Friday, March 14, 2014

The Millstone Around Our Necks

This post will take more of the form of an editorial than any sort of detailed rundown of recent events here in Corruption Capitol, U.S.A. Instead, I want to explore and expound on the whole mill town mentality that has, in my opinion, played a huge part in making Port Angeles into the ugly, dysfunctional and economically struggling place it is.
Now, we all know that, back in what some still wistfully refer to as “the good old days,” there was more than one mill in Port Angeles. And at that time, it really was possible for a guy (almost always a guy) to drop out of school, get a job at a mill, and do alright financially.
Of course, “the good old days” are long, long gone, but that mentality still lingers on – and on – even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the past is past, and is never coming back. (Don’t take my word for it – ask Grant Munro. He doesn’t want to create mill or finished wood product jobs here. He just wants to export raw logs to China while you “pound sand.”)
As the number of mills dwindled down, and mill jobs became rarer and rarer, they also became more and more iconic to some of the local population, including so-called local leaders who should know better. Nippon has always been cagey with releasing the number of employees they have, but it seems to hover somewhere south of 200 people. This number then causes City Council and Chamber members to sing the praises of Nippon for employing “so many” people. They get treated as though they were absolutely the number one local employer.
But the County employs more people than Nippon. So does the City, and OMC, and Westport, and Safeway, and probably even the Jamestown tribe, among others. Ah, but none of those jobs are mill jobs, so they seem to count less, if at all. And so again, our business and political community can’t sing Nippon’s praises high enough.
“Nippon is a local business!” says Cherie Kidd. “People will absolutely come to our new waterfront to watch the Nippon smokestack!” says Russ Veenema. “Government jobs give you cancer, but particulates are actually good for your health!” says Dick Pilling. “Yes to all of that!” says Steve Tharinger. “I will gladly do the heavy lifting on tax breaks for Nippon!” And on and on and on.
This not only shortchanges many other local businesses and employers for their sizeable contributions to Port Angeles, but also creates all sorts of crazy, illogical situations that end up costing you money.
Situations like, say, the late PenPly. You remember that little blip on the business radar, don’t you? If not, you should, because you are probably still paying off the debt they left behind.

Would you trust this man with YOUR money?

When Josh Renshaw first floated the idea of restarting what became the PenPly mill, it was laughable from word one, an idea that was almost certain to fail. First, Renshaw had never actually run a mill. Two, he found very, very few private investors willing to pony up funds for the idea. Perhaps this was because the equipment in the mill was all incredibly old and out of date.
This lead to yet another ominous sign: The Port, always a fan of crackpot ideas, was enthusiastic about Renshaw’s proposal. So they offered him deferred rent and all sorts of other freebees and inducements. Then came the State grants, loans and freebees. By the time it was up and running, PenPly was flush with (mostly government) money, had artificially low expenses, and the support of almost the entire Clallam County political community, including the anti-government right-wingers.

Government handouts are GOOD if you're running a mill, right?
But they still couldn’t make a go of it. Even with all those benefits and all that help.
It was such a fiasco so quickly, that it wasn’t long before PenPly was in arrears on their City utility bills to the tune of almost $200,000. So, digging themselves in deeper, the City spent staff time (which equals money, remember) to apply for and get another State grant for PenPly, in the amount of $500,000. Only Max Mania spoke up to say this was a bad idea, and the City handed over the money to Josh Renshaw.
All this last infusion of cash did was allow PenPly to limp along a little longer – just long enough to run their utility debt to the City up over $300,000 before it all came crashing down.
No long-term jobs were created. No industry was revived. The buildings themselves, of course, have now been torn down. The only lasting legacy of PenPly is that the utility ratepayers of Port Angeles have had to pick up the tab for the $300,000 bill PenPly left behind. Put another way: By giving PenPly $500,000, all the City did was facilitate them running up their debt another $100,000.
That $300,000 divided by the roughly 19,000 people that live in Port Angeles equals a PenPly debt payment of nearly $16 from every single resident. Did you actually get anything for that money?
Meanwhile, the local hostility to the ONP continues – despite the hundreds of thousands of tourists it brings in every year. Meanwhile, Grant “Pound Sand” Munro continues his exploitative exporting of raw logs – using equipment that had been owned by PenPly, and that should have been sold to help pay off their many debts. And meanwhile, our local political leaders continue to bow and scrape before anything with the word “mill” associated with it. No permit? No problem, right?
Well, there is a problem, actually. The problem is our local “leaders” are either clueless or willfully blind, and completely unprepared to live life in the world as it actually is. They prefer to live in some hazy, idealized past.

