Monday, April 28, 2014

Implausible Platitudes

Since their BIG MEETING is tomorrow, I’ve been looking over the draft goals and strategies (such as they are) of the PA Untied crew, and I have to say, it seems mighty short on substance. Oh, it’s rich in platitudes and jargon, but pretty thin and implausible in its stated goals and/or strategies for getting there. (All text bolded below comes from the PA Untied draft.)

Let’s start with what appears to be their slogan: “The Common Good + Common Sense.” Years of experience have taught me to always, always beware of anyone leaning on the phrase “common sense.” Don Perry, certified dope, was a big believer is “common sense.” It’s a feel-good, meaningless phrase, one that’s open to many interpretations.

The draft document I saw starts with an explanation of the “design” of their efforts: Broken down into The Quality of Place Statement, Community Economic Development Definition and a Sense of Urgency Statement – they provide an inventory of information from which the strategic plan has been developed.

The strategic plan structure consists of four goal statements, strategies and action plans that are interrelated in respect to metrics and are interconnected and dependent upon each other.

Each goal, strategy or action statement may include a measurement component which is time, quantity or result/impact. Full completion of the plan will include an assignment of action plans to either an organization or individual.

Please note that last bit about “action plans” being assigned to organizations…or individuals.


We are Port Angeles, Washington

We are small town America, built on a foundation of hard work, determination and innovation. The people who came here were rugged, self-reliant and determined. They cut trees to build the Northwest and fished the waters to feed the nation. We are a town of innovation and determination.

We are a nuanced town; where majestic mountains greet the sea. Buildings rich with detail and sturdy in construction hide stories of the past within their walls and beneath our feet. Innovation brims from technology companies set in a setting of natural wonder. Our college is an educational gem of the Northwest. Our varied shops intrigue you. Our pubs and restaurants entice you.

We are an international town. We are surrounded by sovereign nations where native people cherish a rich and varied culture.

We are a unique town…where a background of hard work has created a city that celebrates the awe-inspiring setting that surrounds us.

We are Port Angeles, America USA

Note the repetitive, almost ritualistic use of the word “innovation,” which, in the context of Port Angeles, is laughable. Innovation implies actions that are creative, new; Port Angeles is a stolid little town years behind the times.

Note also how the “rugged, self-reliant” white people who came here last are acknowledged first. The “native people” who were here long before the whites get an afterthought of a mention at the end. This racist viewpoint is part of the problem here, a barrier to healing, growth and open communication between local interest groups.

Finally, can anyone tell me how Peninsula College is an “educational gem of the Northwest”? And does anyone really think that Port Angeles “celebrates the awe-inspiring setting that surrounds us”?


The purpose of economic development in the greater Port Angeles area is to strategically grow our economy by increasing our economic capacity to improve our future and quality of life. It is a process by which public, business and nongovernmental sector partners work collaboratively to retain economic productivity and create viable conditions for prosperity and employment generation.

Please, read this section out loud. Twice. Does it make sense to you? Does it really mean anything? This is boilerplate jargon that obscures much more than it reveals. Meaningless catchphrases arranged randomly does not convey much quality of life or viable conditions. Right?


Port Angeles United (PAU) must act professionally and quickly with its effort to assist in defining our economic development plan of future growth. By growth, we mean increased employment at all wage points, increased property values, higher sales tax collections, increased number and diversity of employers in our greater community.

Group participants in the PAU “process” must seize this opportunity now. Our voice can be heard and will be considered relevant, well-considered and in the finest community-minded tradition as a defined plan takes shape.

As a poster here once said, we should also beware of “Urgency Statements.” They are often intended as “don’t think or check facts – ACT NOW!” statements. Also, without a defined plan, what exactly are people seizing?


Goal #1: Cultivate a Vibrant Community for Business and Entrepreneurs – by the end of 2020, the greater Port Angeles region will have a strong and attractive business community with over 2000 establishments, total employment of 17,410…and improved access to business capital.

Goal #2: Enhance and Promote an Attractive PA – By the end of 2020, the greater Port Angeles region will be recognized as an attractive and rewarding place to visit with 440,000 yearly MV Coho passengers, over a 60% lodging occupancy rate and lodging tax revenues over $560,000. The region will also be a desirable place to live and work with City of Port Angeles retails sales over $367M and over $42M in building investments.

