Thursday, October 30, 2014

"You Can't Pay the Bills Looking at a Lake"

I was really struck by the pain and disappointment in the comment below, which was posted yesterday on the previous subject:

I really hate this place. Always have. We moved here because my wife's mother lived here. We sold our place and moved here. She is dead now. We are stuck with a property that has seen deteriorating value since 2005. No jobs for what I know how to do. (Machining, International Trade and another). We have seen companies get lured here only to find out there is not much help in infrastructure and then they back out. Tourism...blah, blahh, blahh. Big mistake for us. I love the beauty but you can't pay the bills looking at a lake. Meth heads, shops that are never open on weekends or after 5. Diversity? Oh, we have a record number of crappy restaurants and only 2 or 3 decent ones. An over the top bureaucracy of paper shufflers. A closed off mentality of the locals and a red neck population that still think that logging is still a viable employment opportunity. Increasing utility rates, etc...Big mistake. Don't ever move here.

I've literally been there and felt that. Finally, it became clear that my health, happiness and quality of life were worth whatever it took to get out of Port Angeles - not to mention it seemed like it would be easier to find work pretty much anywhere else. So I sold the house at a huge loss, and got out.

And now, though I'm in the process of repairing the financial damage done to me by living in Port Angeles, my life is infinitely better in every way - socially, culturally, environmentally, physically. I have a good job, of a type that could never exist in Port Angeles (you know, technology), and have found a community that is actually functional, and that provides pretty much everything that Port Angeles and Clallam County lacked, and will lack for the foreseeable future.

So, escape is possible, even when you're taking it in the shorts to get out. That being the case, the question I have for people like the poster above is...Why stay? Why don't you do whatever it takes to get out? Life is too short to live in Port Angeles. And even if you're going to struggle, financially or otherwise, well, there are much nicer places to struggle.

Obviously, even in the best of times, life can be hard, can have challenges - but why pile living in Port Angeles on top of that?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lying Fool or Sociopathic Schemer? You Lose Either Way!

I just couldn't not comment on these quotes from professional pocket-liner Mike Chapman, regarding the huge amounts the County Commissioners get paid...

Chapman brought the conversation back to elected officials' pay..."I would just not be able to live with myself making $600 (per month) more than the District 3 commissioner, whoever wins," he said. "I have no stake in who wins. I just don't think that's fair."

He added: "I'll write a check back to the county if we don't pass something."

Point  #1: Gee, Mike, you seem to have been managing to "live with yourself" for years now, making more than other Commissioners. Years. I guess this wasn't a concern then because..?

Point #2: No one believes you "have no stake" in who wins the election, Mike. You're a sexist, overpaid, white Republican guy. Clearly you'd be happier and more comfortable if Bill Peach, your demographic and ideological twin, won. Do you really think anyone believes your "fair and balanced" act at this point?

Point #3: Since this is a monthly difference in pay, I assume you'd be writing a check to the County each and every month you're in office, Mike?

Point #4: From the context, and the amount mentioned previously, I have to assume that this mythological check would be for the aforementioned $600. If - and I do mean IF - you were to actually write that check, Mike, then you'd be returning double the amount that your pal Steve Tharinger did after promising to return all the pay he received from the County while working as a State rep. The amount Tharinger's promise would have had him returning from his double-dipping would have been in the thousands, not a puny $300.

Mr. Smith went to Washington...
Mr. Chapman and crew just go to the bank.

But you guys all do like to hang on to your money, don't you, Mike? And I have a strong feeling that Steve's broken promise will soon be joined by yours. After all, you're pals, and cut from the same rotten cloth.

And finally...What kind of idiotic, backwards, out-of-touch County gives step pay increases to elected officials? These guys are posturing as being concerned about the budget, but left that little fiscal timebomb in place? That should have been one of the first things you changed.

