Sunday, April 19, 2015

Why Do They Do It? Audacious or Obnoxious?

It's good to try and grow personally and professionally.
It's good to set standards.
It's good to have goals.
But it's foolish to open your mouth and let random numbers come tumbling out with nothing to support them. Especially when those numbers are attached to the word "jobs." And especially when those numbers, and that word "jobs" are being bandied about in Clallam County.
So it's foolish, yes, but the hot air-filled egos in charge of various governing bodies just can't seem to help themselves. If you run into a politician at the coffee shop and say hello, they're likely to respond with something like "Creating twelve new jobs by noon today!" It's a sad, counterproductive epidemic.
Said epidemic is currently raging through the Port of Port Angeles...
Port of Port Angeles Commissioners have committed themselves to increasing Clallam County employment by 1,250 jobs by 2020. That figure tops the Port's vision of a "prosperous Clallam County" that's part of the strategic plan Commissioners discussed at their meeting last week.
“That's an audacious goal, but it's not impossible,” said Commissioner Jim Hallett, repeating his contention that the port should be the county's lead economic development agency. "Some of that we'd darn well better do, or the public should vote us out," he said.
“We need to be the lead on this. The other agencies, the EDC [Economic Development Council], they're fine, but this is our exclusive domain."
CCO stands for Corrupt, Creepy and Obnoxious.
Sigh...Which part of this is most idiotic? The random number? The fact that it tops their own previous number from just last week? Is it the part where, after setting this goal, Hallett says they better do "some" of it? Or is it the part when he says people should vote them out - at some future date when they may not be holding that office anymore anyway? Maybe it's the part where he claims this is the Port's "exclusive domain."
Or maybe the whole thing is idiotic. I'd even go so far as to suggest that, if we drilled down into Jim Hallett's feverish pinhead, we'd discover that it's empty, and that he himself is idiotic.
Idiotic, yes, but holding a position of authority. A position he gained in an uncontested election. Proving once again that in Clallam County, you don't have to be smart, you don't have to be honest, and you don't have to be legitimate. You just have to take what you want, and the hell with the public.
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! By this time tomorrow! I PROMISE!


  1. Jim Hallett: When you care enough to lie your very best.

  2. This is ludicrous! All these groups are obviously competing with each other to claim the biggest (future) impact, without ever offering even a partial scenario of how they're going to achieve these laughable goals.

    I look forward to next week's PABA meeting, at which they'll claim to be creating 2,400 new jobs by 2018. "Just wait and see!"

    Do morons like Hallett really think anyone is buying this garbage?

  3. Maybe Jim Hallett, sitting comfortably removed from the reality of the average citizen's life here in Port Angeles as he does, really thinks people will believe what he's saying. Maybe he's cynical or stupid enough to think people will fall for this story, even though they've heard it so many times before. Certainly it seems he's lazy enough to not bother with the details of his own plan. (What sectors will these jobs be in? Who will provide these jobs? Why do you feel this growth will happen in these sectors and businesses? And etc, and etc.)

    But I can't think of a single person I know, of any age, income or political persuasion, who is going to hear this and respond with anything more positive than a snort of derision. The Devil is in the details, and when people like Hallett refuse and refuse and refuse to provide those details, well, all we're left with is the Devil.

  4. Well, I think it is all about your audience. The Jims and Cherie and Colleen, and the rest of these folks pander to an audience which Revitalize Port Angeles exemplifies so well. Tell me what I want to hear. Don't say anything negative.

    You know, as they say as they leave the PABA meetings "Another great day to do business in Port Angeles". Or as they say at Revitalize Port Angeles "Say anything we don't want to hear, and you're blocked from further participation".

    Sure, "jobs, jobs, jobs" is the mantra, but in reality, jobs go un-filled as it is in Port Angeles. Any of the major employers in the area will tell you of the difficulties they have getting functional employees.

    What IS the reality?

    In talking with Colleen a while ago, who was SOO excited about the composites recycling project, she made comment how this was so great, getting support form the Governor and others because? They thought it is good to help out "distressed Clallam County". Wow!

    Not because the county offers anything special. Not because the locals have done ANYTHING to warrant the project. JUST because it is a handout. To give the poor folks something to do, to make them feel needed. That's the governments role. To take from the prosperous, and create make -work projects for the needy.

    Yeah. "Composites recycling". Hello? That is called "a garbage reprocessing facility". Like what wealthy nations do when they send their garbage, like unwanted electronics, to third world countries for the peons to squat on the ground and smash apart, trying to recover anything of value from it.

    Oh, sure. Here in Clallam, all the various governmental entities are joining together on this "composites recycling" project. List them. The Port of Port Angeles, the College, the County, the City, the Feds , the State.. all spending tax money, millions upon millions, to ship Boeings' waste out to Clallam County, to "create jobs".