Goal #3: PA is an Exceptional Place – By 2020, the greater Port Angeles region will be recognized and celebrate its “special” community characteristics and features, be the home for over 38,000 people with 23% being people between 25-44 years of age, have high performing educational institutions and easy access to the natural environment.

Strategy 3A – Starting in 2015, Downtown Port Angeles will be the community focal point for unique innovation businesses, a 24X7 neighborhood, an international gateway, and a connection to the marine environment reaching and maintaining a 95% occupancy rate by 2020. (NOTE: Change suggested…”and a city wide commercial business occupancy of 95% by 2020.”)

Strategy 3C – Crate a conduit of communication and collaboration to foster a full spectrum of quality educational institutions with Peninsula College as an attractive alternative for 4 year education.

Goal #4: PA United for Community Prosperity

First, and most painfully obviously, Goals 1 and 4 are essentially the same, as are Goals 2 and 3. Like the repetitive use of “innovation” in the beginning, just saying something over and over again doesn’t make it true.

Second, a city wide 95% occupancy rate seems wildly unrealistic. I’m all for dreaming big, but, come on. That’s a very steep climb from where we are. We also have a lot of very run down commercial properties/spaces, and lots of checked-out or absentee slumlord landlords who don’t want to fix their properties – at all.

Also, we have no real control over the number of passengers passing through on the Coho.

Finally, I love how they manage to contradict themselves within one sentence with “Strategy 3C.” They want to “foster a full spectrum of quality educational institutions” while promoting “Peninsula College as an attractive alternative for 4 year education.” Seems to me that if you wanted to really push the education envelope, rather than shuttling people away from four year colleges, it would be better to help grow PC towards becoming a four year college.

And so, does what you’ve read here give you hope for PA Untied, or does it sound like the same-old, same-old with a new name? Given the players involved, do you trust their intents, or are you wary?



  1. Given the people behind this big push to consolidate, I am a non-believer.

    These are the same people who have been raping and robbing Port Angeles for years. Now that they've finally hollowed the town out almost completely, and the money is drying up, suddenly they want to play nice, play together.

    Bullshit. With fewer dollars (from business, taxes, and everything else) flowing in, they want to make sure that all the money comes through one spigot - and that they're there to catch it.

  2. These PA Untied people are not captains of industry. They are the captains of the Titanic. They have steered us onto the rocks too many times to be trusted any more.

    1. Exactly. All you need to know is that Karen Rogers and Jim Haguewood are involved. Then just say no.

    2. I believe the expression is: shit in, shit out.

  3. I will cut them a LITTLE slack because this is a draft document.

    BUT, having said that, it's not a very good draft document, and is full of lofty fantasies and a lot of blah blah blah. Having idiocy like "Goal #3 - PA is an Exceptional Place" just makes this look ridiculous. We will be Celebrating" our "special" community characteristics...But the don't offer a clue as to what those are, how they will be promoted or maximized, or whether or not those characteristics are inherent (setting) or conditional (Westport doesn't close down shop here). It's all beyond vague.

    Meanwhile, as has been pointed out many times already, with too many of the usual (failed) suspects behind this push, it's hard to "dream big" when these are the same people who have made living here a nightmare for so many of us.

    1. I believe the technical term for this is HAPPY HORSE SHIT.
      One person wrote this (it's all one voice, this isn't a working draft incorporating various people's ideas). I has all the depth of a puddle. Clearly it came about because SOMEONE was told to write something. It is done in a "grant" proposal writing style, so I know it wasn't done by a creative writer. The entire thing appears to be an alcohol-fueled, late-night stab to meet a deadline. (Just put some shit on paper, and hope it flies.) There are no ideas. There is no solid plan. It's just "f*ck, what can I write about..."
      Port Angeles is none of the things the paper purports it to be, and this isn't even a good start.
      Give me a bottle of Jack Daniels, and an evening (a couple hundred dollars) and I could bang out something way better.
      The problem, as usual, is that the same tired old hacks are trying to get their way by sounding like they are smart, have lofty goals, and actually CARE about anything other than a paycheck.

    2. A bottle of Jack Daniels might at least loosen this painfully awful document up. It's tighter than Edna's.....

  4. So there's talk about consolidating these different ineffectual, sad little "economic development" groups, and all of a sudden, a group NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF BEFORE, this CEO group, comes out of the woodwork.

    And even though NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF THEM, they take the lead role in guiding these consolidation efforts.

