Oooh...Yes, we've all seen and heard by now. Yet another desperate-to-sell-you-some-ads website has named Port Angeles as one of the "coolest" towns in America.
To repeat, these lists exist simply to troll for small town suckers to buy ads on these websites, with the pitch to "strike while the iron is hot!" Also to note, this latest recommendation has nothing - nothing - to do with the town of Port Angeles itself, but rather with the location. And Port Angeles does have a good location. But to call the town itself "cool" is quite a big stretch. Let's face it: No one comes to Port Angeles for Port Angeles. It's just a mark on the map, the fork in the road where you veer off to the ONP or Victoria or even...Forks.
Don't fool yourself Port Angeles.
This is NOT the nametag for you.
Another article in the PDN today demonstrates just how truly uncool Port Angeles is, and how much of a destination it is not. Did you see the proposed funding list for events that's headed to the City Council for certain approval? It's a bad case of the same old same olds, with a side of conflict of interest.
First of all, the events getting the biggest amounts are the oldest, most established ones around - the Crab Fest and the Juan de Fuca Fest. These events should be old enough, and established enough, to be self-sufficient by now, and then some. The fact that they are still asking for money just to happen is a big reveal. This is the equivalent of the "independent and successful" 35 year old who is still living in Mom's basement.
Port Angeles: The Old Man in the Club.
And giving money the those fools who "run" the sprint boat track...That's just disgusting. These are crooked thugs who publically demonstrated they have hundreds of thousands of dollars to burn when they bought and started that monstrosity. They don't need any handouts.
The aversion to new ideas is evident, as is the hostility to the local arts community. The only new idea to get any real funding comes courtesy of...The Port Angeles Downtown Association, that efficient and respected organization. Meanwhile, a request from the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center wasn't even considered because they got money last year. So why didn't that disqualify the Crab Fest, the JFFA and all the other repeats here? Gee, I wonder...
Meanwhile, the biggest chunk of cash is headed for the Crab Fest - one of only a couple of groups to get the full amount they requested. Scott Nagel, he of the STILL FOR SALE Lincoln Theater Brigade, runs the Crab Fest. Scott Nagel also sits on the committee that decides on these funding recommendations. Scott Nagel also supposedly recused himself from the vote here. Does anyone else see a huge conflict of interest here? Does anyone else wonder why Scott Nagel is even on this panel if he has to recuse himself from voting? Gee, I wonder...
Port Angeles cool? Only if corruption, nepotism and hostility to new ideas is suddenly "cool."
The whirling circle jerk of jerks just never ends in Clallam County...
So now the County Commissioners want to vote on repealing their own previous vote moving towards giving $500,000 to the EDC...But King Jim is still talking about finding a way to give...$500,000 to the EDC.
And speaking of the EDC...Their board president, Brian Kuh, has resigned suddenly, without giving much notice. He cites his "current workload as a business leader" as the reason. Nice ego there, Brian - but why don't you tell us what's really going on, eh?
Maybe Brian is just hurrying to be the first in line for the reopening of the Lincoln Theater? After all, Scott Nagel only needs to raise something like $6000 a day for over a month to "buy" the theater.
Even more than before, Clallam County is becoming the place for bad ideas to blossom and crackpots to grab the mic. All these buffoons talk like they're riding to the rescue of the community, but all they really have is a stable full of dead horses.
So they just keep flogging those poor dead beasts...
Having lived in Clallam County, I understand frustration. I get the whole idea of being fed up with governmental systems that utterly fail to function. I think anyone reading this blog has almost certainly experienced the same feelings.
But really...Taking the law into your own hands? That's some extremely thin ice to be treading on.
I found the big article about the vigilante justice dispensed by Mandy Gallacci and friends in today's PDN very interesting - and very troubling. Obviously, this is the type of story the media loves to cover. But the way they've presented this, portraying her as almost a folk hero, is very dangerous, as is the tepid response of the police department - both to the initial crime, and to the vigilante actions that it inspired.
New notice to be posted at the city limits?
Where I live, going to another person's residence, armed with a baseball bat, holding them against their will, unlawfully detaining them, depriving them of due process, threatening them - all of those would also be considered criminal actions. However, in Port Angeles, the best that Police Chief Terry Gallagher can muster is to say "it probably would have been a wiser course of action" to notify the police. And even though I too have deep doubts about the efficacy of said Port Angeles police, I actually agree with Tepid Terry.
Imagine all the ways this could have gone wrong. For starters, what if you've been pointed at the wrong person? What if that person had a gun? What if that person had kids in the house? What if that person had a heart attack when confronted? What if that person tried to run, and one of the vigilantes hurt or killed this person in trying to prevent their escape? And whether or not you got the right person, there are still numerous ways they could sue you, Mandy Gallacci, for taking the law into your own hands. There are literally dozens of ways that a situation like this could go wrong - horribly, violently, tragically wrong.
So, to say it again, I think the way Gallacci is being portrayed is dangerous. I think the lack of charges against her and her baseball bat brigade is dangerous. This all sets a tone, and sets some bad precedents - especially in a depressed, remote and corrupt place like Clallam County. Look at the teaser for part two of this article: Port Angeles police tell of staffing constraints. In other words, brace yourself both for more bad news, and for the new normal of solving your own crimes.
When you've got the Wild West, in all its most negative connotations, paired with the anything goes, lack of attention to detail social media circus, I don't think you're going to wind up with the best outcomes. But that seems to be the way the police and the PDN are trying to steer things for the residents of Clallam County. And all that in the face of, if not an increasing number of burglaries, then in the face of an increasing amount of press coverage of burglaries.
