Sunday, March 2, 2014

Clallam County Crazy, Part 1

Well, I'd been planning to do a couple of posts about Clallam County, with the first focusing on Judge Rick Porter, our Righteous Dispenser of Justice. Rather obviously, the recent articles elsewhere about him have already landed, and made some of the points I was going to make. Good for them, and thanks. Anything that shines the spotlight on this hypocritical robed bully is good, though I'm sure that Righteous Rick doesn't see it that way. (Reprisals for Christmas anyone?)

Anyway, I still want to lay out a brief overview of how Righteous Rick harms the community from his heavenly perch on the bench.

Let's start with Hypothetical Hal. He got caught shoplifting a six-pack of beer and some Slim Jims, total retail value around $20. Hal winds up going before a judge - and unfortunately for him, it's Poorhouse Porter. Hal gets a choice: He can either spend three days in jail or pay a fine. Of course, Hal is homeless, and penniless, so he can't pay the fine. So he spends three days in jail.

Because the Safeway where Hal got arrested is in Port Angeles, the City is on the spot for those jail costs. So Hal will cost the City of Port Angeles a couple hundred bucks in jail costs alone.

Let's say that after Hal gets out, Righteous Rick has ordered him to appear in court again, either as a follow-up to this charge, or to address something else that turned up on Hal's record. (Let's face it, marginal people like Hal often have debts, warrants, etc. following them around.) Hal gets told that if he doesn't appear, he'll be liable for a $250 fine.

Hal, for whatever reason, doesn't appear. Poorhouse Porter signs a pay-or-appear warrant for Hal, who gets picked up by the police on a Friday night. So he spends the weekend in jail. Again, this costs the City of Port Angeles hundreds of dollars, which they have to pay.

All because Hal stole around $20 worth of groceries.

Mind you, Rick Porter gets to put those (often totally uncollectable) fines down as "revenue" in his ledger, while the City absolutely has to put those costs down as that - costs. Expenses. A financial negative. Red ink.

Repeat this little circuit hundreds of times a year, and you see why the legal costs for the City are skyrocketing by hundreds of thousands of dollars - all of which YOU have to pay for. Though he seems to be disliked by his fellow judges, at least two of the three County Commissioners are tight with him. (I don't think Doherty is particularly fond of him, but I don't know for sure.)

These skyrocketing expenses have other consequences, too. The City, understandably, wants to keep legal costs down. So they decide (as they have) to prosecute fewer and fewer real criminal cases, which means real, harm-causing criminals (burglars, drug dealers, etc.) get off free and clear. This erodes trust in the system in citizens, fear of the system in criminals, and further erodes the questionable "quality of life" here.

Put all that together with the fact (and it is a fact) that the County is refusing to prosecute a great many serious criminal cases as well, and you can see how things get sketchy and scary very quickly.

And so much of it can be chalked up to the fact that Righteous Rick thinks god has called him to be one of his personal enforcers here on Earth.

Spooky, isn't it?


  1. No one I know likes or respects Porter, but we all know what a bigoted, power mad nut he is. Hence, look at the lack of comments about him on the PDN article. No one wants to incur his wrath, especially in this corrupt little town. And yes, I AM posting anonymously, too.

  2. There's nothing more dangerous than a religious zealot, and that's Rick Porter all over. He confuses his own ego-driven desires with divine intervention. Spooky, indeed, yes.


  4. From what I've seen and heard, Porter is seen as more of a liability than an asset bythose who work for the county, but his voting base from local churches keep him on the bench.

    1. Do that many people REALLY go to his church? Or all the churches put together? It can't just be that, can it? How do all the non-churchy people get elected?

      Or do they?

  5. Porter runs a pauper's court, no doubt about it. It sure does seem like he thinks he's on some sort of crusade, but really, how do you get money out of people who have none? His practices are out of touch, not in the mainstream, and just plain cruel. As you've pointed out, they're also very expensive for taxpayers, with nothing to show for it. I want crimes like robbery and burglary reduced, and those people punished. I am far less concerned to see that shoplifters or homeless people receive fines and punishments far beyond the scope of whatever law it is they broke.

    Judge Porter should be ashamed of himself. Jesus would frown upon what he is doing to the least among us.

  6. It'll be interesting to see if Porter changes his ways in the long-term. I suspect once the publicity dies down and the ACLU move on, he'll revert to form.

    As for who votes for this guy, well...A lot of people fall for the whole "tough on crime" thing. They don't see how it costs them money. They don't see how it actually makes things worse. They just see someone taking a "tough" stance with people who are pretty marginal to begin with, and think it means something. I think all it means is that Porter is a bully who gets off on it.