Some of our totally future-focused local leaders.
And facilitating that persistent problem is a town that keeps voting these blind dolts into office. At the end of the day, that is the real millstone around our necks – us. They say we get the government we deserve, but how many of you really and truly want this?


  1. I read this, and see so much truth in it, and wonder if any of our city council will ever read it? Or hear anything like this said to their face?

    Then I have to wonder if they even could read or hear something like this. Could it make it through the thick blanket of denial they all seem to be cloaked in?

    1. Someone else floated the idea of refusing to pay all the charges for the CSO bullshit that's on our utility bills. How about if we all deducted $16 for the Pen Ply bullshit too? What if we did so, and then went to public comment at a city council meeting and told them what we did, and why? Would they hear that? Or just cut off our utilities?

    2. This blog could be a great place to organize a group to do just what you say. I know the fools on council generally ignore anything that's not happy news, but it would be harder for them to ignore, say, 20 or 30 of their own utility customers all coming in at once and saying ENOUGH.

    3. Does anyone know what percentage of our utility bills is actually for utilities, versus the percentage for all the debt the city has accrued? That would be a figure I'd like to know.

    4. Last comment on this showed about $100 in taxes that had nothing to do with actual utilities.

    5. The way to do a "tax payers revolt" is to be VERY public about it. Yes, if a couple dozen angry residents are going to show up at a council meeting, be SURE to send a press release to ALL the Seattle area media in advance. Obviously, forget the PDN.

      The media LOVE stories like this. You'll be guaranteed coverage. And that is the kind of exposure cities don't like.

      You also have to anticipate what the city reps are going to say, when those reporters put the mike in their faces. They will NEVER admit to making mistakes, or having done something wrong. That is a given.

      So, in anticipating what the city will say in its response, you will write a countering statement, before they are even interviewed.

      Keep the talking points very short and concise. " As the mayor herself said, one quarter of us can't pay our utility bills because the City Council has put the City is such DEBT."

      Says it all.

      Then, anticipate the question " So, what do you want?" " What do you want to see happen?" Again, keep it short. Don't ramble. Say only what you want repeated.

      Anticipate city will say it had no choice, that these are "unfunded mandates", and dis-spell that lie in the press release so the reporters know this is untrue before the City reps even open their mouths.

      And, as always, the more the better.

    6. Is that $100 per month? Per year? Per household? Can you please break that down. Whatever the case, it's a big number.

    7. The bill I saw was a monthly bill. I'll see if I can find one to reference. It had charges for things not even used. REALLY ridiculous.

  2. There's always the excuse that I voted for the (good) person who lost, only this last time, we didn't even have that option. Which then brings up the fact that so few of us, myself included, are willing to step up and run for office. Who needs the grief? But if a few people don't take the grief, then the idiots who get elected give us all grief...Ai yi yi...

  3. Pen Ply was a classic Port Angeles swindle. Grant Munro is probably still laughing about how he scammed so much from the rubes.

  4. Well stated once again, CK.

    I would like to add an observation to this.

    As we remember, The Port Angeles Financial Officer stated the City was at it's "financial limits", not so long ago. Here is the quote:

    “If we don’t build the economy of Port Angeles and Clallam County, we can’t go forward,” Olson said.

    “We are taxing at close to, if not at, the limit. So therefore, if we need more money, we need to get more players involved, more business here so the property values go up. 

