Seattle sanity rally sparked by pundits

Jim Baum, a farmer who owns land in King County in Washington, has called for a rally to be held at Westlake Park in Seattle on Oct. 30 at 9:00 a.m. It is called the “Rally to Restore Sanity” and has the same name and date of a similar rally being held in Washington D.C.

Baum’s frustrations were sparked by an altercation with King County. In 1988, Baum purchased a retired dairy farm in Maple Valley for a supplemental income. A couple years later, Baum wanted to buy a hay farm in Eastern Washington and attempted to sell his land in Maple Valley. In the early 1990s, King County, the largest county by population in the state of Washington, declared most of Baum’s Maple Valley land to be a wetland protected by the King County Sensitive Areas Ordinance (SAO), making it impossible for Baum to do what he wanted with his land: start a horse ranch.

The King County ordinance states that “…wetlands…shall not be disturbed or altered…unless King County determines, upon review of special studies completed by qualified professionals that either, (1) the wetland does not serve any of the valuable functions of wetlands…(2) the proposed development would preserve or enhance…valuable wetland functions…and would be consistent with the purposes of this ordinance…”.

The county initially refused Baum’s request because of the number of “endangered species” living on or near his land. Apparently, one can enhance their land as habitat for species present on the ‘King County Wetlands Inventory Species List’. However, their list of endangered species included Bipedus Giganticus, or Sasquatch.

Clint Lank, chief of the county’s Agriculture and Resource Lands section, stated that “Sasquatch is part of the Northwest’s folklore…There have been many sightings of Sasquatch over the years in the Northwest, so it’s not surprising it’s on the list.” Lank does confirm that the county has never denied development permits solely on protection of Sasquatch habitat.

Regardless, Baum is organizing this protest in correlation with a popular news pundit. “We’re going to do exactly what I think Jon Stewart wants us to do,” Jim Baum, the Seattle event’s organizer, told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don. “People have already started talking on the Facebook page about what their signs are going to say.” In February 1999, Baum was interviewed on The Daily Show by Stephen Colbert because of the King County land dispute. The Jim Baum story has over time become intertwined with these pundits, and their rallies will be interconnected as well.

Political pundits Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, hosts of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, respectively, on Comedy Central, are holding the “Rally to Restore Sanity” (Stewart) and the “March to Keep Fear Alive” (Colbert). Their rallies will both be held Oct. 30 at 12:00 p.m. at the Washington Monument. These demonstrations are in response to Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally which took place Aug. 28 at the Lincoln Memorial.