Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's the Water Part Three: Drowning in Debt

Port Angeles is drowning in debt.

From the $50 million dollar Turd Tank to the $17 million dollar waterfront redo to the millions spent on the deeply stupid Smart Meter fiasco, the City of Port Angeles has recklessly chosen to take on projects of highly questionable need and/or quality – and their associated mountains of debt – time and time again. Meanwhile, other projects that need attention, and dollars, like the projected $18 million dollars to address the garbage bluff situation, pile on as well. At the same time, much needed basic infrastructure needs continue to go unmet, unfunded, and in many cases are even undiscussed. Anyone who’s driven on local streets knows how many of them need repaired or replaced, for instance. The City is also woefully behind in replacing their street lights and telephone poles – many of which are literally rotting in place.

This year, 2014, the City’s existing debt load reaches a new plateau – a plateau that extends out for at least a decade. As is, this burden of existing debt is completely crushing, totally unsustainable. Anyone want to bet that the City will exercise restraint and resist adding any new debt to it in the next ten years?

Yeah, right.

There’s that old saying, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” Applying that idea to City Hall, you’d think that, even if all this financial irresponsibility wasn’t done with malicious intent, that if it all was 100% due to simple stupidity, they’d occasionally make the right decision, even if by accident. But no. The City is remarkably consistent. They seem to get it wrong, wrong, wrong time after time after time. They just spend, spend, spend, with no end in sight. It’s almost as though there were a concerted effort to drive the City of Port Angeles into financial ruin.

But why would anyone want to do that? Why would anyone want to intentionally drive the City’s finances off a cliff?

Let me follow that up with another question: At the end of the day, what is the one unquestionably valuable resource that the City possesses?

I believe the answer to both questions is the same: Water rights.

The City of Port Angeles has truly remarkable and extremely valuable water rights.

And, unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few years, you know that water is (finally) being seen as the incredibly (financially) valuable resource it is. In an era of climate change, shifting weather patterns, devastating droughts and an ever-increasing population, water has been steadily rising in value as a market commodity. In financial circles, the new saying is that “Water is the new oil.” Companies that deal in water – like Veolia – have been very busy trying to find new sources to serve their rapidly expanding markets.
Thanks for your honesty, sir. Oh, and can
I suggest a place for you to store that bottle?
But how do you get a municipality like, say, Port Angeles, to give up their claims on such a valuable and marketable commodity? You could offer to buy it at market value, but that’s risky, and potentially very, very expensive. Even historically stupid municipalities (like Port Angeles) might realize they’ve got a gold mine on their hands and charge you accordingly – or become your competition. Neither of those are desirable outcomes from the corporate perspective.

But what if…What if you could help manage and manipulate a situation in which the municipality in question was desperate, say, drowning in debt? Just like, gee, Port Angeles is. Further, what if said municipality just happened to have a newer, upgraded water supply system to an existing industrial facility? Just like, say, the new water treatment plant – treating the water to commercial, not industrial, standards – that supplies the Nippon facilities?

What would be even better, from the perspective of a company like Veolia, would be to find an industrial location with an existing water supply, but that would soon be vacant. Like say, the Nippon plant? After all, Nippon reps keep talking about how their paper market is shrinking. And in just a couple more years, if they’ve kept their mill “operational,” they’ll be able to walk away with the millions set aside for them by the National Park Service. If they were to then sell their mill facilities, they now come with their own power plant, and they’re located right next to an existing port – a port that could ship out a lot of water. All a company like Veolia would have to do is convert the mill facilities to bottling facilities, and they’d be sitting very pretty indeed. They’d have new facilities, easy transport, and a ready labor pool that’s desperate and will work cheap, not to mention a City that’s an easy mark and a local political culture rife with corruption.

It seems the only part of this intricate little web that hasn’t come together is the second reservoir that the PUD was supposed to build for the City, but didn’t. You could just see how staff would have able to use a second reservoir as a way to assure the City Council and the public that, even if the new water bottling plant used up all the available water from the Elwha on any given day, the City would still have reserves on hand. When the PUD screwed up, and didn’t provide this candy coating, well, you could see how those involved with such a plan might have been pretty upset – like Glenn Cutler was.
Screening in City Hall, anyone?
Anyway, there you have it. A pretty little scheme right here in little ol’ Port Angeles.

