Sunday, May 22, 2016

Why Wait for Them to Hand Over the Cash When You Can Just Put Your Hand in the Till?

Randy Johnson, former president of the wood products company Green Crow of Port Angeles, and current chairman of the board, registered to run for Mike Chapman's soon to be vacated County Commissioner seat Friday. Johnson, who is also the board president of the Clallam County Economic Development "Corporation," joins fellow Republicans Maggie Roth and Gabe Rygaard and Democratic rerun Ron Richards in the primary election for the four-year position.

Johnson, who has never held elective public office, was also one of the unsuccessful applicants for the recent Port of Port Angeles Commissioner vacancy.

When asked why he had chosen to run, Johnson said he would be a "business-oriented" candidate. Elaborating further, in reference to his current role as board president for the EDC, Johnson stated that he'd "like to cut out the middleman" in terms of the ongoing transfer of public funds to the private sector. "With me as Commissioner, I think we'll be able to achieve new levels of efficiency and, at least for me, economic growth."

Thank you to the Peninsula Daily News for providing the framework for this story. Their version has been augmented to reflect actual reality.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

“I’ve got a problem with this ethics code in its entirety"

It's the old question of do you throw out the good in hopes of finding the perfect? Only, in this case, there's also the question of is the good actually any good at all.

I'm referring, of course, to the City's so-called "ethics code," which was the subject of much discussion and tinkering at this week's City Council meeting. Tinker, tinker, tinker - but is the code a stinker?

From my perspective, it seems like pretty much everyone would agree that there's a need for some sort of official ethics code, to address legitimate issues when they are raised. But the question is, will the existing code, the one with Bill Bloor's fingerprints all over it, ever be able to really serve that purpose?

Is it flawed but fixable, like a majority of the Council members said (and voted)? Or, is it like dissenting voice Lee Whetham says, flawed from it's very inception in an ultimately fatal way?

Looking at the behavior of the current Council members, and the chaos the ethics code has enabled, do you think it's been effective? Do you favor changes to it? Or do you think that the City needs to scrap it and redo it completely - say with a new City Council after the next election?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rich Millionaires! Thousands of 'Em! Yeah, That's the Ticket!

Even by the oh-so-low standards of Port Angeles ideas and Peninsula Daily News coverage, there was an article in today's PDN that literally made me laugh and snort out loud with disbelief. It's a small article headlined thusly:

Port Angeles planners consider comprehensive plan update

Sounds pretty boring, right? Kind of the same old, same old. But it's worth a read if you want a good laugh. Here are some highlights...

City Planning Commission members focused on the economic development aspects of a comprehensive plan update last week. Urban and regional planner Bill Grimes of Spokane, a consultant with Studio Cascade Inc., led the presentation.

So far, so good. You've got your disinterested local commission, and your expensive out of town consultant. Ready...Set...Go!

Grimes said the comprehensive plan should lay the groundwork over 20 years for accommodating an increase of 4,000 in the city's population, which was 19,038 in the 2010 Census.

WOW! Port Angeles must be doing something right if it's going to have 4,000 people moving there in the next twenty years. Right?

Well, maybe. If. Maybe. Let's look at the flow of the grow, shall we? In the 2000 Census, the population was 18,397. The rate of population growth between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses was 3.5%. The rate of growth since the 2010 Census? An anemic 1.1%. Now, that could get you to that higher number, but, given all the underlying and very public problems facing Port Angeles (debt, drug abuse, remoteness, debt, decaying infrastructure, poor schools, debt, expensive utility rates, debt, political corruption, debt, lack of quality of life, etc.) it seems overly hopeful to count on it.

Anyway, given that extremely low rate of population growth, what sort of people do you think are or should be moving to Port Angeles?

Planning Commissioner Elwyn Gee said Port Angeles should attract more wealthy people. "We need that fellow who makes a million dollars a year to support the economy."

Made millions on Wall Street and moved to Port Angeles, or...

Talk about a problem solver! Why didn't anyone else think of that before? Just "attract" wealthy people. Or, if that doesn't work, maybe go out and bag a few with the tranquilizer darts. Whatever.

Won a million in the lottery and blew through it in a year in Port Angeles.

Anything else for our reality-based comprehensive plan update discussion?

Ed Chadd told Commissioners the plan should address projected climate change impacts.

Sure, no problem, Ed. We can put some lip service language in about that. We've been real good about that - the lip service part, that is. Now, in the meantime, have you been down to our fake beach recently?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pier Review: Is More Spending Really the Answer?

The punning options are too rich on this one, so let's just say we're going to pier into the future today. According to the Peninsula Daily News, "about fifteen" residents attended the "unveiling" of plans for the pier on Saturday. That doesn't seem to be a level of excitement that justifies the price tags being bandied about.

Simply put, the consultants hired to address this issue, Studio Cascade, have proposed three options, that could be summed up as small ("the light touch" for $2.3 million), medium ("Klallam Cove" at $3 million) and large ("Peabody Place" at $3.6 million). Insert standard speech here from Nathan West talking about how "the City will be aggressively seeking grant funding opportunities" for blah blah blah.

