Tuesday, December 23, 2014

When There's No Future, There Cannot Be Sin

One of my key personal beliefs/perspectives is this: Any civilization that is serious about surviving must make educating and safeguarding children the focus, the center of their society. If we are not teaching and protecting the next generation, well, there might not be a next generation, you know?
So kudos to the City of Port Angeles for shitcanning their after school program. It represents a burst of rare (and almost certainly unintentional) honesty on the part of City Hall: Hey kids, get lost! There's no future for you here!

Mind you, I never could quite understand why the City needed to have an after school program, since it was a far cry from their core services, and since there were other groups in town (Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, etc.) that had them as well, and were better suited to doing them. But hey, what is life in Port Angeles and Clallam County about if not creating multiple, duplicative layers of repetitive bureaucratic BS?
And mind you, we all know the City has had trouble with their program, what with the whole Amber Mozingo Missing Money Caper, and other staff-related issues. (Amber's husband also got in on the act in his own way, having been recently arrested for child rape.)

But, all that being so, the fact remains that the City did offer an after school program, and they did take parents money for said program. Which is now gone.
Yes, it's gone, due, so they say, to "unanticipated budgetary constraints." I would take issue with all three of those words. When your whole financial system is as stable as a house of cards, how can you say that problems are "unanticipated"? Put all our eggs in one big Nippon basket, and now Nippon is shutting down? Gosh! Who could have seen that coming???
Only anyone with one eye and a dozen brain cells.
As for "budgetary," that's a word that implies some sort of order, some sort of system, which is not what the City has. The City has a big pool of General Fund dollars sloshing around, pushed here and there to suit momentary (not budgetary) whims and personal agendas. It's a shell game, at best. At worst, it's fraud, a criminal conspiracy.

And "constraints"? Please. The City can't constrain itself from spending money - so long as it's for stupid, bloated projects that provide pocket-lining opportunities. No money for the kids, but tens of millions for the Turd Tank? Oh, okay. No money for the kids, but the shouldn't-they-be-self-sufficient-by-now Juan de Fuca fools get tens of thousands of dollars for a tent? This on top of the previously mentioned $50,000 spent to buy - and store - the infamous Bubble House. Constraint? Don't flatter yourself, mayor DiGuilio. Port Angeles knows zero about constraint, restraint or ain't that a bad idea. Let's talk constraints the next time a City Council member charges for mileage, or a meal eaten out at a restaurant.
So Merry Christmas, kids, and Happy New Year. Have a nice future. Now, go away - you bother me, and I can't bother with you.


  1. Blistering piece. This is the kind of editorial the PDN would run, if it were an actual voice for the community. Well done, CK, well done.

  2. Amazing! Charles Dickens is now writing press releases for the City of Port Angeles!

    There should be bins of coal placed around the city, so that whenever you see a City Council member, you can toss a lump or two at them.

    Amazing! Shameless!

  3. After all the ass kissing and favors the city has done for Nippon, this would be the perfect chance for that company to swoop in, play the hero, and say they'll pay for the next year of the after school program. They certainly have the money for it, and it wouldn't be more than a blip on their books.

    Anyone willing to hold their breath waiting for that to happen?

    No, of course not. Because Nippon cares even less about our kids than the city does, if that's possible. They don't care about the town, they don't care about their workers, etc. Yet we, the unfortunate citizens of Port Angeles, have to care about Nippon's fortunes, because the city has allowed itself to become so dependent on them, psychologically and otherwise.

    So our problems are not Nippon's worry, but we get to share in their problems all the time. Meanwhile, the jobs disappear, the air gets polluted, and the profits go to Japan. Where, I'm guessing, the kids probably have some really nice after school programs.

    As has been noted here before, council members like Cherie Kidd go to great lengths to praise that "local company," Nippon, often quite shamelessly. But they don't seem to feel any shame at all about screwing their own neighbors, our kids, and anyone else who might have a dollar they can tax, borrow or steal.

  4. Along this general theme...The guy with the rifle who was just arrested, Gary Blanton, is the father of one of the two registered sex offenders that Patrick Drum killed a few years back. More ripple effects of the abuse of children and vulnerable people, just like cutting this program is a ripple effect of Amber Mozingo's actions. We've got too many ripples here, it's more like a tidal wave at this point, swamping all hope.

