Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to Beat the Juan de Fuca Festival to Death with a Pipe (Dream)

First, thanks to the anonymous poster for the tip about the "news" about the Lincoln Theater. I had already gotten a call about it from a friend in PA who couldn't stop laughing while telling me about it. Anyway, I dutifully logged on and checked out the article in the PDN, and...

...I caution you not to get too terribly excited about this notion that the Lincoln Theater has been "SOLD," despite the four rickety letters propped up in the box office window.

Take away the "S" and you've got a shorthand
description of the property itself.

Let's all take a breath, sit down, and look at how many qualifiers there are in this big "breaking news" story.

Scott Nagel wants to buy the theater, and then turn it over to a non-profit. Scott Nagel doesn't have the money to buy it himself, of course. So, despite admitting that he hasn't got the money, and hasn't raised the money, Nagel says he's entered into this (strange and fraudulent sounding) process "to get the process started." In my experience, you're generally expected to have the money to pay for an item you're buying before you buy it.

So, despite the gee whiz tone at the beginning of the article, and the implication that this is all a done deal...It's nothing like that. "We are negotiating with the building owners," said Nagel. "we have an offer on the building, subject to raising the money (from potential future sponsors)." The article then goes on to explain that Nagel "has neither the intention nor the money to buy the Lincoln...Instead, he hopes to secure it through a capital campaign...Raising that capital is the first phase."

I'd say that's putting the cart before the horse, but I'm not sure that Scott Nagel even has a cart.

I scream, you scream, we all scream
for pipe dream!

Anyway, then, once the theater is somehow purchased and then the money raised to purchase it...Nagel hopes to put the operation of the theater under the umbrella of a non-profit organization. Enter Dan Maguire, executive director of the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts. Maguire says the organization would consider such a move, though it would have to be approved by the foundation's board of directors. Said board is - rightly so - concerned about both capital and operating expenses.

Then, after the theater is bought with funds that have yet to be raised...And the City gives their blessing to the whole thing...Then, and only then, apparently, will there be a "community campaign and visioning process" to determine what to do with the place. Which is, again, kind of cart before horse. How do you purchase a theater with money that hasn't been raised yet? Furthermore, how do you raise money for a project that hasn't been defined yet? And how do you get a non-profit to take you under their wings with all that uncertainty?

And especially when, for once, Dan Maguire inserts a note of sense into the conversation. "It's not the capital that's so hard; it's the operating expenses." Put another way, would you want to pay Port Angeles utility rates to heat the Lincoln Theater? Put yet another way, we have a theater and arts center here that is a little smaller than what is (admittedly vaguely) described here, right downtown like the Lincoln is. It has a staff of ten. So, even if we're generous, and say that the Lincoln could somehow be run with half that staff, that's still five staff members. Year round. Plus those aforementioned utility bills and insurance and maintenance and advertising and everything else. Is it really reasonable to think that Port Angeles can support a downtown arts center that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to operate? Look how difficult it is to get the City to give the PAFAC ten or twenty thousand dollars at a time.

The Number One item at the concession stand?

In any case, unreality asserts itself again as the article winds up, with Deadwood Dan Maguire clearly trying to strike a positive note, but really pointing out the biggest weakness in this whole crazy scheme. To quote: "Anybody who's invested in this town is going to want to do what they can to make it happen."

Make WHAT happen, Dan? This is a tissue thin fabric of "ifs" and "maybes" - at best. And who is invested in Port Angeles, Dan? Who is going to want to invest in Port Angeles? After years of shameful neglect, the Lincoln finally went under because the owner didn't want to invest any money in it. The Downtown Association is imploding because they couldn't do anything right. Businesses move out of downtown and out of Port Angeles proper because the City is so chronically inept on every level. The same City, as cited mentioned above, has a long, long history of not supporting their own existing arts center. The population is shrinking. Ferry runs are dwindling. Hell, even McDonald's is thinking twice about sinking any more money into the sinking ship that is Port Angeles.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying this...If you would really, really like to see the Juan de Fuca Festival die, if you'd really, really like to see that particular event cease and desist, then voice your support for this whole crazy pipe dream. Because if this comes to pass in any form remotely like what Scott and Dan are talking about, then the Lincoln Theater will become a HUGE and ultimately fatal financial burden for the Juan de Fuca folks, and will be a money pit deep enough to swallow the festival and Deadwood Dan whole.

Dude, your theater sounds AWESOME!
Totally f***ing AWESOME! Do you accept
Canadian currency?


  1. Why? Why do these local yokels always rush to clue in the press that something might, might, might, maybe, might be happening? It just raises hopes prematurely, and then usually dashes them soon after. This isn't a story - it's a story about something that might, maybe, be a story in the future. Maybe.

    But by all means, let's jump the gun. Again.

    1. Is it ethically okay to put up a "sold" sign on a property that is not sold?
      Are the owners missing opportunities for real buyers when they take it off the market for Nagel's pipe dream? Is Dan Gase properly representing his client when taking off the market a property that has not been sold and the buyer acknowledges he has no money. Is this the screwiest thing ever devised? Someone call the board of realtors and see if this passes the smell test.

