Bonfire of the Vanities

The Killing Fields

Skokomish Sunset

The 40 acre parcel @ 2933 W. Skokomish Valley Rd. had been devoted to Christmas trees for decades. Perhaps that explains why it was assessed at $169,000 but treated as though it was worth only $11,880 for tax purposes. Still, most Valley residents (other than government entities & cronies) have their 5 acres parcels (excluding structures) assessed at more than the market value ($169,000) this level field was ‘estimated’ to be worth. While notably in a flood plain, those 5 acres parcels (along with most land) in the Valley also flood.

It’s been said necessity is the mother of invention. Clearly Mason County’s Tax Assessor felt the need to generate revenue–though not entirely, at least when it came to this parcel owned (according to Shawn Johnson, who presented a burn permit the night the Dist. 9 volunteer fire dept. asked, before ordering a reporter covering the blaze off the road) by the Johnson family, Arvid H. & Patricia M. Johnson according to County records. Tim Sheldon and his family trust get similar favorable tax treatment (beyond what’s available under State commercial timber tax deprecation programs) for the many parcels he owns/controls. It’s all a matter of public record, though scarcely anybody bothers to look. A casual checking of the facts will reveal these favorites pay only pennies on the dollar compared to their neighbors’ tax liability.

Shawn (and Shelloy) Johnson, for example, have their adjacent 19 acre parcel (#42118-14-00000) @ 2935 W. Skokomish Valley Rd. assessed at only $5,150 (excluding structures) for tax purposes while neighbors with only a 5 acre parcel are paying 30 to 40 times that rate. Whether Wes Johnson’s or Tim Sheldon’s stint as County Commissioner has anything to do with any of this is left to the reader’s imagination. These privileged few aren’t just paying dimes on the dollar compared to other citizens, but pennies on the dollar. The County Assessor is allowing them rates substantially below even those provided in law under the 1930’s Commercial Timberland legislation or the more recent 1960’s Open Space provisions. For Sheldon to argue (during candidates forums) his opponent’s people aren’t paying their fair share to the County is, under the circumstances, the height of hypocrisy. Were he and Terry Jeffreys (once his intern and protege) to be elected, ‘bizniz’ as usual would continue. i.e. Those struggling in Mason County would continue to bear the lion’s share of the tax burden while their wealthier well connected neighbors leisurely stroll to the bank. Unfortunately, Tim’s remarkable cunning, education, and experience have been put to use more in his own service than residents who naively believe this corporate darling benefits them. His own nest has been well feathered while his constituents’ are threadbare.

Corporate Boob

Finally, there’s the matter of local and global air quality. ORCAA repeatedly urges residents to compost or chip yard waste rather than burn it. Yet it, along with Washington’s DNR routinely grants permits for the massive incineration of what could be returned to the soil instead injected into the air we must breathe. In this instance, those responsible (Shawn Johnson & clan) not only were given a burn permit, but were allowed by the County (while Bill Hunter was Commissioner) to erect the now notorious ‘sugar’ dike along the S. fork of the Skokomish River WITHOUT a permit, resulting in exacerbated multiple seasonal floods and a riverbed so elevated as to exceed that of surrounding property. We no longer have a river in the Valley, but an aqueduct! The ‘sugar’ dike (composed largely of sand, gravel, and top soil scraped from surrounding farmlands by the Johnsons) regularly fails, threatening lives, homes, and property.

Up In Smoke

Halden’s Pond

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Opposed to politicians who equivocate about air quality & BioMassacre
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