    And this CEO group, the one NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD OF BEFORE, is allowed to take the lead even though it is made up of people who are known conmen and crooks.

    Nothing suspicious about any of that, is there? There's no way this could be yet another con, could it? What could possibly go wrong?


    1. Actually, the CEO group is there for window dressing. They are not playing a lead role, nor did they participate with the other three groups in the closed door sessions. I think of you were to ask the CEO group what their role was, you might get an answer something like this: "they asked us to come and as soon as this dog and pony show that involves the Downtown Assc, Chamber and PABA, we're done" The CEO group has no skin in the game which can also be said of PABA - neither group receives City money. That leaves the Downtown Assc. and the Chamber, who receive City money - to the tune of apprx. $450,000 to promote downtown and economic development in the community. And we are quite aware of their collective results. As one person said to the Downtown Association board and Barb Fredericks, "If you were a private business, you would have gone out of business long ago". But you see, we have the benevolent City propping up the Downtown Assc. and Chamber with taxpayer dollars, in effect supporting and endorsing their dismal results. Now we hear that the City has all of a sudden got religion, hence PA United. No more dollars without measurable results, so says the City. I would believe it if leadership existed at the Council level or from the City Manager or Nathan. The sad truth is we have the City, which is incapable of vision or leadership, trying to lead us out of the desert into the promised land. Many people have spoken up, only to be shunned or ignored by our local leaders. This whole PA United exercise is a continuation of our wanderings in the desert . . . . no one is listening.

  5. I couldn't make it past the PORT ANGELES QUALITY OF PLACE STATEMENT. At that point my head was shaking so much, and I was laughing so hard, I couldn't read any more.

    We are Port Angeles, America DOA would be more accurate.

  6. This document is only half of the story. The other half, the "Action plans" that describe how to accomplish these "lofty" goals, is yet to be written.

    But, that doesn't make it any more credible or realistic. The stated goals are such an idealized concoction of stock phrases as to be little more than a fantasy.

    Amongst these fantasies are the stated goals of doubling the population within 5 years. Over the last number of years, the population of Port Angeles has declined. A recent article stated the number of employable individuals had dropped by 700 in the last year alone.

    The observable trend has been decline, not increase.

    The number of people going by ferry to Victoria has dropped over the last number of years. There used to be 3 ferries doing multiple trips to Victoria. Now there is one, which requently is not full. That is a decline, not an increase.

    The number of functional storefonts in Port Angreles has been declining for years.

    The reviews of visitors to area hotels and restuarants rates them as less than impressive.

    And, on, and on, and on.

    Sure. I get it. Jim Haguewood doesn't get paid unless he produces a "professional" document. He doesn't get paid if the process doesn't have all the perfunctory blah blah in it.

    But, how does creating a document with utter fantasy as goals create any crediblity for it's creators?

    Despite all the feel good phrases, the situation in Port Angeles is what it is. How do they rationalize the efforts of HarborWorks? Same people, trying to increase jobs, businesses, population and property values, only a few years ago. What did they acoomplish, besides making jobs for themselves? In reality, the situation just got demonstrably worse.

    Weren't the PABA, the Downtown Association and the Chamber fully supportive of HarborWorks? As well as the City Council, Port, etc?

    Isn't it important, and relevant to note that Port Angeles continues to decline, as the rest of the country shows signs of "recovery"? Maybe the same people, doing the same things, with documented histories lacking any real successes, isn't the answer?

    1. Anon 10:23 AM...You said it, you said it all, and you said it better than I could have. Thanks! Unless we all loudly call BS on this, it's just stupid enough to be embraced by the numbskulls in charge.

  7. Is the public invited to this fiasco?

    1. The scheduled PA United meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 29th 3-5 pm at the Skills Center # 208 ( west 8th St ) is open to the public.

    2. The big day is here! Can't wait for our new, improved future to kick in after this meeting is done...;)

      And did you see how the city is saying their settlement isn't with Toxic Teresa or Yvonne, but some other person? Jeez...

    3. What is the "skills center"? I have no idea what that is, or refers to.

  8. Not to be a nitpicker, but...How is this PA Untied, looking forward subject fitting into your stated goal of "exhuming the past"? I thought this was a forum for rehashing the past fiascos of Port Angeles, not the coming fiascos.

    1. Its so obvious . . . . history is repeating itself. The same incompetent people and organizations taking us into the future . . . or rather, attempting to take us into the future.

