• Petition for Open WDFW/Tribal NOF Meetings

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 #234460  by Bay wolf
 Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:18 am
Transparency in the North of Falcon Meetings has been the major topic of discussion at both the WDFW Fish Projections meetings so far.

At the last meeting in Olympia, several members from the audience voiced frustration and anger at the secrecy in the meetings with the Tribal Co-managers. Adding to the frustration is the utter silence from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission(NWIFC) on the issue of Transparency. To date, the State has also stonewalled any further movement toward public oversight.

The bright spot is, Transparency and openness in our fisheries has gained A LOT of attention. And the attention has not gone un-noticed from WDFW. They continue to use the new "buzz-word" transparency in the meetings. But, it's only to make the pretense that they are. Director Unsworth has not had the courtesy to respond to our letter asking him to reach out to the Chairwomen of NWIFC, Lorraine Loomis, nor has the NWIFC responded to our letter asking to remove the roadblock to transparency.

So, where are we now? Light years ahead of where we started from, thats where. We are growing stronger daily. The media, and sports organizations are coming on board, doing articles and spots. We have meetings scheduled with Senators and continue to correspond with WDFW, NWIFC, Representatives and leaders in the fisheries.

This is a hard fight. It is possibly a long fight. The parties involved DO NOT want change. They DO NOT want the public to see how they truly manage OUR resources and they really feel like they can just wait us out!

Now, more than ever, it is time for you, the people, to stop waiting for someone else to DO. It is time for you TO!

Take a minute away from the video game, the TV show or whatever you're doing and send an email. Make a public comment on the WDFW site. Call your representatives office. Send a letter to the NWIFC. DO! Take action now. It is time. We have never been this close to real change. Don't let them wait us out.

If nothing else, Send an email to Senator Kirk Pearson's office: Let him know you support transparency in the Tribal/WDFW NOF meetings.

Send a letter to Lorraine Loomis, Chairwomen of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Let her know you want these meetings opened.

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC)
ATTN: Chairwoman Lorraine Loomis
6730 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA 98516

The time is now! WE WILL BE HEARD!!!
 #234472  by TrackerPro16
 Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:16 am
I am mixed on this. The indians have rights that were negotiated a long, long time ago so they would give up land for settlers and still be able to take their share off the land. They are also a sovereign nation. AND they have been screwed over regularly until around the 80's. From what I have seen they are as concerned and are doing as much to keep or improve fish numbers as anyone.
To ask the meetings be public would be like demanding the Government make all meetings with other nations public. Not sure it would help and it certainly be a disruption and a distraction. Regardless of what they come up with other nations do not regulate or work with the fishing industry to keep numbers healthy like this country does.
 #234475  by Bay wolf
 Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:16 am

We totally understand. We've had many conversations with concerned citizen's just like you about this same topic. If I might clarify a couple of points that are of concern.

We totally agree that the Tribal members have rights, and that wrongs were done in the past. Yes, treaties were made, and the Boldt decision and other litigations have re-enforced those agreements. We are not asking or seeking that those treaties be overturned. We however, cannot agree that continued reparations be given over and over to ease the guilty conscience of past wrongs that have already been addressed. As far as the sovereign nation argument goes in relation to transparency in the management of our fisheries, we must consider two points: 1. Are the fish a shared resource, owned equally by the tribes and by the non-tribal citizens of this state. 2. Has the courts mandated that the responsibility of caring for and managing the fish been given to a single party or to both parties?

Clearly, the answers are obvious. The resource is shared by both and is mandated to be managed by both.

Given that, it seems clear that we, the non-tribal citizens of this state have just as much right to manage our resource as the tribal citizens do.
We are not asking to have a forum of people in the negotiations, that would disrupt and be counter productive. But a live video feed without any off camera negotiations, everting out in the open and available for all citizens to witness, tribal and non-tribal. That is what we are asking. Simple and sweet! That is the way our form of government is supposed to work.

