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Jet noise

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Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy the summer… (continue reading…)

Governor Inslee - Meeting on Toxic Jet Noise

Governor Inslee - Meeting on Toxic Jet Noise


November 6, 2016

Dear Governor Inslee,

This request follows our unanswered letter to you of August 29, 2016. We received a receipt acknowledging its delivery and are concerned that we have not received a response. We are writing again, as a coalition of organizations, to request a meeting with you about a regional issue of growing importance.

At the heart of this issue are the Navy’s ongoing and planned warfare-training operations. These operations are having, and will have, significant economic, environmental and public health impacts on our state.

This is not an issue that can be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or because Environmental Impact Statements are being pursued. Our environment, our local economies, and our health are already being impacted, in some cases severely.

Our state and local agencies, especially those addressing health and environmental issues, are trying to figure out how to respond to citizens’ pleas for help. The harms being done and threatened are being reported in the news and gaining national attention.

  • Over 125,000 petitions signatures have been gathered opposing U.S. Navy plans to expand Electromagnetic Warfare Training in the Olympic National Forest.
  • Toxic noise from training operations on Whidbey Island has created what a noted health professional described as a “Public Health Emergency.”
  • Deception State Park, Washington’s most visited State Park is losing about $1000 each day that Navy sends ‘Growler’ Jets flying low over campgrounds. (as reported in the Seattle Times).
  • The US Navy and its Seals are in the process of commandeering 68 beaches, in western Washington for combat training, including some residential neighborhoods.
  • A citizen noise reporting website has been established and maintained by the San Juan County Council to document Growler noise in the San Juan Islands. More than 5000 citizen complaints about Navy jet noise have been entered since May,2014.

Our public and private lands are being misused for military warfare training with little more than token or no opportunity for comment. Citizens, whose complaints often seem to fall on deaf ears, are losing confidence in their elected officials. They need to hear that you and your cabinet care and will do what you can to address our concerns.

Please meet with representatives of our organizations and invite whomever you deem appropriate to the meeting. We will identify the representatives that we will be sending and will provide written information to you and others in advance.

The following is a list of organizations signing on to this letter. Please respond to the following contact person. Your response will be shared with all organizations listed below. This is an issue that demands your attention and one that will not go away. We look forward to hearing from you.


Ken Pickard (Contact Person)

Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER)

P.O. Box 202
Coupeville, WA 98239

Quiet Skies Coalition

Save the Olympic Peninsula (STOP)

North Olympic Group Sierra Club

Protect Peninsula’s Future

Olympic Environmental Council

Veterans for Peace

Concerned Island Citizens

Port Townsend to send letter to Navy about Jet Noise

(from the Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend City Council to send letter to Navy about Growler noise

The letter will say the area of study for potential effects of increased Growler operations at Whidbey Island is too narrow.

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend City Council will send a letter to the U.S. Navy raising concerns over potential increased jet noise.

The letter to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Commanding Officer Capt. G.C. Moore will say the area of study for potential effects of increased Growler operations at Whidbey Island is too narrow.

During the City Council’s meeting Monday, Councilwoman Michelle Sandoval said the city’s letter should include both historic districts in the city and Fort Worden.

“The city disagrees with your area of study, as well as your definition of the indirect effects component of the APE [area of potential effect],” the letter says.

Councilman Robert Gray said he was concerned about the noise’s impact on the historic buildings.

“I think it could be clarified that we are also concerned about the buildings,” he said.

He also suggested adding more language thanking the Navy for being good neighbors for the past 74 years.

“We’ve benefited from that,” he said. “We’re strong supporters of the military.”

In a July 12 letter to Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson, Moore requested feedback from the city on the Navy’s proposed APE for increased Growler operations on Whidbey Island.

The Navy is preparing a draft environmental impact statement on a proposal to add up to 36 EA-18G Growler jets to the 82 currently based at NAS Whidbey Island. The statement is to be released in the fall, according to www.whidbeyeis.com.

The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an electronic warfare aircraft used to suppress radar.

