Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Funny Money on the Move

The whirling circle jerk of jerks just never ends in Clallam County...
So now the County Commissioners want to vote on repealing their own previous vote moving towards giving $500,000 to the EDC...But King Jim is still talking about finding a way to give...$500,000 to the EDC.
And speaking of the EDC...Their board president, Brian Kuh, has resigned suddenly, without giving much notice. He cites his "current workload as a business leader" as the reason. Nice ego there, Brian - but why don't you tell us what's really going on, eh?
Maybe Brian is just hurrying to be the first in line for the reopening of the Lincoln Theater? After all, Scott Nagel only needs to raise something like $6000 a day for over a month to "buy" the theater.
Even more than before, Clallam County is becoming the place for bad ideas to blossom and crackpots to grab the mic. All these buffoons talk like they're riding to the rescue of the community, but all they really have is a stable full of dead horses.
So they just keep flogging those poor dead beasts...
Move, you nag, move! King Jim
will be late for the moving picture show!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

DIY Law = DOA Order

Having lived in Clallam County, I understand frustration. I get the whole idea of being fed up with governmental systems that utterly fail to function. I think anyone reading this blog has almost certainly experienced the same feelings.
But really...Taking the law into your own hands? That's some extremely thin ice to be treading on.
I found the big article about the vigilante justice dispensed by Mandy Gallacci and friends in today's PDN very interesting - and very troubling. Obviously, this is the type of story the media loves to cover. But the way they've presented this, portraying her as almost a folk hero, is very dangerous, as is the tepid response of the police department - both to the initial crime, and to the vigilante actions that it inspired.

New notice to be posted at the city limits?
Where I live, going to another person's residence, armed with a baseball bat, holding them against their will, unlawfully detaining them, depriving them of due process, threatening them - all of those would also be considered criminal actions. However, in Port Angeles, the best that Police Chief Terry Gallagher can muster is to say "it probably would have been a wiser course of action" to notify the police. And even though I too have deep doubts about the efficacy of said Port Angeles police, I actually agree with Tepid Terry.
Imagine all the ways this could have gone wrong. For starters, what if you've been pointed at the wrong person? What if that person had a gun? What if that person had kids in the house? What if that person had a heart attack when confronted? What if that person tried to run, and one of the vigilantes hurt or killed this person in trying to prevent their escape? And whether or not you got the right person, there are still numerous ways they could sue you, Mandy Gallacci, for taking the law into your own hands. There are literally dozens of ways that a situation like this could go wrong - horribly, violently, tragically wrong.
So, to say it again, I think the way Gallacci is being portrayed is dangerous. I think the lack of charges against her and her baseball bat brigade is dangerous. This all sets a tone, and sets some bad precedents - especially in a depressed, remote and corrupt place like Clallam County. Look at the teaser for part two of this article: Port Angeles police tell of staffing constraints. In other words, brace yourself both for more bad news, and for the new normal of solving your own crimes.
When you've got the Wild West, in all its most negative connotations, paired with the anything goes, lack of attention to detail social media circus, I don't think you're going to wind up with the best outcomes. But that seems to be the way the police and the PDN are trying to steer things for the residents of Clallam County. And all that in the face of, if not an increasing number of burglaries, then in the face of an increasing amount of press coverage of burglaries.
Eyes wide with fear...Don't see things so clear.

Fear sells papers. And fear makes people easier to manipulate. In this particular case, getting people to fear for their personal safety also could serve as a useful distraction from how local institutions have failed to do their jobs. Anyone else see this unhealthy combination at play there? Anyone else concerned? I just don't see this as being how a healthy society - or individual community - functions.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The King Has No Clothes - Or At Least No Clothes Makers

Sometimes the PDN gets things kind of right, even if they don't necessarily mean to, and do so with more verbiage than is required. So let's just boil down the article about King Jim's PABA presentation to its essentials:
"The design of the EDC board is to have the center of gravity in the private sector," McEntire told the group.
Breakfast meeting participant Harry Bell, chief forester at Green Crow, a Port Angeles timberland investment and management services company, noted there were no private sector representatives on the board.

Ring that Bell!
So private they aren't even invited?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bang, Bang or Ban, Ban?

Will they or won't they? That's the question. Will the Port Angeles City Council vote to ban fireworks within city limits, or will they go with the status quo?
In a sense, I have mixed feelings about this issue. On one hand, to me, banning fireworks is a no-brainer. They're totally unnecessary, incredibly disruptive and potentially dangerous, and, at best, are a source of trash, smoke and other pollution. Who needs 'em?
Celebrate American freedom by blowing up cheap garbage
made in China! God bless us everyone?

