Friday, August 26, 2016

Scraps Minus S and S is Crap

Let me ask you - does the picture below represent what success looks like to you?

 
Let's see who we've got there...Well, for starters, we've got Nathan West, who years ago sold his soul to the Devil for job security. Nathan used to "know better," but by now only seems to know how to hold on to his job. Then there's elderly, ill and always out of it Pat Downie, the doddering dodo of Port Angeles politics. Next to Pat there's clueless Connie Beauvais, the far-right dream girl of 1955. When Edna's not available, call Connie! Then you've got morally bankrupt Steve Tharinger. I guess they let Steve hold the scissors, because he's so practiced at putting knives in people's backs. Oh, and let's not forget Pixie Bob Larsen, "CEO" of the "Composites Recycling Technology Center." With his Kim Jong-Il style bouffant, Bob cuts a dashing figure as he helps the Usual Suspects shuffle the latest bullshit around.
 
Now, I ask about success, because, really, that's the product that these people and the CRTC are peddling. They're promising to take composite waste scraps and spin them into JOBS! MARKETABLE PRODUCTS! And did we mention JOBS!
 
But...At the risk of sounding skeptical, let me ask a few more questions. As far as creating jobs, what sort of track record do the people you see here have? Even at a one-step remove, what sort of job have they done at creating a community and/or economy and/or educational environment that would be conducive to job growth? For those from local governing bodies, how have they done on civic and environmental and regulatory oversight?
 
Let's remember that, for all intents and purposes, these people, and their cohorts, are the ones who let the Garbage Bluff be born. Who let the Rayonier site sit, toxic and untouched. Who've allowed combined sewer overflows (CSOs) to go on for decades. Who let Nippon put a power plant on the shoreline - and let them start construction on it without permits. These are members of the governing crowd that gave away 100+ acres of industrial zoned land to land rapist Dan Morrison in a sleazy deal. Their fingerprints are all over putting the Turd Tank on the shoreline as well, as well as many other bad, destructive ideas.
 
In other words, these are the people who have allowed industry and individuals to trash the environment, literally leave piles of garbage and toxic waste and polluted soil all over Clallam County, and have turned a blind eye to ever cleaning up any of the messes they've helped facilitate.
 
With all that in mind, I have my doubts about the wisdom of their scheme to bring yet one more type of waste product to Clallam County, pile it up somewhere, and wait for it to turn into cold, hard cash. More than likely, it will, in the long run, end up sitting in a pile somewhere on the shoreline, just one more toxic hotspot in Port Angeles.
 
In short, my faith in the ability of any of these people to "get things right" is weak, very weak. 


Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Problem is Perceiving the Reality That Perception Versus Reality is Part of the Problem

Ah yes...The "aggressive panhandling" problem again...How many times, people? Today's article does a good job (unintentionally) of illustrating the problem with this supposed problem.

On one hand...

Port Book and News owner Alan Turner said his sense from customers is, "Things are not getting better; things are getting worse." Customers tell him they don't go downtown anymore because of the unsavory environment.

And...

Cherie Kidd said the issue may be on the agenda for the next regular City Council meeting on September 6th. The Council was responding to 96 residents who had signed an online petition - and according to (notorious liar) Kidd, 200 people had complained - about aggressive panhandling.

But then, on the other hand...

There were six panhandling complaints in January, six in February, seven in March, six in April, eight in May, seven in June, four in July, and three through early Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Jason Viada said.

WOW! Look at those (less than) huge numbers! These complaints peaked in May with a ginormous...eight complaints. Yes, it sure sounds like total anarchy on the streets.

The housing bubble bursting? This guy's fault.
The spread of Zika? Here's the culprit.
The collapse of the Port Angeles economy? This guy did it!
And all while making "$200 a day tax-free," according to Cherie Kidd.

Seriously, these numbers don't even come close to adding up or making sense. Crabby Alan Turner says his customers tell him they don't go downtown anymore...But how can they tell him that if they aren't downtown, in his shop, as customers? Somewhere between 96 and 200 people complained about aggressive panhandling...And yet the most citations ever handed out in a month was eight? Two a week?

This tempest in a teapot perfectly illustrates two of the chief problems in Port Angeles: Denial and displacement. While tacitly acknowledging there is a problem in Port Angeles, the powers that be want to deny the real causes - which is to say, their own decisions. Instead, they try to displace the problem, scapegoating someone or something else - in this case a handful of hobos.

