Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lame by Association

I know, I know...This isn't exactly a Life or Death issue, but I still think it tells something about the troubles (cultural and otherwise) that Port Angeles faces.
 
Not that the worship of youth for its own sake is healthy, but, realistically, without young people around, there is no future. They are the workers, leaders, artists and customers of tomorrow and beyond.
 
Generally speaking, music festivals and pop or rock concerts have a youthful air about them. I mean, the phrase is, "Hey kids, let's put on a show!"
 
So here we have Clallam County's leading music festival, the Juan De Fuca Festival, holding one of their "rockin'" pre-JFFA concerts, and the headline act is...The Association. The PDN article about the group, rightly, focuses on the fact that the band is old - very old. The two original members still in it are 71 and 75 years old, respectively. Their heyday was around 50 years ago.
 
PLEASE NOTE: I'm not picking on The Association, or older people, or any combo thereof. I'm merely noting how appropriate this choice is for the demographics of Clallam County. It is, overall, a very old place. The school age population is shrinking. Sequim has the highest median age in the entire state. The broad picture is not one of youthful energy and dynamism. Rather, it's one of crumbling, grumbling and decline. The old people in charge - including those in charge of the JFFA - aren't just unable to change this, they're unable to even admit there might be a problem in the first place.
 
Here's another hot platter you Clallam kids might enjoy...

But there is a problem, of course. Cultures and economies both grow and thrive in great part based on youthful energy and ideas and consumption. But in Clallam County, "Hey kids, let's put on a show!" has been totally eclipsed by "Hey Old Man, let's cook up another scam!"
 
Therefore, since (generally speaking) it's young people who go to the movies, the Lincoln Theater didn't make financial sense to keep open. In other words, no show. Which has leant itself naturally to the Nagel and Gase sham show scam.
 
There are lots of ways to change this dynamic, and at least try to get back on track, at least try to create a community that is welcoming to and nurturing of young people, young ideas. But it's literally a tough sell in Clallam County. Which is one of the main reasons that one of its nicknames is "God's Waiting Room."

45 comments:

  1. It sure seems like the JFFA has the same old acts every year, which means that every year those same old acts get a little bit older.

    So this event absolutely fits their model.

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  2. Some excellent points here. One of the things that most hinders our community in terms of attracting new businesses and/or residents here are the terrible schools. The high drop out rates, coupled with falling attendance rates, have created a spiral of negative reinforcement that scares away outsiders, and shortchanges those already here. Then, when bonds come, it's harder to get people excited about supporting schools that are doing so poorly, which only exacerbates the problem further.

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  3. This topic is almost as boring as a concert by the Association.

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  4. Grampa McCrankypantsApril 12, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    You oughta make this in bigger types so's I can read it!

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    1. Grampa McCrankypantsApril 12, 2015 at 6:32 PM

      You kids take those wheelie boards an' git offa my lawn!

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  5. Schools don't need fancy buildings to become good schools. The bond was a thinly veiled attempt to snag more money for the general fund. Lets be clear on that.
    The problem has been, and continues to be, the incestuous nature of those "in charge" around here. The YMCA dude (who had a crappy YMCA, and programs that sucked) moved to head the JFFA.
    This town lacks a vision because the morons who are in charge, because they were raised here, don't see any larger perspective. They don't have the plot, never had it, and can't think their way out of a gunny sack (with one end open).
    "We have always done it like this..." They don't get the irony of "been there, done that". They just keep doing the same thing, over-and-over-and-over.
    The Association was a crappy band when they were a band. Yeah, yeah, they epitomize the late 60's. They were the hot band, at their peak, in 1967. It's pretty much agreed that the late 60's early 70's are the "dark age" of innovation for the rock scene.
    Talk about moldy/oldies their "hit" songs: Windy, Cherish, and Along Comes Mary. Oh harmony, yeah, how quaint.
    I doubt that there are more than one, or two "original" members, at best.
    Gee, I know, what other oldsters are touring...we can get "KC and the Sunshine Band"
    It isn't that old bands are bad (after all Aerosmith, the Stones, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Alice Cooper, Sting, B.B. King, James Taylor, Elton John, Rick Springfield, Peter Frampton, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, and Billy Joel are all still performing, as well as another hundred, or so, other old geriatric musicians).
    But, there is no "star power" in The Association. It might as well be called a lame cover band. It's that this is hardly a glimmer of the "original" band, AND they were "bubblegum pop" when they were newly minted.
    BORING.
    The JFFA has no ambition to book anyone new, even if they're old, because they have no one with contacts, no knowledge of how to book anyone with any spirit/draw, and they are as lame as lame can be.
    Why? Because we have the retread YMCA loser in charge.
    Port Angeles should change it's name to "MEH".

