if its too loud, turn it down

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Please avoid Progressive Insurance

As it turns out, Flo isn't quite as fun & friendly as she seems...


It's hard to believe an insurance company can be such an incredible jerk, until it happens to you.

I received a letter from Progressive stating that my homeowner's policy has been cancelled because "the roof is lifting and/or buckling" on my home. I have just purchased the home and had it inspected. The roof is older, but the inspector said I will get 5-7 more years out of it. There is no leaking. There is most definitely not "lifting and/or buckling".

The date the cancellation was in effect is 3/19. I understand that they mailed the letter Jan 24, but because I do not live in the home yet, I did not receive the letter until Mar 2. That leaves me only 2 weeks. Also, I had elected to receive all online communication from Progressive, which they failed to send.

I called Progressive and said that I can do the roof repairs, but given they are weather dependent and I hadn't even had a chance to get quotes, and begged for more time. They refused, saying this is "policy". Even if I had gotten the letter as scheduled, 45 days is not alot of time to find a contractor and cough up thousands of dollars for roof repairs.  Especially when re-roofing requires relatively good weather and I live in the Pacific Northwest.

There seems to be no recourse with them. I can't appeal to them that the roof is actually not in bad shape, their inspector is employed by them and they will not accept opinions of any other inspectors. 45 days is way too short a timeframe to make repairs.

UPDATE: I did go ahead and get a new roof.  But I also took all 6 policies I had with Progressive and went elsewhere.  As it turns out, I am getting better coverage at a lower cost.

There simply is no reason to do business with a company that doesn't care about you, and it more expensive.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Petition for Amendment of a State Administrative Rule - WDFW Rule Change #65 (Cabezon)

I went ahead and sent in the petition "PETITION FOR ADOPTION, AMENDMENT, OR REPEAL OF A STATE ADMINISTRATIVE RULE" with the cover letter below.

Even though the Commission is reconsidering rule change #65, it needs to be on record that they did not follow procedure.  


March 14, 2013

Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
ATTN: Loreva Preuss
P.O. Box 43144
Olympia, WA 98504-3144

Dear Loreva Preuss,

I have attached a completed Petition for Amendment of a State Administrative Rule.  The rule in question is rule change #65 - "Cabezon minimum size requirement".  The attached petition asks that the Commission amend the adopted rule, removing the catch limit and season restriction that were added after the public comment/testimony period was over.

The CR-102 WAC language and the WDFW web site page requesting public comment mention only a size restriction of 18" on Cabezon (attached relevant pages).  This is what was presented for the public comment period and the February 8, 2013 public testimony in Olympia, which I attended.  For unknown reasons, the rule language was amended considerably to include a catch limit reduction a season restriction, after public comment and public testimony were completed. These additional restrictions appeared in the Concise Explanatory Statement, dated February 22, 2013 (attached relevant pages).  The CES shows that options 2-4 were not included in the CR-102 language.   The March 5, 2013 WDFW press release (attached) shows that the commissioners chose to adopt three of the four restrictions, again, only one of which was presented to the public (the 18" size restriction).

This is a violation of the The Administrative Procedure Act.  RCW 34.05.340 specifically addresses this, "Variance between proposed and final rule" (attached).  

Additionally, I believe a WDFW and possibly even the State of Washington should examine exactly why procedure was not followed in this instance.  While sportfishing restrictions are obviously warranted in certain circumstances, proper procedure must be followed.  The Commission should be held accountable for acting outside of established policy.

Awaiting your reply,

Rory O'Connor

     WDFW Public Comment for Rule Change #65 - http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/comments/proposal.php?id=143 
     CR-102 WAC - http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regulations/2013/wsr_13-02-094.pdf
     CES - http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/comments/2012-2013CESSummaryofPublicCommentStaffRecommendation_02222013.pdf
     March 5 WDFW Press Release - http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/mar0513a/

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Unimaginable, but CenturyLink is actually worse than Comcast!

Please, I am begging you...never, ever, ever do business with CenturyLink. From the day I signed up two months ago I have not yet had a successful, error-free interaction with their site. I call, and their phone agents tell me I need to call someone else or "our site is having problems today, please try again tomorrow".  Another person actually told me, "our site does not work with Chrome." I can't even log in and pay my bill. And I thought Comcast was bad.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Letter to WDFW Concerning WDFW Rule Change Proposal #69 (MA4B lingcod season restriction)

Dear WDFW, I am writing to express my deep concern regarding WDFW's "# 69. Reduce lingcod season in Marine Area 4B" rule change proposal. If this rule went into effect it would have a HUGE impact on Washington's fishing community and the economy that supports it. Additionally, I believe this rule change would create a serious safety issue. Most importantly, the data behind this proposal does not justify the action.

