Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gee, Even My Dog Can Sit Still...Why Can't You?

I'm cutting and pasting together pieces of three comments that were posted today, because they get close enough to what I would have to say about Lee Whetham's announcement that he's running for Port Commissioner (and about the Port Angeles City Council). This is one of the really weird, dysfunctional - and dishonest - trends in Port Angeles and Clallam County: People who run for one office, then almost immediately announce they're running for yet another, different office. Anyway, here's the patched together version of what some of you have had to say about this announcement...

How do you make more money than a plumber?
Be a Port Angeles Port Commissioner!

Here's Whetham's record, in brief:

Claims to be a progressive, yet signed up to run against the person who was the most progressive member of the City Council, Max Mania. This left three more conservative candidates/incumbents without challengers. Since being elected, Whetham has displayed no pronounced progressive tendencies, nor has he seriously pushed back at staff and/or their ongoing slew of bad ideas.

Claims in his press release to have "defeated online publisher" Peter Ripley in the election for his seat. Left unsaid is that Peter is a lunatic, serial candidate, and comes pre-defeated.

Claims to be "a proven problem solver and consensus builder," though he provides no details, perhaps owing to the fact that he has, in actuality, solved no problems and built no consensus. See comments above. Lee Whetham has filled a seat, and that's about it.

Whetham hasn't even been on the City Council a year and a half, and is already bailing out for bigger and better things. Of course, he was prodded into running for the City Council, and his handlers are no doubt moving him along up the ladder this time, too. Ever wonder who those handlers are? So do I.
Oh yeah, he ran for this, too...

If he wins, he will resign his City Council seat, which will leave it up to the rest of the City Council to appoint his replacement. We all know how well that's gone in the past, don't we?

To mix my metaphors, this is like playing musical chairs on the deck of the Titanic. The same few people cycling around and around while the ship goes down.
"Garbage in, garbage out", as we used to say in the early days of the technology revolution. If we didn't put in quality information into the computer, we knew we couldn't expect any meaningful results.

We know the problem in Port Angeles. We've had a series of "go along to get along" people sitting in council seats. Virtually none have dared to seriously question, challenge or resist the efforts of city staff and what it has proposed.

What is it with these people who can't even finish ONE term before trying to run for something else? First Sissi runs for County Commissioner, now this. It'd be nice if they told us when they ran for the first spot that they were REALLY angling to run for something else soon. But then, that would involve honesty.


  1. That particular seat has traditionally been a sort of hot seat on the council. Love 'em or hate 'em, you usually knew where Max Mania and Larry Williams stood on an issue, and what they generally stood for.

    Whetham? He strikes me as just another go along to get along type. I never have figured out who he is, or what he stands for, other than that he's another guy who likes to sit at the front of the room.

    But just because you're sitting at the front of the room, it doesn't necessarily mean you're a leader. People sitting up there often forget that point, though.

  2. Last time I was at City Council, Whetham looked so bored, he could barely keep his eyes open.

    I wonder if he will highlight his advocacy of the cheap water for residents so that they can have green lawns in a drought emergency? THAT is responsible leadership, isn't it?

    Progressive? Compared to who? The leader of North Korea?

    1. Maybe he looked so bored because he wasn't being fairly compensated for his self-touted "leadership and consensus-building" skills. Clearly Lee has realized he will be compensated MUCH more for his time at the Port.

      Remember when public service meant that you did it because you cared, not necessarily because you got paid? Those days are sure gone.

    2. Actually, the port commissioners don't get paid much. That is why only the well-to-do can afford to be on the commission. They could change the pay and make it attractive for more people but they like it the way it is. If they raise the pay the one's who vote to raise the pay cannot get the pay raise they vote for--only the next one gets the raise. With all the money they throw around they should make it pay enough to attract a good business-minded person who still needs an income.

    3. Anyone who thinks the Port Commissioners don't find plenty of ways to put their hands on plenty of cash is hopelessly naïve.

      Look at the long line of money grubbing creeps and thieves that have made their way through those seats: Jim Hallett, John Calhoun, and current County Cash Seeking Commissioner Jim McEntire, among others.

      The Port deals with lots of properties, lots of money, and has little in the way of local interest or oversight. Add someone with no ethics to that mix, and suddenly someone is making lots of little bank deposits.

