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Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Interview with David Dicks, Puget Sound Partnership

June 2nd, 2010 by cdunagan

The Kitsap Sun Editorial Board, which includes community members as well as Sun employees, sat down yesterday with David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership.

Dicks had just come off a tour of several low-impact development projects in Bremerton. He complimented the city for its downtown paving project using pervious asphalt. This and other low-impact development projects are designed to reduce stormwater pollution flowing into Puget Sound. I believe David’s group also got a chance to see a couple of East Bremerton parks that are using pervious pavement, rain gardens and green roofs.

The interview, shown in two segments on this page, begins with David talking about the background and accomplishments of his agency. Questions began with how the agency is responding to the recent state audit report, which was highly critical of some of the Partnership’s purchasing and contracting practices.

David Dicks, who grew up spending time on Hood Canal, talked about some of the special places on the Kitsap Peninsula and elsewhere in Puget Sound, along with the need to direct development to places where it will cause less harm. He talked about the effort to use science to set priorities and the need to measure success using environmental indicators.

Creating incentives to encourage restoration — including use of the state budget and naming of “partners” — are among the ongoing efforts.

David talked about education and the need for the public to understand the problems facing Puget Sound and to help with solutions — both in their own lives and in the overall effort.

Focusing on Hood Canal, he talked about the low-oxygen problem and efforts to address those problems.

Toward the end, David Dicks addressed population growth, the desire of people to move to the Puget Sound region and how he is interconnecting his agency with the Puget Sound Regional Council to plan for growth. He also talked about the prospects of developing Port Gamble and protecting other parts of North Kitsap from the effects of development.

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4 Responses to “Interview with David Dicks, Puget Sound Partnership”

  1. 8string Says:

    While this was a nice ‘behind the scenes’ video look at the process of interviewing Mr. Dicks, and he covered lots of generic issues that are worth asking, there was one question I wish would have been asked. In the environmental community, around the Sound, there are questions about why the ‘deafening silence’ from the Partnership on key issues. Examples that I’ve heard range from the Maury Island gravel pit, Pit to Pier, Black Point, SMPs, CAOs, and many other controversial issues. I personally would like to have asked Mr. Dicks why the Partnership has appeared to remain silent on these issues when their main purpose is to protect the Sound. Don’t they see their role as taking a stand, one way or the other, on these highly controversial issues? It doesn’t seem like it’s simply enough, to say, “yes, get an SMP or CAO done” and sit back in Olympia, when the opposition to these are very vocal, and local officials end up having no ‘backup’ by the State agency who’s primary goal is critically affected by their outcome?

  2. Howard Garrett Says:

    Very informative interview. David Dicks seems to be making a good effort to candidly inform the public of the Partnership’s activities. But I’d like to see the PSP move beyond establishing goals and directing funding to specific projects, to taking stands on the on-going pollution and destruction of the Salish Sea. Permitted pollutants are pouring into Puget Sound every day. Building practices need to be constrained into LID practices, and oil spill prevention needs to put on a wartime urgency basis. Salmon are the red blood corpuscles of the natural world and need to be restored in every way possible, through education and regulation.

    Can’t the PSP at least present position papers on some of these key issues, regardless of the powerful corporate and industry players who will object loudly and dishonestly? Our waters need more advocates, not just more measuring devices.

  3. Randy Dutton Says:

    The Audit Report shows extreme mismanagement, http://www.sao.wa.gov/auditreports/auditreportfiles/ar1003598.pdf. Bill Ruckelshaus, Chairman of the PSP Board, resigning is not enough. They obviously tried to skirt the rules with false dollar contracts, missed deadlines, unauthorized purchases, favoritism towards certain vendors, and overpayment of contracts. The connections between Rep. Dicks earmarks and his kids getting appointed to head the spending of taxpayer money is too strong. First it was 27-year old David Dicks being appointed to head the PSP, then David sent $10,000 to the Cascade Conservancy, which happened to have Ryan Dicks as a lobbyist, then Ryan got a $93,000/year job with Pierce County, spending earmark money from Rep. Dicks.

    Oh, and one of the illegal contracts, paid K&L Gates (Rep. Dicks 4th largest political contributor) up to $471 per hour in legal fees.

    What did Gregoire do with the audit results? She let David hire more staff. She couldn’t very well have fired him, she appointed him. I guess fiscal responsibility wasn’t one of her overriding requirements.

    The Evergreen Freedom Foundation http://www.effwa.org/files/pdf/TFL_Final_Cover.pdf further found the PSP failed to report lobbying activities with public money.

    It’s time to get honest leadership in all government positions. We don’t have it in the PSP.

  4. Randy Dutton Says:

    What a joke. Dicks claims nothing was improper? They bypassed the AG office, they falsified the value of a contract to avoid publicizing, they gave $10,000 to an agency for no value, they overpaid lawyers, they spent half the money on consultants the first year, they favor some companies over others, they lost entire contract folders, they bought incompatible computers, and so much more.

    Didn’t the Editorial Review Board read the report?

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist

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