But if the people running Port Angeles want to see what is ruining Port Angeles, they don't have to go downtown. They don't have to get asked for some spare change. They just have to look in the mirror.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Freefalling for You, Nippon!

From a comment posted on the previous topic...

*********

Off topic, but in doing a bit of research on the viability of Nippon continuing as a paper making mill, I found out the industry is in virtual freefall:

"More than 60 pulp and paper mills were closed and 33 idled production from 2013-2014"

And:

Verso Announces Closure of Wickliffe, Kentucky Paper Mill
finance.yahoo.com/.../verso-announces-closure-wickliffe...

Apr 5, 2016 - The decision to close the Wickliffe Mill is aligned with Verso's long-held ... although it was unable to sell the facility as an operating paper mill...

And:

Senator King: Paper mills closing is economic "hurricane" | WCSH6.com
www.wcsh6.com/news/politics/...paper-mills-closing.../82643964

Mar 14, 2016 - Senator King: Paper mills closing is economic "hurricane"...

But what are our local leaders doing about Nippon's announcement?

Doing ANYTHING to head off the probable closure of the Nippon Mill? Looking ahead?


*********

Does anyone really believe that Pat Downie, Cherie Kidd, Brad Collins and/or Dan Gase are looking toward the future? Are any of them even capable of doing so? I highly doubt it. They're not suited to it intellectually, temperamentally or otherwise.

In fact, the former Fluoride Four could also be summed up with a different, though equally alliterative name. Trigger warning, Cherie! It's a four-letter word. Yes indeed, these queasy, quaking cowards could, and should, be known as the Four Who Fear.

F is for the many things they're 'fraid of
E is for their egos on parade
A is for atrophy in brains so dead
R is for the ruin that lies ahead
 
Put them all together and you've got FEAR...
Which infects every word yet to be said.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Baffling the Bullfrog of Bullshit

This is one of those rare cases where the headline really does say it all...

Port Angeles City Attorney struggles with definition of profanity

Yes, the headline says it all, but it's what we've been saying for days, isn't it? Hey, Bill, maybe you should let Cherie Kidd write, define and defend her own rules. Lord knows she can dress herself - why not give her a little more leash and see if you can choke her off entirely?

Bill Bloor is brought to you by...

Meanwhile, let's look at what some other people have to say. First up, Doug Honig with the American Civil Liberties Union:

"The restrictions interfere with the free speech right of council members."

Lee Whetham:

"The staff did nothing to halt, stop or slow down this proposed ordinance. I intend to take this outside Port Angeles for legal review...I'm not going to rely solely on Port Angeles City staff to tell that's a legal document."

Says Lee Whetham:
"We're getting readings that are off the chart!"

Comment on the PDN website:

"This story is being picked up by national media because of its absurdity. Port Angeles is being ridiculed as a backwater for stories like this that threaten to further isolate it..."

Another comment from the PDN:

"So Kidd openly lied about Whetham's behavior...Yet she wants to punish opposing council for potty language - which she knows when SHE hears it. Port Angeles burns while Kidd fiddles."

Cherie Kidd:

Did not respond to requests for comment.

Maybe someone can explain it all to Cherie Kidd
(speak s-l-o-w-l-y) during public comments...



Friday, August 19, 2016

Pick Your Poison, Port Angeles: Suspected "Junkies" or Sociopathic Vigilantes

For the record...When I was in Port Angeles, I tried on numerous occasions to get the City to respond or do something about people in my neighborhood who were clearly living on the streets, in RVs, in violation of the City's own rules.

Nothing ever came of my complaints. But I find it interesting that the issue has festered and grown into something that attracts nearly 100 people to a public meeting. Obviously there are undeniable problems (RV residents on the streets), as well as other, murkier problems (drug dealing? vigilante assholes?) waiting for more light to be shined on them.

The following is a new piece from the Port O Call that delves into some of the issues and people at play. It sounds like a real mess, people, like a truly horrible situation that is just the opening act for something even more horrible yet to come...

*********

Homeless residents harassed by former addicts.

There is a theory in the recovery community which suggests when a person begins to use drugs his or her emotional maturity stops.  They remain at that same emotional age until they stop using.  What this means is if a teenager begins to abuse drugs at the age of 17 and quits ten years later the therapist who works with him/her will be dealing with someone with the emotional maturity of a 17 year old even though the chronological age is 27.

Unless and until a chronic user gets into and does the internal work required in recovery, such as the famous 12 step program, they will ever remain the same emotional age.