Its operations have been a topic of controversy on Whidbey Island and parts of the North Olympic Peninsula since the jets began flying over the area in 2008.

During public comment, one unidentified man lauded the council for writing the letter to the Navy.

To support the mission at Whidbey Island, the Navy proposes to:

• Continue and expand electronic attack operations at the complex, which includes Ault Field near Oak Harbor and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville.

• Increase electronic attack capabilities and augment the Growler Fleet Replacement Squadron to support an expanded Department of Defense mission for identifying, tracking and targeting in a “complex electronic warfare environment.”

• Construct, demolish and renovate Ault Field facilities to accommodate additional aircraft.

• Put more personnel and their families at NAS Whidbey Island and the surrounding community.

The Navy has defined areas of potential indirect effects as places where noise remains within 65 decibels, a federally accepted metric used by the Federal Aviation Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense and other agencies.

The proposed actions would not result in a 65-decibel average anywhere in East Jefferson County, according to Navy sound maps.

In the response from the city, officials said the 65-decibel baseline is a day-night average measured over the course of a year.

“While this is the FAA standard, FAA policy does not preclude local jurisdictions from setting a lower threshold of compatibility for new land use developments, and the policy allows for supplemental or alternative measurements,” the draft letter says.

“The average decibel level in the city, especially at night, is likely to be very low — even below 55 [decibels] in certain parts of the city.

“Growler operations are not continuous; the noise impacts of the operations vary based on the exercise, but include flights over and near the city for hours at a time — frequently at night.”


Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5550, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Reporter Rob Ollikainen contributed to this story.

Below is a letter from our friends at the West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition. This request is incredibly important and is IMMEDIATELY necessary to address – time is of the essence. Please read this right now.

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

After more than a year in which tens of thousands of objections—letters to the editor, public comments on and off the official record, web sites, meetings, petitions, and other forms of civil discourse, the Navy is acting as if we’ve been completely and utterly silent on their un-neighborly proposition of declaring an electronic warfare range over our heads and flying low and loud over our communities. Discouraging? You bet. Time to give up?

Absolutely not. This is the time to dig in and declare to the Navy that we the people have only just begun to resist this illicit and arrogant encroachment into public lands and waters, and into our lives with their horrendous jet and sonar noise.

This fight is happening because this federal agency has been and continues to disobey federal and state law while also ignoring the ongoing and increasing concerns of other federal and state agencies as well as the concerns lodged by public interest groups, municipalities, businesses, and thousands of citizens and visitors to the Olympic Peninsula.

It’s time to remind the Navy that the 327,000-acre Yakima Training Range is only a 9-minute flight from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (instead of 5 minutes to the Olympic Peninsula,) and to publicly ask why, when that range is so lightly used and so available, must the Navy insist on taking the most sensitive lands in the entire northwestern United States for electronic warfare? Why poke the public in the eye with a sharp stick?

We apologize for the length of this letter, but it is needed to explain the rapid and complex turn of recent events.

The West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition are going to build a “citizens tool kit” for people to use that will go beyond letter-writing.

While letter-writing remains one of the most potent tools, a lot of people are feeling discouraged about results. They shouldn’t, because these letters are having a significant impact on agencies, elected officials, political appointees, the media, and other audiences. But this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it may require more letters as well as use of other tools. We will be in touch with you about this citizen’s tool kit.

If you haven’t checked the West Coast Action Alliance’s web site lately, (http://westcoastactionalliance.org), here is an update to the chain of events described in the most recent posts.

Two things are about to happen:

1. The Forest Service is about to issue a Record of Decision, or “ROD,” on whether to grant the Navy a permit to drive its mobile emitters on national forest roads (we don’t know when), and

2. The Navy is about to sign a Record of Decision, probably on Monday, November 9, that will “finalize” its Northwest Training and Testing EIS.

The first will be followed by a public comment period, because the Forest Service, despite its faults, would not dare to deny the public its right to be heard. Expect the Forest Service to cave in to the Navy despite everything.

If you wrote them a letter last year during the comment period, you can write them another one now.

