Tag Archives: David Dicks

David Dicks must live in his father’s shadow

UPDATE: Nov. 19
Readers may be interested in this commentary from Rep. Dave Upthegrove published Wednesday in the online Seattle PI. Upthegrove, a Democrat from Des Moines, was one of the principal authors of the legislation that created the Puget Sound Partnership.

In his statement, Upthegrove was complimentary of David Dicks:

During Dicks’ tenure at the helm of this new agency, he distinguished himself as a strong leader who was able to corral diverse interests to unite for a common goal: a healthy Puget Sound by 2020.


David Dicks will leave his post as executive director for the Puget Sound Partnership at the beginning of December to take a new position at the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. Check out my story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

To maintain David’s expertise on the partnership, Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed him to the Puget Sound Leadership Council, the governing body of the organization.

From my perspective, David Dicks has been great to work with the past three years. Whenever I’ve had questions about something, he has taken time to explain things at great length. And his staffers were available at a moment’s notice. Even when the partnership ran into financial-management troubles with the State Auditor’s Office, David stepped up and explained how the problems occurred and what had been done to correct them.

Were all the answers about the audit complete and satisfactory? It’s hard to judge. But, as Sen. Phil Rockefeller told me yesterday, “David went through some tough times, and I think he emerged wiser and smarter. It’s a new day and a new ball game there now.”

I’m not sure David realized in 2007 what pressures he would be under when he took this high-profile job as the son of a U.S. congressman. It has been impossible for anyone to disprove the notion that he only got the job because he was Norm Dicks’ son.

His standing apart from his father was not helped by the fact that Norm was bringing big dollars into the state for Puget Sound restoration — even though Norm was doing that long before his son came on board and would have done that in any case.

David Dicks became the target for those who dislike his father’s politics as well as those who believe the Puget Sound Partnership is a waste of time and money.

The question remains: Given these circumstances, was it ever a good idea to appoint David Dicks to lead this new agency?
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KUOW series raises questions about PS Partnership

KUOW reporter John Ryan’s hard-hitting series about Puget Sound Partnership concluded today with a look at the findings of the Washington State Auditor’s Office. Today’s piece, like the entire series, emphasizes the mix of state business and personal connections of Executive Director David Dicks and his father, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks.

The first story focuses on a “whistle-blower” who brought allegations of impropriety to the attention of the state auditor; the second piece addresses David Dicks’ use of a state car; and the third deals with perceived conflicts of interest resulting from the senior Dicks funneling money to the Puget Sound Partnership.

No matter what you think of the Puget Sound Partnership, the series provides some important insights into the organization. I’m occupied by another project at the moment, but I’ll try to keep tabs on this issue and see how it plays out.

Interview with David Dicks, Puget Sound Partnership

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.
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Joint Ocean Commission issues ‘urgent’ recommendations

Bill Ruckelshaus and David Dicks, major figures in the Puget Sound Partnership, are in Washington, D.C., today with a delegation calling on top federal officials to take action on ocean issues.


Among others, they are meeting with Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Ruckelshaus, a member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, told me four years ago that the oceans are so important that he would never give up working to invigorate the nation’s laid-back approach to ocean issues.

I heard a similar commitment from retired Navy Adm. James D. Watkins, who now heads the Joint Ocean Commission — a consolidation of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission.

Today, the Joint Ocean Commission released an “urgent set of recommendations” that includes 20 “priority actions needed for improving ocean and coastal policy and management, bolstering international leadership, strengthening ocean science and funding ocean and coastal policies and programs.”

The recommendations, to be sure, are not much different from separate reports issued by the two commissions in 2004.

Watkins stated in a press release (PDF 48 kb):

“Our continuing complacency in the face of rising threats to the health and economic viability of our oceans and coasts from climate change, pollution and intense coastal development is no longer tolerable. Unless we commit to advancing our understanding, management and conservation of oceans and coasts, I am afraid the result will be enduring, and perhaps irreversible, changes that will jeopardize their contributions to this and future generations.”

Ruckelshaus, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in the press release:

“Our oceans and coasts together are one of the biggest drivers of the U.S. economy. Improvements in ocean policy are absolutely critical if we are to restore the economy anytime soon.”

The Joint Ocean Commission released a report today titled “Changing Oceans, Changing World: Ocean Priorities for the Obama Administration and Congress” (PDF 280 kb).

A summary of the 20 recommendations:

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Shoreline issue stirs emotions from opposite sides

Few issues separate people into two groups as much as shoreline management regulations.

We are guaranteed to have a lively debate in Kitsap County and in jurisdictions throughout the Puget Sound region beginning later this year and possibly continuing for the next three years. See my story on this issue in Sunday’s Kitsap Sun.

A preview of this debate was provided in the comments attached to that story. Here’s a condensed version:

None of this will matter when a KC employee can give a variance from the 100′ buffer down to 10’… and change the 20′ road rule down to 6′ from the road…both variances done for the same property.


If the county or state wants to tell us what we can and can’t do with our waterfront property, then why don’t they pay part of our property taxes which are already inflated.

yep…Government intrusion into our lives and property has already become suffocating. the next 4 years will be epidemic. it is so sad that the democrats have a stranglehold on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Too bad the shorelines here are largely private, rather than public, as in Oregon. Puget Sound could be lovely — instead it is a disappointing cesspool. In many places you can’t even see it for the homes and fences that block views, including the views of those who formerly could see it from their homes.

Let’s not kid ourselves. There is no such thing as private property and hasn’t been since at least 1971. The government, and especially the ‘Garridoites’ and their ilk that think it all belongs to them and their band of land grabbers.

Regulating shoreline uses is a hot topic because the property is at the pinnacle of value, both in terms of land costs and in terms of ecosystem processes. Many land owners think they can protect the environmental values of their property without governmental interference, and they get tired of the regulations getting more and more restrictive over time. On the other hand, the decline of the Puget Sound ecosystem has created an urgency to protect intact or even damaged shoreline ecosystems.

As David Dicks, executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership, said today on KUOW’s Weekday, the solution to cleaning up Puget Sound relies on some combination of regulations (cheaper for the government) and purchase/restoration (which costs the government more but can be more acceptable in some ways).

In that same broadcast, Bill Ruckelshaus, chairman of the Partnership’s Leadership Council, talked about how it can be easier during an economic downtown to purchase lands important to the ecosystem. But it’s also a time when government budgets for such thing are the tightest.

Ruckelshaus also spelled out his philosophy in a straightforward way:

“Ecosystems are not indivisible from human habitation and there are a lot of humans that live in Puget Sound, and there’s going to be a million and a half more by approximately 2020… We can’t treat the other living things as though they are separate from us humans.

“If we don’t act wisely and intelligently in the way we develop and the way we live, then these … other species we share this ecosystem with can’t survive. What we need to do is put into place systems and processes that allow us humans to prosper — that’s our charge under the statute — and at the same time allow the ecosystem itself to be healthy.”

The KUOW broadcast, by the way, includes some new information about using the federal economic stimulus money for environmental restoration — such as moving up removal of the Elwha dams to 2010. Under the current schedule, the federal money won’t be available until 2012. I’ll be covering this issue in more detail later.