  2. But wait, wait...Didn't that oddball guy Rick Shaw already swoop in and buy the Lincoln, saving it for all time? Didn't he say he actually had the money? Didn't he also throw out a plan that sounds remarkably like this one? Or was that yet another pipe dream?

    1. No, Rick Shaw's pipe dream was to make it into a theater cafe and serve ta-ta's, no make that tapas. He wanted to do it as a for-profit venture and didn't want anyone meddling in his plans, like a pesky group trying to "save" the theater. He told them to bug off. They did. Hence where we are now. No where closer.

    2. The obvious thing to do is to entice the Hooters restaurant chain into being interested in the Lincoln property. A Hooters in PA would be a huge hit!

    3. Do you REALLY want to bring Hooters to Port Angeles when Barb Frederick is looking for a job?

      I want you to really, really ponder that for a bit.

  3. I am reminded, once again, of Lucy, Charlie Brown, and a certain football.

    Part of what holds this town back is that there are too many people here willing to believe in (and even buy!) magic beans, and too few willing to do the hard work and planning necessary to really build a stable, successful community.

    This so-called plan is just senseless enough that it might garner the support of the city council. I think private money will display a little more reluctance to get involved.

    1. I agree with the Peanuts cartoon concept.
      What you are saying is that this town is "full of beans"?

  4. How do you buy something THEN raise the money? How do you raise that money when you don't know what you're doing yet? This all sounds like a scam to me, frankly. I can believe that some of any money raised might end up in Nagel's pocket; I have less faith in the end result being a restored Lincoln Theater.

    We'll see...

    1. It is a LOT of wishful thinking.

      I have done the numbers on the place, and with the asking price (which is insane) for a run-down building. It needs a LOT of work, and a lot of things (like fire escapes from the balcony -- who knew that one was putting their life in peril when the damn place was open?)

      Add in, all the costs of operation (and mortgage/insurance/utilities/taxes) through the retrofit, and then the costs of operation once those are complete, and you're talking about a very dense budget. Other towns have started projects like these and they've ended up in the millions of dollars (way over intended budget). And, those towns, had city councils who kicked in money, and in a couple of situations, bought the building for a song, or it was donated to them.

      Right now all the "grant" money that could have been available (even two years ago) has dried up. Too many theater projects -- as there are thousands of shuttered theaters that people are "trying to save". Never mind that most of them are too small to really turn a profit, and never mind that people just aren't going out to theater/shows/night events, like they used to. It's the wrong size venue. Simply the wrong size.

      And, lets also remember, that you can't get a conventional loan for a "specialized building". So, it needs to be something really creative. Only, that is something this town sorely lacks.

      Better to tear the thing down and build something from scratch than retrofit that ugly building. As far as theaters go, it's downright hideous, boring, and bland and all the historic features were removed and sold on ebay years, and years ago. (Lights, the original organ, etc.) It isn't even eligible for "historic status". It's a white elephant.

      OH yeah, and the back wall is not reinforced to seismic standards (it is a series of pours, and actually looks like the retaining wall for that hill from back when the town was sluiced). It lacks a fire suppression system.

      With the "remodel" of the front back in the 1930's, it was turned, forever, into a boring, monstrosity.

      Uggh, tear it down, burn it down. Start over. The place isn't worth keeping.

    2. Wait wait, there's a few suckers left in town to fleece and this is a great opportunity to fleece them. Let Nagel skin a few, then the PDN will ballyhoo another article so another of their cronys will skin a few. Bear in mind PDN is the major sponsor for Nagel's crab fest--PDN and the taxpayers via Russ and the chamber. Shame shame shame on Brewer for being the instrument of the next fleecing of the city.

    3. All good points, seismic retrofit and ADA accessibility will cost a lot if money and make restoration an economic impossibility. Better to start new.

    4. To paraphrase the title of this piece, I don't want to flog a dead horse with a pipe (dream), but...The time to do some sort of restoration/transformation of the Lincoln would have been before it closed. When Max was still here, and on the city council, he tried to get such a thing going, and found little support.

      But now that the big empty building has sat there for so long, and is such a painfully obvious eyesore and negative economic indicator for downtown, suddenly it's imperative that something be done with it.

      The Lincoln was terribly, terribly rundown while it was still open - as in, an open pit. I can't imagine that it's done anything other than slide rapidly downhill since then. (See 12:11 PM's comment about the back wall for starters.) The restoration would be INCREDIBLY expensive. Running it would be INCREDIBLY expensive. How much INCREDIBLE do you see downtown right now? I see none, and I don't envision much support for such an INCREDIBLY expensive, after-the-fact, too-little-too-late kind of project.

      No, instead this is likely what other posters have called it as: A scam to further the financial wellbeing of one Scott Nagel. Who the hell would give money to that? Sure, it's still INCREDIBLE, but only in Nagel's audacity in this would-be fleecing.

      Port Angeles needs to learn the difference between a real-world, well thought out PLAN, versus the more traditional, home-grown, huckster-driven SCAM.

    5. I'm wondering how that building could ever (without significant $$$) get a certificate of occupancy and get up to snuff on the energy codes, ADA compliance, and fire codes.

