Sunday, March 8, 2015

Port O Column

So, there are some interesting items that have appeared recently in the Port O Call, and I wanted to touch on them here. Though we don't always agree, I do appreciate that Dale is also out there trying to find pots to stir. Hopefully one of the following topics will stir you to comment...
Resurrecting the Grand Jury in Clallam County
The Justice Restoration Project seeks to resurrect the Grand Jury in Clallam County. In order to do so they must convince the Charter Review Commission it is the best idea and should be adopted during this term.
Presently we have an elected prosecutor. All prosecutorial discretion resides with him/her. Whom do we trust that much? Such matters must be examined by a collection of community minded individuals from the jurisdiction.

These high minded common folk are able to “smell a rat.” If there is something the “man on the street” thinks needs attention then the Grand Jury may be the panel to initiate an investigation. It needs subpoena power to be effective. Current statutes make it difficult to get a Grand Jury recognized. Instead, the concept of a Grand Jury has morphed, by statute, into the open arms of the judiciary.
Without a Grand Jury we are unable to prosecute the prosecutor if s/he runs afoul of the law–or allows others to do so.
What say you? Does the idea of a Grand Jury have appeal? Even if it does, will there be qualified people to serve on it? Do the pros outweigh all the local cons?
Don't worry, Don...It says RICK Perry.
What Are They Afraid Of?
Another piece by Dale Wilson, that I won't go into in detail here. (You can read it for yourself in print, or online.) Basically, it's a recounting of all the stonewalls Dale has run into in simply trying to speak to the community, and/or provide a forum for the community to speak for itself. It's a process many of us have probably experienced in one way or another. Since at least the Karen Rogers days, the word from City Hall has explicitly been to sit down and shut up - the voice of the public is not heard. Not surprisingly, the PDN and KONP and the Chamber and (Fill in the blank) have gone along with that program.
All of which leads Dale to ask - What are they afraid of?
I have my own answers to that, but it's more instructive to hear yours.
Beat Them Bushes Until the Candidates Come Home
I'm also sure that Dale will be leading the charge to find candidates for upcoming elections. Who should run? Who should be run out? Who is willing to sign up for the abuse? Is positive change even possible at this point? Or have decades of corruption, tens and tens of millions of dollars in debt, and a long-standing denial of reality made Port Angeles into a community where the only options are: A) doom, or B) DOOM, or C) DOOM!!!
Feel free to name names, and share wish lists, if such things you have.


  1. coincidentally I just found a strange nugget on the KONP website "news" (in its entirety, after my comments).

    I find this quote most unsettling, "The city started long range financial planning 2 years ago and the priority setting process is the next step." Followed by "McKeen tells us that city staff is buying into it."

    Buying into it? What the hell, folks. So, clearly the city workers make the decisions, and not the city council. Why do we even waste our time with them, then?

    And, wtf? the city just started long range financial planning 2 years ago? So it really IS a hand-to-mouth situation there? How insolvent is this town?

    The article:

    City of PA undergoing new priority setting process

    March 6th, 2015 - 5:42am

    (Port Angeles) -- The public is going to have a chance to be a part of the priority setting process by the City of Port Angeles.

    City Manager Dan McKeen says the city needs to determine its most important services as defined by its citizens.

    McKeen says as far as services go, the city can't be everything for everybody.

    The city started long range financial planning 2 years ago and the priority setting process is the next step. McKeen tells us that city staff is buying into it.

    At a meeting this week, each city department was required to rank the services they provide and the city council used a scoring matrix to further define priorities.

    The public is invited to a listening session on the priority setting process Tuesday from 5 until 7 at the City Council Chambers. McKeen says they hope to have the process finished by mid-year.

    1. Ooh, the city wants to hear from the public! Gosh, they really care, they really listen.

      Except that, 99% of the time, they don't. From utility rates to budget priorities to the Wild Olympics to Lincoln Park to years of problems with the late Glenn Cutler, they heard from the public loud and clear - and did nothing.

      I have no reason to expect they will actually listen or respond this time.

    2. I it faux window dressing, or is it some other form of trickery? Pretty bad we are THIS jaded by whatever the city says or promotes, now.