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    1. Please explain to me how the bond funds would have been directed to the general funds benefit. Thanks.

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    2. Oh, I disagree about the late '60s not being innovative. Look at 1967... The Beatles pushed out Magicial Mystery Tour and Sgt Peppers, both of which wildly changed the music landscape. 1967 was the debut year for Pink Floyd, another experimental band. Jimi Hendrix... hang on, yes, Are You Experienced was released that year. I'm pretty sure The Who and the Velvet Underground made debuts that year. I think Led Zeppelin debuted later in 1969.

      Of course, for every "I am the Walrus" you had a couple of "Windy"s. I'm not against "Windy" exactly, I thought it was a harmless enough '70s folk song. But it's no "Astronomy Domine".

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    3. Let's remember the time when the JFFA was last looking to hire a director. Two people were in the running for the job. Max Mania, and Dan Maguire. Max had just put on a two day music festival all on his own, featuring honest to goodness performers with appeal to people under 50. Dan had retired from the YMCA, where he had basically bombed their budget and drove them into the red. Max was fairly young and very energetic. Dan was, well, retired.

      Needless to say, the JFFA board chose Dan, and the rest is history. Just like Port Angeles. History. The past. Over.

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    4. There were more people who applied for the job (with relevant experience), but they were turned away, right away, way before being interviewed. Clearly, the fix was in and Maguire had the job no matter who applied.
      This town is pathetic.

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    5. Peter Frampton, man. Peter Frampton!

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    6. I remember going to one of Max's comedy shows at the PAFAC, and one of the guys from Pearl Jam was there. That's the kind of musical connections Max had.

      On the other hand, Dan Maguire apparently knows...the Association.

      'Nuff said.

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  6. Well... Yes and no.

    Nostalgia is very popular right now, and not just in Clallam County. If you look at 7 Cedars, the Puyallup Fair, and beyond, you'll notice an increasing number of cover bands. At the movies we've had year after year of reboots, remakes and sequels. This summer's likely blockbuster is based on superheroes created in the '60s and '70s. The next Adam Sandler pic is based on video games from the '80s.

    As a culture it's the United States that's stuck in the past. While some people are leading the good fight to advance us into the 21st century, popular culture is resting firmly in the '60s, '70s and '80s. So I disagree that the Association is a symptom of Clallam Co as it is America in general.

    As for everything else you've written... Yes. Absolutely. Port Angeles has gotten better at embracing youth culture, but I'm worried it's too little too late. The bars have historically been geared more for blue-collar workers, which isn't a bad thing, but there wasn't much alternatives for the younger, white-collar set. The murals have focused on the history of Port Angeles which, again, not a bad thing. Art, concerts, shopping... Again, not a bad thing, but it would be better if there was a mix.

    Add that to the economy. There are very few family wage jobs. There are plenty of starting jobs, there are some jobs for people with experience, but the jobs don't exactly grow with the workers. In fact, the entire culture of this town basically skips the 25-50 range. I noticed that myself growing up here, that past high school there was a great emptying out of the town. It was pretty depressing, but understandable.

    The end result is youth culture... Well, left. And with them they took the potential to raise new families in Port Angeles. They took their demands for new experiences, which means Port Angeles didn't feel the need to adapt to the new generations.