Eyes wide with fear...Don't see things so clear.
Fear sells papers. And fear makes people easier to manipulate. In this particular case, getting people to fear for their personal safety also could serve as a useful distraction from how local institutions have failed to do their jobs. Anyone else see this unhealthy combination at play there? Anyone else concerned? I just don't see this as being how a healthy society - or individual community - functions.
Sometimes the PDN gets things kind of right, even if they don't necessarily mean to, and do so with more verbiage than is required. So let's just boil down the article about King Jim's PABA presentation to its essentials:
"The design of the EDC board is to have the center of gravity in the private sector," McEntire told the group.
Breakfast meeting participant Harry Bell, chief forester at Green Crow, a Port Angeles timberland investment and management services company, noted there were no private sector representatives on the board. Ring that Bell!
Will they or won't they? That's the question. Will the Port Angeles City Council vote to ban fireworks within city limits, or will they go with the status quo?
In a sense, I have mixed feelings about this issue. On one hand, to me, banning fireworks is a no-brainer. They're totally unnecessary, incredibly disruptive and potentially dangerous, and, at best, are a source of trash, smoke and other pollution. Who needs 'em?
Celebrate American freedom by blowing up cheap garbage
made in China! God bless us everyone?
On the other hand, it's harmful to set up laws and bans that you don't have the resources to actually enforce. The City already announced it doesn't have the resources to enforce traffic laws - do you really think they'll be able to enforce a fireworks ban if it passes? Would police officers really give out tickets? Or would it be a wink and nod system - like so much in Clallam County - that really only serves to reinforce the narrative that Clallam County is wide open when it comes to breaking the law? (See also today's story about the back-and-forth moves of Clallam County's code enforcement, as well as the recent stories of burglary victims having to solve their own crimes.) Could an unenforceable ban actually serve to further cynicism about the efficacy of local government?
Let's face it, a fireworks ban would be a change, and the Port Angeles City Council is remarkably resistant to change. The first time I remember this issue actually being discussed was years ago, when Max Mania got on the Council. He and then Fire Chief Dan McKeen tried to push it forward, and got no support from other Council members. The City Council has essentially the same makeup now as it did then (all those uncontested elections), but McKeen is now City Manager. Is that enough of a change to make change?
I guess we'll see which way the wind seems to be blowing next Tuesday night...Bring your popcorn.
Clallam County, as we all know, has three - count 'em, three - Republican County Commissioners. Those three have now embraced the "outside the box" idea offered by Mike Chapman to personally select and contract with three of their friends to serve as a rotating pool of hearing examiners.
In case you didn't see the obvious cronyism in this, let me note that four people have applied to do this important job, and the Commissioners are going to offer the contracts to the three people who are locals - which is to say, the people who are already here and in on the fix. (Those three would be Lauren Erickson, William Payne and Craig Miller.)
The reasons offered for doing it this way, needless to say, contradict each other. On one hand, lip service is given to the need for the hearing examiner to be "independent." On the other hand, it's important that the people chosen have, as Bill Peach put it, "some skin in the game."
After all, who'd want someone who was simply highly qualified, professional and impartial, right?
So say we all!
Said King Jim, giving the idea his blessing: "This individual, or individuals, deals with one of the most fundamental rights that exists, and those are property rights. It's really, really important for folks to understand when they have an issue that comes before the hearing examiner that they've got somebody that lives in the same community that they do and kind of understands the community from a standpoint of being part of it."
After all, who'd want someone who was simply highly qualified, professional and impartial, right? Or did I already say that?
So say we all!
You gotta love it. This is such an important position that they have to pick the right three people to do it, right? Yet, at the same time, they're supposedly doing all this to reduce costs.
The Commissioners were rightly criticized earlier for appointing Mark Nichols to the job, rather than going through an open hire. So their solution is to appoint three people instead of one? That's better? No, that's nuts. As will be the record-keeping. And the continuity. And everything else associated with this idea.
I guess the good news is that - surprise! - all three Commissioners think that all three of the people they're hand-picking to do their bidding are "well qualified." And I guess they're hoping that people will be comforted that they also think this crazy idea is, to quote good King Jim, an "excellent crazy idea."
If these three are in agreement, and it's unconventional, and it involves them avoiding an open hiring process and hand-picking people for important jobs...Well, gee, why does that sound worrisome to me?
Yes, in a truly unstunning piece of puffery, King Jim has received another jewel for his crown, having been named by the EDC as their "Individual of the Year."
Does this mean King Jim will be teaching us to fish?
Though we all know of the King's many fine qualities, what were the specific reasons that the EDC made this choice? Let us see...
One reason was for his "drive and dedication" to making the EDC a "more effective organization." Though that hasn't really been put to the test, but...
King Jim also helped "design and craft" the new strategic plan for the EDC. Ah, the King is a craftsman as well! Not a writer, I note, but...
It's youthful dynamos like these three gentlemen who will
help lead Clallam County's economy to new heights of...Zzzzzzz...
Perhaps most importantly, though, wise King Jim was a "forceful voice in reducing the size of the EDC board," which will make it that much easier to stack and manipulate...Oops! I mean, which will make it "more rational and nimble." Nimble, indeed! Just like good King Jim, who is especially nimble when it comes to sniffing out money pies to stick his fingers into. So those of you have made snide comments about the King being somewhat girthful are all wrong. The King is, of course, in fine physical shape - he just has extremely well-padded pockets!
If you need any further reasons for why this deeply meaningful announcement was made, might I suggest that you look at previous postings here, which will tell you all about the 500,000 reasons the EDC now has to kiss the King's...