SEPA/Land Use Appeal Addresses Daylighting of Olympia’s Moxlie Creek

Our firm is pleased to announce a recent appeal we filed on behalf of a local organization, the Olympia Urban Waters League, from a City of Olympia land use and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) decision. The appealed decision approved a real estate development in the vicinity of an urban stream, Moxlie Creek, a salmon-bearing stream which runs under downtown Olympia in a culvert.

In the League’s initial appeal brief, we argue that the decision fails to acknowledge the proposed development would cause probable, significant, adverse environmental impacts to the water quality in the Moxlie Creek watershed and Budd Bay estuary where it empties. These impacts arise because the development would take up land located at the mouth of a historic estuary which is apparently needed to remedy significant water quality issues in the Bay, including low dissolved oxygen and high levels of nitrates, through a creek daylighting project. Removing urban waterways from buried culverts and exposing them once again to the air is associated with various environmental benefits, and cities around the United States have benefited from creek daylighting efforts. You can read a copy of our initial appeal brief here:

AppealBrief-OUWL-Color-03082018

You can read more about our client’s perspective on Moxlie Creek and the positive effects of daylighting buried urban creeks at their website, https://urban-waters.com/, and their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/OUWLs/.

Case closed: Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights PAC pays $15k to settle campaign finance enforcement action

Our firm recently settled a campaign finance enforcement action against the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights PAC, a political committee registered with the State of Washington. The complaint alleged numerous violations of state law related to the committee’s failures to timely report contributions, expenditures, and lobbyist employer activity. Interestingly, the Executive Director who drew a salary from the PAC was the same person who has filed hundreds of campaign finance complaints against various other candidates, political committees, and other entities in Washington since late 2016, a Thurston County resident named Glen Morgan.

“I’m glad to announce that we have prevailed in this action through a settlement that will benefit the State and send a message to political committees and lobbyist employers to properly report their financial activity,” says Walter Smith of the firm. “These violations bothered me because Mr. Morgan knew enough about the laws to file complaints against others, but his committee failed to live up to those laws. Our firm feels vindicated by this settlement and we see it as an appropriate punishment for hypocritical behavior.”

The defendant has paid $15,000 to resolve this action. As part of the resolution of the case, the firm has tendered $1,000 of the defendant’s settlement payment to the State of Washington.

Unwanted Telemarketing Calls: Know your rights

Almost everyone has probably experienced the annoyance and frustration of answering the phone only to find an unwelcome call from a telemarketer selling some product or service. But did you know that telemarketing calls to your residence or cellular phone may be unlawful, and that consumers may be able to sue and recover damages from the caller? For example, consumers receiving calls with a prerecorded message, calls initiated with an “automated telephone dialing system,” and calls to a consumer’s number that is listed on the Do Not Call registry may violate the law and allow a consumer to recover damages. As one recent order issued by the Federal Communications Commission explains,

consumer consent is required prior to making autodialed or artificial/prerecorded voice message calls—commonly known as robocalls—to emergency telephone lines or to consumers’ wireless phones. Similarly, pursuant to the [Telephone Consumer Protection] Act and the [implementing] Rules, express written consent is required prior to making telephone solicitations to telephone lines registered on the national Do-Not-Call registry. Although Congress and the Commission have long worked to protect consumers from illegal, unwanted, and disruptive robocalls, such calls persist as the number one consumer complaint to the Commission. As technology has advanced, these calls have become more prevalent, more threatening, and even more challenging to prevent. Along with advanced and low cost spoofing technology, nefarious robocallers can easily hide their true identities from consumers and cause a variety of harms, including the disruption of consumer privacy.

In re Best Insurance Contracts, Inc., and Philip Roesel, dba Wilmington Insurance Quotes, DA 17-662, File No. EB-TCD-16-00023195 (citation and order dated August 4, 2017), ¶ II.3.

If you have received unwanted telemarketing calls and want to learn more about your rights as a consumer, contact our firm to request a consultation today. While this post summarizes general points about telemarketing laws, it does not constitute legal advice; our firm conducts a conflict of interest check and requires a written attorney-client agreement before we can advise or represent you.

Recent Judgments in Our Cases

Smith & Dietrich Law Offices, PLLC is pleased to report we have successfully completed three cases we filed earlier in 2017 with judgments entered in Thurston County Superior Court. We brought these campaign finance enforcement case known as “citizen actions” under Washington’s state law, and obtained relief for the benefit of the State including civil penalties and injunctive relief. We were able to reach resolutions in these cases through agreements reached with the Defendants, the Pierce County Republican Central Committee, the Snohomish County Republican Central Committee, and the Spokane County Republican Central Committee.

Contact us here if you would like to discuss how we can help you with a civil legal dispute affecting you or your business. Please note that each case is unique and we never guarantee the outcome of any litigation matter; your case needs specific review and evaluation before we can determine whether we can represent you.