      There are electrical boxes in the Lincoln are in a strange location (in the balcony, near the oldest projection booth,open to the public).

      There is no way the place is ADA OR energy code compliant (especially with the new ones that the state has recently signed into law).

      Everyone tells me that the city can do a "special deal" to get past the certificate of occupancy if it is used the same way it WAS used. But I don't understand that one, since the balcony is a death trap, and the bathrooms are down illegal stairs, and not ADA, in any way. It's way more than a "fixer". It needs a roof. It needs insulation. It needs seismic. It probably needs some attention to the plumbing, and electrical. All the work there has been done is substandard.

      The seats don't even match!

      To get it open without a certificate of occupancy (like the state would require) through some loophole with the city sounds like it wouldn't be kosher, and it would side step the intended law of getting buildings code compliant.

      It's bad enough downtown is a tinder box death trap, anyway (no fire walls between the buildings, no fire suppression systems friable asbestos in most of the basements, and lots and lots of code violations (especially electrical). The only way there is any hope to get them fixed up and brought up to code is when there is a new owner, when a building sells.)

      The Lincoln has no energy efficiency -- big old drafty cave. Brrrr. I'd hate to have to heat the thing with commercial utility prices.

      No fire sprinklers, the fire exit (one is blocked off) go to a narrow walkway that is also not ADA compliant. The thing is a mess.

      And, I agree SHAME on Brewer for promoting this sham as "sold". It isn't by any stretch of the imagination. It's not in the public's best interests to see this nonsense. It gets peoples hopes up, and then dashed.

      And, shame on the previous owner for not keeping up his building, AND for asking so much, especially since it is a matter of public records how much he purchased the property from (Lauridson Trust). If he were any kind of upstanding man at all, he'd give the building to the city or to a non profit group and take the write-off on his taxes. He's squeezed every penny out of it that he could. Now he's trying to make a profit on a crummy downtown building? The gall of the man!

      I'd guess, conservatively, that it will take $2 MILLION dollars, at the very least, to buy the building, upgrade it, and have a year of operating expenses, until completion. So, basically, every single person (from infant to elder) would have to kick in $117. to "support" this project". Do I see more than 5% of people kicking in, even $100.00? No. I don't.

      Too bad the city is insolvent, or they could find some grants to inflate the budget and pad their general fund. Still, they'd do better building from scratch.

      Lets turn it into a parking lot, because the merchants are always complaining about how there is never enough parking.

    6. Anonymous 9:22 PM: No, please, tell us what you REALLY think.

      Seriously, though, thanks for writing such a detailed and thoughtful piece. You've nailed it - as in, the last nail in the coffin for the Lincoln Theater pipe dream.

  5. Interesting take on all this, CK. You make a couple of good points.

    It's easy to understand the appeal of trying to get this whole thing under the structure of an existing nonprofit. That just makes sense. But, as you point out, that would mean a very large new financial burden for whatever group took this on. I also wonder if such a move would conflict with the mission statement of the JFFA, or whomever. If I was on the board of a nonprofit and got approached with this, I'd want to take a long time examining all the angles and potential pitfalls.

    On the other hand, Nagel could simply start a nonprofit of his own, but since he's not talking about that at all, I'm assuming that's not a path he's considered. It takes quite awhile to get a nonprofit approved and up and running, and this whole deal, if you can call it that, sounds very much like it's time-sensitive. Certainly if Nagel (or anyone else) wanted to start a nonprofit to acquire the Lincoln, and they haven't started the process already, then they've wasted months and months.

    Maybe there's more to this than is reflected in the PDN article. Lord knows they aren't very good at the details. But if this is what it really is, then I wouldn't bet on this idea coming to much of anything.

    1. Of course Nagel doesn't want to take on the burden, he's risk whatever he has, on this foolish project. When someone doesn't want to risk their own nut, but wants other people to invest their money, it's always a bad deal.

    2. If the Juan d'Fuca Festival and the Crab Fest have been unable to turn a profit and get off the "gimme money" (from the Chamber/city, whatever) then how would they hope to take a huge old rotting building and turn it into a viable project? I'm not seeing the logic. Hasn't the JdF festival had decades to get in the black? And, Crab Fest seems to be another one of those "designed to run over budget" affairs.
      I don't mind paying a few extra bucks for the pool on my property taxes, but I am NOT going to shell out for a theater that will be vacant 90% of the time.

  6. Didn't Dan Maguire just go hat in hand to the City Council because his organization couldn't afford to buy a tent for themselves? Now they're going to "consider" taking on the restoration, maintenance and management of a 500 seat building? Huh? Did I miss something?

    1. Coming soon, the city will furnish more tax money for Nagel to buy a circus tent which will sit up in storage and dry rot for 51 weeks of every year. Naturally he could rent one buy why not fleece the council and the voters if they have no one to protect them. City council certainly won't protect the taxpayers from these charlatans.