And it would have been, if you were actual public servants. But you're not. Mike Chapman, Steve Tharinger, Jim McEntire...All the same. Professional pocket-liners and thieves, hypocrites and liars. No wonder then that Clallam County is in the sad condition that it is.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Number Two is Number One!

In case you haven't heard...You residents of Port Angeles live in an award-winning city! See the press release sent out below...

The City of Port Angeles receives the IACC "Creative Solutions" award

The City of Port Angeles received the "Creative Solutions" award presented by the Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council (IACC) of Washington State. The award was presented at the recent IACC conference on 1 October 2014.

The award recognizes the City’s innovative design of the Combined Sewer Overflow project which reutilized existing infrastructure, greatly reducing project costs and construction timelines. The design reutilized an abandoned industrial water line, which was slip-lined with 3 waste water pipes, greatly reducing excavation in environmentally and archaeologically sensitive areas. In addition, an unused 5 million gallon storage tank was repurposed to temporarily hold combined sewer overflows during heavy rain events. The design was a combined team effort of City engineers, the design firm of Brown & Caldwell, the environmental firm of Farallon Consulting, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and the Department of Ecology.

The Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council (IACC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Washington communities and tribes identify and obtain resources they need to develop, improve, and maintain infrastructure. It consists of staff from state and federal agencies, local government associations, and nonprofit technical assistance organizations.

Where the combined sewer overflow begins combining,
thanks to award-winning design!

So...Do you proud Port Angelesites feel innovative? Or is this a bogus award from a circle jerk organization? In other words, is having a 5 million gallon sewage tank on your shoreline a point of pride, or just a crock of shit?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Water, Me Worry?

Now, I well know, especially since moving away, that Port Angeles is wildly out of touch with the real world, the modern world. But even I was astonished to see this in the online PDN today:

A greener summer next year? Port Angeles adjusts its water rates to be more lawn-loving

The City Council has approved a seasonal water consumption rate for residential customers in 2015 to encourage more residents to water their lawns and gardens in the summer.

The council on Tuesday voted incorporate a flat summertime consumption rate into an ordinance establishing next year's electric, water, and wastewater rates. The council then voted adopt the ordinance itself...

In addition to water rates, the ordinance sets higher rates for electricity and wastewater. Under the seasonal structure, residential water customers next year will pay $2 per 100 cubic feet of water used in June, July and August regardless of consumption.

Out of stock, out of touch...What's the difference?

Now, as astute readers of this blog well know, much of the world is finally waking up to the fact that water is not only a valuable resource, but also a finite one. In the U.S. alone, dozens of municipalities, and even whole states, have passed laws to try and limit people's water use, to try and put the brakes on consumption. Rivers need water, farmers need water, people need water - and something has to give, something has to change.

Except in the unreality that is Port Angeles.

Given the well known penchant for Port Angeles City Councils to do a great deal of nothing, why was this particular thing not only important enough to discuss, but also to actually pass?

"What I've heard from seniors and people who have been in their homes a long time, people would like to water their landscape, their lawns, their gardens, but they feel financially their water bills are too high so they're reluctant to do so," said Councilwoman Cherie Kidd.

A solution all of Clallam County could embrace?

So there you have it. The only real problem facing the people of Port Angeles is that their lawns aren't green enough! Once that problem is licked, happy days must surely lie ahead. Downtown will flourish, high school graduation rates will rise, and sidewalks will build and repair themselves. Residents of Port Angeles will awaken each morning full of purpose (not booze or meth), and the pollutants coming from the Nippon plant will smell as sweet at flowers. Yes, people of Port Angeles, Cherie Kidd has confirmed it: The grass is greener on the other side. And the green grass will take you to the other side - at least the kind that Cherie seems to have been smoking will.

Meanwhile, back in that ol' real world...

Here are the highlights of the other rate increases:

■   Monthly residential electric rates will increase from $104.39 to $113.52 for average customers next year, an 8.75 percent increase.

■   Average monthly commercial electric rates will increase from $226 to $231.34, a 2.36 percent increase.