    3. I remember going to a meeting after that Kent Myers era survey. Overall, when the results supported what staff wanted to do, then the results were considered valid. When the results were at odds with what staff wanted to do, well, there were always some sort of mitigating circumstances to explain why the results shouldn't really count. As I recall, Max and Brad were those who put the most stock in sticking to the survey results, while the rest of the council was all too happy to roll over for staff.

      Like they pretty much always do.

    4. Funny how the city finds millions to obligate the residents to, when it concerns projects THEY want. The fake beaches? Sure. I can see how those are more important than everyday basic services tax payers expect.

      It is ridiculous the city blazes away spending tens of millions of dollars, year after year, on stupid projects the residents complain about. How much city was spent on the Incubator? Harborworks? Etc, etc.

      But now?

      This is why Port Angeles is one of the "coolest"towns in America, right?

  2. Would a grand jury with, say, Kaj Ahlburg, Glenn Wiggins and Andrew May on it be worth having? That's the question you have to ask yourself.

    1. Exactly! Anyone who thinks that a grand jury in Clallam County wouldn't be a carefully constructed group is very naïve.

    2. Here again, it is up to the voters to provide a grand jury, and other leadership we can be proud of. If we get the same old greed-heads and power mongers then we will have failed ourselves again. It is up to us folks. We can't blame a tiger for his spots. We CAN blame ourselves for leaving the sheep in its path. These folks don't have any more power than WE give them. We give them power by NOT VOTING.
      With a large turnout at the polls things will change. Most of the people I meet are not at all like the greed heads we have put in power. Votes equal change. Ignoring the ballot that is mailed to your home is voting FOR what we already have. With the ballot turned in YOU are the boss. With the ballot laying around on the table THEY continue to control every aspect of the local economy. What's at stake? The value of your home, the cost of your utilities, the purity of your water, the education of your children, the quality of your get the idea. For the rest of the year start greeting your friends with "Are you registered to vote?" instead of good morning. When the ballots go out greet your friends with, "have you voted yet?" It will take a full-scale--ground swell movement but IT CAN HAPPEN and it's up to you.

    3. That's why I'd like to keep as many positions elected as possible. At least there's a CHANCE you can get new blood in every four years. I mean, I know in practice that doesn't work so good. But then, look at the city where most of the power lies with non-elected people and tell me how well that's working out for us.

    4. You can imagine people like Edna, Karen, Betsy Wharton, Peter Ripley and Pat Downie being on the grand jury.

    5. Thank you! I am proud to be in such good company.

    6. way to mix metafors "We can't blame a tiger for his spots. We CAN blame ourselves for leaving the sheep in its path. "
      Tigers have stripes, and are tigers are solitary animals.
      They wouldn't attack a sheep on the path, but they would conceal itself in bushes or long grasses close to their intended prey’s rear or side. They gradually, silently sneak forward; stalking the animal, which is unaware of the hunter’s proximity Oddly enough tigers and leopards peacefully co-exist, they try to hunt at different times from to avoid competition.
      I think the animals you were looking to describe in your metaphor would be a pack of jackals (golden jackals, wolves, wild dogs and coyotes) who surround the prey, and attack in a coordinated pack effort.
      That describes the shysters, con-artists, and sociopaths who are currently in some power positions in this county.

    7. @Anon 1:09 AM


      You're probably literally right about the actual physical attributes of these animals. Perhaps if Dale had said : " We can't blame a leopard for his spots. We CAN blame ourselves for leaving the sheep in it's path", you might have focused more on the INTENT of his comment. You know, that we need to take responsibility for our actions, or lack there of. Instead of blaming the crooks and cronies in our midst for being crooks and cronies.

      Does that make sense?

    8. Sure it does. But, we're trying to get water flowing upstream here. The crooks and cronies are (mostly) home-grown, and it's ingrained in this little town, from it's very roots, to embrace those who don't have a clue, and promote total and complete b.s. I've long thought it was something in the water. People who exclaim "the emperor has no clothing" have been summarily taken outback and beaten. The facebook "revitalize" group is a good example. Utter a discouraging word, and suddenly, you will vanish from the comments. The cautionary tale is clear: don't make waves, or else. When I first moved here I was told to "not make waves" and "remember it's a small town" by a number of different people. The need to keep things as they've always been is strong. Heck, look at the way no one batted an eye with outright thieves in city hall and the county. "Oh well, what can you do" seems to be the battle cry around here. And, unlike a lone leopard or tiger, there is a strong PACK MENTALITY to keep things the same as they've always been.