    2. As Pat Downie memorably said of Maguire's monetary request : "... zzz-ZZZZ-zzzz..."

    3. Yeah, why wouldn't they RENT ONE? That makes no sense to me. WTF, guys?

    4. What about "The Bubble" the City spent $50 k for (or am I remembering that price right?) ?

      THAT is just sitting in a building somewhere, isn't it? It never got used, once. That is at least as big as a circus tent, and the city already owns it.

      Silly me. That isn't what this is about. It is about spending money.

  7. Fundraising problem solved: Just change the name of the theater to "The Edna." She'll kick in big time, and Peter Ripley will sell chocolate bars to make up the difference. Can't miss.

    1. How about The Classy Lady instead?

    2. "The Classy Lady" sounds too much like a brothel. they could call it "The Bad Barb".

      On second thought, that sounds too much like a brothel as well.

    3. No, no, no. Let's go for the lowest, corniest denominator. Let's key into the now pointless clinging to Twilight-mania. The theater should be called "The Edwardian." That puts it squarely in line with Port Angeles' insistence on looking backward, not forward, and keeps us clear of Barb and Edna.

  8. Just wondering...If the city were to get involved with this in any way, wouldn't Dan Gase have to recuse himself from those votes, since he's the broker on this property?

    1. Shouldn't he already recuse himself from everything the city does?
      Yeah, wonder if he'll waive his fee, too.

  9. Let's put this in plain language. Nagel has a pipe dream. Gase wants to sell a white elephant. They pretend to hatch a deal that is not a deal at all. If there was a deal there must be offer there must be an acceptance and an escrow date. None of these exist except an offer. Gase knows better than to call this a sale. The owners are about to get hoodwinked by their realtor. All they have done is take the elephant off the market while these blow-hards bray about it a while and then it will come back to market a little more visible. PDN knows this is not a story. The best can be said of this story is they are aiding and abedding a fraud, yet another fraud upon the citizens. Dan, give us a close of escrow date and we will believe you. Otherwise keep on selling.
    Also, Nagel was the main reason the chamber got the two contracts again. He was the loud mouth who shot down the proposals of the other better proposals. He is all about himself and should be called out for it. How much longer must taxpayers support his crab festival. Shouldn't it be running on its own energy by now? Another greasy hand goes out for tax money and this council may pitch in our tax money again.

    1. Thank you for pointing out Nagel's role in the latest Chamber of Commerce debacle with the city. He's a shameless self-promoter who doesn't give shit about this town, just wants to line his own pockets. No dollar is safe around those type of people, and anyone giving Scott Nagel money for the Lincoln Theater are going find he'll skip the second half of that notion. They'll just be giving Scott Nagel money, full stop.

    2. I had originally wanted to include a bit here about Nagel's involvement in the latest COC scam in PA, but this piece was long enough as is, without shoehorning that in as well. I figured astute readers would remember and point it out in their comments, and you have. Thanks!

    3. Yes, CK, we're getting the hang of connecting the dots. Thanks.

  10. Edward is so SparklyDecember 21, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    I noticed that the other reason the owners of the Lincoln shut it down - the cost of converting to a digital projection system - was barely mentioned and Nagel thoroughly avoided talking about it. Ultimately, a "restored" and "revitalized" Lincoln theatre is going to have be converted to a digital system. That takes bucks and lots of them.

    Also incredibly amusing was the notion of a "wine garden" - where exactly would that be? - and, inevitably, lots of gushy references to "Twilight". Ask any teenage girl about "Twilight" and you'll get a blank look. "Twilight" has long since faded away into the rubbish heap of pop culture and the world has moved on to many other things. This being PA, however, we still cling to our tattered "Twilight" totchkes, hoping we'll see Edward, Bella and Jacob lurking in the alleys (oh, wait! Those were just the meth heads!).

    I am Edward, I am Sparkly.

    1. But, why is it when anyone in Port Angeles talks about Twilight no one mentions that it was most notable for the "almost rape scene"?
      Gee, remember when everyone in the downtown association was patting themselves on the back about their great Twilight store, and how it was going to be the shining pearl of the downtown? A gem. Yeah, if it had been a popcorn store, or a scotch tape store, it would probably still be open.

    2. I think there was a was "whine garden".

  11. Hello? Priorities?!?

    Is this proposal as myopic and insensitive (as well as flat out stupid) as it appears to be?

    Have we not been hearing about how the community has a third of it's residents needing their utilities subsidized, for the last year or two??

    About how the community has the highest suicide rate in the state?

    That the city doesn't have enough money to pay for enforcing basic traffic laws?

    Etc, etc, etc.

    BUT, buying the Lincoln is more important that addressing these EXISTING problems?!

    Scott, and those interested in helping to "revitalize" the downtown might well consider addressing the existing problems, rather than diverting limited resources away from them. (I know, the downtown merchants would rather see the needy moved away, far away.)

    If there are people in Port Angeles with extra thousands laying about, they might think about ways to help the needy right here. Right now. Put some time and work into making Port Angeles a sustainable community FOR ALL it's residents, instead of the small select few of the "wine and cheese" crowd.

    1. What "wine and cheese" crowd? We'd be lucky to have such folk! What we do have is the PBR and pork rind crowd.

    2. That's Coors and Cheeto crowd....

  12. Dan Gase gets his commission and, when all is said and done, isn't that what really matters?

    1. He does seem to be "all about Danny" doesn't he?
      Now, why do we have a real estate agent on our city council? Who thought this was a good idea?

