Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Breaking Down Bob's BS aka Got The CRTC Blues

There's another big, semi-triumphant article about the very dubious Composites Recycling Technology Center in the Peninsula Daily News today...A dubious news source covering a dubious non-profit.

Anyway, let's boil down the rah rah boilerplate to the essential elements of the story.

The fledgling Composite Recycling Technology Center will unveil plans by Oct. 31 to begin producing its first commercial product, CEO Bob Larsen said Monday.

Larsen predicted that income from total sales is expected to be $100,000 by Dec. 31.

Larsen said, “We have an idea, a design."

“We’ve got to nail down the sales and distribution network and got to get people outside of our organization to test and make sure the product does what we want it to.”

By day, he's Bob Larsen, bullshit baffler of boards...
Larsen said the CRTC, a nonprofit whose new home is largely financed with public funding, including a $2 million U.S. Department of Commerce grant, will move Aug. 1 into 2220 W. 18th St. and begin prototype development by mid-August.

Further funding came from a $1 million Clallam County Opportunity Fund grant and $1.35 million in Port funding in 2015-17 for economic development services.

The inability to obtain a government Clean Energy Fund grant “really hurt” the CRTC’s progress, Larsen said, adding it stalled development by three or four months.

Third-quarter goals include completing and validating a prototype of a product, finalizing a “market channel” for the high-performance sports-equipment item and hiring an engineer and a technician, according to Larsen’s PowerPoint.

But production efforts will encounter a “significant barrier” if no Clean Energy Funds 2 are awarded, according to the presentation.

...But by night, he's Karen Goschen,
a government grant grabbing good time gal.
No actual product...A two month timeline in which we're to believe that they're going to make $100,000 on this non-existent product...No private funds being invested in the project...Government handouts funding the whole operation...And everything comes to a halt soon if even more government freebies aren't forthcoming.

I thought these Free Market, Trump-voting Republican business types hated government handouts...I guess it just depends on whose hand is sticking out, eh?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Port Angeles: A No-Account Town

Let's start with a headline from today, and work backwards from that, shall we? (After all, Port Angeles is so good at working backwards.)

Attorney general declines to file perjury charge against Port Angeles deputy mayor

Yes, once again, Gavel Gertie has skated out from under a threat, however minor. Despite there being video evidence of the fact that the meeting she was chairing was, in fact, not dangerous or out of control, she has been given a free pass because she shouldn't be penalized for "expressing" her "opinion" about what happened. That's quite a free pass. To tie it in to a number of national stories, I guess it's no different than police officers being given a free pass for shooting, unarmed and/or handcuffed black men, because they felt "their lives were in danger."

Obviously for Cherie Kidd, the danger threshold is much, much lower - to match her IQ, I suppose.

In any case, once again, we have a situation in Port Angeles that clearly demonstrates that it is a community without real law and order, without consequences, without accountability.

Which brings us back to another story from the last few days. You may have seen this one under the headline: Port Angeles police investigating assault as hate crime.

To sum up: A week ago, a young black man was jumped and assaulted by a group of young white morons. The victim got a photograph of the license plate of one of the cars these cowards were in. The police have talked to the owner of the car. No arrests have been made.

Sound familiar? It should, because it has more than faint echoes of the recent fatal hit and run accident in which the car in question has been identified, found, and...Nothing has happened. No arrests have been made. And someone died in that case.

Just like someone died the first time Amber Steim hit and killed a pedestrian while (presumably) driving drunk. But she was protected by the fact that she was, at the time, sleeping with a local police officer.

No such excuse was offered when the PDN's own Paul Gottlieb also hit a pedestrian and didn't even have to take a sobriety test. (Neither did Amber Steim after her first accident.)

This is the culture that comes from the top in Clallam County. Sexist harassment and violent behavior in the County Courthouse? No accountability. Across the street in City Hall, when Yvonne Ziomkowski was subjected to sexist harassment (among other things) she was fired for simply standing up for herself. A jury of her peers later found her version of events to be more than credible. But were any of those who had insulted, bullied and belittled her ever held accountable?

Glenn Cutler spent years being a hateful, spiteful bully, making enemies, burning bridges and wasting the City's money on crackpot projects like the Turd Tank. But he was allowed to retire on his own schedule, with no scandal or accountability.

Kent Myers was such a lousy City Manager that he got spit out by the City Council. (One of the many reasons being that he passed on the State's investigative report on Karen Rogers to...Karen Rogers, thereby doubling-down on the no accountability factor, for both him and her.) But he still had plenty of hands greasing the rails running him out of town. He was allowed to leave, rather than being fired. He got a sweetheart deal on the short sale of his house. Again, no scandal, no accountability.