    2. If I may answer for CK, as you may have noticed, PAU is the SAME OLD people, playing the SAME OLD games, only this time, it is a new name. There is nothing forward looking about it. A new name for the same old game isn't progress.

      And, let us review the other half of the sentence you quote: "Building a Future by Exhuming the Past". Do you see some familiar themes? "Building a future.." " looking forward.."?

      "Rehashing" infers that everyone has already heard the same information. In reality, because the local paper just is a cheerleading bimbo that only wants to talk about happy news, most people are only just learning about what is going on in this town, and how we have come to be in the mess we're in, via this forum, the Port O Call, and such.

    3. Thanks to the two replies "for" me. You've pretty much summed it up. Yes, this is the proposed "future," not the past, but it's being promoted by some well-known shady characters from the past.

  9. To answer your questions directly, I trust their "intents", for now.
    What I am "wary" of, and increasingly weary of, are those who indiscriminately and anonymously always criticize others but never offer creative thought, ideas or leadership themselves.

    1. I agree.
      Be part of the solution or just be another part of the problem.
      This website criticizes EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE in Port Angeles.
      But then, that's it's purpose.

    2. With all due respect Anon 5:24, you sound naïve to what "has" and "is" happening in Port Angeles. Many good people with solid ideas have tried to get involved and make a difference. This blog and what it is attempting to do, comes as no surprise to those of us who have been ignored by the status quo. I don't think you have a clear handle on the situation in Port Angeles. When people are ignored and not allowed to have a voice at the table, they are going to protest and this blog meets a need in the community. You might be surprised at the strong undercurrent that exists. Just look at where Port Angeles is economically. Would you say things are going well or OK? Keep going in the current direction? Are you happy with the City's leadership and direction and stewardship of money? Do you know what is happening in Port Angeles? You sound like someone who is still trying to figure it out. More than a few of us have figured it out and we're trying to do something about it. And if it includes ridicule and shaming of those who ignore the will of the people, it's probably called for. But if you've never been involved, you wouldn't know.

    3. I most certainly do not criticize everything and everyone in Port Angeles. The best Thai food I have ever had comes from Sabai Thai. I think Mike Doherty is a smart man, and probably a good guy at heart. Sissi Bruch is too smart to be on City Council. I enjoy Frank McPhee's stupid, corny jokes, and his shop. Oh yeah, thank heavens for Little Devil's Lunchbox - good burritos at last!

      There are plenty of good people here. That's why we talk so much about the BAD PEOPLE. Because they are the ones doing harm to us all, including to all the good people. People I like. My friends. Your friends. Being harmed. By BAD PEOPLE. Bad people deserve to have bad things said about them - especially when they're true.

    4. Hey, Anon 6:43...Have you ever heard of constructive criticism? I see a lot of it here. Seems like our council members and county commissioners could benefit from dropping in here every once in a while, to see that not all is well in their kingdom. Some of the peasants are restless and dissatisfied.

    5. I believe the concept of "don't say bad things.." is deeply ingrained in this town. I hear it a lot. The problem is, it creates a void of honesty. If you can't say "that is wrong" you allow people who do wrong things to keep doing them. Speaking up is not being negative.

  10. I am surprised of your dislike for the Economic Development definition, it came from the World Development Bank for Economic Development. I think I will take their expertise and experience over yours, whatever it is.

    1. Well, ya know...Maybe at the level of the World Bank, that kind of overblown jargon is accepted, understood, maybe even required. But really...This is Port Angeles. Let's scale it down a bit, make it a LOT clearer for people, and keep it real. "Nongovernmental sector partners." I don't even know what that means. If you asked all the people involved with PA Untied what it means, they'd all probably give you different answers, because it's obtuse, obscure and obfuscating language.

    2. World bank? Wellll, doggie! We's on the map now fer shur! Right fancy and ever'thin'!

    3. LOL! Really? Now we're going to bring in references to the World Bank? Should we discuss the many examples of where the World Bank has "provided loans" to underdeveloped countries, knowing full well they can't pay them back, and then installed administrators and policies to exploit the country's resources in ways that benefit the large multi-nation corporations? This is a model PAU is relying upon?

      You know, buffalo them with ...

    4. If the World Bank has experience dealing with Third World countries, then they might - I say, MIGHT - be familiar with some of the things that bedevil Port Angeles.

