Psst... Agents of Change, After a decade of creative movement building work, we know that it's not enough to be busy. Everyone's busy. What matters is to be EFFECTIVE. And do you know what our secret weapon is?
Ex-Senator Blanche Lincoln couldn't say "No" to corporate money when she was in office and the same is true now. A longtime mouthpiece for WalMart, JPMorgan-Chase, and champion of the KeystoneXL pipeline,...
Join Backbone Campaign, our Action Brigade allies in Spokane, and change agents from across eastern WA, Idaho, & Montana at the PJALS annual Action Conference.
Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane is hosting a day full of workshops geared towards action-oriented change agents.
Backbone will present a workshop on building grassroots power and our allies of Occupy Spokane, Spokane Rising Tide, and Spokane Coalition Builders will lead a hands-on workshop on building and using creative visibility tactics.
Grand Strategy & Creative Tactics is a signature workshop of Backbone that articulates a set of strategic principles and framework through which our social movement can assess the effectiveness of the tactics we deploy in order to achieve our goals and manifest our vision.
[2-14-14: NEW Technical Memorandum confirms our suspicions - Read the expert analysis HERE]
Inadequate environmental review of possible/likely industrial contamination at this facility left unaddressed at this time could leave Vashon residents paying a much higher future cost of clean-up, or worse yet, the possible pollution of Vashon's groundwater or sole-source aquifer.
I write you today as a 25 year resident of this island and as the director of the Backbone Campaign, a public interest organization that many of you have supported for the past ten years. I want to express my grave concern and decision to strongly oppose the sale of the K2 facility by Jarden Corporation to Bakkhos Holding, LLC. Inadequate environmental review of possible/likely industrial contamination at this facility at this time could leave Vashon residents paying a much higher future cost of clean-up, or worse yet, the possible pollution of Vashon's groundwater or sole-source aquifer.
In 2007, the K2 Sports and a large collection of brands under its umbrella were purchased by Jarden Corporation for $1.2 billion. Jarden Corporation, based in Rye, NY is a $7 billion-a-year conglomerate that owns over one hundred other consumer brands. Among the more well known brands owned by Jarden are Mr. Coffee, Oster, Coleman, Yankee Candles, Sunbeam, Margaritaville, Marmot, Kerr, Johnson and Ball Jars. With the purchase of K2 Sports, Jarden acquired a dynamic set of brands, some of which were developed on Vashon Island over decades of creative work. Along with that valuable and profitable asset, Jarden also acquired a relatively minor liability, the Vashon manufacturing plant.
Today, Jarden is about to sell this facility to a cash buyer, Bakkhos Holding, LLC. Bakkhos is a nine week old LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) with no ties to our community. K2 Sports/Jarden Corporation is requiring that Bakkhos Holding, LLC indemnify them for all prior contamination of the site. Though in and of itself an indemnification is not outside the norm, Bakkhos is agreeing to give that indemnification to Jarden without any independent scientific review of Jarden's environmental assessment of the property. and doing so despite early warnings from one of their original team who objected to the indemnification and the nature of the seller-commissioned assessment.
I and others more qualified than I have reviewed the Phase 1 and Phase 2 reports. So far, the consensus is that the Phase 2 is basically worthless. The report itself says, "This report is not a comprehensive site characterization and should not be construed as such. The interpretations and conclusions are the result of one day of field work." I share the opinion that an 18 acre site with over 60 years of industrial impacts cannot be characterized with one day of testing. Besides that, there are eighteen total "RECs" (recognized environmental conditions) identified in their report. Nine of those eighteen were not tested at all. Other of the tests were inexplicably far from the identified RECs and the very methods and protocols suspect.
Were Bakkhos not a cash buyer, but receiving financing through a lending institution, that lender would likely require Jarden to obtain a "No Further Action" (NFA) letter from the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) so as to be assured that it was acquiring or lending against an asset rather than a liability. To obtain an NFA, Jarden/K2 Sports would have to submit the Phase 1 and Phase 2 environmental assessments it commissioned to the DOE to determine that there is no need for additional testing, and do whatever testing if deemed necessary to address data gaps. Only once those data gaps are addressed and potential clean-up done would DOE have the information that would allow them to issue an NFA letter.
I met with a representative Bakkhos Holding and Edi-Pure twice, requesting that they work with our community to require this NFA letter. He refused to even consider it. He refused to investigate our warnings about the Phase 1 and Phase 2 despite early warnings from one of their original team who objected to the indemnification and the nature of the seller-commissioned assessment. Bakkhos' "good enough for us" attitude robs this community of an opportunity to insist that Jarden take the bad with the good by conducting a thorough characterization of the site with adequate testing, and the environmental clean-up necessary to protect our health, ground water and drinking water for future generations.
