Friday, June 27, 2014

It's Only (Public) Money

So you may recall...The City recently went to the County, hat in hand, asking for a multi-million dollar "Loan" to help the City deal with the garbage bluff issue. What you probably don't recall, because it wasn't reported, is that the County Treasurer, Selinda Barkhuis, attended the meeting where this remarkably bad idea was discussed, and objected to the County moving forward with it based on existing legal constraints on such actions.

Well, gosh, Jim Jones sure doesn't like being told what to do, especially by a mere woman, so he still supports the idea. And, gosh, what do you know? Selinda's objections didn't seem to make it into the minutes for that meeting. Jeepers, what an oversight, I'm sure.

Anyway, since then, Selinda, apparently trying to simply do her job and protect the public's money and, oh, you know, obey the law, has sent out an official objection/correction to the minutes of that earlier meeting. In other words, she's not backing down. Good for her - ethically anyway. But given how vengeful Jim Jones is, probably bad for her professionally.

The text below is what Selinda has written in response to this latest round of Clallam County sleaze:

Executive Summary:

Please find attached a report I compiled entitled "The City's Request to Borrow $7.75 Million, the Law of Public Funds, and the Clallam County Administrator's Recommendation."

During the September 30, 2013 work session between the City ofPort Angeles and the Board of Clallam County Commissioners (BOCC), the County Administrator rendered a grossly inaccurate explanation of Washington State Attorney General Opinion AGO 61-62 No. 139 while trying to convince the BOCC to loan $7.75 million to the City of Port Angeles for its landfill problem.

This grossly inaccurate explanation was then reported by the Peninsula Daily News, leaving all those who listened to or read about it (the BOCC, other county elected officials and department heads, the press, other taxing districts, taxpayers, and voters) with the gross misunderstanding that the Clallam County Commissioners can lawfully loan up to $30 million from the County's General Fund, Road Fund, and Capital Projects Fund to other taxing districts.

As the duly elected Clallam County Treasurer, I am "the people's representative with the people's money," and directly accountable to Clallam County's taxpayers for the safekeeping of their taxpayer funds. As such, I believe it is well within my due diligence duty to attempt to correct any gross misunderstanding the County Administrator may have left in the minds of Clallam County taxpayers as to how their taxpayer funds may be lawfully used.

The purpose of this public work session is one such attempt to try and correct that misunderstanding.

I think that Monday's County Commissioner meeting just got a lot more interesting...

24 comments:

  1. So - the City is scrambling to secure $7.75 million to pay for a potion of a vital public project. What a pity that City officials didn't just bank the $7.5 million hand-out it received from the 2006 "Graving Yard Settlement".
    Instead of that money being available today, it was frittered away on such monuments to mismanagement as The Gateway and HarborWorks.
    Three cheers for County Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis and her zealous advocacy for fiscal responsibility!

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  2. Wow. Great catch. I believe Selinda Barkhuis has been doing her job responsibly and with unimpeachable integrity within a inherently corrupt system. This is an example.

    I'm looking forward to a PDN article which addresses her perspective.

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  3. Unbelievable:
    Ask yourself a question Mr.Jones.
    Based on the city financials and if they were a private entity would a bank loan money to them?
    I think not. They are pretty much insolvent. The debt to asset ratio is ridiculous.
    So why would you want to throw our good money after bad.
    Maybe your position should be an electable one.
    I'm not a Selinda fan but she's gone up a notch in my book for looking out for us.

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    1. Me too. I am no fan of Selinda, but...Jim Jones is as slimy as they come. So, the enemy of my enemy and all that. Go, Selinda!

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  4. Don't hold your breath awaiting the PDN to report anything unflattering to the powers that be. John Brewer is not held accountable to the Canadians who own is rag. Brewer has complete autonomy to publish what he pleases. He has decided to ingratiate himself to the power brokers and keep the rest of us ignorant as to what is being done in the halls of power. Paul Gottlieb was at that meeting. I'm reasonably sure he wrote the story in a strait forward manner. Then it goes back to Brewer who writes it the way it will best shield power brokers and keep the public ignorant. Brewer is all about ignorance. He would claim he is "protecting" his advertisers from issues that may restrict trade. Bull shit. He is protecting the power brokers so they will pat him on the back when he enters a room. He is indifferent to getting the truth out. He has not published an editorial in years. Has he no opinion on anything happening in the past decade. No editorial on the Graving Yard incident. No editorial on the Karen Rogers years. No editorial on the city spending us into greater debt than any in History. No editorial on the more recent port angeles united movement. Unfortunately, his opinions wind up in the text of articles allegedly written by his cub reporters but awash in Brewer spin. Shame on the people who still support his ignorance inducing paper.

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  5. Looks like Jim Jones made material misstatements on a public record. In some jurisdictions this is a crime.

