On December 24, 2010 WDFW filed a Motion For Summary Judgement requesting the court to stand down one of the claims in the Advocacy complaint alleging WDFW is violating the Open Meeting Act (OPMA) during its North of Falcon (NOF) process wherein salmon seasons are set behind closed doors out of the view of the public. On January 24, 2020, the Advocacy filed a “cross motion” response to WDFW’s motion. The dueling motions are currently scheduled for argument before the court at 9 AM on February 7, 2020 before presiding judge Erik D. Price in Thurston County Court in Olympia.
The response filed by the Advocacy legal representative Joe Frawley of the Olympia firm of Schefter & Frawley requests the judge rule to reject WDFW’s motion and enter a ruling in favor of the Advocacy view that WDFW has violated the OPMA. The move by WDFW does not effect the other legal complaints alleging WDFW also violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the Public Records Act (PRA).
The response filed by Frawley is a very strong document worthy of reading. It explains how the 9 member Fish & Wildlife Commission was established by a vote of the people in 1995 with the direct intent of increasing public transparency over the management of fish & wildlife in the state of Washington. To the contrary, the NOF process utilized by WDFW has evolved to the opposite at the expense of the public and demise of the resources.
The motion cites from the depositions conducted of WDFW senior staff earlier in the process. Former Chairperson of the Fish & Wildlife Commission Miranda Wecker provides a declaration attached to the Advocacy response that provides a history of the demise of the public transparency in the NOF and the public’s growing dissatisfaction with the NOF process as the fish populations continue to decline. Pat Patillo, who recently retired from WDFW and was the lead negotiator for NOF for a number of years also provided a declaration confirming that the public can not meaningfully participate in NOF.
The Advocacy’s cross motion is available here The declaration of Miranda Wecker is here The declaration of Pat Patillo is here and the voter’s pamphlet for the referendum passed in 1995 by the voters is here WDFW’s motion for summary judgement is here
When one files motions, two complete copies have to be filed with the court and an additional copy provided to opposing counsel. As you can see from the graphic below, Mr. Frawley had a day on Friday that resembled a UPS delivery man. To say this effort to open doors for the public in North of Falcon requires commitment and dedication is truly an understatement.