  3. Hard to think of ANYBODY I've seen or heard of in Port Angeles that has done as much as Dale has to get the status quo unstuck. It seems like every frickin' day, he uncovers, exposes, embarrasses, and/or finds something new to show people what is really going on.

    AND, he doesn't let them get away with their efforts in trying to shut him down. They know he'll file a Public Records Request, interview them and publish quotes. He files lawsuits. Names names. This has never happened here, before.

    I've never seen anyone like him. We are SO lucky he decided to come to Port Angeles.

    Okay. So, now you know I have an opinion about the man. What about the examples you've posted about.

    The Grand Jury? Personally, I'm a bit mixed on this. All well and good when you have good, fair and objective people. But, how do you keep it from becoming a return to the Joe McCarthy days, with politically motivated witch-hunts? Maybe there is a way? I sure support finding some way to hold people accountable in a productive and meaningful way.

    Stonewalling in Port Angeles? Geeezz. Yes. The "powers-that-be" have kept such a tight hold on the publics' ability to voice opinions, until Dale came along. He says it was just that, that motivated him to get involved, and get active.

    We've all experienced it. Who has tried to submit a letter to the editor in this town? Goat-like Gottlieb won't publish it unless he likes it. He'll tell you what to change in your letter, or else. Hello? Who's opinion was the letter expressing, anyways?

    Candidates for upcoming elections? Absolutely. Sure, it isn't the narrative of this blog to believe Port Angeles has any hope, and I totally agree, given the way things are. But, that's the catch. Yes, as long as things are the way they are. With nobody involved, leaving the cronies to play in the sand box all by themselves, shoveling favors at will.

    But, things could be different if people make an effort. And that doesn't mean endorsing the failed mindset of the past/existing so-called leadership.

    That last council meeting showed us that there are new people in town, who don't like the way things are, and bothered to show up in the evening, on a work/week night to voice their concerns.

    Things ARE different than they have been. The old crowd will always "go along, to get along", and we see where that gets us. Nowhere.

    How perfect, in todays' news, that a project to convert the old Walmart to a wood cabinet manufacturing facility is proceeding (yeah, we'll see) , and the quote from the head of the well connected and well established Economic Development Council is? " I didn't know anything about it".

    Amazing. We see how much respect and credibility THOSE folks have!

    Thanks Dale. I hope you can keep doing what you have been.

    1. Yeah, I love the EDC quote. I'm sure Jim McEntire didn't find it funny, but the rest of us...

    2. Yeah, goes to show you how they (don't) earn their money. They can beg and bargain and wheedle, and steal -- but to do their job, and actually make a difference is NOT the point, now is it?
      I'm just surprised Mr. McEntire isn't faster on his feet with the bullshit.

  4. It's Westport. When the Port arbitrarily raises its leasehold Airport land from $6,000 an acre to $90,000 an acre and then extorts their tenants to pay.....well things happen. Colleen MacAleer is a Port commissioner and EDC Board member who uses public funds to be an entrepreneur pushing her ideas. No personal risk, no skin in the game, no accountability. When her ideas fail the public will hold the bag like Haugewood and the Skills Center. When Bill Greenwood was told he couldn't care less. The only job growth is their own. Time will expose them.

    1. So the Port squeezes them out over here - with no fault or accountability - and then the jobs pop up over there - and we'll watch the scramble to take credit. Is that about it, then? This is what "job growth" in Port Angeles looks like?

    2. Rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

    3. The Port recently got in trouble for undervaluing its properties. Can't remember with whom, but they did get their wrists slapped and were forced to raise rents on their properties. Which sucks massively for their tenants.

  5. Next month Port O Call will host an "All-Call" for potential candidates who consider running for any of the offices coming up for a vote in November. It is open to anyone EXCEPT current office-holders. If we want a change in the local dynamics it is obvious it won't come from those presently in office. The time place and format will be announced in the April issue of Port O Call.
    We will provide all the nominating papers required to nominate and hopefully sufficient people will be on hand to sign your nomination papers and save the filing fees. Up for rejection this time is 2 seats on city council, Jim McEntire at the county commission and John Calhoun at the Port of Port Angeles. Candidates will be asked to give a brief speech as to their goals if elected. There will be a couple of speakers on hand to discuss major issues facing the community and suggest ways of getting the local economy back on track.
    If we want sweeping change we have to sweep some of these out of office. Now's the chance. Oh, and thanks for the shout-out CK.

