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Logbear
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Logbear
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 6:25 pm 
Logbear wrote:
Apparently this job did not go out for bid.


July 29th News Tribune

Park officials did announce Tuesday they were moving ahead with the intent to award a sole-source contract to Monroe House Movers. The project is expected to cost $40,000-$100,000, according to Park Service documents.

“With August just around the corner, there is simply not enough time to conduct our normal solicitation and contracting process,” superintendent Sarah Creachbuam said in a news release.

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Logbear
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 6:34 pm 
Logbear wrote:
Actually, if the Chalet gets moved it will probably be because of the claim of potential harm to fish if it falls in the river.

Better start embracing that nasty old endangered species act.  It just might help out in this case.

Jeff's House wrote:
Logbear is correct.

Glad I could help

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RodF
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 6:35 pm 
Tom wrote:
OK, how is NPS not following the law or NEPA in the preferred alternative?  Rants about the government or personal attacks don't really add any value.

Tom, I simply answered your question factually.  I will try again.  You asked:

Tom wrote:
If opinions didn't matter why would the park bother to invite comments?

Because the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process mandates agencies solicit public comments.  Please see 40 CFR § 6.203 - Public participation and regulations cited therein.

That does not mean "opinions matter", nor that public opinion will affect any decision.  As the Park's environmental compliance officer succinctly stated "It's not a vote".

To be more frank: the comment process is often merely a formality.  NPS is following the law in soliciting comments, and in dismissing or ignoring them.  Often, as in this case, the decision had already been made.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 6:54 pm 
Logbear wrote:
...I was told that to get that information a FOIA request would be required.  That will take a little more time.

Logbear implied he had or would file a FOIA request, but "it will take a little more time".  I'm glad he clarified that misstatement, because the time and money wasted complying with FOIA requests is substantial.

Logbear wrote:
No FOIA was needed.  It wasn't a very big deal getting the information.

Good!

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Ski
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 7:10 pm 
RodF wrote:
As the Park's environmental compliance officer succinctly stated "It's not a vote".

And as that same ONP environmental compliance officer told both me and Kim Brown one evening at a public open house, all of those "form letter" comments received that are generated as a result of some group asking you to "comment now!" are counted as one comment.

NEPA serves (to a degree) its original intended purpose, which is to allow public participation in the planning process of projects on public lands (in the form of written comments.) The agency only has to read and consider the comments. They don't necessarily have to act on them, or even respond to them.

The tone of this thread today seems to indicate there's some real misunderstanding about how ONP operates through the labyrinth of federal statutes applicable to projects of this scale.

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altasnob
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PostSat Jul 17, 2021 10:25 pm 
Why is time complying with FOIA requests considered wasting government resources? Would you prefer a government who can operate in secrecy? Sure, there are people who abuse FOIA and WA's Public Records Act to annoy and harass the government, and to make money off penalties. But it's a small price to pay to have an open and transparent government. In the future, all public records will be readily available online for all to see and search through, so we won't have to make FOIA requests, and have a human read the request and go searching for responsive records.

Regarding the public comment rule. Does anyone really think the public comments should be like a vote, and an agency HAS to go with the alternative that received the most votes? If that were true, it could easily be manipulated. Agencies are required to read and consider public comments, but they don't have to respond to comments or follow the advice of comments. Sure, there are times when the agency has already made up their mind prior to receiving public comments. But technically, they still have to consider the comments and can be sued if they do not (proving they failed to consider the comments might be difficult to prove).

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trestle
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 10:26 am 
Many who sue using the FOIA or Public Records Act aren't actually interested in good governance; instead they're looking for a "gotcha" moment which they can manipulate into a massive payday.

https://www.ptleader.com/stories/states-serial-lawsuit-filer-now-aiming-at-chimacum-school-district,72948


altasnob wrote:
In the future, all public records will be readily available online

Working for a public agency, I can tell you that many are doing all they can to avoid putting much information online, due to those manipulating the FOIA and Public Records Act.

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coldrain108
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 11:08 am 
altasnob wrote:
But it's a small price to pay to have an open and transparent government.

goes hand in hand with:

"It is far better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man is wrongfully convicted"


The basis of our bureaucratic criminal justice system...where as the criminal justice systems of tyrannical dictatorships is the exact opposite.  Law and order above all else.


Our governance system was originally designed to have gridlock.  If any one "philosophy" takes complete, unstoppable control we spin down the drain into the realms of all that have come before us...tyranny.

It is a country, not a business.

Slow and steady...like I hike.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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altasnob
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 11:38 am 
I concede that some records request are to harass and annoy. But the vast majority are not. And most public records lawsuits are seeking the truth and have merit. Some examples:

https://www.seattletimes.com/inside-the-times/the-seattle-times-v-seattle-why-were-suing-city-hall-from-the-editor/

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-agrees-to-pay-35000-to-settle-lawsuit-alleging-city-council-broke-open-meetings-law-over-head-tax-repeal/

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/employment-security-department-pays-100000-settlement-in-lawsuit-over-public-records-delays/

https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/crime/article195693479.html

Lawsuits are how laws are clarified. Here's a list of public record court decisions. If no one bothered to request these records, and sue, the law would still be unsettled in each of these examples:

https://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Legal/Open-Government/Public-Records-Act-Court-Decisions.aspx

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treeswarper
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 11:55 am 
What it boils down to is do you want your tax dollars paying for a project and results--like moving an historic building out of the way of the river, or do you want them to pay for an employee to hunt up records, make copies and send those off?