    Like I said, I've noticed it's getting better. Seems like there is a better mix of ages these days. There are more places for 20-somethings to go at night. There are more younger folks opening businesses and restaurants and getting involved. The new mural in the breezeway is definitely more urban, more young. But it's slow, it may not hold and there has already been an incredible amount of damage done by essentially driving the 25-50 crowd out of town, and into towns where they can grow and help their new homes grow.

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  7. That hippie music by the Association is too damned loud, I'd have to keep my hearing aids at home, so I'm not going!

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  8. Keep doing the same things, and expecting different results. What is that the definition of?

    JFFA keeps doing the same things, and (maybe) wondering why they keep getting the same results.

    I don't see this being about The Association, at all. Good for them, for still doing what they feel like doing. I applaud that they are out and about, instead on sitting home in self-made jail cells. It is great that those who want to see them play music, get to.

    THAT is a whole 'nuther conversation than Clallam County, it's make up, and the actions of the so-called leadership in the various groups and organizations.

    Here is an observation I think might be of interest. Really, I think it SHOULD be of interest for those concerned about economic development, the downtown, the future of Port Angeles, and related topics.

    I went over to Victoria, and returned to Port Angeles this morning on the Coho. By 8 o'clock Sunday morning, I was 2nd on standby to get onto the ferry. The boat was VERY full with both cars, and walk-on passengers. Mid April!

    Arrived at noon, and everyone disembarked. People all over the place. I happened to drive back through town at 2:15, after the ferry had left on it's return trip to Victoria. Not a soul to be seen on ANY of the sidewalks downtown. Half a dozen local cars driving through.

    I saw "Open" signs in some of the stores. But, the place was empty.

    Where did all those hundreds of people go, so quickly?

    What astounds me is all the efforts the city and various community leaders go to, to get people to come to Port Angeles, when so many hundreds come to Port Angeles every day, and leave. The City gave Nagel $60,000 for a tent for the 3 day Crabfest, but what about the thousands that come here every day during the summer months?

    Between the Park, and the Coho, millions pass through Port Angeles every year. The Coho alone brings 400,000 people to Port Angeles every year. That averages 1,142 people every day of the year!

    The Park has around 3 million visitors each year . Yes, they all don't visit it via Port Angeles, but given there is only one road through to the western sections, and it goes right through Port Angeles, it can be assumed a significant number do.

    Point is, here we see the very thing the city and it's civic leaders are trying to accomplish, attracting people to Port Angeles, is already happening. But, as was seen today, they all pass on by. ( I guess buying a wedding dress or beer making supplies is not a priority for them).

    Maybe the brain trust can look beyond timber, and see what is, and has been going on? Maybe Revitalize can stop blaming the Lee Hotel for the businesses' failures.

    Maybe we can stop doing the same old things over and over?

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    1. You are correct in that it's not about getting people to come through Port Angeles - it's about giving them a reason to actually STOP in Port Angeles. After all these years, after so many consultants, after the AIA assessment, the powers that be STILL haven't tumbled to the fact that they have to give people who are...already...passing...through a reason to want to stop and spend. It's not rocket science; it's catch and release. But Port Angeles is perpetually stuck in release. No catch!

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    2. Don't forget all the thousands of people who came through during the whole TWILIGHT fad. Forks found a way to exploit that, and profit from it, and it was (as noted) just a fad.

      We've had hundreds of thousands of people a year (every year) coming through town for the ferries and/or the ONP, and the town has never found a way to meaningfully exploit that. Nope. But by God, let's talk about logging more. Yeah, that's the ticket, at least according to so many of our (woefully out of touch and behind the times) elected leaders.