Why is this important? Because in the first letter you may have pointed out corrections or problems that needed to be addressed. The Forest Service had the opportunity to address your comments, and now this will be your opportunity to tell them they didn’t. This is the nature of the public comment process. The public gets to say, “Fix this,” the agency has the chance to do that, and if they don’t the public gets to say, “You didn’t fix it,” and sue them. Anyone who didn’t comment hasn’t got the “standing” to sue them. It’s unlikely that any one individual has the cash to mount a lawsuit, but organizations do, and they can use the volume and content of public comments to help make their case. So that’s one huge value of writing letters.

You may not see results immediately, but organizations who can and do sue agencies that violate the law can use the massive inpouring of public comment in court. So, thank you if you have written comment letters; we will send out a notification when we know more about when and where to send comments. A partial list of laws that we believe have been violated by the Navy and the Forest Service is at the end of this letter.

In the second event, the Navy will grant itself permission to proceed with activities, despite the fact that consultations with two federal and one state agency have not been completed. This is unprecedented, and goes against the Navy’s own policy. In order for them to be able to sign the Record of Decision, the Navy must issue itself one or more waivers excusing them from their obligations to consult with the three agencies. So, in effect what we have is a federal agency proceeding in secret with actions that will be injurious to the environment, the people who live there, and local economies, without knowing what the impacts are, and giving itself a waiver to “make it official” by signing the Record of Decision. If ever there was a “fox watching the henhouse” scenario, this is it.

A Joint Memorandum explains the unprecedented and illicit chain of events leading up to the situation we now find ourselves in. http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/WCAA-OFCO_Memorandum_ABSOLUTE-FINAL.pdf

Why is the Navy in such a hurry that they would do this? And why would they deny the public the right to comment? For one, their current “Letters of Authorization” to harass, harm or kill certain numbers of endangered species are about to expire and they want new permits. But neither the Fish and Wildlife Service nor the National Marine Fisheries Service can issue such new permits without completing consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, which means they must publish documents called Biological Opinions (FWS’ will cover northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and bull trout while NMFS’ will cover whales, dolphins and other marine species.)

The State of Washington has not concurred with the Navy’s findings, either, and cannot sign any approvals on impacts to cultural and historic sites. So what is the Navy likely to do if they don’t have Biological Opinions and permits to back up their claims of no significant impacts? The answer is: they are likely to proceed with their actions anyway, that will harm threatened and endangered species and cultural and historic sites. They will probably do this without the coverage of a permit or a determination from these agencies. In other words, the Navy has just told two federal and one State agency to buzz off.

Want proof? Click on these links to read the Navy’s recent cover letter and official termination of consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer: http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Navy-to-SHPO.pdf

Click on this link to read the State’s immediate objections and response. http://westcoastactionalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/SHPO-to-Navy-021314-41-USN_110615-4-2.pdf

There is no doubt that the Navy is applying heavy pressure to the Governor’s office, and that this places the Governor in a very tricky situation, because the State has a significant relationship with the Navy. But the law is the law, and the Navy is abusing it, and the State is bound to uphold the law. Basically, the disagreement between the State’s Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO, pronounced “Shippo”) and the Navy boils down to this: The SHPO sees the activities described in the Navy’s separate legal documents as connected. Activities described on the Electronic Warfare Range, the Growler jets, and the offshore sonar, explosives and other things in the most recent EIS, are indeed connected. Without the Growlers, there’s no reason for the mobile electronic warfare emitters, and where do the Growlers go after flying over the Olympic Peninsula but offshore to the Northwest Training and Testing area. There is a thing called cumulative impacts analysis that the Navy is desperately trying to avoid, because that would show us the real, overall picture of impacts rather than snapshots of smaller piecemealed scenarios.

But this must not be the only driver for the Navy’s hurry. We don’t know what the other drivers are, but we believe that if the federal government willfully and openly disregards the laws that protect both people and the environment, then the people have the right to insist that the government stops what it’s doing and follows the law.