    1. Yeah, I Googled him, too, and almost immediately found this out. I'm amazed that no one who is actually covering this story - the PDN, KOMO, etc. - seems to have made this connection yet.

      In any case, god, this town is SO unhealthy, so miserable.

  5. But, CK, we HAVE to buy the Lincoln! It is going to be the focal point of the WHOLE Olympic Peninsula! Downtown is going to flourish. Jesus is going to return.

    Kids? Budgets? Who cares about such things in Port Angeles? It is GRANT money that drives this town. Don't worry, somebody will find a grant to apply for, to get the kids programs going again. I'm sure Dan has directed staff to draw up plans for a new conference center down by those new million dollar artificial beaches that the city built a few months ago, that will have kids after school programs built right into them!

    Bare in mind, you can't get grants so easily if your town is prosperous. Port Angeles sells itself to the State and Feds as a poor, isolated town with high unemployment, high drug use and a high suicide rate. Lots of legislators get to make themselves feel better by funneling money to "poor Port Angeles".

    But, also remember how many millions Port Angeles got from the state as a result of their hideous actions that resulted in over 330 Elwha being dug up out of their graves during yet another failed effort by the locals to get their hands on government money. Those millions still sit in bank accounts.

    Some day, maybe some one will find out how much money the city actually has set aside in various "reserve funds" and what ever else they call them.

    Yeah. Merry Christmas, kids.

    1. You may have hit on something kind of important. In the minds of the people running/ruining this place, they'd have to succeed on their own efforts and merits. But if they're an abject failure, an ongoing tragedy, well then, there's always some other, better funded entity willing to give hand outs.

      Hmmm...Institutionalized low self esteem as a tool for governmental life support. The theory works for me; too bad the reality doesn't work for 99% of the people here.

    2. There are two sides to this coin, of course.

      As we saw with that mental health, suicide prevention program that other cities nearby use that has a proven 40% reduction rate in suicide attempts that was offered to Port Angeles for FREE, it was rejected. Why? I suspect because it did not include funding for administrators.

      If you have been involved in the grat funding world, you know that these grants most often require budgets that include administrators' salaries, benefits, etc. What is the point of providing the money if there aren't qualified people to administer it?

      So, it isn't hard to see the culture it creates. Why provide a salary if you can get the grantors to pay for the workers? Ah, now we have tax money, already collected, that can be funneled off into some other person's favorite project.

      How can the city pass on an artificial beach that nobody needs, when grant money will pay for all those salaries to design, plan, etc?

      Or, a Turd Tank that costs millions. How much did the consultants get? How much did the city get? "Kickbacks" take all kinds of forms, these days. Want to keep your job? You better get good at writing grants. And, solving the sewage overflow problem simply by not allowing the rain into the sewer system doesn't lend itself to big consulting engineering contracts, so staff sure isn't going to direct the city council in THAT direction.

      The other side of that coin is just as you say "Institutionalized low self esteem". Learning to live with your hand out. Not expecting too much (unless your the administrator, of course).

      You know " Come live in Port Angles, that poor isolated place that has nothing and survives on hand outs".

  6. PUD rates go up as of Jan.1st. PUD CEO gets huge raise. Turd Tank. Big school levy coming. Nippon leaving. Shops closing. ACTI hiring more minimum wage jobs that require more than minimum skills. Westport hiring, a glimmer of hope. Those hip waders at Swains for $154 are looking pretty good about now. And a partridge in a pear tree.

  7. In addition to being idiots, the people in City Hall sure are tone deaf, too. Great timing for this announcement, just great.

  8. I'm going to assume that, A) None of the people on the city council actually NEED the pay they get for that work.

    I'm also going to assume that, B) The combined pay of the council and mayor would be enough to cover the costs of the city's after school program.

    I think you know where I'm going with this...

  9. More sarcastic, half truths! What a waste of time and energy. CK, you have moved on, so why don't do let it go?

    1. Please feel free to identify any half-truths you find, and let us all know. As for the sarcasm, well, we've been over that already. There's a very fine line separating "sarcasm" from "righteous outrage."

      Now, as for myself, I see this blog as being the same as standing on the side of the road and warning approaching drivers: "Look out! The bridge is out up ahead! Danger!" Having lost years of my life there, and tens of thousands of dollars as well, I feel both qualified and entitled to provide this forum for some truth telling about Port Angeles - even if some think there are half truths here as well.