Now, can I absolutely prove all of this? Hell no. But do I absolutely believe that something very close to this is unfolding around us? Hell yes. This is a way to fit all sorts of pieces together, even some that seem at first glance to be random, or unconnected. At the risk of sounding simplistic, this scheme I’ve outlined would pretty much explain everything – the drive for more debt; the behind the scenes scheming to get the NPS to upgrade the water coming in to Nippon to commercial levels; the new water treatment facilities that are designed to treat far more water than the City would ever need now or in the foreseeable future; Cutler’s fury at the PUD.

This would create a situation in which the City selling their water rights would be an “out” from all the debt they’ve taken on. It provides an “out” for Nippon, who clearly won’t need their mill facilities here much longer. And it doesn’t take much to imagine that we’ve got enough greedy, crooked people locally (in City Hall, the County Courthouse, and elsewhere) who would happily take part in such a scheme in order to line their own pockets.

And so, there you have it. I’ve laid out what I think is going on behind the scenes for you to consider and comment on. I’m putting this out there now, because at this point I think I’m much more right than wrong about this. In closing, thanks again for sticking with me through three parts of this. I know it’s a lot to take in altogether, but there was no good way to simplify it without losing crucial details. In any case, I look forward to the discussion that I hope follows this, and to hearing what you all have to say, and what you may have seen or heard yourselves.
The Mayor of Port Angeles - AFTER the fact.


  1. Given what we know about so many of the local power players, this wholesale - literally - amount of corruption wouldn't surprise me in the least. I don't know if what you laid out here is true, but it's certainly plausible.

    So many tax dollars - local, state and federal - being diverted and perverted to suit the desires of a select few. And to benefit foreign-owned corporations, too. I guess that makes Port Angeles a real part of the global economy, huh? It just makes me sick.

  2. Clearly the capacity of the newer water/water treatment facilities that have been bought and paid for for Port Angeles are ridiculously higher than it could ever be expected the town itself (including "the industrial customer") would ever need. Even if we accept as a given that the feds are real spendthrifts, still, someone had to suggest that these facilities be built at this scale, and it's hard to believe these capacities were picked at random. Someone had to know, or be hoping for, something.

    Whatever it is, we can be sure that the people who are supposedly in charge (the members of the City Council) are either totally unaware of what's really going on, or part of the con themselves. In either case, it's equally clear that city staff (under and absolutely including Glenn Cutler) have been very, very busy behind the scenes.

  3. Regardless of whether or not what you lay out here is true (and I personally don't have trouble believing it, mind you), it's undeniable that the City Council has been derelict in their duties for years and years when it comes to the basic infrastructure of the city.

    They get suckered in with half-baked civic equivalents of get rich quick schemes like "Smart" Meters and citywide Wi-Fi, while letting little things like sidewalks and roads (such as they are) get beyond rundown and dangerous. They'll commit to spending $17 million bucks on a new waterfront, but won't take their oversight responsibilities for the PADA or the Chamber seriously, preferring instead to just funnel even more money to those groups and then shut themselves down from hearing any of the complaints about them.

    It's the Port Angeles version of the chicken or the egg argument: Are the people on the City Council idiots or crooks? Ha, ha - the jokes on us, because either answer means the same thing for the regular citizens of Port Angeles - a whole lot of nothing good gets done here.