The Navy likes to say they’ve been in the Pacific since 1841, which is fine, but those ships didn’t have sonar that can blast at 235 decibels and still injure animals 300 miles away at levels to 140 decibels. Or sonobuoys. Or massive bombs. And guess what, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station wasn’t here until 1941. The planes they flew then (F4F Wildcats, PBYs) were a lot smaller and quieter than the new Boeing EA-18G Growlers, which have afterburners, can fly at 1200 mph, and emit 150 decibels. Even when the Navy flew Intruders, the public was barely aware of them.

The Growlers have changed everything.

What logic could justify the Navy roaring low and loud over some of the most the most sensitive lands in the nation (not to mention quiet communities) when only a 9-minute flight away is the 327,000-acre Yakima Training Range? That’s only 4 more minutes of flying than it takes to reach the Olympic Peninsula.

The Navy says in its recent letter that it’s been training for years and nobody has ever objected. They insinuate (and sometimes say openly) that we must be a bunch of whiners. Well guess what, we never complained about noise before, because they’ve never done it like this – 260 days per year, 8 – 16 hours per day. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to correlate the number of complaints with the amount of noise. And you don’t even have to be very observant to know what makes a good neighbor, or a bad one.

Once again, the Navy continues to disobey federal and state law while also ignoring the ongoing and increasing concerns of other federal and state agencies as well as the concerns lodged by public interest groups, municipalities, businesses, and thousands of citizens and visitors to the Olympic Peninsula. Good neighbors obey the law and don’t ruin their neighbors’ peace of mind or the economies of towns. Good neighbors respect the rule of law. This isn’t a “sound of freedom” issue or a NIMBY issue or even a patriotism issue. Quite simply, it is about obeying the law of this country.

So yes, it’s discouraging that the Navy denied us the opportunity once again to be heard, and they have ignored all of our concerns, and that they are plowing forward as if the laws and the people don’t matter. What the Navy does not seem to understand is that not only is it being a very bad neighbor, they are self-nominating for years and years of public outrage, community opposition, civil litigation and direct political action if they persist in illegally militarizing public lands while destroying marine and terrestrial habitats and local economies in the process. The people of the Olympic Peninsula did not pick this fight. But it is both reasonable and demonstrably patriotic to insist that our government comply with the laws it has made and demands that we all follow. It is right to resist any illicit militarization of public lands and waters and it would be wrong to give up the fight now. We should all recognize that this fight is just now beginning and the patriotic citizens of this country that dare to speak truth to power are going to win it.

Send an email today to William Manley (william.manley@navy.mil), Navy Deputy Federal Preservation Officer, and John Mosher (john.g.mosher@navy.mil), COMPACFLT, and let them know this process must be fully completed because the Navy needs to adhere to the same rules and regulations the rest of us have to follow. We are not being unpatriotic; we simply want the Navy to obey the laws of the United States of America. Thank you.

Sincerely and with optimism for the future,

The West Coast Action Alliance and the Olympic Forest Coalition



List of federal laws violated by Navy and/or Forest Service:

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  • National Forest Management Act (NHPA)
  • Administrative Procedures Act (APA)

List of ways in which the public has commented:

  • Letters to editors of local papers: Too many to be counted
  • Written public comments to Forest Service: 4,000
  • Written public comments accepted by Forest Service: 3,300
  • Written public comments to Navy: 1054
  • Form letters of objection to Navy: 9,700
  • Public comments at “public information meetings: Hundreds (not accepted for public record)
  • Petitions objecting to proposed activities: At least 3
  • Numbers of petition signatures: At least 130,000.
  • Numbers of local opposition groups formed: At least 20


Caution Growlers2

NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. –Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) operations for aircraft stationed at NAS Whidbey Island are scheduled to occur at the Outlying Field (OLF) in Coupeville, Wash., Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday, October 5, 6, 7 and  9, 2015.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5-7, FCLPs are scheduled in the evening. On Friday, October 9, FCLPs are scheduled in the afternoon.