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    3. People are attracted to the area for different reasons yet they come. When they come here, mostly to visit the park and the forests. When they drive through town along the waterfront all they see is dead trees. When they drive by the airport all they see is dead trees. The port has already said dead trees is a losing proposition. Why are we still building our economy around the past instead of creating a robust future. If you look around you see several entrepreneurs opening up new businesses. These should be encouraged with every scrap of support we can muster. Instead, every so-called "leader" wants to pretend timber is king and all hail dead trees. If we want young, hip, well-to-do tourists to come and stay awhile we have to develop something besides "come see us cut all our trees and send them to Asia." Not a peep out of the chamber of commerce, not a peep out of the port, not a peep out of the county commission. The EDC is doing all it can to promote the cutting of every tree in sight and will continue to do so until real leadership takes over, surveys what we have that people might want to take part in, and then put the support there.

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  9. If the JFFA (Full disclosure: Dan tried to recruit me to join his band last summer) gave a rat's ass about promoting to younger audiences, they'd promote the DOA show at Coog's Saturday night (More full disclosure: I'm Coog's drummer in MCFD - much more my speed than anything ol' Dan had in mind).

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    1. DOA are old, but not Association old. And this is their farewell tour, isn't it?

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    2. Their 'farewell' tour was last year, and that show went well enough. Then they called Coog about a month or so ago and asked if they could come play there on April 18th. Coog immediately said yes and that was pretty much the end of the phone call. Then it dawned on him that April 18th is National Record Store Day. So they're un-retiring for the day, I guess. And Coog will have live music in the back room before the punk show kicks off, and the acts will be of a wide variety.

      Oh, and we're thinking about running a show during the weekend of the JFFA. We're calling it the Want-To-F**k-You Festival.

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  10. Ironically all the cover band shows at 7 Cedars start at 9 or 10 at night when most of their target audience is likely already asleep. I haven't figured out why they schedule it this way. They should have the concerts from 6 to 9 and then they can have the bikini contests and burlesque crap they throw out there to pander to the 20-somethings.

    The songs the Association had hits with way back when are now considered those awful tunes you hear as elevator music in the grocery store. I was honestly embarrassed for the JFFA when I saw they had booked them.

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    1. Actually, Muzak is getting a lot younger these days. Last night, I was merchandising a Safeway in Puyallup and I heard Linkin Park's "Pts.Of.Athrty" (a remix of "Points Of Authority" from their first album). And before you say "But that was the store in Puyallup", I routinely hear Ramones songs at the stores in Port Angeles.

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  11. Retail is a tough business but if you have chosen it to be your business you better keep up. Such as, staying open on the weekends. I was downtown Sunday and maybe 1/10th of the businesses were open. And no, the beer supply place was not, or the wedding dress place. The nice addition of H2O was open and a few in The Landing and a few more restaurants but mind you, mainly restaurants that were open. The people that have jobs here cannot shop downtown during the week because so few are even open after 5 pm. And yes, it is a strange mix of businesses too. We also have anti-busker laws around here. So street musicians have to be very careful on noise volume (no horns allowed). Box stores get most of the attention but they are out of town or in Sequim. Do we really need another tattoo place? How about a tattoo removal place? And speaking of music, I noticed a small sign on the street Saturday advertising for the Metta Room that the band Dr. Funk was playing...for a 3$ cover charge. This is great R&B/Rock/Soul band that has FIVE horns and great rhythm and vocals. They have been around Seattle since the late 90's and still command $10-18 a head cover...over there. If you remember Tower of Power you would like these guys. So my wife and I went. And yes, the place was about 1/3rd full. But very little advertising. What music gets the most attention in this town? The Symphony with standing ovations to Ave Maria....jeesh. Then we have country/rock with the same tired faces and the underground rap/punk/thrash scene. (wanna buy some meth?) No jazz, to speak of and if there is no one shows up. (Jazz is a dirty word here unless you call Dixieland from the 20's jazz). I have no solutions...without spending a ton of money and imploding a block or two and creating an indoor/outdoor mall-type of walk-through thing with small shops and maybe a couple chain retailers to try and nab some folk from going to WalMart. No easy fixes because of past short sightedness and now very little vision. And as mentioned above the lack of people in the age bracket of 25-50 who have the energy and expertise...and money to make the changes. Politically and culturally. And above all...JOBS. As I posted a few months ago, "You can't pay the rent looking at a lake". Also as minimum wage is slowing....very slowly...creeping up to maybe $11/hour, what does ACTI have to say about it's entry level pay of $11/hr? That this company has gotten millions from the state to promote "living wage" jobs. Now it has been sold and nary a mention of anything different. Same old stuff, different day.