  4. Thanks for helping connect the dots and see through some of the fog, CK. What emerges is beginning to resemble a disturbing, but eerily familiar picture.
    Starting with Thomas Aldwell, entrepreneurs - aided by complicit or shamefully negligent public officials - have schemed to make big money from exploiting the Elwha River's water.
    Port Angeles claims to hold state-issued water rights for 150 cfs (97 million gallons/day) from the Elwha for its industrial supply, and another 50 cfs (32.3 million gallons/day) for its drinking water supply.
    Others here have pointed out that when three mills were running at full steam along the PA waterfront, they used a lot more water from the industrial water line than the one remaining mill (Nippon) uses today. Today, the city and its municipal and industrial customers - including Nippon - use substantially less than 50 million gallons/day. But, thanks to the NPS, Nippon and the City have the capacity to pump and treat a whole lot more water than that.
    So - yes, it would seem that the City certainly owns some valuable water rights and state-of-the-art extraction and water treatment facilities. Global corporations like Veolia and others must be salivating over the thought of acquiring and making money from them.
    Beware of the term "Public-Private Partnership" if a city official utters this in connection with any discussion of city water.
    For example: Do a google search for "Spragg Bag Port Angeles" and explore the links.

    1. From the web site
      "Terry G. Spragg & Associates first successfully demonstrated the practicality of using water bags in a towing test of a 25 foot diameter, 230-ft. long, 770,000 gallon (2,916m3) waterbag in Port Angeles, WA in 1990 using a modified towing system and bag fabric much weaker than has now been developed."
      "CH2M-Hill, a worldwide engineering firm, has produced five special studies for waterbag loading and off-loading facilities under contract with Spragg & Associates. A water delivery system will consist of the following major parts: (1) shoreside facilities to handle water from the source (i.e., pump stations, water storage structures, etc.) and ocean pipelines to the offshore water-loading platforms; (2) water-loading platforms to fill the bags; (3) bag assembly facility to prepare and deliver empty bags to the water-loading facility; (4) transport system to tow full bags to a marshaling facility; (5) marshaling facility to assemble bags into towing strings for transport to delivery sites; (6) off-loading facility to remove water from the bags; (7) empty bag handling and transport system to rig empty bags for the return trip to the loading facility; (8) mooring and bag handling facilities in the vicinity of the off-loading facility, and (9) ancillary facilities, such as water filtration plants, booster-pump stations, pipelines to municipal reservoirs or wells, and ocean pipelines from the off-loading facilities."

      So------- guess which firm (answer: CH2MHill, of course) has enjoyed receiving exclusive and preferential consulting work from the City for developing its water system planning?
      I'm beginning to feel nauseous.

    2. Hey Bingo - BINGO! The City diverts the money, the Feds divert the resources, and all the money resulting gets diverted to multinational corporations.

    3. Don't forget all the money that has probably been diverted to Glenn Cutler...

    4. OMG --- CH2M Hill is the firm that Nippon hired to handle applying for the various environmental permits and prepare the Environmental Impact Statement for the Biomass plant!

    5. To Anonymous 3:56PM and 4:51PM...Thanks for providing even more background and context for everything CK has put out there. Taken as a whole, especially with your additional info added, it all does seem to fit together. Spooky stuff.

      And no offense to CK, okay, but, how pathetic is it that in all these years we've never really heard even a hint of this in the PDN? This is something that affects the ENTIRE TOWN. You'd think they might be interested.

      But it doesn't fit with their narrative of distraction, does it? Oh, look! Is that the Easter Bunny? Gosh, it's another great day in Port Angeles - with bunnies!

    6. Forums like this are the only way we're going to have a hope of getting information out to the community about all sorts of issues. This blog has been great, but it can't do it all, and as the previous poster noted, we've not heard word of this in the PDN, or on Tom Harper's trolltown blog. The other local papers are owned by the same sleazy Canadian company as the PDN. The Port O Call may or may not make it. So we all need to get busy, get the word out, start our own blogs, and try to stop some of the madness that goes on here. Let's seize control of the information.

  5. Holy shit.

    CHINATOWN was right. It's all about the water.

    People get killed over shit like this.

    Shit. Wow.

  6. Oh, and did I mention...

    In the not-too-distant future the water contract between Nippon and the City will end, and be up for renegotiation. (As for now, though, under the existing contract, Nippon's water rights are fully transferable.) Does anyone expect the City to play hardball with Nippon during the negotiations?

