Friday, March 20, 2015

EDC = Endlessly Discussing Cash

King Jim's Quest for Cash just goes on and on and on...Dutiful minion Bill Greenwood, previously hidden away for so long, is now making the rounds and rattling his tin cup. "Alms for the poor, alms for the poor...EDC."
EDC budget item #14: One tin cup.

Given the dismal record of the EDC, and the public and oh-so-obvious machinations of King Jim in retooling the group into his own personal tool, it's a case of being a little too late to expect much enthusiasm. But that doesn't stop Bill Greenwood, who, when begging in front of the City Council,  apparently didn't even listen to what is coming out of his own mouth:
Greenwood said entrepreneurs are dismayed that voters in Port Angeles and Sequim rejected bond measures for new schools in February.

They also believe that Kenmore Air’s shutdown of commercial passenger service between Port Angeles and Seattle in November is an impediment to business growth.

“Without those two things, it really is an uphill battle,” Greenwood told council members Tuesday.
Oh, really? As if economic growth in Clallam County wasn't an uphill battle before those things happened? Maybe if you'd come out of your office once or twice, Mr. Greenwood, you'd have seen the reality of life in Clallam County. Maybe you might have been moved to, oh, take action to change things before Kenmore flew away. Maybe you could have mustered your feeble troops to advocate for the school bond. You know, being proactive, rather than reactive.
Merchants said a conference center and an adjacent hotel along Port Angeles’ waterfront would be a boon for the economy, Greenwood reported.
Oh, and maybe you could take a leadership role in explaining to these merchants that something like 98% of the time, conference centers are money losers for a municipality, not money makers. In other words, if one of your "solutions" is something that will cost the City money - great sums of money - then it's not really a solution. Most cities use conference centers as a sort of loss leader, to promote their other assets. What other assets does Port Angeles really have to promote, other than more loss?
 From the EDC to the COC - here's a new slogan to consider:
"Port Angeles: A great place to waste your time and your money!"
Anyway, I'm sure pretty much everyone is sick to death of hearing about the EDC, and having to deal with all the work going on to further enhance King Jim's kingdom. So let's just break it down to the two views expressed by two members of the City Council. Here's what Brad Collins had to say:
“The idea is to transition more away from public entities more to private businesses,” said Councilman Brad Collins, who until Thursday sat on the EDC board of directors.

Public entities that have funded the EDC in the past “are not totally on board” on funding it now, Collins said, adding that the nonprofit needs to take “a more private-sector approach” to its operations and rely more on private-sector funding.

Collins said he wanted to see measurable outcomes for the EDC’s activities. “I’d like to focus attention on that,” he said.
Here's what Cherie Kidd had to say:
“We need to revitalize the EDC and put it into a position of leadership so it can reach its potential.”
So what's it to be? Measurable outcomes funded primarily by the private sector? Or yet another bottomless, pointless money pit sucking down public dollars.


  1. Christ, not the conference center again!

    When will people learn that they will PAY for it, one way or another. You hear these people talk like it's a problem-solving, money-generating machine.

    No. They're usually something that is HEAVILY subsidized by your tax dollars, one way or another. Which means those tax dollars can't be used for other things. So you either have a reduction is services to make up for those lost dollars, or you have to raise taxes and fees to make up for those lost dollars. Either way, people squawk, and people PAY.

    Our services are already cut enough; we can't afford to cut any more. Also, our taxes and fees are already maxed out; we can't afford to raise them any more. Translation: WE CAN'T AFFORD A CONFERENCE CENTER.

    Now, mind you, I know this is Port Angeles, and we couldn't afford to build (or maintain) a fake beach either, but there it is. So...

    1. The only convention centers that make money are those that are large enough and have a pretty savvy sales department. We would not have either.

    2. As CK correctly points out, most convention centers are built to take advantage of assets a community already has.

      I can hear Tram-man Dan now. A Tram from downtown, built on top of the convention center.

