Sunday, March 1, 2015

If Port Angeles Is Really SO Cool...Then Why Isn't it More Self-Sustaining?

Oooh...Yes, we've all seen and heard by now. Yet another desperate-to-sell-you-some-ads website has named Port Angeles as one of the "coolest" towns in America.
To repeat, these lists exist simply to troll for small town suckers to buy ads on these websites, with the pitch to "strike while the iron is hot!" Also to note, this latest recommendation has nothing - nothing - to do with the town of Port Angeles itself, but rather with the location. And Port Angeles does have a good location. But to call the town itself "cool" is quite a big stretch. Let's face it: No one comes to Port Angeles for Port Angeles. It's just a mark on the map, the fork in the road where you veer off to the ONP or Victoria or even...Forks.
Don't fool yourself Port Angeles.
This is NOT the nametag for you.

Another article in the PDN today demonstrates just how truly uncool Port Angeles is, and how much of a destination it is not. Did you see the proposed funding list for events that's headed to the City Council for certain approval? It's a bad case of the same old same olds, with a side of conflict of interest.
First of all, the events getting the biggest amounts are the oldest, most established ones around - the Crab Fest and the Juan de Fuca Fest. These events should be old enough, and established enough, to be self-sufficient by now, and then some. The fact that they are still asking for money just to happen is a big reveal. This is the equivalent of the "independent and successful" 35 year old who is still living in Mom's basement.
Port Angeles: The Old Man in the Club.

And giving money the those fools who "run" the sprint boat track...That's just disgusting. These are crooked thugs who publically demonstrated they have hundreds of thousands of dollars to burn when they bought and started that monstrosity. They don't need any handouts.
The aversion to new ideas is evident, as is the hostility to the local arts community. The only new idea to get any real funding comes courtesy of...The Port Angeles Downtown Association, that efficient and respected organization. Meanwhile, a request from the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center wasn't even considered because they got money last year. So why didn't that disqualify the Crab Fest, the JFFA and all the other repeats here? Gee, I wonder...
Meanwhile, the biggest chunk of cash is headed for the Crab Fest - one of only a couple of groups to get the full amount they requested. Scott Nagel, he of the STILL FOR SALE Lincoln Theater Brigade, runs the Crab Fest. Scott Nagel also sits on the committee that decides on these funding recommendations. Scott Nagel also supposedly recused himself from the vote here. Does anyone else see a huge conflict of interest here? Does anyone else wonder why Scott Nagel is even on this panel if he has to recuse himself from voting? Gee, I wonder...
Port Angeles cool? Only if corruption, nepotism and hostility to new ideas is suddenly "cool."
Here's another one you kids may remember...


  1. You forgot to tie all this BS and money wrangling back into the other article in today's PDN, about McEntire's ongoing efforts to funnel half a million dollars to the criminally incompetent EDC. Port Angeles and Clallam County are nothing but ongoing criminal enterprises, long-term money grabs engineered to benefit a few, while keeping the majority of the population here scared, isolated and desperate. We now see this mentality starting to spread into the arts community here, with Scott "Lincoln Theater" Nagel and Dan Maguire at the JFFA.

  2. Port Angeles: Coolest fly speck on the map.

    Of course, you may want to use another word in place of "speck."

    1. We put the Poo in Port Angles

    2. Obtuse Angle?

  3. The things that supposedly make Port Angeles "cool," like proximity to the Olympic National Park, the ferries to Victoria, etc., have been in place for decades.


    Yet in all that time, the so-called leaders here (both political and business) have been completely unable to build anything approaching a successful economy. Even with tens and hundreds of thousands of people a year coming through town.

    That is not cool. That is pathetic.

  4. Good point. There are already hundreds of thousands of people passing through Port Angeles every year. The Coho alone drops off 400,000 people IN Port Angeles every year.

    What little remote town wouldn't love to have the hundreds of thousands passing through each year, like Port Angeles does. But what comes of it?

    Instead of working with the throngs passing through already, Port Angeles waste time and money on self promotion. This company that declares Port Angeles as "cool", describes itself as : " A travel and lifestyle brand redefining travel media .." A company that help towns create and promote a "brand". Advertising. Self promotion.

    People have been coming to and through Port Angeles for decades. Over a hundred years. Used to be a train bringing people out here.