Smith & Dietrich files 19 complaints against county political parties, sitting legislators

Walter Smith of Smith & Dietrich Law Offices PLLC filed campaign finance complaints (and citizen action notices under Chapter 42.17A RCW) on Friday, September 1 against nineteen sets of Respondents concerning a variety of apparent violations of Washington State’s campaign finance laws. The Respondents were identified using research from publicly accessible sources freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Read on for details about the allegations in the complaints, with links to the Enforcement page of the Public Disclosure Commission.

Candidates and authorized committees

  • Bruce Chandler, State Representative (R-Zillah, 15th Leg. Dist., Yakima County) and the Bruce Chandler Campaign.
    • $60,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee not reported as surplus funds expenditure; failure to report any contributions or expenditures for 2016 legislative race.
  • Mary Dye, State Representative (R-Pomeroy, 9th Leg. Dist., Garfield County) and the Committee to Elect Mary Dye.
    • $24,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee not reported as surplus funds expenditure; failure to organize or report for surplus funds account; failure to timely file/amend contribution and expenditure reporting.
  • Norman Johnson, State Representative (R-Yakima, 14th Leg. Dist., Yakima County) and Norm Johnson for State Representative.
    • $3,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee not reported as surplus funds expenditure and over $1,000 donation to private organization from campaign funds; failure to report orders, debts, and obligations incurred during 2016 election campaign; failure to timely report campaign expenditures.
  • John Koster, State Representative (R-Everett, 39th Leg. Dist., Snohomish County) and Elect John Koster, a political committee.
    • $10,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee from campaign funds; failure to report orders, debts, and obligations incurred during 2016 election campaign; failure to timely report campaign contributions and expenditures.
  • Jami Lund, Centralia School Board Member (Nonpartisan position, Centralia, Lewis County) and Citizens for Jami Lund.
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions and expenditures, and orders placed, debts, and obligations.
  • Drew MacEwen, State Representative (R-Union, 35th Leg. Dist., Mason County) and Committee to Elect Drew MacEwen.
    • $5,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee not reported as surplus funds expenditure and over $600 in donations and contributions from candidate authorized committee funds; failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions.
  • Mathew Manweller, State Representative (R-Ellensburg, 13th Leg. Dist., Kittitas County) and Committee to Elect Matt Manweller.
    • $72,500 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee from campaign funds; failure to accurately and timely report campaign expenditures and file statement of organization.
  • Gina McCabe, State Representative (R-Goldendale, 14th Leg. Dist., Klickitat County) Committee to Elect Gina McCabe.
    • $20,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee not reported as surplus funds expenditure and $200 donation to private organization from campaign funds; failure to organize or report for surplus funds account; failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions, expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations.
  • Robert McCaslin, State Representative (R-Spokane Valley, 4th Leg. Dist., Spokane County) and Committee to Elect Bob McCaslin.
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign organization, contributions, and expenditures; $10,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee from campaign funds.
  • Kirk Pearson, State Senator (R-Index, 39th Leg. Dist., Snohomish County) and Kirk Pearson for State Senate 2016, a political committee.
    • Extraordinary volume of late reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures (a cumulative 11,870 days late).
  • Pam Roach, Pierce County Councilmember (R-Sumner, Pierce County) and Friends of Pam Roach, a political committee.
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions and expenditures; failure to identify sub-vendors for expenditures.
  • Matthew Shea, State Representative (R-Spokane Valley, 4th Leg. Dist., Spokane County) and Committee to Elect Matt Shea.
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions, expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations; failure to identify sub-vendors for expenditures.
  • Norma Smith, State Representative (R-Clinton, 10th Leg. Dist., Island County) and Friends of Norma Smith, a political committee.
    • $30,000 contribution to House Republican Organizational Committee from campaign funds.
  • Melanie Stambaugh, State Representative (R-Puyallup, 25th Leg. Dist., Pierce County) and Friends of Melanie Stambaugh, a political committee.
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations.
  • David Taylor, State Representative (R-Yakima, 15th Leg. Dist., Yakima County) and Committee to Elect David Taylor.
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions; over $1,000 in donations to private organization from campaign funds.

County political party committees

  • Clark County Republican Central Committee (Vancouver).
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions, expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations; acceptance of prohibited contributions from candidate authorized committees.
  • Franklin County Republican Central Committee (Pasco).
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions, expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations.
  • Snohomish County Republican Central Committee (Marysville).
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions, expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations.
  • Spokane County Republican Central Committee (Spokane).
    • Failure to accurately and timely report campaign contributions, expenditures, orders, debts, and obligations; concealment of identity/payment amount for speaker’s fee; acceptance of prohibited contributions from candidate authorized committees.