■   Monthly residential wastewater rates will increase from $46.70 to $51.35 for average customers in 2015, a 9.96 percent increase.

■   Average monthly commercial wastewater rates will increase from $42.02 to $47.84, a 13.85 percent increase.

How about a nice, big, cheap cup of water to wash those
other rate increases down with?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Death By a Thousand Cuts, or One Big Stab in the Back?

From KONP's website today...

"Clallam County Commissioners used their Monday work session to look at the salaries of county employees but also gave a hard look at their own compensation as well."

So this is the first (public) step in the follow through from the two right-wing nuts on the County Commission. It started with Jim McEntire, the bearer of multiple pensions, suggesting that he'd be open to cutting his own salary to help balance the budget. Fellow zealot Mike Chapman then chimed in saying they should consider cutting the pay of everyone who works at the County.

Now, never mind that they aren't likely to cut their own pay, and that it would be nearly impossible to cut the pay of everyone working at the County. No, this is Political Theater, a big shock and awe show to distract from what's really going on.

And what's that, you say? Well, let's read a little more from KONP...

"For more than 20 months, County employees in Teamsters Local 589 has been bargaining for a new contract without coming to an agreement. To avoid an impasse, the Public Employment Relations Commission has their mediator, Page Garcia, draft a proposal.

The proposal is already backed by the union, but they did so accepting the proposal as is without any changes. After a review by the County Commissioners, two portions of the proposal seemed to be sticking points.  One of the issues indicates that all grievances presently filed by the union will be withdrawn, but that the County will pay $33,000-dollars to the union to expunge those complaints."

Oh, so that's it. They're just trying to bully the Teamsters into settling multiple grievances for a pittance. That stiffs the people who have filed those grievances, while at the same time offers up what amounts to a $33,000 bribe to the Union itself. Both of those moves would then serve to further undermine trust in the Union and the grievance process going forward. A sweet little deal - at least for the sociopathic sleazebags who are proposing it.

All these shenanigans also point to the fact that the County's budget is, in fact, in trouble. After all the years of being able to say the budget was strong, they were debt-free, etc., the bills are coming due for Clallam County. So I wouldn't be surprised if part of this was preparing for Jim Jones to retire ("Hey, it's not my problem any more!") to make way for the next incompetent good ol' boy to be put into his job ("Hey, I didn't wreck the budget!"). Again, this would provide just enough denial to go around for everyone.

Oh, and let's be clear. IF and I do mean IF, there are any salaries that the Commissioners really do try to cut, why do I suspect that they will be for people who are named things like Selinda and Sheila?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pot Isn't the Only Dope Around Here

Wow, the City's audit of the Port Angeles Downtown Association sure does make for some interesting reading. So many rules broken! So many questionable expenses! So few explanations! It really is quite something. At best - at best, mind you - it shows an organization that is sloppy beyond compare, and a director, good ol' Barb Frederick, who is in over her head having to operate in the adult world.

Hand...Cookie Jar...You know the rest.
But at worst...It certainly could show an organization, and a director, who are at least minor league crooks and cons, all too happy to pocket a little bit of money here, a little bit there. After all, it's only (public) money, right?

Now, if you've ever seen Barb Frederick try and give any sort of report, especially one that deals with m-o-n-e-y, then you know said reports can be more than a little hard to follow. So, on one hand, it might be easy to chalk this all up to Barb being a dope.

Tell us more about those meal expenses, Barb...
On the other hand, doesn't the PADA have a board of directors? Aren't those people supposed to watch over things? Aren't those people supposed to watch over Barb? Well, yes, they are. So, even though there are certainly a lot of idiots in Port Angeles, it's kind of difficult to believe that no one on the board caught any of this, or cared, before it all blew up. That tends to lend itself to the idea that the whole thing was a con - as in conspiracy to defraud.

So what do you think? Is Barb just a dope? Are the directors dupes? Or are they all crooks? And what FINALLY made the City do something about it all?