    Another little fun fact: The closest the PUD came to building a reservoir to satisfy their contract with the City was to identify a potential location for it, and put $5000 down to (briefly) hold it, before they abandoned the whole thing. Where was this piece of property located?

    Across the street from Glenn Cutler's house, outside the city limits.

    So many interesting details, eh?

  7. If you do the math, this more than makes sense.

    Let's say you assume the 20 million gallon a day limit is real, and continues forward. And let's say that one fifth of that is used for the biomass operations.

    Then, suppose that Veolia or whomever only gets .25 cents a gallon for the water. That comes out to $4 million dollars A DAY. Even of you factor in totally unrealistic operating costs of half a million dollars a day, that still leaves $3.5 million dollars a day, 365 days a year.

    That is an astronomical amount of potential. And they would still count as an industrial facility, which means they could keep the biomass going and, at the very least, produce their own power. That's a savings, and probably tax breaks as well.

    And, of course, it certainly seems like everything is "arranged" to facilitate operations at a lot more than just those 20 million gallons a day. But would our city government be ready to deal with this kind of rip off of a public resource? I can just hear one of them explaining that "we recognize that this is a billion dollar resource, we don't have the means to maximize it ourselves." Then they'd sell it all for a few million bucks - which would still leave Port Angeles behind the eight-ball in terms of debt, degraded infrastructure, etc.

  8. Even if you're not 100% on the mark with all this, it's still a plausible framework to explain everything all the local creeps have been up to for the last decade. Some of the details may change, but it's undeniable that locally we're rich with water and crooks.

  9. They waste our money, and then they'll give away the store. What a bunch of morons. May as well have Karen Rogers back.

    If what you're saying is true, hell, we may get Karen Rogers back.

  10. Well, I'm not much for "conspiracy" theories. Mostly because I see how mind numbingly stupid so many of the players in Port Angeles are.

    Seriously. Go talk with pretty much any of the City staff, or city council members. Howdy Doody Bloor? I sat in a class about waste water with Cutler. The guy is a moron.

    Unless there is a secret cabal of super duper players in this town we never hear about or see that are arranging these long term deals with multi-national corporations, over long periods of time, I'm having a heard time believing it so.

    But, maybe Don Perry, Danny Boy DiGulio, Cherie Kidd, Barb Fredricks and the rest are a LOT smarter than they let on. Really?

    A great series, though. Well done, CK.

    1. Anonymous 10:44PM - The people who are really behind this, who conceived of it and have been guiding it along, are likely people that aren't on our radar at all, and they're probably from out of the area. This has been in the works for a long time. Say, from about the time the mysterious Karen Rogers showed up in town?

      I never suggested that any of the City Council people you listed are in on it - they're just pawns, useful idiots. Glenn Cutler on the other hand, was instrumental in helping to make this all come together. He was perfectly positioned to do so. But he's still just a (higher up) pawn; I don't believe he's one of the brains behind this.

    2. It's not a conspiracy theory, really; it's just big business doing its thing. Corporations think big, and think long term. Port Angeles has always thought small, and (at best) short term. It doesn't take much of a conspiracy to take advantage of the rubes we have running things here - especially if you've got a few key inside people like Cutler.

      If Port Angeles is like the kid who happens to have a nice, sweet lollipop, it makes sense that some bigger kid might come along and take it away from them. Port Angeles, for whatever reason, was born to be a chump, the fall guy, the sucker. Look at ALL the stupid that has happened here. You're telling me you don't think we're stupid enough to get played by a big water company?

    3. I know that there are lots of minor league players in Port Angeles thinking they are SO clever, that have been playing their games for the last?? long. Tim Smith comes to mind, as does Jim Haguewood.

      The big multi-nationals have opportunities all over the globe. If you follow international news daily, especially international business news, daily, you know this. The scale of what they do is truly "big".

      As you likely know, most federal level government works to support big multinational corporations, like Veolia. As you point out, one can see how the NPS helped fund and facilitate the water treatment plants as part of the dam removal project. How convenient.