    “We really want to focus on economic development as a city priority.”

    This was last September.

    Your editorial demonstrates how the local "leadership" happily obligates the residents of Port Angeles to debt with little thought. You say Renshaw " found very, very few private investors willing to pony up funds for the idea. Perhaps this was because the equipment in the mill was all incredibly old and out of date." Or, more likely, these potential investors saw the precarious financial condition of the situation, and wisely wanted no part of it.

    Who thinks that a city with a budget such as Port Angeles has, can be caught off guard with the situation we now find ourselves in?

    The City Financial Officer says " if we need more money, we need to get more players involved, more business here so the property values go up."

    Who thinks the City isn't going to need "more money"?

    We've had over 24 groups spending $5 million a year collectively, for the last decade or more, specifically trying to do what the Financial Officer says we must achieve. With no results. In fact, not only no new businesses to bail us out, but existing ones have been leaving steadily.

    The last employment article said there are around 700 fewer employable individuals here now, than a year ago.

    Our former Mayor, Cherie, thought it smart to let ALL the cities in Washington (plus any others following such things) know how poorly the city has managed it's financial affairs by stating the following in the magazine CityVision (CityVision is published by the Association of Washington Cities, a lobbying group that represents all 281 Washington's cities and towns before the state Legislature, the state executive branch and regulatory agencies):

    "We're a town of 19,000 people, but we have only 8,000 ratepayers. 

    Everyone's utility bill has DOE taxes, $20 a month for the combined sewer overflow, and 25 percent of our ratepayers are running behind in paying their bills. 

    Some people might not consider $25 a month to be a hardship.

    That's above and beyond water, sewer, garbage and electric bills. 

    The BPA is hiking our energy rates by 10 percent. 

    We have no options. I feel like this is the perfect storm." 

    Yet, our "leadership" continues with new bond measures, obligating residents for more projects. The Landfill, school, phase 2 CSO, stormwater, harbor clean up, etc, etc, etc.

    Where is the acknowledgement of the problems?

     Where is the accountability?

    1. In answer to "Where is the accountability?" I would say that there is none.

      Karen Rogers broke the law, got investigated, and got off.

      Her chief minions, Mark Madsen and Glenn Cutler, both left with golden parachutes and/or retirements after well and truly driving the city into the ditch, both financially and in terms of openness and, yes, accountability.

      As stated above, Grant Munro is laughing his ass off at us.

      Larry Williams was another Rogers ally, and he simply left town.

      Kent Myers got to leave town on his own, rather than getting kicked out on his sleazy ass.

      Bill Bloor is still getting paid to be the world's worst attorney.

      The Clallam County Democratic party trashed their own candidate, and Matthew Randazzo, who managed the trashing, got promoted to a cushy job in Olympia.

      Max Mania was the only good and sensible member of the City Council, and they drove him out of town.

      All the people who stood by and watched much if not all of the above happen got re-elected to the City Council without even having a contested election.

      Dan DiGuilio is mayor - again.

      Jeff Robb is still getting paid six figures to stay home and do nothing.

      Jim Hallett, after being a lousy member of the City Council, and after running uncontested for Port Commissioner, is now being a lousy Port Commissioner.

      Accountability? In Port Angeles politics? I don't think so.

      Now, if you fall behind on your utility bill, the city WILL threaten to cut off your power, thus holding YOU accountable.

      But those in charge have made sure that they will never, ever,ever be held accountable. This goes beyond the city, beyond the county, to the sick and cynical politicians wrecking things in Olympia.

    2. Well put. Thanks.

    3. From today's PDN:

      Port Angeles City Council

      An executive session is set for 4:45 p.m. in the Jack Pittis Conference Room to discuss potential litigation.

      I IMAGINE that this is in reference to Yvonne Ziomkowski's lawsuit, though lord knows the city has plenty of people suing it. Hopefully Yvonne gets her "accountability" from the city - she deserves it.

      On a related note: They used to hold executive sessions in the regular Council chambers. Now they are holding them in the Pittis room. Wonder why?