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    1. "remember Tower of Power" ....they're still performing. http://www.towerofpower.com/ In Bellingham and Tacoma in early June. Clearly JFFA doesn't have a clue about a solid old band, and a bunch of posers.

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  12. Poor JFFA, they have a leader who cannot lead, no inspiration, and no enthusiasm for the job. Just like 90% of everyone else in this town.

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  13. At least during the winter (we haven't quite got to tourist season yet) I understand retail establishments being closed on Sundays, especially if they are an owner run shop and would like to have one day on the weekend to spend with family. That being said, being closed Saturdays is foolish and unacceptable because I too have been frustrated racing downtown after work to pick something up and finding they have closed at 5:00. I would respectfully request that retail business stay open until 6:00 p.m. and be open on Saturdays. Close Sunday and Monday even, so you get two days off in a row!

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  14. Anyone wanting to make money in Port Angeles should wake up, and see what is really going on here.

    As noted by previous poster, the Coho alone brings an AVERAGE of 1,142 NEW people to Port Angeles every day of the year. That is 1/20th of the entire population of Port Angeles , man, woman, teenager, babies and elderly.

    What business downtown averages 1,142 visitors EVERY day of the flippin' year??

    Once they have exhausted that resource, then the economic development leadership and local business can start looking for new customers. The customers are here, all year round. The businesses and their leadership are obviously too clue-less to see what is right in front of them, and has been for decades.

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    1. You mean...Those people aren't coming to Port Angeles for the logging?!?

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  15. I worked downtown years ago. We experimented with longer hours. You know what happened? Nothing. Couple people came in killing time before their boat or their restaurant reservation, but sales weren't even enough to pay for one hour of one employees time. And things have gotten worse since then, not better.

    It's been pointed out repeatedly on this blog that no one goes downtown. Walk around after 6 or on Sunday. How many people do you see there? Of those few how many do you think will actually spend enough money to make it worth while? Why keep a business open for no one?

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    1. They won't come if you aren't open...But why be open if they aren't coming?

      Resolving this chicken-or-the-egg question has been done in other communities. Why is it so hard for Port Angeles?

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    2. This is where the business association or EDC could really help with advertising dollars to get the word out if the businesses collectively would agree to stay open until 6 pm. Why not even open an hour later and try it out for six months? That way you're not adding an additional hour of labor time, just moving your opening and closing times out one hour. Right now if a business decides to stay open later, of course nobody will come because we've all been conditioned by these businesses to know that nobody is open? I do regularly shop for homebrew supplies for example, and appreciate how accomodating he is. I live in Sequim so if I'm going to come into PA, I'd like to maybe shop around while I am in town and have the opportunity, and then grab dinner. Right now though, all I can do is just grab my homebrew supplies and head back to Sequim. Sadly we have the same problem there with stores closing before I can get to them after work. At least on First Fridays everyone is open late and that helps. But my god, even when volunteer organizations are lamenting a lack of volunteers, you find out that THEY hold their meetings in the middle of the day when those of us who are younger and still working cannot be there. It kind of goes on and on with these businesses and agencies creating some of their own problems.

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    3. See? The rationale revealed.

      Anon 4:59 explains the problem so well. " We experimented with longer hours. You know what happened? Nothing."

      And " It's been pointed out repeatedly on this blog that no one goes downtown."

      Okay, kids, let's look at what is being said here, and what possible conclusions can be drawn by them. The experiment in having longer hours didn't bring in enough new customers to make it worth it. And, as has been pointed out repeatedly, nobody goes downtown anymore.