    4. Wrong. There is NO OVERSIGHT authority. Not the city, not the county, not the state. Their own little piggy bank. When the new port executive director and the scumbag commissioners can arbitrarily raise the value of undeveloped land at the airport from $6,000 an acre to $90,000 an acre and then extort higher lease rates from their tenants something is very wrong. They used a phoney state audit as their tool to justify it and all the public bought in on the scam. When was the last time anything the port did actually benefited the public. Never.
      The first thing I had to do when my lease rate went up 1,400%......yes this is not a misprint.....1,400% .....I had to let an employee go. I have had to sell all of our equipment and machines and I have had to look for a new place to move my company.
      Watch for my fellow tenant to run from their port property and move into the old Walmart.
      Why do you think Platypus doesn't want to be a tenant of the port when you can be bullied, threatened, extorted.

  3. Geez, fifteen months? Just fifteen months and you're already ready to fail upwards? That's like making a pass at someone at your own wedding.

    And this from someone who, prior to being pushed into running for City Council, had never been to a City Council meeting, never served on a community board or committee.

    Then, WHAM! He's suddenly running for City Council, running for the Charter Review Commission, running for Port Commissioner.

    It all seems...very notable, and not in a positive way.

  4. Let's not forget that the last time this particular Port seat was up for election, Brad Collins ran against Calhoun, and lost. Then he got appointed to the City Council. Then he was an incumbent, and ran for reelection, in an uncontested race. The same faces, different places. That's the Port Angeles shuffle.

  5. Think about it: On the city council, you get paid a few hundred dollars a month, and have to go to evening meetings where people might come yell at you, the PDN is there, etc.

    But as a port commissioner, you have your meetings during the day, no one ever shows up, the PDN isn't always there, and you can rake in thousands and thousands of those well-greased port dollars.

    It's a no-brainer, literally in this case. What it's not, however, is public service.

    1. In Clallam County, it's always follow the money...

    2. Yes, but Anon 5:12 brings up an important point.

      How much can we expect from a couple people who show up to a meeting twice a month? Can we realistically expect top quality management of the issues that affect our most important assets, our health, our real estate, our finances, our children, by a couple people we pay a couple hundred bucks a month?

      Yes, these issues ARE managed to a certain extent by our well compensated, full time city staff. But we have NO control over them. They do what ever they want, and we just pay the bills. We don't elect city staff, and in virtually all cases, they are in those positions until they quit, die or retire.

      Fail upwards? Again, look at what happens with our city staff. These people are the ones that have come up with all the crazy, non-essential projects like the fake beaches and "most expensive project in the city's history". These are the people that require the hiring of high priced consultants for virtually anything and everything.
      These are the people who require outside law firms to do the work our full time, highly paid city legal staff should be doing.

      And, after spending us to "the limits", and requiring funding be cut to services like health and human services, help for the homeless and victims of domestic violence, these people get pay raises and bonuses!

      Follow the money? Yes. But, most of the time, it isn't the city council members making the money. They are only part timers, putting in a few hours a month, rubber stamping what staff puts in front of them.

      That isn't to say a few council people haven't found "creative" ways to use the position for their personal gain.

      Think about it, though. We are directed to focus on the people who really have so little to do with the policies and decisions that have such dramatic impact on our lives. Actions and policies that cause us to sell our houses, move to new communities, find new jobs, move our children to new schools, and more.

      We are directed to focus on the part timers who we pay only a few hundred bucks a month, instead of focusing on the full timers who write the staff reports, who find and "recommend" the consultants, and who define the way issues are to be considered.

      We DO need to require our decision makers to be more informed, to be able to challenge the assumptions and direction presented by paid staff. It really isn't fair to expect these few people, with whom we entrust our "everything", to review the work generated by the full compliment of full time city staff, as they sit at council meetings for a few hours a month. On top of that, we expect them to listen to public input, and staff as the meeting is conducted.

      Do we expect them to spend the hours needed to read through the hundreds and thousands of pages of reports, studies, and correspondence, to do research to double check what staff is telling them, and more, on their own time?

      Back to "garbage in, garbage out". If we don't place a realistic valuation on those making these important decisions, then why are we surprised by the results?

      And, "valuation" isn't just monetary compensation. If we want decisions to reflect our views and concerns, we have to participate in the process. Staying home doesn't get us what we say we want.

      Progress through effort.

    3. "We are directed to focus on the people who really have so little to do with the policies and decisions that have such dramatic impact on our lives... instead of focusing on the full timers who write the staff reports, who find and 'recommend' the consultants, and who define the way issues are to be considered."

      Just thought this bit is worth repeating...

  6. Whetham's handlers include Bob Martin, the fellow who helped stick us with another four years of Judge Porter. That ain't progressive folks. The fix is in but what is the end game? Now Colleen and Lee can run the table...