    Plus, thanks to his courtroom policies, he has a higher profile that our other local judges. Voters think they know the guy because they've seen his picture, and then think that if they know him they must like him. Most voters just aren't tracking the activities of judges. Too busy watching "reality TV".

  7. For someone who looks as much like Stephen Colbert as Porter does, it's amazing how unfunny he is.

    For someone who is as homophobic as Porter is, it's amazing how close he is to his adoring little bald minion.

    For someone who claims to be a Christian as muchas Porter does, it's amazing how much he likes to abuse poor people.

    Yes, Judge Porter is pretty amazing.

  8. It's fascinating how a county judge can have such an impact on the city's budget. Just another example of how no one can play nice together here. We've had so many examples of that lately...

  9. As reprehensible as Porter is both as a judge and as an elected official, I think he's less important than getting better people elected to other positions first - county commissioners, city councils, port commissioners, etc. These are the people who set budgets, set priorities, and can thus have systemic influence on systems of governance.

    Porter, though truly an awful judge, is more of an outlier even here. He is enabled and facilitated by those in other offices, primarily the commissioners. Though the city plays a part too, by agreeing to pay those insanely expensive and unproductive legal bills.

    Again, I'm not saying Porter isn't a problem. Just that he's not THE problem.

    1. Well, really, THE problem are the people who vote to elect ALL these people. We have the government we elect, and the community we allow.

      Having said that, we know it isn't quite that simple. We know that people can be lazy, and are happy to listen to some contrived rhetoric rather than take the time to be involved in what it takes to have a decent community.

      I'm always astonished at how few people bother to go to City Council meetings, or candidates forums. Hundreds and thousands can make the time in their busy lives to attend football games, sprint boat races, and Black Friday sales at Walmart But show up at a candidates forum or City Council and demand accountability? Easier to just bitch about it.

      Imagine if half the people that show up for any of the above mentioned events showed up at EVERY City Council meeting, and demanded change?! City Council would become paralyzed because there would never be time to do anything.

      People DO have the power to make their community be anything they want. But there has to be some unity of purpose. There are countries that go through governments like toilet paper, because there are so many factions, each fighting everyone else.

      It isn't difficult. Unity of purpose can be pretty simple. Expressing it to others, especially with todays' communications, isn't difficult, either.

      But, it DOES take discussions.

    2. I'd agree with both of you: Elected morns other than Porter provide more of the problems, and those morons are elected by a checked-out populace who make their decisions based on who knows what criteria.

      Until we have a better educated populace, we'll get the leaders we deserve.

      Taken a look at the schools here lately? It doesn't look promising for the next generation.

    3. The first step is actually finding someone halfway decent and qualified to run for office. That's always a challenge here, and even more so when you're asking someone to go up against Rick Porter. He will play dirty, and he will do whatever it takes to keep his seat. Being that he's a judge, it's understandable that he can put the fear into people.

    4. Hehehe. Walmart doesn't seem to have too much trouble getting people to get in their cars, and drive across town to shop there.

      Yeah, I don't think you'll see an average population with an above average IQ in any town.

      Obviously, there are folks who have figured out what to say to people to make it important to them. Obviously, the more progressive folks haven't figured out what to say, to connect with the average person. Being all high-and-mighty righteous may feel good, but it isn't getting the job done.

      The conservatives figured that out, long ago. " Crime and the Economy". Of course, conservatives actually have a terrible track record on these issues, but they got the money to get the "messaging" out, far and wide.

      People don't want to get ripped off, and they don't want to lose their homes.

      So, elections are full of rhetoric about "Jobs, jobs, jobs". In reality, the jobless rates is relatively low, and that reflects only those actually looking for work. Retired folks aren't looking for jobs. School kids aren't looking for jobs. Working people generally aren't looking for jobs.

      And, as we see in Port Angeles, all we hear about is "economic development". But when somebody actually tries to start a business here, no workforce!!

      So, the corporate guys get all kinds of tax breaks, and subsidies. They are literally making RECORD profits, by any measure. More millionaires and billionaires than ever before.

      And, the rest of us get tax hikes on our utility bills. Food costs soar. Schools get minimal funding. Social services, including Food Stamps get cut.

      They got the "messaging" right. We've ALL bought into it.

      Can we learn anything?

    5. You make some good points. I have long observed that the different factions of right wingers will put aside their differences - or at least their differences in focus - to work together on issues as they come up. "Today you help me bash gays, and tomorrow I'll help you run down women, okay?"

      One of the great weaknesses of the left in this country is that they spend (WASTE) all sorts of time searching for a non-existent consensus, and end up getting little if anything done.