  13. Boy, do I feel sorry for all you haters and naysayers.

    I for one think that the revitalized Lincoln Theater will be a great companion piece to the Oak Street Convention Center that Dan Gase helped...helped...uh...

    Oh yeah. That's right.

    Never mind.

    1. All these sarcastic comments! What a complete waste of intellegence, not a helpful idea in the bunch. It is a lot easier to point out flaws in the efforts of others than it is to try and make an effort oneself! Shame on the lot of you!

    2. Anonymous 7:05 AM: Oh, please.

      Do you live in Clallam County? Do you have functioning senses? Can you not see and perceive the utter screwed-upness of almost everything? Can you understand how in such a miserable, insane situation that sarcasm may be a way to cope, to blow off steam?

      In any case, I'll take the "waste of intelligence" displayed here over the total lack of intelligence displayed by the so-called "leaders" of Clallam County any day.

      Gimme a break.

    3. Hey, CK, maybe the previous poster is right. Maybe we could be a bit more positive here. Let me try it out and see if it helps.

      I'm positive that Dan Gase is an unethical, self-serving creep.

      I'm positive that Cherie Kidd has the IQ of a squirrel.

      I'm fairly positive that Pat Downie sleeps during City Council meetings.

      Hey, you know what? I DO feel better! Being positive IS good! Thanks!

    4. You know what we need?

      Another bead shop downtown, and more junque shops (I spelled it the creative way so that it looks better than just junk), and lets have more fudge and why don't we get someone to open a frosting shop, too?

      Golly gee whiz, all that is stuff that I (never) use.

      And, while we are at it, lets walk around smiling, and singing, skipping and thinking only happy thoughts. Lets just pretend that everything is looking up. La la la la la. Never should be heard a discouraging word.

      Everything is all happy and our town is just waiting for someone to see how great we are and bestow upon us bucket-loads of cash so we can fix up an ugly useless old theater, and, I know, buy a tent that will be used for one long weekend a year. Won't that be grand?

      Then we can all join hands and merrily skip off into the sunset. FA LA LA LA LA. I (tree) PA. (Whatever that means). Aren't we special? We are special, aren't we?

      Is that what you want to hear? Is that how you'd see us NOT "wasting our intelligence"? Seriously?

    5. I would like to see one honest attempt at an idea to improve vs 100+ sarcastic complaints about how bad the decisions that were made are. Not much to ask for.

    6. Who is listening? Who cares? We have participated in all kinds of public meetings and voiced our views for years. We have proposed all kinds of solutions and alternatives to the way things have been done, for years and years.

      And what response do we get? A robotic" Thank you" if we bothered to show up in person. In writing, no response at all.

      At this point, what more do we need to do, see and demonstrate, to know it is a waste of time.

      Anon 3:51, you tell me where I can actually make a difference in what is going on in Port Angeles. Come on, tell me. I'm all ears.

    7. Anon 11:24: To put it simply: Participate. Join the Chamber, the PADA, the EDC, get on their boards; volunteer on one (or several) of the dozens of community advisory committees that make recommendations (that are almost always followed, in my many years of experience on a few of the biggest) to staff and legislative bodies at the City, the County, the School District, join community service organizations, church groups, etc. THAT is how you make a difference in your community, not by posting sarcastic comments on a blog. Of course, that requires some time and effort away from your T.V. and computer screen, to actually hear about the pros and cons of issues, to actually do something constructive. It is a lot easier to sit back and criticize the effort of somebody else than to pick up your own shovel and help out.

    8. "Participate. Join the Chamber, the PADA, the EDC, get on their boards; volunteer on one (or several) of the dozens of community advisory committees that make recommendations (that are almost always followed, in my many years of experience on a few of the biggest..."

      The Chamber: Sure, anyone can PAY MONEY and join, but ask Dale Wilson, or any number of other "outsider" business owners how much respect they are accorded, or how much they are listened to.

      The PADA: Uh, maybe we're not all downtown. That's for starters. Secondly, have even you, oh pie-in-the-sky one, ever seen such a useless, divisive organization? One that may not even exist soon?

      The EDC: Name a business they have actually helped start. Just one. Then think about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have passed through that organization. An organization that, oh yeah, you can't simply "join" as you suggest.

      Committees: The biggest horse laugh of them all. "...Make recommendations (that are almost always followed..." Ha! Again, first of all, you have to get appointed to one of these committees. But, having been through the process a number of times myself, I know that deadwood goes to the front of the line. New people, new ideas? Reject! Reject!

      Of course, should someone new get on, or should a sensible recommendation be made, it is my experience that very rarely is said sensible recommendation acted on. Port Angeles is rich in history that shows, time and time again, sensible positions put forth - and ignored.

      You are either off your rocker to say these things, and/or are a rah-rah, no-bad-news-please cheerleader like Cherie Kidd. Your comments have very, very little grounding in the reality of Port Angeles. Which is a big part of why Port Angeles is in such bad shape. Denying reality does not, in fact, change reality. Fingers in ears do not, actually, make bad news "go away."