      Look at the "Free Trade" negotiations over the last 20 years, to get perspective. Through these deals, American corporations have gained access to the natural resources in "third world" countries throughout the world.

      You don't think the unrest in the Ukraine really has anything to do with "human rights", and "Russian instigators", do you? Any more than it was in Libya, who the "West" abandoned as soon as they got control of the oil fields. Or Nicaragua, where the US ran it's "Drugs for weapons" program to fund it's "Contras".

      As you may know, there have been long running, similar "theories" about the US making secret deals to gain control of Canadas' water. Look those up. There, they don't need water bags, just more pipelines. Like XL?

      You may be right. Perhaps Veolia has a big master plan to run Port Angeles so deep into debt that the City has to sell it's water rights to them. Personally, I don't think they would even need such a complicated plan. Get them to build a $50 million Turd Tank, so that utility rates go so high, so that the City runs up it's debt load, so that Veolia can step in and get water?

      Maybe. But I think it is a distraction from the real problems. If you look around, you will see residents of towns and cities across the country complaining of ever rising costs. Of corrupt local officials. Mayors resigning under corruption charges. US cities declaring bankruptcy.

      Our problems are not "them". Our problems result from our own laziness, and lack of participation in our own governments. Simply thinking that we can show up to vote for Dweedle Dee or Dweedle Dumber every couple of years, and we'll end up with the community we want, has shown not to work. It takes more.

      It is really only about how committed people are about having a community THEY want, instead of leaving it for "others" to decide for them.

    4. Where is Kaj Ahlburg in all of this?

    5. Ah yes...Kaj. Kaj is foreign born. Kaj has a sense of style, and some degree of culture. Kaj clearly comes from money, and clearly loves money.

      All of which raises the question: What the hell IS Kaj Ahlburg doing in Port Angeles? I know about the financial scandals that seem to have chased him out of, what was it, New York? But even if all that is true, why on earth would he choose to settle in Port Angeles? As a community it doesn't seem to fit ANY of his character traits.

      So yes, what is Kaj doing here?

    6. Financial scandals? Do tell!

  11. Could the City itself be planning to sell bottled drinking water from the Elwha? If the new drinking water treatment plant is capable of treating 10 million gallons a day, and city customers only use 3 million gallons/day, a bottling plant could be built out by the treatment plant (at the airport industrial park?) and all of that bottled water could be safely trucked out of town over the new Lauridsen bridge.

  12. The PA City Council should direct staff to develop an addendum to the utility ordinance(s) that would create a rate and taxing structure applicable to bulk sales of water. "Bulk water sales" of "bulk water exports" could be defined to include the purchase, sale, or distribution of water for consumption outside of the Elwha River watershed.
    Then, when/if Nippon begins to export the city's water it has obtained under its sweetheart flat rate contract, the city will at least receive some tax revenue.
    Proposing such an ordinance now could flush out those who would be opposed to it for reasons related to their future corporate plans.

    1. I like your idea very much. But, no pun intended, who is going to carry the water on proposing such an ordinance? Sissi? I don't think so. But other than her, who? To even discuss such a thing would be to acknowledge a possibility that doesn't officially exist yet, so..?

    2. Still think that the City Council, or City staff will be your solutions? Haven't we learned from the past? Are we just doomed to keep playing the same game (of relying/expecting City/Council), and expecting different results?


  13. I have a solution for all the woes of Port Angeles: Move away. Find someplace better to live.

    I did, and I'm thankful I made that change every single day - especially when I check in and see crazy schemes like this going on. Who needs it?

    Don't be a sucker. Get out while you can.

    1. You mean, there are places where I can actually go to a movie downtown, and not have to pay $3-400 a month for utilities, and not have a giant polluting biomass plant on one side of town and a giant waterfront Turd Tank on the other side? A place that might have both jobs and a reasonably high quality of life?

      Yeah, like many others, I'm giving the giving up and going away idea a lot of thought lately. I can think of so many reasons to leave, and so few reasons to stay.