    We don't expect to see people squatting in the dirt as they process the waste here. No, we'll spend millions to purchase state-of-the-art composites handling machinery that our public servants saw at a trade show in Paris.

    They say this project will create a 100 new jobs. When asked, Colleen said the materials involved would fit into one 18 wheeler, making one trip a week from the I-5 corridor.


    Back to the initial premise. What is wrong with our community only being able to function as a "distressed community"? Wa Dot's "Graving Dock" was another of these. The list is long. An entire culture of people surviving on government grants and funding has evolved, all predicated upon the listing of Clallam as "distressed".

    What is the total amount, in all the various grants, agencies, projects and other ways tax money is funneled into Clallam?

    If we were not listed as "distressed", would we survive at all?

    Does this identity really help us?

    What is the incentive for this identity to change?

    Do we REALLY want to be prosperous?

    Or, are we really just happy to be on the dole.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It would be nice if some of the people in charge were to read them - it might (MIGHT) make them think a little.

    2. Just you wait, the Revitalizers are going to change everything - I mean EVERYTHING - once they get into power!

    3. Sounds like we should start calling them "Reavers" like the zombie ilk characters in Joss Whedon's epic Firefly/Serenity series/movie.

  5. Nope, not buying it. Our politicians have been crying "wolf" for so long it's a wonder they can say things like this with a straight face. And "exclusive domain"? Please. My guess is the Port, and the EDC, and the commissioners, and the chamber, have... Well, maybe not the chamber. But these organizations are finally becoming aware of what we've known for far too long. That Port Angeles is in deep trouble economically. That there is very little getting ahead here. That jobs are limited and what limited money we have is going outside the area faster than it's coming it. They're starting to hear grumbling from the hoopleheads and they're starting to panic. We haven't gotten to the point of hauling out the guillotine, but we're talking about it. So the politicians make bold proclamations in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. Empty promises have served them well so far, why not again? We'll have to see what happens now. Some will buy into these promises, and the politicians may choose only to listen to them, hang up their own "Mission Accomplished" banner at city hall. Maybe... Just maybe they'll listen to a broad segment of their constituency and realize that shouting "jobs" over and over again does nothing to bring actually family wage jobs to this town.

  6. Wait a minute, Hallet has credibility, hell he was once mayor of Port Angeles. How can a former mayor be wrong? Oh, I see, well yes but...oh, I see, yes but, well, oh, okay, nevermind.

  7. Talk is cheap Mr. Hallet, the checks you are writing are not. Get a grip on reality and then get a grip on the checkbook.

  8. Anyone verify his credentials?

  9. Thanks for having this blog CK. I discovered it accidentally a few months ago. I am happy to see others who feel the same way I do about our leaders. It amazes me the spin and corruption. Really 3rd class folks. Everybody greasing each other. It's almost like they look down on the public and couldn't care less what we think or want. Elitists know it alls.
    I reviewed Colleens plan for composite recycling 2 years ago. Didn't make sense then and still doesn't but yet it continues to evolve. Importing others toxic waste and doing "something" with it just doesn't seem exciting.
    Think of the employee turnover of subjecting people to this toxic waste. Only a government agency with no accountability and no oversight can dream up this crap.
    But the people here keep voting these knuckleheads into power.

    1. Anonymous 7:15 pm...It's even worse than what you state. In the case of Hallett, he didn't get voted in; he ran unopposed. Just like those city council races last time. It's one thing to say people get who they vote for, but it's another thing entirely to only have ONE person to vote for. That's not an election, that's just pathetic.

  10. Morons like Hallett keep (verbally) revving the engine, but they never actually pull out of the driveway and go anywhere. Stuck in neutral, going nowhere. Sound like anyplace you know?

  11. I'm not sure if we'd be "happy" to be a distressed economy, but I can see us settling comfortably into that role. Or at least denying the obvious. For example look at Eastern Washington. It's full of good ol', pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstrap, welfare is bad, conservative types. Generally they keep screaming about how Seattle and Olympia are taking their tax money and wasting it on infrastructure projects along the I-5 corridor and on liberal welfare programs. The problem is these counties take far more tax dollars than they contribute. Even their welfare programs take more. If you point this out they'll trip over themselves with excuses and eventually go right back to complaining about how Seattle and Olympia are taking all their tax dollars. They're comfortable enough living in complete denial.

    Meanwhile in Clallam County... Well I've met plenty of people who say the same thing. Seattle and Olympia are wasting all OUR tax money on THEIR infrastructure. In the meantime we have our hands perpetually out to Olympia and for federal grants. Per reference, as of 2008 Clallam takes $1.29 for every $1.00 we contribute.


