Saturday, December 10, 2011

Public Comment – Concerns Regarding Birch Bay Watershed Action Plan

Yesterday, I sent the following letter to the Whatcom County Planning Commission:
December 9, 2011

Karl A. Uppiano
5988 Malloy Ave.
Ferndale, WA 98248

File Copy – Whatcom County Planning Commission
5280 Northwest Drive
Bellingham, WA 98226

Subject: Public Comment – Concerns Regarding Birch Bay Watershed Action Plan

Dear Planning Commissioners:

I want to share my impressions of the public hearing last night. You may remember me; I was the only one who spoke on the principles of good government.

All through the meeting, I kept thinking of a quote by Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park: “[they] were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.” A lot of the second part of the proceedings was devoted to how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, but no one questioned the forgone conclusion about whether the Birch Bay watershed actually needs fixing, and if so, whether the government should do it. Where does this authority come from?

  • One commissioner noted that there was “overwhelming support” for this measure.
No, there was the predictable parade of NIMBYs, environmental extremists, vested interests (e.g., Sustainable Connections, contractors, consultants, etc., whose job it is to promote these measures), and only a smattering of people, including me, who questioned the fundamental premise – whether the proper role of government is controlling individual behavior.
  • Several commissioners expressed concern about the size and complexity of the measure.
  • At least one commissioner was concerned about the likelihood that the regulations would change over time.
James Madison addressed both concerns 230 some odd years ago, in The Federalist:
The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
  • One commissioner noted (as justification?) that if the county does nothing (or even if it does something), ever more stringent state regulations will follow.
  • More than one commissioner was concerned that what is now voluntary will become mandatory.
Thomas Jefferson: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” As citizens, it is our duty to resist “the natural progress of things”. The natural progress of things is to deteriorate without maintenance. We the People must maintain our liberty at all levels of government. Government won’t restrain itself – that much is obvious, or should be.
  • One commissioner mentioned that the county wants to help the people of Birch Bay, who want this.
  • One commissioner suggested CAPR testimony should be disregarded. (Seriously?!)
Jefferson again: “The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.”
  • One commissioner suggested that if this is voluntary, why not simply publish the LID materials, and leave it at that?
Why not indeed? Instead of collecting government grants, and lobbying for the government to force people to go where they would not go voluntarily, why don’t the ReSources and Sustainable Connections people (and all the rest of the ICLEI/Smart Growth/Sustainable Development crowd) manufacture environmentally friendly LID products and educational materials that they can sell for a profit, in order to purchase buffers and offsets with their own money, and fund their own environmental public awareness campaigns and how-to programs? For the answer to that question, you need to understand that for many, the environment is nothing more than a convenient tool used shamelessly to promote a collectivist, illiberal agenda.
  • Several commissioners expressed concern for the amount of time, effort and expense already spent for research and development on this project and the potential waste if it fails.
That’s a valid concern, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Again, we have to question the fundamental premise: Is this necessary? Is it proper?

I realize that quoting our dusty old founders might seem quaint, except for one thing: They had a lot invested in the American form of government, and the principles that they established as necessary for good government are still the official specification for the United States: the federal, state, and local constitutions and charters. These supreme laws have not been rescinded, but merely disregarded in recent years.

Once government becomes activist, picking winners and losers, working on behalf of one special interest or another, it becomes a fraud magnet – susceptible to lobbying, special interests, waste. Those problems are much less severe when government sticks to its affirmed purpose: that of protecting the civil liberties of all citizens, equally. I believe it is possible – preferable – to protect our natural resources without forfeiting our natural rights.

Respectfully Submitted,

Karl A. Uppiano

You may not feel that this is relevant to you if you live outside Whatcom County. If that is the case, then I would encourage you to Google "Sustainable Development", "Smart Growth", "ICLEI" and "Agenda 21". Then, attend your city and county council meetings. Be prepared for a shock. You might discover that, at the behest of environmental extremists, the government has made you a mere tenant on your own property. You can still develop and use your land, but only in very special ways, after paying the government exorbitant fees for the permission to do so. Tried any remodeling lately?


  1. Excellent letter Karl - I hope everyone who reads it will forward it somewhere that ears will listen and understand the breach of trust that Agenda 21 and its tentacles is causing . be alert, citizens, and keep Constitutional values alive.

  2. Thanks for the update, and different perspective on local government. It's nice to hear the question, "Should we be doing this?" asked once again.


This is a moderated forum. Please try to avoid ad-hominem attacks and gratuitous profanity. Justifiable profanity may be tolerated.

I am sorry, but due to the un-manageable volume of spam comments, I have enabled the scrambled word verification. I apologize for the inconvenience.