    2. Take a walk through the Cherry Hill neighborhood and look at all the houses for sale!

  14. Here is a word-for-word, letter-for-letter sample from the application of Jerry Dean to serve on the City's "Board of Ethics." This is the Board that sits in judgment should any City Council member be accused of some sort of ethical breach - like, say, selling out the City's water rights...

    Question: Why are you interested in serving on this particular Board or Commission?

    Answer: I feel that my experience and education leands well to th activities of the (crossed out) this board. I am envolved now through various civic ativities and feel I can be of benefit if th need arises.

    Dean's application - available in this week's Council meeting package - is sloppy and, as you can see, fairly illiterate. He will doubtlessly be approved to sit on the Board of Ethics. These are the "watchdogs" entrusted to keep an eye on the City Council. Are they our best and brightest? Obviously not.

    Think the City Council worries about the Board of Ethics? I don't.

    Still think the City Council can or will address any of the real issues facing Port Angeles? I don't.

    1. So glad he's getting envolved with things...

    2. And now we learn that Clallam County has 44 vacancies on 17 different boards and commissions. Hopefully they get those filled with canduhdates as clearly intellijent as Jerry Dean.

  15. So this whole concept (which you lay our pretty well, BTW) got me to thinking about the, well, holistically unhealthy approach to life that's become normalized here in Port Angeles.

    Think about it. For years, Rayonier (and others) spewed out pollution that still sits in the soil in much of the town. With the biomass plant (and the trucks bringing it fuel 24/7) Nippon is keeping alive the tradition of polluting our air. And now, it looks like there maybe a plan afoot to sell our water out from under our noses. That's almost a clean sweep. Remarkable.

  16. Anon 4/13. 11:10AM
    New direction, one that resists status quo, needs to be pushed, and soon.
    But if it tries to happen, will anyone even stop to consider a new approach?
    Will we step up and take steps necessary to gain real influence?
    Or, will we reject organizing, and continue to be content with goof ball local/regional politics and politicians, bureaucracy, and endless bickering, bickering, bickering?
    If we want to effect change, then let's get on with it.
    Let's quit making excuses and instead, let's try and make a difference.
    Endless whining ( or "educating" (if you prefer), more local, "armchair, flat screen politicians") on a blog site will simply allow the status quo to continue.
    Can we support any new leadership if it steps up to the plate?
    Are we going to step up and lead ourselves?
    Or, are we just leadership haters; no matter who, no matter what, no matter when?

    1. Anon 4/13 7PM
      OK, you have a point about "armchair, flat screen whining".
      But where are leaders that will buck the system,
      throw the cowboys to the ground
      and not be domesticated by bureaucracy and all the tax money fodder that overflows the public trough?

    2. "Where are the leaders that will buck the system?"

      Again, why be so dependent on someone else to make your life work? Why is your opinion of how things should be in YOUR community somehow less than that of a "leader"?

      Do you REALLY have any evidence that Cherie or Danny have a better grasp of things, than you?

      "Leadership" on this level is just a matter of convenience. Easier to have a couple people sitting at the table during city council meetings, than a crowd of hundreds of city residents. But, it isn't that they are all graduates of the Harvard School of Public Administration!

      The way this works is as has been said before. We have to get the general population of Port Angeles better educated about what is going on in this town. We have to form a *citizens* group (NOT a "business" group). We have to gather together interested and committed people who will stay together working for the betterment of the WHOLE community, not just the business community, and the personal financial gain of a relative few. A group that will advise and support the candidates they run to represent their interests during campaigns, and once they are in office.

      "Community" is not just PABA, the Chamber, or the City Council. There are school kids who are not looking for jobs, who need to have access to parks, music and library, sporting events and more. There are retired people who have put in their time, paid taxes for years, and deserve to have the potholes fixed, and a safe, nice community to live in. There are stay-at-home parents who deserve to have safe clean parks, and decent programs for their children.

      "Community" is not all about "economic development". Most who live in Port Angeles are not looking for jobs, but most of the focus of "leadership" is to devote most of the community's resources to help the relative few put money in their bank accounts. Yes, "money" is needed for a community", but *how it is spent* is important, too. Could we be taxed LESS, if the money wasn't wasted on un-needed mega projects like that $50 million Turd Tank?