    This is all anecdotal on my part of course, but I've at least talked to a fair mix here, people who understand what's going on and people who are accepting it through denial. And it's not just a liberal-conservative thing. When I was unemployed here I ran into a liberal acquaintance who sympathized, but at least I wasn't in Seattle! Problem is that I most likely could easily have gotten a job in Seattle, something that paid better even factoring in the cost of living. I understand the situation here, but I'm amazed at how many people are in complete denial of what's going on in Clallam County.

    1. I would put most members (if not all) of the city council in the category of reality deniers. You know...Detroit, on a certain level, at a certain point, recognized it was shrinking and has tried to deal with that reality. Maybe they were in the "acceptance" stage of grief. But the people here, they are still in the "anger" stage, denying there's a real problem at all.

  12. @ Anon 10:02 You say "I'm not sure if we'd be "happy" to be a distressed economy, but I can see us settling comfortably into that role."

    Maybe I'm mistaking what you're saying. The label of Clallam being a "distressed county" is not an "if". It has been Clallam's label for a long time.

    1. I rushed the post, so I may not have been very clear. It's no longer about whether we are a distressed economy. As you say, we are there. The question now is whether we accept it and become comfortable with our status, or whether we fight it. Fighting it won't be easy, and there isn't very good precedent for overcoming it. By this time we've grown too accustom to handouts; it's too engrained in our culture. As well, too much of the town is in denial about it in the first place. So I'm not holding out much hope, unfortunately.

  13. Now I see where the Jefferson County commissioners are talking about "growing 1,000 jobs"...Obviously no politician is immune to this disease...

  14. sort of sounds like kids trying to impress other kids with their knowledge of the biggest numbers: "million" "billion" "gazillion" "ka-trillion" "zillion" "million-zillion"
    I try and not pay attention to these things. It distresses me.

  15. Here's the best idea I've heard. Have the port develop and have professionals operate a wood pellet production facility. Build it on the waterfront. Load a barge a day for sale to China. Develop a wood pellet stove foundry. Utilize the welding program at Peninsula College. Behind every barge load of pellets send a barge load of wood pellet burning stoves. China is smothering itself burning bituminous coal. Wood pellet stoves would be a huge leap in home-heating technology. When they develop their own stove making industry we still sell them wood pellets, they're running out of trees. People all around the Sound use wood pellets. All available by water shipment from Port Angeles Harbor. Spinoff industries include wood pellet stove sales and installers, wood pellet stove dealers, wood pellet suppliers, wood pellet delivery service like they used to do heating oil. Jobs that could not be sent offshore. British Columbia, just across the Strait, will open 3 new wood pellet production facilities this year.

    1. In a vacuum, it sounds good, but in reality, China doesn't need much of anything we have to offer. The west, including America, moved virtually all their manufacturing to China, so building their own wood stoves would be an easy thing, if they wanted to. They have huge volumes of wood coming across their border with Russia on long trains. No shipping needed.

      They also have big pipelines that run across the border to Russia, who have the worlds' largest natural gas reserves.

      And, they are moving fast to get rid of fossil fuels. Lots of information about that.

      If only America was doing what China is doing, to curb emissions. Instead, as a symbol of what America is doing to address climate change, we have that huge oil rig in the harbor.

    2. Dale Wison, trying to sell your hair brain "idea" as an anonymous contributor doesn't help. It's still just a silly idea.

  16. City Council was a circus this evening.

    After an emotional back-and-forth over a request by Cherie Kidd to go by herself and find funding for suicide barriers for the 8th Street bridges, and after spending another $1.16 million on the waterfront project, she later said " The community should be excited with what we're giving them.This is a great day for Port Angeles."

    They also passed an ordinance to allow them to take tens of thousands (might have been hundreds of thousands, they sure were not clear on the total numbers!) out of reserves for a stormwater and sewer project on Georgiana. When asked, staff admitted this was not planned for, and might have benefits for future developments in the area.

    Wasn't it just a few weeks ago they invited the public to chose which social services they wanted cut, because the city didn't have enough money for programs like domestic violence assistance?

    There was also an "emergency " request for funding to replace the cooling system for the Pen Com system, which apparently broke. How much? "I don't know" replied city staff. How long to get repairs lined up? 60 to 90 days. Or more. They asked for a waiver of the competitive bidding process, too.

    When asked for more details, little was available, guessing at the size of the room, and such. " We're trying to be pro-active" Hmmm. What does that mean? Is it really an emergency, or another "creative" way to get things done.

    Oh, the meeting started with a proclamation given to Revitalize group, proclaiming May " Beautify Port Angeles month".

    Somebody got up during public comment to say having a huge oil derrick in the harbor didn't do much for beautifying Port Angeles, and that drilling for oil in the Arctic wasn't very beautiful, either.

    1. I'm excited. Aren't you excited?