This may explain why some of the members of a nascent group calling themselves “Our Town” repeatedly harass homeless residents whom they perceive are using drugs.

Some of the “leaders” of Our Town are themselves former addicts who presumably are now clean and want to vilify others who still use drugs.  According to statements made by some of the homeless residents Our Town leader, Adam Chamberlain has a habit of harassing homeless people even up to the point of accelerating toward them in his truck and spraying pepper spray on a woman and her six year old daughter.

According to reports Chamberlain has a rap-sheet in at least two states including Idaho and Washington.  The story is Chamberlain had some tools stolen from his truck and presumes a homeless person took them.  Now he is on a revenge rampage to “pay-back” everyone who is homeless.

Our Town has a facebook page where they post photographs of homeless people and call the police whenever they photograph someone whom they think may have warrants out.  Recently Our Town posted a message to one particular woman saying, “I am going to ruin you.”

Another ploy employed by Our Town is to provide blankets to homeless individuals and then photograph them when they come to get clean blankets.  They then post these photographs onto their facebook page.

Our Town operatives took photos of Port O Call interviewing homeless individuals and posted them on their facebook page.

When Port O Call interviewed Chamberlain outside the recent meeting at the Vern Burton Center Port O Call asked Chamberlain if he had indeed pepper-sprayed the woman and her child.  Before he could answer, the founder of Our Town, Chelsea Ward stepped up and stated 3 times, “there’s no record of it, there’s no record of it, there’s no record of it.”

After interviewing a half dozen homeless residents with eerily similar stories about Chamberlain and a few other vigilantes harassing them, the stories add up including brandishing a pistol at a makeshift campsite inside city limits.

This is one of the few complaints made by the homeless that is actually getting investigated.  Chelsea seemed pretty sure of herself when she said “there’s no record”  because there are very few investigations being conducted to see if these vigilantes are harassing homeless when they come into town for a meal at the Salvation Army or to fly a sign in town seeking donations.

According to one young women who was the victim of the alleged pepper-spray attack by Chamberlain she stated the law enforcement officer refused to take her complaint because she had no telephone by which he could call her if he needed more information.

Jesse is another who lives outdoors.  He too claims to have had a gun pointed at him and was ordered to “get out of town.”  One of the stories that kept popping up within the stories of the interviewees was that of being threatened with vehicles attempting to run them over on the street.

Port O Call has in its possession a video showing a white, late-model SUV actually speeding toward the video maker and swerving only at the last second.  There are stories of vehicles running up on the sidewalk to scare homeless people walking on the sidewalk.

All these stories could be taken with a grain of doubt except there is currently an unsolved death where a homeless man was victim of a hit and run.  Port Angeles police discovered the car and the driver but no charges have been leveled and no information has been released on the particulars of this case.

Viet Nam Veteran, Bill Hosel showed stitches in his hand where he had to ward off a knife attack by vigilantes.  Hosel and his wife are living in an RV in town and say their vehicle is constantly vandalized whenever they leave it unattended.  Windows have been broken out of it and their personal possessions strewn about the street.

Teri has lived in Port Angeles all her adult life and has been employed or run her own business up until two years ago when she says she was robbed and carjacked in Port Angeles.  She lost everything she had including money, identification and all her personal effects.  When the police found her stolen car they had it towed to an impound lot where the costs ballooned to a point where she could not afford to retrieve it.  Since then it has been a struggle to get back on her feet, replace all the identification papers stolen and getting back into an apartment.  She says she is, “constantly in crisis mode.”

One young man, a Port Angeles native who did not want his name used said he worked 5 years at Platypus Marine until he got into a fight with a fellow who had worked there longer than he.  Because he was the least senior employee he was asked to leave.  Since then he has been on the street and unable to find another job.  He too has been victimized by vigilantes from Our Town.

Of the half-dozen interviewed so far by Port O Call all of them are Port Angeles natives having lived here for most of their adult lives.  Most have had jobs that went away for one reason or another.

The county’s go-to agency to fight homelessness, Serenity House has amassed over $7,000,000 in real estate holdings--all from taxpayer dollars, none of which contain even one bed for homeless to sleep.

Port O Call suggests there is a powder keg about to explode if the homeless are not protected and the vigilantes are not brought to heel.

Port O Call does not suggest all the members of Our Town are into this vigilante mode.  Some came to the organization because they thought Our Town was all about helping the homeless instead of harassing them.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cherie Kidd Fiddles While Home Burns

Well, all I can say is thank fucking goodness the goddamned Port Angeles City Council have finally decided to address one of the City's most pressing issues: Cussing Council members.