But, as always, even if Nathan is both lucky and somewhat correct, these projects will cost the City money. Where will that money come from?

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. That isn't the first question that needs to be asked. The first question should be: Does the City need to spend this money at all? Debt, debt, debt is weighing heavily on you, Port Angeles. Sure, one more wafer-thin slice of debt may seem inconsequential, but is it really necessary at all?

Is this another tourist-baiting project that is unlikely to succeed? Is this another diversion of time, energy and funds from actually needed infrastructure projects? Will any of these options measurably improve life for local residents who are footing the bill?

So many questions. Yet the current City Council is unlikely to even come close to hinting at maybe sort of kind of asking them. Damn the torpedoes, and full spend ahead!

Consultants! The City flounders, and the consultants fleece.

Meanwhile, on a very much related note...Let's all ponder for a moment how the City's lack of vision and willingness to lurch from one unnecessary project to another has been a bonanza for consultants like Studio Cascade. A significant chunk of that debt, debt, debt can be traced to consultants like these who have literally raked in millions over the last decade from the City's lack of vision or leadership.

How much quality of life has that spending bought you? How much of an economy has it nurtured? Has it been worth it? And is even MORE spending on these things really any answer at all to the problems that plague Port Angeles?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Senior Citizens Play Time Bessy Dressy Follies of 2016

It seems that the Taffeta Alert one of you sent in was spot on. As in, jeepers! Cherie Kidd's found a spot on television to parade her simple mind and extensive wardrobe.

Sigh...

Yes, Cherie. Dressing up like it's the past absolutely is
the best way to build a successful future.

Deputy Mayor Cherie Kidd donned an antebellum costume Wednesday for the filming of a pilot episode of a program that will promote Port Angeles. "Positively Port Angeles" will air June 1st on Wave Broadband's public access Channel 21, and on the internet, Kidd said.

There's already a comment about this on the Peninsula Daily News website that sums up the appropriate response to this Grandmother Guignol performance. I have saved it here, since the PDN will probably delete it as soon as their intrepid staff wake up:

Even for our Deputy Mayor, this is surreal. Port Angeles' most-distrusted woman has decided she's the right spokesperson for what's good about the city?

It's an interesting use of public-access TV, too - an extended infomercial for a failing politician, masquerading as an extended infomercial for Port Angeles tourism, being shown to the citizens of Port Angeles. "Ironic" doesn't even begin to cover this.

I agree! But I think "moronic" gets us a little closer to the truth, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What, Again?

Oh, silly, silly Spellcheck! Once AGAIN you have failed the PDN, as seen in the headline below:

Seattle lawyer finds ethics complaint again Port Angeles city attorney to be without merit

Personally, I think a much better headline would shrink that thought down even more:

Seattle lawyer finds Port Angeles city attorney to be without merit

Now that would really be A GAIN for the City, eh?

Anyway, is anyone really surprised that the lawyer hired by the City has found Bill Bloor to be all that and more? After all, that's the result the City would clearly desire, and it required no heavy lifting for this Seattle attorney, Peter Eglick, to find his way to that very conclusion. Case dismissed!


Not only is your case dismissed, Bill, but you also won a FREE hat!

Only...Except...But...The fact still remains that Bill Bloor is, to be kind, a woeful and ill-informed attorney. Even if you agree that he didn't do anything "ethically" wrong in this case, it would still be hard for you to make the case that he's been an effective representative of the legal profession for the City. He's simply been wrong - often glaringly, painfully wrong - too many times.

And, of course, he is also wildly overcompensated for his so-called services.

So, this is what victory looks like for the entrenched forces of discord and greed in City Hall. You get to keep on keeping on with your lame, lame, lame attorney. Somehow I don't think anyone outside of City Hall is going to think that's great news.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...But a Sunny Holiday Weekend in Port Angeles Isn't Worth More Than a Handful of People

Spring has well and truly sprung! How do I know this? Because our ever-lovin', season-marking picture snatcher Tyler has just taken a whole new batch of people-free pics. Thank you, kind sir!

To set the scene, these photos were taken on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and it was Mother's Day to boot. That is to say, earlier TODAY. Plenty of reasons for people to be out and about, right? There was a Classic Car Show downtown, there's Nathan West's Boondoggle Beach, or maybe just some good old fashioned taking Mom out for a bite to eat or to do some shopping?

Right?

 
Thank goodness they closed off the street to handle the overflow crowd of...I count three people. (When I went to the gym one morning last week at 4:30 AM, there were at least six people there. Or, as the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce would describe it, an "overflow crowd.") Still, the lack of people at this event might help to explain...
 
 
...The plentitude of parking spaces left right next door. Ouch! Ah, but maybe it's just a case of no one wanting to pay for parking, right? Maybe that's why the lot is so empty...
 
 
...Except that...If we look a little further down the street, all we see is street. No cars to speak of (parked or otherwise), and no people, just street...
 