      As we hear from the City, we're taxed to the limits. There is no money for ANY of these fantasies. We've already had our party ("thank you Glenn Cutler, the Turd Tank is really.. uh"), and now we get to pay the bills for the next 30 years.

    3. EDC == Expendable Dimwits Club

  2. A couple of thoughts.

    As you say, at this point, most must be pretty sick of hearing about this particular version of the EDC. According to some, there are around 26 different "economic development" entities operating in the County.How many do we need? From PDN reporting, one would think there was only one, and that economic issues were only being handled by this one.

    And, as you point out, all that has been going on with this one group for many months now is constant yammering about who is going to give them money. No mention of anything of actual substance that they have produced over the last year.

    I would also like to point out what seems to be the only actually visible "economic development" efforts in the area, and that is what the PDN does. Might be the only thing of value is really does.

    I have no idea if the print version has the same content as the on-line version, as I won't pay a penny for the rag. But, as anybody who peruses the Friday version will notice, they list out the various events that are taking place over the weekend. They have a calendar of events that people can look over to see what is going on, on the Peninsula (not just Port Angeles, or Clallam County).

    Having said that, let's also note that the PDN has been making a great effort to highlight and promote all these events, for years now. Despite this, the unemployment levels remain high, the hotels can't get about 50% occupancy, and the various economic development groups keep trying to improve the situation.

    It is simply amazing that the-powers-that-be can't seem to recognize the reality that the various airlines have PROVEN about the viability of scheduled passenger air service over the decades. All the companies that have come and gone had great incentives to make it work. All those companies continue to provide regular service in the areas they still operate in. They have proven THEY are competent, viable, profitable operators. But, NONE of them could make a go of it in Port Angeles.

    How many times do you need to hear "NO", before you understand "no" means"NO". How many times do the powers-that-be in Port Angeles need to see that air service isn't economically viable, before they see the reality of the conditions, here and now. Not what they wish they were.

    As you might have heard, the US hit it's debt ceiling last week. The conversation is going to return to "cuts in spending". For a long time to come.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful and informative comments. No means no - especially when it's said as the last plane is flying away.

    2. the port didn't help make any airline viable with their STUPID parking fees. What moron thought that was really a good idea? That coupled with the high airline fares made it a better option to just drive, park and fly at SeaTac.
      The Pork, I mean Port, should pat themselves on the back. Another nail in the PA coffin.

    3. Yes, but I think you'll find virtually every airport charges parking fees. (Not to defend the Port, or anything..)

      I think that Port Angeles has to face reality. Not everything it wishes could be, is viable here.

      We see the so-called leadership of the area pointing to what is done somewhere else, as an example of what we should strive for, or that could be brought here. But I think the airlines, all of them, over all these years, should show us that Port Angeles is not the same market as those other places.

      We see the same thing with Nagel and crew about "Light up the Lincoln". Or Meth ner and the "We are all Riders" $100 million High School campaign.

      Sure, in other communities that have not been taxed to the limits, with a population of "below average incomes", these project might be viable. Many other communities have large populations within an easy driving distance to patronize businesses and other enterprises.

      But Port Angeles has a small poor population, and is remote. Even Victoria, out on an island that takes an hour and half (plus ferry fare) to get to, has over 700,000 people within a half hour drive located on the south island. All of Clallam county, with many miles of driving time, has only 70,000 people.

      It seems that one of Port Angeles biggest problems is that people don't see it for what it really is. They see Port Angeles as they wish it were.

  3. This seems like a good first step to fixing a broken EDC. Adding private business voices to the mix makes a LOT of sense, and there are some intelligent people out there that can help.

    Like him or not, Bill Greenwood may be approaching this the RIGHT way. If all the Exec. Dir. of the EDC does is speak to groups, councils and governments, he's not actually sticking to his knitting. I say let him stay in cave and never talk to any public official if he gets the job done and recruits the business into the County. At least the man has a successful business background and education.