Dear friends and neighbors,

Thank you for your contribution, large or small.  We could not be here 3 years later, without you, and your financial help makes it possible. 


P.O. Box 202

Coupeville, WA 98239

You can send checks to the above address, or choose the DONATE button on our main website to donate safely through Paypal.

The  ‘winds of change’ are blowing – and all of us are going to be impacted.

Whidbey Island and the Puget Sound region is witnessing the biggest military expansion of our history – bringing more jets, more noise, and increased threats to health and the environment. We are already seeing adverse impacts on our health, historic structures, tourism, and on the living creatures of the nation’s second largest estuary – Puget Sound.

Many of those who came to Whidbey in the 1800’s came for a peaceful and free way of life. Freeland’s name reminds us of that past. What brings and keeps most of us here is that same desire for freedom. We want a quality of life that includes beautiful landscapes, quiet ‘soundscapes,’ and a connection with nature and each other in a way that defines what a “community” should be.

Whidbey Islanders have a history of pushing back on military encroachment on those freedoms, in Coupeville, in Greenbank and even Oak Harbor. During the 80’s and 90’s Islanders, led by Coupeville, objected to noisy ‘Prowler’ jet training.  They took the Navy to court, won concessions and even compensation.  Then came the Growlers, the loudest jets yet to fly.

The Citizens of Ebey’s Reserve (COER), today’s activists for a rural and peaceful Whidbey, have been working since late 2012 to protect what we hold dear.  We have raised and spent over $130,000 to do research, educate the public, and hire legal counsel.  This money has come from the pockets and savings accounts of COER members and supporters, all of who have volunteered their time.

If we hope to change the military’s plan for our region, we MUST ACT NOW as a larger and louder community.

Contributions to COER have allowed us to:

  • Challenge the Navy’s 2005 Environmental Assessment that allowed the Growlers on Whidbey Island;
  • Successfully advocate for a complete Environmental Impact Statement (EIS);
  • Pay for an independent noise study of the EA-18 G Growlers using the Outlying Field in Coupeville;
  • Pay health experts to research and report on the health impacts of noise onchildren and adults;
  • Obtain the Navy’s internal documents and conduct other necessary research;
  • Pay for our own noise complaint HOTLINE to respond to people’s concerns;
  • Visit elected officials, Federal agencies, and Pentagon officials in Washington D.C.;
  • Conduct media interviews and presentations from the Olympic Peninsula to the San Juan Islands;
  • Help create a new regional organization, Pacific Northwest Coast Alliance, to bring other groups together to fight the militarization of Puget Sound.

Most recently, COER filed for an injunction in federal district court to stop the Growlers from using the Outlying Field in Coupeville until the harms to people and the environment are studied. The Federal District Judge, who was once in the Navy, ruled against us.  His ruling flies in the face of the facts and common sense. It allows the loudest jets ever built to fly low over homes, parks, and places of business before the Navy completes an Environmental Impact Study.

History proves judges can be wrong, which is why their decisions are sometimes overturned on appeal – or effectively changed with public opinion.  We think this Judge was wrong.

Appeals are expensive. If we are to do so, we need to raise $50,000 quickly.  We hope you’ll consider contributing to this amount. But even if we don’t raise enough for the appeal, your contribution will help us take our case to the court of public opinion through a renewed campaign of public education, organizing, and action. We must begin to prepare a stronger legal footing on health impacts and noise levels and a new economic study that refute the Navy’s arguments when it comes time to challenge the EIS. No matter what – the fight will continue and your support is needed.

Many of us have selected our homes with great intention. Whidbey Island, Lopez, the San Juan’s, Port Townsend, Coupeville, and the communities of the Olympic Peninsula are all vibrant, beautiful and historic  — we are ALL in jeopardy. Help us stop this from happening!

The Navy’s military mission is in stark contrast to our Island and rural values that allow us to freely engage in raising families, businesses and improving our communities in a healthy, safe  and peaceful ‘soundscape’ without restrictions caused by harmful and painful jet noise.

Help us relocate the Growlers! Give what you can today and protect what you love.  We have challenged the Navy before and won – we can do it again.