They are not discussing classified material, or national security with a Foreign Gov't in these meetings. They are discussing the division of our fish with a group of Washington State citizens, who are living within the borders of Washington State, who vote in our elections, contribute funds to our candidates, submit bills to be made into laws in our state legislature, yet hold land reserved as a separate nation. It seems clear to me and many, many others that we are not negotiating with a foreign government, but a group with land within the state designated as sovereign so it cannot be taken away by the state. The rights of citizenship apply and is enjoyed by tribal members everyday. So should the responsibility of transparency in negotiations.
 #234485  by TrackerPro16
 Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:40 pm
Doh! Though I have read the various discussions here It did not 'click' about watching remotely... That I would be completely in favor of. And WITH a place to post comment/questions where they could get feedback if they wished. Maybe even a designated point person to field both to them and from them to be shared with citizens of the state.
I am in agreement with what you stated. I don't think I presented my complete thought on it. Late when I posted, worked until 11 PM, bla, bla, bla.
 #234489  by Bay wolf
 Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:43 pm
TrackerPro16 wrote:Doh! Though I have read the various discussions here It did not 'click' about watching remotely... That I would be completely in favor of. And WITH a place to post comment/questions where they could get feedback if they wished. Maybe even a designated point person to field both to them and from them to be shared with citizens of the state.
I am in agreement with what you stated. I don't think I presented my complete thought on it. Late when I posted, worked until 11 PM, bla, bla, bla.

Happy that you posed the questions. It's better to ask, then assume. We appreciate your thought process in weighing this issue.
And, thanks for the support. We truly do not want to beat up on our co-managers. They support a lot of great programs for conservation. But, we really do need to take the chips of all our shoulders and move on in true co-operation. It's about the fish after all.
 #234518  by Bay wolf
 Thu Mar 02, 2017 2:11 pm
I find it hypocritical that the Nisqually Tribe see's the Open Public Meetings important enough to create their own OPMA, yet still chooses to disregard the States OPMA and allow transparency in the negotiations.

 #234777  by Bay wolf
 Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:16 pm
The WDFW and Director Unsworth have released a press piece that addresses their position on the secret meetings and how they are in total agreement that they should remain secret. Of course, the Tribes are running the show. They use the Gov't to Gov't tactic to take away the rights of the public and to remove any opposition to the deals since we cannot see how they are conducting themselves and the leverage they use to get what they want.

Here is the Press Release:

We don't agree with the position and have responded through an update on the petition. Below is our response.

Director Unsworth: This Just Doesn't Work For Us!

MAR 11, 2017 — In a recent WDFW News Release, the Department and Director Unsworth once again attempted to focus attention on the left hand, while the right hand is still locking the door in our face.

In the release, they try to draw the focus off the secret meetings by saying:
“The public meetings are opportunities for anglers, commercial fishers and others interested in salmon to discuss regional and statewide fisheries issues with representatives from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).”
"I strongly encourage people to get involved and share their thoughts," Unsworth said. "Whether it's at one of the public meetings, through our online tool or in discussions with our many Advisory Group members, the public's input is essential in developing fisheries. As fisheries managers develop this year's salmon seasons, public participation is vital.”

Yet, he also continues to justify the secret meetings by saying:
"These government-to-government meetings must occur for fishing seasons to be set," Unsworth said. "Refusing to meet with the tribes because they will not allow the public to attend these negotiations would be very unproductive for everyone involved.”

Then he adds:
"State and tribal co-managers are far more effective when we work together at recovering and protecting fish and wildlife in Washington," Unsworth said. "I'm committed to working with the tribes to improve the process, make it as open and transparent as possible, and ensure our state's resources are sustainable for future generations.”

The public meetings, slide shows, power point presentations, the public recommendations, requests and suggestions, all of the “public participation” in the process is ABSOLUTELY MEANINGLESS once the doors of these secret meetings are closed and locked to the public! Why? Because the Tribes have a huge advantage in these negotiations. The State MUST agree with the Tribes or risk not getting permits in time to have any seasons at all. Why do you think the Tribes and WDFW are fighting so hard to keep these meetings out of the public eye? They offer many excuses, but they don’t want the public to know how one sided and dysfunctional this process is!

Instead of making excuses why these meetings must remain closed, or fighting the citizens to keep secrets, why not work with us in fixing this unfair permitting process? Why has WDFW made no effort to request Federal guidance and direction to counter the overwhelming Tribal leverage? Why not Federal intervention in the form of arbitration? In the grand scheme of things, upholding and defending the civil liberties of ALL AMERICANS has the same priority, and is just as important as doing so for the Native Americans! Federal Law as set forth by the Boldt Decision has been superseded by a misconception of the dual citizenship principle. Don’t Tribal citizens vote in our elections? Don’t they have Bills drafted in our legislature to become State laws? Do they not contribute large sums of money to campaigns here in our State. All the privileges of State Citizens, yet they get to pick and choose which laws pertain to them?