Yes, at the urging of craptastic Cherie Kidd, the City Council adopted new "rules of procedure" for themselves that bar Council members from using profanity. Only that sensible son of a bitch Lee Whetham voted against adopting these new hellishly hazy rules. When Whetham asked if the pissy procedural rules actual spell out or define what profanity is, he got cockblocked by both Kidd and asswipe attorney Bill Bloor. In explaining that he didn't know what the damned definition of profanity would be in the new nutsack rules, Bloor helpfully offered that "I'll have to do some checking on that."

That's classic Bill Bloor bullshit: Help create and pass a piss poor proposal that he himself doesn't know what the fuck it means or does. Shame on the six Council members who voted for this. Oh, and by the way, the new rules also ban audience members from having signs, or anyone engaging in "irrelevant or repetitious speech." The sign ban should worry and offend everyone; the ban on "irrelevant or repetitious speech" should eliminate essentially everything that Mayor Downie and Deputy Mayor Kidd might want to say. Is it repetitious to say that they are both notorious, rambling mushmouths? Is it profane to say they both have a terminal case of verbal diarrhea? Is a t-shirt a sign? So many questions!


MEANWHILE...Back in the real world, 40.7% of tobacco retailers in Clallam County sell to minors. That's nearly half. The Washington state average is 17.1%. So once again, Clallam County is more than twice as bad off as average.

Think about that for a minute. Think about what that means, and symbolizes. While Kidd and Co. are navel gazing and worrying about words, the kids in their community are easily able to illegally buy products that will absolutely harm their health. While the City Council is all hot and bothered over fucking language, the kids in Clallam County are out there literally burning up their futures. Those kids are taking their cue from the Council. If they, as supposedly responsible, elected leaders, don't give a shit about the future, why should the kids?

Stuff like this is batshit crazy. The City Council is way beyond clueless, far past checked out. Good for Lee Whetham for sticking to his goddamned guns, and asking sensible questions. As for everyone else, smoke 'em if you got 'em. Because who the fuck cares, right?

This one is for bird brained, brain dead, clueless
and arrogant Cherie Kidd. I'd say she is a total
embarrassment to the human race, only I'm barred
from doing so, since embarrassment contains the
word "ass" in it.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Another GREAT Day in Port Angeles AKA Is THIS What Success Looks Like? AKA Tell Me How This Story Has a Happy Ending

As always, many thanks to the intrepid Tyler for his photo-documentarian efforts. We're only halfway through a month in which the local paper has devolved into next to nothing, and "The Mill" has been put up for sale. On the good side, yes, the fluoride is, for the time being, out of the water, but, on the other hand, the people are still out of Port Angeles.

On a sunny, summer weekend.

At the height of tourist season.

And yet...

 
And yet...You could probably crawl across the intersection leading into town and not get hit by a car.
 
 
And as you come over the crest of the hill into downtown, giving all visitors a really, really inspiring view of the Nippon plant, you still won't be bothered by many cars, or people...
 
 
Even on the expensive new waterfront walkway, there's no competition for sidewalk space. Even with the wide-open views of the water. Maybe that's because everyone is out on the water, on a boat?
 
 
I guess not, eh? Ah, but maybe, just maybe, everyone has gone a little further along down the waterfront, to the expensive new waterfront park and Nathan West's Boondoggle Beach?
 
 
Oh. Maybe they went just a little further along...
 
 
Sigh...
 
 
Surely there must be some people somewhere...
 
 
Aren't there even any locals out and around? Homeless people? Somebody? Anybody?
 
 
No, really - even the pawn shops are...I mean, if a town is so deserted and dead that a pawn shop folds up, maybe it's time to get out of town...
 
 
...Especially since that emptied out feeling is spreading, extending outside the city limits proper. There's no one around on a sunny weekend afternoon. What happened? Where are the people?
 
 
OH. Of course. Here they are. "Saving money" while (not) watching their town go down the drain. Maybe retail therapy will distract them from the cascade of bad news, at least for a while, anyway.
 
But, really, given all the debt and unemployment and disastrous leadership and drug abuse and lack of quality of life, among so many other factors...I just don't see how this has a happy ending. I really don't.
 
Other than to get out, as fast as you can, while you can. Life is too short to live in Port Angeles.
 
*As always, do feel free to enlarge the pictures to get more details of the...Nothingness.