  5. Worth reading: the state auditor's recent finding that the Port of PA has been financially irresponsible in administering leases of Port of PA property, thus squandering hundreds of thousands of public dollars.
    Here is an excerpt from one of the SAO reports:
    "The Port of Port Angeles received more than $1.7 million in 2012 from 63 active leases for land, buildings and terminal space. We reviewed 18 lease agreements; 13 had the following issues:
    • Three leases did not have a current contract in place.
    • Eleven leases did not have the required surety bonds as required by the contract.
    • Eight leases were not up to date.
    • Three leases did not have current tenant insurance.
    • Utilities were not current or in the name of the lessee per the contract.
    • Late fees were not being charged as required by the contract.
    The Port does have a policy for leases that addresses new lease contracts. However, the Port does not have a formal policy for renewing leases. The Port also did not obtain the required surety bonds.
    The Port had to write-off over $200,000 because it did not obtain adequate surety on one of its leases." [Pen Ply]

    You said it very well in your editorial, CK, and in your other posts that describe the corruption and backwardness that typifies local "leadership". A few well connected people are making out like bandits while the rest of us have to pound sand and pay up.

    1. Port Angeles is a small town, right? Not even 20,000 people. But the city budget has been stuck at over $120 million for years. That's a HUGE budget for a town this size.

      That's a problem in and of itself. But it also creates a situation where, it seems, that in that context, city council members, city staff members, think of amounts in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars as small change.

      This is a very damaging perspective to have. Like they say, a little bit here, a little bit there, and suddenly - oh no - we're all carrying hundreds or thousands of dollars of the city's bad debt on our backs. They bleed their own residents, then sit back and wonder why the local economy is so anemic. I can assure you that the two things ARE related.

    2. Do you really think Pat Downie understands all that? Or really cares? Do you think Dan Gase gives a damn? Really?

      These people exist to hear themselves talk, and to pump up their own egos. They don't listen, they don't care. They bloviate.

      You're just supposed to feel good because they smile while they screw you yet again. "It's another great day in Port Angeles!"

    3. I am some what familiar with PenPly and it had two well founded losses associated with the Mill. First the employees were rather tawdry with mill products whether it was parts, equipment as well as production. The workers from the janitor to the president screwed the pooch. The workers failed to be productive and frugal with the mills resources. To make any profit you need production, good supervison as well as senior management being able to read the workers.
      For instance a large Order of plywood was shipped to japan and thus rejected as the Japanese are very practical and have high standards. The mill manager sandwiched cottonwood inside of the fir plywood and it was all rejected because of this. It was poor quality because the manager thought he would get away with being thrifty and shifty.
      The big payout for the plywood never came. So the mill folded up because of the two factors. Seedy workers and substandard management. The big cheese would not listen to production woes as he increased production in areas where the rest of the mill became ineffective when another line was added but no workers to do the increase. I suspect this was done to hide the Japan Incident from all the investors.
      Grant Munroe did not do any thing wrong at all. I sell logs occasionally to him and he is extremely honest and pays weekly.

  6. Seeing the photos you chose for this again, really made my blood boil. WE HAVE HAD SO MANY STUPID COUNCILS FOR SO LONG. No wonder our economy is in the toilet. No wonder our population is shrinking. No wonder our schools are a joke. No wonder we have a harbor that fills up with our own shit.

    I absolutely understand why so many people have just given up and fled Port Angeles. I'm at that point too. Goodbye.

  7. Yeah, Harold Norlund left for a shitty town in Canada - but it's still a town in Canada. Living here too often feels like living in a shitty town in a third world country. The corruption is so thick you need a machete to cut through it.

  8. As I read through this, and came to the picture of fat and dopey Josh Renshaw, I thought "Boy, that says it all." Then when I saw slimy Kent Myers with the big check, I thought, "Boy, doesn't that say it all." Then there was that ridiculous photo of Cherie Kidd and Don Perry in their old timey outfits, and I thought, "Boy, doesn't that say it all."

    Yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words. Even without what you and others have written, these pictures tell a pretty dismal story about Port Angeles, stuck somewhere in the early 20th century, and slowly sliding backwards.

  9. Catching up on my reading this weekend, and I came across this in the Feb. 10th NEW YORKER, on the Financial Page (page 24):



    Transparency International has long cited the construction industry as the world's most corrupt, pointing to the prevalence of bribery, bid rigging, and bill padding. And, while the sheer scale of graft in Sochi is unusual, the practice of politicians using construction contracts to line their pockets and to dole out favors isn't.

    For contractors, bribery will always be attractive, because the cost of a bribe is dwarfed by the value of a contract - an effect known to economists as the Tullock paradox. Then, too..."most big projects involve building something unique, or at least something that's never been built in that place before, and that makes it harder to estimate if costs are reasonable."

    Sochi is a monument to Putin's Russia - a nationalist showcase, intended to demonstrate just how far the country has come in the past two decades. In that context, overspending can become, perversely, a point of pride.

    It's no surprise that graft-ridden grandiose projects are most common in countries where government isn't accountable. But even politicians who (unlike Putin) have to worry about being reelected often see benefits in unnecessary or wasteful construction spending, because it gives the economy a short-term boost.

    But an economic boost based on corrupt spending is an illusion, the equivalent of a sugar high. Paolo Mauro, an economist at the I.M.F., says simply, "Corruption is bad for economic growth." It's well documented that corruption discourages investment, because it makes businesses uncertain about what it takes to get ahead; as one study put it, "Arbitrariness kills."

    Corruption also skews government spending. The economists Vito Tanzi and Hamid Davoodi found that corruption leads politicians to overinvest in low-quality infrastructure projects while skimping on maintaining existing projects. (It's easier to collect bribes on new construction than on maintenance.)


    Anyone wonder why I thought of Port Angeles as I read this? It's technically about Sochi's prepping for the Olympics...But as I read it, I kept seeing Cutler's Turd Tank and the expensive new waterfront development...Surrounded by our crumbling infrastructure. Kind of puts a spotlight on all these expensive new projects the city is always touting, doesn't it?

    1. So we're just as corrupt and spendthrift as Putin's Russia, but not nearly as attractive a place to live in as the Worst Town in Canada...The international accolades just keep adding up, don't they?

      But why do I get the impression that all the City Council would see is that we're "being compared to cities around the world" and let it go at that? Remember, Bill Benedict thought it was a GOOD thing when Port Angeles got all sorts of press attention for the bulldozer rampage. He thought it put us "on the map." Sadly, this is probably pretty typical thinking for "leaders" here.

      Maybe the Chamber can take some of the $$$ the City gives them to buy more bulldozers as a promotional effort? We could be like a destructive Disneyland - with more meth!

    2. At least Sochi got a ski resort outta the deal. All we're getting for all our spending is a Turd Tank and a new place to sit and watch Nippon pollute. Oh joy!

    3. From today's PDN:

      Port Angeles City Council

      Port Angeles City Council members will consider an amendment adding up to $75,000 to a $463,522 construction management contract with Lacy-based Exeltech Consulting for the Lauridsen Boulevard bridge replacement project when they meet Tuesday.

    4. Ah, Exeltech. The company that hired Karen Rodgers.

    5. The only things that change are (a few) of the names authorizing big payouts to the same old same old. Madsen is "gone," Rogers is "gone," Cutler is "gone," but the checks keep on going out the door to their crony companies. Funded by checks coming in from increasing burdened city utility customers and taxpayers.

      It's not a sustainable system at all, but the people who really run this town will keep it going until we're all goners.

    6. And please, it's Rogers without a "d." Spell her name right so she comes up in the search engines. Thanks.

    7. Although I keep thinking it's Rodger, like in Rodgering....the slang term for anal sex,buggeration,bumfuckery, because it seems more fitting.

