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State Commission recommends possible removal of TCD Board members

The Thurston Conservation District (TCD, District) has been the locus of an ideological fight in Thurston County that lumbers on. Last year, the District lost a third of its funding when three board members (including the Chair) failed to vote at a critical meeting. Chairman Johnson was quoted in the Olympian saying the revenue loss could be viewed as “taxpayers saving nearly $600,000 that would have gone to overcompensated bureaucrats sucking the public teat.”

A pattern of conduct by the Chair and another Board member eventually provoked complaints of disruptive behavior serious enough to merit investigation by the state. The loss of funding has led to the departure of staff, as well as the sacrifice of important functions of the District. At this time, only 7 of 15 employees remain, and many programs have been eliminated. “Staff is drowning in workload,” says Executive Director Sarah Moorehead.

The Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC) that oversees the TCD recently completed its investigation of the District and recommended possible removal of two board members—Eric Johnson and Richard Mankamyer.

The investigation found that the two board members engaged in acts that constitute neglect of duty and malfeasance. A hearing to consider the report and the two board members’ response will be scheduled at a special meeting of the SCC on August 29. That meeting is open to the public....

If we can’t protect our water and air, let’s give nature the right to protect itself

Protecting critical water habitat by Harry Branch Moxlie Creek begins as an artesian spring in Watershed park. It’s joined by Indian Creek which begins in Bigelow Lake and then flows through the center of town in a half mile long culvert. Occasionally chinook and coho salmon and cutthroat trout can…

The orca’s mourning

A mother whale bearing its dead child plies the local waters. Why does the image get to us so? It is surely a poignant one but its impact on us is something more than maudlin. It is a tragic image of Shakespearean proportions. It is also disturbing. Like the homeless person on the street corner that stares mumbling at you through the glass of your car. The image can haunt the rest of your day with a voice somewhere uttering, ‘is there something really wrong happening here?’...

Midterm elections: To the Left! To the Left

The contrast between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren by Enrique Quintero First things first: Should the Left participate in bourgeois democratic elections? Yes—for the following reasons. 1) Parliamentarianism is a living, politically alive form in the functioning of American democracy. Although I agree with Borges that in the next life…

A new system for electing leaders

The view from the Green Party by Janet Jordan It’s no secret we need a better voting system. The US uses the plurality system, where the party with the most votes wins, even if it’s not a majority but only a plurality (where the winner gets less than half the…

Water is Life, Everywhere in the World

The house across the street from me has a big sign in the window that says Water is Life. I see it every day coming and going, and despite being awash in news reports of record droughts and mega-fires, rising sea levels and shrinking aquifers, empty reservoirs in Capetown and poisoned water pipes in Flint, I haven’t usually given it a second thought. Not until...