    These days, they pass through by the millions. But they don't come to Port Angeles. Why? Because Port Angeles is really a seedy little dive. Smokestacks, log yards and oil tankers are not what the people are thinking of when they read the glowing description of "cool" Port Angeles. But that is exactly what they find when they get here.

    So, now we have yet another effort to show more people that Port Angeles lies and misrepresents.

  5. When are they going to get it? Will they ever get it?

    The City spends hundreds of thousands in ads to get people to come to Port Angeles, when there are already millions passing by.

    Yes, we know that Russ and his cronies need to justify their jobs. Sure, they struggle to show that their efforts actually result in "heads on beds" in town. They have to appear to DO something to justify the taxpayer money they get to pay their salaries.

    But who stands up and says "These millions are passing by, ANYWAYS"?

    The pathetic reality is how miserably the local businesses respond to this flow of potential clients.

    And the EDC? Really? McEntire wants a half a million MORE, to fund a business development group for a region that has such a huge volume of tourists passing through, and can't even identify viable ways to capitalize on the existing throngs? All they can see is "timber". The very industry that destroys the "natural beauty" these millions come to the area for.

    Is this working?

    Any wonder, with leadership like this, that Port Angeles doesn't move forward?

  6. Oh joy, another recommendation from a website I've never heard of before!
    I agree, mostly this is a recommendation for where Port Angeles is--that is, a travel hub between Seattle, Victoria, the Olympic National Park and Forks--rather than what it is. If they hadn't mentioned Cafe New Day I wouldn't think the site had actually been to Port Angeles.
    And like has been mentioned above, we ARE a hub, we DO have an incredible amount of people passing through, and yet we're unable to monetize this. We waste millions of dollars on promises like the incubator, Harborworks and the EDC and yet we can't fix up the town? (To be fair, it is starting to look a lot better when you step off the Coho... But there is a long ways to go...)
    What cracks me up is the site listened criteria for their picks of town, and then ignored most of those for Port Angeles. For example they mentioned diversity, including LGBT, which is a joke if I ever heard one. Not to start the GAY SEX IN PORT ANGELES page hits again, but, really, where is this diversity the site is looking for? Where is the GAY SEX IN PORT ANGELES?

    1. What few people of color there are in Port Angeles have a hard time of it. There is no visible gay community here, just a bunch of painfully obvious and scared closet cases. Disabled? Just try to get around anywhere in this town with the intermittent sidewalks, intermittent traffic patrols, and crazy drivers. Anyone who has lived here more than a week knows there's very, very little "diversity" here.

    2. Oh, and let's not forget the mixture of apathy and hostility that generally greets the Esprit ladies. Sure, some downtown businesses open their doors gladly, but a LOT of people do their best to pretend they aren't here.

  7. Port Angeles, compared to this:

    Geee. How could that compare to our log yards and oil tankers?

  8. Too add to the above, Port Angeles business community is in a perpetual high school style system of in and out groups. If we like you and you wear the proper attire or sell the right "goods" then you are accepted and we will invite you to our gatherings. If we don't like you or don't like your style of merchandise then we will insult you to our friends and put bad things on our little slam book and maybe run you out of town. As long as the downtown merchants perpetuate these little "cliques" then this will ever be a back water town and the millions of people will come in and sample the outdoors and move on to a place that promotes an inclusive spirit. One does not have to be in town long to detect the vicious, jealous treachery that is projected. If someone shops next door they feel like that is a dollar they should have spent over here. If they projected the proper inclusive accepting spirit they would realize that as long as shoppers get a good "vibe" being here they will come back and on the return trip they may go into another shop and all will prosper. As noted, there is no shortage of traffic. There is a shortage of good will and espirt d' corps. Backstabbing, insults, fear and limitation thinking are what is holding this town back and none of that is "cool."
    Look in the mirror folks. some of this just might describe YOU.

    1. Yep, the Revitalize group is exactly like a high school clique. "we don't like you" "you're upsetting some people, so stop". This town is certainly into it's little groups and lots of innuendo and false praise, back biting, sniping, and other nonsense.

    2. Look for three "Revitalize" big shots to run for the three city council seats in the next election. While I won't be sorry to see any of the three current chowder heads go, I'm not thrilled with the prospect of three members of the Clique being installed in their place. Meet the new boss ...