I understand that this rule change is being considered in order to reduce the by catch of "protected" rockfish species. We anglers are very interested in conservation, because we know if we are not, we are compromising the future of the sport we love. However, as avid fishermen of area 4B for Lingcod, the by-catch issue just does not correlate for me and my colleagues at the North West Kayak Anglers (NWKA). We know from experience that very few rockfish are caught while targeting Lingcod. And, it is rare to catch Canary or Yelloweye in 4B due to the 120 foot depth restriction. If you are catching rockfish, you either change bait or move. Nobody wants to sit there and catch rockfish after rockfish that are illegal to retain.

But we didn't want to rely on our own experience alone, so we inquired to WDFW to find out what data was used to back the proposal. A WDFW representative sent us data that was from 2010 and 2011 dockside sampling. This sampling occurred throughout the entire season and has standard statistical methods for determining complete harvest from MA4B. This data, which the WDFW considers valid, shows that for each legal Lingcod caught, 1.6 “protected” rockfish were caught.

Furthermore, according to this WDFW document: http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/00035/wdfw00035.pdf "...For rockfish found in Puget Sound, mortality rates of released rockfish from 120 feet (36 m) or less in depth ranged from 17% to 37%." During the dockside sampling period, the total number of "protected" rockfish encountered in 4B was on average 4195 rockfish per year. Considering the mortality rates above, this translates to 712-1552 rockfish that perished. Consider that there were 18,905 black rockfish retained per year on average. Now, if you considered only Yelloweye and Canary, there were 242 Yelloweye and 642 Canary encountered per year on average. The resulting mortality would be 41-90 Yelloweye and 109-238 Canary.

The 120 foot depth restriction already sufficiently protects rockfish, which is why the WDFW itself is estimating a survival rate of roughly 75%. And the average depth Lingcod are targeted (by NWKA estimation) is 70-80 feet, which gives rockfish an even better chance.

While by-catch is never great, it is a reality in both commercial and sportfishing and there is an acceptable threshold…these numbers just do not merit a 75% reduction in the Lingcod sportfishing season for 4B, from 180 to 45 days. That is the most important reason why this rule change proposal should not be passed. And if that weren't enough, here's a couple more…

The first is safety. Because of its unique geographical situation, 4B allows anglers access to rich, world-class, ocean fishing with good protection from westerly wind and swell. Naturally, 4B is fished by anglers with smaller boats that can't normally fish the ocean side (4A), and by almost ALL boats on choppy or bigger swell days. Severely restricting 4B to bottomfishing will likely result in more boats taking risks they shouldn't, by trying to fish 4A.

A scenario: A few guys with a smaller boat, an 18', plan a July weekend out at Neah Bay targeting bottomfish. Saturday's weather is great, they get out to 4A and the fishing is good. Sunday the weather is marginal...the kind of day they would in the past stay in 4B, but with the rule change they can't. Rather than cut their big fishing weekend short, they take the risk and run out to 4A...and put themselves in danger and those that have to come to their aid, be it private boats or the Coast Guard.

And for every scenario like that, there will likely be many trips that get cancelled because 4B would no longer be an option. Because of fast-changing coastal weather, planning a fishing trip where only 4A is fishable is too risky, given 4B would be illegal to bottomfish. Not to mention the many, many trips never even planned by those who ONLY fish 4B. That would add up to a lot of fishing trips that never get made.

Which leads to another important factor…economic impact. Neah Bay is a community that depends on sport fishing, of which 4B's Lingcod season is a large part. Guides, foodservice, lodging would all take a severe hit. And it's not just Neah Bay, but all the towns in the Olympic Peninsula anglers pass through on their way to Neah Bay, where they stay, eat and fill up their tanks. Then the tackle shops across Washington that won't sell the bottomfishing gear, the manufacturers who make that gear…even lost WDFW license revenue from those who come from out of state just to fish Neah Bay (it is, most definitely, a world-class fishing destination). And that's just naming a few.

The American Sportfishing Association reported that Washington State's saltwater fishing economy is worth nearly $600 million http://asafishing.org/uploads/2011_ASASportfishing_in_America_Report_January_2013.pdf. It's hard to say how much of that MA4 is responsible for, but given that area 4B's unique geographic protection from the ocean, access to world-class fish, and the fact that it's considered fishing heaven by so many anglers...I'm quite certain it's responsible for a good chunk. The economic ripple effect of this rule change would be devastating. Please consider the livelihoods that would be impacted by this single rule change.

Fishing is something I am very passionate about, and 4B is one of my favorite places to fish on this earth. It's a place myself and my fishing friends visit often throughout the 180-day season (most of those trips take place AFTER June 15, when the weather is more predictable). Marine area 4B's fishing, and it's beauty, is unparalleled. Please do not make this proposal a rule change.

Thanks for your consideration and all of your hard work,

R. O'Connor