    Having said that, EDC's are rarely that effective. This county does (again - like it or not) have an available workforce on the lower-end wage scale while still within Washington State. That will be attractive to some business until wages increase. It also has the Park assets to make the area more attractive to tourism businesses, etc. (And before anyone says tourism jobs don't count: ask any tourist-serving waiter or waitress in town and they'll tell you they're making more with tips than the $15/hour Nippon Mill "living wage" jobs are generating). The cities and port also have to play their roles.

    The best shot this county has is to leverage its assets to attract new (and develop existing) businesses. There are one or two major initiatives that have worked in the last few years in other areas (New York's company re-location program; Michigan's tourism program, etc.) These take bold vision and risk. Maybe an industry-led EDC board can show they have the cojones to do it. We'll see...

    1. Speaking of the Port of Port Angeles, how can they have $86 million in assets, a direct tap on taxpayers wallets, the most primo land in the county and still operate at a deficit? Normally, a large company will expect, at a minimum, five percent return on assets. That should be around $4 million per year INCOME. Yet this outfit is so screwed up it operates at a loss year after year. What gives?
      Now, back to our regularly scheduled bitch session.

    2. Umm, we don't trust the board running the present EDC. Maybe there are some community minded folks out there but this ain't them.

  4. Kenmore was in trouble and thinking about leaving when McEntire was still a Port commissioner. I don't remember him doing a damn thing to help them, or to prevent them from having to leave. Now, here's his little puppet, after the fact, begging for money to fix something big King Jim should have helped avoid in the first place.

    Credibility is lacking, Mr. Greenwood, to say the least.

  5. Yes, yes and yes.

    EDC hit all the usual points, all of which will cost the taxpayers more money.

    "Kenmore Air’s shutdown of commercial passenger service between Port Angeles and Seattle in November is an impediment to business growth." Which I'm sure mean more propping up a losing business with taxpayer money. And "an impediment"? Prove it. What are the metrics here? And if it is such a boon to the economy, why was it (and the economy) such a failure when we had an airline here? Seems to me it makes no difference, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong... using cold, hard data, not wishfully looking at magic beans and thinking that will solve everything.

    Speaking of magic beans, we're back to whining about the convention center and hotel? Has to be on the waterfront too I notice. I'm assuming they mean the Oak St property which, last I heard, was purchased by a hotel owner who slapped a no-compete clause on the sale of it. That means no hotel on there, no matter how much you wish upon a star.

    Port Angeles has been wishing for a convention center for so long I doubt anyone still remembers why. It's become a myth, a legend. If only we had a convention center everything would be wonderful, money would flow to Port Angeles and rich and poor, old and young would be bathing in green. And maybe that was true at one point. But Port Angeles is a much different place than it was in the '80s. The entire world is. Are we still just chasing a decades-old fantasy, or is this actually still something worthwhile we should pursue? Again, where's the data?

    "“A lot of those folks don't have all the information,” said Ahlburg, a retired investment banker. “A lot of the opposition could be defused by timely outreach.”"

    Well, depends on what you mean by "outreach". Is it going to be a bunch of politician types standing up and telling us what magic beans they could buy with our money? No questions, just pony up the cash. Or will they present us with actual data, leading to tangible results that were arrived at logically?

    "But Councilwoman Cherie Kidd, former mayor, defended the nonprofit organization. “We need to revitalize the EDC and put it into a position of leadership so it can reach its potential,” she said."

    Yeah, I guess that answers my question. Talk about some vague poli-synergy-doublespeak. Congratulations Cherie, you've become another cog in the Port Angeles machine.

  6. So what is the connection between Troy Kelley and Matthew Randazzo? Will the Feds confine their investigation to the Auditor's Office, or will it widen out? Stay tuned for the next chapter....

