The Community Forum held 1-19-11 evening at Shelton City Civic Center sponsored by CCMC was well attended as the main hall reached seating capacity early in anticipation of key speakers such as Meg Sheehan (a nationally acclaimed environmental lawyer), Duff Badgley (recent Green Party gubernatorial candidate, organizer, and outspoken critic of BioMassacre), Fran Prescott (local environmental advocate & analyst), Beth McBain (Concerned Citizens of Mason County spokesperson), Michelle Morris (Concerned Citizens of Thurston County spokesperson), and Marty Best (Mason Co. Emergency Management Mgr.).
Local activists and spokespersons from Port Townsend engaged in a similar struggle against BioMassacre were in attendance as were many Mason County luminaries working in the movement to save our community from the destructive agendas of companies such as Adage and Simpson. Unfortunately, chief architects of Mason County’s BioMassacre (e.g. Tim Sheldon, Jay Hupp) weren’t there. Representatives from ORCAA, however, were.
A number of tables were set up to showcase different government/community organizations along with their literature bearing on the impact the proposed BioMassacre project(s) are likely to have on the community. Beth McBain announced, to deafening applause, her group’s decision to engage in the appellate process after suffering a recent defeat before local judge Amber Finlay.
Yours truly believes Judge Finlay’s adverse ruling came about as a result of the sophistication of the surrounding merits and argument. Our local judge(s) have proven to be out of their depth on this issue. Regarding this legal paradox, Ms. Sheehan was asked, in her professional capacity, given the permit process was entirely driven by sweetheart laws passed by our elected officials beholden to wealthy corporations such as Adage and Simpson, and given the administrative agencies along with any courts of review were narrowly limited to checking whether all the T’s had been crossed and I’s dotted in complying with said laws/regulations, just WHEN would citizens have an opportunity to seek equity/fairness from the judicial branch of our government? As expected, her response was sobering.
Although legal challenges may delay the permit process, the core to equity/fairness toward the community lies in our elected officials. Therein lies the problem. These same officials are married to the wealthy corporations intent on destroying our community and quality of life for profit because that’s who donates the lion’s share of their campaign funding. Tim Sheldon in his most recent run for 35th District State Senator is a classic example of this perfidy.
The merits of the community’s pleas for equity/fairness go unheard because the PROCESS itself is broken. The only remedy to this crisis is through revolution or the ballot box. But this requires perseverance and attentiveness by voters…something that has been lacking until now. Hence, we find ourselves in the predicament of having slept while the corporate foxes and their political allies have robbed our hen house. In this instance, an ounce of prevention would have been worth 604,000 tons/yr. of biomass destruction. Despite some reeducation shortly before our most recent election cycle, one of the chief architects of destruction for our environment and arch-enemy of this community’s quality of life was re-elected as 35th District State Senator, i.e. Tim Sheldon. The community MUST begin to concentrate its efforts more effectively where it will make the most difference: educating our families and neighbors BEFORE they cast their ballots!
Once again, the meeting reflected it is the women in our community…especially mothers and grandmothers, who are doing almost all of the heavy lifting in this struggle. The tin ear our elected officials turn toward them reflects a kind of gender based bigotry wherein our women’s voices are not taken seriously…their constructive petitions and protestations are ignored…their intellect is insulted and characterized as ‘misled’ or worse. But there was a feeling of good will (solidarity) shared among attendees in recognition of a common purpose and a common cause…the preservation of our children, families, health, environment, and quality of life. It was heartening to see the turnout and hard work that went into organizing this event. Few had occasion to be anything but proud of their neighbors’ resolve to make a difference and positive contribution toward the common good. Those elected officials who failed to attend were damned by their absence. But it remains for us to hold them accountable at the polls.