This Gov’t to Gov’t meeting excuse needs to be looked into. After all, they are not negotiating National Security, nor are they discussing classified intelligence. They are negotiating the peoples Natural Resources! Why does that have to be kept secret?

Director Unsworth knows we are not asking for an open auditorium full of people. We want a live video feed, un-edited with no off camera negotiations. Simple. There is no reason this should interfere with any negotiations, and certainly is a low cost, effective method to allow public oversight!

So, Director Unsworth, we ask you again. If these negotiations are being conducted fairly to all parties, and you and the Tribal representatives are proud of the work you’re doing to preserve and protect our fish in these meetings, why are you fighting so hard to keep these meetings SECRET?

I URGE ALL OF YOUR TO SEND AN EMAIL TO DIRECTOR UNSWORTH AND THE COMMISSION, right now, and let them know we are not going away, we are not backing down and we are simply not buying their party line! Tell them to press the Tribes to open these meetings as they should be. It is the way WE DO GOVERNMENT IN THIS COUNTRY! Work on fixing the unfair leverage the Tribes have in the permitting process, and COME CLEAN WITH THE CITIZENS!

 #234842  by Bay wolf
 Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:59 am
State Senator Pearson Meets With Us.
Perry Menchaca
Tacoma, WA
MAR 14, 2017 — On March 13th, our fight for transparency in the Tribal/North of Falcon meetings was briefed to State Senator Kirk Pearson. Our meeting with Senator Pearson was most encouraging and very up-lifting.

As most of you already know, Senator Pearson, Chair of the Natural Resource and Parks Committee is one of the “good guys” who is truly devoted to conservation and fixing the problems in our fisheries. Our time with the Senator was very positive as we presented the issue of the permits being used as leverage in the secret meetings, and as we discussed your overwhelming support in having these meetings opened to public oversight.

As things develop, we will update you with details, but we are very encouraged with the positive conversation we had. We want all of you to stay active and remain in the fight. Continue to get the word out and educate everyone you can about our cause, and, of course, contact your representatives, the Commission, and Director Unsworth to let them know we are not going away!

In order to start fixing the problems, we must know what the problems are! Open and honest meetings that are truly conservation-driven is the right and only way to manage our fisheries.

Please give Senator Pearson a huge “Thank You”, as well. He has been in the fray for a good long time working to better our fisheries, and deserves our support.

Senator Pearsons Email: Kirk.Pearson@Leg.wa.gov

We will post more details and updates as things progress.

Your Voice is being heard!
 #234843  by BARCHASER10
 Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:44 am
For years, tribal rights were abused. But, the shoe is on the other foot now. I hoped the WDFW would make progress towards transparency but it is obvious they won't. So I finally sent the powers that be an email starting my opposition to the current odious lack of openness.
 #234845  by Toni
 Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:58 am
Thank you Bay wolf. Were the people from Twin Harbors there too?

Did you ever get the numbers on how many salmon the tribes netted last season?
 #234857  by Bay wolf
 Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:44 pm
Toni wrote:Thank you Bay wolf. Were the people from Twin Harbors there too?

Did you ever get the numbers on how many salmon the tribes netted last season?

No, they weren't able to attend. But we shared with them our conversation and the information.

We still haven't been able to get the numbers, but the good fellows at Tidal Exchange have been working very hard at looking into that. I think they wil be bringing the story to light very soon.
 #234883  by Bay wolf
 Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:13 am

This was posted by another member elsewhere. It drives home the importance off what we are trying to accomplish by having these Secret Meetings opened so we can all see how things are being run in there. If we open the doors, then certain behaviors will have to end, or risk a huge public outcry. As long as they can keep things locked behind closed doors, they WILL continue to behave badly and use they leverage they have to gain more and more.

It's like my friend told me, what are your children up to when they go off to their room and close the door? Most likely no good!

There IS a reason they are fighting SO HARD to keep us from knowing whats going on in there, and this article tells the story very well.