      Because you know what? Even a half truth is half a truth more than you'll get from the PDN.

      As always, thanks for reading, and for participating.

    2. sarcastic half truths? What planet are you living on 3:53?
      I have an inkling who this might be (from your tone) and you should let it rest. Shame on you.

    3. The "City" did NOT pay $50,000 to buy and store the bubble house". The $5,000 cost was paid for by the PA Tennis Club and the YMCA.

    4. Thanks Anon 12:00 AM. In addition, after the city declined the $50,000 request to help with installation, and denied the building permit because it was 2 feet taller than zoning allows, the bubble was sold to another community who is happily using it right now.

    5. Yes --- that's a good memory jog about the bubble house. The Council dithered about where to place it; so is it still in storage somewhere?

    6. Anon 12:00 AM...

      So, this is your choice to support your argument of there being "sarcastic half truths" on this blog? This is your best shot?

      I note that you do NOT challenge the idea that our local leaders are, for the most part, idiots. I note you do NOT challenge the fact that many of those same leaders are corrupt. I note you do NOT defend the Chamber, the PADA, or any of the other corrupt and idiotic groups that regularly take it in the shorts here.

      Further, I note you do NOT challenge the fact that our local governing bodies too often make foolish, costly decisions. I note you do NOT dispute the notion that these governing bodies are checked out from the people who live here, and do not listen to our concerns. I not you do NOT argue against the fact that Clallam County has a huge drug problem. I note you do NOT challenge the idea that our local economy is seriously hampered by all of the above.

      And on and on.

      No, you find what is essentially a bookkeeping error, and offer that up. As if that somehow casts doubt on everything that is presented and discussed here? Hardly. You are putting a very small piece of chaff up against a lot of nourishing wheat here.

      And, I can't help but also note...You do NOT even challenge the idea that paying any amount - whether $5000 or $50,000 - for a useless bubble house was a stupid, stupid thing to do. There was no need for it. No expressed desire. And there was certainly no PLAN for it. But there were certainly some moronic locals willing to shell out to buy it for...whatever.

      You cite the YMCA as being one of those purchasers. The YMCA which, at that time, was being run by Dan Maguire. Clearly Dan didn't mind spending the Y's money foolishly. Now, with the unfolding scam around the Lincoln, Dan's made it clear he doesn't object to spending the JFFA's money foolishly, on yet another hare-brained scheme without a hope of succeeding.

      The pattern repeats itself. And by citing the Y, and thus dragging Dan Maguire into your argument, you really only prove the point of this blog. Clallam County is crippled by these types of fools, and these types of scams. You do NOT really dispute that in any way, do you?

      But you will quibble over a zero here or there. That's typical BIG PICTURE Port Angeles thinking for you.

  10. Interesting that the news today is all about how the American economy is doing so well.

    Except here in Port Angeles, where we have budget deficits, mill closures, after school program closures, no pay for traffic enforcement, etc, etc, etc.

    Does this observation qualify as sarcasm and half truths?

  11. I initially thought your last post, about the Lincoln Theater, was a bit harsh. But then, when you see the city pull something like this, it reminds you just how fucked up this place is, and how no view can be too harsh. Shame on you, city of Port Angeles.

  12. City of PA to kids: "Go pound sand!"

  13. If you happen to hear "Silent Night" coming from City Hall, that's just the staff singing and telling the members of the Council to sit down and shut up.

    Humbug to all of them.

  14. We see unemployment back up, again, in Clallam. Imagine all the flack Obama would be getting if the nation's unemployment was the same as it is here, at 8.9%.

    That, along with all the other great policy decisions made by our local leaders that have resulted in the school program being shut down, the police not being able to do traffic enforcement, no transition to a new economy, etc, etc are the proof in that figgy pudding that these leaders are not very good at what they've been doing.

    Call it what you will. Half truths or sarcasm. But the facts remain: unemployment is up, while the headlines for the rest of the country are about how well the country is doing, now.


    1. Yep, Washington State is at 6.2% overall. Nationally it's at 5.8%. The county I live in it's at 5.5%.

      But Clallam County...8.9%. Clearly Clallam County is lagging behind for some reason. It must be all the venomous half-truths spewing forth from this blog, right?