  7. Recently First Federal sold $121,000,000 in stock to folks on the peninsula who had accounts with them before 2011. They sold out almost overnight. If there is 121 million LIQUID laying around on the peninsula then big business does not need our tax money to fund the EDC. If these businesses will not band together for their own good why should the taxpayers continue putting money into a sinking ship. The daily paper misled people in their coverage today. They said the cities and the port "reviewed" their contract with EDC. Brewer wanted the low-information reader to take that as "renewed" their contracts. Actually, none of the cities in the county have funded the EDC this year. Neither has the Port of Port Angeles funded the EDC
    The county, under the direction of Big Jim McEntire and Brown Nose Bill did fund the EDC to the tune of $50,000. This is money right out of the taxpayers pockets and into the arms of big business. As reported in the Port O Call, if every member of the chamber of commerce pledged $1 per day the EDC would have all the money they could ever need. Chamber members stand to gain the most from a fully functional EDC. McEntire said he has not called upon the chamber of commerce for funding. Why should he when he and Brown Nose Bill can just hand over tax money. Plus, the guys over there at EDC are tone deaf. Their first appointment to the new board of EDC is the ever-secretive Larry Hueth who meets weekly with Karen Rogers even more secretive CEO group planning how to take in the B&O money to be generated by the new and improved downtown association--now run by Karen and her minions. This is all one big plan to continue to keep Port Angeles in the hands of a few greed heads who do not want prosperity to come to the area because they will lose their decades-long strangle hold on the economy.

    1. I don't know why you think that First Fed's stock sale was limited to buyers from the NOP, because it wasn't. It was publicly traded on the NASDAQ.

    2. yes, but, they had to make the first offering to those having accounts with FF anytime before 2011.
      Their entire offering went swiftly to that lot.
      Not many folks OFF the peninsula fit that description.

    3. Yes, but if you Google First Federal Bank, there are branches all over. Not just on the Olympic Peninsula.

      There are only 70,000 people in the whole of Clallam County. And, as we know, a lot are quite poor. $121 million from here? The numbers just don't work.

      But, that isn't to say that the rest of your comments are not right on target. Yes, the Chamber folks should pay for their own projects, not the taxpayers.

      This is so much like the Right wing "fiscal conservative" business- first- types, who are all too happy to have the taxpayers subsidize their businesses.

      If business "does it better than government", then get to it. The track record for the last 10 or so years is not very convincing.

    4. Hmmmm... It sounds to me as if Anon 4:24 is one of the notorious truth twisters from the "CEO Group" or their buddies. Chancing that not many others have the correct information, they arrogantly spread self-serving misinformation.

    5. There aren't many First Federals off the Peninsula--well, not OUR First Federal. Bellingham and Silverdale I believe, and Silverdale replaces the old Poulsbo mortgage office. I'm sure there were some off-Peninsula folks purchasing shares but I'd imagine it was mostly on-Peninsula.

      As was said, Clallam is mostly poor. However there are some extremely rich people up here. Given how poor I am, and the people around me, I'm always surprised when I meet someone with money. Like, lots of money. Just don't expect that around here. So while most are poor there are a few who can make up the difference. I'm guessing that's what happened, rich folks, investment firms and well-off retirees got the bulk of the shares.

      And I agree. There is a lot of money up here. If the people with that money want all these government projects, why don't they pay for it instead of wanting the lower-wage taxpayers to foot the bill? Because Obama probably.

    6. Google "First Federal Bank", and see what comes up. They are all over the country.

  8. Is Kidd high? Seriously, does she have some substance abuse problem, or does she not have a brain in her little cracked noggin? My parrot says more original things than she does.

    1. Kidd is the biggest enabler of chicanery in town. Either she cannot see idiocy and corruption through her rose colored glasses or she is a beneficiary of it and is in denial mode. I don't think she is smart enough to be corrupt so we'll just settle for stupid.

    2. Cherie Kidd is just plain stupid. End of, full stop, duh. However, just because she is honestly stupid, doesn't mean you can't get her to do whatever you want. All it means is that you just don't have to shell out any cash to do so. Corruption and stupidity both can produce the same end result - blight, decay, depression and deficits.

  9. Speaking of selfish jeks, did you notice King Jims' latest appeal to his constituency? About the Dungeness water situation?

    Once again showing his intelligence, sensitivities and forward looking prowess, Jim McEntire wants to abolish the water conservation areas set up by Ecology, a week or so after the Governor declares the area in a "drought emergency".