Like Grant Munro, who essentially stole valuable equipment from the corpse of Pen Ply - equipment that could have covered the bills the dead company owed the City, for instance. Instead, the City's utility customers had to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid Pen Ply bills. All Munro had to say in response was the now legendary "pound sand." No accountability.

Who has ever - ever - been held accountable for the millions fritted away in Clallam County? Did anyone's head roll over Harbor-Works? The EDC? The dead on arrival "seawall" under the Garbage Bluff? Who's ever been held accountable for allowing the Garbage Bluff to be born in the first place?

And on and on and on. Hundreds of people wasting their time on public comments and going to meetings. Thousands of people disappointed in their elected (non) representatives. Millions and millions of dollars wasted, gone, vanished, with not a single positive or concrete thing to show for them.

I am cutting this short now, because there are so many more examples I could reference, but you get the picture - and doubtlessly know many of the other instances yourself. The hard to dispute fact that the upper levels of government in Port Angeles and Clallam County are too often held by out and out criminals, has created a culture and community that is in many respects lawless. No oversight, no accountability, and no hope.

To say this is unsustainable is a massive understatement. To say that it is unhealthy for both individuals and the community is just a starting point. It is poisonous to hope and health and trust and success. There is a direct connection between the sexist, racist morons in City Hall and the County Courthouse and the morons who commit criminal acts on the street. The only differences are order of magnitude, and the amount of cover or deniability they have.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fluoride, Opioids and an Empty Airport

I'm just going to cut and paste several reports from the City Council meeting last night, to give you an overall view of what (didn't!) happen. Who knew that fluoride was an explosive?


The Mayor proposed an idea to unite the masses, and calm everyone down so we can all go back to discussing something OTHER than the F-word. Unfortunately, those council members who are bound to their masters balked at the vote proposed by the Mayor (to take fluoride out of the drinking water, until it can be properly voted on by the people in 2017).

So, instead of allowing people a reason to back away from the change of governance, looks like they're adding more kerosene onto the fire, and more copies of the PDN, and some presto-logs, and some gasoline. Instead of even talking about it -- the cockroaches on the council scurried back into the dark, and pushed the discussion OFF. Wouldn't even entertain the exchange of ideas.  

So, next council meeting it is (theoretically) going to be discussed. Watch Delta Dental come out -- in force -- to keep their minions on our council in check.


Just came from the city council meeting. Mayor Downie pulled a stunt only he could manage. He jumped the agenda, read an article by the PDN about how the town is torn up and dysfunctional and how the city needs to be more responsive to the people who took the time to vote, advise, beg, plead etc. (I added that last part) Anyway, Downer hijacked the agenda and suggests the council agree to discontinue fluoridation until the 2017 election. Then they would put fluoride on the ballot and promise to abide by the results. Brad Collins, phoning in from the east coast, as is his recent habit, jumped in and said "but nooooooo, it ain't on the agenda..." Cherie chirped "we need more time to think about this, oh my." ( I added that last part)

Then Gase objected and wanted more time to pretend to think about it and for good measure insulted Dr. Eloise Kailin for being so bold as to represent Our Water Our Choice when she's from Sequim. Naturally our three stalwarts were good to discontinue fluoride for 16 months and let the people decide if they want to re-start it in 2017. I'm thinking "Damn. That's Sissi, Michael and Lee, and Downer brought it up so it's going to pass, they are going to discontinue fluoridation" and it goes to the vote and Downer voted against his own motion. No, really. So, after Downer's impassioned speech, most of which he quoted from PDN, and asking the council to shut down the fluoridation unit, but keep it maintained, ready for action if it was restarted in 2017, but for now lets stop it. He had a chance to do it, he had the votes, he choked and all was lost. Step down, Downer.


Meanwhile, during the second public comment period a speaker went after Gase. They asked him questions, which he answered (because he's an idiot).  He had said, in comments earlier, that Eloise was NOT a resident of Port Angeles, but she's interfering with our city. Then he said it was her fault that the city spent so much to fight fluoride. He threw out a couple of dollar amounts. He said the city spent something like $125k, then added, "and Delta Dental spent another $600k." Whoa! What? He was then asked, "So how much would it have cost if the city didn't fight it and it was just put to the vote of the people?" Then he was taken to task: "So then you all spent $10k of our money to do a flawed poll, that you could have made perfect, and not flawed.  YOU give the excuse that it was flawed for not following it."   
Amazing......so, now it is clear there is $$$$ in this. How do we figure out how much Delta Dental has paid Cherie and Danny, and/or Collins? 
Also...In other sure-to-be-(un)surprising news...Clallam County has an opioid problem (41 known overdoses in the first six months of this year) and does not have an air carrier.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"I'm not going to do anything to help support the city becoming a second-class city."