      Drug abuse. Unemployment. Political corruption. Failing schools. Shrinking population. A dead downtown. Totally misguided priorities. Chant "La la la la la la!" as much as you want, as loud as you want, but it will not change the FACT that the things I have listed above are the defining characteristics of Port Angeles.

    9. Riiiigggghhhhhttt....participate. Waste time that I will never get back on committees that never do anything but talk to hear their own voices.

      I, for one, am sick to death of the happy talk. Sick of the self-serving business associations. Tired of the b.s. that the city keeps spinning.

      Thank you, but I've had enough. I've lost time dealing with people who have very little experience at anything, very little common sense, but seem to think they're geniuses, and everything is rosy all the time. I'm sick of the power plays, the egos, the kingdom makers, the bogus "I'm a Christian" nonsense. I'm sick of the games that, clearly, extend back to grammar school games. This town is incestuous. Everyone either already screwed, or is actively screwing one another. The skeletons in the closets seem to control everything that everyone does. I'm sick of the gossip, the innuendo, and the "knowing nods" of all the power brokers (and I use this term loosely, as they're mostly ignorant f*cks). Hardly a decent person in the lot. Snobby and with great attitude should be the motto of this town.


      It is tiring playing with children when one is an adult.

      I have been a member of different clubs, of the business associations, and all it really got me was tired out and frustrated. I opened a business downtown, and thank you, yes, lost a lot of money -- and never made a cent. Why? Because, again, I was an "outsider".

      I will always be an outsider, because this is town is tighter than a rectum.

      Thank you, I have done all this, and more, and found that the intrenched attitudes will forever see me as an "outsider" (even after more than two decades).

      Now, given the economy, I have to work much longer than ever before, to keep paying the ever higher utility bills, and the over-inflated values which keep my property taxes high. I'd sell, but there isn't much of a market out here, right now.

      Who would want to live in this nasty little town. Those of us who are trapped here, tend to keep to ourselves. It is easier that way.

    10. The town, the local government, pretty much ALL the systems here, are broken - badly broken. (Recent example: Much boo hoo hooing about suicide following yet another leap off the bridge here...Followed by an offer of help that would, in theory, help reduce the suicide rate here...And our local "mental health professionals" TURNED THE HELP DOWN.) Dysfunctional doesn't even really start to describe the way things operate here.

      My view, and that of many people I know, is that it will have to get worse - much worse - before it will get better. Some, like CK, get out. Others, trapped here for a variety of reasons, do their best to ride out the storm.

      But this place will not rise up until after it crashes. And, as bad as things are here, as low as we are, we haven't bottomed out yet. Scary, isn't it? The hard landing is still to come.

  14. I remember going to Big Bob's when I was a kid - that and the Shakey's near-by were the shit-and-a-half for the six-year-old me.

    And if we're talking about the same Dan Maguire, he tried to hire me to be the drummer in his band. I'd already hocked my gear to pay for travel costs for my out-of-town job. And now that I'll be getting my gear out of hock in a week or so, I have a better gig for the weekends as the new drummer in MCFD, which is more my speed anyway.

  15. I see that the PDN is still flogging this story on their website today. The exact same story. But they've changed the headline to try and make it sound like this is all the start of a "fundraising campaign." Yet it's the exact same story, which does NOT describe the start of a fundraising campaign. So the PDN is still trying to blow smoke. Tom Harper's blog is promoting this as if it's a done deal. With all those fools lined up and on board, can the city council be far behind? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    1. Yeah, well...The PDN is an integral part of the crowd that runs this town - badly. Tom Harper obviously believes the PDN is a credible source of news. Port O Call, warts and all, does their best. But this blog is the place to come for some real information, and real, honest discussion. I'm glad there's at least one outlet available for such activity, though I don't know that anyone making decisions here reads this. Still, it helps us vent, if nothing else, and know we're not alone. Isolated, yes, but not alone. ;)

    2. IT would be nice to have a way to actually meet some of the other people who comment here, because I'm sure we'd all get along. Lets face it, part of this town's problem is that we are so isolated, and so outgunned in the "say nice things, don't say that" town.

    3. Remember how Tom Harper used to, well, harp about how this blog (Unearthed) was "all done by one person" and how all the postings here were fake? I think at this point it's clear that this has become a true community forum, at least for those dissatisfied with the low status quo. Meanwhile, Tom still believes what he reads in the PDN, and provides a forum for one crotchety old man to talk shit about not much at all. Still, I guess it keeps Tom busy. Must be nice not to have to work for a living.

    4. Tom Harper + Sandy Longshot = All you need to know.

    5. At least there's original writing here, too, versus the regurgitated governmental press releases spewed out via the PDN, the other blog, etc. Port O Call has some, too, but the missing pets thing on their website is kinda weird and silly. (No offense to the missing critters...)

    6. Jealousy makes people (like Harper) do some strange, strange things...

  16. I wish there were a way to make every member of the City Council and Dan McKeen and Nathan West read this blog, especially this pot. It's a clear illustration of how everything they do is so messed up, so completely backwards. The powers that be in Port Angeles are more interested in maintaining their sad little illusions than they are in maintaining law and order, or their own infrastructure.

