This nastiness emanating from the other Washington must be contagious since we now have county commissioners calling our prosecuting attorney a snake, of all things. Seems some of those commissioners are still bemoaning a lawsuit said attorney won a year ago. A decisive 13 to 0 in the Washington State Supreme Court slammed the commissioners for hiring their own attorney to advise them for the county’s 2016 growth management update. This was illegal because our prosecutor has the responsibility and obligation to provide such legal counsel; it’s his elected job.
The whole situation proves that as usual, we seldom learn anything from history. When the county was under the gun 20 years ago to follow state law and complete a comp plan — after the threat of sanctions from the state — three different commissioners hired an outside attorney — Keith Dearborn — to complete our first comp plan, with a desired spin. This guy rang up a several million dollar fee over several years before our local judge ruled he was working illegally and sent him packing.
This comp plan demands that jurisdictions plan what they want to look like in the future and adopt land use regulations to accomplish that goal. It’s been the law of the land for 25 years in Washington, but remains contentious in some quarters because it often focuses more on the environment and quality of life than dollar signs.
Ironically, this same comp plan is why the million dollar Wright’s Crossing application for 1,500 homes outside of Oak Harbor and was just denied. The Wright consortium, however, has filed a lawsuit and our prosecuting attorney wants some outside help in fighting a well-funded suit.
I would expect to see a well- healed group of attorneys at one table in court and hope that our prosecuting attorney would have adequate ammunition at his table, including some outside help. Despite the vindictive haranguing, funding for such backup has now been approved by our commissioners — whew.
The only snake around here is the interdepartmental jousting and incivility that has surfaced in Coupeville. One would hope various professionals up there be allowed to perform their elected or hired duties according to the laws and regulations we have adopted without impedance from above.