      And one of the great weaknesses of the left in this county is that they are clueless about how nasty the opposition is here, and sometimes end up eating their own out of ignorance.

      As for "Can we learn anything?" - I think the answer to that is probably not comforting. Which is to say, the answer may be probably not. Still, we keep on kicking.

    6. We absolutely CAN learn. Look at the last 10, 25 or 50 years. People have learned to do all kinds of new things. Look at the Ukraine, tonight. Look at any number of places that have risen from the ashes. Look at pollution control laws that have resulted in cleaner air and water. Look at China, that is now literally shutting down polluting companies.

      You're right. We will never get 100 % agreement on anything, and I hope we never do. THAT is a scary thought.

      Here in Port Angeles, we have a governing body that is independent of the voting public. Staff has shown that it decides in advance what it wants to see happen, constructs "facts" to support their desires, and then manipulates the general public to accomplish their goals. The "Powers that be" are little better, if different at all.

      As we see in the recent edition of the Port O Call, the little circle of friends who now call themselves the CEO Group determined months ago that they were going to create this new group, "Port Angeles United". Russ Venema (another who should have an in-depth search done upon) and the others had a $1.5 million dollar budget all spelled out before the group had its' first meeting. The poor schmucks who attended were told to come up with "urgency" rationales to present to the public and decision makers, to get them to fund this $1.5 million budget. To accomplish what? LOL! Oh! THAT will get figured out later. Just give us the big bucks first.

      Business as usual.

      But, there are new variables at play now in Port Angeles. Port O Call is one. This forum is another. The PDN has long been the only forum in this community, and we all know how that has been played. Either you write the letter-to-the-editor Paul wants, or it doesn't get published. THAT sure fosters robust debate!

      And, the City just answers questions it feels like, and stonewalls anyone who tries to expose anything, with the PDNs help. Great.

      But they can't control the Port O Call. Or this forum. The Port O Call, from what I understand, is mailed out to 16,000 residences in the area, whether they subscribe or not. It is reaching people. And challenging the status quo. Writing about things the PDN won't even discuss.

      Yes, we need decent candidates. But, we need an informed electorate even more. As this forum stated from the very beginning: The community cannot grow into its future without unearthing it's past. We have to know the players, the games, and their goals, first, in order to vote against them.

      What are the issues Port Angeles residents care about? What REALLY motivates them, besides football games, sprint boat races and WalMart sales? THAT is where "change" lies.

    7. Per your comments, I just have to say that Russ Veneema is an idiot. He should have been fired as soon as soon as he hired his totally unqualified niece for a paid position years ago. I also think the head of the Port Angeles Chamber should live in Port Angeles. Russ and his niece live in Sequim.

      And per his comments in today's PDN, I just have to say that Jim Hallett is also an idiot. His ego is so huge, with so little to support it. He's not even a big fish in a little pond; he's a medium fish in a tiny little puddle.

      And yet, to your point, both still hold jobs. No one challenges Russ on his idiotic decisions and utter lack of success. And Hallett ran UNOPPOSED.

      Are we learning yet?

    8. That so many seats in Port Angeles local government went unopposed says it all.

      I think many in Port Angeles, and I include myself in this group, gave up on thinking anything positive about Port Angeles would come about by participating in anything "political", here.

      Over and over, we have seen that either the people elected abuse their positions (let me count the names/ways!), that "cronyism" runs rampant, and that the public is not listened to in any meaningful way.

      And, even if we bother to get off our dead asses to vote for "the better candidate", nothing comes of it.

      My memory is fading, but I do remember any number of public hearings where hours of public testimony were given in answer bto what should be the future of the former Rayonier mill site. Overwhelmingly, the public wanted to see it a park. What did the City Council vote for? Development.

      Or, how about that council person, who had JUST been rejected by the voters, but was put back on Council by the City Council to fill that vacancy? Or suing those little old ladies for gathering petition signatures?

      Clearly, participating in the normal political processes here in Port Angeles is a waste of time. Why bother? And, many don't.

      So, we end up, on that "Race to the Bottom", with a bunch of candidates running un-opposed. Pretty close to the bottom of democratic processes.

      With idiots in those seats. And cronies doing backroom deals. A City that stonewalls and lies.

      Are we getting sick and tired of being sick and tired, yet?

    9. "Are we sick and tired of being sick and tired, yet?"

      Three bozos unopposed for city council seats, and one good incumbent driven out of town.

      So, no, we are NOT sick and tired of being sick and tired, yet.

  10. Rick Porter should be right at home in the courthouse, with all the other creeps like Jim Jones, Jim McIntire, Mike Chapman, Sheila Miller, Bill Benedict and on and on.