    Change and progress would benefit everyone here, but we are all held back by the fear that drives these people to waste all their efforts, trying desperately to sustain a belief system that is totally unsustainable.

    1. We, who are not in the various positions of leadership, have very little idea at all of the complexities that arise in trying to balance the needs of all the citizens that are being represented. Having spent many, many years on citizen advisory committees and volunteer boards, it is apparent to me that our elected and appointed leaders need our support and input, not our sarcastic comments, if we are to progress as a community. Merry Christmas to all!

    2. "Need our support and input..."

      BUT THEY DON'T LISTEN TO OUR INPUT. HELLO!?! So how can we support them, especially when we disagree with them?

      Classic example: Cherie Kidd calls for the public to tell the city council whether or not they support the Wild Olympics proposal, so that the council can decide whether or not to endorse it as a governing body.

      (Now, never mind that this was a decision they could have made on their own, as duly elected representatives of the people, without all the fuss and bother of asking for public input...)

      To endorse the Wild Olympics would have cost the city NOTHING. Not a cent. It would very much have curried favor with the Feds higher up the food chain, who were pushing the legislation. So, no cost, with improved relations to gain, right?

      And so the public turned out, by the dozens. Public comment and emails and letters all ran heavily in favor of the Wild Olympics. During the public comment period on it, dozens spoke in favor of it, while only two or three people (Dick Pilling and friends) spoke against it.

      They asked, we spoke. Clearly. LOUDLY.

      Then the council decided to take no action on it. None. Only Max Mania even would make a motion in support of it, and in support of the outpouring of public comment on it. Even tree-hugging Sissi Bruch didn't support the idea.

      They asked, we spoke. Clearly. LOUDLY. And then THEY IGNORED US.


      Harborworks? Utility rates? Lincoln Park? The PADA? How many times must the public speak their piece and be ignored before naïve people like you get the fact that they aren't listening? Let me repeat that for you: THEY AREN'T LISTENING.

      So, being reasonable, logical people, at a certain point, many of us have stopped beating our heads against the walls of the council chambers. All you'll get is a glassy-eyed stare and a robotic "Thank you." Then the pre-determined agenda moves right along, in the fashion that has already been decided.

      Please, please - stop urging those of us who are fed up with the blatant corruption and stupidity to "play nice" with these crooks and morons. And please, please - stop being so unbelievably naïve. You only enable the sickness to continue when you do so. Wake up, and smell the stupid. It's all around you, City Hall is drenched in it. It deserves nothing better than our scorn and revulsion, and, yes, our sarcasm.

      Happy Holidays to you, too.

    3. You forgot the fluoridation of the water. Who wanted that? And the Gateway Transit Center, what a colossal waste of money, time, and property was that? And, what about the turd tank.....
      Our town "leaders" have their head in a bucket of shit, and everyone just says "well, they know what they are doing".

    4. Put the fluoride in the Turd Tank and drink it all up...

  17. I'm pretty sure the council and civic leadership of the area know of this blog. They know that people are critical of what they do.

    But, if you go to city council meetings, and sit and listen for an entire meeting or two, you will see how little choice each of them seem to think they have. Staff puts the "staff report" together for every meeting, and they define how an agenda item is to be considered. From the start, staff has near total control of the outcome.

    Also, as part of the staff packet are "recommended actions" staff tells each council member they should do for each agenda item.

    If you look at a staff packet in advance of a city council meeting, and then "follow along" throughout the meeting for which it is written, you will see nearly 100% compliance (usually 100%) by city council members of staff's definitions and "recommendations".

    Once elected, the new council members are given a "briefing", where they are told to do as they are told to do, or be prepared to have a very good reason why they didn't. Staff is there to do their job, and the new council members have to be respectful of that.

    And, here we are.

    1. Ah, but who elects staff? Who supervises staff? And who is the pivot point between Council and staff? The City Manager. Or, as I call him, Disappointing Dan McKeen.

    2. Yes. And, Disappointing Dan has to work with all those "lifers" every day. He hears all his fellow staff laugh at the transitory, part time elected "representatives" who know little about what they are asked to make decisions on. He knows well how the "professionals" really know what is going on, what needs to get done, and how to do it. He knows the attitude of staff is always the same: the elected part timers are to be tolerated. Window dressing, and little else.

      This is why we "keep doing the same thing, expecting different results." Yeah, crazy.

      We keep electing different people, with the same process, and expect different results. And the results are always the same: robotic "Thanks for your comments".

      The reality is that NOBODY really supervises staff. They busily execute the wishes of who ever has a strong feeling about something, whoever has been lobbied effectively by someone with a project in mind. Remember Glen Cutler. Complete moron, who knew very little about the ACTUAL functioning of sewage systems, but sure knew how to intimidate pretty much everyone, including city council members.

      So, yeah. We can rant on about Downey, or Kidd or DannyBoy, but they are just the current batch of transitory occupants of those council seats. Staff ignores them as much as they can, and go about their business.

