D'Amico claims name of neighborhood organization opposed to noise

Kirk Boxleitner, kboxleitner@ptleader.com
Posted 8/1/17

Security Security Northwest Inc. (SSNW) owner Joe D’Amico hand-delivered a letter to Robin Ornelas, addressed in care of the estate of her late husband, Gabriel, instructing her to stop using the …

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D'Amico claims name of neighborhood organization opposed to noise

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Security Security Northwest Inc. (SSNW) owner Joe D’Amico hand-delivered a letter to Robin Ornelas, addressed in care of the estate of her late husband, Gabriel, instructing her to stop using the name “Discovery Bay Alliance” under threat of legal action.

A group opposing SSNW’s use of land in Gardiner to train people other than its own employees has been using the name Discovery Bay Alliance since 2005.

Gabe Ornelas was a founding member and former president of the Discovery Bay Alliance. He died in January. His widow, Robin, attended a June 26 county commissioners’ meeting, during which she and D’Amico offered their differing accounts of the gunfire noises that people who live across from SSNW claim has originated from the security business on Old Gardiner Road.

A petition from the Discovery Bay Alliance was delivered to county commissioners that same day asking them to investigate SSNW’s use of leased property for his business.

Mark Clark, who delivered the petition, estimated it had between 70 to 100 signatures.

According to the Washington State Department of Revenue's website, D'Amico had registered the name “Discovery Bay Alliance” and obtained a business license for it on June 22, four days before the petition was delivered to commissioners.

D’Amico handed the cease-and-desist letter to Robin Ornelas on July 10.

Although Gabe Ornelas started the Discovery Bay Alliance in 2005, after he and his wife moved to Port Townsend in 1996, Robin Ornelas acknowledged that they’d never registered it by name with the state.

“Whoever would have thought?” Ornelas asked. “We were just a little neighborhood organization.”

The former Discovery Bay Alliance does have a post office box to receive requested public records.

SSNW WANTS RECORDS

D'Amico's letter, which is dated June 30, 2017, and is on letterhead from another business, Fort Discovery, Inc., instructs Ornelas to forward any records received after that date to SSNW’s post office box.

“If you have a P.O. box in the name of 'Discovery Bay Alliance,' this will need to be changed immediately,” stated the letter that D'Amico, president of SSNW, signed and handed to Ornelas.

Clark reported that Discovery Bay Coalition member William Corrigan has been managing the post office box.

“We have not received much through the box, and nothing since SSNW bought the name,” Clark said.

Corrigan noted in an email that the group has changed the name on the post office box, and has sent no records requests under its old name since June.

“I was hoping to have some junk mail for Mr. D’Amico, but I do not,” Corrigan said in an email.

Robin Ornelas also noted that at the June 26 meeting, D'Amico had said that he might release the contents of emails between Gabe Ornelas and the Jefferson County Department of Community Development.

“He said, ‘I don’t think you want me to start reading those,’” said Ornelas, who said to herself at the time, “Go ahead and read them. We’ve never done anything illegal.”

“This is a sad turn of events,” said Clark, a fellow member of what was then the Discovery Bay Alliance. “Mr. D’Amico says he wishes to build bridges with the community. Does he think that this will build bridges? Or does he think that his action will shut down the efforts to get him to comply with the 2009 hearing examiner’s report and decision?”

Clark noted that the group formerly known as the Discovery Bay Alliance has proposed renaming itself the Discovery Bay Coalition.

“Perhaps [D'Amico] will also buy that name,” Clark said. “If so, there is probably another available.”

Ornelas added that she felt a Facebook page with the name “Discovery Bay Alliance,” whose earliest timeline posting is June 25, misrepresents itself as being the group formerly known as the Discovery Bay Alliance.

On July 1 at 8:31 p.m., the page posted an entry that read, “We are no longer asking for petitions to be signed against SSNW, please disregard and destroy! We are working towards a more amicable solution which will allow SSNW and DBA to coexist.”

'TAINTED' PROCESS

D’Amico declined to be interviewed by The Leader for this story, saying he was too busy to do so, but he did provide a public statement, describing the process that led to the hearing examiner's 2009 decision as “tainted,” and referring to a potential move of some of its operations to a new site.

“Security Services Northwest is pleased to be working in a positive manner with current county staff in an effort to relocate Fort Discovery's higher-intensity uses to a more remote location,” D'Amico wrote in response to questions by email from The Leader. “Our plans are in the pre-application phase. We are optimistic this change would allow our business to generate more tax revenue and more jobs.”

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