He brings up some excellent points and asks some difficult questions:
I listened to the recording of the Senate Committee meeting this morning on Gage Froerer's HB218. One particular thing jumped out at me. Lobbyist/lawyer Curtis, I think it was, stated toward the end of the meeting that those who are negotiating have created four drafts, or are working on the fourth draft of the agreement, or words to that effect. I have participated in enough negotiations in my career to know that parties do not get as far as working on the fourth draft of an agreement until and unless there exists the guts of an agreement in principle. There may be some number of minor terms to be worked out, or some differences of opinion about language or other minutiae, but by the fourth draft, the parties have clearly reached agreement and it only remains for the lawyers to huff and puff and wordsmith to create or maintain an advantage over the adversary in the course of memorializing the agreement to which the parties have already agreed.We remain concerned about the back room negotiations, but will keep a watchful eye out in the coming days. Now is not the time to be blindsided!
So who's kidding whom, here? Or put another way, who's hiding what from those of us who, while we may not be parties to the litigation, have been intimately involved and will be directly affected by the settlement as residents of and property owners in this Valley? Are we wasting our time and emotions supporting a piece of legislation that will be rendered moot by an agreement that has already been reached, without our knowledge and participation? Have we wasted our time and our money supporting a cause when those whom we support have bargained away that cause for the sake of cutting their losses, or getting the matter behind them? Are we in the process of sacrificing principle and creating dangerous precedent without even knowing that we are doing so, because our elected and non-elected representatives are tired of dealing with it, or are getting cold feet, or whatever their motivation might be, to the point at which they are making deals they want no one else to know?
Once again, I have been involved in enough negotiations to know that they typically are conducted in private, lest those who have no real stake in the outcome have the chance to intermeddle just because they can, whether they know the real issues or not. In this case, an end to this controversy will directly affect all of us who live here, no matter how it ends. I would like for that end to be the product not of secret, back room deals struck perhaps as a result of less-than-universal interests, but rather the product either of the judicial system, or the legislative system, or that of an informed and affected public given adequate time to study any proposed agreement
and an opportunity to meaningfully provide input concerning it.
This is no social studies exercise; this is real. So, those of you in the know: how about it? What's really going on?