  10. So Max Mania was right, and tried to keep the state from wasting half a million dollars of their money. Had the city council followed his lead, they would have ended up saving themselves, and more importantly, their utility customers, another $100,000. So in total, Max tried to save $600,000 of taxpayer's money.

    But what did he get for being right? What did he get for his leadership? His efforts to save all that money just bought him a million dollars worth of grief. And not a single other council member ever so much as even hinted that they had been wrong or foolish, so far as I know.

    So, lesson learned here: Being good and/or right gets you nothing but grief. Being wasteful and/or just plain wrong doesn't result in any negative consequences. Thus, our totally dysfunctional city continues along the road to Hell.

    1. So that $600,000 split among the six Council members who voted for it comes to an even $100,000 apiece. Does anyone think that's a fair value for the representation we've been getting?

      More to the point, how many of them, if everything was exactly the same as it was before, and knowing what they know now, would vote to do the exact same thing again? I suspect you'd get at least a majority of the Council to repeat their own retarded history. I think they are absolutely that thick. No learning, no change, just smiles, everyone, smiles!

    2. The spooky thing is...I'm assuming they don't think they have anything to apologize for.

    3. Yes, Max Mania was always pretty smart with his decisions on the City Council. But he was even smarter to get out of this dead end town. If nothing else, as has been made clear here, he's undoubtedly saving a bundle on his utility bills.

  11. Don't forget the sawblade logo that the PADA spent $12,000 on. Those consultants may have been from out of state, but they figured out what the "leaders" in Port Angeles wanted quick enough. Slap a saw on it, or the word mill, and you're more likely to get a warm welcome, at least from the dunces in charge.

  12. So the city finance guy says:

    “We are taxing at close to, if not at, the limit. So therefore, if we need more money, we need to get more players involved, more business here so the property values go up."

    He is saying he wants to tax us all EVEN MORE!! Right? " so property values go up" means the assessed values go up, taxes go up, and each resident is expected to pay even more.

    That's the solution the guys at city hall see?

    Future looks really great for Port Angeles!

    And, what if the decline continues? What happens if the current trend of people leaving, stores closing, etc continues? What doe the city finance guy see as a solution, then?

    1. His solution would be to retire, and join the flood of people moving out of Port Angeles.



    Don't worry about feeling out of place. Clallam County employs LOTS of abusive people!

    1. Oh, Christ almighty. As if we need yet one more reason to feel like our county government is all f***ed up. THIS is the best we can do for new hires???

    2. It's so depressing to see the County continue with its practice of hiring people like this Paul Conroy. Like the previous poster said, this is the best we can do? Someone who just cost another County over half a million dollars because of his behavior.

      Does a hire like this go through HR, or does Payne have authority to do this all on his own? Does anyone know?

      In any case, I await the next scandal or misstep from our new randy resident.

    3. The investigation settled on a "he said a little less, she said a little more" conclusion. So he clearly did do something. What we don't know, but whatever it was, it would seem to be out of place in the workplace, and totally unprofessional. To the tune of $580,000. Naturally he gravitates towards Clallam County. Of course.

  14. Even though it is generally depressing, I appreciate your attempts to spark communication/discussion in Port Angeles. Clearly the PDN actively suppresses public speech. The other local blog has become a hangout for trolls and conspiracy nuts. And the Port O Call website has tried, but not been successful, to get people to participate and engage. So hopefully people will continue to find this site, and to add their comments.

    It would be particularly useful for all the people holding elected office to read things that are posted here. I don't know ho wit is, but it seems clear that most of them are completely blocked off from the concept that things aren't all right here, that people are discontented here. They just keep on spending wild amounts of money stupidly and hiring and advancing people who are problematic, without any hesitation or even much conversation.

    Smart meters that aren't...New waterfront development to crown a totally degraded infrastructure...Putting tanks full of sewage on the shoreline in an area prone to floods and tidal action...All kinds of harassment not only seemingly condoned, but also paid for...You know what I'm talking about. Perhaps there's a local printing press turning out all this money local governments waste, but, so far as I know, it all actually comes out of our pockets. We need to do a much better job of swatting their hands away when Council members and Commissioners reach for our wallets.

