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We Need Your Help!

We have been fighting an uphill battle against Seattle's rapidly growing bureaucracy. Our mission to connect people with the sea is in conflict with Seattle's central planning authorities that are working to restrict public access to the marine environment. We urge Seattle residents to learn more about the political factions and agendas shaping our City and region. Please vote rationally and consciously for civic leaders who have common sense, integrity and the public's best interest at heart.

We don't live in a bubble. Building connections between citizens and the marine environment is the only lasting way to foster stewardship of local waterways. We believe that the solution to environmental conservation is to provide enlightening education, not stifling legislation.

We urge you to contact your City, County and State representatives and urge them to support meaningful public access to public waterways.

Seattle Bureaucracy Stops UPWA Programs:

It has now tallied over two-thousand hours of senseless legal work and communication time that we have had to spend defending our programs against an insidious bureaucracy--time we much rather have spent developing our programs to connect Seattle residents with the Sea.

It is becoming clear that the prevailing political agenda to reduce human contact with the marine environment may be driving a defiantly aggressive anti-maritime-access attitude from some City officials.

Numerous UPWA projects and programs were put on hold in 2013 due to a blatant abuse of power that started with a false legal assertion that we directly employed a scofflaw parking offender based on nothing more than a Facebook posting that had nothing to do with employment.

Washington garnishment laws allow creditors to sue employers who fail to garnish money from debtor employees. The fact was, we were never an employer of anyone. The individual in question was simply an independent farmer's market merchant who attended the FarmBoat Floating Market at Lake Union Park the year prior to the case.

The City's contract collection agency, Alliance One finally vacated the $8,000 lawsuit after ten months of litigation efforts. However, the City fiance department ruled that "FarmBoat" and founder David Petrich violated Washington law and that the attempt to collect the debt was justified.

The ruling leaves the door open for the City to revoke business licenses and permits retroactively to pay fines resulting from the alleged failure to garnish the scofflaw's ten year old parking debts. City officials have been unwilling to formally absolve the unsubstantiated charges. Retroactive revocation of a business license can trigger a $513 per day fine which can accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in new debts under current law according to enforcement officials.

The "garnishee employer" status arbitrarily assigned by the City creates implications with other strict City employment laws. We feel that it is extremely inappropriate for City officials to use the law as a political tool for the suppression of public activities along the water.

We are asking for your help to contact the Seattle Mayors office and City Council members to let them know that you support increased access to the public waterways around Seattle. Please tell them to properly investigate and absolve the false employer charges.

We believe that policies made to block public access to the sea ultimately cause more harm than good because the opportunity for public stewardship is lost. The vast majority of pollution problems on Puget Sound are caused from upland contaminates that flow down to the sea. If people are not connected to the marine environment, they won't have the knowledge and incentive to care.

For more information about the details of our bureaucratic challenges, see FarmBoat.org.