Friday, August 12, 2016

The Last Domino Falls...

File it under "No Surprise," or maybe even "We Told You So." But however you classify it, the fact remains that the Nippon Mill is for sale.

"But gee," those surprised by this (like Cherie Kidd) will say. "Didn't they just spend all that money building a biomess cogeneration plant? Didn't the City just build them a new main water line? Didn't all our elected leaders spend half their time kissing Nippon's ass?"

The answer to all of the above is yes, but...

Then the cry will come in reply: "Then how could they do this to us?!?"

Because, it has been the plan all along. Not an admitted plan, not an openly discussed plan, but rather, it's been the follow-the-clues-to-find-the-elephant-in-the-living-room type of plan. Obvious to those with seeing eyes; invisible to those who are blind by disposition and/or cowardice. Being that this type of secret is bad news for the town, it's been easy to keep "top secret" from those who, let's face it, didn't want to face it.

Now that it's Twilight for Nippon,
bring on The Hunger Games...

But Nippon's always been good at secrets. Hell, it spent many years essentially (secretly) running the town. Even this new article demonstrates how hard it is to get a straight answer out of what Cherie Kidd laughably calls a "local company." Look at the most current employment figures that someone managed to pry out of Nippon - they're from June of last year.

In the realm of Not a Secret is that big payoff from the National Park Service that will become available - uh oh! - next year, I believe. Nippon just has to keep the plant "operating" until then, and then they can take those millions and run. Also Not a Secret is the City's complicity in allowing a power plant to be built on the shoreline - a move that was only barely allowable because it was an "auxiliary" function to the paper mill. The one that is now For Sale, and yes, soon to close, leaving just a power plant.

Could be a new economic model for Clallam County...
If it had more barns.

Except that...Also Not a Secret are Nippon's new water line and transferable water rights. And also Not a Secret is the fact that Veolia is already represented locally, and even if that were not the case, there are any number of multinational water companies who would love to swoop in and pick up those water rights for the right price.

Well, for the right price to Nippon, anyway. How such a deal would work out for the City is unclear, but...Do you really think a huge multinational would have any trouble rolling the City? I mean, again, Cherie Kidd really seems to think that Nippon is a "local company." If Nippon were to introduce her to "cousin Veolia," do you really think she would ask too many questions? Would anyone in City Hall? The rest of the Frightened Fluoride Four?

So, to sum up: The Nippon Mill is (finally) For Sale. Which means the mill itself will soon close, and Nippon will walk away with their NPS dollars. Jobs will vanish. The City will have a half-a-million dollar hole blown in its budget. And many, many fantasies about Port Angeles being a mill town will be well and truly crushed.



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Getting to 51% from 37%

At long last, the finally primary results are in for the Clallam County Commissioner's race. In the general election this fall, it'll be returning retiree Ron Richards, Democrat, versus really a Republican Randy Johnson. Yes, it's the old man partisan smackdown you've been waiting for. Or not.


Now, in the primary, which had 40% voter turnout (in the district in question), Ron Richards handily won with 37.8% of the vote, or roughly a third of votes cast. Randy Johnson came in second with just 25.7% of the vote. Looking at those numbers, you'd think this was a slam dunk for Ron Richards.

But...Foolish Republican fat boy Gabe Rygaard also got 22.5% of the vote, and the ever-present Republican Maggie Roth got 14%. Being that we all know, and the voters all know, that RANDY JOHNSON IS REALLY A REPUBLICAN, TOO, it's clear that the collective Republican votes in the primary swamped Ron Richards almost two-to-one.

Of course, Republicans don't like anything that's collective, so some of those votes may peel off or outright vanish in the general, but, as a trend, I'd say this is worrisome for Ron Richards. Especially given the dismal track record the local Democratic Party has with their County Commissioner candidates. (On the other hand, Ron Richards is not a woman, so the local Democratic bigwigs may be less inclined to mess with or sabotage his campaign, as they have with the last three Democratic women who ran for that office.)

The wild card in all this may be Republican excitement and/or foreboding feelings of doom due to the Cheeto Jesus at the top of their ticket. He's looking like a real drag for down ticket candidates in a lot of places. But in rural and rednecky Clallam County? He may be generating more energy than lethargy.

We shall see...But what say you? Are any of you feeling particularly hopeful about this race? Are any of you feeling particularly hopeful even at the thought of a Ron Richards victory? Is it really going forward to dredge up a candidate from so far back?