  15. the city and the county are plagued by people who get themselves into a political position and then use it to get the next plum position and the next and so on. there is very little of substance they contribute just taking up a space meant for someone who really wants to work toward making things better. each of the city council wants to be mayor even though the mayor is but a council member with a bit of status outside the city, none inside. the county commissioner, mcentire wants so bad to be a state legislator he cannot be bothered with actually accomplishing something on the county level. he failed to do his job as port commissioner and now spends all his time at the state level and phoning in his appearances at the county commission and the edc. of course as long as this works and the voters keep electing deadwood we will continue to be a backwater swamp dependent on grants and loans to limp from one crisis to the next.

  16. I'd like to take a moment to remind all the readers of this blog of something that occurred only a few months ago. Something that will make us all put the last couple of weeks' news about Port Angeles in the proper perspective.

    Remember how Port Angeles got the recognition as one of the top 5 small cities in the entire United States of America!

    Now, take pride in what is going on here. However bad it appears to be, think how BAD things must be in all those thousands of other small cities across America. There are over 34,000 of them!

    Take comfort that you are so much better off than the residents of 33,995 other small cities in America that must have worse leaders, more shuttered business, higher unemployment, higher suicide rates, higher drug addiction problems, and so much more.

    Remember, we're in the "Top 5"!

    1. The poor citizens of North Korea - the poor, starving, struggling, isolated, ignorant citizens of North Korea - are constantly told their country is the best in the world, a shining beacon, a place all other nations envy.

      They have an anthem there, called something like "Nothing to Envy in the Whole World," to instill national pride.

      What should we call the anthem for Port Angeles?

    2. First potential PA anthem that popped into my mind:
      "She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes..."

    3. There is no question about Port Angeles's natural beauty and potential as a gateway city. There are people living here (mostly retired) who could live anywhere in the world - yet they choose Port Angeles. Prior to two major recessions(2000-2003 & 2007-2009), the North Olympic Peninsula was a destination retirement area with a steady flow of affluent people. The recessions changed everything from growth projections to real estate valuations. People basically stopped moving here that could have changed the economic framework. We are starting to see a resurgence of retirees returning to the area - mostly to Sequim, however. Ironically, people from all around the US would like to live here - yet an element of poverty and struggle has always plagued Port Angeles. It you recall, the WIC program ( Women, Infants and Children ) in WA State started it's pilot program in Port Angeles. Statistically, nearly 40% of Port Angeles residents receive some sort of government assistance. We have a high dropout rate, drug rate, unemployment rate, etc.,etc. I've always viewed Port Angeles as a multilayered community. This blog has focused primarily on the negative things and rightly so, but it needs to be balanced. I don't agree with the black and white assessment that some present. There are good things here and good people. Do we need to rattle the cages of our City Council, Chamber, PADA and business leaders - absolutely. But lets keep it in perspective. I'm not going to allow any civic body, group or person to define me or my happiness. At the same time, if I see incompetence ( we have plenty of that in Port Angeles ) I'm going to speak out or get involved and try to make it better. I see this blog as a platform for speaking out and getting involved, but only to the extent that it leads to a better place. On this Christmas Eve, let us ponder our blessings and I'm sure there are many, as the Virgin Mary did. Scripture tells us that the Light of the World has pierced the darkness . . . and the darkness has not overcome it. Surely, this same Light and hope has pierced the darkness of Port Angeles . . .

  17. If Port Angeles ranks among the top 5 of what America is these day, we are REALLY in serious trouble. Seriously. No sarcasm.

    Of course, that "Livability" rating was contrived by Nathan West. If you go to their website, you will see that they "partner" with member cities to promote economic development. It is the "fluff" we saw it to be.

    But, the sad part to efforts like that is as has been said before. All fun and job justifying to create such falsehoods. But as with the disappointed tourists who leave here early after booking a 3 day vacation because there is nothing to do in "The Center of it All" and the "Authentic Northwest" Port Angeles promotes itself as, so too will others be who have been lured here by falsehoods and fluff pieces saying Port Angeles is one of Americas' top 5 cities.

    Conning people just makes them mad.

    Is this what we want? Is that kind of effort really going to help us?

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  19. The less said about Tom Harper, the better.