 
...And empty sidewalks. Maybe it's that people are just SO upset that someone was saying bad things about Dan Gase that they just stayed home and cried?
 
 
Or maybe...Just maybe...
 
 
...Part of the reason people say such nasty things about Dan Gase, and his Fluoride Four comrades, is because they're all part of a brain (free) trust that is perfectly willing to fritter time and energy away on completely unnecessary and unwanted things like, oh, say an expensive fake beach?
 
 
An expensive fake beach that can't seem to draw anyone to it on a sunny Sunday holiday. An expensive fake beach that is like a slap in the face to climate change, long and short-range planning and any sort of fiscal responsibility. In fact, just about the only thing such a beach might be good for is as a place to deposit a whole shitload of gaily painted rocks, such as the kind promoted on the front page of the Peninsula Daily News today.
 
But do you think you'll ever see photos like these in the PDN? Do you think they'll ever ask any hard questions about how things have been brought down to such a pathetic state?
 
Of course not. They'll ask no questions, and tell known lies. In their world, these photos won't be acknowledged, they never happened. Which, in one sense is true. If you need there to be someone in a photo for it to be somehow "real," then yes indeed, most of these photos never happened.
 
Because there was no one there. 

Painting Rocks and Painting Yourself as a Victim

If you've been following national politics at all over, say, the last year or so, you've undoubtedly heard Donald Trump whining at some point about how unfair "it" all is, how "they" are working against him, etc. In other words, you've heard a well-connected, totally protected billionaire whining about how he's a "victim."

It's ridiculous.

Now, in a tiny little Clallam County-sized echo, it's been revealed that Doughball Dan Gase is also a "victim." Someone, somewhere online (the place goes unnamed) said some oh so hurtful things about him, and it made Dan's jowls go all a-quiver with fear, so he called the police. Said caustic comments were all aimed at Gase, Cherie Kidd and Pat Downie. (Apparently the commenter didn't have room to include Gase's belly-busting bro Brad Collins, which kept it from being a full Fluoride Four set piece.) Do I need to say that the authorities found less than nothing of concern?

First of all, Sister Gase, online "death" threats are, generally speaking, not worth the paper they're not printed on. It's hot air, like the kind that pours out of you.

Second, well...There is no second. I don't believe for a minute that Doughy Dan believed there was anything to the threats (if they even existed) in the first place. This complaint is just a political ploy, and an attempt to change his public role from that of an arrogant anti-citizen moron to something more sympathetic - like being a "victim."

It's ridiculous.
Dan Gase says NO, it is NOT safe!
 
So, in the spirit of public free speech, and to celebrate a new holiday I'm just making up on the spot - Elected Motherfucker's Day - I'm inviting you all to share your warmest wishes and best thoughts for what you'd like to tell Dan Gase and his fellow travelers. No death THREATS, please, but feel free to say you wish they were DEAD, or that you know they're brain DEAD. Or maybe you could just point out how DEAD the town is under their uninformed so-called leadership. Maybe you could make the connection between Doughy Dan's cowardice in the face of a few nasty words online and the Council's cowardice when it comes to facing the real issues the City needs to deal with.

Or maybe, taking a cue from the big, important front page story today, you could paint your thoughts on rocks, and leave them around town. "I painted this rock after it fell out of Cherie Kidd's head." You get the idea. Just don't take the rocks to a City Council meeting, though. Signs aren't allowed, and Dan Gase might have you arrested for carrying a weapon.

Painted rocks, Clallam County style...


Friday, May 6, 2016

It Has Come to This: Part II

Here's a headline it must have pained the PDN to put into print:

Accusation of perjury leveled at Port Angeles Deputy Mayor; Jefferson County investigates

Though that, in a sense, says it all, let's give a little context for anyone new who's reading this.

An accusation of perjury against Port Angeles Deputy Mayor Cherie Kidd, based on her testimony at a March 29th city Ethics Board hearing, has led to an investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. In an April 8th complaint to the Port Angeles Police Department, Port Angeles resident Dale Wilson accused Kidd of falsely claiming that Councilman Lee Whetham "inflamed" residents who attended a February 2nd City Council meeting. Kidd later adjourned the meeting abruptly over what she testified were concerns for "public safety."

"For public safety purposes, it was not safe" Kidd testified.

Needless to say, for those who were at the meeting, or for those who watched the video(s) of that meeting, it is clear that Lee Whetham did no such thing. It's also plain to see there was no "clear and present danger" to public safety - other than the public pummeling Kidd's fragile little ego was taking.

This is an incredibly serious turn of events, and something that was completely, totally avoidable. But Gavel Gertie has brought this upon herself. Her refusal to listen, to apologize, or to bend in even the slightest way towards being contrite has led to this: She's charged with perjury. Police are investigating. And yes, Cherie, even the PDN has to report it - though they have, of course, disabled the commenting feature.

So what does the ever mush-mouthed and loquacious Cherie Kidd have to say about all this self-generated strife and shame?

Kidd did not return calls for comment Thursday.

Right.

Anyway, well done, Dale. And good luck. How are ad sales doing?