On the other hand, it's harmful to set up laws and bans that you don't have the resources to actually enforce. The City already announced it doesn't have the resources to enforce traffic laws - do you really think they'll be able to enforce a fireworks ban if it passes? Would police officers really give out tickets? Or would it be a wink and nod system - like so much in Clallam County - that really only serves to reinforce the narrative that Clallam County is wide open when it comes to breaking the law? (See also today's story about the back-and-forth moves of Clallam County's code enforcement, as well as the recent stories of burglary victims having to solve their own crimes.) Could an unenforceable ban actually serve to further cynicism about the efficacy of local government?
Let's face it, a fireworks ban would be a change, and the Port Angeles City Council is remarkably resistant to change. The first time I remember this issue actually being discussed was years ago, when Max Mania got on the Council. He and then Fire Chief Dan McKeen tried to push it forward, and got no support from other Council members. The City Council has essentially the same makeup now as it did then (all those uncontested elections), but McKeen is now City Manager. Is that enough of a change to make change?
I guess we'll see which way the wind seems to be blowing next Tuesday night...Bring your popcorn.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Three Reasons to Worry

Clallam County, as we all know, has three - count 'em, three - Republican County Commissioners. Those three have now embraced the "outside the box" idea offered by Mike Chapman to personally select and contract with three of their friends to serve as a rotating pool of hearing examiners.
In case you didn't see the obvious cronyism in this, let me note that four people have applied to do this important job, and the Commissioners are going to offer the contracts to the three people who are locals - which is to say, the people who are already here and in on the fix. (Those three would be Lauren Erickson, William Payne and Craig Miller.)
The reasons offered for doing it this way, needless to say, contradict each other. On one hand, lip service is given to the need for the hearing examiner to be "independent." On the other hand, it's important that the people chosen have, as Bill Peach put it, "some skin in the game." 
After all, who'd want someone who was simply highly qualified, professional and impartial, right?
So say we all!

Said King Jim, giving the idea his blessing: "This individual, or individuals, deals with one of the most fundamental rights that exists, and those are property rights. It's really, really important for folks to understand when they have an issue that comes before the hearing examiner that they've got somebody that lives in the same community that they do and kind of understands the community from a standpoint of being part of it."
After all, who'd want someone who was simply highly qualified, professional and impartial, right? Or did I already say that?
So say we all!

You gotta love it. This is such an important position that they have to pick the right three people to do it, right? Yet, at the same time, they're supposedly doing all this to reduce costs.
The Commissioners were rightly criticized earlier for appointing Mark Nichols to the job, rather than going through an open hire. So their solution is to appoint three people instead of one? That's better? No, that's nuts. As will be the record-keeping. And the continuity. And everything else associated with this idea.
I guess the good news is that - surprise! - all three Commissioners think that all three of the people they're hand-picking to do their bidding are "well qualified." And I guess they're hoping that people will be comforted that they also think this crazy idea is, to quote good King Jim, an "excellent crazy idea."
If these three are in agreement, and it's unconventional, and it involves them avoiding an open hiring process and hand-picking people for important jobs...Well, gee, why does that sound worrisome to me?
Three-headed monsters have been pretty
hard on Tokyo.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Dale Vs. Goliath

Below, I am reposting (with minor corrections) the most recent comments sent in by Dale Wilson, telling his side of what happened this week in Judge Melly's courtroom. For the record, I disagree with Melly's view of the nature of these contracts. And perhaps needless to say, I think it showed remarkable arrogance and stupidity for the City to have jumped the gun and signed the contracts in question prior to this hearing. Hopefully people will see that move for what it was - a desperate effort to preserve the dysfunctional and corrupt status quo - and this will be a PR disaster for the City.
The case was called, "Wilson V. City of Port Angeles. Judge Melly's court room.

It is customary for the one bringing the motion to court to get the first opportunity to speak.
They call it "prosecuting your motion." Well as soon as Bloor and I got to the litigant's tables Melly said, "Mr. Bloor let's hear your arguments for dismissal."

I blurted out, "Your honor, in the interest of judicial economy, I have here a Motion to Strike which will save us some time and clear the way for the court to make the proper decision."

Melly: "Have you served a copy of this motion on Mr. Bloor?"

Me: "Yes sir, I am about to do so now (handing Bloor a copy of the motion to strike from the record everything he and his office [and the Cascadia Law Office] had put on the record.)"

Melly: "Mr Bloor you might want some time to look that over, I'll recall the case in a few minutes."

We sit back down. In about 15 minutes we are called up to the front again.This time I'm ready.

Me: "Your honor since this is my motion I would like the opportunity to establish the theory and prosecute the motion."

Melly: "Go right ahead."
Me: "It is my sad duty to report to this court and the wider community, our bidding process, at least insofar as spending the lodging tax funds is corrupt. Only this court can clean it up and ensure the local hospitality community gets the best efforts as this money was intended, instead it goes to..."

Melly interupts: "We don't need to hear that right now..."

And so went the hearing. Bloor was nervous--as was I.

The judge denied the city's motion to dismiss but said the court had no remedy since the contracts were already signed. I said "Well actually that contract is void, the city failed to give the required two day notice that it was signing a contract, in fact they voted for the contract on Tuesday night and before noon the next day they signed contracts so the contracts are void ab initio (threw a little Latin on em)."