    3. Yes, that is disconcerting. Why is the downtown doomed to have these cliques, happy chatter, and big shots (in their own minds)?

    4. You whiners want change, but only the change you want. I am thrilled to have choices.

  9. And now that I've read the original article... what a strange story. They really push the Shakespeare in the Park thing--which can be cool--and then sort of mention it again before the list. But who's performing? Will the Port Angeles Community theater read from a script or will the Arts Center hire someone else? When will this be? For that matter, did they even get the money? I'm assuming so but there are so many that ask for so much and got a different amount.
    And what an odd way to end the article. It's all about Nagel recusing himself. Okay, great, but the headline and first paragraph made it sound like the events were the focus of the article, not the inner workings of the council. Mention it and move on.
    Some of those sound good. William in the Woods could be good, maybe. Blocktober sounds like fun and yay, the Big Hurt is coming back! Not that I'm in shape to do it. :)

  10. Looks like Tom Harper slept in extra late today. What a joke!

  11. You know what's the worst part of these "cool list" stories for me? It's knowing that, A) They're utter bullshit, and B) Knowing that we're still going to have to put up with Cherie Kidd believing them completely and running around like a spastic monkey chattering about how great things are in Port Angeles, how things are looking up, etc. She's the perfect patsy, falls for it every time.

    But sadly for us, she's not just the city patsy. No, she's a leader, a decision-maker. And a stupid, spastic monkey.

    1. "spastic monkey" hahahahahahahaha. Exactly.

  12. Let's not forget all those other things that make Port Angeles so cool, like our higher than average unemployment. And our higher than average high school drop out rate. And the city's high rate of indebtedness. And our super high rate of substance abuse. Oh yeah, we're highly cool here...

  13. And, that we have parents that think branding their kids is the right thing to do.

    No, no advertising type branding. For those who were not around, we're talking red hot iron, seared flesh permanent type branding. Let's-pretend-our-children-are-cattle type branding. By parents, on their own children.

    As if that isn't sick enough, the children defended the act.


  14. I've long wondered how the bulk of the money is "invested" (i.e. squandered) on events that should be able to stand on their own-feet (most festivals are self-supporting within 3 years, some through non-profit regular donors, some through corporate sponsors. Not many get long term government money). This event has been on-going for 21 years, and the best they can do is come up with I've always found it peculiar that they find a way to spend every dime:

    Contributions $52,257
    Foundation $0
    Government Grants$25,569
    Program Services $147,010
    Investments $0
    Special Events $12,468
    Other $9,200

    Total Revenue $246,504

    Program Services $203,111
    Administration $35,000
    Fundraising $8,265
    Other $0

    Total Expenses $246,376

    NET GAIN/LOSS $128

    The most they have for attendance is 15,000, but they count the people who might go to the vendors, and some boasting sales literature inflates the attendance to 24,000.

    (This amount seems inflated, if you look at the IRS 1090 returns - where they claim $40,265 income from ticket sales -- which at $50 bucks -- is under 750 people.)


    Meanwhile, compare that to the Coachella Music Festival (also 3 days) started in 1993, with an initial festival of 25k attendees. (Coachella,CA is a town of 46k.) In 2014, the festival tallied an attendance of 579,000 and grossed a record-breaking $78.3 million.

    Music festivals are big business. They make money. After more than two decades the fact that JFFA is still suckling from the grant boob, says one thing: mismanagement.

    I also wonder why when the director was hired the PDN said that the amount he would be paid was "not disclosed", which leads one to wonder how he is paid, aside from the clearly marked "$36,225" 1099. What other compensation? Since non-profit payment to employees is open record, why did the PDN fail to disclose this amount?

    This is all such small potatoes, but, why is it that we have a "music festival" that can't generate money for the area, and the town, instead of suck lodging funds that should go towards OTHER, NEW events?

    1. Thank you so much for your informative comments here, and for the information you've shared. I especially liked the part comparing numbers claimed for attendance in their sales materials versus what they claim for ticket sales to the IRS. Fascinating.

