daily
see similar 'emergencies' such as your 'Critical Areas Ordinance/s'.
It usually elicits a chuckle to think that otherwise reasonable appearing
people could/would seek to pull off such a scam on their own neighborhood.
However, I can see how it came to be. Your residents have been, by
and large, 'taking a nap' while the trap sprang shut. These cookie
cutter ordinances must be a template -- one that only needs to have
the blanks filled in as to how much of the taxpayers' property rights
you intend to take this year. Here in rural Ohio, our farmers saw
not one, but TWO assessments in one year (September and December).
The first averaged a 126% increase in farm taxes; the second went
after up to 72% MORE. This is robbery without a gun; extortion using
paper and pen, nothing more.
No matter. They're waking up now, as their county teeters on the brink
of having its middle class completely erased and nothing but the haves
and the have-nots left to fill the void. I am reminded of the Sheriff
of Nottingham riding throughout the kingdom, collecting taxes from
those taxed-to-the-hilt countrymen -- and his surprise at meeting
Robin Hood and his merry band on a wooded trail. Did you really think
this would continue forever? Did you think Preston Drew and his neighbors
would keep handing you more and more until there was nothing left?
They almost did.
Al Osgood is drafting something that seeks what has always been in
our Constitution (you remember: the national one): compensation for
a taking. Bottom line, though, is that a taking in a place where so
much has already been taken, is arguably a crime. Why not penalize
those doing the taking and reward those whose ownership and stewardship
-- which includes that word DEVELOPMENT that you, Council, seem to
think is your own personal domain?
Wendy Walsh of 'Public Benefit Rating System' fame (or notoriety,
depending on whether you're the steamroller or the pavement), Klaus
Richter, Pam Bissonette and other King County Open Space Citizens'
Oversight Committee and Growth Management Committee members may wax
euphoric about 'preserving' -- but the fact is that no one has sought
to control what she/they do with their property. It's a one-way street,
and Ms. Walsh apparently thinks it runs her way. Preserve is what
biology students do with a jar of formaldehyde. 'Protect' and 'restore'
are just stalking horses for Control, which it is crystal-clear that
you seek to exert over everyone and their property, which means their
You are to vote NO on CAO -- also I can see why you'd think you could
get away with such an abomination in the last country you should ever
consider trying such hi jinx. Apparently, the mind set of King County
residents has been such that they've allowed their county to don the
dubious distinction as being the most restrictive, property rights
wise, in the entire state. To that end, I can see how this 'last straw'
came about. Even now, they bring up things that should never have
been put in place in ANY county in America, including, but not limited
to, a "Growth Management Act" and acquiescing to the mantra
of "150 years of environmental damage" dadada. It was inevitable
that you'd have the run of the candy store long enough to think you
The proposed Critical Areas Ordinances seek to abort every property
rights tenet in the Constitution and Bill of Rights of the United
States of America -- and do so on the backs of the property owners
of rural King County, Washington. You seek to extort from them something
that resembles a Mafia action from past years. Is this how you want
your Council to be remembered, as the thieves of property rights?
No emergency requires this legislation -- but to pass such patently
illegal legislation would be to CREATE an emergency. The fact that
King County already has the strongest restrictions on land use in
the state sickens me. This tells me that the citizenry have for far
too long been of not strong enough backbone and too strong a desire
to let 'someone else' make the rules, so long as those rules did not
dabble in their comfort zone. Now this cocoon has come back to haunt
them, and you are the delivery people. Through multiple down-zoning,
a house of cards -- which will 'bring down' all that most rural residents
hold dear -- is about to implode.
I instruct you, as representatives of taxpayers in your county --
however tardy they've been on standing up to your view of 'freedom'
by strangulatory regulation and smothering restrictions -- Vote NO
to all CAO and CAO-related schemes.
Julie K. Smithson