Make a stand for rural property owners

"When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim, improve yourself." - Gilbert Arland.

You have missed the mark by a country mile with the Critical Areas Ordinance proposal, rural King County taxation and similar laws. Our friends from city and country who are just now hearing of the outrageous CAO proposal give one of two responses: either "you're kidding!" or "oh, that's just wrong."

We object to legislation in any form that attempts to "mandate land stewardship." You can't legislate good land stewards any more than you can legislate good husbands or ethical businesspersons. In all three examples, laws already exist to punish domestic abuse, fraud and environmental pollution. Restrictive covenants in local community tracts and existing laws and regulations are more than sufficient to encourage good land stewardship in King County.

During broadcast of a King County Council meeting in July, we watched as the CAO reps tried to convince us that by abandoning 65 percent of our land to the pestilence of untamed blackberry brambles, "best available science" guaranteed that cedar trees and the Garden of Eden would spontaneously generate in our lifetime from such an impenetrable patch. We were embarrassed for you. Have any of you ever picked a wild blackberry in your lives?

This apparent lack of common sense so prevalent among your group is intriguing. It's very quirky - like a cross between Brer Rabbit and Marie Antoinette - "Toss 'em in dat patch and let zem eat blackberry cake."

CAO proponents, you represent those most eager to "toss us in that patch, then have your cake and eat ours, too." For some country folk cake isn't an option any more. For some, life truly does come down to working and eating off our land. And let us assure you, there are more nourishing items for us to steward on our property than wild blackberries. CAO proponents (and all "city" folk pay attention here) should understand that rural landowners are not your serfs, your servants, your slaves. We are not growing pines for your Sunday drives past private country parks. We are not growing blackberries for you.

Have all you public employees forgotten that you are not our leaders? You are our representatives. You work with us, for us. Thank heavens for the few of you on the County Council who are proactive with this idea and are fighting against the CAO. Keep up the good work! Vote NO on the CAO.

What a shock to not only find ourselves fighting for freedoms and for our lives in foreign countries, we still find ourselves fighting for our freedoms and lives right here in King County after all our time and effort to speak sense to you.

What surprises us is the lack of common sense among you. What dismays us is that this lack of sense comes with a supreme lack of consideration. What shocks us the most is that you refuse, you pretend, not to see the immorality, the injustice, the illegalities, the insinuations of the CAO and all proposals like it. We believe that you are able to discern right from wrong. What shocks us is that you are aggressively adversarial in pretending the CAO is a good thing, insinuating that landowners are the bad guy idiots. You, the creators of this bizarre proposal, are promulgating many lies. Sadly, you are forcing us to waste our might, mind, strength and dollars fighting against a variety of county takeovers when we have so many other priorities.

The CAO, and its type, is being pushed down our throats to preserve greedy public control and impersonal management of private property that does not belong to you. As landowners we are taking this very personally. We recall, as you should, that among all peoples and countries in history, this is an old strategy by those in government seats. Your scheme for saving blackberries rather than citizens, preserving river bank weeds over families, is an affront; and the front to control King County landowners, to seize great power over a group of people through "laws" that bring us into King County bondage. Talk about river frontage!

Mr. Sims, and all proponents of ordinances like the CAO, we are inspired by a greater cause than yours. We are not fighting for state realms or power or popularity. We are fighting for our homes, our livelihoods, our liberties, our husbands and wives, our children - in other words - our all.

We want you to stop killing family businesses like herb farms, horse farms and dairy farms. We want you to stop strangling us through asinine ordinances, pernicious permits, inflated fees and exorbitant taxes. We want you to attain much common sense. We want you to stop seeking dishonorable dominion over us. We want you to stop ignoring the U.S. Constitution and amendments. We want you to stop ignoring the justice and wisdom of the law our forefathers set forth.

We want you to start understanding that we are the best stewards of our private lands. We love them. We cherish them. That's why we have scrimped and saved and fought to live where we do. We want you to offer landowners personalized education, consultation and incentives to continue the heritage of our environment; rather than decrees and punishments as we try to preserve this generational path for our families, our community and our nation.

We want you to understand that we are no longer your target. As you have missed the mark so badly, we want you to turn and look inside yourselves. You and your predecessors have failed to hit the bull's eye. We want you to stop excusing yourselves in the name of cedar trees and runoff streams, in the name of spotted owls and snails, in the name of staffs and scientists, in the name of consumers and constituents and in the name of bad mistakes on your streets that missed the mark long ago that we, the rural landowners, will not atone for. It's way past time to improve your aim.

Once upon a time, your pledge to us was to aim accurately. Starting today, see that you work prudently among your fellow citizens. Deal justly and choose wisely. Only then will you receive the reward a civil servant of integrity deserves - people who give you their sacred confidence to represent them appropriately. You will then have justice, wisdom and good rewards restored back to you.

If private citizens do not possess the "rights or powers" to infringe upon or mandate the management of another private citizen's property, no gathering of such "non-empowered" individuals (read you), regardless of their numbers, can delegate to any body - county, state or federal - a power or authority that they do not hold. Zero when multiplied by any number yields zero.

We can think of no successful political careers that specialized in diminishing the rights of any group of citizens, no matter how small their numbers or how lofty they think the crusade. The environment is important, but not more important than people and their pursuit of happiness and the exercise of their inalienable rights.

The CAO has missed the mark of appropriateness. Listen - you have missed the mark! We call for the CAO pages to be shredded immediately and your efforts counted as a loss on this subject. We call for financial restoration for all individuals and businesses that have been damaged at the hands of King County. We insist you roll back the effects of the CAO and its like. We insist you relieve the oppression of our lives and liberties.

Our pledge is to fight against, and vote against, anyone who keeps missing the mark. Especially those like you who know your arrows have veered off wildly and harmed innocent bystanders.

Steve and Julie Oliver

Fall City

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