    2. God, I wouldn't even compare the two. Coachella gets a good mix of headliners, up-and-comers and starter bands. Port Angeles gets... well, some of the acts were good, I won't slam all of them... but they're hardly headliners. There isn't really the mix there used to be. And I've noticed a lot of the good acts aren't coming back. JFFA seems to me like it isn't even the same festival it was ten years ago. There was a lot more activities for one thing, a better mix of bands.

      Also, as I understand it Coachella is set up for their festival. Ours is mostly in the local community center with acts all over the town. Nothing wrong with that, or even shutting down a street, but it does limit how far JFFA can take this thing.

      Furthermore, whose good idea was it to have the JFFA compete with the Seattle Folklife Festival? Tons of bands and activities. Parking all around the event. Event in one central location spread out across the Seattle Center. Lots of people out having fun and bringing their own activity.

      But besides all that, those figures are pretty damn interesting. And the director isn't declaring how much he makes? I'm going to take a wild guess and say it's "too much".

    3. They might be counting people who come to three events, as three different people. Sort of like the PDN circulation numbers that count a newspaper as being read by three people (based on an old NYTimes study that said that if a newspaper was left on a subway train, no less than 3 people would pick it up and read it).
      I think the PDN cites circulation numbers that may be greater than the number of literate adults in the area.

  15. I find it strange that Nagel gets away with taking money for a grant claiming that the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival is non-profit, when it is a non-profit only as a corporation in WA state (registered as Olympic Peninsula Celebrations ubi 602937888)
    Shouldn't the grant be given to Olympic Peninsula Celebrations? Olympic Peninsula Celebrations seems to be a defunct wedding planning service, if you can figure out the facebook page:

    The PDN said that Olympic Peninsula Celebrations replaced the founders of the group (Olympic Peninsula Community Celebrations), and it was a joint "non profit" formed from the Chamber and Nagle's new non-profit. It's not so much a non-profit, as a "not for profit", doesn't mean it has 501(c)3 status with the IRS (IT DOES NOT).
    In the article they said they were forming a board of directors, and all that, but the Corporate filing just shows Scott and Karen Powell.
    What gives?

  16. And, Sequim Lavender Festival, also isn't a legal corporate entity in WA state. Non profit or not, no where does it say (in any of their literature) that it is being produced by any other non-profit entity. So, how is any of this legal?
    WTF, Olympic Peninsula, you guys like to b.s. people?

  17. Would someone alert the attorney general and the IRS, please

  18. Anyone seen the Clallam EDC Strategic Planning book? (It's a PDF on their website)

    "The Pacific Northwest is again starting to grow faster than any area in the U.S.
    In Seattle, unemployment appears to be heading below 6 percent, home prices are rising sharply, as are rents, and businesses are outgrowing their spaces. Significant growth both north and south of Seattle Began about 40 years ago and I-5 and 99 are now choked with traffic. Expansion east, which began about 35 years ago, is now being slowed by congested traffic corridors and geography. Forward looking Seattle business leaders have few options and should be looking west. Right now!"

    Funny how they list a bunch of negatives... And then want to bring those negatives over to the Olympic Peninsula. Right now!

  19. So, these business leaders will drive past all the nearby communities with open land and everything they need, and drive 2 hours on a one lane (each way) road out to Port Angeles?

    Jim, these people didn't become successful in business by being stupid!

  20. Au Contraire, I would love to see our streets jammed each morning and night with people driving shiney new cars commuting to family wage paying jobs and going home to their own home, purchased with their adequate income.

    1. In a perfect world, sure. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world, we live in Port Angeles. Our infrastructure is already being strained, and we still only have one road that cuts all the way through town. Adding Seattle-style traffic is going to take away one of the few benefits of this town. I don't want to spend an hour going back and forth from work.

      More importantly the clash between haves and have-nots will be pretty devastating. This is a poor area. Heck, I'm poor. While I'd love better paying jobs I'm looking at what's happening in gentrified areas and thinking it would be so, so much worse here. A bunch of outsiders would move in, raise property values past the point where most residents could afford, drastically change the culture. I don't see that going well here. But, hey, I could be wrong. I'm just also afraid I'd be one of those forced out.

      But, regardless, I've heard this from local leaders before. Got to get Seattle over here, now! And that's the extent of their plans. They have no idea what to do with Seattle once it gets here. They just think...

      1. Get Seattle here
      2. ???
      3. Profit!