The final ruling is this: The court views the contracts as Personal Services contracts and not Public Works contracts and therefore the bid protest procedure does not attach. Naturally I disagreed explaining that personal service contracts are for accountants and attorneys and others from whom confidentiality is expected and these are contracts trolling for tourists.

Melly disagreed.

There is a small victory in it. By not approving the city's motion to dismiss it keeps my options open to file the actual suit against the city. This would be a long and costly prospect, in time and money, so I don't think I will pursue that unless there is a groundswell of support and encouragement to do so.
The only reason to do so would be to keep the city's corrupt habits in the news from now until November when we can vote the rascals out.

This was but a hearing for an injunction until the time my case becomes "actionable" which is 60 days after filing a protest with the city. In other words the judge split the baby.

The take away is this, we have an opportunity to place four new council members on the council this year. We ought to get to work on that if we ever want sanity in the halls of power. Is this a proper goal for Port O Call?

All in all the hearing went well, I did not embarrass myself (nor the Port O Call). Hopefully I am solidifying "The Brand."
If I am delusional I'm sure you will let me know...

If you have any questions about the hearing just let me know.

BTW, Gottlieb was there and there should be a report in the daily on Sunday. He asked me for a quote and I said, "I respect the court's decision and respectfully disagree with it."

Dale Wilson
If it acts like Alabama, and adjudicates like Alabama...Well, I think you all get the idea...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Rational and Nimble Log Rolling

All hail good King Jim!
Yes, in a truly unstunning piece of puffery, King Jim has received another jewel for his crown, having been named by the EDC as their "Individual of the Year."

Does this mean King Jim will be teaching us to fish?
Though we all know of the King's many fine qualities, what were the specific reasons that the EDC made this choice? Let us see...
One reason was for his "drive and dedication" to making the EDC a "more effective organization." Though that hasn't really been put to the test, but...
King Jim also helped "design and craft" the new strategic plan for the EDC. Ah, the King is a craftsman as well! Not a writer, I note, but...

It's youthful dynamos like these three gentlemen who will
help lead Clallam County's economy to new heights of...Zzzzzzz...

Perhaps most importantly, though, wise King Jim was a "forceful voice in reducing the size of the EDC board," which will make it that much easier to stack and manipulate...Oops! I mean, which will make it "more rational and nimble." Nimble, indeed! Just like good King Jim, who is especially nimble when it comes to sniffing out money pies to stick his fingers into. So those of you have made snide comments about the King being somewhat girthful are all wrong. The King is, of course, in fine physical shape - he just has extremely well-padded pockets!
If you need any further reasons for why this deeply meaningful announcement was made, might I suggest that you look at previous postings here, which will tell you all about the 500,000 reasons the EDC now has to kiss the King's...
In case there was any doubt...

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Safety First? (UPDATED)

I already shared my sympathy for the good people at Sabai Thai, who have apparently endured several burglaries in the recent past. But the "official" coverage of that story has gotten a little more interesting, what with eight business owners showing up at the suspect's first hearing to complain about the lack of police response to property crimes.
That's a little unusual, and fairly noteworthy.
Several years back, Ann from Sabai Thai told me that she had gotten her purse stolen at a restaurant downtown. She went to the restroom, and when she came back, the purse was gone. She told the manager of the restaurant, and they called the police. While they waited for an officer to show up, the manager was able to show Ann the security cam video of her purse being taken.
And so they waited. And waited. No officer ever arrived. The next day, during office hours, when Ann went to the police department, no one seemed particularly interested in following up. So far as she knew, no one from the police department ever went to the restaurant to watch the video footage either. No one was ever identified or arrested for the crime.

It's a version of a story that I've heard from a number of people in Port Angeles: Police non-responsiveness. I couldn't help but think of all those stories when the stories of these burglaries - and the public response to them - made the news.
What has your experience been? Are these business owners missing the mark, or are they on to something? We know that Port Angeles is strapped for cash, and they've even announced that they don't have enough officers to enforce certain laws. (I guess the Port Angeles PD won't be flying any officers to Paris anytime soon, eh?) But is there a real law enforcement problem in Port Angeles? If so, is it driven by the budget, or the lazy and corrupt nature of the entrenched bureaucracy?
And finally, if there is a problem with crimes being left to essentially solve themselves, does the buck stop with individual officers, chief Terry Gallagher, or the City Council? In other words, who, if anyone, can we expect to hear the voices of these victimized business owners who are saying more needs to be done?
According to a follow-up article about these burglaries, it turns out that the police didn't even catch this guy. One of the victimized business owners tracked him down (via tips generated on Facebook) and "cornered" him at him house, then called for the police to come and get him.
While I'm glad that the businesses that were robbed can probably feel better now, and Facebook will probably be thrilled by the good publicity, needless to say, this is not how our law enforcement system is supposed to work, unless the Port Angeles PD held a secret ceremony of some sort, magically deputizing the entire town...