Stand with us NOW to protect our communities from the military’s ‘winds of change’ that now bring ALL of the Growler’s noise to Puget Sound.

Respectfully and with our thanks,

COER’s Board of Directors


P.S. Please join us for a POTLUCK on October 18th at the Pacific Rim Institute on Parker road in Coupeville from 3 to 5pm. You will hear the latest news and how you can volunteer your help. Protect what you love. Stand with us to protect our communities from the Growler noise.

Growler Jet

Everett Herald, Sept. 1, 2015

Jets diverted from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station created an unusual sight around Paine Field on Monday afternoon and evening.

Five EA-18G Growler jets were diverted from NAS Whidbey after a plane blew a tire on the air station’s runway, according to Marty Wray, operations specialist at Paine Field.

The runway at Whidbey was closed while crews dealt with the plane with the flat tire, and the Growlers needed to refuel, so they landed at Paine Field, the nearest location with the resources they needed, Wray said.

Everett resident Kathy Koss said she first heard the noise in the afternoon while she was at work at Everett Community College.

“They were extremely loud,” she said. “I’ve never heard anything like that coming out of the sky around here.”

Koss said she was pleased to have an answer to what caused the loud noises. She heard them again later in the evening from her home in the Viewridge neighborhood, not far from Paine Field, and was worried it was going to become a common occurrence.

“I am glad to hear it was a one-off thing,” she said.

Paine Field was once a U.S. Air Force base for fighter jets, but that was decades ago.

Link to the original article here: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20150901/NEWS01/150909945

ICH Survey

Dear All:

 The Island County Community Health Survey is a good opportunity to demonstrate a groundswell of support for addressing the air and noise pollution presented by the Growlers on Whidbey Island.

 Please take the time to respond and share this as widely as possible.

 The survey period runs from August 24th through September 13th. Information below:


Survey Link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/IslandHealth

Español: www.surveymonkey.com/r/ICsalud

Tagalog: www.surveymonkey.com/r/kalusugan


What does Island County need to be a healthier place to live, learn, work, and play?

Island County Public Health, in collaboration with your Community Health Advisory Board, Board of Health, and over 20 other local health partners, is completing the 2015 Island County Community Health Assessment.   Right now we are collecting information to better understand the health of our population and the factors that contribute to making us more or less healthy.

How will your opinion make a difference?  The results of this survey will go into the Community Health Assessment report.  This report gets distributed widely throughout the county and region, and is used by community leaders, agency directors and staff, service providers, and community groups to help make informed decisions about what health needs exist in our community and what work needs to be done.  The Community Health Assessment is also the first step in our Community Health Planning process and will be used to identify community-wide priorities to improve our health and quality of life.

Thank you for sharing your experience and ideas!   This survey is available in Spanish and Tagalog, and over the phone for the visually impaired.  For more information see www.islandcountyahc.org/Page/89 or write or call: 360-679-7350 or l.luginbill@co.island.wa.us


COER members are scheduled to give a presentation at the Fidalgo Democrats meeting in Anacortes on Tuesday. Here is their announcement:


“Growler Jet Noise Overhead:  Will it Get Worse?” will be the topic for our Tuesday, August 11th, 7:00 pm meeting at the Anacortes Public Library, 1220 Tenth Street at M.  Cate Andrews and Maryon Attwood of Citizens of Ebey Reserve will give a presentation on the health impacts of the Growlers on humans and wildlife and effects of projected future expansion.  A moderated period of questions and comments will follow the speakers.

Please print out the attached flyer as a reminder.  Feel free to bring friends, colleagues and family.  Help yourself to Doreen Sadler’s coffee and organic cookies.  Please bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank donation box near the door.  For more information contact Corinne at 293-7114.

Looking forward to seeing you–our meetings are lively!

Corinne Salcedo, Chair
Fidalgo Democrats

*Disclaimer:  Fidalgo Democrats is an independent Democratic club, unaffiliated with, but friendly with, Skagit County Democrats.