If you haven't already, or even if you have. It's time to CALL your representatives and tell them Secret Meetings are NOT OK in our AMERICA!!
 #234961  by Toni
 Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:58 am
 #234968  by BARCHASER10
 Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:03 am
10,000 missing fish! Sports get bean counted to death but not the tribes, they can claim anything and its just peachy. WDFW is part of cooking the books. I used to try to support the WDFW but I just cant do that anymore. Its all BS. Maybe we should just shut down both sports and tribal fishing in Puget Sound because this just doesnt work anymore. I'm not sure it really ever did.

I've been to a few NOF meetings. Some sport fisher would ask a question and the standard response from the WDFW
was "gee that sounds like a good idea, we'll have to talk to the tribes about that."

I asked a question once, "why is Sekiu hatchery Chinooks only but just 10 miles away at Neah Bay you can keep wild Chinooks?". Another sport fisher in the audience said "welcome to tribal politics". The WDFW guy said "maybe you should find somewhere else to fish".
 #234978  by Bay wolf
 Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:24 pm
First, we want to salute the staff at Tidal Exchange. We all owe them a large Thank You for their untiring efforts to bring the truth to our fisheries.
The question at hand is; will the individuals involved be able to act with impunity in this State. The authorities who can do something about this will have to know we are watching what action they take. The departments who should do something about this, should investigate and take appropriate action.

The simple truth that is coming to light is not that there are inequities and possible criminal infractions in the Tribal fisheries, rather is there a desire to seek justice?

...time will tell.
 #234982  by dj2loud
 Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:35 am
In light of the comments, the tribes will never see any punishment at all, no lower quotas or even a slap on the hand... What i would like to see is public input to having a non-tribal member, a totally bias human being that would be able to give an accurate fish count from the boat that actually nets the fish. I for one would volunteer, YES volunteer a day or days on a native fishermans boat to give an ACCURATE account to keep the tribes honest. If we have to send in catch cards that are 100% accurate so should they.... It will never happen as the tribes are so hell bent on secrecy .....

10,000 fish don't surprise me at all......
 #235068  by Bay wolf
 Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:29 pm
Senator Pearson aims budget bullseye, headed straight for WDFW Leadership!

It appears we are not alone in finding the leadership of WDFW lacking.

After our meeting with Senator Pearson, we are confident one of the "fixes" he speaks of in his article is the lack of transparency in our North of Falcon process and the Directors support of blocking public oversight.

Here's the News Article:

 #235069  by Larry3215
 Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:03 pm
I dont see how this helps with the North of Falcon transparency issue in any way.

How can cutting the WDFW budget change Federal Law? WDFW and the State have absolutely nothing they can do to change this problem.

Im assuming that when Person says “This budget for WDFW reflects the needs of an agency in crisis,” that he means they are cutting WDFW's budget drastically.

How does cutting off funds help an agency surmount/correct or deal with the problems he listed - like “Dwindling fish populations, diseased and scattered wildlife and animal conflict problems"?

His budget will protect "core functions" and hatcheries only. Are they shutting down everything else?

This sounds to me like budget cutting BS to make us feel better while really screwing us over.

WDFW is a long ways from perfect, but we and the fish, deer,etc etc, really do need them.
 #235070  by Bay wolf
 Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:35 pm
We agree that the fish and the wildlife need WDFW. However, the resources AND the people NEED WDFW leadership with a backbone and the intestinal fortitude to make the hard decisions. Senator Pearson is a long time advocate for Sportsmen, but more so he is truly concerned about the state of the resource. He is aware that holding meetings behind closed doors when one party has a marked advantage over the other cannot result in equitable results and surely seems to be detrimental to the fisheries. Director Unsworth has made no conserted effort to challenge the Tribal claim that the NOF Meetings are not liable to the OPMA. To the contrary, he's made every effort to support their position. He's never communicated that he's reached out for federal mediation or even for assistance from legislators.
I believe there is no intent in "gutting" WDFW to the detriment of the sportsmen. As we all know, money talks, and often it can be the best tool to affect real change. Budget shortfalls, failure to make significant progress in the leveraged permitting process, death spirals of seasons and opportunities, accountability and enforcement issues and a myride of other "indicators" may have been enough to have the Chair of the Natural Resources Committee say "enough is enough."
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