    3. Welcome to the WEAK MAYOR form of government.

      The city manager calls most of the shots and we've had a history of some terrible city managers. From Floodstrom on down the line, they've been crooks, and liars, out to line their pockets. Maybe the current one is good, I don't know, how can I know, he seems to have become part of the ingrained culture.

      The culture of our town and our county is as crooked as a dogs hind leg.

      If an audit were really done (without forewarning, and without a massive shredding before the auditors arrived) at the city and county level, there would be city workers in prison. Every time someone gets the state involved, so many things are mishandled, misfiled, or destroyed, that the auditor can't do their jobs right.

      The "Incubator", the CPI contract the Gateway land trades...there are so many things that have been done inappropriately. Old families profit, new people flounder, the city's citizens suffer.

      Forget one or two embezzlers, the whole way the books are kept is one big con job. Why does everything go into one "general fund", because it's easier to hide bullshit. Why has the state started auditing the books every year?

      It is business as usual. Why is it no one really even bats an eye (here) when there is some new embezzlement found out?

      (March 2014) "A former coordinator of recreational programs at the city of Port Angeles did not pay for $40,000 worth of after-school and summer programs for up to four of her children, according to a state audit released Monday.

      At least one of the unidentified coordinator’s kids participated in the youth programs every month between September 2006 and August 2013, according to the audit. The cost of all those programs added up to $40,775. The coordinator paid $655.

      The loss is significant because the annual revenue for the Parks and Recreation Department at the city of about 20,000 is only $807,300.

      “The Park and Recreation Department did not monitor to ensure all amounts due for youth services were received. This weakness allowed the misappropriation to occur without being detected in a timely manner,” according to the audit, which was initiated after the city contacted the State Auditor’s Office in September."
      (Source Seattle Times:

      We had a city finance director who "borrowed" nearly $30k.

      We had a $500,000 thousand embezzlement case with the County, and no one notices for five years?

      But what do we expect?

      Port Angeles was built on liars and cheats and thieves. It has a long history of embezzlement....ever read any history of the area?

      Victor Smith is the moron who laid out Port Angeles like his hometown of Cincinatti. He tried to get the custom's house move to PA from PT. He pulled all kinds of mischief, and lined his pockets. A federal grand jury indicted Smith with 13 counts of embezzlement and misuse of public funds, but backroom deals kept him out of court.

      This town was rotten from the day it was born.

  18. Okay currently that property is uninhabited? No one is checking the building for maintenance needs? No one is paying any kind of rental fees and this is a taxed property? Please correct me because I'm talking out my ass and could be wrong on any and all of those assumptions. If the party interested has non profit status why doesn't the owner of the theater property donate it for the tax write off? Then If the county could guarantee a reasonable fixed monthly utility rate the non profit could use their fund raising dollars for hiring, building maintenance and taxes. What ever kind of new business that opened up in that location would hopefully draw some new interest to the downtown area and benefit everyone. Or the city and owners could just sit on it and await the magic money fairy to fly by and sprinkle money on the building site and tax parcel itself?

    1. Because the owner is an aged, addled old skinflint, who wheedled and begged and manipulated his way into the building, to start with, threatened to leave -- several times, and jawed down the price when the Lauridson Trust wanted to sell it. His son-in-law is the general manager. They aren't hurting for money because Sun Basic Theaters just opened a 12 screen multi-plex, two are reserved for VIPs in Wenatchee with all the bells and whistles. "Viewers sit in stadium-style seating with comfortable leg and elbow room in oversized loveseat-style leather seats. Add state-of-the-art, high-definition video, surround sound and healthy food made to order that’s delivered to guests’ seats. Even beer and wine are on the menu."

      Golly, they're doing just fine. "Sun Basin Theatres. It has converted all of its Wenatchee cinemas to digital projectors, including the last of its eight theaters at Liberty Cinemas in October. "

      Meanwhile they can't fix the stupid sign at Deer Park (lines all over it, to the point where you can't even read what is playing, and the whole sign is turned off about 9pm). No money to upgrade the projector at the Lincoln. Clearly we are the red-headed stepchild, and not worthy of any attention.

      Meanwhile, who owns the Lincoln: "Gateway Cinemas is one of four cinema complexes — two in Port Angeles and two in Wenatchee — collectively known as Sun Basin Theatres and owned by the family of entrepreneur Phil Lassila.

      In 1976, Lassila already owned a cinema in Port Angeles when he came to Wenatchee and bought the Liberty Theater and Vue Dale drive-in. Cook began working for Lassila in 1980, and eventually married his daughter, Anne. This is a family business, with Anne’s sister, Theresa, working at the Port Angeles cinemas and Bryan and Anne’s two daughters working for the business in Wenatchee. Today, Sun Basin Theatres employs about 100 people, and Lassila is semi-retired."

      Yeah, so clearly, these people are so hurting for money they "couldn't afford" to upgrade the Lincoln.

  19. You gotta love the "Breaking News" story on the PDN website about how they caught a "Port Angles" woman for stealing the toys from the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army folks were stupid enough to leave windows unlocked, but only the PDN is stupid enough to misspell the name of the town they're located in...