      But, Walmart has lines at the registers, every day. Walking around the parking lots of Walmart and Safeway, it is easy to spot out-of-area plates on cars. So, people passing through and getting off the ferry ARE stopping to spend money.

      But, as has been said before, clearly, wedding dresses and beer making supplies are NOT high on the things these people are stopping to spend money on.

      Conclusion? You can stay open 24 hours a day, and your sales will not increase IF you're selling things few people want.

      Next conclusion? Nobody goes downtown because the MAJORITY of the businesses downtown are selling things most people are not interested in.

      You know? "Follow the money"? What is the same, and what is different? It isn't that people are not getting in their cars, and driving distances to spend money on things they WANT. It isn't that the shoppers in the area are not willing to stand in lines to buy the things they WANT. Clearly, as anyone can see, the parking lots in Sequim are very full of people who drove from Port Angeles to spend their money, THERE.



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    4. "But, as has been said before, clearly... beer making supplies are NOT high on the things these people are stopping to spend money on."

      AND

      "I do regularly shop for homebrew supplies for example, and appreciate how accomodating he is."

      Hmmmm.

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    5. I'm guessing Anon 8:16's comment is to show that beer making supplies ARE a priority for people getting off the Coho ferry, or visiting the ONP? That, by observing the piled up shopping carts at Coscto, or Walmart, we WOULD see that beer making supplies ARE a top selling item?

      Again, here we see why the area stays stagnant. Defend what clearly isn't working, instead of objectively looking at what isn't.

      If the downtown merchants are happy with the status quo, are happy with empty sidewalks, and happy with the patronage they have, then no need to discuss what changes could be pursued. All is good in Port Angeles.

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    6. Oh no, you're right. No one ever buys beer making supplies and no one ever buys wedding dresses. People shop at Walmart so that's what we should have downtown. A walmart.

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    7. Again, we see the simplistic reaction, again defending the very status quo that isn't working. To re-phrase Anon 6:00 Pm's comment, either the downtown merchants stay the same as they are, and keep offering things few people want, OR we have a Walmart downtown.

      Why is it so difficult to see the downtown merchants clearly don't have the correct answer to the problem?

      They defend what they're doing like a school child arguing that 2 plus 2 really does add up to 7. No matter how you say it, no matter how many times you stamp your feet and cry loudly, it is still the wrong answer.

      And, despite all their defending of their reasoning, they still get an "F". F stands for "Failed".

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  16. Hey, don't worry and fret anymore. The County Commissioners are going to temporarily reduce the sales tax rate by two-tenths of one percent! Surely this will be an economic boon to...to...oh, yeah.

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    1. Hot dam, I'm goin to Seven Cedars and spend it.

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    2. All the store owners think anyone walking downtown is poor and headed to the welfare office so they treat EVERYONE who walks in like someone going to the welfare office but came in to steal something on the way. So, if Mr. Moneybags comes into your store and you take him for a street urchin he ain't going to spend much in your store. When you go to Sequim to shop, everyone greets you, treats you like gold and smiles as you part with your money. It is an acquired trait and one worth working at if you are going to make it in retail.

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    3. Other than providing belly laughs with all the cynical comments, where are YOUR ideas??

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    4. I know. I just can't wait to go spend all that disposable income (that I don't have) to get the giant savings (that aren't), thanks to our wise county commissioners.

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    5. And why would I want to shop anywhere in Port Angeles when most of the shopkeepers are unfriendly and rude?

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  17. No problem with bands still playing that have had national and international hits, but the problem for me is that most of the bands have maybeye...MAYBEYE one original member left. For instance, Foghat is playing here and the original member is...the Drummer! This happens again and again and again with these so called 'classic' bands, so much so that what they really are is a bar band/cover band disquised as the real deal. As for the JFFA, its not about originality or art, its about pretense. The only bands they have any interest in promoting are those with some hippy/jammy vibe playing the Bavarian Butt Flute or some such BS. They suck, and the festival sucks bad. Arts my ass. I like to refer to it as the "I Want To Puke-A" festival.

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