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    1. Given that the (mostly Democratic) corruption in this state is endemic, whether or not something is criminal is irrelevant. Even if you can rouse the state to investigate something (the Port, Karen Rogers, etc.) the result will always be the same: Nothing is done.

      Port Angeles is the backwards and depressed little blight of a town that it is because of the people who live here and run things, to be sure. But those local people are aided and abetted by other unethical players higher up the food chain.

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  6. One thing that would help prevent such shenanigans would be to have all our local governmental meetings broadcast in some way. Which means, of course, that we're not likely to see such meetings broadcast some way any time soon. After all, we wouldn't want to burden locals with seeing how much our elected officials are crooks and fools, would we?

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    1. Do you really want to invite these slimy people into your home in any way? Even via a TV screen?

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    2. Sounds good, only I'd say "stream" the meetings in someway. Post it to YouTube, people can watch it whenever they want to. The city can link theirs on their shiny new web site they've got.
      Just not going to hold my breath.

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    3. Port Townsend posts videos of their meetings: http://www.cityofpt.us/video.htm

      Pretty embarrassing that they can pull that off and we in PA can't. Or won't.

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    4. The schools system has the capacity to video/stream these meetings. Everything is in place but the powers that be won't allow it to happen. They don't want the cleansing light of publicity on these meetings. Consequently we have thousands of dollars worth of audio/video/studio equipment gathering dust.

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    5. Just gotta point out the misleading headline in the Tuesday PDN. The headline reads: "Loan is bone of contention at meeting" Well actually the "bone of contention" was when the county treasurer called the county administrator a goddam liar and claimed he lied to the county commissioners when he said the county was legally obliged to loan money to the city. Plus, he was dickering with the Treasurer's employees attempting to create dissension among the employees which leads to more headaches for the Treasurer and also stymies the service one is supposed to expect when dealing with that important county office. Finally, shades of Chris Christy; Jones allegedly told the Treasurer: "we'll get you that extra employee you requested if you sign off on this loan." This is pure quid pro quo and is illegal just as was Christie's offer of Sandy money if the mayor of Hoboken would approve a waterfront project for Christy's buddy's. This is a crime and there is no one investigating. Sheriff, your phone is ringing. Superior Court Judges; you need to convene a grand jury to investigate this. If not you will be responsible for the next illegal use of taxpayer money by this county administrator.

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    6. Anonymous 7:23 AM: Wow. Thanks for the additional background.

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    7. Too bad it is all b.s.

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  7. Today is Tuesday, and the PDN is finally getting around to covering this story...That you saw here last Friday. Way to go, PDN!

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    1. A day late, a dollar short, and always as lame as a one-legged mule, that's the PDN. I guess they felt they couldn't NOT cover this story at this point, given that Selinda is (rightfully so) taking things up a notch.

      Jim Jones is a self-serving creep, and, while I have never ben a big fan of Selinda before, I am happy to see her showing this spirit and willingness to challenge the totally dysfunctional status quo.

      Meanwhile, could Mike Doherty make it any clearer that he is beyond ready to be out of there? I mean, he wasn't even in the same room with these goons, but he still couldn't wait to get away from them. And who can blame him?

      I look forward to the next chapter of this unfolding power struggle.

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  8. Selinda doesn't understand what she hears or reads. Fellow lawyers all knew this, that was why she couldn't make a living as a lawyer.

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    1. Well said.
      Beware of ALL those that suck up to the trough like Selinda has.
      Don't be fooled by her babble and inability to make a living off "the trough". Her job is a no brainer, think about it. At $100K & bennies to boot? Give me a break.

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  9. Isn't she running for some office?

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    1. Unopposed, so if she only really cared about getting the cushy job she would just do nothing instead of calling these people out.

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  10. So, Port Angeles is the ONLY town on the entire Olympic Peninsula that has lost population. Well, duh. I think we all knew that. I mean, I certainly don't know everybody that lives here, but in just my circle of friends and acquaintances, I know a dozen people who have moved away in the last year or so.

    Meanwhile, our local know nothing "leaders" will doubtlessly try to make lemonade out of this. I can just hear Cherie Kidd saying, "Well, if we're the ONLY community to lose population, it's just another way we show that we're an outstanding town. After all, this means we're number one in population loss. Number one!"

    And, needless to say, it's generally the intelligent and the talented who move away, leaving the lame and the halt behind. (See Cherie Kidd comment above...)

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    1. I have to agree that the number of people leaving seems to far exceeds the number of people moving here. (Be afraid!) What keeps the population numbers from completely bottoming out, I suspect, are all the teenagers and welfare moms having kids. (Be very afraid!)

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    2. I have to assume that at least some of that loss is simply people moving out of the city limits to avoid the insane taxation through utility bill fees. Clallam county overall population being up about 150 would support this idea too.

      Personally, I know a few people that have left town but I also know a few people who have moved here for work recently.

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