  11. Port Angeles United is designed to be an appendage to the city treasury. Most won't even know it exists. Like a trap door where the money flows and nobody knows.

  12. I see a recent post on Port Of Crap where (I think the old guy?) Tim Smith says he will not support any private-sector business group, new or old, that continues to feed at the "public trough"?
    Maybe someone's finally saying something that I can support.
    Question is, is the guy really serious (sounds like he is), and even more importantly, will he have any serious support?
    I'll bet he's ticked Russ and Barb off!
    The other question is, if Old Mr. Smith were to get any support, where else would the City go to waste public dollars?

    Oh yeah, they would probably create a new City position like Sequim and PT have already done.

    1. Will Tim Smith put that in writing? More to the point, will all those involved put that in writing?

      The language we see here presents lots of wiggle room, so unless these PA Untied people are really and truly willing to put it in writing that THEY DON'T WANT ANY PUBLIC FUNDS, well then, have at it.

      If they can't or won't do that, well then, it's just another PA scam.

    2. Smith did put it in writing (see POC website today) and sounds serious enough.
      But at this point he seems to be the only one out there sooo?

  13. In reading the post above, I think of what is going on, and what we can do about it.

    As has been demonstrated and discussed, Port Angeles is in a mess because of the projects, grants, policies and actions city staff has researched, compiled, wriiten up, and put in front of City Council with aggressive campaigns to gain support for.

    City staff creates the information in the documents they provide City Council members that show why one project is better to pursue, over another option.

    City staff find, interview and communicated with the consultants they recommend City Council hire. City staff work directly with these consultants after they are hired, and define what work these consultants are paid to do.

    And much more.

    But, what can the City Council members really do, besides go along with what staff "recommends" they do? Sure, they can ask lame questions, but unless they have put in a lot of time into researching the subject, interviewing possible consultants, and otherwise duplicating City Staff's work, how can they credibily question their own staff?

    And, more to the reality of the situation, the culture in City Hall mandates support for their own. Within staff, they circle the wagons and defend their fellow staff.

    The Council is told they must support their staff, otherwise, why have City Staff if you don't trust them, their judgement, their professionalism, and the work they do?

    So, the "solution" to the problems we identify and discuss here do not lay within the existing City system.

    Yes, one could suggest we need "new blood", and that is certainly true. But more importantly, the culture itself is what needs to change. One, two or a few new people will only meet the "majority culture" , and quickly be isolated, as we have seen happen before.

    It is up to us, the citizenry, to tell the city what we want, and how we want it done. We can't just sit home, and wait for the collective city culture to engage their powers of mental telepathy, and get religion.

    As we have seen, we can't just roust out a candidate or two to run for office, and expect them to fix everything. That hasn't worked, and won't.

    We have to form a group that has committees to analyze what City Staff gives to City Council members in advance of meetings. To get OUR voice and views into the considerations.

    Without it, we just continue with what we know doesn't work.

    1. In total agreement. A deep undercurrent of dissatisfaction exists in Port Angeles. An organized citizen panel could get some traction. Where do we start? I have attempted to gather a small group of people together for this very reason.

  14. Hmmmmm.
    Sounds like Port Angeles United II

    1. PAU is the same small group of people who have been manipulating things here for the last?? number of years, for their own personal economic benefit. Being given hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds, with no accountability. They have occasionally worked with city staff to promote the same policies and actions that have gotten us into the mess we're in.

      What we need is the opposite. A large group of the general citizenry that don't receive public funds, and is concerned with all aspects of what makes a city live-able. A group that supports their candidates during campaigns, and after.

  15. So...Did anyone go to the big PA Untied meeting yesterday? If so, what happened?

    1. Yes, please. I'd like to know before I get back...

    2. I heard from someone who attended the meeting that the three groups (Downtown Assc., Chamber and PABA ) have agreed to merge which will supposedly take place in 2015 after each respective membership votes and approves it. As a result, there will be a leadership board that oversees 5 seperate boards/groups who will be responsible for various responsibiltites related to economic growth in the downtown and community at large. There should be a PDN article coming soon. Sorry, this is all I know.

    3. Correction, a leadership board that coordinates 5 specific taskforce-like committee groups.

  16. Hurry back, CK - we want to know what is happening with PA Untied and whatever else you've got going...

  17. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
    All the King's horses and all the King's men
    Couldn't put Humpty together again!!!!

    Who does PA United think they're fooling, besides themselves?