Like many of you, I have been frustrated to see nothing come to fruition at the K2 plant for so many years. The general impression has been that our community just couldn't "get it together" to create a project that would "pencil out." But the current situation reveals a darker side to this story. Lack of imagination, good ideas and business sense were likely not the only impediments to progress. I now believe that liability concerns for the facility and grounds have been a cloud over both finding the right buyer and closing a deal.
IF Jarden's exit strategy has been to seek indemnification without subjecting their environmental assessment to a thorough review in order to avoid additional testing and potential cleanup, THEN a cash-buyer-in-a-rush such as Bakkhos Holding, LLC is the PERFECT match for Jarden, but a TERRIBLE match for Vashon.
Therefore, I believe that we as a community must:
Call upon Jarden/K2 Sports to voluntarily follow the Department of Ecology's NFA letter process before shedding liability for the former K2 factory, and thus concluding a chapter in our Island story with the same positive spirit we enjoyed when K2 was such a vibrant part of our community.
Make our support of Bakkhos Holding, LLC's entrance into our community dependent upon them collaborating with us to protect Vashon's future health and safety by making the NFA letter a precondition for the transfer of liability. And
Engage our King county elected officials along with State and County regulatory agencies to use their full power to guarantee that the K2 site not be burdened with unanswered questions nor our environmental health traded for corporate irresponsibility or the haste of outsiders.
Great Lakes Basin Action Camp May 13th - 19th 2014
Circle Pines Center near Kalamazoo, MI
Modeled on the annual Localize This! Action Camp held in the NW, we're excited to expand the dynamic Cross-Movement Artful Activism, Strategy, Creative Tactics & Community Organizing Intensive Training Camp to the Midwest!
What's Localize This?- Find out in 2 minutes or less watchingthis video
Tips for Crowd-Funding your camp participation- HERE
Friends Don't Let Friends Miss Great Lakes Basin Action Camp
Bring your action buddy or your whole affinity group
All year long, the Backbone team appears in our region and across the country, but only one time per year does the country come to us. For the past four years this gathering has been at the cusp of movement innovation, a source of numerous collaborations, and a spark for countless creative actions from viral Flash Mobs to Giant floating buttocks. Our giant 1% arrows banner and light projections preceded Occupy. 2012's camp lifted up Eviction Protection in the Seattle area and now our allies are celebrating a victorious Eviction Blockade. Our first camp even helped save an island!
ARE YOU CURIOUS WHAT HAPPENS AT ACTION CAMP?- SEE THE OFFERINGS AT LAST YEAR'S NW ACTION CAMP Below
Where & When:
Circle Pines Center near Kalamazoo, MI May 13th-19th Cost: Sliding scale $200-$500 for week(No one will be turned away for lack of funds*) Per day $30-$75 (suggested)
All Camping, Trainings, and Delicious Locally-Sourced Food are included!
Bring a sleeping bag if you have one. REGISTER TODAY!
* FYI - Please consider helping cover the cost of scholarships for participants from impacted communities by increasing your payment to $400 or more. The real cost of camp for Backbone is over $350 per person.
Who's Coming To Camp?- Build Connections & Train Alongside Allies Working on:
Coal Trains/Coal Ports/Tar Sands/Fracking and Fossil Fuel Extraction Resistance.
Eviction Protection and Foreclosure Defense.
Economic Justice and Austerity Resistance
Trade and Labor Justice
What Workshops Are Offered?-Get Skilled-Up To Act-Up with Effective Organizing Strategies and Expand Your Tactical Toolkit With These Trainings & More, All Offered In One Place. Full Draft Schedule HERE
Please Join them in supporting this movement building work.Donate TODAY toward scholarships for deserving emerging activist leaders from impacted communities. There are people from around the country who need your support to attend camp and we will not turn anyone away for lack of funds.
Partner with Us! If you would like your organization listed as a Partner, please call the Backbone Campaign office 206-408-8058
Pitch-In To The Crowdfunding Scholarship Campaign! Designate your contribution to go towards scholarships for front-line activists. (Write it in the dedication section)
There is nothing the Backbone Campaign does that is more crucial to preparing progressive change agents or weaving connections between them than our annual Localize This! Action Camp. Enable Change Agents from across the country and from diverse backgrounds and struggles to participate by pitching-in today!