A glimpse at the effort

Chris Dunagan’s story about the Legislature’s help with cutting the cost of the purchase of 7,000 acres in North Kitsap has behind it a tremendous lobbying effort taken on by legislators and citizens just to get the bill heard in the state Senate.

Those involved shared e-mails. Someone shared with us the exchanges of e-mails and I’ve done the work to pretty much show them to you in the order they happened. I took out the names of the 67 people who were CC’d on the e-mails, in large part because we would love to continue receiving e-mails like this in the future if someone finds a string that illustrates a story like this. I found out a couple of years ago that legislator e-mails are not public record. There are local officials in the mix here, so all these e-mails would be public record, if you’re interested in doing a record request through the county or city of Poulsbo.

We’re including the e-mails to tell a story of what was happening behind the scenes, the events illustrated in the following part of Dunagan’s story:

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, said the bill got hung up because it appeared to affect only a small group. But, with the clock winding down, lobbyists from timber companies, environmental groups and local governments joined together, along with many local supporters. They pushed Senate leaders to move the bill to a vote, which was unanimous in the Senate after only one dissenting vote in the House.

“It took teamwork,” Rolfes said, “but it was very easy to say that everyone wants this.”

Jon Rose, who is spearheading the land deal for Pope Resources, said the legislation shows how people can make things happen when they need to.

“This was one of the best examples of a diverse group of Kitsap County residents coming together for a positive result,” he said, “and I would like to see more of it.”

The evidence follows.

From: Sandra Staples-Bortner
Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 5:29 PM
To: Rolfes, Sen. Christine
Subject: Compensating Forest Tax

Christine,

Checking in to determine the status of compensating forest tax legislation in WA Senate. Is it still looking good? Any help needed?

In addition to Kitsap Forest & Bay Project, GPC hopes to close on a donated 34 acres in north Kitsap in the next few months. Compensating taxes in the amount of $16,000 will be due if the new legislation doesn’t pass. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Thanks!

Sandra
Sandra Staples-Bortner
Executive Director
Great Peninsula Conservancy
____________________________________

From: Rolfes, Sen. Christine
Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 8:56 PM
To: ‘Sandra Staples-Bortner’
Subject: RE: Compensating Forest Tax

We’re working on it, Sandra. I got it on a preliminary list this evening, and Forterra indicated they’d pour it on with the lobbying tomorrow.
______________________________________

From: Leda Chahim
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 9:29 AM
Subject: RE: Compensating Forest Tax

Yes, thanks Sandra – about to send out an alert to partners to get calls in to Sen. Brown’s office as a priority asking that this bill be pulled and heard on the floor. Other members of Senate Rules are also important, but if you’ve got one call you can make, please make that one to Sen. Brown’s office!

Sen. Brown’s office:
Message is:

Senator Brown:

I am calling today to ask that HB2502, forestland compensating tax, be pulled from Rules to the floor for a Senate vote The bill passed easily out of the Senate last year and the compensating tax exemption the bill affords already exists for Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties. If passed, the bill would expand the exemption to Kitsap and Thurston Counties, removing a significant financial barrier to the conservation of up to 7,000 acres and two miles of shoreline at Port Gamble. Restoration and conservation of the lands and waters of Port Gamble Bay are critical for the recovery of Puget Sound and for our community . With just 18 months to put together a deal, we need this bill passed this year so we don’t miss this tremendous opportunity.

Please support an exemption from the compensating tax through HB 2502.

Thank you for your consideration.
_______________________________

From: Sandra Staples-Bortner
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 9:43 AM
To: Leda Chahim
Subject: FW: Compensating Forest Tax

Leda,

FYI. Thanks for your work on this. Let us know if we can help.

Sandra
Sandra Staples-Bortner
Executive Director
Great Peninsula Conservancy
________________________________

From: Sandra Staples-Bortner
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 10:15 AM
Subject: TODAY! Compensating Forest Tax

Dear Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition,

Your help is needed today! See below. Thank you.

Sandra
Sandra Staples-Bortner
Executive Director
Great Peninsula Conservancy
_____________________________

From: Hansen, Rep. Drew
Sent: 3/1/2012 9:59 AM

Subject: RE: TODAY! Compensating Forest Tax

Yes, today is the day; cutoff is tomorrow. We’ve hit this in any way we can but we haven’t got it to the Senate floor yet. Christine and I pulled Lisa Brown aside last night on the Senate floor and mentioned it to her in person, but we need a lot of people hustling it at once. I agree that Lisa is the most important, but if any of you have any connections with anyone else on the Rules committee, please reach out to them directly and individually. The tagline is: “This is a bill that’s identical to a Senator Rockefeller bill that the Senate passed unanimously last year, it should fly through, and it could be really important in bringing tourism jobs to Kitsap and Thurston Counties because we have a potential 7,000 acre preservation project that can’t go forward without this bill.”

Thank you!!
__________________________

From: Jon Rose
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 11:08 AM

Subject: RE: TODAY! Compensating Forest Tax

We are reaching out to key senate
__________________________

From: Rolfes, Sen. Christine
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 12:10 PM

Subject: RE: TODAY! Compensating Forest Tax

Keep it up. I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent trying to get some version of this bill out of Senate Rules. I’ve been told that it’s on the list for the next “pull” so PLEASE make sure the Senators hear the message that real people are counting on this.
_______________________

From: Rolfes, Sen. Christine
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 1:59 PM

Subject: Positive Update – Don’t let up!

I just asked the Majority Leader’s Counsel when the bill would be pulled, and to notify me as soon as possible. She smiled and said, “We’ve had a bazillion people calling about that bill today. It’s on the list.”

The “list” won’t be public until tonight or tomorrow morning.

Don’t let up!!!
_______________________________

From: Rolfes, Sen. Christine
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 4:03 PM
Subject: RE: Positive Update – Don’t let up!

The bill has been pulled! That means we should vote on it tonight or tomorrow. I don’t think anyone not in Olympia has any more work to do on this, but will let you know.

Nicely done, all.
____________________

From: “Appleton, Rep. Sherry”
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2012 16:06:04 -0800
To: “Rolfes, Sen. Christine”
Subject: RE: Positive Update – Don’t let up!

Good job Christine.

Sherry
Sherry V. Appleton
____________________________

From: Hansen, Rep. Drew
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 1:41 PM
Subject: RE: TODAY! Compensating Forest Tax

Just passed the Senate and on its way to the Governor!!!!!

Thanks to Christine for hustling this through the Senate and Sherry for keeping the pressure on as well. And to all of you for making your voices heard! Arguably my favorite email was from John Powers (former Spokane) to Senate majority leader Lisa Brown, drawing on their common roots in Spokane. Truly a team effort. Well done!!

Drew
_____________

From: Jon Rose
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2012 14:55:13 -0800
Subject: RE: TODAY! Compensating Forest Tax

I’ve never seen the power of working together on bigger or better display in Kitsap than around this effort! Fantastic. Christine, Drew, and Sherry – a GIANT thank you from Pope Resources and OPG!!

Jon Rose

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