Which makes it all the more amusing that the messages presented fell into two camps. Dr. Joshua Jones from Peninsula Behavioral Health obviously tried to tow the Party Line. From the article: During the question-and-answer session, Jones sought to dispel a commonly held suspicion that people are bused to Port Angeles to take advantage of the city's social and health services. "There is no data to suggest people are coming here in hordes..."
And yet...Another panelist, Julie Black, Olympic Medical Center safety manager, may not have offered up "data" on this, but she did offer a totally different view: The hospital has increased its security presence at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles and facilities in Sequim, she said. An increasing number of "really angry individuals" is showing up at clinics and confronting receptionists, Black said.
For once, the Chamber actually had an informative and revealing presentation. Clearly this is a problem is Port Angeles - a problem compounded by the fact that the City allowed so many social services facilities to locate downtown, in what should be the commercial/economic core of the town. This puts unnecessary pressure on, and unpleasantness in, downtown, impeding the success of the very commercial enterprises that pay taxes to provide, yes, social services.
The "no data" dodge is just that - a dodge. Just because there's no data proving that it's happening doesn't mean that it's not happening. And the lack of housing for the mentally ill in Clallam County is a dodge, too. Other towns don't send people to Port Angeles so they can find housing. They send them there to get them the hell out of their towns. Duh, doc.
Finally, how appropriate is it that the article about this COC event was written by Paul Gottlieb? I mean, if there's one writer at the PDN who knows mental illness inside out, it's Paul.