      "Educate" is not about posting on blogs (althought this absolutely helps). It IS about neighbors talking to neighbors about what concerns them. All the time. It isn't about sporadic election campaigns, although those are important, too.

      Where ever you go, you need to be part of your community, or else you get what "they" create for you, like it or not.

    3. Anon 4/14 10:59AM

      So let us know when YOU are satisfied that "the general population of Port Angeles (have been sufficiently) educated about what is going on" and YOU, (or who ever your "we" is), are ready to form a meaningful political action group (citizens, business, otherwise or all three).

      Blogging isn't fixing the "pot holes" that are growing in number and size, and it isn't addressing the "retired people", "children" and "stay at home parents" who are being "taxed" to ruin and would like something(s) done sooner rather than later.

      Just how do you propose to determine when the community is educated enough (to suit your approval rating and) to take action beyond endless bickering on a blog page?

      " need to be a part of your community, or else you get what (others) create for you, like it or not."

      We need to be a part of our community, or else we get what others create for us, like it or not.

    4. It sure isn't about satisfying me! It is about getting things to a point where residents in this community, or any other, feel like their concerns are being represented. Clearly, with ALL that we hear people discuss over and over, people aren't feeling the "love" these days.

      Anyone with their eyers open can see things in Port Angeles are not working to most peoples' satisfaction, and haven't for a long time.

      You may want to get right to it and find some people to run for council this fall. Good luck with that. From my perspective, we've been doing that, and without any ongoing support, they just turn into what has gotten us to where we are today. If you're happy with that, fine. No worries.

      I'm offering a suggestion on what I've seen work in similar situations. If you don't want to form a citizens group, then by all means, don't! Keep voting in candidates (when you have the choice, and the seats are not going uncontested), and doing what you have been doing, if you're happy with that.

      It just seems from reading the vast majority of the comments posted here, that most WOULD like to see things change. If you have an idea on how to accomplish that, by all means, speak up!

  17. So Anon 10:52am
    When are you forming a "citizens" group as you propose?
    Or is that something you're just saying someone else should do versus you're proposing to do it?
    Maybe you're waiting to educate us further with your own apparent "Harvard graduate " brilliance?

    1. This isn't about me. It is a suggestion. It is about a bunch of people deciding to get together, and approaching things differently than have been done so far.

      If you've been reading AND paying attention, you will have noticed "education" includes having block parties and BBQs, and talking with your neighbors about things that they are concerned about. That it is about getting as many people involved in their communities, as possible. That it ISN'T just about blogging.

      Here is a refresher for you: " "Educate" is not about posting on blogs (althought this absolutely helps). It IS about neighbors talking to neighbors about what concerns them. All the time. It isn't about sporadic election campaigns, although those are important, too. "

      But, perhaps you have a better suggestion? By all means, please do share.

  18. I find this all very interesting and there seems to be some validity to it but a few things from a long time Port Angeles residence.

    When the Nippon Mill was originally built the main source of water was brought in (and still is) by their own pipe. You can still see it and it still brings water to the mill which it's been doing for 90 years. They built it and own it.

    When the NPS tore down their power supply there was a deal cut with the mill for the water and how they were charged ($15K flat rate). This was part of the original negotiations going back years with James River (now Nippon) and the NPS or Federal Government. So I'm sure the Feds told the city this is how they get to charge Nippon for the bulk water that they receive through their own industrial line. Now the city does have several meters at Nippon and they are charged on a commercial rate.

    I know this doesn't still explain the fact how the NPS agreed to such a ridiculous sum of money for the amount of water the mill can tap into. When the city waste water permits (12-14 MIU's are currently permitted) are currently up for renewal (or soon will be) they are reconsidering the maximum daily flows to these MIU's (major industrial users). The users are being told that the DOE has permitted the city only so much maximum flow rate for major water users. Interesting. Well that's my two cents worth.