Not saying which is wrong--just what do you want?  Seems like everything that was put into place to be helpful gets abused by jerks.

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altasnob
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 12:00 pm 
No one actually makes copies anymore. Everything is electronic. By hunt, you mean enter a search term into a field and then email all the results.

Important things like how much it costs to move the Enchanted Valley Chalet should be up on the National Park's website. Then no one has to make a request that needs to be fulfilled (a request that should take about one minute to fulfill by the way).

I made FOIA requests months ago for Crystal Ski area's Special Use Permit because I was curious about it as it relates to Crystal making money by charging for parking. My request still hasn't been fulfilled. This is like a 5 page document. It should be up on the National Forest's web page but it isn't.

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Randito
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 12:41 pm 
coldrain108 wrote:
Our governance system was originally designed to have gridlock. 

While that may have been the result, I don't think that was the intention -- I believe the intention of the three co-equal branches of goverment was to prevent the tyranny that inevitably results from too much power being vested in an executive.

I also think a number of the founding fathers believed that political parties would have a negative effect -- it seems their concerns have been vindicated.

George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796 wrote:
Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

I think the constitution as adopted in 1789 was a compromise between various competing interests.   The most glaring compromise was the 3/5 compromise and removing that involved a lot of violence and chaos that resulted in some 600,000+ deaths.    Hopefully reforming the other glaring compromise with the slave holding colonies (the Senate) won't require as much violence.

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Logbear
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 1:17 pm 
Just to be clear.

I did NOT use the FOIA to get the information I asked for.  Nor did I threaten to use the FOIA.  I simply e-mailed a guy at ONP that deals with contracts and I asked for the information.  A couple e-mails and 2 phone calls later I had the information I was looking for.

It was a very nice experience.

I was told that there was more information available, but that to get that info would require a FOIA.  I assume there is personal info like names, addresses, phone numbers, trade secrets, that sort of thing that they can't just give out to anybody.

And to be even more clear.

My investigative journalistic report is that in this case the ONP was pretty darn efficient.

They had a difficult situation to deal with.  Competing interests and competing laws.  And a building ready to fall into a river.  After calling around and getting some rough estimates
RodF wrote:
So NPS first phoned around asking other house movers across the country what they'd bid to move the Chalet, and got back answers between $500k and $1m.

They hired a contractor to move the chalet for $124,000.  The chalet got moved.  On time and on budget I believe.  I'm not aware of any lawsuits.  Besides being a good price, the chalet is still standing 7 years later.

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Logbear
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 2:12 pm 
Right now the question is what to do with the chalet.  7 years ago the chalet was hanging over the river and ready to fall in.  Then the chalet was moved away to safe ground, but now the river has caught up to the chalet and it's no longer safe.

ONP's preferred alternative B is to dismantle and remove the chalet.  A very expensive, 24-26 week, 99 helicopter turns, 8 man crew, etc. project.

ONP's alternative C calls for moving the chalet 250' from it's current location in 125' increments over a 1-2 year period.  7 years ago this type of move was successful.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet EA says the Regional Director will make the final decision.  I don't know if that's happened yet.

The fish thing helped out last time, but the chalet's not hanging over the river now.

Maybe there is a Marbled Murrelet nest under the eaves of the chalet.

I say push the chalet off to the side.  Save the chalet, save the birds.

Plus it's cheaper and more efficient.

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treeswarper
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treeswarper
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PostWed Jul 21, 2021 4:05 pm 
Logbear wrote:
Right now the question is what to do with the chalet.  7 years ago the chalet was hanging over the river and ready to fall in.  Then the chalet was moved away to safe ground, but now the river has caught up to the chalet and it's no longer safe.

ONP's preferred alternative B is to dismantle and remove the chalet.  A very expensive, 24-26 week, 99 helicopter turns, 8 man crew, etc. project.

ONP's alternative C calls for moving the chalet 250' from it's current location in 125' increments over a 1-2 year period.  7 years ago this type of move was successful.

The Enchanted Valley Chalet EA says the Regional Director will make the final decision.  I don't know if that's happened yet.

The fish thing helped out last time, but the chalet's not hanging over the river now.

Maybe there is a Marbled Murrelet nest under the eaves of the chalet.

I say push the chalet off to the side.  Save the chalet, save the birds.

Plus it's cheaper and more efficient.

I like your way of thinking.  However, you will need to make the cabin have old growth tree characteristics before a marbled murrelet will nest there.  It will take a bit of creativity and artistry.  Go forth and make good! smile.gif

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