    1. You mean the conspiracy that conservatives are holding this area back on purpose?

    2. It makes a lot of sense that the locals (conservative or otherwise - such distinctions are irrelevant when they're all crooks) who have gotten used to high incomes based on high levels of corruption would react strongly to anyone who might challenge that. Why do you think they went after Max Mania so hard? It wasn't because he was an environmentalist - it was because he tried to follow the money, and voted against wasteful spending. That's why they had to destroy him. The anti-environmentalist thing was just a cover.

      That's also why they had to try and destroy and discredit Yvonne Z. She knew too much, and might have said too much if asked by curious Council members, such as Max and...

      They didn't spring this bogus "sexual harassment" charge against Brad Collins until after he made it clear that he too would ask questions and try to follow the money. Well, we can see that he's knocked that off since then.

      So yes, there is undoubtedly a conspiracy of some sort at play in Port Angeles. I just don't personally think of it as "conservative." It's a criminal enterprise, pure and simple. They keep things retarded, reel in as much public money as they can, and steal as much of that as they can.

    3. Sissi is next. Like Max, she's really too smart to be on the Port Angeles City Council. Though she's backpedaled on her views quite a bit, but she's still got a history of asking questions, and of voting against the tide (and against the Turd Tank). So if she makes any noises at all about wanting to run for reelection, look for her to be targeted, smeared, and otherwise attacked.

      The rest of the Council doesn't have to worry about things like this, because they're A) idiots, and B) compliant.

    4. There's a Japanese saying: The nail that sticks up must be hammered down. The Japanese culture is a pretty heavy on conformity, and very disapproving of controversy.

      Being that in so many ways Port Angeles is a company town, and that company is Nippon, it's not surprising to see their influence in City Hall.

      Look at how aggressively Nippon and their local servants went after Max, just for speaking up against the biomass mess. They were still going to get whatever they want on 6-1 votes. They were still going to be able to pull the strings from behind the scenes. Nothing would change for them, really, except for the occasional 6-1 vote.

      But the nail that sticks up must be hammered down. I'm guessing that the corporate suits back in Japan were made nervous by this sudden show of non-uniformity, especially after so many years of the city rolling over unanimously for whatever Nippon wanted.

      So suddenly it's a totally false "ethics" scandal because Max Mania dared to encourage people who were worried about the biomass health impacts to speak up. I think most of us WANT elected leaders who seek to hear all the voices in their community, not just the powerful and connected ones. Right? So how was it "unethical" to try and engage the people in Port Angeles?

      Of course it wasn't. It was just worrisome to Nippon.

      Well, they needn't worry any more. Max is gone, and the existing City Council seems to be very corporation-friendly. As Pat Downie said so memorably, "We need to let this corporation do what it wants."

      And that is exactly what is happening. So goodbye, Harold, and hello..? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

      Nippon. Our foreign-owned corporate masters.

      Now, sleep.

  15. Whatever happened to "The Bubble"? If I remember right it was free. Just add shipping and handling. A little off topic I guess. Carry on. :)

    1. Oh YEAH...where is that bubble? Who's barn is it stored in? We have it here, right? Or did someone sell it on craigslist?
      We could use it for housing the homeless that keep getting dropped off by other police departments from all over the state.

  16. Just about every person holding elected office in our area is pathetic. Uneducated. Scared of the world as it is. Lacking creativity. Lacking empathy.

    Now look at our town. Is it any wonder it's in such terrible shape?

  17. There are all the people here, and still here, scamming and stealing and tearing down the future prospects for Port Angeles. But looking at these photos, I have to give a shout out to all those who came and went, leaving only destruction in their wake. People like Mark Madsen, Larry Williams, Kent Myers, and the abovementioned Josh Renshaw.

    Given all the creeps and crooks here, I guess these guys were the ones who didn't make the cut and had to move on. Too bad we can't continue to export thieves and conmen. We'd have major commodity on our hands.