Special interests permeate government

Blakely Ridge The King County Council approved Blakely Ridge on Dec.19, despite an order from the state to delete it or bring it into compliance with the Growth Management Act.
   With a half-dozen lawsuits currently filed related to that approval, including the county's, which was decided before the council's vote to approve, the forces acting on behalf of developers have moved into the state Legislature to destroy the GMA with technical changes.
   A dozen amendments have been introduced into the state Legislature that would wipe out the protections guaranteed by the Act. Two bills would remove the cap on the counties' required 20-year planning period. This will allow a county to rezone as much land as necessary to include any developer's project in an 'Urban Growth Area.'
   Another bill would end appeals to the State Hearings Board and require appellants to take on counties in superior court at their own expense, while one amendment actually directs the state to defend counties in court against lawsuits and appeals.
   And then there is HB 2237 that simply changes the Hearings Board's "orders" to "recommendations," which would allow counties to simply ignore the GMA altogether, as King County already is attempting with their biased approval of Blakely Ridge.
   For years, I have been disgusted by the waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government, but after watching the politics here in King County, it sickens me to see that the control and influence of special interests has permeated county government as well, and taken control away from the voters.

Michael Costello, Redmond