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You Don’t Know That

Island Life

"Things that are nice- throw them out."- Bill Ameling
I have not written anything for this paper for the last two issues, mostly because it all seems rather pointless. I have seen this attitude reflected in many parts of the alternate media, which these days is the only place one gets a glimpse at a semblance of what is really going on in the world, as well as an indication of what it might mean to you. In place of what some might consider real news, we get reports of the latest, meaningless antics of a fat, bratty kid, or the thumb to the nose actions of a taco licking former fast food employee. This seems to be the state of what now is, and I guess always will be, given current trajectories of "news" dissemination- "…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…". Billy Shakespeare and that crazy Macbeth guy once put it that way, but whether that will continue to be the norm might clearly be something that I don’t know for certain.
It was just last night on Democracy Now that Ralph Nader went into a rant, asking the American people what it might take to get them off their collective asses to demand some accountability for something- anything. It was Michael Moore who made some comment about not doing any more documentaries because nobody seemed to be listening, and it seems that I have read some comments made by Chris Hedges recently along these same lines. There are the optimists in the crowd, like Bill McKibben for one, who keeps lobbying for the magic 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere- that alleged tipping point beyond which we are doomed to out of control climate change and disaster. For some reason he is able to keep on with his fight, in spite of the well publicized breaking of the 400 ppm barrier out at the recording station in Hawaii, a place where one would not expect huge volumes of atmospheric carbon to be detected, and making the disconcerting record recording all the more troubling.
It must be part McKibben optimism, along with the clarion call of Captain Joe for attendance by the stalwart and true, that brings me back to each Vashon Park District meeting with the vague hope that something might have changed in the passage of time from the last meeting. In the interim there are always the curious extracurriculars surrounding the VES project, including the ongoing witnessing of the further unchecked and by all indications illegal land grab that VPD is engaging in along the disputed Rosser/School District property frontier. And there was, this last time, the always entertaining disclaimers put forth by the Department of Ecology of what they can and cannot have a say in or opinion over in the VES Field matter. It would seem that the squandering of perhaps a million gallons of aquifer water would fit into all of the four categories enumerated in two of the emails I received from the Dept. of Eco. They would be: 1) Is water available? 2) Will approval result in the impairment of an existing water right? 3) Is the water use beneficial?, and 4) Will approval prove to be detrimental to the public interest? One would assume that the D. of E. has the answers to all of these questions but they weren’t forthcoming on any of them. As it is, any speculation on any of this on my part would be just that, and my suggesting answers to these questions would just result in what appears to be Commissioner Ameling’s favorite retort to any questioning of the bullheaded, all ahead full attitude on the VES debacle, and that would be- "You don’t know that."
What is most curious in all of these "you don’t know that" exchanges is that when the same statement is turned on Mr. Ameling, as in an exchange where Commissioner Branch asked if the use of public monies to finish this project in spite of the numerous and glaring pitfalls, Mr. Ameling replied that the finishing of the project "could be the best thing" in terms of possible outcomes. No one said "you don’t know that" in response, although it seemed that most people in the room were thinking that, although I don’t know that.
What I do know is that the board is not listening to the advice given to them by the oversight committee. The most glaring example of this was their refusal to authorize the borrowing of the extra money it is believed will be required to finish the project in compliance with what the state Recreation and Conservation Office expects to see in place here by June 30th, and thus be able to receive grant monies they are already counting on having in their proposed budget. Getting the needed cash for completion would be left to the throwing out of the nice things, as Mr. Ameling put it. It would seem that these nice things might include anything that at least three members of the board consider to be extraneous to the completion of the VES project. Since they did not approve borrowing anymore money, one would assume that this might mean getting rid of current parks programs and facilities. That would seem to be what David Hackett’s latest, approved funding amendment for the VES filed might mean, but then again, I don’t know that.