  7. Can any of you seriously wonder why good people hesitate to run for public office? It doesn't matter who they are, they take a beating. This "instant information" age makes it so easy to flood people with mis-information, very few critics even attempt to see "the other side of the story". It is always easier to sit at the computer and criticize that it is to get up and lend a hand.

  8. Obesity in Port Angeles? Yep. Goes down good with a cigarette.

  9. The sad truth is that, even if all of the negative rumors about Lee Whetham are true, he'd still probably have to work hard to be as smarmy and slimy as John Calhoun.

  10. Jim Hallett is a bloated, bloviating, egomaniacal blowhard - and he got to run for Port Commissioner UNOPPOSED. Will Lee Whetham get the same gift?

    1. I'm sure Lee got in early in attempt to scare off any other candidates. Don't let that happen. Let's have a primary so we can see who has the best ideas. Urge your friends to run. Heck, run yourself. Can't cost that much to get on the ballot.

    2. I agree!

      And, wouldn't it be refreshing to hear real ideas, instead of the safe BS we usually hear about "jobs, jobs, jobs"?

    3. Look for Lee Whetham to chant the mantra of "jobs, jobs, jobs." Neither he nor his handlers are any smarter or any more creative than that. I don't know that any of them see the actual, hard reality of the situation here in Clallam County, either.

  11. Meanwhile, we just got in from the movies, and...The Lincoln Theater is still for sale.

    1. Anybody heard from Scott and his wife, lately?

  12. what a disgusting splotch of facial hair in that head shot. I'd say "shave".

  13. From Peter Ripley's blog today...Pardon any typos, I just cut and pasted it...

    Secondly, you had to actually live on the west side of the county to represent those who lives on the west side for Port Commission?

    According to County records, Whetham lives on Golf Course Rd Port Angeles.
    That's on the east side of town! Unless he recently moved to the west side of town, how is it that someone who is listed living on the east side runs for a posting for west side? Like I said, if he recently Moved to the west side of town it's sounds a little too convenient don't you think. One would think he was planning for a Port run along, he was just buying time.

    1. Geez, I didn't know Lee Whethams' nemesis was still engaged in "online publishing". Who knew?!

  14. The only problem Lee Whetham has helped "solve" is that now Bill Bloor no longer will be troubled by having to prosecute shoplifters. There are no funds for it. The police no longer have to enforce traffic laws. There aren't enough funds to hire enough police. The only "solutions" coming out of city hall involve cutting services that serve the people of Port Angeles. If Lee Whetham thinks that's leadership, or consensus building, he's dead wrong, and has a cold, cold heart.

    1. Well, you're partly correct. The City has said it has taxed us all to the "limits" (to use their description". Lee Whetham has helped to relieve the Port Angeles police and Bill Bloor of the work load of dealing with shop lifting. Shoplifting is usually a symptom of the very situation identified by the city recently; the residents are "below average in incomes".

      But, according to the statistics submitted by the city, collected by the FBI, and reported recently in the Port o Call, Port Angeles has more than the average number of police for a city of its' size.

      According to the statistics the police chief himself cites, the crime rate in Port Angeles has been declining over the last couple of years.

      And, as any of us see, when ever there is any kind of situation requiring the police to show up, the place is swarmed by law enforcement officers from half a dozen agencies.

      As we all saw, the Port Angeles police chief sang a tune of "everything is just fine" to the reporters last fall. No mention of not having enough officers. No mention of not being able to enforce traffic laws. Happily assuring the public crime was declining.

      Then came Revitalize Port Angeles, with it's primary supporter, the PDN. First it was the poor people on the streets that the downtown merchants were concerned about. They wanted the police to make them go away. Then they targeted the Lee Hotel as the reason they were not succeeding as businesses.

      After the PDN made "crime" a front page issue, made a member of the Revitalize Port Angeles group a front page vigilante hero, the police started talking about not having enough officers.

      Let's see this for what it is. City staff using a situation to try to get more money.

      What is clear is that if and when Lee Whetham (and ANY of the current council members) runs for any public office, we should be asking the real questions, instead of falling for the issues as THEY have created them. It isn't that "there is not enough money", it is all about HOW these so-called leaders have spent the money they collect from us.

      It is all about how THEY chose to spend the money they already collect from us. That THEY did not adequately question city staff. That THEY did not do the job they told us they would do.

  15. FYI...Here are some search terms that have brought people to this blog in the last couple of days..."adult entertainment clallam county"..."old bottle dumps near port angeles"...