On one hand, the headline says this:

Port Angeles City Council to mull change-of-government petition tonight

On the other, you've got a clear majority of the City Council already saying things like:

Pat Downie: "I absolutely do not support it."

Brad Collins: "I'm not going to do anything to help support the city becoming a second-class city." (Memo to Brad: You've already done ever so much to make Port Angeles a second-class city in so many, many ways.)

I don't know how much room that leaves for actually "mulling." There'll be plenty of room for venting, griping, sniping, etc. But mulling? Probably not so much.

Second? Got it. City? Check.
But hey, Port Angeles - where's the Class?

Anyway, on one hand, you've got the people advocating for the change in government, and their attorney, saying the issue needs to be on the ballot this November.

On the other, you've got Bill Bloor saying it doesn't need to go to the voters until November of 2017, when four City Council seats will also be on the ballot.

So, it looks a little like a battle between Right Now! and Never! All of which should, if nothing else, make for a very interesting City Council meeting tonight.

Anyone think any of the Fluoride Four will move even the teeniest, tiniest direction towards an apology, or public display of humility, to try and defuse the situation?

Naw, neither do I. So if you can't make it to Cleveland this week, don't worry; there may be some cheapo political fireworks closer to home.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

How Come Everything Associated with Port Angeles Seems to Go Worng???

As many of you readers may have noticed, there's been a persistent (though not quite trollish - yet) voice here lately, pushing the "Everything's fine!" party line for Port Angeles. This person's position is, put simply, the fact that a small handful of businesses have done or are doing well, is a sign that all is well in Port Angeles. Full stop. The New Age of Prosperity is upon you, Port Angeles!

Others, however, take a little more of a  long-term and skeptical point of view.

So, with those two worldviews in mind, what are we to make of this article?


Is this yet more bad news (and bad publicity) for the Little City That Couldn't? Or is this the kind of Federal SNAFU that could be expected from a project of this scale? Is this the City's bold attempt to shake the Feds down for a few more dollars? Or, is this the forward and vigilant City Council trying to protect their ever-more-burdened ratepayers?

And if it all ends in tears...Will they be potable?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Comments Welcome!

The PDC (Public Disclosure Commission) has rejected the anti-anti-fluoride attempt to stifle the voices of the just plain anti-fluoride people in Port Angeles.

This is good news, both for public health and for freedom of speech.

Well...Except for the fact that, of course, the PDN has disabled the commenting function on their online version of the article.

Which is bad news, of a sort, both for public health and freedom of speech. Their kneejerk need to try to protect the Fluoride Four is both pathetic and futile.

So, if there are any further thoughts you have on the whole fluoride issue, or this PDC decision, or the PDN's continuing campaign of wrapping the Fluoride Four in a protective bubble, feel free to share them here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Open for Business...But Where's the Business?

I'm stitching together a couple of recent posts that are both asking the same question. Maybe some of you readers will have answers or insights...

I thought it worth noting that when I came into Port Angeles on the Ferry (the family and I went over to Victoria Friday) on Sunday, arriving downtown at noon, the place was a ghost town.

As the Ferry cruised into the harbor, I could see the waterfront trail from Rayonier to the Red Lion. Not a person to be seen. The weather was beautiful.

I purposefully looked over at the pocket beaches. And that new waterfront park next to the Oak Street property. Not a person to be seen.

Driving off the Ferry and into downtown, virtually no one. Anywhere.

The Ferry itself was packed. It was sold out at 8:30 in the morning, for the 10:30 crossing. Living here, I was interested to see where everyone on the Ferry went, when they got off. They had announced the Hood Canal bridge was closed, so, going East was going to be challenging.

But almost every vehicle getting off turned eastward, and headed out of town as directly as possible. Out of curiosity, I turned up Laurel, and drove down Front, then back on First to see if there were people taking those streets. Empty, everywhere.

Driving east, I looked in the parking lots of the hotels as we drove by. Again, incredibly empty for the height of the summer tourism season.

It isn't that there are no tourists in the area. But downtown? How do those merchants stay open?

And also...

Awhile back I asked the question how places like Budget Tapes and Records and The Family Shoe Store stay open. Somebody in the know was nice enough to answer my question about BT&R. It's obviously gone now. Like the poster above I'd truly like to know how some of these places remain. Anyone?