    1. Mark the date, April 15th
      416 E. First St.
      "Carpenter's Hall" next door to Port Angeles Post Office

    2. Point of clarification, Dale, if you don't mind...Let's say there's someone who currently holds an elected position - like, say, Lee Whetham, for instance - and they are running against another office holder - like, say, John Calhoun...Would candidate Whetham pass muster to attend, or would he be considered an office-holder? Just wondering...Thanks.

    3. If he is running for an office other than the one now held he is invited.
      The whole idea is to promote candidates of all stripes so that no office will go uncontested.

    4. Dale, be sure to reserve a spot for that perennial bridesmaid-but-never-a-bride, Peter Ripley. I can't imagine he wouldn't run again. And again.

    5. Peter has espoused ideas of greater value than some that have been voted on with this city council. Peter probably won't try to use taxpayers money to build a convention center we don't need. Peter probably wouldn't have given the chamber of commerce four million dollars. Peter probably wouldn't have voted for the 52 million dollar CSO project we didn't need. Peter would probably vote to undo this treacherous ambulance contract that rips off the citizens for over half a million per year. Peter would probably vote against cops driving home their cop cars and letting sit idle in the driveways 16 hours a day. Peter would get the picture.

    6. Yeah, Peter's an idiot, but like a stopped clock, he's sometimes right accidentally. The people who are on the council are like a clock with the hands removed; they're just never right.

    7. I thought there were *three* seats on the City Council coming up for election - DiGuilio, Kidd and Bruch?

    8. I'm going to guess that Dale is suggesting we not oppose Bruch.

    9. we should have more than one candidate for each seat.

    10. Honestly, I hope Sissi Bruch chooses not to run for re-election to the City Council.

      If she does run, let's make sure that there's a viable alternative candidate to Sissi's smiley-smiley, golly-gee-whiz, do-nothingness.

    11. Which is worse - a potential Mayor Gase or Mayor Bruch?

    12. Peter was the one who wanted to seize a privately held business (the former Chinook Hotel) and use government funds to build a "mega homeless shelter". He hasn't met a charity he doesn't want funded by the government. While I'm all for that, some of his ideas go overboard, like the mega homeless shelter. Somehow I can't picture him as the model of fiscal restraint. He'd probably just wind up yet another Clallam County RINO spending like there's no tomorrow while complaining bitterly about Obama and the gays.

  6. What are they afraid of?


    Having to compete, like every other business or community.

    Oversight, and having to obey laws and rules.

    Having to produce results, rather than feel good, mush-mouthed reports.

    And, of course, reality. The powers that be in Port Angeles and Clallam County are deathly afraid of reality. It must be held at bay as long as possible.

  7. Two kinds of people would sign up to run for Port Angeles city council. Crooks or crazies. Everyone else will stay far, far away from that mess.

    1. An interesting comment. I'm trying to understand it, beyond the attempts to be funny and clever.

      Yeah, it's fun to write.

      Taken at it's word, it states that voting and elected offices are not to be pursued. So, is it really THAT smart to let people you know are harming YOUR assets, do as they please without you saying a word?

      If they were proposing to build a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant right next to your house, or were going to pass a ordinance to take half of your money out of your bank account, would you also advocate sitting home, and not being involved?

      You know, like the city is now "asking" for input on what programs to cut. Hear, they are NOT suggesting your taxes will be REDUCED when they provide you with less in services than you WERE getting.

      But, only "crooks or crazies" will bother to care? We should follow your suggestion, stay home, and do nothing about what in going on in the community we live in?

      Hey! I totally agree there are WAY better places to live, than Port Angeles. No debate there. People should be warned about this place. Stay away. Don't lose your money and your mind by moving here.

      BUT, for those of us that are stuck here for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to do what we can to make the best of it. We'll be able to sell, and maybe even get more for our property, if we succeed.