    A big sinkhole under the county courthouse while everyone was there would solve a lot of our problems.

    1. Remember: Bill Benedict thought it was a GOOD thing when that loony pushed his neighbor's house with a bulldozer. He actually said, smiling, "This really puts us on the map!" As though international news coverage of the DYSFUNCTION in your community is a good thing.

      THIS is the caliber of leadership we have here.

  11. I think Porter is the perfect judge for this place. Cruel, out of touch, and petty. He fits in with the rest of the elected buffoons and much of the population. That's why he keeps getting elected.

  12. Judges like this give the whole judicial system a bad rep, and having this holier than thou zealot here is a real mark of shame on Clallam County. One of many such marks...

    1. Holy Rollers love to roll right over other people. It's a major theme in human history.

  13. No one does evil more gleefully than religious people. Porter is a great example, as is "minister" Mike Chapman, who used every dirty trick in the book to get re-elected last time.

    As others have pointed out, this is a prominent feature of human society, with lots of examples down through the ages. (Crusades anyone?) Yet on a personal and local level, it seems like people are all too happy to fall for the bad guy's storyline. Porter isn't a budget-busting bully - he's TOUGH ON CRIME!

    And the wheels go 'round and 'round.

  14. Part of the problem is having an informed population of voters. Another problem is having a population of voters who aren't living in denial.

    In all my years, I have never lived somewhere where there were so many painfully obviously gay married people. I mean, gaydar readings off the chart for some of these - mostly guys - around here.

    With so much denial about their own lives, their own identities, how can they be able to discern much of anything, especially when it comes to voting. That one lie - "I'm not gay" - leads to other lies, and a life built on deception. It's crazymaking, and makes for crazy politics.

    Come out of the closet, boys. We all already know, and it's okay. Really. Just take a deep breath, find a good divorce lawyer, and stop voting for far-right fools who hate you.

    1. One of the things I absolutely thought Port Angeles lacked was a visible gay community. When I lived there, it was like being trapped in 1950, or earlier, with all the denial and lying. No gays, no minorities, hatred toward the tribes...Hardly 21st century stuff. Of course, lacking a gay community is just one of so many things Port Angeles lacked, and lacks. That's why my husband and I left.

  15. Thanks to everyone for participating. Part 2 is coming soon...Just waiting for one more piece of info to come in. Thanks, again.

  16. All you have to do is read craigslist personals. We have a thriving gay community, even if most of them are still (mostly) closeted.

    1. A community that is IN HIDING is not thriving. Gay people who are in sham marriages to someone of the opposite sex (Hi, Andrew! Hi, Terry!) are not thriving. Really. This is the 21st century. Gay people exist. Really. Most people are cool with that.

    2. Nothing and no one "thrives" in the closet. Give me a break!

  17. I mean, look how many homophobic/transphobic comment always surface when Esprit comes to town.

  18. The biggest problem with everything in this area is the choke hold the "christians" in this area have. Talk about a bunch of bullies. Don't even try to go to something as simple as a home school sporting event if you are unwilling to sign a "statement of faith". I've run into a fair share of "don't ask/don't tell" pretenders who fear coming out because they KNOW what will happen to them, their families if they do. This area is very closed off because of the strong, strong lockstep churchy bigots.

  19. Excuse me.... cross-dressers (those who engage in the act of wearing clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex) are not gay, in fact, many who show up for Esprit are simply transvestic fetishists (they cross dress for the THRILL OF IT). I've known a fair number of professional drag queens who were just guys who liked to dress up, they weren't heading to transgender, and they weren't GAY, they had wives and girlfriends. I'd say its more the norm than the oddity. Meanwhile, I don't see a lot of true transgenders showing up here. The homophobic comments that surface are just ignorance and stupidity, but that's rampant all the time. Now, if we actually REACHED out to travel agency groups like the IGLTA, we might get some actual tourism going. But, as an area, we are actually too stupid to do that. God forbid, real gays?

  20. I knew this judge was dirty. He is in bed with other corrupt towns people.

  21. Two days before election! Vote in Cathy Marshall and lets break up the good ole boys party. Rick Porter is sweating...

  22. theres a lot i could say about porter and his shamful way of "judging" but really it boils down to what he said one day in traffic court while the law was being circumvented " miss, everyone who walks through that door is guilty, I'm just deciding weather or not to reduce the fine" and i was standing there with a letter from the state patrol saying the officer was in error and had received reprimand and additional training. im fairly sure our constitution affords us the right to a fair trial and that we are innocent until proven guilty.

  23. The guy should be taken off the bench, I could state my particulars, but it is already cover...anonymous as well.